Gyro Burgers

This recipe is from a book I’m working on with all recipes being 3 ingredients (or less). Ridiculous right? It was a challenge that I set for myself and I was surprised at how many recipes I came up with. Anyway, I’ll be sharing a few of them on the blog – teasers :)

4 servings
You can use ground lamb, turkey or beef for this recipe or a mix of any of these.
If you want to step up the flavor quotient of your meal look for feta cheese that has herbs and other ingredients such as sun-dried tomatoes added to it. You’ll need to adjust the carb count to account for these additions though.

Carb counters will want to know that this recipe is ½ net carb per serving. Yea, you read that right – .5 carbs! Nice!

Ingredients

1 pound ground meat
1 teaspoon Greek seasoning
¼ cup feta cheese
¼ cup Tzatziki Sauce

Instructions

Gently mix all ingredients together. Divide meat in half and form one half into 4 patties and the other half into 8 sliders DO NOT pack the meat together, just loosely form them into burgers and then use your thumb to create a gentle indentation in the middle of each burger. This prevent them from bloating in the middle which is why most grill masters are tempted to flatten the burger with a spatula, which squeezes out all those lovely juices that you want to keep in your burger.

Heat a lightly oiled skillet over high heat or heat your grill. Cook 5 to 6 minutes per side for medium-rare. When you see the juices start to sweat out on the top of the burger then its time to flip it. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes less than you cooked the first side.

Let the burgers sit for at least 5 minutes before digging in.

Top each burger with 2 tablespoons Tzatziki Sauce.

Gyro Sliders

Shape burgers into 8 sliders instead of 4 burgers. Cook as directed above.

Place one slider on top of one lettuce leaf and top with 1 tablespoon Tsatziki Sauce. Roll up the leaf around the slider, then position the roll on top of another lettuce leaf. Roll this leaf up and place on plate seam side down. Continue assembling until all 8 sliders are rolled up.

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admin on August 30th 2014 in Protein, Recipes

Avocado Steak

4 servings
If your counting carbs then it would be helpful to know that this recipe has 2 net carbs per serving if you use Haas avocados which have a much lower carb count than other types of avocados. Everybody else just needs to know that this is a quick and easy healthy recipe that the entire family will relish digging into.

Ingredients

1 flank steak, about 1 ½ pounds
8 tablespoons salsa verde
1 Haas avocado, sliced

Instructions

Preheat grill, broiler or pan to high heat. Using a fork pierce steak all over on both sides. Season with salt and pepper. Oil your grill or pan and cook steak, turning once until done to your liking. Remove from heat and let rest for at least 10 minutes. Thinly slice the steak against the grain. Serve topped with salsa verde and avocado.

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admin on August 25th 2014 in Protein, Recipes

Trader Joe’s Red Pepper & Basil Quesadilla

One of my favorite lunches is a quesadilla hot off the griddle. Quesadillas are a perfect way to use up small items in your fridge while enjoying a healthy and portable lunch.

I started with one of TJ’s organic whole wheat and corn tortillas. I covered the tortilla with TJ’s mozzerella soy cheese and a sprinkle of shaved Parmesan cheese. I prefer not to mix proteins with starches however a tablespoon of Parmesan cheese really takes this quesadilla to a new level. Then I layered the following ingredients on 1/2 of the tortilla:

thinly sliced red bell pepper

thinly sliced red onion

torn basil leaves

torn mint leaves (I only added the mint leaves because I wanted a bigger quesadilla and didn’t have enough basil – you can skip the mint leaves without affecting the outcome)

Place the tortilla with it’s fillings in a lightly oiled pan over medium-high heat. When the cheese has melted and the bottom of the tortilla is a little past lightly browned. I like my quesadillas to have a crispy tortilla. I really think it adds to the flavor of the final product.

Once the tortilla is browned to your liking, slide the quesadilla onto a plate and fold the unfilled side over the filled side. Sit down to lunch with a gigantic smile on your face.

