Low Carb Ideas???
- scuzzo Sep 20, 2007 10:22 AM
I really need to do the low carb thing for a while. I'd love your ideas for some great low carb recipes. Help me get inspired!
I'll share one to start.
Low Carb Pancakes
4 oz. room temp cream cheese
4 eggs, separated
Beat the egg whites until stiff peaks. Beat the egg yolks with the cream cheese. Gently fold the whites into the cream cheese mixture, lightening the batter gradually. Cook in a non stick pan with a bit of butter. Handle gently. These are like little souffles, but they look like perfect pancakes! A nice break from regular eggs when doing the low carb thing.
I did this a few years ago around this time, and here's what worked for me:
Fall soups -- squash, pumpkin,etc. Creamy pureed -- delicious, and you can add some cream/half and half, even fat free half and half. Instead of serving with crunchy bread, maybe a few homemade croutons on top for a little crunch. Hey, you need at least a little, right?!
Roasted vegetables and pan-cooked sausages (all sorts of cool ones from the deli).
Mashed cauliflower (this is a South Beach trick -- instead of mashed potatoes).
Sauteed grape tomatoes with ricotta salata. Swiss chard with pistachio, cream cheese, red onion.
Cole slaw or braised cabbage.
Stuffed mushrooms (in the oven or grilled - no breadcrumbs).
Asian chicken salads with peanut dressing and grilled chicken in an Asian marinade (rice wine etc). Peanut dressing optional -- mmmm.
Cool dips/spreads with crunchy veggies. I like homemade hommus infused with all sorts of goodies like olives or sundried tomato. Other dips are great, too, like basil-blue cheese dip. Look here for some dip ideas:
For a snack, good old-fashioned kosher dill pickles. I craved something of that deli nature, but chips, of course, were out of the question.
The more variety and inspiration I found, the more I was able to stick to it. Good luck! :)
re: foxy fairy
Not sure what kind of restriction you put on yourself for carbohydrates, but winter squashes (butternut, etc.) and beans (legume-type beans) have a decent amount of carbohydrate in them.
Never done "low-carb"- but starchy vegetables, dairy (with the exception of cheese), and beans- these are all things that I've recognized as "sneaky" sources of carbohydrate for people with diabetes.
HI there. I did the caveman or paleo diet and winter squashes were encouraged but beans were not. Leafy greens and fruit are carbo-licious, too. The idea is to reduce the highly refined carbs and minimize spikes in blood sugar. Paleo eating also frowns upon eating stuff of the agricultural revolution, such as dairy, grains, legumes and sugars. It worked for me, but I eventually returned to my wicked pasta-loving ways!
Frozen shrimp with shells on, defrosted in water. Toss in a wok with:
garlic, lemon and hot peppers
garlic, ginger, mint and cilantro
salt and pepper
chili sauce (sirracha is best)
anything you can wrap your mind around
I found I did much better low-carbing when I didn't try much in the way of "trick" foods. One of the best things for me, though, was to make mashed cauliflower to go with steaks, roasted chicken, etc. The creamy consistency and a little sumpin' sumpin' as a foil to a sauce or gravy was invaluable.
Here are three that we find very satisfying:
Grilled breadless "Reubens": lighly grill a small mound of thin-sliced corned beef, flip, top with sauerkraut & swiss cheese, cover and cook until the cheese starts to melt.
Make a meal of meatballs in tomato sauce with grated Parmesan, garlic-roased (or sauteed) green beans, and a salad.
We just discovered eggplant roulade: make a stuffing of browned Italian sausage, chopped spinach, ricotta, and a stronger cheese (I like sharp provolone). Peel a medium egplant and slice thin lengthwise. Salt & pepper the slices and spray with oil spray. Brown them lightly, then wrap them around the stuffing. Set them seam-down in a baking dish with a little tomato sauce in it. More sauce and/or cheese over the top and bake. Extremely satisfying!
I like the eggplant recipe! I'll try that.
I have made low carb "bread" before. It's not really like bread, but it does let you make a sandwich. Thaw and squish dry frozen spinich, and add just enough beaten egg to loosely bind. Cook on a jelly roll pan until set, cut into squares for sandwiches. Add salt, pepper, garlic, or other spices as desired. It ain't bread, but it does make an interesting sandwich!
