10 quick low(ish) calorie recipes

quick 682x1024 10 quick low(ish) calorie recipes

I have been so lucky to have this week off work, but I know not everyone has that luxury and the weeks before Christmas can be super hectic, trying to get the presents you need, attending parties and school concerts, getting the house ready for guests and ordering in the food you need to create a great Christmas.

I have been working on some new recipes but I am still perfecting them so I thought I would dig out ten of my favourite quick low(ish) calorie recipes.  When you are running around like a headless chicken (or chook) as we would say in Australia, getting a dinner on the table in lickety split time can make a huge difference to gaining some extra minutes for other jobs.  But that doesn’t mean you need to sacrifice taste nor resort to high calorie takeaway.  These recipes take under 30 minutes to make, are for the most part under 500 calories and are jam packed with flavor.  For one of the recipes it might take you slightly longer than half an your depending on the speed with which your oven heats up.  But you can turn the oven on and get it hot while doing other things.

My favourite recipes and their calories are:

1. Sazon chicken – get a bit of Latin American flavour in to your Christmas (290 calories)

sazon chicken 10 quick low(ish) calorie recipes

2. Baked Orange Roughy – easy to bake fish – just needs a  hot oven (364 calories)

baked orange roughy 3 10 quick low(ish) calorie recipes

3. Skillet Ham and Cheese Gnocchi – Cheesy goodness all cooked in one pan (453 calories)

ham and cheese gnocchi 10 quick low(ish) calorie recipes


4. Vietnamese meatballs – great dense Asian flavours

vietnamese meatballs 5 10 quick low(ish) calorie recipes

5. Drunken Noodles – one of my favourite memories from living in Laos.  A bit higher than the other dishes but no sides required (580 calories)

drunken noodle crop 10 quick low(ish) calorie recipes

6. Chilli jam chicken – sweet and spicy combine to make this amazing chicken.  Cook on the stove top to speed up the process  (310 calories)

chilli jam chicken 3 10 quick low(ish) calorie recipes

7. Creamy Chicken Lazone – gorgeous Italian chicken just in case you don’t have enough cream in your life (470 calories)

creamy chicken lazone 10 quick low(ish) calorie recipes


8.  Harissa Eggs in Purgatory – because eggs are not just for breakfast (430 calories)

harissa eggs cropped 10 quick low(ish) calorie recipes

9. Scallops with Sherry and Saffron Couscous – subtle flavours make the couscous the hero of this dish (485 calories)

shallots 2 1024x768 10 quick low(ish) calorie recipes

10. Gai Pad Gapow (Thai Minced Chicken) –  or you could mince leftover Turkey to make this dish – (315 calories)

Gai Pad Gapow 1024x768 10 quick low(ish) calorie recipes


Coriander (Cilantro) Lime Chicken

coriander lime chicken 2 Coriander (Cilantro) Lime Chicken

Phew, I am finally on my Christmas break.  I am having a lovely long staycation to get myself set up for the new year.  I have had a lot going on in the past few months and things at home have gotten a bit out of control.  I can just about squeeze in behind my desk – being careful to avoid boxes that are stacked up on the floor but eating at the dining room table is out at the moment.  And I am not even going to talk about the ironing pile on the spare bed.  No guests for me unless they like the couch and aren’t put off by the occasional kiss (aka lick) from a puppy when they are sleeping.

I have three weeks off and the plan is to catch up with friends for lunch, whip the house in to shape and finalise something I have been working on for food bloggers.  Can’t wait to share it with everyone but there is a way to go before it is ready.  I want some lovely clear thinking and creating time to get it done.

coriander lime chicken 3 Coriander (Cilantro) Lime Chicken

Plus of course I am going to try out some new recipes and enjoy all my favourite Christmas foods that my Mum makes.  I have some ideas for prawn recipes I want to work on and because I am on holiday I will be able to pop out each day to get ingredients and make sure the prawns and other ingredients are lovely are fresh.  Having time during the day to do those sort of things is such a luxury.

This recipe for coriander (cilantro) lime chicken isn’t quite so dependent on super fresh ingredients but the fresher the coriander the better.  Plus the flavors are so fresh tasting.  It is such a great quick dinner, with the limes adding a lovely tartness to complement the chilli.

I couldn’t find the ancho chile powder at any of my regular unusual ingredient stores.  I got creative and used part of a whole dried ancho chile.  I just crushed it in to a powder (well near powder) with my mortar and pestle.  Cause isn’t that all chilli powder is – at least some kinds of chilli powder?

