A Simple Special Dinner

Most of the time I am cooking for one. I’m pretty sure I’m not the only person in the whole world who does this, so I thought I’d share how I made a special dinner for myself without breaking the calorie bank. Yes, I know its just one meal. But of course, you do end up making enough for several meals, and so for me, its just a good thing to lighten up some of my favorite foods, and also to limit the number of foods I prepare. Don’t feel bad, I did have more than my fair share of sweet treats this Christmas πŸ™‚

So here’s the two recipes I adapted from old favorites. The first was an old recipe in the Betty Crocker Cookbook. My copy is 40 years old! It still has a lot of great basic recipes and instructions, and I am very happy to have it. These are called Buffet Potatoes, and are kind of a simple version of potatoes au gratin. I looked at the recipe and there were a few simple obvious changes and substitutions to make, and still have a delicious side dish. I left out the butter (why do you need cheese AND butter,) and instead of half and half, I used whole milk. That made my version a very reasonable 130 calories per serving. I made a recipe that had 4 servings instead of the 8 in the original recipe.

Here’s how I did it:

I had an 8 oz block of cheese, so I just marked 1/4 of it with a knife, and then shredded that much of the block. I actually weighed out 12 oz of potatoes (I almost always use Yukon Gold because they have more natural flavor,) and I sliced 1/2 an onion as thinly as I could.


Assembled them in layers with salt and pepper, per the recipe.


Sprinkled the milk over all, and baked according to recipe, and here are my lightened up buffet potatoes. Perfect with ham!


I used to make jello with frozen raspberries in heavy syrup, and I used that syrup to make regular jello, and then added the raspberries, cream cheese and plenty of walnuts. For my lightened up version, I used SF raspberry jello, laughing cow lite wedges, and walnuts. I forgot to buy some fresh raspberries, so I used pears this time, which are also delicious in this combination. I have compared, and laughing cow lite has less calories that light cream cheese, and I think its delicious in this kind of preparation. When I had it all combined, I was very happy that I came up with the idea of portioning it out into serving dishes, saving me one more step when it came time to eat! Each serving has about 100 calories.


And here was my Christmas Eve dinner! The only thing that was missing was some kind of green vegetable. Just some broccoli or green beans would have been great.




6 thoughts on “A Simple Special Dinner

  1. We didn’t end up with anything green on our plates for Christmas dinner because I forgot to buy the main ingredient for green bean casserole – oops! Your potatoes look delicious. I should make your recipe – I wonder if we could use our spiralizer to get the thin-cut onion and potato slices?

  2. That’s a delicious meal right there! You know my family has a jello concoction served every Christmas called “Blueberry Salad.” It’s raspberry jello with blueberry pie filling mixed in and it’s ‘frosted’ with sour cream. I love it even though there is nothing salad about it.

    When I was cutting up the brussels sprouts to roast for our Christmas dinner, little Helen said she was proud of me for making one green thing since our holiday meals seem to be all about the carbs and protein! She’s right.

  3. Oooo – spiralizer for the potatoes!

    We had some pretty rich food at Christmas (hello cookies upon cookies), but I did manage to put some steamed mixed veggies on the table. It was up to everyone else to eat them or not LOL!

  4. I love how you tweaked the recipes to make them a bit more calorie friendly – my daughter makes this tater tot casserole that’s out of this world, well no wonder – it has TWO CUPS of heavy cream, butter and cheese! Merry belated Christmas to you Debby – and Happy New Year!


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