Mushrooms stuffed with a mixture of chopped spinach, feta, pinenuts, garlic and dill.
Roasted cauliflower: toss cauliflowerettes with olive oil, S&P, roast at 400 till browned.
Depending on how strict you are being, Swiss chard with cannellini beans, garlic, anchovies, olive oil and a good squeeze of lemon juice.
Braised Endive with Prosciutto and World's Best Braised Cabbage from Molly Stevens All About Braising.
Cut boneless, skinless chicken breasts into pieces about 1 1/2-inch square. In a medium skillet, pour Kraft *Free* Italian dressing to cover the bottom of the pan about 1/4- to 1/2-inch deep. When heated, add the chicken pieces. Saute until the dressing evaporates and the chicken is browned and coated in the remaining spices. Serve with steamed veggies. Yummmmmmm. The *Free* dressing is water-based and as the water cooks off, only the spices remain to flavor the chicken. This is so quick and easy to do after a long day at work, and even company has raved about it, not knowing what a *piece of cake* it is to prepare. And, totally carb-free.
Here's what works for me--the majority of recipes in 2 cookbooks in particular: Chris Schlesinger's Lettuce in Your Kitchen--amazing, creative main-course salads that are a joy to eat and generally easy to prepare. They're not necessarily low-calorie/low-fat, but my low-carb experiences have made me a believer that as long as you're really watching the latter (and generally seeking balance, see http://www.chowhound.com/topics/443059), the rest seems to work itself out.
That said, the other savior of a cookbook for me is Saved by Soup by Judith Barrett, full of truly virtuous yet lovely recipes that really fill you up. (Some but not all use potatoes as thickeners, and even those recipes can be adjusted to exclude them.)
yes! yay for lettuce! I think lettuce is an unsung hero...
For lunch-y ideas, use lettuce as a sub for bread/wraps/carby stuff. I love lettuce wraps of all sorts. Bibb/Boston lettuce works well for this -- you can make a little lettuce wrap with any of the ingreds you'd usually use to stuff a sandwich (cheese, cold cuts, tuna, whatever). The leaves are small which also helps with portion control.
I also like spicy Vietnamese chicken (similar to General Tso, but Vietnamese) served in lettuce cups, with a Thai coconut chicken soup (kaffir lime, lemongrass, chili, mmm) -- that's excellent and *filling*.
Endive works well to serve shrimp salad or chicken salad. The leaves are like little boats and fill up nicely -- pretty enough to serve at a luncheon too. I saw Giada make this one (seared shrimp in endive with parsley sauce) and it looked delicious --
I have also seen portabella mushrooms used as burgers, no buns. Just pile the goodies on top of the grilled shrooms and eat with knife and fork (or maybe enveloped in lettuce, again!)
I forgot to mention spaghetti squash, another favorite. Check out the spaghetti squash casserole in the original Moosewood (with mushrooms, onions, fresh herbs, ricotta, tomato), or just cook some up (cut squash in half, bake in oven, scoop out spaghetti-like strands of squash) and serve topped with your favorite sauce. Mmmmm.
The aforementioned mashed cauliflower idea really works. Another trick I used when I did low carb was to put sauced stuff over green beans (you can just buy bags of the french cut ones to make your life easier). This works with thick or meat sauces, like a bolognese or chunky sausage or seafood sauce.
I am actually sitting here eating a low-carb meal as we speak. As a stay-at-home mom I have hours to think and research interesting meal ideas. Here are a few:
1. Take chicken thighs and stuff cheese (whatever you like) and jalapenos. Wrap in bacon and season with cajun seasoning (Emeril's or Chachere's). Pan fry in olive oil in a skillet with lid for 8 minutes per side. You can mix up a dip of equal party mayo and creole mustard (or any brown spicy mustard.)
2. I strongly recommend the cauliflower. Put the head of cauliflower in a covered dish with some water and microwave on high for 10-12 minutes until soft and then mix (I use a food processor) with butter, cream, salt, pepper. If you want some more flavor add onion cream cheese or a flavored soft cheese.
