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Chowish, labor-Intensive Low-Carb recipes?

I know you're out there - long-term low carbers who've moved past grilled meat w/salad and veggies on the side and made your low-carb fun to cook.

What ideas do you have for me? I love to cook, but am moderately limited by being landlocked in west TX w/out a sizeable ethnic section in the grocery stores in which I shop. (Save for Mexican/Tex-Mex, of course.) Oh, and low-carb is so over in my area - which I find a blessing in disguise - I prefer to keep my low-carb "clean" w/out a bunch of artificial this or LOW CARB! that. (Save for drinks.)

I'm open to anything - I've never met a cuisine I didn't like. (Tho my husband doesn't care for curries, or Indian food in general, come to think of it.)

ETA: I'm really not all that invested in finding "replacements" for things. While I like cauliflower, I like it more as cauliflower than fauxtatoes.

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  1. Sorry, this isn't a recipe, but have you tried the Dreamfield's pasta? It hugely expanded my repertoire of low-carb meals.

    4 Replies
    1. re: jvanderh

      Oh yes, I am having Dreamfields penne rigate for dinner tonight with sauteed shrimp, asparagus, grape tomatoes, onion, garlic & parsley.

      1. re: jvanderh

        I know this is an old post, but Dreamfields is not low carb; it's all the carbs, but slower to digest. So if you're diabetic like me, you get a spike in blood glucose at 3-5 hours after eating instead of 1 hour as with all other meals, and it lasts a very long time. Some folks have better luck with it, but most diabetics who test it see the late, long spike.

        Carba Nada noodles don't claim to be anything but low GI and high fiber, and I've had much better results; never had a blood glucose spike after eating them, even a large portion.

        As a rule, though, I eat clean, too, hate LC frankenfoods and pretty much avoid starches completely as a rule.

        1. re: mcf

          The box says 5g digestible carbs per serving, but it looks like people have reported different blood sugar responses: http://www.holdthetoast.com/httblog/a... An official serving is 2 oz. I weighed it out once, and it made a tiny amount of cooked pasta-- maybe half a cup-- so people eating different amounts may be part of the discrepancy. I remember reading something about the protected carbs acting as soluble fiber and being broken down by microbes in the gut. Could be that this doesn't happen exactly the same way in everyone.

          1. re: jvanderh

            I weighed the 2 oz, and other folks I know also measured, to see if there was a tolerable amount we could eat. Another issue is cooking time; the more al dente, the better. I cooked it only 6 minutes. And baking it after boiling or storing as a pasta salad both seem to negate the fiber blend effect completely. I know one diabetic who says regular pasta doesn't spike her, but Dreamfield's does. The company knows this but persists in misleading labeling.

            I do know of some diabetics who have no spike from it at all. YMMV, as always.

      2. You might check this site and see if anything appeals to you, I have it bookmarked for when I want to get rid of those winter craving carbs pounds.

        1. Made this and am eating it for a couple of days for dinner...I fry up a couple of eggs in bacon fat over easy and plop them on top, very nice...

          1. I've been an Atkins gal for 10 years and like you, I prefer to eat "clean." I also find it much easier to stick with my diet when I simply accept that I don't eat bread anymore rather than trying to find a replacement for it.

            That said, I have been experimenting with tofu as a noodle replacement lately and I find that it works really well in some cases. I found a recipe for fake mac and cheese online that used extra firm tofu instead of noodles and have been playing around with it ever since. It's really kind of amazing how the tofu takes on the same texture that pasta has in that particular dish. You just drain the tofu well, cut it into 1/4" thick slices and then cut the slices into 1/4" strips, sort of the size of macaroni noodles.

            Anyway, the mac and cheese thing also led me to develop a "recipe" for a bechamel substitute. Basically, I take cauliflower and cook it until extremely soft, then puree it with some heavy cream, cream cheese and sour cream. It doesn't taste anything like bechamel, of course, but it is a great jumping off point for making other types of creamy things. I use it as a base for clam chowder, broccoli cheese soup, cheese sauce for the mac and cheese, etc. It thickens any type of soup or sauce without adding too much in the way of carbs. Last night I was having a tuna casserole craving, so I made some of the cauliflower puree and used it to make a cream-of-mushroom-esque sauce, then added it to tuna and tofu, baked it in a casserole and topped it with cheese and crushed pork rinds for a crispy topping. It's actually quite good!

            I get tired of grilled meat and salad too so I'm always trying to find more interesting ways to prep and serve stuff. I love stuffing peppers (poblano, bell or italian frying) or zucchini with meat seasoned in various ways, different types of stir fry, kebabs and satays with different marinades and sauces, fajita/vaca frita/taco salads, asian chicken lettuce wraps, etc. I use a mixture of crushed pork rinds and nuts to bread cutlets to make LC Wiener Schnitzel, chicken parmigiano, etc. I make frico chips out of parmesan cheese and use them like crackers for dips, homemade pate, etc. It can be a challenge to keep it interesting, but that's part of the fun!

            7 Replies
              1. re: biondanonima

                Would this work with regular block-type tofu? Not sure where to find "extra-firm"....

