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May 25, 2013 06:28 PM

What are you cooking?

What are you cooking that is healthy? Low carb? Loaded with fiber? Antioxidants? Veggie heavy? Big protein? Healthy fat?

What interesting things are you making today?

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  1. I will start it off :)

    This was not a typical big cooking day for me, today. I also went out for dinner.

    But, before I did, I made a years worth of homemade chipotle with adobo for the freezer. It is soooooo hot and soooooo complex. Just fabulous. I got a bunch of wonderful jalapeños from my favorite Mexican market and I smoked them and dried them. Then I made an ancho, tomato, cinnamon, bay leaf, garlic,oregano, onion, vinegar and palm sugar adobo sauce. I used both green and red jalapeños ...because I like them both!

    All of it processed in the FP and packed for the freezer to break off in chunks. Can't wait for summer grilling, dipping, spreading spicy chipotle on everything.

    15 Replies
    1. re: sedimental

      Wow, that looks and sounds amazing! We just bought a smoker. So you smoked and then dried? Did you dry them naturally or dehydrate them in a dehydrator?

      1. re: lynnlato

        I played around alot with this batch.
        Yes, I smoked the jalapeño first for a few hours, then dried them in my oven (it has special drying settings). I did not dry them all the way to wrinkled. I already had some dried chipotle to use up so I used both. I like the smokey dried flavors with the smokey fruity pepper flavors together. Then I blended all the peppers and the adobo together to freeze.

        It turned out really well, amazingly better than the cans of chipotle in adobo.

        Also, you should try just smoked jalapeño, then slice and freeze them to use in things. They are really tasty in bean dishes, BBQ sauces, Mexican style soups, anywhere you want a bit of spicy smoke flavor.....straight from the freezer, chop and throw them in -no prep.

        I hope you post some of your smoker experiments here. I would love to share :)

        1. re: sedimental

          I'm going to smoke some peppers next - thanks for the tips! And I'll be sure to report back.

          1. re: sedimental

            I'm not worthy!

            I buy canned chipotle in adobo and while I grind and mix my own chili powder much of the time after toasting dried peppers, I don't dehydrate nor smoke my own. Wowzer. :-)

            1. re: mcf


              As an avid low carber, I am sure you use more spice than the average bear in your proteins though. I sure do.

              Today I made up some batches of spices because I am making middle eastern food tonight. I made up two batches of 7 spice (both Lebanese and Arabic) and a batch of Chinese 5 spice since the grinder and all the spices were out.

              I will see if I can post a picture of my kofta when it goes on the fire. It is so pretty cooking outside in the rain tonight.

              1. re: sedimental

                I confess that I was making my own ras el hanout til I found a really nice blend on sale at WS. I tend to make my own chili blend or just punch up good chili powder.

                But you have got me beat by a mile with your ambition.

                I must slink off in shame now, but nice chatting with you. ;-)

                  1. re: sedimental

                    Those look great, but I think I may be more interested in the interesting fireplace I can't see enough of. :-)

                    1. re: mcf

                      I built myself a full, covered outdoor kitchen several years has a woodstone pizza oven built into one end. Really nice in the Pacific Northwest where it rains a lot but isn't very cold most of the year. It allows me to cook outside much more. Sometimes I put a Tuscan grill inside it and use it for coal and fire cooking like tonight. Really fun.

                      Anyway, I was going to post this photo in the WFD thread, but I will post it here because I made a number of substitutions my special diet buddies might be interested in and I would really love to get some consistent communication and inspiration going on this board for healthy cooking! I am not complaining, but so often other threads in home cooking are very heavy on starches and sugars.

                      So! Here are my healthier tweaks for my middle eastern feast in the family room on the coffee table :)

                      I made the kofta from bison. It took a bit more oil in the mix as bison is extrememly lean, but it was very tasty.

                      I also toasted LC wheat tortillas over the coals instead of a lavash. Sprinkled with olive oil and za' loss of flavor.