If you’re counting carbs then you’ll want to know that this quesadilla is 22 net carbs and if you use a whole wheat low carb tortilla then you can shave this down to 6 net carbs!

If you’re counting calories then you’ll be happy to hear that this lunch will set you back 230 calories and if you use a whole wheat low carb tortilla then you’ll be even happier to hear that this lunch will be only 150 calories!

If you’re eating vegan, you can skip the Parmesan cheese or use a vegan Parmesan.

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admin on May 30th 2014 in Recipes, Vegetarian

Tacos Etc.

Tacos are a favorite around here and so easy to make that I generally like to make up a big batch of taco-seasoned meat and then use it throughout the week in other dishes. I also make up my own taco seasoning mixture in bulk for two reasons – 1) I haven’t found any taco seasoning mixes that don’t come loaded with sugar, white flour and/or corn products and 2) it’s easier to make it up in bulk and use it the next few times I make tacos. I’ve included the bulk seasoning recipe below. Don’t sweat it if you don’t have all these ingredients – tacos are very forgiving.  And if you have a sugar-free, flour-free seasoning mix you can eliminate all of the spices including the salt and pepper.

You’ll set aside half of the seasoned meat to make a Taco Salad the next day for lunch and Taco Eggs for breakfast or another dinner.

I like fresh tomato salsa way better than the jarred stuff, however I like the consistency better when it’s roughly pureed. Drain off some of the juice and dump the remaining salsa into your Magic Bullet or blender and pulse a few times until the consistency is more like a chunky sauce than diced tomatoes in liquid. Add some of the liquid back if needed. Any leftover liquid can be added to tomato soup or make up a quick salad dressing by stirring it into sour cream or yogurt.

Don’t sweat it if you don’t have all the ingredients listed below. Tacos are very forgiving. If you have a sugar-free, flour-free seasoning mix you can eliminate all of the spices including the salt and pepper.

Tacos are also a great way to have a family dinner when not everybody is interested in eating healthy or low carb. But beware, some low carbers I’ve talked to have assumed that there are no carbs in taco meat but there are a lot of spices that go into making the taco meat, enough to give this recipe a carb count of ½ carb per ½ pound of meat. That’s not a lot, but if you’re in Phase 1 of a low carb eating plan 1/2 a carb is worth accounting for. I’ve included the carb counts for all the recipes here, although all of these recipes are just plain delicious and healthy whether you’re eating low carb or not.

There are 8 servings in this recipe, 4 to serve for dinner and the other 4 to set aside for 2 more meals.

Taco Meat Ingredients:

2 pounds lean ground beef, pork or turkey

2 tablespoons chili powder

2 teaspoons ground cumin

2 teaspoons paprika

2 teaspoons sea salt

1 teaspoon black pepper

½ teaspoon garlic powder

½ teaspoon onion powder

½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (medium hot) or just eliminate them for a milder taco

½ teaspoon dried oregano

½ cup water

Taco Ingredients:

½ cup tomato salsa

½ cup shredded cheddar cheese

16 romaine or butter lettuce leaves

Instructions:

Cook ground beef on medium heat until no longer pink. Drain well and return to pan. Stir in spices and cook for 10 minutes. Set aside half of the taco seasoned beef for lunch tomorrow.

Spoon about ¼ cup meat mixture into one lettuce leaf. Top with 1 tablespoon cheese and 1 tablespoon salsa. Roll up and secure with a toothpick. Or skip the toothpick and eat immediately after rolling.

Taco Seasoning Mix

¼ cup chili powder

1 tablespoon ground cumin

1 tablespoon paprika

1 tablespoon sea salt

2 teaspoons black pepper

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon onion powder

½ to 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

1 teaspoon dried oregano

Use 2 tablespoons of seasoning per pound of meat.

 

Taco Salad

2 servings = 9 carbs per serving

This is a bit carb heavy for a Phase 1 lunch, however if you go light on carbs for the rest of the day you’ll be fine.

If this isn’t enough food for your lunch you can add up to 2 cups shredded lettuce for a mere ½ carb for the entire 2 cups.