                1. re: AnchovyBourdain

                  Yes, what I use is regular "block" tofu - if you look, most grocery stores carry the blocks in soft, medium, firm and extra firm. I imagine firm would work, but it will probably end up being a bit too soft to take on the texture of noodles. I use extra firm and drain it as well as I can - the drier it is, the more "al dente" the finished product. I usually take it out of the fridge an hour or two before I want to use it and place it between a bunch of paper towels, then put a weight on top to press out as much moisture as possible.

                  1. re: biondanonima

                    Have you checked the refrigerator case in an Asian market, if you have access to one?
                    They have both large sheets and packages of "dried tofu noodles" that are a lot like Chinese egg noodles in shape and texture. You don't boil them, but can add them to sauces or saute them with stuff. Very low carb, too.

                    1. re: mcf

                      The only refrigerated tofu noodles I've ever seen are shirataki noodles (which are actually made of tofu plus some weird indigestible potato starch). They're okay, but I much prefer the extra firm tofu. What you're talking about sounds like something else, though - I'll have to take a look the next time I go to the asian market.

                      1. re: mcf

                        Would you mind (if you have some) writing or taking a picture of what exactly is on the package? I'm intrigued but often have trouble finding what I'm looking for with this sort of thing. Thank you so much!

                        1. re: cellosubmarine

                          cello, you're looking for something like this:



                          they may be labeled as soybean curd noodles, tofu shreds, or gan si.

                2. I'm a lazy cook, but this is one of my higher effort winter meals, beef burgundy:

                  also, eggplant noodles, though I had to punch up the seasoning a bit: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/al...

                  I also make Thai curries (coconut milk base) with chicken and shrimp and veggies and eat it from a soup bowl, no rice, in cold weather.

                  Oh, and my new favorite brisket recipe, which I also use for braised short ribs, but I skip the horseradish and sour cream; overbearing flavor and turned the rich sauce grey: http://foodpluspolitics.com/2007/06/0...

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: mcf

                    try using fresh horseradish instead of the jarred stuff in the brisket recipe - mellower flavor, and no vinegar to turn the sauce grey.

                    1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                      Thanks for the tip, but I don't miss the cream calories, either so I just sort of use his ingredients without either the hr or sc. The sauce has a great, concentrated flavor after reduction all by itself. This year's braises so far have all been by eye and memory, a blend of my favorite recipes using no recipe... so far, so good.

                      1. re: mcf

                        good to know - i'm all for cutting back on the cream, though i do adore horseradish. i'm bookmarking the recipe :)

                        1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                          It's very good, though I've taken to just bundling the fresh herbs with string, and smashing, then chopping garlic. And pureeing the veggies part way after skimming some fat and reducing it all. Oh, and I often skip the mushrooms, too, when I'm lazy.
                          It's still great meatloaf, though the shrooms add a lot of richness.
                          Between Ina's company pot roast and Tyler's braised brisekt, I know what to put into the pot without sticking to plan. She purees all the veggies, Tyler tosses them away... In either case, a bed of rutabaga puree goes really, really well under either.

                  2. I am hoping to revive this discussion for those of us who eat low carb permanently, or at least for long stretches of time in a year. This is where I am. I am still working to find the perfect mix of low carb and some carb. I am not diabetic, but I began low carb eating to stop the progression toward diabetes.

                    I wonder what others are doing to modify their eating so that they are satisfied with the variety of foods they are eating, but still not indulging in carbs. I am interested in meals, how you design or modify recipes, how you eat in restaurants, etc.

                    biondanonima's innovative use of tofu caught my eye, and I will be trying the remake of mac and cheese soon.

                    Mostly, I try to hold the fat down as well as the carbs, but when you take something out of your diet, you end up adding in something else.

                    And I have to ask, if anyone here has read Gary Taub's Good Calories, Bad Calories. Or have you read his previous book? Thoughts? Thanks in advance.

                    22 Replies
                    1. re: sueatmo

                      Gary Taube's work is an accurate reflection of the available science on nutrition and obesity, not a diet plan. The book is VERY dense reading. Online, Michael Eade's Protein Power blog is in synch with Taubes but much easier to read, and the journal, "Nutrition and Metabolism" is very useful and reliable, too. I don't restrict fat or protein, but I do emphasize meats and foods from healthy, unpolluted sources in my diet. Congratulations for taking control of your health; there is no reason for diabetes or IR to progress and much of the damage is reversible once it has, with carb restriction.

                      1. re: mcf

                        I believe that Taub's latest book, Good Calories, Bad Calories is a less technical work than his first book. If Michael Eade is selling a diet, I don't know if that is where I want to go, frankly. I am on a low carb diet now. I am not satisfied with the results to tell the truth.

                        1. re: sueatmo

                          Taube's first book is the one you named. I believe he's got a new, more lay language and briefer follow up book on the way or out now. Eade's supports everything with scientific citation and updates the PP plan accordingly, no other popular diet book reflects metabolic science as accurately. No reason to buy a diet plan, you can read his blog to see how he's interpreting the science with citations or take a PP book out of the library, nothing to buy.
                          Is there some other plan you have been satisfied with? Is it possible you have endocrine or other issues diminshing your results? I had to experiment with various combinations of macronutrients, weighing, measuring and documenting my food and results on the free version of fitday.com to find the optimal plan for me.

