The UnDiet Weight Loss Guide » December 2013

Monthly Archives: December 2013


Life Beyond Weight Loss

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I don’t want my life to be all about food, menus and recipes. I want to be sure to exercise my spiritual, physical and intellectual muscles also. That way I’ll be setting goals and directing my sights towards things that will make me more fully me. Life if more than how you look in a pair of jeans – right?

High Protein Recipes

Cannelloni Dinner Party

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gluten free pasta recipe

Chicken & Spinach Cannelloni

I came up with this meal when I was planning to have a few people over to put up Christmas decorations. I didn’t want to have the meal preparation and cleanup take up the evening and since I was leaving town a few days afterwards I wanted to use up the food I already had on hand – i.e. this was a clean out the fridge kind of meal. I especially love this meal because the clean up is super easy.

Since I already had cooked chicken on hand I needed a substitute for the pasta which cannelloni is traditionally made with. I had lots of zucchini which became the obvious substitute, although 2 eggplants sliced lengthwise would have worked just as well and given me larger cannelloni.

You can make this dish without the ricotta, egg, and/or Parmesan which are the traditional base for cannelloni and it will be delicious – it just won’t be cannelloni.

The wine gives the white sauce a distinctive wine flavor, so if you don’t think that would suit you just use vegetable broth instead.

You can make the zucchini “pasta”, white sauce, red sauce, and the filling two to three day sbefore. You can make the salad dressing two to three days before.

I often double up on the white sauce recipe to save time throughout the week when I use it to dress pasta, drizzle over veggies, to make a gratin, or anything else you can think of that would benefit from a creamy, cheesy addition.

Note: this meal serves 8.

Ingredients List For Shopping

  • 8 medium zucchini
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 3/4 cup soy flour
  • 2 cups dry white wine or clear broth
  • 2 cups nondairy milk, or half and half, or heavy cream
  • 1 & 1/2 teaspoons each of nutmeg & sea salt
  • 1 small yellow onion
  • 1 pound ground chicken or turkey (since I had leftover cooked chicken I finely chopped it and it worked fine)
  • 1 cup frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry or cooked, diced broccoli
  • 2 cups ricotta cheese
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese, if you don’t have any Parmesan you can use mozzarella or Provolone instead.
  • If you have an egg go ahead and add it to the filling, otherwise don’t worry about it.
  • 1 teaspoon each nutmeg and salt
  • 4 roasted red bell peppers
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 head of roasted garlic if you have it on hand, if you don’t then use 4 cloves minced garlic
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream

Zucchini “Pasta”

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Slice zucchini lengthwise into 1/4-inch thick slices. Place on lightly oiled baking sheets. Bake for 5 minutes until zucchini is just soft enough to roll without breaking.

White Sauce

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 3/4 cup soy flour
  • 2 cups dry white wine
  • 2 cups nondairy milk, or half and half, or heavy cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Melt butter in a l-quart saucepan over medium heat. Stir in soy flour and continue stirring using the spoon to break up any clumps. After about 5 minutes the flour should be a very light brown and smell slightly nutty.

Whisk in white wine or vegetable broth, heavy cream, nutmeg, and sea salt. Bring to a low boil and cook, whisking often for about 10 minutes or until thickened. This sauce is very versatile. I ran out of nutmeg once and used allspice instead, another time I used dried basil, and the sauce turned out great each time.


  • 1 small yellow onion
  • 1 pound cooked, diced chicken or turkey
  • 1 cup frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
  • 2 cups ricotta cheese
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese, if you don’t have any Parmesan you can use mozzarella or Provolone instead.
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt

Finely chop onion. Place it in a large microwavable bowl. Add a small amount of water and cook in microwave until al dente. Remove from microwave and add the ground meat, spinach, ricotta, Parmesan, egg and 1/2 cup of the white sauce.

Mix filling ingredients until well blended. Taste and add extra seasoning if needed.

Red Cream Sauce

The recipe below is just enough for the cannelloni, however I always double this recipe and freeze it or serve over pasta later in the week.

