Tag Archives: South Beach Diet

Low-Carb Recipe: Slow-Cooker Olive Turkey

13 Jan

For a text-only version of this recipe and complete ingredients listing, click here.

Plain turkey drumsticks get a saucy makeover in this easy dish.

Note: I see James Ramsden also has a poultry-and-olive combo on his own blog this week, albeit Morrocan-style in his case. I guess great minds think alike!

Turkey drumsticks are a great sale find at our local grocery store, and I love thinking up new ways to present them. I also love using my Crock Pot as much as possible when I’m restricting carbs. It keeps meal preparation fun and gives me something to look forward to all day, instead of staring at yet another bunless hamburger when I get home. 🙂

The combination of dark meat and slow-cooking keeps this version moist and tender, and the Mexican ingredients are a perfect match for stronger-flavored game poultry. Continue reading

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Easy Recipe: Bistecca Caprese alla Griglia (Grilled Capri Steak)

25 Aug

For a printable version of this recipe and complete ingredients listing, click here.

Go ahead. Tell me your mouth isn’t watering. I Double-Dog-Dare you.

So…our oven is broken. (In case you were scratching your head at the sporadic nature of recent posts, now you know.)

Today I called Hubby from work and asked him to defrost some meat and light the grill before I got home with the kids for the evening. As I spent my day thinking about the barbecue, however, I just couldn’t seem to get myself in the mood for a big old charcoal-grilled steak.

One reason was that steaks always make me crave coffee with dinner, and let’s face it — the weather’s not that cool yet. Continue reading

Quickie Low-Carb Recipe: “Porcupine” Chicken Drumsticks

25 Aug

For a printable version of this recipe and complete ingredients listing, click here.

This is another quick & yummy weeknight recipe for when you’re low-carbing it and the rest of the family isn’t.

Some of you may recall my “Thyme Out” post a couple of months ago about how tired I was of ten million chicken recipes that all taste like thyme and rosemary.

Today I offer a different flavor-packed, herbed variation on the weeknight chicken dinner theme, this time involving bold cumin seed, a $2 package of drumsticks and less than 5 minutes’ worth of prep time. Pair it with an easy oil & vinegar Caprese salad for a beautifully simple, low-carb dinner that gets you in and out of the kitchen in half an hour. (I did throw some Rice-a-Roni alongside ours to ride shotgun for the carb-addicts in the house.) Continue reading

Low-Carb Recipe: Spicy Southwestern Ceviche

8 Jul

For a printable version of this recipe and complete ingredients listing, click here.

This is a great make-ahead seafood recipe for party dishes or long weekends around the house. If you’ve never tried ceviche before, think of it as a sort of “fish salsa.”

Chef’s Note: Because you’re using time+acid to “cook” your seafood (rather than heat), you’ll want to be sure to use nonreactive dishware and utensils during the marinating process.

Begin with about 1 lb. of boneless, raw fish or seafood.

(I used red snapper, but anything will work, including shrimp, scallops, calamari, or other items on sale at your local grocery.

I’ll warn you; thawed frozen fish will have a mushier final texture than fresh, so if you’re using frozen, be aware of that caveat up front.

Also, you may want to rinse thawed filets in cool water before beginning, depending on what sort of liquid they may have been frozen in, to help the flavor. Basically: the fresher, the better.

Cut the filets into small (3/4″) chunks and place in the bottom of a large glass or ceramic bowl.

Chop one seeded cucumber, one seeded poblano pepper (or other variety) and several green onions into small tidbits and add to the fish.

Sprinkle mixture with 1 teaspoon minced garlic, 1 teaspoon cumin, 1 teaspoon chili powder, and 2 teaspoons salt.

Splash mixture with 1-2 teaspoons of your favorite hot sauce and add 1 (15-ounce) drained can of diced tomatoes. (You can always use fresh, seeded tomato chunks but I just use canned to save time.)

If desired, canned black or pinto beans are a festive addition to this dish, and also help your seafood budget stretch further!