                      I wanted some rice of some kind tonight. Instead of traditional mujaddara with white rice and lentils, I used only 1/2cup of brown rice for the entire dish. Lots of spice, caramelized onion and chopped mint.

                      Fage, hummus, veg melange. I made the muhammara a bit healthier (with almonds) and very light hand with the Pom paste (just a tsp for the recipe). Next time I might add a sugar alternative for a bit more sweetness. I really like a big sweet and hot thing going on.

                      All in all, I am happy with the healthier tweaks.

                      1. re: sedimental

                        okay, now yer just showin' off. ;-)

                        Beautiful meal and table... sounds delicious.

                        Joseph's Middle Eastern Bakery makes great low carb lavash, btw, but I often sub theirs or La Tortilla Factory wraps for other breads, too.

                        1. re: sedimental

                          Yummm, oh how I love kofta. All of that sounds wonderful, sedimental. Oh, and that outdoor oven sounds super sexy!

                          1. re: sedimental

                            Sounds like a fabulous spread. And I'm with mcf, coveting your outdoor kitchen ;)

                            Just one comment about your muhammara tweaks - almonds aren't "healthier" than walnuts. In fact, walnuts are the only nuts considered to be a good source of ALA, an essential omega-3 fatty acid of which most Americans don't get enough. Plus, they've been shown to lower LDL cholesterol more than other nuts do, they contain the best combination of antioxidants for heart health, they can help reduce stress and keep blood pressure in check, and they may even help reduce breast cancer risk.

                            There's nothing wrong with almonds - they provide numerous benefits as well. But walnuts definitely shouldn't be avoided or swapped out for other nuts if your intent is to make something more healthful or nutritious.

                            BTW, I'm a big fan of bison!

                            1. re: goodhealthgourmet


                              Well, not always. Of course, it depends on what part of health you are aiming for. For me (with this particular meal) I subbed almonds due to lower calories, lower fat and higher fiber. That is what I wanted out of my third dip/spread with this meal.

                              But, you bring up a good point about the concept of what is "more healthful". It differs, not only with different people's need or goals, but I also think looking at a meal or recipe "in total" is a good idea.

                              1. re: sedimental

                                I should have specified that in *my* personal & professional opinion, almonds aren't necessarily preferable to walnuts because I don't believe lower-fat/lower-calorie always = more healthful. Overall, neither one is "better" for you than the other because there are different benefits to eating them.

                                The meal was already pretty packed with fiber between the tortillas, hummus, vegetable melange & mujaddara, so it wouldn't have been a concern for me with the muhammara...but again, we all have our own priorities. Regardless, that was one heck of a well-rounded, nutritious spread you put together.

                                1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                  I noticed that the almonds had higher fiber, but with the walnuts lower carb to start with and higher Omega 3s, they're my personal choice for health, over almonds. But priorities differ, as do tastes.

                                  I can't handle rice or lentils, but I would NOT turn down an invitation to that meal!

          2. grilling on the patio tonight:
            - chicken thighs marinated in lemon, mint, cumin
            - asparagus
            - sweet potatoes dusted with chipolte powder
            I also have an avocado in the frig... not sure what I'll do with it yet.

            3 Replies
            1. re: PamelaD

              sometimes I just like a real simple salad with diced up avocado, tomato, onion, a touch of olive oil and a little feta on top.

              1. re: Sandwich_Sister

                Sounds good! I don't have any feta, but do have goat cheese, so might try that...

                1. re: Sandwich_Sister

                  Toss in some minced chiles & fresh herbs and a splash of acid and I'm all over that salad.

              2. I cook Dinner every Thursday for my Nana (grandma who is diabetic, and has heart issues) The hospital gave us a guide and I follow that.

                She's a southern lady that has always enjoyed her fried and salty buttery foods so it has been a challenge but she is doing well.

                Veggie / Salad Course
                Steamed veggie with Yellow Squash, Zucchini, tomato, and fresh Zellwood sweet corn

                Protein / Whole grain course
                Jambalaya (whole grain rice, low sodium chicken stock, shrimp, a lean andouille like sausage.) Nana gets 3 oz of meat for dinner so she'll have some shrimp and some sausage which will be diced a little smaller than normal)
                NO SALT besides what is in the sausage. She seems to really like Mural of Flavor by Penzey. Plus all of your regular veggies that go in Jambalaya.

