Comfort Without the Carbs: Dishes to Warm and Restore

This content originally appeared on diaTribe. Republished with permission.

By Catherine Newman

In the most unusual of times, we bring you low-carb comfort food for good days, bad days, cold days, and everything in between – these recipes will warm you right up and make you feel like things are okay in the world

These dishes are the fleece blankets of the dinner world. They’re so warm and cozy that they’ll give you a kind of “bring it on” feeling about both life and cold weather. They cook forever and smell fantastic while they’re in the oven or on the stovetop, and they look great by candlelight even if they don’t all photograph that well. And, yes, most of them are not exactly light – they’re more like stick-to-your-ribs fare, made to be eaten before you go ice skating in the dark or, even, before you curl up to watch whatever show it is you’re binge watching.

Low-carb comfort food might sound like an oxymoron – where’s the pasta? the potatoes? – but trust me when I tell you that these hit all of the same notes as the classics. They’re long-cooked and aromatic and totally like what your grandma used to make, if your grandma made the kind of meal you’d order at an American diner. Plus, they’re unfancy crowd pleasers, and the leftovers always heat up well. While none of them are going to win any prizes in, say, the salad category, they do all offer way more in vegetable matter than their carbier cousins, which means loads of bonus nutrition in every bite. So, hunker down, give in to the cozy, and enjoy.

1. Baked Zucchatoni

Warm dish

Image source: Catherine Newman

This is like a cross between an unfussy lasagna and a baked ziti: cheesy, rich, and deeply satisfying, despite the actual absence of noodles. Even my daughter, who tends to be totally skeptical about “fake vegetable pasta dishes,” loves it. Don’t be daunted by the ribboning of the zucchini with a vegetable peeler: it honestly doesn’t take that long, and the resulting strands are thinner and wider and just generally more noodle-like than what you’d get with a spiralizer. That said, if you want to start with a pound of zoodles, go ahead – just be sure to salt and drain them really, really well or the resulting dish will be watery. One last thing: if you’d prefer a meat sauce, go ahead and brown a pound of ground beef after you sauté the onions and before you add the tomatoes – and expect the dish to feed more people that way.

View the recipe.

2. Best-Ever Beef Stew

Warm dish

Image source: Catherine Newman

This classic stew should be the mascot of your winter kitchen. It’s completely delicious, and it smells fabulous during its long stint in the oven, filling the house with warmth and promise. I love mushrooms, and the fact that they’re healthy, but if you don’t like them or don’t have any, just leave them out. This stew takes a long time to make, but honestly, after the rigorous and somewhat tedious browning of the meat, the oven does most of the work. Serve it with Creamy Mashed Cauliflower and a nice sharply-dressed green salad.

View the recipe.

3. Chicken (Sort of) Noodle Soup

Warm dish

Image source: Catherine Newman

This recipe is designed around the chicken-eating habits of your household: if you love rotisserie chicken, but favor one kind of meat over the other, then just enjoy your favorite parts, and make soup with the rest of it! Or feel free to devote the whole chicken to the soup—just pull off your favorite meat and dice it, then add it back at the end once the soup is cooked. Please note that you don’t have to use all of the noodle-like ingredients (of course). The zucchini strands are tender; the mushrooms are chewy; the cabbage is strand-like and toothsome – but omit any that you don’t like or don’t have.

View the recipe.

4. Cottage Pie

Warm dish

Image source: Catherine Newman

If your own mum isn’t English, then maybe you don’t know the difference between shepherd’s pie and cottage pie – but I do! Shepherd’s pie is traditionally made with lamb; cottage pie usually means beef. But just use whatever meat – and whatever name – you prefer. This is homey comfort food at its best, even with cauliflower swapped in for the usual mashed potatoes.

View the recipe.

More comfort food recipes on diaTribe:

Cauliflower “Mac and Cheese”

Chicken Parmesan

Tomato Soup

Enchilada Zucchini

Creamy Broccoli-Cheddar Soup

Long-Roasted Chicken Thighs

Two-Bean Beef Chili

Creamy Mashed Cauliflower

Baked Chicken Fingers

About Catherine

Catherine loves to write about food and feeding people. In addition to her recipe and parenting blog Ben & Birdy (which has about 15,000 weekly readers), she edits the ChopChop series of mission-driven cooking magazines. This kids’ cooking magazine won the James Beard Publication of the Year award in 2013 – the first non-profit ever to win it – and a Parents’ Choice Gold Award. Her book “How to Be A Person” was published in 2020. She also helped develop Sprout, a WIC version of the magazine for families enrolled in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), as well as Seasoned, their senior version. They distribute over a million magazines annually, through paid subscriptions, doctor’s offices, schools, and hospitals. Their mission started with obesity as its explicit focus – and has shifted, over the years, to a more holistic one, with health, happiness, and real food at its core. That’s the same vibe Catherine brings to the diaTribe column.