Ingredients:

¼ recipe Mexi-Cauli Rice (half of the leftovers set aside)

½ Haas (California) avocado

2 tablespoons black olives, sliced

¼ recipe Beefy Tacos (half of the leftovers set aside)

½ teaspoon ground cumin

½ teaspoon ground coriander

1 tablespoon lemon or lime juice

¼ cup sour cream or crème fraiche

Instructions:

In a medium bowl layer Mexi-Cauli Rice, avocado, and Beefy Tacos.

In a small bowl stir together spices, citrus juice and sour cream. Pour dressing over salad. Toss to combine. Season to taste with salt if needed.

 

Taco Eggs

1 serving = 2 net carbs per serving

Ingredients:

½ cup egg whites

1 tablespoon heavy cream

1 tablespoon water

½ pound taco seasoned meat or ¼ recipe Beefy Tacos

¼ cup finely shredded Cheddar cheese or Mexican cheese blend

Instructions:

Beat egg whites, water and cream  in a small bowl until blended. Microwave for 30 seconds. Remove from microwave and push the cooked edges toward the center. Microwave until egg is almost set, about 15 to 45 seconds longer, stopping every 15 seconds to push the cooked egg toward the center.

Top with taco meat and microwave for another ten seconds. Remove from microwave and top with cheese.

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admin on May 15th 2014 in Kid Friendly, Protein, Recipes

Hot Chocolate Almonds

This isn’t your grandmother’s hot chocolate. These chocolate spiced almonds are spicy hot!

If you’re not concerned with the carb count you can use any nut that you like, but if you’re counting carbs then stick with the nuts in this recipe.

Ingredients:

1 pound raw almonds, hazelnuts, pine nuts or peanuts

2 tablespoons coconut oil

2 teaspoons chili powder

¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon

¼ teaspoon cocoa powder

½ teaspoon salt

Instructions:

Place the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot add the nuts and cook for 5 to 7 minutes, stirring often, until the nuts are slightly darker and you can smell their nutty deliciousness.

Mix together the spices in a small bowl or cup and sprinkle over the nuts. Continue to cook for 1 minute, stirring often. Remove from heat. Transfer to a bowl. Eat when cooled to room temperature. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator or a dark cupboard.

Nutrition Info:

6 servings = 6 net carbs.

I included the carb count with this recipe because it’s one of the recipes in my new book “14 Days – 14 Pounds” which gives you two weeks worth of extremely low carb menus and recipes with the carb counts figured out for each day. If you’re interested in receiving notice when this book comes out on Kindle (there will be several days when it’s available for free!) just subscribe to this blog using the box in the upper right corner.

 

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admin on May 9th 2014 in Protein, Recipes, Vegetarian

Avocado Egg Cups

I love the simplicity and elegance of this low carb breakfast. It’s so easy to make this up on a busy morning and the end result is so impressive that you could serve this at your next brunch. Come on – you brunch don’t you?

The carb count doesn’t include salsa or cheese but if you’re not in Phase 1 of a high protein eating plan you can indulge in those extras.

Fat and calorie alert! If you’re on a low calorie or low fat eating plan, this breakfast is NOT the way to go. If low fat or low calorie is your plan of choice check out one of our other healthy breakfast recipes.

2 servings = 2 carbs per serving

Ingredients:

1 Hass avocado

2 eggs

pinch each sea salt and black pepper

Instructions:

Cut a small slice from each side of the avocado so that each half won’t roll around in the pan. Cut avocado in half. Remove and discard pit. Use a spoon to remove about 2 tablespoons of avocado so that you have a space large enough for an egg to fit into.

Pour one cup of water into a baking dish. If you have any broth handy use that instead of water to give your avocado cups a little extra flavor. Place avocados into the dish. Crack one egg into each avocado cavity. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until the whites are set.

Remove from oven and eat as is or season with hot sauce. And if you’re at my table you’ll have to wrestle the hot sauce away from me. Now that I think of it, I should probably give everybody their own personal bottle of hot sauce.

