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Low Carb cooking (SB recipes welcome!)

So, it's that time of the year again. The college kids will be leaving on Mon 1-5 and I will be cleaning out the cinnamon rolls, coffee cakes, cookies, etc. from the fridge and cupboards. A low carb diet, a la South Beach, seems to work best for me, but the first 2 weeks while the carbs are purged are the hardest. So, fellow hounds, I need some simple, really flavorful suggestions. Will be packing breakfast and lunch goodies to bring to work (fridge & m/w available), and need dinner suggestions. Any make-ahead recipes would be especially helpful as I come home around 6 p.m. starving. Thanks!

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  1. I'm with you, Diane in Bexley! Right now, I am cooking this lentil soup with some nice Italian lentils that I had. I assume the pasta part is optional. So far, it smells pretty darn good! Plus, lentils are lucky for the New Year! (Yeah, maybe if I'm lucky I will stick to this diet!!!)

    1. Thanks Roxlet! Any other ideas? Took egg salad to work for breakfast yesterday with crunchy green peppers. Kind of weird breakfast but worked well. Portable breakfast and lunch suggestions would really be helpful!

      1. I have the SB cookbooks at home- will have to take a look at them tonight. I was put on this diet to both lose weight, and to have a heart healthy, insulin friendly diet. Works! I used to keep containers of egg whites at work, and used to bring in barely cooked vegatables and canadian bacon. We had some kind of "thingy" that made omelettes in the microwave. looked like this:

        It did the job to keep me on point! Also, as I am sure you know, lots and lots of green vegatables. I also like the chocolate/pistachio dessert. I think it was just crushed pistachios and melted chocolate. Even the non dieters loved this. Also made marinades with soy, garlic, ginger and sugar free maple syrup. Not as good as a "real" teriyaki, but did the trick when using the grill.

        1. When I did a variation of SB, cheese cubes were a lifesaver for me! I would only allow myself 5. Another lifesaver and good this time of year were clementines.

          Food ideas are low carb soups, burgers without the bun...cook with leftovers in mind so you can pack lunch, or cook extra on the weekend so you have food to pull from. That alone kept me on track and I wasn't tempted to cheat.

          Good luck!

          1. Hey Diane,
            Sounds like you've been to this rodeo before. We do a low-carb low-fat thing to get on track and like you, realize that planning and make-ahead stuff is key.
            For dinner, we sometimes make a low-fat turkey meatloaf (sauteed onion/celery mixed with extra lean ground turkey, egg whites as binder, crushed tomatoes, plenty of seasoning) the day before. Sliced cold and teflon-fried is pretty tasty.
            Day ahead lean ground turkey chili is also great - just heat and serve.
            One key is the type of turkey - not all are created equal. Living in Canada, I find Maple Leaf 'Prime' to be pretty good. In the US, Shady Brook 97/7 is even better. Others can smell like a wet cat when cooked...
            More of a snack than a meal, we BBQ two dozen turkey burgers at a time (various seasonings) then pop them in the freezer. Minute and a half in the micro gives a quick, satisfying mid-meal snack.

            1. Hello!

              I am not on Atkins anymore (too hard to stay on as a vegetarian) but when I did it successfully for a few years I used the low carb recipes from this site:


              She always had something good and I still make some of her recipes even now just because they were so tasty!

              1 Reply
              1. re: etoiles

                etoiles, Thanks for the link, my old one didn't work anymore.

              2. I made this Collard and Bean Minestrone last night, it was easy and good -- I simplified by using a one pound bag of frozen chopped collards and also used low salt chicken broth instead of water which I think was key. And added a bay leaf. http://www.marthastewart.com/recipe/m...

                Also cheesecake17 posted a recipe for Spinach Jibin recently which I am going to make tonight -- a friend made it last night to rave reviews from her family. We decided that 375 was the right temp for baking it since no temp was specified. And I see no reason why you couldn't assemble it in the morning and throw it in the oven when you get home, or even bake it ahead and reheat. http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/5833...

                I agree with the cheese cubes and also find nuts to be key to staying on track. And thank heavens for roasted veggies. Good luck and may all our jeans be looser in a month!

                4 Replies
                1. re: GretchenS

                  Oh, and low-fat or no-fat refried beans with a little low-fat cheese melted on and some salsa for breakfast when you can't face eggs anymore.

                  1. re: GretchenS

                    Yes, Almonds! How could I forget the Almonds?! :)

                    1. re: wineos

                      Wineos, thanks so much, I am making a Costco shopping list and I will need to put almonds and pecans on them.

                    2. re: GretchenS

                      oops!! I'm so sorry I forgot the temp. I usually bake it at 375 (like you mentioned) or 400 depending on what else is in the oven at the time.

                      You could substitue the spinach for defrosted peas or cooked zucchini. My mother even uses cooked eggplant. All versions are good cold the next day. I grew up eating a version of the dish every thurs night.