                Dessert - Dairy / Fruit Course
                Sugar free Jello brand Banana Pudding with a little cut up bananas and a dollop of sugar free cool whip with one vanilla wafer(if I can sneak it in without going over).

                It sounds like a lot but it's all portioned out.

                3 Replies
                1. re: Sandwich_Sister

                  I'm diabetic, tightly controlled in low normal numbers for over a decade without taking any meds. Diet quickly reversed my kidney and nerve damage and lipids. Eating this way with plenty of salt and other minerals keeps my blood pressure down, too.

                  So next time I cook, we'll be having chicken marinated with Dijon mustard, rosemary, lemon juice, olive oil and grilled. Sides will likely be arugula salad with halved grape tomatoes and avocado, and some grilled summer squash, brushed with olive oil.

                  If we have a dessert, it will be a low carb rhubarb cobbler made with alternative sweeteners and topped with an almond meal and chopped nut crust and butter, served with real home made whipped cream.

                  But dessert isn't routine around here.

                  1. re: mcf

                    How long do you marinate that chicken in its lovely bath of dijon/rosemary/etc?

                    1. re: pinehurst

                      According to the recipe, two hours at room temp or overnight:

                      Ann Burrell is a good cook, terrible recipe writer, but this is SO good, it's worth recording the episode in reruns. I grill it on low on a very clean Weber gas grill grate, well oiled to save all that wonderful skin.

                      I keep the grill closed at all times, skin side down for about 15 minutes or so, then up until done. I always have marinade left over to brush on the chicken twice during cooking for the best flavor.


                      Do you use You can auto import from epicurious and foodnetwork, manual save elsewhere. Has so simplified my life, just send it to my kindle.

                      Meyer lemons are out of season, so just plain ones. The squeeze from the roasted lemon is wonderful.

                2. Raw kale & shaved brussel sprout salad with chopped almonds, currants & a lemon vinaigrette. Finished w/ shaved Pecorino romano. I'm addicted and can't stop making and eating it.

                  I also made a delicious romesco sauce that we had on broiled grouper. Bonus was it was quick and easy to make. Here's a link:

                  I eat eggs and egg whites like they are going out of style. I'll sauté whatever veggies I have on hand and include them and have a spinach salad or the kale salad mentioned above. I strength train so I'm a bit of a protein junkie.

                  15 Replies
                  1. re: lynnlato

                    Oh, yum, I adore Brussel sprouts. Is there a recipe for that salad?

                    1. re: sedimental

                      Here ya go:

                      Kale Salad with Currants, Parmesan and Almonds

                      Juice of 1/2 lemon or more to taste
                      1/2 shallot, chopped
                      11/2 teaspoons honey
                      1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
                      1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
                      1 bunch kale, stems removed, leaves finely chopped
                      8-10 ounces brussel sprouts, remove & discard ends, finely chop
                      2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
                      1/3 cup slivered almonds, or chopped raw almonds
                      ¼ cup currants, or to taste
                      2 1/2 ounces Parmesan or Romano, shaved with a peeler

                      In a bowl, whisk juice, shallot, honey, salt and pepper flakes. Add kale & brussel sprouts; toss well. Let sit 20 minutes. Mix in oil. Refrigerate for up to 1 day, or serve immediately. Add almonds, currants and Parmesan to kale; serve.

                    2. re: lynnlato

                      That salad sounds wonderful... I have just slowed my arugula with blue or parmesan cheese addiction some... Why stop, sounds so delicious and healthy!

                      1. re: mcf

                        It's got great texture - I'm addicted... for now anyway. I'll probably wear out my taste buds on it soon.