  • 4 roasted red bell peppers, can use jarred peppers
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 3 cloves roasted garlic, or 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream

Puree peppers with garlic, basil, sea salt & black pepper to taste. Stir in heavy cream.

Spoon red sauce onto individual plates, top with cannelloni.


Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Ladle enough white sauce into a 13″ x “9-inch baking pan to lightly cover the bottom.

Top each zucchini slice with about a tablespoon of filling. Roll up and place on top of sauce. Lightly drizzle top of zucchini rolls with the rest of the sauce. Sprinkle 1/4 – 1/2 cup Parmesan on top of sauce.

Cover and bake 30 minutes if filling and white sauce were prepared ahead and are cold, 15 minutes if these ingredients are precooked. Uncover and bake 10 minutes longer or until cheese just begins to brown. After removing baking pan from oven turn heat up to 500 degrees.


Caesar Salad with Cheese Crisps

I’ve given you precise measurements, but I never measure when making salad dressing. The measurements simply serve to give you an idea of how much of each ingredient you need.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.


  • 1/2 block soft tofu (don’t use silken tofu)
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon Worchestire sauce
  • juice from 1/2 a lemon
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese
  • 2 cloves fresh garlic, or 4-6 cloves roasted, although I often squeeze in an entire head of roasted garlic
  • sea salt & black pepper to taste

Puree, then drizzle in 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil.

Cheese Crisps

Thinly slice mozzarella or Parmesan cheese, then cut slices into 1 inch squares. Place cheese squares onto a  baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake until cheese rounds are browned about 5 to 7 minutes. Pick up parchment paper and carefully move entire thing with cheese crisps to a wire rack, stone counter or cutting board to cool.

Toss Romaine lettuce with dressing to lightly coat. Top with cooled cheese crisps.


Roasted Asparagus

Snap woody ends off asparagus. Toss with extra-virgin olive oil, season with sea salt. Roast in oven at 400 degrees F on the same baking sheet that you used for the cheese crisps. Roast for 25 minutes until browned and tender.


Sweet Nuts

If you want to serve dessert these nuts are a good finger food which can be munched on while moving about the house putting up Christmas decorations. Serve these nuts with coffee and whipped cream. All of the optional ingredients go well together so you can use one or all or none of them.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

1-1/2 cup raw unfiltered maple syrup, honey or agave nectar
1 cup date, maple or coconut sugar
6 tablespoons butter
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 tablespoons rum or brandy, optional
1/4 cup grain-sweetened chocolate chips or unsweetened chocolate, optional
1/2 teaspoon orange peel, optional
8 cup assortment of unsalted whole, shelled nuts

Cook all ingredients except nuts over medium heat, stirring frequently, until sugar dissolves

Stir in nuts until well coated. Spread onto 2 lightly buttered baking sheets. Bake 25-30 minutes, stirring once, until nuts are slightly darker in color. When completely cool, break into pieces.


Eggplant Stacks

With my leftover red sauce I came up with this melt in your mouth dish which I served for dinner the next day.


  • 1 eggplant
  • Red Sauce
  • shredded or sliced mozzarella

Peel and slice eggplant into 1/4-inch thick rounds. Place eggplant in a lightly oiled hot pan over medium high heat and season lightly with sea salt and pepper. When eggplant is browned, turn, and continue cooking. When the tines of a fork sink through the eggplant as easily as if it were butter it’s done. Line the bottom of a baking pan with one layer of eggplant slices. Cover eggplant with shredded mozzarella. Cover cheese with another layer of eggplant, a layer of cheese, a layer of eggplant, pasta sauce. Bake in 350 degree oven for 10-15 minutes until cheese is melted.

Serve with a green salad and Caesar dressing, which you most likely have lots of from last night’s dinner.