3. Last night I served the cauliflower with my version of braised ribs. I just bought some boneless chuck ribs (about 2.5 lbs.), but any rib will do. I seasoned with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and then browned on all sides. Took them out and sauteed in the olive oil 1 onion, 2 celery stalks, 2 carrots, until soft, and then added garlic (a lot). I deglazed with a cup of red wine and 32 oz. of beef broth. I added a 1/2 tsp. of dryed thyme and 1 bay leaf. I simmered on low for 3 hours. It was so good, as we say down here in Louisiana, "It was so good, you'll slap your mama!"
4. I use a low-carb tortilla (Buena Vida: 4 net carbs) and make fajitas, tacos, enchiladas, and sandwiches. There is also a delicious double fiber bread (Nature's Grain 5 net carbs.) and I use it to make sandwiches etc... For breakfast I toast one slice of it and slice it down the middle, add a little mayo and stuff it with scrambled highly seasoned eggs. Sometimes I add bacon or ham as well. This is an easy and fantastic go to breakfast.
Hope these ideas help!!,
A fellow low-carber who winces in pain upon reading some of the delicious recipes on this board and knowing it will be another 2 months until I can partake : )
some great ideas thus far...
parmesan fricos -- just grated parm spread in circles and baked til golden at 400
blintzes -- make crepes from eggs or egg whites (mixed with cream if you like) and spread thin in the pan; then fill with cottage cheese or mascarpone or ricotta mixed with splenda, vanilla, and cinnamon. secure faux crepes with toothpick and rebrown in a pan.
Egg Drop Miso Soup-- miso broth simmered w/ chopped garlic, greens (mustard, kale, bok choy, collard), wild mixed mushrooms, asparagus, then once all those are soft, beat eggs or whites with garlic seasonings and stream into the broth. I like to add a little bragg's amino acids as well.
Broccoli or Spinach Souffle... stick one of the veggies in a blender w/ some lipton's onion soup mix, ricotta, egg (whites), sour cream, salt and pepper, then bake off at 350.
Baked Potato Skins filled w/ cheddar, sour cream, and salsa
La Tortilla Factory tortillas make great quesadillas
Frittatas, Crustless quiches
Meringues... egg whites beaten til stiff with a little vanilla, cream of tartar and salt, then baked; sprinkle *afterwards* with splenda/cinnamon so that it doesn't get bitter during baking
Zucchini sliced with a spirulina slicer or spaghetti squash sauteed with butter and parmesan and garlic
Fish'n'Chips... dip filets in pork rinds, then egg, then rinds again, and fry. fries can be made from turnips or rutabega slices.
Gazpacho... omit bread crumbs or use low carb bread or sub pork rinds
Egg Salad in endive leaves
Roasted celery provides me with the sweetness sometimes missing on low carb diets
Here are some tips I've used in the past for making things lower carb than the original.
1. Use whole wheat flour instead of white flour. It has half the carbs and way more fiber.
2. Use oat bran instead of flour, it thickens things nicely and has less carbs and more fiber
3. Use heavy cream instead of milk/butter combos in various dishes. It way less carbs than any milk (except low carb milk), and you don't need butter added if you're using heavy cream.
4. Cook with Splenda and the Splenda brown sugar blend. These taste better if you mix a small amount of sugar or honey in with whatever it is (some people are sensitive to an aftertaste with Splenda, this significant reduces or eliminates that without adding too many carbs).
I've used these tips in creating a low carb and low fat yorkshire pudding to go with my beef roasts. Whole wheat flour used in that gives it a nice, nutty flavour that's really good. :)
You mention using Low Carb milk. It is a terrific product, great for smoothies, shakes, and cooking. I have not been able to find it anywhere in the NYC area since July. Any ideas where it is available?
I would also recommend stocking up on Da Vinci Simple Syrup, and some of the wonderful flavors they offer in Sugar Free. I love the Amaretto, Gingerbread, the Kahlua, Raspberry, Strawberry, and surprisingly, Watermelon.
I was feeling experimental, so I steamed and pureed cauliflower. Added finely shredded cheddar, some stiff peaked egg whites and some soy flour and made waffles. I had to generously grease to not stick, but it was pretty tasty, and offered some nice crunch. I put chicken with gravy on top.
Last night I made veal scallops with mushroom and herbs. It was sauced with chicken broth, white wine and heavy cream. I cooked some Dreamfield's linguini to have along side. Dreamfield's is 5 g/carb perserving. The rest of dinner was pretty carb free. It was rich and fulfilling. You could probably get away with chicken cutlets too. The veal was not floured before sauteeing. Just salt and peppered. The recipe called for the flour but I decided to omit it. Recipe is at Epicurious.