                          1. re: mcf

                            The name of the book is "Why We Get Fat and What To Do About It." I tried my best to get through his first book "Good Calories, Bad Calories" but couldn't get past all the dense scientific info. His new book is excellent - just a simplified version of his original, I think. My husband was actually considering going vegan (God save us all) until I started reading the book out loud to him. I've been low carb for the better part of 15 years, but fell off the wagon last year. This book set me back on track.

                            1. re: steelykal

                              Good for both of you! I know quite a few folks who didn't get through his book.

                              1. re: mcf

                                I just finished it. It's worth reading, because the scientific info is where the meat of his argument is (low-carb pun intended).

                                1. re: nofunlatte

                                  I've been reading the scientific info for over a decade, and have read some of his articles, seen his video presenation online to obesity researchers in Berkeley (highly recommended, btw). He participates on the nutrition forum associated with heartwire, from theheart.org, if you're interested. You might enjoy reading the online journal Nutrition and Metabolism, too.

                          2. re: sueatmo

                            if you're trying to do both low carb AND low fat, you must be starving, so no wonder you're not satisfied. taubes, eades, and yes, atkins, all advise higher fat with low carbs. 60-70% of your diet should come from fats. carb calories come from veggies and fruits, not grains or legumes.

                            i have been a low carb eater for 16 months. other than occasionally using a packet of splenda in whipped cream, i don't use any "low-carb" products. i've heard that miracle noodles taste like fishy erasers, so have never bothered. spaghetti squash is a good find and zucchini cut with a vegetable peeler into ribbons also has a great texture and is fantastic sauteed with butter and topped with chopped almonds and fresh herbs.

                            one of my favorite kinds of things to cook is braises. cheaper cuts of meat, like pork butt or shoulder, lamb shank or shoulder, etc. braise, braise, braise. it makes several meals' worth and is great as a set it and forget it kinda thing..

                            duck confit is another keeper.

                            1. re: hotoynoodle

                              Using fitday.com for over a decade, I found that *for me* at least, 50% from fats is the sweet spot, 30-35% from proteins and the rest from high fiber, non starchy carbs. I don't believe in a One Size Fits All diet of any stripe. There's huge value, IMO, in using online diet, activity, progress recording tools to find one's own nutritional ideal.

                              Braises do work really well for low carb, and substitution of white turnips or rutabaga for potatoes can work really well, and pureed rutabaga makes a great bed for braised dishes in place of noodles, too.

                              1. re: mcf

                                Great idea about the rutabaga!! I'll keep that one in mind...

                                1. re: jenscats5

                                  It's really good. And white turnip, pureed and drained/blotted well, makes a great sub for mashed potatoes, too. I've never tried blending it with cauliflower fauxtatoes yet, but must try. Great idea for shepherd's pie, too.

                                  1. re: mcf

                                    white turnips tend to pull the flavor in a different direction because of the peppery/horseradish notes...but i'm with you on the sweeter yellow-fleshed turnips/rutabaga with the cauliflower, and that just makes it look like you added a ton of butter :)

                                    1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                      I agree, but using the smallest ones not so much as with larger ones. For mashed, I boil cubes of them, drain well, then let them sit in a strainer over a bowl, blot them, add butter, s and p... I started using white turnips when I realized how carby rutabaga is, by comparison. My Irish husband likes them with meatloaf, my ultimate test. :-)

                                    2. re: mcf

                                      I can vouch for this - made a shepherds pie last night topped with turnip, cauli and one small potato. A little butter and a lot of S+P and it can definitely hold its own alongside mashed potato. Thanks mcf :) I need to drain it better next time though...

                                      1. re: gembellina

                                        Yes, and don't forget to blot with paper towels! I nuke the head of cauli with just a little water in a covered bowl. I boil the cut up turnips and drain them a lot before and after pureeing, then blot. Glad you liked it.

                          3. re: sueatmo

                            Some low carbers also use cut up chunks of cauliflower as a sub for mac in mac and cheese. Some also use it for a potato replacement in potato salad. I use it cooked til soft, drained well and pureed with butter, s and p as "fauxtatoes" to serve with meatloaf. Adding even one cooked Idaho potato with the skin makes it almost indistinguishable from real mashed potatoes, but this spikes my blood glucose, so I don't do it. But for those sharing the recipe several ways who are not diabetic, it can be an excellent modification, and the skin really matters.

                            In the early years of low carbing, I spent too much energy looking for substitutes for the carby stuff I was avoiding and ended up eating too much "Frankenfood." I've found a much more satisfying way to eat is to focus on the quality, cleanness (healthy fats from wild fish and grass fed meat and dairy, frex, organic produce), eye appeal and flavors and home prep of my foods, which are usually completely starch, sugar and artificial sweetener free on a daily basis. It took years for me to stop missing bagels and hot, fresh NY pizza, but I no longer think about them or crave them, ever. I give in to an occasional spectacular dessert, after planning for it with my day's eating, and I very occasionally make decadent low carb desserts, but mostly just don't miss it on a regular basis.

                            Trying to eat low fat/low carb isn't much fun nor is it even healthier. I concentrate more on the quality of fats; no hydrogenated stuff, no feedlot produced meat or dairy when it can be avoided, no fat free or low fat foods with added starch and gum fillers to improve the texture...

                            1. re: mcf

                              I agree about not trying sub for stuff we should not have! Find the good stuff we can have and make it great every day.

                              I do low carb; DH is supposed to be doing low fat.