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admin on May 5th 2014 in Protein, Recipes

CC Cucumber Mint Salad

CC as in “cottage cheese” which I like to use in place of yogurt when I’m looking for a super low carb meal.

This salad is a spin off from a cucumber raita which is commonly served in India as a condiment to cut the heat of the spicy dishes on the table. My salad has more cucumber and less yogurt than a traditional raita. In fact I’ve subbed in cottage cheese for the yogurt because it has much fewer carbs than yogurt, 6 net carbs versus almost 17.5 for plain yogurt! If that’s not a reason for a low carber to switch to cottage cheese then I don’t know what else to say to convince you. I’ve used cottage cheese in place of yogurt in salad dressings, smoothies, puddings … with great success.

Be sure to use 1% cottage cheese, that’s the sweet spot for less carbs. Nonfat cottage cheese tastes so bad that it’s not even worth going there.

I’ve also experimented with the carb counts using sour cream and crème fraiche in place of some and even all of the cottage cheese, thinking that it would reduce the carb count  even further and both substitutions actually RAISED the net carb count!

This salad is fabulous as a sauce for steak or chicken as well as fish. If you’ll be serving this recipe as a sauce instead of a salad, dice the veggies instead of chopping them.

This salad can be prepared anywhere from 2 hours to 1 day ahead.
Ingredients:
2 large unpeeled English hothouse cucumber, halved, seeded, chopped
1 cup 1% cottage cheese
2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
1 teaspoon ground cumin
¼ rounded teaspoon cayenne pepper

Instructions:
Wrap chopped cucumber in a kitchen towel and squeeze to eliminate some of the liquid.

Puree cottage cheese in a blender. Place remaining ingredients in a bowl. Pour cottage cheese over salad and toss to coat. Season to taste with salt and black pepper. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

 

Cucumber Cilantro Raita

Simply substitute cilantro for the mint.

4 servings = 5 net carbs per serving with 1 cup Greek yogurt
4 net carbs per serving with ½ cup Greek yogurt

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admin on April 25th 2014 in Protein, Recipes

Honey Flaxseed Bread

Is flaxseed the new miracle food? That’s a big claim to live up to, yet this tiny little seed provides 3 incredible benefits for your diet. Dr. Oz highly recommends a daily dose of flaxseed as a great source of fiber, omega-3 and lignans which reduce the risk of breast cancer in women and prostate cancer in men. And if all that isn’t enough to get you on the flaxseed wagon, flaxseed  has been known to reduce hot flashes. Go flaxseed!

I’ll take any opportunity to get some flaxseed into a meal. I’ll sprinkle it into fruit smoothies, oatmeal, yogurt, and bread is a great way to get lots of flaxseed into your diet.

I prefer golden flaxseed as it has a much lighter flavor. Don’t buy pre-ground flaxseed. Grind it yourself in a coffee grinder or a blender. Flaxseed starts to degenerate as soon as its exposed to heat and air so a bag of pre-ground flaxseed sitting on a shelf in a grocery store is not an option for me. Besides it’s super easy to grind it yourself.

This recipe makes one loaf. You can of course double the recipe if you’ll be serving a lot of bread this week, or set aside one loaf after the first rise, wrap it in plastic and freeze it. Then when you’re ready to bake it up, thaw it at room temperature or in the fridge, do the second rising in the loaf pan and bake it up. So much easier than making the entire recipe twice.

Ingredients:

1/3 cup flaxseed

1-3/4 cups lukewarm water

1 tablespoon honey

2 1/4 cups whole grain flour, whole wheat, white whole wheat, pumpemickel, or rye

2 teaspoons sea salt

1 package (2-1/4 teaspoons) active dry yeast

Instructions:

In food processor grind flaxseed into a coarse meal. Set aside.

In a large bowl, stir water and honey until honey is dissolved, or pulse in food processor. Sprinkle in yeast; let stand until yeast bubbles, about 5 minutes.

Add 1 cup flour, salt and ground flaxseed. With a wooden spoon, stir vigorously in the same direction until batter is smooth or pulse in a food processor. Alternatively, mix dough in a stand-up mixer fitted with a paddle attachment.