I use it more in meatloaf and meatballs than for gravies. I tend to use whole wheat flour for gravies or sauces. I'm sorry I'm not more help on that, I don't usually measure when I cook so I don't know the oat bran proportions.
When I'm substituting whole wheat flour I increase the liquid a little bit and usually let whatever it is sit longer. For example I made dumplings yesterday for on top of chicken stew, and mixed them up about fifteen minutes to half an hour earlier than I'd need them so that the harder whole wheat flour would absorb more of the liquids, and I added about three tablespoons more milk than the recipe called for. They were very yummy.
To figure out more on puddings or gravies, I'd just start with the same amount of oat bran as I'd use flour, and tweak from there based on the textures this produced. I have found that oat bran also tends to absorb more liquid than white flour, so you might need to increase liquid amounts a bit (though maybe not with a gravy, possibly so with pudding).
Pork rinds - the flavored kind - no carbs but can be used to give a crust to oven fried chicken or pork chops
I crush them and dip the meat in beaten egg then coat with the rinds
I also use them to make salmon patties - mix canned salmon with mayo, onion and rinds ( as binder) them coat the patties with more crushed rinds before you put them in the frying pan.
If you've never eaten pork rinds because the idea turns you off, don't fret - they are a low carb cook's friend. No "pork" flavor - but the spicy hot ones add a lot of taste and more than satisfy our need for crunch.
Although tomatoes are not the lowest-carb vegetable out there, a grilled steak with a tarragon-tomato salad (recipe found on epicurious) was often on the company menu when I tried a "modified" South Beach diet. For mexican-related cooking, I found that I barely missed tortillas if I used a steamed swiss chard leaf. I also used dry TVP flakes in place of breadcrumbs in many recipes, and my husband didn't notice a bit!!! This isn't really a recipe, but I think the only way I held on through the early phases was a giant spoonful of peanut butter spread onto a fudgsicle... yum!
re: VT girl
If tomato is okay -- today in the checkout aisle I perused Everyday Food and saw this:
Tomatoes roasted with garlic. Cut tomato in half. Dot a (teeny) bit of butter on top, along with some crushed garlic. Pop in oven for 40 mins at 400 degrees. That's easy, savory, juicy... could be great with some chicken, sausage, fish.
Also -- how about fish in a packet? Fish dressed lightly with lemon juice, a smitch of olive oil, capers, fresh herbs, shallots. Wrap in parchment paper, twist up the ends cutely, and bake. Easy, no breading, delicious, light and fresh.
re: foxy fairy
I'm a Type 1 diabetic on 4 injections (minimum) a day. Although veggies & fruits can have a fair amount of carbs, my diabeties educator and nutrionist always say they should be considered free carbs b/c their benefits far out weigh their harm. That said, roasting vegetables like califlower is amazing! Toss w/ some olive oil, s&p and minced fresh garlic and roast in a 425 degree oven until just starting to brown and wow! Also, roasted green beans, tossed in s&p and olive oil. Once they begin to brown remove them and toss them in a little balsamic vinegar w/ a sprinkling of romano cheese, if you like. I'm telling you, they're like french fries they are so good!
I would add brussel sprouts to the above . . . . mmmm the crispy roasted parts are delicious and addictive . . . .
Whole Foods sells some interesting chicken salads/tuna salads etc. in their deli section. If not to buy, at least you can get some good ideas from them. They also sell some interesting sausages and pepperoni/bison/beef sticks in their meat section. All these varieties keep me from getting sick of the same old protein. . . .
I'm all about spaghetti squash. I use it a lot for Asian-style noodle dishes, like summer rolls, sesame noodles and noodle soups. It works ok for Italian recipes, too, but just with thin sauces (those that would go with angelhair pasta, like pesto).
Make a low-carb version (no bread) of gazpacho by putting tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, and onions through the Cuisinart and combining with a tall can of tomato juice; season with salt, garlic, hot chile pepper, and cumin and a little vinegar and olive oil. You will end up with about half a gallon that you can have for lunch for days.
