We know you’re working hard juggling your job, the kids schedules, taking care of the house and oh yeah, trying to maintain that relationship. It’s perfectly natural for all of us to opt for dinner out rather than getting organized enough to make dinner happen at home.

But from a health and weight loss perspective, our most important food decision isn’t just what to order from a menu. It’s whether to hop into the car, drive to a restaurant, wait for a table, and pick up that menu in the first place. By the time you’ve made the trip and scored a table, you could be sitting down at home to a meal that tastes better, costs less, and is much healthier than the caloric bombs you’d tip a waitress to bring you. The restaurant world is hazardous for anyone hoping to control their weight. If you’re looking for a burger, a plate of pasta — or even just a salad — it’s difficult to find a entree that comes in under 1,000 calories. What’s worse, you could end up ingesting a few days’ worth of sodium, bad fats, and refined carbs.

There’s a better way. In this excerpt from David Zinczenko & Matt Goulding’s new book, Cook This, Not That!, we’ll show you how to whip up the kind of food typically go out for. But you can make it better! Best of all, these meals are easy (dare I say fun?), to make! Here are just a couple examples of the calories you can save by cooking at home.   It’s an excellent reference not only for delicious time saving, money pinching, calorie whittling recipes, but how to stock your kitchen and pantry to be motivated to feed yourself and your family healthy meals every day!


Warm Goat Cheese Salad
If you want to drop 15 lbs this year replace every restaurant salad you eat with a homemade version. This warm goat cheese salad with pear will make a believer out of everyone!

What you’ll need:
4 oz fresh goat cheese
1 cup bread crumbs
1 tsp dried thyme or Italian dressing
salt and black pepper to taste
1 egg slightly beaten
1/4 cup walnuts
1 6 oz bag cups mixed greens
1 pear peeled, cored and sliced
Low fat balsamic vinaigrette dressing.

How to make it:
Slice the goat cheese into 4 1/2 inch disks (using dental floss makes this easy). If cheese crumbles just pat back together into shape.
Pour the bread crumbs onto a plate and add seasonings.
Dip the goat cheese into the egg, then through the crumb mixture to coat evenly.
Place them on a plate and put into the freezer for 15 minutes>

Preheat overn to 450 degrees. Place the goat cheese on a baking sheet coated with non stick spray and bake for 10 minutes until the cheese is soft and the crumbs are toasted. While the oven is still hot, toast the walnuts.

Toss the lettuce with vinaigrette and pear and divide among 4 cold plates. Top with walnuts and cheese.

Makes 4 servings – 370 kcals – about $2.89 to make

Now you could have driven down to the Plaza to the California Pizza kitchen and picked up that healthy sounding Field Greens salad from them. But it has a whopping 1372 calories and costs $10.29! You just saved 1002 calories and $7.40 and it’s only lunch!


Grilled Mahimahi
Menu descriptions can be so misleading. On the Border’s “red chili seasoned fresh fillet of mahimahi grilled to perfection” sounds like the healthiest dish ever devised by a chain restaurant but eat it and you’ll be chewing through nearly half a day’s calories! Try this Cook this, not that version at home tonight and save 660 calories!

What you’ll need:
1 jar of roasted red peppers, drained
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 clove garlic
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
1/2 tsp cumin
salt and black pepper to taste
4 mahimahi, sea bass or halibut fillets- 6 oz each

How to make it:
To make the sauces combing the red peppers, cayenne, garlic, olive oil, vinegar and cumin in a blender and puree until smooth. Season with salt and pepper.
Lightly oil a grill or stovetop grill pan and heat until medium hot.
Lightly season the flesh side of the fillets with salt and pepper and place them, skin side down, on the hot grill.
Cook for 4-5 minutes until the skins are lightly charred and crispy. Turn them over and cook another 2-3 minutes.
When they’re done the fish should flake with gentle pressure from your fingertip.
Serve with mango or other fresh fruit relish and top with red pepper sauce.

Makes 4 servings – 310 calories – about $5.64 to create

You just saveed 660 calories and $9.35 by making this meal at home. Better yet, you saved a whopping 2362 calories and $22.36 by making these simple meals at home! Do the math! That can really add up over the course of a week, much less a year!


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