[Photo Credit: Catherine Newman]

Source: diabetesdaily.com

Fun and Easy Meatless Main Dishes for Hot Days

This content originally appeared on diaTribe. Republished with permission.

By Catherine Newman

Four delicious, low-carb recipes that emphasize summer vegetables (and just so happen to be vegetarian!)

If you’re cooking meatless main dishes this summer — because you’re a vegetarian, because you’re feeding a vegetarian, or because you’re simply trying to eat less meat — then you may feel like you’re in a bit of a rut. In my house, this rut is filled with a lot of veggie burgers on the grill, a lot of herby scrambled eggs, and a lot of . . . veggie burgers on the grill. What else is there? I’m always racking my brain, and I find that it can be especially tricky if you’re keeping carb counts low – especially given how many of our summer staples can be a little carb-heavy (pasta salad, potato salad, and burger buns, we’re looking at you!). That’s where these recipes come in.

Here are three salads and a summery egg dish to mix it up a little. They hit all of the sweet spots of summer cooking and eating, and they’re perfect for those days when it is “too hot to eat” (I, myself, never have days like that, but I hear about them from other people). Plus, in the future, when we get to gather together at potlucks and barbecues again, these recipes will be perfect for sharing. We can hardly wait!

Until then, stay well, stay safe, and enjoy everything you can enjoy. It is, after all, as the poet Mary Oliver calls it, “your one wild and precious life.”

Here are a few other meatless mains on diaTribe:

Cauliflower “Mac and Cheese”

Crustless Quiche with Broccoli, Cheddar, and Mustard

Caprese Salad

Flavor-Saturated Tofu

Crustless Cauliflower Quiche with Blue Cheese

Baked Huevos Rancheros

Mason Jar Salads

diatribezukeribbon1

Image source: Catherine Newman

1. Zucchini Ribbon Salad

This beautiful tangle of wide zucchini ruffles shines in a simple lemony dressing. The cheese and pine nuts add enough heft and richness to transport this to main-course territory, but you could also serve it as a gorgeous side to something off the grill. Full disclosure: I invented this salad because my children have always found cooked zucchini “a little bit squashy” – a sin you could forgive since it is, after all, squash. But when it’s fresh and bright and raw like this, they eat it happily.

View the recipe.

diatribecobb3

Image source: Catherine Newman

2. Cobbless Cobb Salad

Okay, while this recipe is missing the chicken and bacon that would make it a traditional Cobb salad, it has retained the other crucial elements that create a perfectly balanced meal: juicy summer tomatoes, pungent blue cheese, creamy avocado, and tender-yolked eggs. By all means add the meats back in, if you like. Or do what we sometimes do, and sprinkle on a handful of chopped smokehouse almonds; you’ll get bacon’s smokiness and crunch in a delightful vegetarian format.

View the recipe.

diatribetofusalad2

Image source: Catherine Newman

3. Grilled Tofu Salad with Spicy Peanut Dressing

This salad hits all of our favorite notes: it’s creamy and rich, spicy and herby, tender and crunchy, and it’s filled with smoky flavors from the grilled tofu. Plan to serve it right away, though, since the cabbage and cucumbers will give up a lot of liquid fairly soon after they’re dressed. If you’ll want to wait a bit before serving, toss the vegetables with a teaspoon of salt and leave them to drain in a colander for 5 or 10 minutes; then dry them in a salad spinner or dish towel before assembling the salad.

View the recipe.

diatribechileeggbake1

Image source: Catherine Newman

4. Chile-Cheese Custard with Corn

This deliciously cheesy and corn-studded egg bake is a little self-conscious about not being a salad, so let me sing its summery praises: it will be ready to bake by the time the oven is preheated; you will dirty only one bowl and a baking dish; it is lovely eaten at room temperature or even cold; and it makes the most of a couple of ears of summer corn – enough for a cup of kernels, but not enough to serve on the cob. (Frozen corn is a perfectly acceptable substitute, however.) If you’ve never bought canned green chiles before, do try them here. You’ll find them in the Mexican food aisle of your supermarket in a tiny little can, and unless they say otherwise, they’re quite mild.

View the recipe.

