Feeling some disappointment after stepping on the scale a couple of weeks ago, I decided it was time to kick-start my eating habits back into shape before spring.

Something that’s always worked for me includes lighter meals for lunch.

Flipping through my recipe collection, I settled on a vegetarian chili and a tomato and corn soup, both dishes I can eat on Fridays during Lent in case I get so busy I forget what day it is.

Spending a Sunday making batches of chili and soup helps me stay on track during the week. I fill single-serving containers, add a light salad and some fresh fruit and I’m ready to head to work.

Eating light at lunch also helps me remember to go easy at dinner. Hopefully, I’ll see the results the next time I step on the scale.

Vegetarian chili


  • 1 teaspoon canola oil
  • 1 clove garlic clove, minced
  • 14½ ounces stewed tomatoes
  • 15 ounces canned kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 15¼ ounces canned yellow corn, drained
  • 15 ounces tomato sauce
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • ¼ cup dried onion flakes
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 4 tablespoons low-fat shredded cheddar cheese, sharp-variety


Heat oil in a large, nonstick, heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat. Add garlic; cook, stirring frequently, until aromatic, about 2 minutes. Add tomatoes, beans, corn, tomato sauce, chili powder, oregano, red pepper flakes, onion and pepper; stir well.

Increase heat to high and bring to a boil; cook, stirring frequently, until chili is thick and flavors are concentrated, about 5 minutes. Spoon into serving bowls and sprinkle with cheese.

Makes: 4 servings.

Tomato-corn soup


  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 cup onion, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons salt, divided
  • 2 large fresh tomatoes, cored, coarsely chopped
  • 3 cups frozen corn kernels
  • 14¾ ounces canned cream-style white corn
  • 12 ounces fat-free evaporated milk
  • 3 cups vegetable broth
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ cup fresh basil, cut into ribbons


In a large saucepan over medium-low heat, melt butter. Add onions and 1 teaspoon salt; cook, stirring frequently, until onions are extremely soft, about 10 minutes. Stir in tomatoes; cook for 5 minutes more. Add corn, milk, broth, remaining teaspoon salt and pepper; simmer for 15 minutes so flavors can combine. Top each serving with basil.

Makes: 8 servings.

 — Adapted from weightwatchers.com

Contact M. Clare Haefner at chaefner@kdhnews.com or (254) 501-7551.

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