Sunday, January 27, 2013

Carb Free/Low Carb Creations

My parents are currently working through a diet which limits the intake of carbohydrates. Bread, pasta, rice, barley, oatmeal, corn, potatoes, sugars, alcohol, and all fruits are now off the menu. This has been somewhat of a challenge for we are a a sturdy, German-American family, and we like our starchy foods. But really, the diet is an attempt to reform the way one approaches food. Protein-rich foods like eggs, meats, poultry, and legumes should be staples of the diet, instead of highly processed flours and sugars. Needless to say, we have been eating a lot of lean meats and fresh vegetables. It's been a challenge to come up with carbohydrate-free meals that are enough to satisfy, but I think I'm getting better and better at it. Here is a sampling of dishes from this past week:

Sauteed Brussels Sprouts
1) Soak 1/4 c sprouts in salted water for 30 minutes. Simmer on stove top until bright green. Drain.
2) Heat olive oil in cast iron pan. Cut sprouts into halves or quarters and add to pan. Cover.
3) Let cook until sprouts are caramelized. They should be tender with a light brown coat.
4) Serve HOT. Cold brussels sprouts are not at all appetizing.

Stuffed Peppers
1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees, and grease a 9x9 casserole dish with olive oil.
2) Slice 2 large green peppers lengthwise, removing core, and washing out seeds. Place hollow side up in dish.
3) Heat olive oil in cast iron pan. Roughly chop 1 medium white onion, 1/4 head of broccoli, and a few raw almonds. Add both to pan. Cover and cook until onions are tender and light brown. Remove from heat.
4) Crumble fresh feta cheese into pan, tossing with onions and almonds. Heap spoonfuls of mixture into peppers, sprinkle with ground black pepper. Bake for approximately 30 minutes, then serve hot.

Curried Summer Squash
1) Slice 2-4 small squash lengthwise. Place slices in casserole dish and drizzle generous amounts of olive oil over them.
2) Sprinkle sea salt and curry powder in copious amounts over squash. Coat slices well, and let marinate in fridge for a few hours.
3) These are best grilled, but can be baked in a 400 degree oven for 30 minutes or so.

White Bean & Parmesan Salad
1) Drain 1 can each white butter beans and garbanzo beans. Rinse well and combine in large bowl.
2) Thinly slice 2 small summer squash or zucchini. Add to beans.
3) Grate 1/2 c fresh parmesan cheese. Add to bean & squash mixture.
4) Drizzle beans, squash, and parmesan with olive oil and juice from 1/2 of a lemon, sprinkle (sparingly) with sea salt and black pepper, and toss until well coated.

In our family there are always hits and misses with veggie dishes, but I think I'm getting to the point of compromise for everybody!

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