                              I don't gorge on fatty foods, though. And I am not starving! I just wonder if the diet's rules are exactly right for me. I think I need more quality input and am considering reading Taube's latest book. I know nothing about Eades, but will check out the website.

                              I am probably where you were a couple of years ago. I believe I need to eat low carb, but I am not satisfied with all the aspects. I feel my blood work should be better, for instance.

                              I appreciate your input. mcf.

                              1. re: sueatmo

                                Your blood work may be a lot better than you think. The better your glucose control, the better your lipids ratios and LDL particle size. It sounds as if you're where I was in 1998 and for a couple or few years after. Eades blog is really easy reading: http://www.proteinpower.com/drmike/

                                1. re: mcf

                                  blood sugar down; lipids up.

                                  1. re: sueatmo

                                    HDL didn't go up, TGLs didn't go down? That's where the real risk prevention is, not total cholesterol or LDL. Lower bg and HbA1c at 5% or below are hugely preventive, too. My LDL is 275, only 21 is VLDL, I have a calculated CVD risk of below average due to high HDL and low TGL and HbA1c.

                            2. re: sueatmo

                              I finished Goood Calories, Bad Calories about a month ago and it really changed the way I look at food. I found the book to be a bit scientific but still a pretty easy read. My boyfriend had been on me to try this paleo/primitive/low carb diet thing for awhile and I was really hesitant. About 4 years ago I lost about 70lbs doing the low fat/counting calories thing and really felt that it was the best lifestyle choice for me. However, we have been low carb, grain and sugar free for about a month now I have never felt better. I have way more energy then I ever have before. Anyway, I guess I just wanted to put my +1 here for anyone who might be thinking about reading the book.

                              1. re: sueatmo

                                Adding to other people's comments, "Why We Get Fat" is a great read, and I recently read another book, "The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Living" by Drs. Stephen Phinney and Jeff Volek. It also backs up (with a lot of dense science - much that was beyond me, I'm afraid) the argument against doing low fat and low carb at the same time. I highly recommend them! And highly recommend that you go enjoy some delicious pork belly or something. :)

                                  1. I love eating stuffed mushrooms with the stems chopped, spinach, cheeses, garlic, ham or procuitto, and a little bread crumbs for crunch.
                                    The other thing that makes a great meal is the portabella, clean it out, gills too. Then stuff it with your favorite meat mix. When not dieting, mashed potatoes with cheeses and procuitto, or with a turkey, spinach and marinara, with mozz and parm. They're a meal.

                                    7 Replies
                                    1. re: chef chicklet

                                      potatoes and bread crumbs certainly aren't in any way low carb. when i have a hankering for mashed potatoes (really just a delivery system for butter and cheese, lol) i make the faux mashed potatoes with steamed cauliflower. seriously, i had to stop buying big heads in favor of smaller because i can eat the whole thing in one sitting, lol.

                                      1. re: hotoynoodle

                                        I've resisted this because I thought it would horrify Mr. Sueatmo and because I thought it wouldn't taste all that great. I appreciate hearing from several of you guys that it does taste very good. However, with one family member eating low fat, I can't load on butter! I usually use just enough butter to allude to the flavor. We do eat reduced fat cheese.

                                        1. re: sueatmo

                                          My husband is Irish, and he likes it a LOT with one Idaho with skin in it. He kept buying bigger and bigger spuds, and I kept throwing out half of them... :-) I love rutabaga puree with meals, and fauxtatoes or high temp roasted cauliflower, too.

                                          1. re: mcf

                                            If he likes the potato skin flavor (like I do), add all of the peel but only half the potato. Or use the skin of two potatoes and no starch. Then take your peeled potatoes, cut them into french fries, freeze, and give them to a neighbor. : )

                                            1. re: seamunky

                                              He's over it... serious about low carbing because it keeps his belly so flat and he's never hungry But very good idea, may have to try it, the skin makes a huge diff..

                                          2. re: sueatmo

                                            We have tried to make fauxtatoes and I have to say we all found it to be horrible. However, a lot of people seem to really like it. Maybe we'll try the trick mentioned above and add some potato skins.

                                            1. re: iheartcooking

                                              The original recipe calls for cream cheese, lots of it. If you don't have a need for it to be very low carb, try draining it well, adding plenty of butter if that's not an issue for you, and one cooked, Idaho potato with the skin. That one potato makes a huge diff and it's still a much lower carb dish.

                                      2. I read Nora Ephron's latest book (so-so) but have taken up a recipe of hers. Simple, low carb, filling. (I can last hours w/out eating after this!)

                                        Beat one rm temp egg with 1/3 cup ricotta. Cook in non stick pan. (I use a few drops of olive oil.)
                                        (It's like a little pancake.)

                                        1. Low Carb "Spaghetti" and Meatballs ?

                                          Make meatballs of 1 lb ground beef, 1/4 C ground cabbage, 1t oregano, 1 clove garlic, S+P, 1/4C shredded Parmesan, 1/4t each garlic, onion powder, and chili flakes. (yes, shred cabbage in food processor and use in meatball mix, it has almost no taste, but lightens up the meat balls amazingly). Bake or fry meatballs, transfer to pot with your favorite homemade tomato sauce, and simmer 2 hours.

                                          While meatballs simmer, cut spaghetti squash in half, remove seeds, add little butter and S+P, cover with foil and bake in a 350F oven til done (about 60 minutes).

