Small meals to change your life

Lose weight without depriving yourself! Pam Anderson, food columnist for USA Today and author of "The Perfect Recipe for Losing Weight & Eating Great," shares her recipes for staying trim.

Buy the book on Amazon: The Perfect Recipe for Losing Weight and Eating Great

Mini Whole Wheat Pumpkin Muffins with Orange Drizzle

As tender and flavorful as these muffins are, you'd never guess they were made with whole wheat flour. Since the muffins are drizzled with the sweet glaze, you don't need lots of sugar in the batter. Simmering the puree with the spices eliminates the tinny taste of the pumpkin and intensifies the flavors.

Makes 2 dozen muffins


  • 1 can (15 ounces) 100% pure pumpkin
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 3/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup flavorless oil, such as vegetable or canola
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Orange glaze (optional)

  • 1/4 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
  • 2 teaspoons orange juice

Adjust oven rack to center position and heat oven to 425 degrees. Spray 24 mini muffin cups with vegetable cooking spray.

Place pumpkin, ginger, cinnamon, and cloves in a small nonstick skillet over medium heat. Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring, to blend flavors, about 3 minutes. Pour hot puree into a medium bowl. Whisk in brown sugar and oil, then slowly beat in eggs.

Whisk flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl. Whisk pumpkin mixture into flour mixture until just combined.

Divide batter among muffin cups (a 2-tablespoon spring-action ice cream scoop works well) and bake until golden and cooked through, 10 to 12 minutes. Let muffins stand for a couple of minutes, then remove from the cups and place on a wire rack to cool.

Orange glaze (optional)

Whisk ingredients together in a small bowl. Drizzle over warm muffins.

99 calories per unglazed muffin; 104 calories glazed

Smoked Salmon Tartare

If you don't want the added calories of a cracker, serve a small mound of the tartare in teaspoons. Whether you enjoy this hors d'oeuvre on a cracker or from a spoon, you can top each bite with a small piece of very thinly sliced lemon, rind and all.

Makes about 1 1/3 cups, serving about 14


  • 1/4 cup drained capers
  • 8 ounces smoked salmon
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  • 1/4 cup finely diced red onion

Pulse capers in a food processor until coarsely chopped. Add salmon, dill, oil, and lemon zest and pulse until salmon is finely chopped and tartare is well mixed.Transfer to a small bowl, stir in red onion, and serve.

38 calories per serving (4-5 teaspoons)

About "The Perfect Recipe for Losing Weight & Eating Great"

For millions of home cooks, Pam Anderson takes the fear out of cooking by doing all the work for them. Testing and re-testing recipes, she arrives at the best version of everyone's favorite recipes and simple dishes that are perfect for company. When Pam found herself in the same position as many Americans who are more than a few pounds overweight, she vowed to change-but not if it involved feeling deprived, having hunger pains, or saying no to the foods she loved. Not, in short, if it involved dieting. After throwing out her diet books, Pam managed to lose almost 50 pounds. Five years later, as she teaches cooking classes across the country, everyone wants to know, "How did you do it?"

Now in her new book The Perfect Recipe for Losing Weight & Eating Great (Houghton Mifflin Company, March 12, 2008), Pam shares her secrets for dumping pounds without dieting-and more than 200 recipes for her new way of eating. Pam's approach-big bowl recipes, streamlined meals and gratifying snacks-are perfect for the food lover who wants to lose the pounds without deprivation. And her secret weapons, like Tea Time and Pre-dinner Nibbles, keep food fun.

Cooks around the country know they can trust Pam. Her best-selling cookbooks, The Perfect Recipe and Perfect Recipes for Having People Over, remain classics and her monthly columns for USA Weekend, Fine Cooking, and Better Homes & Gardens are enjoyed by millions.

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