About Catherine

Catherine loves to write about food and feeding people. In addition to her recipe and parenting blog Ben & Birdy (which has about 15,000 weekly readers), she edits the ChopChop series of mission-driven cooking magazines. This kids’ cooking magazine won the James Beard Publication of the Year award in 2013 – the first non-profit ever to win it – and a Parents’ Choice Gold Award. Her book “How to Be A Person” was published in 2020. She also helped develop Sprout, a WIC version of the magazine for families enrolled in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), as well as Seasoned, their senior version. They distribute over a million magazines annually, through paid subscriptions, doctor’s offices, schools, and hospitals. Their mission started with obesity as its explicit focus – and has shifted, over the years, to a more holistic one, with health, happiness, and real food at its core. That’s the same vibe Catherine brings to the diaTribe column.

[Photo Credit: Catherine Newman]

Source: diabetesdaily.com

Soup’s On! Four Comforting Recipes to Try

This content originally appeared on diaTribe. Republished with permission.

By Catherine Newman

Four delicious, low-carb soups that are well-seasoned and warming

Is there anything more comforting than a bowl of soup on a dark winter’s evening? (Besides, like, a round-trip ticket to Barbados.) When I serve soup to my loved ones, the windows dark and the candles lit, I feel like I’m more or less ladling out my devotion. And despite the obviously extreme ease of preparing canned soup—Open the can!—homemade soup is relatively quick and straightforward, and offers a lot of bang for your buck, both effort-wise and money-wise. You can make a lot of soup for a little money, it’s very adaptable to particular tastes, and it’s a wonderful excuse to use up any vegetables that may have lingered a little haggardly in your vegetable drawer. Cook them into a giant potful, garnish the bowls appealingly, and watch those sprouting onions and tragic celery revive and shine.

In other good news, soup has the great potential to be very low in carbohydrates: the broth itself is practically carb-free, and you can add lots of low-carb veggies and meat, and then stuff it full of other low-carb deliciousness, in the form of cream and cheese and avocadoes and seasonings of all kinds. Serve it with a salad to make a classically balanced meal, and, if you crave crunch, add some low-carb seedy crackers (I’m in love with Trader Joe’s Gluten-Free Norwegian Crispbread) or some crunchy 100% cheese crisps (Just the Cheese is our favorite, but Moon Cheese is also very good).

One note about soup-making: please do make a habit of tasting soup before you serve it. It should be perfectly delicious, and if it’s not, you can absolutely remedy the situation. Nine times out of ten, what it needs is more salt. Add some, taste, and then add still more if you need to. The other 10% of the time, we’re likely looking at a brightening squeeze of lemon or lime, a grinding of black pepper, a drizzle of cream, or some other relevant addition that will tip the scale from blah to beautiful. You’ll serve a wonderful dinner, and if you play your cards right, you’ll have a warming thermosful of leftovers for the next day’s lunch.

1. Italian Wedding Soup

Soup

Image source: Catherine Newman

I have always assumed that one day I would (finally) attend an Italian wedding, where I would be served this fragrantly delicious meatball-studded, egg-threaded soup. I recently learned, however, that the name actually refers not to human nuptials, but to the delightful marriage of meat and greens. A little disappointing, sure, but still a wedding you’ll be happy to attend. Let me just mention a couple of things: escarole looks like a kind of raggedy head of lettuce, and if you can find it, do use it; it’s simultaneously bitter and, when simmered in broth, lusciously sweet, and it has these lovely meaty stems, which add tons of substance to the soup. (That said, it’s totally fine to use other greens.) Also: while the lemon is not traditional, I love the vibrant punch it adds here, and I also love to add enough black pepper—to both the meatballs and the soup itself—that it all ends up a little bit spicy.

View the recipe.

2. Creamy Broccoli-Cheddar Soup

Image source: Catherine Newman

This is my daughter’s favorite soup by a landslide, maybe because the combination of broccoli and cheese makes it less like soup and more like a decadent casserole that’s been. . . liquefied. Don’t be alarmed that there’s no potato or flour to thicken it; it’s plenty thick thanks to the great abundance of broccoli and cheese. But do puree it pretty well, because otherwise it will have a slight tendency to separate into its liquid and solid components (although this is nothing that a little bit of stirring won’t remedy). If you forget to hold back a bit of broccoli and cheese to make it pretty when you serve it, you can garnish the soup with the fact that it is perfectly delicious just the way it is.

View the recipe.