Gradually stir in 1 cup flour until mixture becomes too difficult to stir comfortably. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead, adding only enough of the remaining bread flour to keep it from sticking, until dough is smooth and elastic, 10 to 12 minutes. The dough will be slightly sticky.

Lightly oil a large bowl. To save on dishes if I’ve mixed this in a bowl rather than a food processor I use a spatula to scrape out as much of the dough as I can into an oiled loaf pan, then oil the bowl. Place dough back into the bowl, turning to coat with oil. Cover with plastic wrap or a towel and let rise in a warm place such as the top of a television set or the refrigerator on in the sun until doubled, about 1-1/2 hours.

Lightly oil a loaf pan. Punch dough down. Flatten into a disk and tightly roll the dough into a log. Place seam-side down in loaf pan. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise until dough comes over the top of the pan, about 45 minutes.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Bake bread for 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees and continue baking for 20 to 25 minutes, or until bread is pulling away from the sides of the pan. Turn bread out onto a wire rack and cool completely before slicing. Although I have to admit I can never resist cutting off the ends to eat as soon as the loaf is cool enough to handle.

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admin on April 15th 2014 in Recipes, Starches

More Fruit Smoothie Recipes

Basic Fruit Smoothie Instructions:

Place ingredients in a blender – a food processor won’t give you a smooth puree, an immersion blender will work, but not as easy as a counter top blender.

 

Mixed Fruit

1 frozen banana
2 cups mixed fruit
1 cup fresh fruit juice

 

Papaya – Nectarine

1 papaya, peeled, seeded, cut into chunks
1 medium nectarine, pitted, cut into chunks
1 cup fresh orange juice
1/4 cup nondairy milk

 

Creamy Pineapple

I prefer this shake made with dates, almond extract and orange juice, and no rum extract. But that’s me, you may love it without dates and with rum extract. When I make this drink for guests I make it how I like it, and pour it into glasses for some of my guests. Then I add the rum extract for the rest of my guests, and viola! everybody’s happy.

1/2 pineapple, cut into chunks
1 banana
1/4 can coconut milk(there is a light version that most supermarkets carry in the Asian foods section which I think tastes watery, but you can boost the flavor with coconut extract)
3 dates, chopped (or 2-3 tablespoons honey, date or maple sugar)
(almond extract )
(rum extract)
(juice from 1-3 oranges)

 

Creamy Pineapple Berry

This is a variation of our Creamy Pineapple Smoothie

1/2 pineapple, cut into chunks
1 banana
4 large strawberries, tops removed
1/4 can coconut milk(there is a light version that most supermarkets carry in the Asian foods section which I think tastes watery, but you can boost the flavor with coconut extract)
3 dates, chopped (or 2-3 tablespoons honey, date or maple sugar)
almond extract, optional
rum extract, optional
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

 

Raspberry – Watermelon

2 cups seeded watermelon, cut into chunks
1 cup raspberries(fresh or frozen)
1 cup ice cubes or 1/2 cup fresh apple or pear juice
2 tablespoons date or maple sugar

 

Creamy Almond

2 bananas
1 apple, cored & peeled
1/4 cup almond butter
dash of sea salt
glug of vanilla

 

Coconut Orange Cream

4 oranges, peeled, sectioned, membrane and seeds discarded
1 banana
2 cups coconut milk (if you use light coconut milk, bolster the flavor with coconut extract)

 

Tropical Cream

Grind to a fine crumb in blender:

1/2 cup shredded coconut, unsweetened
1/2 cup date pieces

Add and blend until pureed:

1 tablespoon vanilla
(1/4 cup honey)
1 cup fresh orange juice
2 bananas
2 cups sliced peaches, peeled, fresh or frozen

 

Take the Boring Out of Tortilla Chips

Chips and salsa anyone? Ho-hum. Been there, done that. I like the ease of serving up a bowl of tortilla chips with a satisfying dip however I balk at commercial chips which are either deep fried or if they’re fat free they tend to taste like cardboard. And then of course, chips and salsas are so overdone that I want something a little more interesting to eat myself, to serve to my family or to share with friends at a party.