                    3. When we started on a low carb diet back in November I satisfied my Pizza craving by doing a buffalo chicken pizza without dough. I spread a pound of ground chicken into a skillet that I sprayed with non-stick spray. Baked it in the oven at 400 for about 12 minutes until the chicken was cooked. Spread your favorite wing sauce (I make my own) add low fat pizza cheese and blue cheese crumbles and return to the oven for another 10 minutes or until the cheese is bubbly. Your brain is completely fooled that there is no "bread" crust. I have reheated it in the microwave at work for lunch. I am thinking it will work well with a pesto or spinach sauce and feta as the cheese.

                      1. I always do an egg white omelette or scrambled egg whites w/cheese, basil, chopped tomatoes or sun-dried tomatoes and spinach. Could use regular eggs too I suppose.

                        1. One thing that has helped me is the Lunch on the Go containers at Bed Bath & Beyond. I don't get the salad one, I have the rectangular one that has a lavender lid. It has a thin middle section of blue ice that you put in freezer. My salads stay cold for hours. I "borrow" little plastic containers w/lids from salsa bars and but in olive oil, red wine vinegar and I squirt fresh lemon juice on my slices of avocado. In one of the small containers on top of blue ice, I put cottage cheese or leftover chicken, etc.

                          1. Beef jerky (you can make your own at home very easily, and so control the cut and the flavour if you like)
                            Cooked shrimps with some lemon juice are a wonderful thing (ditto any other shellfish). I bring cooked shrimps to work and nosh on them through the day. They are simple, healthy, and tasty. :)
                            Keep pickles in the fridge to snack on while you're making a real dinner, to curb your appetite (I take pickles to work, too).
                            I put fresh veggies (sliced cucumber, celery chunks, baby carrots) in Italian dressing in a jar and marinate them, then nosh on them as snacks (You need to poke around for a bottled dressing that'll do for this, or just use and oil and vinegar mix with italian herbs). I keep a jar of this in the fridge at work. The cucumbers get soft but this will stay good in the fridge for a long time. The carrots and celery stay just fine for weeks. I have a BIG jar in the fridge at work. :)
                            Nuts nuts nuts, don't forget snacking on nuts
                            Dry roasted edamame (or frozen then cooked edamame) Alton Brown did a recent episode on edamame (including a dip that looked fantastic that I haven't tried to make yet). My husband has developed a taste for dry roasted edamame.
                            You can fry up eggs a couple of days in advance and bring them to work to nuke for breakfast. These are not outstanding eggs, but they're filling, warm, and good enough.
                            Just some thoughts off the top of my head

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: Morganna

                              Love the vegatable idea! Will make some this weekend. Am also trying to low carb it. Today I have two hard boiled aggs for breakfast, and luch is a salad and some leftover cookied spinach from last night.

                            2. make ahead crustless quiches are nice in cupcake tins. They freeze nice too so you can make a slew on the weekend, prepping for your week. Same with mini meatloafs, salmon loafs, etc. I put them in cupcake tins for a nice portion.

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: lexpatti

                                Lex, can you share a recipe for the crustless quiches? These do sound like a good suggestion for leftover veggies and eggs to take to work and nuke in M/W. Thanks!

                                1. re: Diane in Bexley

                                  I don't have a recipe, just whip up some eggs with/or without cream/milk - add your favorite chopped vegies, grated cheese, herbs and fill that cupcake/muffin pan (spray so they slide out). I do ham/cheese with spinachh. I've even done those egg beaters (southwestern) but either way works great. Cook them on 350 for bout 20 minutes (til they set). let them cool, then freeze them individually so you can take out one or two. Here's a great one to follow, just omit the crust:


                                  Oh and one of my favorites is salmon, capers, red onion, some cream cheese - YUM!

                              2. Some more thoughts that popped in my head on the way to work:
                                Most whole grains, while fairly high in carbs, are also fairly high in fiber and have a low glycemic index, which is a good thing when trying to stick with diets like the south beach, et. al. If you buy hot cereal mixes (or make up your own) with things like quinoa, steel cut oats, flax, barley, and other grains, you can make a very satisfying, hot, filling breakfast/meal that isn't as carby as it seems. You can add flavours to these, as well, with sugar free flavored syrups (these are really good: http://www.davincigourmet.com/product...) so it's not just bland "grain" flavour. Also, you can chop up some almonds to add to a cereal like this. Or other kinds of nuts. There are slow cooker recipes for things like this and you can cook it up ahead of time (suggested when you're working with whole grains) and then divide it up into servings to take with you to work.

                                1. Oh and there's low carb panna cotta (heavy cream has significantly fewer carbs than milk). If you make it with splenda or some other sugar substitute (and if you find there's an aftertaste, use two different kinds or add a little bit of sugar/honey, that's what I do with panna cotta). I have a recipe for that somewhere, lemme find it. It is SO good. :) And there's a low carb Marx Bros. cheesecake recipe I developed.

                                  Another cooking tip for low carbing desserts is to use ground nut crusts instead of graham cracker or other dough crusts. Like pumpkin pie with a walnut crust is really good, or just to eschew the crust altogether. I never put a crust on my pumpkin pies any more. I use exactly the same recipe, but I just bake it in a pie plate without a crust and start checking it at the earliest time listed for the recipe.