                                          Shred spaghetti squash and squeeze slightly to remove any excess moisture. Plate squash in warm bowls and top with meatballs and a little tomato sauce. It's amazing.

                                          1. I see that your hubby does not like curries. I am posting a chicken recipe with curry influence for 2 reasons. I think it is a recipe that you could possibly tweak with different flavors. Instead of curry try Italian spices or French flavors (bit of dijon/tarragon in the yogurt?) for example but use the same cooking technique. The grilled meat and veg thing does get a little boring I must say.

                                            Reason number two is that it is a good recipe worth sharing. The rice does need a bit of jazzing up but it's not awful on it's own for those that want rice. On the other hand, the rice adds a lot of carbs so you could just skip it. I would guess that the rice per cooked cup is around 40-50 carbs.


                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: twodales

                                              I make curries without rice. Some folks serve over riced cauliflower.

                                            2. How do you like Sukiyaki? I've been making a lot of that lately. And the yam noodles have no carbs or calories even. I normally include the following in mine: thinly sliced brisket, shrimp, enoki & shiitake mushrooms, chrysanthemum leaves, spinach, onions, napa cabbage, and fried tofu...And of course a couple of eggs at the end.

                                              7 Replies
                                              1. re: soypower

                                                Wow, that looks amazing SP.

                                                Those Shirataki noodles are excellent and I like using them in a Pho type of soup with shrimp, asian spiced mini pork meat balls, bok choy, hot peppers, onions, ... , and of course, a small drizzle of extra hot chili oil !

                                                What do you use for the broth in your Sukiyaki ?

                                                1. re: PoppiYYZ

                                                  i've heard very mixed reports on these noodles. what's your experience? having given up pasta for over 2 years, i really don't miss it now.

                                                  1. re: hotoynoodle

                                                    Rubber bands... I just will never miss pasta enough to eat those things. Carba Nada noodles from Al Dente (netrition.com has them) aren't low carb, but they don't budge my blood glucose the way Dreamfield's spikes it.

                                                    1. re: hotoynoodle

                                                      I've used the House Foods brand Tofu Shirataki angel hair noodles. They are available at most big grocery stores in the tofu section. Tried them on a low carb diet and found them very very good. Rinse them well in a strainer under cold water, drop in boiling water for 2 minutes, strain, and add to soup just before serving. Haven't eaten them like pasta, but they are excellent in a Pho style soup.

                                                      1. re: PoppiYYZ

                                                        I prefer the dried tofu noodles from the fridge in Asian groceries... more like Chinese egg noodles used in sesame sauce. They sell them in large sheets, too, so can be used as subs for flour wrappers.

                                                    2. re: PoppiYYZ

                                                      Oh yes, I forgot about the broth. I usually buy those large bottles of udon sauce and use a few tablespoons of that. But those have sugar in them. You can make your own by using anchovy powder, soy sauce and a sweetener. I also marinate the meats in soy sauce, garlic and more udon sauce.

                                                      As for the shirataki noodles, I don't mess with the tofu shirataki. The yam noodles I like come in little bundles about 12 to a pack. They look like this: http://whatlizate.files.wordpress.com...

                                                      They're perfect for sukiyaki because they never get mushy and go well with asian flavors.

                                                      1. re: soypower

                                                        Thanks SP. I'll look for the udon sauce !

                                                  2. weight watchers points plus is essentially lower carb, though not atkins-like in the high protein/fat way. you might look on the newish weight watchers thread. there are lots of good ideas.

                                                    1. I don't eat low carb all the time - I try & keep my carbs around when my workouts occur. Plus I love my daily PB&J!! Now the rest of the day, I keep my carb sources from veggies only. I will admit to struggling for dinner time as it's so easy to heat up some sort of carby thing.

                                                      I like spaghetti squash with all sorts of toppings: sloppy joe, Italian meat sauce, shrimp scampi. I also eat a lot of salads whether lettuce based or veggie based. With a new mandoline, I hope to have more of the veggie salads as I'll now be able to get the cuts I'm after. I also like chicken or turkey meatballs over green beans or other veggie. And I'm a big fan of stir frys. Oh and lettuce wraps!!

                                                      11 Replies
                                                      1. re: jenscats5

                                                        You can also use your mandoline to make uber thin slices of zucchini and eggplant the long way. Then bake to dry them some, and use in place of lasagna noodles.

                                                        1. re: mcf

                                                          I made zucchini and yellow squash lasagna yesterday for my carb conscious husband. he raved about it. I admit, though, he is not a huge pasta fan. He wants me to make it again and I think I will try mcf's suggestion of baking the slices first as it was very wet.

                                                          1. re: agnesrob

                                                            I lightly flour eggplant slices in carbalose flour before baking on the bottom of the oven on high heat, turning once. Then I make a dish with them that's more lasagna than parm... I also use Barilla no boil lasagna noodles sometimes, but only for the bottom layer or bottom and top, no middle layer, to save carbs. They're thin and light and very moderate carb as long as you don't overdo it, or have many other carbs in the dish. You could also try thin slicing zucchini or other summer squash, then placing between towels or paper towels for a good blotting, to see if that helps. You sure don't want all that water in a baked dish.