Let’s start with the chip itself. It’s so easy to make your own low fat, low calorie tortilla chips. Once you see how easy it is you’re going to regret every bag of chips you’ve ever bought.

 

Baked Chips

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Stack whole wheat tortillas, corn tortillas or pita bread rounds on a cutting board. Use a sharp chef’s knife to slice into wedges. Spray or brush a cookie sheet with oil. Place chips on the cookie sheet in one layer. Spray with oil and sprinkle with salt. You can even sprinkle on some taco seasoning, cumin, cayenne pepper or ground coriander if you want a little variety.

 

Melon Salsa

Ingredients:

1/2 honeydew melon, diced
1 cantaloupe, diced
1/3 jalapeño, diced
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, diced
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
16 ounces chunky salsa

Instructions:

In large serving bowl mix all ingredients.
Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before serving. If your salsa is too watery, drain it in a sieve or coffee filter lined colander until it’s the consistency you want.

 

Beyond the Border

Even though tortilla chips are a classic Mexican side dish, you can nudge them across the border and serve them up with toppings that are Greek, Italian, Indian … When you think of them as corn chips that helps to know what to pair them up with. And if you’re working with whole wheat tortilla chips then even more possibilities are opened up to you.

Smoky Eggplant Dip

This dip works well with both corn chips and whole wheat chips.

Ingredients:

2 medium eggplants

3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tablespoon chipotle pepper in adobe sauce
1 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons aged sherry vinegar
3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Grill the eggplant until soft, about 25 to 30 minutes. The skin will get wrinkly and the eggplant will start to collapse. Let cool slightly, cut each eggplant in half, and scrape out the flesh with a large spoon into the work bowl of a food processor. Add the remaining ingredients and process until smooth. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Scrape the mixture into a serving bowl.

 

Creamy Basil Dip

Ingredients:

1 cup basil pesto
1/4 cup (2 ounces) gorgonzola, at room temperature
1/4 cup (2 ounces) mascarpone, at room temperature

Instructions:

Heat the pesto over medium heat in a medium-sized saucepan or heat until hot but not bubbling in the microwave. Remove from heat and whisk in the gorgonzola and mascarpone until well blended. Pour the dip into a serving bowl and serve with whole wheat chips.

 

Sweet Onion Nachos

Instructions:

1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive or nut oil
1 cup of onions, diced
½ cup of goat cheese, grated
1/4 teaspoon agave nectar, honey or maple syrup
A pinch each salt and pepper

Instructions:

Preheat broiler.

In a medium-sized pan, melt the butter and oil over medium heat. Add onions and let them cook for a few minutes, until they’re a light tan color. Stir in sweetener.

Spread the chips in a single layer in several pie plates or one cookie sheet.

Spoon the onions over the chips. Sprinkle the goat cheese over the onions and place under the broiler for a minute or two until the cheese is melted and lightly browned.

Remove from the oven and serve.

 

Parsley White Bean Dip

This dip works for both corn and whole wheat chips.

If you don’t have cannellini beans you can use any white bean such as garbanzo, lima or soy beans.

Ingredients:

1 (15-ounce) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
2 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/3 cup olive oil, plus 4 tablespoons
1/4 cup fresh Italian parsley
salt
black pepper

Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Place all ingredients into the bowl of a food processor. Puree until the mixture is pureed. Taste and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Transfer to a small bowl.

Variations:

Substitute fresh basil, dill or mint for the parsley.

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admin on April 4th 2014 in Recipes

Our newest book "The UnDiet - 2 Weeks of Extremely Low Carb Menus & Recipes" is ready to be released on Kindle. We're looking for feedback from our fans - so if you'd like to receive a FREE copy of this book in exchange for your brutally honest feedback just send an email to I'd like to receive the UnDiet's newest book Be sure to give us the email address you have registered with Kindle so we can gift the book to you.