Freezer Version

Saute the eggplant slices. Cool. Lay a piece of saran wrap on your kitchen counter. Place an eggplant slice in the center of the wrap. Tear a piece of mozzarella or provolone in half and lay each half on a slant over eggplant so that the surface of the eggplant is well covered. Top with another eggplant slice, then cheese, then eggplant. Tightly wrap saran around sandwich. Repeat until all your sandwiches are prepared, then place each wrapped sandwich into a freezer bag, label and freeze. Reheat in oven or microwave, top with Red Cream Sauce.


Make a thin omelet using a cooked eggplant slice and cheese for the filling. Top with warmed pasta sauce.


Red Cream Soup

If you still have Red Cream Sauce left then add some vegetable broth, taste and add sea salt and/or pepper if needed. Tastes like you spent hours at the stove!


  • a dash or two of hot sauce
  • finely diced mozzarella or provolone Veggie Slices
  • UnDiet Italian Seasoning
  • whole grain croutons

Isn’t it nice to cook once and end up with two or three meals?

High Protein Recipes

Holy Cauliflower Batman Is That Really A Wrap?

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OMGosh! If you’ve been looking for a low calorie, gluten free, low carb, high protein, properly combined wrap solution then this is your lucky day. Cauliflower is truly the Batman of the vegetable world!

I stumbled on this recipe on Lauren’s blog yesterday and have been thinking about it ever since. It bothered me that the wraps were so delicate that you have to be careful of what you wrapped in them and I think I’ve come up with a solution.

Lay the wrap on your work surface, lay a large lettuce wrap on top of the wrap, then pile on your filling, roll and eat. The lettuce leaf should work to keep the other ingredients from poking through. A piece of very thinly sliced meat would work as well, although I think that the lettuce would actually be sturdier.

I’m traveling right now and can’t try this out but if anyone has the opportunity to do so, I’d love to hear if it worked or not.


20 Ready to Go Healthy Snacks

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healthy snack ideas

Redefine what a snack means to you. A snack is something that satisfies that “I just need a little something” voice inside. It could be as unimaginative as raw veggie sticks or traveling a few rungs up the indulgence ladder to a mix of dried fruit with or with nuts and seeds.

Try to make your snacks something that will really give you a weight loss boost rather than something that’s high fat, high calorie, or on the UnDiet borderline.

To that end here are some things you can pick up at pretty much any grocery store that are a good idea to have on hand for the next time a snack attack hits.

  1. veggie sticks
  2. fruit
  3. nuts
  4. whole grain cereal
  5. whole wheat pretzels
  6. whole wheat toast with peanut butter
  7. Laughing Cow Cheese wedges to spread on apple slices, protein bread, celery sticks …
  8. boxed soups
  9. mini whole wheat pita stuffed with chopped salad
  10. refined sugar free yogurt
  11. spread a little mustard on thinly sliced turkey, ham, corned beef, pastrami, roast beef … roll and eat
  12. dill pickles
  13. pickled vegetables
  14. whole grain crackers
  15. popcorn
  16. Amy’s Organics crackers
  17. Amy’s Organics cookies
  18. roasted plantain chips
  19. dried kale
  20. hard boiled egg



High Protein Recipes

Low Carb Holiday Party Menu

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low carb gluten-free Paleo sugar-free party recipes

Whenever I’m planning a party I make sure to include low carb, Paleo, gluten-free, and sugar-free options, not only for myself, but nowadays there are always several people in the crowd that have dietary restrictions. To let people know what foods are “safe” for them to eat I use chalkboard mats or chalkboard picks to write the name of the dish and beneath the name I’ll write “low carb”, or “gluten-free”, and so on.

Spicy Cheddar Bites

1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup cheddar cheese, grated
3/4 cup soy flour
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
1/8 teaspoon sea salt

Cream butter until soft and fluffy. Use a pastry cutter, fork or two butter knives to cut in remaining ingredients. The batter should look like coarse cornmeal.

On a very lightly floured board form the dough into two long, thin rolls, 1 to 1-1/2 inches in diameter. Wrap each roll in plastic wrap or foil and chill until firm, one to two hours. They can be stored in the fridge or frozen until ready to bake.