                                                          2. re: mcf

                                                            I had a root vegetable lasagna at a restaurant that was amazing. I'm not a lasagna fan usually since it is just a big goop to me. The root vegetable version (without potatoes) had a nicer texture, and was more flavorful IMHO.

                                                            1. re: PoppiYYZ

                                                              The problem with cooked, vs. raw, root veggies is how much glycemic effect they have.

                                                              1. re: mcf

                                                                Are you referring to the high glycemic effect of cooked carrots?

                                                                The only reference I've seen to this, was a skeptical reference. I eat raw carrots. But I don't eat cooked. But I don't know if they are truly higher in carbs or glycemic effect if they are cooked.

                                                                1. re: sueatmo

                                                                  Well, of course cooking doesn't add carbs without the addition of ingredients, but it's very well known that cooking breaks down/releases the starches and makes them more glycemic... and anyone testing with a meter can tell you that cooked carrots are usually a very bad choice, but raw ones barely register. I miss cooked parsnips the most. The same is true of soft cooked pasta compared to very al dente, or potatoes, etc... I have never seen any skepticism of this, only scientific explanations... cooking, by way of breaking down the starches/sugars, makes them more completely and rapidly digested, therefore more glycemic.

                                                                  1. re: mcf

                                                                    OK. I just saw a passing reference which seemed to question how cooked carrots could have a high glycemic value, when raw carrots don't. Too bad we can't eat raw potato. Or raw sweet potato!

                                                            2. re: mcf

                                                              @ MCF: yes! That's why I got it cuz I just can't get those thin slices by hand.....good tip on the drying part!! Thanks!

                                                            3. re: jenscats5

                                                              Spaghetti squash is a great sub for pasta you are so right jenscat5. After all, it's the sauce that has the flavor not the pasta.

                                                            4. I've been toying with the idea of low carb scotch eggs. I was thinking hard boiled eggs covered in sausage, rollled in crushed pork rinds and then baked. I've also seen versions with bacon wrapped around them instead of breading. Serve that with a nice salad and I think I've got dinner!

                                                              2 Replies
                                                              1. re: soypower

                                                                oh, i make scotch eggs without breading all the time.

                                                                they also make fantastic deviled eggs.

                                                              2. I just scrolled through and I'm pretty sure I didn't add this winter favorite: wash and and break a whole head of cauliflower into small to med florets and place in a buttered 8x8 baking dish. Add enough heavy cream to come up 1/4 to 1/2" in depth. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper.
                                                                Top with 6 oz. (by weight, not measure) of grated or shredded gruyere (I use wonderful Comte from Costco) and bake at 400 f for about 50 minutes, until browned, but not burnt on top. Let cool slightly before serving.

                                                                1. Lots of great suggestions here! You're on the right track IMO - try to avoid 'substitutions', they almost never measure up and just make you miss the original.


                                                                  Soups are a vast landscape. Mexican chicken tomato (cumin, chili powder, ancho, cilantro) or pumpkin carrot curry are two favorites. Adding nuts to soups adds some good fats and makes them much more filling. Or borscht, depending on how well you tolerate beets.

                                                                  Stir fries get much less bland when you put nam pla, lemongrass, etc in them - have a look at Stir-Frying to the Sky's Edge and hack some of the recipes.

                                                                  Just had a dinner of pork carnitas (from http://theclothesmakethegirl.com, excellent resource) with bell pepper and mango salsa over spring mix.

                                                                  Eggs are a great base - frittatas, omelets, country scrambles, or with root veg hash.

                                                                  Don't forget seafood! Even easy meals from canned pantry staples, like crab cakes or wasabi tuna salad are a great break from grilled meat and greens.

                                                                  And when you really crave a substitution/cheat meal, almond flour with some mashed banana fries up very, very well.

                                                                  Basically, look for cuisines that are already heavily meat and veg based and use them as inspiration. Latin American, Vietnamese, even some Indian or Chinese work.

                                                                  1. About cauliflower: today I half-steamed some cauliflower , added red onion/celery and added the same dressing I would for potato salad (mayo-dijon-vinegar-capers mix) It was delish. I later saw it was something called 'Unpotato Salad' in the LC circles. I'd rather just call it Cauliflower Salad.

                                                                    I also make a kind of bunless cheesesteak .. I broil the cheese in the oven on a pie plate and add plenty of mushroom/onion/pepper...

                                                                    All pot roasts. I also love making carnitas as they're so adaptable! The pork equivalent of a big roasted chicken.

                                                                    1. Fantastic LC Breakfast

                                                                      Eggs Flamenco (serves 2)
                                                                      2 Fresh Chorizo sausages (not the dried kind)
                                                                      1/2 medium Onion, diced
                                                                      1t good Paprika
                                                                      1C crushed Tomatoes
                                                                      2 Eggs
                                                                      1T Chives, or Green Onions, finely chopped
                                                                      3T Cheddar, grated

                                                                      Preheat oven to 400F.

                                                                      Remove Chorizo from casings and fry in pan. Drain fat if necessary. Add onions and cook for a minute. Add paprika, stir and add tomatoes. Reduce until just moist. This can be done the day ahead, but reheat before using.

                                                                      Divide hot mixture into two oven proof Ramekins. Crack one egg into each Ramekin. Bake about 10 minutes (I like the yolks slightly runny). Sprinkle with chives and cheddar (crumbled feta also works).

                                                                      Hot, filling, and delicious.