                                  Edit: Here's a link to my low carb panna cotta recipe:

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: Morganna

                                    Yeah, I know what you mean. I live on the Fat Flush diet-much like Atkins. I take cottage cheese and tomatos, tofu style egg salad(tofu, mayo, tumeric, capers, dill) lots of chicken and veggies. I am trying to cut back on the meat and cheese part.
                                    For my sweet tooth, I just found Soy Slender Cappuccino drink-4 carbs for a cup and 70 calories. I also like tapioca with Splenda. I make my own and sometimes buy Cozy Shack.

                                  2. Kalyn's Kitchen has a bunch of South Beach recipes - she usually outlines where they're at in the SB diet regimen:

                                    I've done a few of her recipes, they're tasty.

                                    1. I did SB to lose the last of the baby weight I put on. Worked like a dream!

                                      A couple main courses we like:
                                      Monteray Chicken: Basically, marinate chicken breasts in 1/2 cup olive oil, 1/4 cup red wine vinegar, 1/4 cup soy sauce, garlic, and oregano. Grill and top with tomato, avocado, onion, bacon, and monteray jack cheese. Very tasty.

                                      Roasted veggies and chicken with pesto:
                                      Cut up some peppers, cherry toms, zuchinni, and chicken breasts and place in a casserole dish. Top with small blobs of homemade or purchased pesto. Top with grated mozza cheese and place in oven until cheese bubbles and chicken is cooked. Super fast and yummy. Plus, you can serve it on pasta to those in your family who are not doing the SB thing.

                                      For snacks, I put skim milk, sugar free maple or vanilla extract, and splenda in the microwave for a couple minutes and drink warm. The maple tastes like you are eating a big warm bowl of oatmeal. Also, I mix sugar free yogurt, ricotta, sugar free vanilla extract, and spleda together and eat. Cheese strings are also a lifesaver.

                                      1. George (can't remember his name) "Low Carb and Loving It" used to be on Food Network. His recipes are still on the web site.

                                        The garlic "mashed potatoes" (cauliflower) are so good, we had them for Thanksgiving and Christmas and never missd the potatoes. And we are a mashed potato loving family. I highly recommend them.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: laliz

                                          Yes, love those roasted cauliflower with garlic and EVOO. We did that last Friday with Chicken Vesuvio. Good thing we had company over for dinner because we all reeked together of garlic after, but such a good taste.

                                        2. tacos -- but in romaine lettuce instead of taco shells with a spoonful of roasted corn salsa on each to bring in that flavor

                                          1. I am making ratatouille today, which is the ultimate low-carb comfort food IMHO!

                                            1. Chili, stews and soups of all kinds are great for this. Now is an especially good time for these since it's cold out so they're what I'm drawn to making anyway. Just go easy on the ones with noodles or rice or potatoes, and serve with salad instead of rolls.

                                              1. I am trying out a SB recipe tonight where you use sliced, baked eggplant instead of manicotti shells to make a kind of manicotti. I'm psyched, and I love this idea.

                                                6 Replies
                                                1. re: roxlet

                                                  What are you using as the filling? When I make a dish like this I use a combo of shredded mozzarella and ricotta and I top it with homemade tomato sauce.

                                                  1. re: cheesecake17

                                                    The filling is very much a cheese ravioli filling -- low fat ricotta, grated parm (I used locatelli, which I prefer in this application), egg, parsley (they said mint) and salt. The filling was a tad thin -- maybe drain the ricotta -- and it oozed out a bit when I finished them under the broiler with some sliced mozzarella on top. And I had a problem when I baked the sliced eggplant (I sliced it too thinly and it stuck to the pan; second time around I cut them more thickly and used a bit more oil). I made a little marinara for the top after they came out of the broiler. However, they were pretty delicious, and if I had made 50 of them, my 13 year-old son would have eaten them all. Not bad for a "diet" recipe! I will definitely make these again, and they will be even better next time.

                                                    1. re: roxlet

                                                      This is very similar to my recipe.. but I add in a handful or two of grated mozzarella. It kind of keeps the filling together.

                                                      1. re: cheesecake17

                                                        Interesting idea -- I'll give it a try next time.

                                                  2. re: roxlet

                                                    Sounds like eggplant rollitini to me.

                                                    1. re: marietinn

                                                      That's what it's really called? Sounds fancier than "eggplant roll ups"

                                                  3. I remember reading an article on Faith Willinger and she talked about this dish and I love it.

                                                    Artichokes with Pecorino and Mint

                                                    Grated Pecorino
                                                    Olive Oil
                                                    Lemon juice or zest (I do a tad of both)
                                                    A little chopped fresh mint
                                                    Salt and Pepper

                                                    You strip the artichoke down to the pale yellow bud and scoop out the choke. I use a mandoline to thinly slice the artichokes. Then combine with the remaining ingredients and serve.

                                                    This was meant for raw artichokes, but I also do the same thing with steamed artichokes and skip the mandoline.