To make this for one I used the following ingredients:

  • 130g of skinless, boneless chicken breast cut into thin slices.
  • 1 tsp of olive oil
  • Juice from one lime
  • 1/4 tsp of salt
  • 1/8 tsp of pepper
  • 1/2 tsp of minced garlic (equal to half a clove)
  • 1/2 tsp of dried ancho chile, crushed in a mortar and pestle
  • 1 heaped tbs of coriander (cilantro) finely chopped

I followed the recipe as given but I marinated overnight.  Dishes where you marinate are perfect to make on a slow Sunday afternoon so that when you have a manic Monday, you don’t have to think to hard to have a great dinner, cause after a manic Monday you need a delicious dinner (and now I can’t get that song out of my head).

coriander lime chicken Coriander (Cilantro) Lime Chicken

Preparation time excluding the marinating is 5 minutes and then to cook time is only about 10 minutes.  But best of all this is a diet busting recipe with only 230 calories per serve.  Next time I am making a batch and freezing for later ( minus the coriander of course).

Chorizo and Tomato Gnocchi

chorizo pasta sauce 1024x768 Chorizo and Tomato Gnocchi

Sometimes you just need something easy for dinner but you still want tasty. This is one of my cheat dishes that I use when I am in a rush and am trying to avoid frozen freezer meals. It is a cheat meal because I buy the basic pasta sauce. I am not a huge fan of store bought pasta sauce – I find it is often lacking in any real taste and some of them have some very funky herb flavours (in a not so good way). But it does have its place in the world and this recipe is one of them. I take that not so exciting sauce and jazz it up a bit. In fairness to the sauce I used, this is one of the better ones and I do think it has a lot more flavour than most – and no funky herb thing going on.

pasta sauce Chorizo and Tomato Gnocchi

Of course if you have the time, you can’t go past making your own marinara style sauce. When I have the time, I love this recipe for sugo from Gourmet Traveller. The meatballs served with it are also damn fantastic if you want to go the whole hog.

I have stolen the ideas for this recipe from my Mum. I normally use fusilli pasta with this sauce as the chorizo gets nicely caught in the twirls. This time I had the gnocchi I made for Our Growing Edge to test drive. To be honest the sauce is probably a bit chunky to go with gnocchi but it was delicious when heaped together on my spoon.  Fine Cooking have written this article on which pasta goes best with which sauce, although poor gnocchi does not even rate a mention.

One thing I love about this dinner is its flexibility. What you add to the sauce depends on what you have lurking in your pantry. Below is my favourite combination but the anchovies and capers combined may make it a bit salty for some. The chorizo is the hero of this dish and as with most dishes, the quality of this key ingredient is what makes or breaks it. If you don’t get good chorizo it can end up tasting either bland or the chorizo gets lost in the anchovy and caper flavours. I have been buying fresh chorizo recently as that is what has been available in the stores and they are the ones you are ‘supposed’ to cook with but I prefer the cured sausages because they tend to pack a bit more of a spicy punch.

chorizo pasta sauce 2 Chorizo and Tomato Gnocchi

Preparation time for this recipe is only 5 minutes – just a bit of chopping and then it takes about 10 minutes for me to get the water boiling and the pasta cooked (allow another 5-10 minutes if you are using pasta other than gnocchi.) and while all that is happening I cook the pasta sauce.  The sauce takes longer than the pasta in this case. You are sitting down and eating dinner in under 20 minutes.  Because the chorizo tends to be enough for two people, I normally make 2 serves and the dish reheats fairly well the next day.  There are about 45o calories in this recipe, depending particularly on the chorizo you use.

Chorizo and Tomato Gnocchi
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2
A quick dinner that relies on jazzing up a store bought sauce.
  • 150g of chorizo, diced in to small pieces (about the size of your smallest fingernail)
  • 125g gnocchi
  • 1 cup of marinara sauce (or make your own sugo)
  • 6-7 cherry tomatoes
  • 1 tbs of anchovies, finely chopped
  • ½ tbs of capers
  • olive oil cooking spray
  • 1 tbs of parmesan cheese, shredded
  • Salt
  1. Heat a skillet on medium-high heat and spray with the olive oil cooking spray.
  2. Once the skillet is hot, add the diced chorizo and cook until brown.
  3. Add the marinara sauce, tomatoes, anchovies and capers and heat until all the ingredients are warmed and the chorizo is completely cooked.
  4. While the skillet is warming up, put on a pot of salted water to boil and once the water is boiling put the gnocchi in the pot.
  5. When the gnocchi floats it is cooked.
  6. Drain the gnocchi, pop it in the skillet with the sauce and mix well.
  7. Put the gnocchi and sauce in a bowl and top with parmesan.
Nutrition Information
Calories: 450


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