Summer is approaching, and the streets are already scorching hot! If you’re like me, you recognize that tanned fat looks better than opaque fat, but you don’t want to be caught dead in a bathing suit. I’m getting ready for summer by eating a high protein, low carb diet. Below are some of my favorite recipes. WARNING: These are not low in fat. If you don’t cut the carbs, you will see the weight in your belly and on your hips within a week.
CAULIFLOWER! I’ve used cauliflower as a pasta and a potato.
When I made it as a pasta, I simmered it in salty water until it was tender, drained it and made a low carb (high fat) cheese sauce with butter, garlic, heavy cream and cheese. If you use parmesan, it will make the best Alfredo sauce on the planet! I was craving mac n’ cheese, so I used cheddar. It was heavenly! For a one-pot meal, dice up ham, green onion and sautéed mushrooms. You can substitute ham for bacon or grilled chicken.
The best mashed cauliflower starts with simmering a head of cauliflower, a clove of garlic and salt (like the ocean) until the cauliflower is tender. Drain and add an entire package of cream cheese. For the best consistency, use a blender to puree until smooth. Pour into an oven-safe container (I use my Pyrex), top with cheese and fried onions. Bake until cheese is melted and enjoy!
LASAGNA! I made this for a pot luck at Orange, and everyone loved it. They didn’t miss the pasta and probably would not have eaten it if they had known how fattening it was!
Sautee a pound of ground beef and an onion. If you like green peppers and mushrooms in your sauce, add those too. Cook until meat is browned, drain fat. Add a jar of marinara, tomato and basil, or your favorite spaghetti sauce. Simmer for about 15 minutes and then add a ¼ cup of fresh basil torn into bite-sized pieces.
In a separate pot, melt a stick of butter and 2 cloves of minced garlic (to get the garlic fine, add kosher salt when you’re mincing). Do not allow the butter and garlic to burn. Pour in a pint of heavy cream, stirring frequently until all of the butter is incorporated in the cream. Whisk in a cup of finely grated parmesan cheese. Continue to whisk until the cheese is melted. Remove from heat, stirring frequently to prevent the ingredients from separating and sticking to the bottom of the pan.
Zucchini or Eggplant! Both are low in carbs and an excellent alternative to pasta. Zucchini is a little faster than eggplant because you only have to slice it and layer it between the two sauces. Because this is so saucy, you need to use more zucchini than you think, approximately 5-6 medium-sized zucchinis. If you prefer eggplant, slice the eggplant thin with or without the skin. I prefer the skin because that is where the nutrients are; but my family likes it better without, so I remove it. The smaller eggplants are richer in flavor. You will need 2-3. Using a non-stick skillet, heat the pan to medium high and drizzle with olive oil. Add the eggplant and heat until tender, turning once. The eggplant will absorb the oil, so drizzle each time you rotate the cooked eggplant out and the raw in. Once all of the eggplant is tender, layer it between the two sauces. Top with your favorite cheese – mozzarella, parmesan or Italian blend–and bake in a 350° oven for an hour. Remove and let stand 30 minutes.
TACO SALAD! We eat this at least once a week. My biggest craving and number one comfort food is chips and salsa. I promise I do not even miss the chips when I make healthy choices that include cutting out the carbs.
Our favorite meat marinade is the Tabasco Chipotle sauce, a bit of olive oil, salt and pepper. Depending on what we have and what we’re craving, we either throw boneless skinless chicken on the grill or a steak. A whole red pepper, green pepper, jalapeno, thick- sliced onion, and corn on the cob drizzled in olive oil all get added to the grill at the same time as the chicken, or before the steak since we like ours medium rare. Get a nice char on all of the veggies and remove them from the heat. Slice each as soon as they are cooled enough to touch.
While your Grill Master is cooking outside, dice two large tomatoes, a medium onion and chop a handful of fresh cilantro. Mix in a bowl, adding your favorite hot sauce, salt and pepper. If you love guacamole like me, cut two soft avocados in half, remove the pit and squeeze the insides into a small bowl. Scoop a heaping tablespoon or two of the fresh salsa into the bowl, use a fork to smash and blend the salsa into the avocado. Sprinkle with salt and squeeze in lime juice to delay browning.
Slice lettuce. Get out the sour cream, cheese and pickled jalapenos. Dice the meat and begin building your masterpiece.
DESSERT! Strawberries are a low-carb fruit and my go-to when I’m craving something sweet. My favorite way to eat them is topped with homemade whipped cream. I keep homemade whipped cream in my fridge and eat it after dinner each night as a reward for making good choices throughout the day. The way I make it is simple. I dump a pint of heavy cream in my mixer and whip it on the highest setting until it starts to get fluffy. Without turning down the mixer, I add a tablespoon of powdered sugar until it is blended well and wah-lah, it is done, unless of course I’m craving chocolate, which most of the time I am! My favorite cocoa is Dutch cocoa, which is high in fat and low in carbs; but you can use whatever you have. I simply add 2 tablespoons of chocolate and sweeten it with the powdered sugar. I keep this covered in a glass container in my fridge at all times. Minced strawberries are divine when folded into homemade whipped cream!
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