If you caught me bright and early on WCIU’s “You & Me This Morning,” you got a sneak peak at some low-cal ideas to help deflate that Fourth of July intertube around your waist. As you know, we Calorie Accountants equate calories to cold hard cash-money, and we’re constantly scouring the sales racks to get the most bang for our caloric buck. Here are the “Designer Impostor” knockoffs that won’t break the bank but taste like a million bucks.
DESIGNER – Buffalo Hot Wings, 420 calories (for just 6 wings! 70 cal/wing!)
IMPOSTOR – Buffalo NOT Wings, 77 calories
Prep: 2 minutes
Total time: 2 minutes
Yield: enough dinner to last through one episode of Felicity
1 large cucumber, peeled (31 calories; if you’re too lazy to peel and leave skin on, it’s 46 calories)
10 grape tomatoes (25 calories)
6 baby carrots (21 cal)
Frank’s RedHot Buffalo Sauce (0 calories)
Wash a bushel of grape tomatoes. Throw in a bowl. Peel a cucumber and slice into 1/2-inch thick medallions. Throw in the same bowl. Remove a handful of baby carrots from a bag; dump ’em in too. Pour as much freaking zero-calorie buffalo sauce as you want into a lil’ dipping dish. Take out to living room. Find an episode of Felicity on Netflix, dip your crudités in your hot sauce, and imagine you’re eating 25¢ buffalo wings at the sports bar down the street as you work through internal conflicts about Noel versus Ben.
DESIGNER – Buttery Noodles with Parmesan & Hot Sauce (“Mandy Spaghetti”), 450 calories
IMPOSTOR – Shirataki Miracle Slop, 30 calories
Prep: 1 minute
Cook: 2 minutes
Total time: 3 minutes
Yield: 1 bowl of wonder munchies during Jimmy Fallon
1–2 packages shirataki miracle noodles (or 5 packages, who cares!? 0 calories)
I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter spray (0 calories)
Louisiana Hot Sauce (0 calories)
1 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese (30 calories)
Okay guys. Three truths:
–This shit is legitimately a miracle.
–It’s best to eat it late at night, as a drunk/high munchie, so you’re not as aware of the hard-to-shake fishy stink.
–Be mindful if you’re able. Sometimes I’m so grossed out by the stank and the thought of the stank, even if the stank ain’t there no more, that I just pile on more and more Parmesan cheese to mask the stank, and soon I’ve added as many calories as if I’d just eaten real noodles. So. Just know what you’re getting into.
Take the package of stink noodles, cut them open, let them pour out into a strainer with all their stank. Rinse with cool water. Meanwhile, put some water on the stove and bring to a boil. When stink noodles are satisfactorily rinsed, boil ’em for 2–3 minutes, until their stink has subsided. (Somewhat. It will never disappear completely.) Once you’ve extinguished the stink to the best of your ability, strain and dry a bit with a paper towel. Pour I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter spray all the hell over the noodles, and plop squirmy mess in a dish. Smother with hot sauce and Parmesan. Plug your nose and bon appétit!
DESIGNER – Blueberry Pie a la Mode, 1,021 calories
IMPOSTOR – Blueberry Soup a la Cool Whip, 143 calories
Prep: 30 seconds
Cook: 1.5 minutes
Total time: 2 minutes
Yield: 1 dessert/snick-snack
1 cup fresh blueberries (83 calories)
1 packet Stevia (0 calories)
1 dollop Fat Free Cool Whip (15 calories)
Dump a washed bushel of fresh blueberries into a microwave-safe bowl. Take a fork or a spoon and lightly mash blueberries, until about half of them are popped. Stick bowl in microwave (you might cover with a paper towel if you don’t want purple explosions all over your microwave), zap on high for 90 seconds. During this time you can take a quick wee or pluck a stray eyebrow. When timer goes off, remove bowl from microwave—Achtung! Could be HOT!—and mash hot blueberries a little more, to a liquidy pulp. Leave a few whole berries for the illusion of a pie-filling-like confection. Open pack of Stevia, sprinkle atop your soup, stir, and go to town! If you can afford it, add a dollop of fat free Cool Whip for a 15-calorie à la mode bonus. (To earn it, you can run in place for 1.5 minutes while your soup is microwaving instead of tending to your brows.)
DESIGNER – Mojito, 260 calories
IMPOSTOR – Watermelon Faux-jito, 51-116 calories (depending on if you’re raging or not)
Prep: 2 minutes
Total time; 2 minutes
Yield: 2 drinks
2 cups watermelon, pureed (90 calories)
1 can Fresca (0 calories)
¼ cup fresh mint (12 calories)
Ice (0 calories)
*Optional* 1 oz rum (65 calories)
Take 2 cups cubed watermelon and throw into a blender. Puree until smooth. Fill 2 tall, summery glasses (probably from Anthropologie) with ice. Distribute watermelon juice equally into glasses. Top off with delicious Fresca zero-calorie citrus soda! Garnish with a fresh mint leaf. If you have straws—preferably the hard plastic kind shaped like hearts or stars, or even leftover penis ones from a bachelorette—it really completes the “fancy drink” feeling. And if it’s a party, throw in some Bacardi! Pitbull knows what’s up!