                                                                      4 Replies
                                                                      1. re: PoppiYYZ

                                                                        Ooh, a keeper, I like it, thanks! I always have chorizo in the house, either to make pumpkin soup, steamed clams or mussels, and now this!

                                                                        1. re: PoppiYYZ

                                                                          Ooh, this sounds delicious. I'd probably use Manchego instead of cheddar (and smoked paprika), but it's definitely my kind of dish! Thanks for posting :)

                                                                          1. re: PoppiYYZ

                                                                            Ha ha,

                                                                            Tried the smoked paprika but found it too smoky for breakfast since my Choriso is already a little smokey. I can get a fantastic Mexican Queso fresco occasionally and it's awesome, even a little creamy chevre melting on top works great.

                                                                            Tweak the recipe to match your ingredients and your preferences, but this is a great breakfast, lunch, or dinner

                                                                            PS if you shape the meat mixture into a slight bowl shape inside the Ramekin, the egg holds a better shape with the runny yolk in the center.

                                                                          2. Got another keeper,

                                                                            Low Carb Cabbage Rolls :

                                                                            1 lb ground beef
                                                                            1/2 lb italian sausage (casing removed)
                                                                            1/2 cup minced onion
                                                                            2 large eggs, lightly beaten
                                                                            3 tablespoons sugar free ketchup
                                                                            1 teaspoon italian seasoning
                                                                            1/2 teaspoon salt
                                                                            1/4 teaspoon black pepper
                                                                            1/2 cup fine chopped cabbage (important, makes mixture lighter)
                                                                            1/4C grated mozzarella
                                                                            1/4C grated Parmesan
                                                                            pinch red pepper flakes
                                                                            chopped fresh parsley

                                                                            Crumble two meats and cook til slightly brown, drain and put in large bowl to cool. Saute onions a minute or two and add to meat bowl to cool. When cool, add remaining ingredients and mix.

                                                                            Large cabbage head, boiling water, you know how to wrap cabbage rolls...

                                                                            Line casserole bottom and sides with cabbage leaves, place cabbage rolls tightly together in casserole, pour heated reduced tomato sauce over the top (diced onion, garlic, crushed tomatoes, S+P, italian spices). Lay more cabbage leaves over the top, and cover tightly with foil. Bake casserole 3-4 hrs at 300F. Serve with extra sauce.

                                                                            Really really good, you wont miss the rice. Even better the next day.

                                                                            3 Replies
                                                                            1. re: PoppiYYZ

                                                                              I love cabbage in any iteration, my husband HATES it except for shredded & in fish tacos. Hence, your recipe makes me both hungry and sad. And a little resentful I married someone so picky. ;)

                                                                              I can definitely see making this when he's not home, though.

                                                                              1. re: shanagain

                                                                                Ha ha,

                                                                                Try making them with a nice big salad on the side. You might be surprised, he might like 'em ! And whats the down side if he doesn't ? There will be more for you !! (did I mention they are great the next day?).

                                                                                1. re: PoppiYYZ

                                                                                  Hahaha, you and I should be best friends, and encourage each other's bad (but low-carb) behavior.

                                                                            2. Think along Cajun lines. During a necessary low-carb season I did well with Shrimp Creole and a concoction I liked of fresh okra, green peppers, onions, and tomatoes.

                                                                              3 Replies
                                                                              1. re: Querencia

                                                                                Ahh, my mouth is watering, it is surprising how many Cajun and Creole dishes you can easily "hack" to lowcarb. (I like rice in gumbo, but LOVE the broth by itself, so consider the amount of flour used per recipe to be a non-issue - there are just some things I treat as a quality of life issue, and gumbo w/out rice or french bread - which admittedly sounds a tiny bit sad - one of them.)

                                                                                1. re: shanagain

                                                                                  Grated cauliflower makes wonderful faux rice.

                                                                                  1. re: BeefeaterRocks

                                                                                    I have to admit that I love it as rice, but something about it in gumbo... I just don't know. Having said that means I have to try it the next time I make gumbo, I guess. lol

                                                                              2. This sounds so stupid but it works for me. Instead of eating salad qua salad, make it into a dinner entree, thus: one slice of 100% whole wheat bread on plate and spread with horseradish instead of butter. On the bread, one paper-thin slice of lean deli roast beef. On top of that, about a bushel of salad (whatever combo you like of low-cal salad stuff). The trick is that you eat this with a knife and fork, being careful to get a little bite of the bread and roast beef with every big mouthful of the salad. It gives the illusion (delusion) of being an actual meal instead of just a dish of greens. I apologize for this. Sometimes I have to play games with myself to get the job done.

                                                                                17 Replies
                                                                                1. re: Querencia

                                                                                  I understand, and appreciate the tip - I'm the same way with taco salad. For some reason the addition of warm seasoned beef or chicken elevates the salad into something more dinner-like.

                                                                                  1. re: shanagain

                                                                                    Taco salad at my house is a big plate of shredded lettuce topped with plenty of well seasoned taco meat, sour cream, guacamole, pico de gallo, scallions, shredded cheese and olives... very satisfying meal for dinner, definitely.

                                                                                    1. re: mcf

                                                                                      Yes, exactly the same here.

                                                                                      Sue, I'm wondering why it's dropped off of our rotation around here as well, because I love it, and it still feels like "junk" even though it's not.