When you’re ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Cut each roll into slices about 1/4-inch thick. Place the slices, edges not touching, on ungreased baking sheets and bake for 5 – 10 minutes until brown around the edges and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Serve immediately, or let cool; storing in an airtight container.



Herb Brie Spread

from 14 Days ~ 14 Pounds: Low Carb Daily Plan with 140 Quick & Easy Recipes

Serving Size: ¼ cup – 1 net carb/serving
1 cup Brie cheese, melted
2 tablespoons diced fresh parsley, or basil, or mint
2 tablespoons diced oil-packed sun-dried tomato

Blend all ingredients with a fork.
Spread the herbed Brie onto your choice of the following:

  • thinly sliced meat, roll and eat (zero carbs)
  • cucumber slices (1/2 cup slices 1 carb)
  • celery sticks (7-inch long stalk = 1 carb)
  • radish slices (1/2 cup sliced = 1 carb)
  • One Carb Bread


You can use any herb in place of the parsley, and I encourage you to do so. Whichever herb you choose will completely change this spread.


Creamy Pesto Dip

This is such a simple and versatile spread that I’m not going to give an exact recipe but rather the basic ingredients and let you go to it on your own.

Use a fork to mix equal amounts of cream cheese or mascarpone cheese and pesto. That’s it! Serve with veggies, toasted protein bread and crackers or mini-toasts for guests who aren’t low carbing it.


Spinach Rolls

You can substitute cooked ground beef, pork or turkey for the cheese or even go half and half.

1 cup onions, chopped
1/2 teaspoon fresh garlic, minced
1 cup frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed well to remove excess water
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg, ground
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
sea salt and black pepper
jarred grape leaves: Middle Eastern markets carry bottled leaves with no preservatives. These taste better than the supermarket ones with the acid preservative.
1 cup veggie, mock chicken, or beef broth

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Saute onion and garlic in 1 tablespoon peanut, walnut or sesame oil until onion is translucent.
Add spinach, black pepper, nutmeg and sea salt and continue sauteeing until onion is tender.
Remove from heat and stir in cheese or meat.
Taste and adjust seasoning.

Gently remove grape leaves from the jar, rinse and drain in a colander. Lay on towels to absorb excess water. Lay the leaves out on a work surface.

Cut and discard any long stems. Place 1-2 tablespoons of filling in the center of each leaf. Fold bottom and top of leaf over filling. Fold left leaf over filling and roll. Arrange in single layer rows in a baking dish, seam side down.
Cover and bake for 45 minutes. These taste much better when you make them 1 to 4 days ahead. Serve cold or at room temperature.



Spicy Stuffed Mushrooms

from 14 Days ~ 14 Pounds: Low Carb Daily Plan with 140 Quick & Easy Recipes

12 servings of 2 mushrooms per serving – 1 carb per serving

24 medium mushrooms
¼ pound spicy sausage, cooked and crumbled
3 ounces Bel Gioioso mascarpone cheese
2 tablespoons shredded Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 350°F. Remove stems and gills from mushrooms. Set stems aside to use in another dish or on a salad. Place mushroom caps in an oiled baking dish. Bake for 7 minutes. Remove from oven.
While mushrooms are baking, mix cooked sausage and cheeses together.
Fill each mushroom with 1 teaspoon of stuffing mixture. Return mushrooms to oven stuffed side up. Bake for 7 minutes.


Use 3 medium zucchini in place of the mushrooms. Cut zucchini in half lengthwise. Scoop out the pulp, leaving a ¼-inch thick shell. Toss the pulp or chop and use in a salad.
Place zucchini, cut side up on a parchment lined baking sheet. Sprinkle 1/8 teaspoon each salt and black pepper over all three zucchini. Turn cut side down and bake for 7 minutes or until just short of al dente. Fill with stuffing mixture and bake for another 7 minutes.



Ham Poundcake

If you have shaped bread tins a party is a great time to use them for this bread. You’ll need two shaped tins, one bread loaf pan and two mini loaf pans. For a party I think it’s nicer to use either the shaped tins or mini loaf pans.