Squeeze the juice of 4 limes and 3 lemons over the raw fish mixture. Stir with a wooden spoon until evenly coated.

Cover mixture with plastic wrap or lid and refrigerate overnight, stirring at least once sometime after the first hour has passed.

Serve chilled in a large dip bowl with vegetables or chips for dipping, or spooned over a lettuce and cheese salad base. Garnish with chopped flat parsley if desired.

Low-Carb Recipe: Chicken Cordon Bleu

10 Jun

For a printable version of this recipe and complete ingredients listing, click here.

My easy, healthy spin on Chicken Cordon Bleu replaces the bread coating with flax seed, but you can easily swap in wheat germ, chopped nuts, crushed pork rinds, or any number of other low-carb options, depending on what diet you’re on and what’s available at your local discount grocery.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray a glass or ceramic baking dish with nonstick coating and set aside.

Split chicken and pound flat.

Take 3 thawed, whole, boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 2 lbs.) and split each one down the middle. Separate the two sides of each split breast and lay them as flat as possible on waxed paper.

50 cents' worth of thin lunchmeat was just right.

Using a meat tenderizer or other heavy tool, pound each chicken breast as flat as uniformly possible. (I pound on the side that was split open, leaving the original outer side still attractive and smooth.) The tenderized chicken breasts should be about 3/8″ thick.

Ham, string cheese & chopped scallions.

Lay about 3 extra-thin slices of ham (I used super-cheap lunchmeat) over each chicken breast, overlapping slices as needed. If meat is not super-thin, you may just want to use 1 or 2 slices per breast.

Unwrap 6 (1-oz-each) sticks of string cheese and place 2 sticks on top of the ham slices in the center of each chicken breast. Alternatively, you could use about 1 cup shredded cheese instead, but the string cheese is much easier to keep contained as it cooks.

If you can't find flax seed, you can mash pork rinds or top with wheat germ.

Dice the green parts of 2 scallions into small pieces and sprinkle some on top of each pair of cheese sticks.

Starting at one end of the flat chicken breast (parallel to length of cheese stick), begin rolling the chicken breast around the ham/cheese/onions. Transfer to sprayed casserole dish, being sure to secure the open edge of each roll firmly underneath to prevent seeping. You can use toothpicks to secure this if you like, but I never do.

Cover before sticking in the oven.

(If you do decide to use toothpicks, it’s a good idea to count how many you put in so you remember how many to remove before you serve the chicken!)

Once chicken has been transferred to baking dish, rub a tiny amount of melted butter over them (optional) and sprinkle liberally with about 2 Tbs. flax seed or other preferred coating.

This doesn't taste like diet food.

Cover with alumnium foil; Bake covered for about 35-40 minutes. Remove foil and cook an additional 10 minutes, or until evenly cooked.

(Remember that because you pounded them flat and placed pre-cooked ham in the middle, they shouldn’t go as long as whole, solid chicken breasts.)

Asparagus makes a nice, low-carb sidecar for this recipe.

Low-Carb Recipe: Sweet & Spicy Jalapeno Black Beans

18 May

For a printable version of this recipe and complete ingredients listing, click here.

Black beans & jalapenos
These satisfying beans are teeming with flavors!

This low-carb, diet-friendly dish is one of my favorite concoctions when I’m on the bandwagon because it goes with so many other things: taco meat, lean pulled pork, cottage cheese, etc. Last night, it was just as at home with Asian-inspired baked chicken thighs.

The best part about this version is that you don’t have to wait until right before dinner’s ready to heat up the beans for fear of them turning to mush on the stovetop. I discovered years ago that jalapeno brine right in the pot with them has an awesome effect on preserving the beans’ texture, whether they’re spending a couple of minutes or a couple of hours on the stove!

Canned beans

Double the recipe and use the whole jar of jalapenos--leftovers keep well!