                        I adore arugula too. And I cannot think of any good reason to stop your addiction, mcf. Keep on sister. ;-)

                        1. re: lynnlato

                          As someone who has recently adjusted her diet, I'm still adjusting...made chicken salad yesterday, chicken breasts broiled w/ Old Bay, a bit of olive oil mayo, mustard, pickles, scallions- biggest change is I'm eating it in a lettuce wrap, rather than on crackers (I miss my crackers!)

                          1. re: thistle5

                            See if these work for you...

                            As long as they don't trigger cravings.

                            1. re: mcf

                              mcf, I used to eat these all the time as a substitute for bread and for crackers. I am temporarily (hopefully) eating gluten-free so I can't have them right now but they are a great substitute and have a wonderful crunchy texture. So good w/ almond butter. Yumm.

                                  1. re: lynnlato

                                    I love the sun dried tomato ones; they don't have any strong flavor, they're just tastier without tasting strongly of anything in particular, if that makes sense.

                                    1. re: mcf

                                      I haven't seen those crackle ones, are they in the health foodish section of a regular grocery store or in the regular cracker section?
                                      I love any cracker with a Big Crunch!

                                      1. re: sedimental

                                        So far, I think I've found them in the gluten free section of my local natural supermarket. They have a store locator online, though what's weird is that under their own name, they list the addy and phone of my local store.

                                        Vitacost has them, and not by the case like!

                                        They're also running a 15% off food sale right now.

                                        1. re: mcf

                                          Whoa, since when is Cracklebred GF???

                            2. re: thistle5

                              It's an adjustment, isn't it thistle5? I've recently cut gluten out of my diet so I can empathize with your missing crackers. Woe is me.

                              I'm a huge chicken salad lover. In addition to being type 1 diabetic, I'm a nutrition and fitness nut too. Lately I've been making a lower fat version of my chicken salad. I make the dressing w/ half mayo half fat free greek yogurt (plus a little mustard, cider vinegar and the smallest bit of honey). I add chopped walnuts and egg whites, red onion a few sliced grapes. And I too eat it with a fresh spinach, romaine or boston/bibb lettuce.

                              For anyone that wants a low fat low carb recipe for Asian lettuce wraps, here is an easy one that my family and I really enjoy:


                      2. Was looking to use stuff in my freezer and cupboards and to make something good for a rainy, cool day/night and found this:

                        I was all set and excited because I had everything in the house, I thought. Then I realized that the shrimp I'd gotten at WF instead of Costco (U.S. vs. Indonesia) were peeled already.

                        It inspired me to throw together a shrimpy version of my winter pumpkin soup, which usually involves andouille sausage. For seafood, I often use chorizo, so cut up two of those, some shallots, garlic and celery, and sauteed them in EVOO, then added some dry white wine and boiled it a minute or two. I then added two cans of organic pumpkin puree, two bay leaves, two sprigs of thyme and a can of insipid chicken stock (I'm all out of freezer space to make my own for storing) so I added some spoons of Better than Bouillon chicken goop, and black pepper. Let it sit on the lowest burner setting til Tom got home, worked out and was ready to eat. Then I sauteed a lb of shrimp with chopped fresh thyme leaves in EVOO and dumped them into the hot soup for the shrimp to finish. Oh, I dumped in a cup of heavy cream first.

                        Dang, that was good.

                        Can't wait to try that recipe, though.

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: mcf

                          Good to know pumpkin is possible. I haven't tried it yet, since I've gone low, low carb, but look forward to testing it!

                          1. re: Teddybear

                            It's really high fiber, as long as you get a can of it that's not butternut squash instead, as often happens. If too carby, just use more stock and one less can pumpkin. Sugar free pumpkin pie (crustless) or custard is very good, too!

                          2. re: mcf

                            Sounds awesome. Teddy, pumpkin is a mainstay in our house (the canned) and I use it a lot. I even give it as a treat to our hound once in a while (a tablespoon full)...but not more because it IS very high fiber as mcf said. Problem is, our stores are fickle about carrying it year-round (i.e, in months that aren't October-February, so I have to buy it when I can find it. Of course, the pumpkin pie filling stuff that's 70% sugar, they have year round.