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Stuck on a limited diet. Help me be creative...

Dear Chowhounds:
Can you give me ideas to make my limited diet seem more varied? My nutritionist has put me on a mild plain diet to try and address food allergies. The diet is helping me, but I am very bored and this will be going on for many weeks or more. I'm hoping chowhounds can give me some good prep ideas.

I'm limited to 11 foods. I'm not allowed any herbs nor spices nor cooking oil.

1. Lamb
I've never been a fan of lamb. But I've been enjoying broiled lamb chops. I bought a leg of lamb. What is the best cooking method so it will not be greasy??

2. Chicken
I've been enjoying the plain rotisserie chickens from Whole Foods. Even without salt and pepper, they are very tasty. I've tried baking and broiling my own chicken, but it is so bland.

3. Potatoes
I'm so tired of baked potatoes.

4. Rice
Rice is good. I have several varieties. Long grain, short grain, japonica.
I'm making drinks with rice protein powder and bananas. These are not enjoyable; they are fuel. And I use rice cakes as portable fuel.

5. Bananas
Not my favorite fruit, but I eat them for the sake of variety.

6. Apples
I eat fresh apples and applesauce everyday. Not tired of them yet.

7. Cabbage
I love raw cabbage. What's the best way to cook cabbage if you can't use bacon or tomatoes?

8. Brussels sprouts
I haven't made these yet. I like the fresh ones that I buy in the Fall.

9. Brocolli
I've already eaten too much brocolli. Can't look at brocolli. I'm enjoying brocolli rabe. The "Andy Boy" bunches are all I can get.

10. Beets
Not a big fan of beets. But I've been eating canned beet slices, just for variety.

11. Spinach.
I haven't eaten any spinach. I prefer kale or mustard. I may get a box of frozen spinach to keep on hand.

QUESTION: Any way to combine these items into a soup? I can use salt, but no herbs, no alliums, no spices.

P.S. I hope we can keep this discussion focused on food prep and sourcing. Please don't give advice on nutrition or allergies. The moderators won't like it.

Thanks so much!

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  1. I was going to ask if you are allowed butter, but I see that this is it...the only 11 things you can have...no soda, no butter, no-anything-else-besides-what-is-on-the-list, is that right?

    1. Roasted real beets are yummy by themselves..Just cut them up stick them in a pan and roasted for abut an hour.Brussell Sprouts are good this way Actually all vegetables are good this way although I usually use a little olive oil. Rice...I like whole wheat basmati rice...As far as soup goes, I don't know how tasty a soup would be with out any spices
      Try cooking the bananas with the rice for a kind of rice pudding...

      1. How about stuffed cabbage? Take some ground lamb, cook it, drain off the fat, add some of that frozen spinach (or chopped fresh spinach) and some cooked rice. Wrap in cabbage leaves and steam them until the cabbage is tender. Should be tasty even without any spices.

        Sure you can make soup. Simmer some of the leftover rotisserie chicken (including bones) in some water to make broth. I like pureed soups, so I'd strain out the solids, add some potato and some broccoli to the broth and simmer until tender, then remove most of the broth, puree the veggies (and maybe some of the chicken meat) with some broth, then add the broth back in until you get the texture you want. The potato will give it a thick, creamy texture without any cream. You could also make a borscht with cabbage, potato, lamb and beets.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Ruth Lafler

          I think cybermone's suggestion of roasted beets and Ruth's suggestions are both excellent. Another thing you can do is to do a water stir-fry with the meats and vegetables such as cabbage, broccoli, brussel sprouts and spinach. Just cut them into bite-size pieces or twice bite-size pieces, heat up your wok or large pot, add some water and saute with a bit of salt. You can eat it with rice or mix it up with the rice for a kind of "bi bim bap" (Korean mixed rice).

          I don't know what the rice protein powder tastes like but I've made my own rice milk by boiling some rice in some water and blending and straining them. They were quite tasty blended with a banana for a smoothie.

          You might be tired of baked potatoes, but maybe they will taste different if you top it with either the veggies or meat.

          Elimination diets are tough. I've done one but found out some interesting information about myself. I hope you don't have to do this for too long. Good luck.

          1. re: Miss Needle

            Oh, I also see that you found your own roast chicken bland. But you may want to try doing the Zuni roast chicken (without the herbs). Just salt the chicken and dry brine it for 1-3 days. The salt gets infused into the meat and makes it very juicy while getting the skin very dry and crispy. You may want to check with your nutritionist, though, as brined meat may interfere with your test results.

        2. http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

          Thai Cabbage Salad - you could work with the ingredients to suit

          1. Marcella Hazan has a wonderful recipe for chicken fricassee with stewed red cabbage. It's in her "Essentials" book, but this looks about right:
            http://www.dolcevita.com/cuisine/reci...

            Can you have wine? If not, I assume you could always sub water or chkn broth. And you could probably cut out the onions and garlic if they're a no too.