Also, chili works for low-carb. The high-fiber kidney beans metabolize slowly, which is what you want and the other ingredients (ground beef, onions, tomatoes, tomato paste) are all low-carb.
Last night I poached chicken breasts in water that had been boiling with garlic, peppercorns, carrots and onions. Shredded the chicken then tore off several leafs of bibb lettuce. I then made a sauce of sriracha, rice wine vinegar, sesame oil, soy sauce and ginger. I finely diced red peppers, cucumbers, and scallions. I served the sauce, the minced vegetables and chicken on a platter with the lettuce leaves and my girlfriend and I assembled them as we ate. It was delicious and the whole time we were marvelling at how healhty it was. Lo-carb, low calorie, almost no fat. Plus, it was fun to eat and the assembly slowed down eating so we were satisfied when we were done, but not that uncomfortable full feeling. I simmered the broth I poached the chicken and vegetables in and used it to make a clear mushroom soup with the leftover scallions and sauce for lunch today. Two lo-carb meals that (minus pantry items) cost about 8 bucks for two people.
Be careful if you use the sugar-free pancake syrup. It has made many people sick including myself. Anything with Sorbitol makes me sick. Stay away from it. I use most anything splenda sweetened though.
Good luck with this. I did it for 1 month and liked the results. I do not do A*kins anymore as I do not want the high fat in my diet (did Atkins in 2005 and got cellulite from it I'm convinced) I like the South Beach Diet. Here are some meals that regularly appear when I am dieting:
1. Grilled Boneless Pork Chops seasoned with garlic powder, salt and pepper. Side of coleslaw and steamed asparagus with that low-fat butter spray stuff they sell at all grocery stores.
2. Grilled Fish Tacos on low carb tortillias with shredded cabbage and salsa. I make a sauce from low fat sour cream, lime juice and tabasco sauce. I would recommend this after maybe a few weeks after your induction period.
Grilled Chicken with Calabasitas (Squash with poblano chiles and cumin)
Chicken Soup with ginger, lemon and spinach (I use a lot of soy sauce in mine - i'm asian!)
I also recommend MASHED CAULIFLOWER - Do not add any cream as it will get too soupy. Just steam and mash away or stick in a food processor/blender. I use a small dollop of lowfat sour cream and chives on top.
Mushroom are very low in carb so I eat a lot grilled up on everything.
To beat blandness I tend to figure out what sauces and dressing I love and seeing which ones fit in my diet. This really narrows things down but once you figured that out I build meals around that as long as you know what veggies you are allowed.
Try this chicken cashew chili! Please try it -- it's just magnificent, and doesn't taste like "diet food" in any way. I just made it for the second time and it is divine -- also the perfect dish to prepare on a fall afternoon with a snap in the air. This is a great recipe, though I did add my own touches: I grill boneless skinless chicken breasts and use black beans instead of kidney. Also, I roast plum tomatoes (about 2 lbs, and I double everything else in the recipe) and some garlic myself, rather than using canned tomatoes. I like this with pasilla chiles, and I add a teensy bit more chocolate (1.5 oz, with doubling everything else). Although I guess you could skip the chocolate to be healthier, or maybe try unsweetened -- you really should keep it, because it deepens and rounds out all of the flavors. Mmmmmm. Swirl some sour cream on top - ready to go! (Okay, I like some shredded cheese melting in there too....) In that last step, rather than tossing them into the vat, I toast the chopped cashews and serve them atop each bowl rather than mixing them in. (There are also cashews in the chile puree you make to start out)
I made this for my very VERY health-conscious sister over the summer with boneless skinless chicken breasts, no oil, etc and she raved and said it was one of her favorite "healthy" dishes ever. I agree. It's an outstanding recipe that also happens to pack in a lot of flavor AND nutrition.
re: foxy fairy
Okay you've convinced me. This sounds so interesting I just may have to try it for our neighborhood chili cook-off next month. I won last year with another epicurious recipe (lamb & chorizo chili w/ hominy). I read the recipe and reviews and sounds as though it may need a bit of a kick though. Maybe some chorizo? I like the idea of adding some black beans too. Thanks!