3. Tomato Soup

Soup

Image source: Catherine Newman

Tomato soup is a comforting classic for a reason: it’s pretty and creamy; it’s tangy and rich; and you know you’re going to like it before you even take that first bite. Plus, this soup takes very kindly to variation. Two favorites of mine: adding a sliced-up head of fennel when I’m sautéing the other vegetables, and/or adding something smoky, such as chipotle puree or smoked paprika. And would a little grated cheddar hurt any? I happen to know it would not.

View the recipe.

4. Chili-Spiced Chicken Soup

Soup

Image source: Catherine Newman

If this fantastic, spicy soup had tortillas in it, I would probably call it Tortilla Soup; if it had hominy, I might call it Chicken Posole. Instead we are keeping out the high-carb ingredients, but packing the soup with plenty of smoky broth and shredded chicken, along with delicious extras like avocado and sour cream. This is the kind of meal where it’s actually nice to let folks garnish their own bowls: put out little bowls of the avocado, sour cream, cilantro, and lime wedges (feel free to add more extras, such as chopped onions, shredded cheese, and toasted pepitas), and everyone can help themselves.

View the recipe.

One final soup:

Any-Veggie Soup

About Catherine

Catherine loves to write about food and feeding people. In addition to her recipe and parenting blog Ben & Birdy (which has about 15,000 weekly readers), she edits the ChopChop series of mission-driven cooking magazines. This kids’ cooking magazine won the James Beard Publication of the Year award in 2013 – the first non-profit ever to win it – and a Parents’ Choice Gold Award. She also helped develop Sprout, a WIC version of the magazine for families enrolled in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), as well as Seasoned, their senior version. They distribute over a million magazines annually, through paid subscriptions, doctor’s offices, schools, and hospitals. Their mission started with obesity as its explicit focus – and has shifted, over the years, to a more holistic one, with health, happiness, and real food at its core. That’s the same vibe Catherine brings to the diaTribe column.

Source: diabetesdaily.com

One Marinade, Three Elegant (and Simple) Meals

This recipe is easy enough for a Wednesday, and elegant enough for company!

Meal planning can be a bore. Sometimes I find that planning on what to eat is as much of a project as what I eat. Here is one simple base marinade that I use with minor adjustments for chicken, pork and fish. This is so easy to make and keep on hand that you get three days of not having to think about what to cook. Each protein changes the flavor enough that you may not realize that it all came from the same formula. Grilling it outside in good weather makes it taste entirely different than roasting it in the oven or pan searing it. I have the recipes for chicken, salmon, and pork on my website. This is the base recipe. It is enough for 2 chicken breasts, 2 salmon fillets, or a 2 pound pork roast or 4 pork chops.*The trick is to use the best balsamic vinegar you can afford.

Enjoy, Be healthy, be Decadent!

Balsamic Marinade

Total carbohydrates: less than 9 grams in the entire recipe

  • 3 tbsp Ariston or any syrupy balsamic vinegar
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard
  • Juice and zest of ½ lemon
  • 2 tsp Herbs de Provence
  • 1 medium shallot minced
  • 2 garlic gloves, grated or minced
  • Salt and pepper to taste*For pork, I eliminate the lemon juice and zest

I just combine this in a jar and shake it up before brushing or spooning over the protein

On chicken:
On the grill, at medium low setting for 15-17 minutes per side.
In the oven, at 350 degrees for 45-50 minutes, turning once.
In a sauté pan, at medium setting for 15-17 minutes.

For salmon:
On the grill, at medium-low setting for 8-10 minutes per inch.
In the oven at 400 degrees for 7-10 minutes per inch.

For pork roast:
10 minutes at 400 degrees then reduce heat and cook for 40-45 minutes at 350 degrees.

For pork chops:
On the grill at medium low setting for 15-17 minutes per side.
In a sauté pan at medium setting for 17-20 minutes.

Source: diabetesdaily.com

Vegetable Magic: Plant-Based Recipes

This content originally appeared on diaTribe. Republished with permission.By Catherine Newman These quick, low-carb plant-based recipes are delicious and nutritious ways to bring more vegetables into your life Full disclosure: I love vegetables. Love, love, love them. Would I rather eat melted cheese with a spoon than a giant bowl of kale? Sure. But vegetables […]
Source: diabetesdaily.com

Low-Carb Breakfast Sandwiches

This content originally appeared on Butter Is Not a Carb. Republished with permission.One of the reasons many people turn to fast food (aside from it being a quick, cheap meal) in the morning is for breakfast sandwiches.  Obviously, those quick meals are not low carb-friendly, but I am here to say you can still enjoy […]
Source: diabetesdaily.com

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