It's possible that I may have put on a few pounds.
So I'm reaching into my annals of diet history and busting out my low calorie goodies for the New Year. Being the piggy that I am, I insist that my food always have flavor and be of a substantial portion- no celery sticks and cottage cheese for me (at least not without serious alteration.) Here is my first "diet" offering of the new year, a barley dish that's good for a low-calorie lunch (and way better than a stupid diet shake) or for a filling side dish to serve at dinner with a little grilled sirloin steak.
This recipe can be served warm or cold, but I usually eat it cold like a salad, and it's just about 220 calories per serving. It's also full of things that are very good for you, especially since they aren't cooked.
1 cup pearl barley
2 bunches of curly parsley, most stems removed, and chopped finely
2 cups of grape or cherry tomatoes, quartered (measure before chopping)
1 or 2 large garlic cloves, chopped very fine (adjust to your own taste)
1 rounded tablespoon of pine nuts
3 ounces of crumbled feta cheese
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
juice and zest of one small lemon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
This makes about 5 one-cup servings (very packed cups.)
Simmer the barley in a pot of salted water for 45-60 minutes. Drain and add to the rest of the ingredients and toss everything really well together. You can fill it out with even more tomatoes if you'd like a bigger plate of food.
You can lower the calories even further by omitting the cheese (add a little more salt if you do this), then it will be only about 170 calories per serving, but do not omit the olive oil for any reason, for that way lies madness...
(Because of the raw garlic, I wouldn't eat this for lunch at work, if you need to talk to people at work, leave out the fresh garlic and a little Tabasco sauce and a dash of garlic powder.)