I think the reason has to do with the vinegar keeping the peels from separating off the beans, but I’m not pretending to understand science here–I just know that it works!

Rinse black beans

Drain & rinse beans.

Begin by draining and rinsing a can of black beans (recipe can be doubled).

Put beans in bottom of small/medium saucepan and place over LOW burner heat.

To the saucepan, add half of a (12-oz) jar of sliced jalapenos (or any other sliced pickled pepper) along with 1/2 of the jar’s brine/vinegar.

Jar of jalapeno peppers

Sliced pickled peppers.

Chef’s Note: The easiest way to divide the peppers and brine in half is to first drain the juice into an empty measuring cup (will be about 2/3 c. juice), shake half of the peppers into the pot, pour half of the brine over it, and then empty the rest of the measuring cup’s contents back over the jalapenos still in the jar.

Jalapeno brine.

Use a measuring cup to divide 1/2 jar's brine.

Stir in 1 teaspoon minced garlic, 1 teaspoon instant chicken boullion granules (or crushed boullion cube) and 4 artificial sweetener packets (I use Splenda but anything will work).

Keep over LOW heat.

Keep on LOW heat.

Mix in 1 or 2 tablespoons steak sauce. Many popular steak sauces are somewhat low-carb to begin with, and in this particular case that one “serving” of sauce is being spread out over several servings of the beans–and also the leftover bean “juice” that won’t even be consumed in the end– so there’s actually no real carb danger here.

Artificial sweetener.

Artificial sweetener.

(Now, if you were slathering loads of sauce all over a single portion of steak three times a day, that might be horse of a different color. Maybe.)

Diet or no-diet; these are great!

Diet or no diet; these beans rule!

 Pour in 2/3 cup water and stir lightly. Cover saucepan and allow to heat over LOW burner until thoroughly heated. Serve; refrigerate or freeze any leftovers still in the “juice.”

*If you’re not low-carbing it per se (maybe just lowfat?), you can bring those leftover beans out of retirement and give an otherwise “ho-hum” pasta salad an exotic makeover.

Cheap Recipe: Skillet Pepper Steak

10 Feb

For a printable version of this recipe and complete ingredients listing, click here.

This is a great quickie recipe with lots of flavor!

Last Friday night, the family got home at 6:00 p.m. and I realized I hadn’t planned anything to make for dinner. Hubby had rented a movie, so the goal was to eat fast and hopefully get the kids to bed early so we could watch the movie.

I performed a quick “fridge scan” and found that I had some cheap steaks in the freezer that could be microwave-thawed, and half of a green pepper in the crisper drawer that was looking a bit dodgy.

In the blink of an eye (well, if it takes about ten minutes for you to blink, that is) Skillet Pepper Steak was piping hot, delicious, and on our dinner table. Crisis averted without calling Domino’s!

Thaw some cheap steaks in the microwave...

 Begin by warming 2 tablespoons cooking oil in a large, deep skillet over medium-high heat. Take two cheap, thawed steaks (I think ours were top round) and make 2-3 crosswise incisions in each steak (for absorbing flavor more quickly).

A little garlic powder and pepper...

Place meat in the oiled skillet and shake a little garlic powder and black pepper over the steaks. Drizzle 2-3 tablespoons steak sauce across the meat as it cooks.

While the first sides of the steaks brown, chop half of an onion and half of a bell pepper into very fine slivers. If desired, you can also chop a handful of pepperoncinis into the mix to add some heat and sweetness to the flavor.

Flip steaks after about 3 minutes.

Flip steaks after about 3 minutes, moving them around in the oil/sauce mixture to coat evenly. (Beware: overcooking cheap skillet steaks can result in a heavy workout for your jaws when it comes time to start chewing! Keep it medium or so!)

A little bit of pepperoncini gives your veggies extra flavor.

Toss the chopped vegetables into the skillet beside the meat. After a couple of minutes sauteeing in the pan, scoop the now-tender vegetables onto the tops of the steaks and mound them.

