TIP: Don't eat nuts right from the jar or you risk packing on the pounds. Portion them out in 1- or 2-ounce servings.

BEEF AND PEANUTS IN LETTUCE CUPS

3 ounces rice stick noodles (or angel hair pasta)

1 teaspoon canola oil

1 cup diced red onion

12 ounces lean ground sirloin

1 red bell pepper, cut into 1/4-inch dice

1/2 cucumber, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch dice

3 tablespoons lime juice

1 teaspoon granulated sugar

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3 tablespoons lite soy sauce

1 teaspoon fish sauce

1 teaspoon rice vinegar

1/2 cup peanuts, coarsely chopped

1/2 cup cilantro, chopped

8 leaves, Boston lettuce

1. Cook noodles according to package directions; drain and cut into 2- to 3-inch lengths

2. Heat oil in large, nonstick skillet over medium high; add the onion and cook, stirring, 2 minutes, until it no longer looks raw. Add the meat and cook, stirring, 6 minutes, until it's no longer pink. Add the red peppers and cucumber; cook 1 minute. Add the lime juice, sugar, soy sauce, fish sauce and rice vinegar and cook, stirring, 2 minutes longer. Remove from heat and stir in the chopped peanuts and cilantro. Serve in lettuce leaves. Makes 4 servings.

Nutritional analysis for each serving: 330 calories, 25 g protein, 3 g fiber, 13 g fat, 2 g saturated fat, 563 mg sodium

 

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COCONUT-CURRIED CHICKEN AND PEANUTS WITH MANGO AND SUGAR SNAPS

12 ounces chicken breast, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

11/2 teaspoons curry powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon canola oil

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1/2 cup peanuts, coarsely chopped

1/2 cup light coconut milk

1 tablespoon fish sauce

1/8-1/4 teaspoon Asian chile paste, or to taste

1 mango, cut into 1/2-inch dice

2 cups sugar snap peas

1. Toss chicken with curry powder and salt. Heat oil in a large, nonstick skillet over medium high. Add chicken and peanuts and cook, stirring, 4 minutes, until chicken is browned.

2. Add the coconut milk, fish sauce and chile paste to the pan; cook 2 to 3 minutes, until slightly thickened.

3. Stir in mango and sugar snaps and cook 1 minute, until warmed through. Makes 4 servings.

Nutritional analysis for each serving: 309 calories, 27 g protein, 3 g fiber, 17 g fat, 3 g saturated fat, 776 mg sodium

 

SPICED CHILI PEANUTS

Cooking spray

16 ounces unsalted peanuts (about 3 cups)

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon canola oil

1 tablespoon chili powder

1/4 teaspoon chipotle chili powder (or to taste)

1 tablespoon ground cumin

2 teaspoons garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon brown sugar

1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Coat a baking sheet pan with cooking spray.

2. Toss the peanuts with the oil. In a separate bowl, combine the chili powder, chipotle chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, salt and brown sugar, working the mixture between your fingers until there are no lumps. Toss the peanuts with the spice mixture and spread out on the baking sheet. (Use two baking pans if the nuts don't fit in a single layer).

3. Bake, stirring occasionally, until the nuts are golden brown, aromatic and dry- about 15 minutes. Immediately transfer to a plate or cool baking sheet and let cool. Makes 16 (1-ounce) servings (a scant 1/4 cup).

Nutritional analysis for each serving: 184 calories, 7 g protein, 3 g fiber, 15 g fat, 2 g saturated fat, 80 mg sodium.