I used pasillas with some seeds in, and that gave it quite a bit of kick, plus I think pasilla is a more unusual flavor than ancho, and you'd probably be the oly chili-maker using pasilla. For additional kick, you might up the chile powder and cumin when sauteeing the onions and garlic, and I **definitely** recommend adding your own roasted tomatoes and garlic, which enhances the recipe's wonderful layering of flavors, and the tomatoes look like gorgeous red explosions. As we were enjoying it last night (piled with cheese, sour cream, corn tortillas -- bring on the fat!) my sweety urged me to enter a chili cook-off! If I can find one, I certainly will. :)
It should freeze well, right? I've never frozen chili, but I'd like to freeze a couple of single-servings so we can just pop them out and take them to work for lunch on a chilly day. Could I do that in Ziplocs? Double-Ziplocs? I don't know that I'll even have enough left though...
Good luck in the cook-off, lynnlato! Please post with a report :)
re: foxy fairy
Wow, thanks for all the good info! I'll absolutely let you know how I do. I always get concerned that I'll put all this effort into it and then the people won't have the foodie palate to appreciate it all. But who cares? So long as I know it's good, right? I fear the Hormel chili crowd. Ha! I love all the toppings you mentioned... and I don't think I could eat a bowl without them. As for freezing... you absolutely can freeze it. I always freeze the leftovers. Use ziplocs or whatever you have! Thanks again!
Pork loin cooked in cognac and cream sauce with cauliflower
Egg foo young, made with bean sprouts and shrimp and a gravy. (use wondra to thicken chicken broth and soy sauce)
Thai turkey lettuce wraps
I made this recipe below. Instead of flour to coat the chicken -- I used the low carb product called Carb Quick http://www.tovaindustries.com/carbalo...
I ordered it through Amazon.com and it is very low carb and doesn't raise blood sugar levels, it is low glycemic!!!
Instead of Pecans -- I only had walnuts -- so I used walnuts and it worked fine.
Instead of buttermilk, I used 0% Fat free Fage Yogurt mixed with 1/2 cup of water.
Instead of Emeril's Essence I used a good quality Hungarian Paprika!
So with these slight modifications -- this was the best "baked" fried chicken I've ever had!
PECAN CRUSTED CHICKEN
1 cup buttermilk
3 tablespoons Emeril's Original Essence
2 teaspoons salt
One 3 1/2-pound chicken, cut into 8 pieces (or 8 chicken parts of your choosing)
2 tablespoons olive oil
3/4 cup pecan pieces
3/4 cup bleached all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Combine the buttermilk, 1 tablespoon of the Essence, and 1 teaspoon of the salt in a large (1-gallon) plastic storage bag. Add the chicken pieces, seal, and gently squeeze to coat the chicken evenly. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour, or up to 4 hours.
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Grease a heavy baking sheet with the olive oil and set aside.
Pulse the pecans in a food processor or blender until finely chopped into a meal.
Combine the ground pecans, the flour, the remaining 2 tablespoons Essence and 1 teaspoon salt, and the pepper in another large plastic bag.
Remove the chicken from the buttermilk mixture. Add the chicken one piece at a time to the pecan-flour mixture, and shake to coat evenly. Put the chicken skin side down on the prepared baking sheet.
Bake the chicken for 30 minutes, then turn it. Return to the oven and bake until the juices run clear when pierced with a fork, about 30 minutes. Serve hot, or let cool to room temperature.
I do the cauliflower trick too. I steam it until tender and then put it in a strainer and mash as much of the water out as possible. Then I use a hand blender to "whip" them up and add either greek yogurt or sour cream, a little butter for flavor, and chived. Salt and pepper to taste. Yummy.
Another thing I like is a pancake I make that has a sweet side to it. Almost like a coconut macaroon. I take egg whites and beat them until stiff. I add enough stevia to sweeten and some coconut or vanilla flavoring. I spray a non stick pan with pam, and cook sill lightly golden on both sides. yummy for breakfast and takes care of sweet attacks.
I also love spaghetti squash. I microwave it until tender, (poke holes in it so it doesn't explode) and after removing the seeds I scrape the "spahgetti" out and add a little butter, olive oil, garlic, basil and fresh grated parmesan. Sometimes I sautee spinach with olive oil and garlic and toss it in with the sqaush. I think the trick to eating a higher G.I. food is to eat it with protein. Protien will balance healthy vegies with a bit of a higher G.I. for low carbers.