Remove covered steaks from pan and serve immediately.

Steaks cooked in a skillet should be pink but not red in the middle after about 6-7 minutes in the pan. (Told you this was a fast recipe!)

Some steak sauce...

We served ours with a packet of cheap noodle mix. I didn’t even bother preparing an extra vegetable side dish because of all the onions and peppers involved in the steak recipe.

Start mounding the veggies on top of the steaks if they tenderize before meat is done.

The trick is to keep the vegetables from getting mushy–that’s why I don’t add them until the steaks have been flipped. That way, you’re already pretty much getting a hearty serving of vegetables with every steak. (Although I think microwave-baked potatoes might be a nice touch if you have a couple good-looking bakers on hand…)

Carmelized onions and peppers simmered in steak sauce. The perfect topping!

Not bad for two adult steak dinners in less than ten minutes for about five bucks!

Cheap Recipe: Quick Pork Chop Casserole

8 Oct

For a printable version of this recipe and complete ingredients listing, click here.

This diet-friendly dish is just downright good even when you're not on the wagon...

This dish makes your kitchen smell SO friggin' good...

This recipe is a favorite around my house that I’ve been using for years. It originated as a creation I invented when running out of South Beach Diet recipes that were friendly for Phase 2 of the diet plan. But Hubby liked it so much we’ve been having it on a regular basis for years now, even when I’m not counting carbs.

I am posting the recipe this week because it also fulfills another of the Ingredient Challenge submissions, to use butternut squash playing a savory role in a recipe. Cheryl, my coworker who submitted that ingredient challenge, got to sample leftovers of this after I made it, and approves, although she decided to pick out the pear pieces because she doesn’t like pears.

Chop all ingredients into large bites.

Chop all ingredients into large bites.

I use skin-on pears in the casserole as a higher-fiber substitute for serving a side dish of applesauce with the pork, but it’s a matter of personal taste. You can always leave them out if you’re not digging the whole pear scene.

Begin by preheating oven to 400 degrees. Quarter a yellow onion and separate layers. Toss in a 9″x12″ glass casserole dish. Next, cut 1-2 celery ribs into 1″-long chunks and add to onions. Chop 2 large pears into large bites (do not peel), remove any visible seeds, and add to dish.

Add 2 cups of butternut squash (or sweet potato) cut into large chunks. Like most in-season produce, I like to buy one big squash a month, chop it all, and then freeze it in 2-cupDoing this saves a lot of time on weeknights, which motivates me to actually cook real food more often. Plus, if you buy stuff when it’s on sale and freeze it, you’ll save money, and it’s not a giant investment to begin with anyway.

Pile all the veggies together in a big dish.

Pile all the veggies together in a big dish.

 amounts since they take so long to cut up and I inevitably wind up with more in one round than any recipe requires.

Boneless pork chops.

Boneless pork chops.

Cut 1.5 lbs. thin-sliced boneless pork chops into bite-size chunks. (I use thin-sliced chops because they cook faster than thick chops which means the squash doesn’t dry out before the pork is cooked.)

Arrange the pork on top of the vegetable mixture in your casserole dish. Sprinkle on: 1 teaspoon garlic powder, 1 teaspoon sage (or thyme/rosemary if you prefer), 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1 teaspoon ginger and 1 teaspoon salt.

Add seasoning and liquid...

Add seasoning and liquid...

Pour 1 cup chicken broth and 1 cup apple juice (or just 2 cups broth, if you prefer) over the casserole. Bake uncovered for 20 minutes, or until pork appears fully cooked. Serve over couscous, noodles or rice with the broth spooned liberally over the top. Or,

Voila!

Voila!

if you are on a low carb diet, you can eat it by itself (that’s how Hubby prefers it anyway, and he’s never dieted in his life).

*This casserole goes really well with Southern-Style Green Beans. Sometimes I cook them on the stovetop while the casserole bakes and then just spread them over the top of the dish when it comes out of the oven!