                                                                                    2. re: shanagain

                                                                                      We do this a lot. I make a salad and add lean protein. Mr. Sueatmo eats chips along with his, and I either have a few low carb crackers, or I have a little dark chocolate with dry roasted almonds for dessert. I should add the taco salad variation to the rotation! I love taco salad, but haven't made it in a while. I would have mine with a few low carb corn chips.

                                                                                      1. re: sueatmo

                                                                                        sueatmo, have you ever tried gently melting your dark chocolate in the microwave, then stirring in some lightly roasted almonds? Then spreading it on a sheet of waxed paper and lightly sprinkle with sea salt?

                                                                                        Just sayinzall. ;-)

                                                                                        1. re: mcf

                                                                                          Ooh, and add a bit of coconut oil to that mixture!

                                                                                          1. re: Violatp

                                                                                            Brilliant! Usually, I'm using 73 or 77% Chocolove, which I love because of the texture from added cocoa butter.

                                                                                          2. re: mcf

                                                                                            My goodness, why haven't I read this post before today? No. This sounds wonderful.

                                                                                              1. re: sueatmo

                                                                                                So here's my new favorite way to do this: Specifically, a bar of Black and Green 85% has just the right flavor. I spray a Pyrex dish with a bottom exactly the size of the whole bar with Pam or spread with coconut oil including the sides.

                                                                                                Then I cover the entire bottom with raw, unsalted almonds. Nuke on high for one minute, if not completely done, nuke for as many seconds as it takes to be completely softened (don't let it boil up or get bubbly) at 50% power. Remove, gently rap the bottom on the counter a few times (can put a towel or pot holder under it) to get chocolate under the nuts. Sprinkle with Fleur de Sel or other coarse sea salt and put in fridge or let set up at room temp.

                                                                                                You could also grease a piece of parchment or use wax paper to facilitate removal, but mine came right out.

                                                                                                So good this way.

                                                                                        2. re: Querencia

                                                                                          This sounds more low calorie than low carb. Skip the bread, and add some butter or dressing!

                                                                                          1. re: Violatp

                                                                                            Yes, the bread and one measly slice of meat is definitely not low carb. We eat huge salads with grilled proteins often, but the protein and fats from meat and dressing make up almost all the calorie content, not starches.

                                                                                            1. re: mcf

                                                                                              I'm lucky in that I can spread carbs over the day or have them all at once, so a piece of bread isn't a big deal for me here and there, kind of like the gumbo roux i mentioned above. I've also found that my tolerance is higher than for some, plus there are some very good lower carb breads available even here in the wilds of western Texas. (Sara Lee Lite/Low Cal.. something along those lines? is one example.)

                                                                                              1. re: shanagain

                                                                                                Oh, my tolerance is way up, too, since low carbing has made me so intensely insulin sensitive. I just choose to keep it very low for optimal results. Plus, I've really changed my tastes to the point that I'm not tempted by foods that I perceive as cheap filler, not a treat. I have a lot of low carb baking supplies, just in case, but recently had to throw a lot out from disuse. When I bought a new brand of reduced carb noodles, it was months before I cared to get around to trying them. But if I need to make gravy or a roux, I use Wondra or other white flour, which I also just had to throw out due to loss of freshness. I buy some low carb wraps and sandwich thins from La Tortilla factory and Joseph's Middle Eastern bakery, have to keep them in the freezer due to low demand. My husband low carbs despite having zero health concerns; he just wants to stay that way. :-)

                                                                                                1. re: mcf

                                                                                                  LOL, I get downright testy about potatoes and corn and other "pig food" but I love to bake bread, and because I've kept the taste for it it's another of those "quality of life" things even though I "know" it's just filler.

                                                                                                  My husband, unlike yours, is convinced his Irish-ness & manhood is in question if there are not copious amounts of potatoes at nearly every meal. (sigh.. but he's awesome, don't let me kid you.)

                                                                                                  You know, I just wanted to tell you - I go in and out of the lifestyle, but it's a comfort to know that no matter what... mcf is there. You're amazing.

                                                                                                  1. re: shanagain

                                                                                                    LOL... far from amazing and I still have some dessert now and then, when it's the only carb of the meal... but thanks.

                                                                                                    I just want to wear out my parts, not lose them to stuff within my control.

                                                                                                    And my husband is a big ole Irish former award winning linebacker... so there's hope for yours yet!

                                                                                        3. Great accompaniment for a steak :

                                                                                          Cream Cheese Stuffed Jalapenos

                                                                                          12 jalapeño peppers
                                                                                          1/4 cup minced onion
                                                                                          1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley (or cilantro)
                                                                                          3/4 cup cream cheese
                                                                                          1 1/2 teaspoon cumin
                                                                                          1 teaspoon salt
                                                                                          2 ounces cheddar cheese, cut into 2 1/2-inch long batons

                                                                                          Cut peppers in half lengthwise and remove stems and seeds (but keep stem end on) to form little "boats". Mix onion, parsley, cream cheese, cumin and salt in a bowl. Spoon filling into peppers, then press cheddar into cream cheese filling. Bake at 400F for 20 minutes, or cook on BBQ.

                                                                                          As an optional, lay a half a shrimp (cut lengthwise) on top before cooking.

                                                                                          Filling is also great in mushrooms cooked the same way.