Deprivation isn’t necessary to keep up with healthy New Year’s resolutions. Experts at five top spas around the country like Cal-a-Vie and Enchantment Resort share how to make easy, delicious dishes—each under 500 calories a serving.
Bolognese with Brown Rice Pasta From Cal-a-Vie Health Spa, Vista, California
“The biggest offenders in Bolognese sauce are cream, whole milk, beef, and veal. But here, we’re using ground turkey without any dairy. And instead of white flour pasta, this recipe calls for brown rice pasta. which is gluten-free and slows down the amount of sugar released into the bloodstream. This dish has the texture and flavor of comfort food, but you can have this at home every night and not feel guilty.”—Jason Graham, executive chef
Serves 8 331 calories and 8 grams of fat per serving
1 pound turkey, ground ¼ cup chopped onion 1 carrot, grated 1 celery, small stalk, diced 1 tablespoon minced garlic 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper 1/8 teaspoon ground fennel 1 ½ teaspoon ground oregano 2 fl. oz. dry white wine 28 oz. canned plum tomatoes, pulsed in blender just until smooth ¼ teaspoon salt 1/8 teaspoon black pepper 1 ½ teaspoon canola oil, 100% expeller pressed naturally refined, for high-heat cooking
1. Heat a large thick soup pot on medium heat with the oil. Add the ground turkey and brown evenly.
2. Add carrot, celery and onion to the turkey while continuing to cook, stirring constantly for 2 minutes.
3. Add fennel, red pepper, oregano and garlic. Continue to stir about 30 seconds. Do not let the garlic brown.
4. Add white wine to deglaze the pan, making sure to scrape all the browned bits of turkey into the liquid.
5. Quickly add tomatoes, salt and pepper and bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 25 minutes.
6. Remove from heat and pulse blend with a hand mixer or place in a regular blender and pulse lightly. Do not over blend. There should be small nuggets of meat in a thick ragout. Cool to room temperature.
7. Cook pasta only to al dente. Do not overcook brown rice pasta.
8. Top pasta with Bolognese and serve.
Sage and Mustard Roast Chicken From Lake Austin Spa Resort, Austin, Texas
“Roast chicken is one of the best Sunday night suppers. The ideal, from a health perspective, is to roast the chicken with skin-on to insulate the bird for better flavor, and then discard the skin. This recipe is so easy. It doesn’t require a lot of technique or trouble.”—Terry Conlan, executive chef
Serves 4 160 calories and 3 grams of fat per serving
¼ cup fresh sage leaves, minced ¼ cup Dijon mustard 2 cloves garlic, minced 2 tablespoons white wine 1 teaspoon olive oil 2 teaspoons honey ¼ teaspoon salt ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 4 bone-in, skin-on all natural chicken breast halves 2-3 cups chicken stock 1 tablespoon flour
1. Combine the first 8 ingredients together in a bowl, then slather onto the chicken breasts. Place the chicken breasts skin side up on a rack in a roasting pan and roast at 385 degrees until golden (160 degrees internal temperature), approximately 25 minutes.
2. Set the chicken aside to rest. Pour the fat off the pan, then deglaze the pan with 1 cup of the chicken stock, scraping up any browned particles with a wooden spoon. Combine the deglaze with a second cup of chicken stock in a saucepan. Whisk in the flour and reduce to sauce consistency, skimming occasionally and adding more stock as necessary. Add any juices accumulated with the resting chicken.
3. To serve, divide the chicken onto four plates and nap with sauce.
Sedona-Inspired Chicken From Enchantment Resort, Sedona, Arizona
“This recipe comes across on the higher end of the spectrum of what I ideally serve in terms of fat and calories, but the figures are inflated due to the use of avocado, which is actually a very healthy fat. The breading technique for the chicken is also a great way to make cutlets without pan-frying with an excess of oil.”—Mii amo Spa Chef Steve Sicinski
Serves 4 480 calories and 21 grams of fat per serving
For the chicken breasts: 4 five-ounce chicken breasts, slightly pressed to flatten 1 cup panko bread crumbs 1 ¼ cup egg whites 2 tablespoons heart-healthy spread, such as Smart Balance
In a large bowl, mix chicken breasts and egg whites until breasts are coated. In semi-flat bowl, season bread crumbs with salt and pepper. Press breasts into crumbs until lightly coated on both sides.
Soften spread; spread light coating on each breast as if buttering toast. Put on sheet pan and reserve.
For the topping: 3 ripe tomatoes, diced 2 ripe avocados, diced 2 limes, juiced 1 bunch cilantro, minced 1 tablespoon Chimayo powder (ancho powder is a good substitute) 1 cup grated smoked cheddar Salt Pepper
In a bowl, mix tomato, avocado, Chimayo, lime, and cilantro. Salt and pepper. Reserve.
For the chayote salad: 2 chayote squash, shredded on mandolin or grated with box grater 1 tablespoons Chimayo chile 1 lime, juiced 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar 1 tablespoon canola oil Salt Pepper
Bring 2 quarts water to boil, and lightly salt.
Blanch squash for about one minute, drain and cool with cold water.
Mix with remaining ingredients and reserve.
For the avocado emulsion: ¼ cup rice wine vinegar 2 ripe avocados 1 lime, juiced 1 tablespoon agave nectar 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro Salt Pepper Water as necessary
Add ingredients to blender. Blend and slowly add water until a smooth, semi-thick consistency is achieved. Reserve.
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Cook chicken about 7 minutes on one side, remove from oven and flip.
3. Top each breast with about 2 tablespoons of the tomato-avocado topping and the cheese, divided equally between the four breasts.
4. Transfer the chicken back to oven, cook about another 5 minutes until topping is hot, cheese is melted and chicken is cooked through.
5. Heat sauté pan on medium high heat with 1 tablespoon canola oil. Quickly sauté chayote, divide and arrange between 4 plates. Top each plate with 1 chicken breast and touch of avocado emulsion for garnish.
Breakfast Rice From The Ranch at Live Oak Malibu, Malibu, California
“To detox, it’s best to eat heavier, more nutrient-dense foods like this breakfast rice in the morning before working out, and have the lightest meal in the evening. The almond milk provides protein, and the different ingredient textures and flavors give you a full feeling.”—Kurt Steeber, chef
Serves 12 168 calories and 1 gram of fat per serving
1 cup wild rice 1 cup red jasmine rice 2 cups unsweetened apple juice 2 cups almond milk 1 cup dried cranberries 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 3 each star anise 1 tablespoon almond extract 6 organic apples, cut in eighths Sea salt to taste
1. Combine all of the ingredients in a saucepan.
2. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce the heat, and cook for 40 minutes.
3. Let rest for 10 minutes before serving.
Note: The breakfast rice may also be made in a crock pot overnight. Combine all of the ingredients and cook on low for 8 to 10 hours.
Lemon Curd with Sabayon From Red Mountain Resort & Spa, St. George, Utah
“The mascarpone cheese is a perfect choice for its velvety texture and creaminess, without the cholesterol and fat levels found in most cheeses. The agave syrup has a lower glycemic index than most other sweetener options, and offers some B-complex vitamins for added nutrition.”—Dr. Reema Sayegh, on-staff nutritionist
Serves 12 407 calories and 18 grams of fat per serving
For the lemon curd: 2 cups agave syrup 6 tablespoons cornstarch 2/3 cup water 5 large egg yolks 7 fl. oz. lemon juice 1/4 cup lemon peel 7 fl. oz. Vanilla and Mascarpone Sabayon
For the vanilla and mascarpone sabayon: ½ pound mascarpone cheese, softened and whipped 1/3 cup fructose 1 pint yogurt, plain 2 vanilla beans, scraped for vanilla
1. Bring agave syrup, fresh lemon peel, cornstarch, and water to a simmer in a heavy gauge saucepan, stirring constantly until thick and bubbly.
2. In a separate bowl, mix together egg yolks and lemon juice.
3. Slowly add yolk and lemon juice mixture into simmering agave mixture to temper the yolks, stirring constantly until completely incorporated and thick. Cool and reserve.
4. For the sabayon, mix the mascarpone, fructose, yogurt and vanilla. Blend until smooth.
5. Top lemon curd with sabayon. Serve cold or at room temperature with fresh sliced berries or other fruit.