1/4 cup finely diced broccoli
1/4 cup finely diced onion
1 cup butter, softened
6 eggs, room temperature
1-1/4 cups soy flour
2 teaspoons grated orange peel
2 teaspoons grated lemon peel
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup finely diced, cooked ham

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Lightly oil pan(s).

Sprinkle broccoli and onion with a small pinch of salt and steam until just tender.

In a large bowl beat butter at medium speed until smooth and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating each time until mixture is almost smooth.

In a medium bowl combine the soy flour, orange peel, lemon peel, baking powder, salt and pepper. Add dry mixture 1/4 cup at a time to egg mixture, stirring to roughly blend each time. Stir in vegetables and ham.

Spoon batter into pan(s). Smooth top of batter.

Bake 40 to 45 minutes, until a tester inserted in center comes out clean. If using bread tins cook 1 hour, turning every 15 minutes. When tester shows no raw dough remove from oven. Let sit 10 minutes then carefully remove from pan(s). Cool before slicing. Arrange slices on lettuce lined plate or tray.


Spicy Meat Rolls

Spread gourmet mustard on thinly sliced roast beef, ham, corned beef and/or pastrami. Roll up and secure with a toothpick.



Set out plates of different types of olives, cheese cubes, and crudites.


High Protein Recipes

Company Dinner – Coriander Lamb Chops

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Here’s a page from my upcoming cookbook “3 Ingredient Low Carb Recipes” (title still under construction – any suggestions?). Even if you or your guests aren’t eating low carb these recipes will wow them.

A note about 3 ingredient recipes. I don’t count salt, pepper, oil or the title ingredient. For instance if it’s a lamb chop recipe, it’s a given that you’ll have a lamb chop, salt and pepper and maybe oil in the pan. Even so, I’ve still kept the recipes as simple as possible.

The carb counts for these recipes are calculated based on net carbs (total carbs minus fiber).

Coriander Lamb Chops­

Serves 4 = 0 carbs per serving

You can easily multiply this recipe to serve as many as you like. If you choose to use fresh herbs in place of the dried coriander then use 2 teaspoons, finely chopped.


4 to 8 lamb rib or shoulder chops to equal 24 to 32 ounces total

2 teaspoons dried coriander

salt and pepper


Rub both sides of chops with coriander. If you can let the lamb sit with the coriander rub for 2 or 3 hours, great, otherwise proceed by seasoning with salt and pepper. Grill, broil or sauté in oiled pan over high heat for 3 to 4 minutes per side for medium rare.

Variations: use any of the following in place of coriander:

  • rosemary
  • Herbs de Provence
  • Italian Seasoning
  • mint
  • dill
  • garlic
  • oregano

Serve with Lemon Sour Cream Sauce if desired – don’t forget to add the carbs for the sauce.

Lemon Sour Cream Sauce

4  1/4 cup servings = 2.5 carbs per serving

I love this sauce because it’s so versatile. You can drizzle it over ham, fish, asparagus, green beans … It’s also a good veggie dip or salad dressing.


1 cup sour cream

1 teaspoon grated lemon zest

2 tablespoons freshly-squeezed lemon juice

salt and pepper to taste


In a small bowl mix all ingredients. Spoon ¼ cup sauce (1 serving) over Coriander Lamb Chops. Remaining sauce keeps well in the fridge to use as a salad dressing or dip.


Mock Mashed Potatoes

4 servings = 3 carbs per serving


1 head of cauliflower broken into florets or 1 bag frozen cauliflower

1 tablespoon sour cream or mascarpone cheese

½ teaspoon vegetable or chicken broth powder – be sure to use powdered broth and not liquid broth

3 tablespoons butter

¼ teaspoon ground black or white pepper


Steam or microwave cauliflower until it’s so soft that it falls apart when poked with a fork, about 6 minutes. Pat dry with a towel to remove as much moisture as possible.

Puree cauliflower with remaining ingredients. Taste and adjust seasoning, butter, and sour cream so that you end up with a rich tasting dish that NO ONE will believe is not really mashed potatoes.

Optional Additions:

4 cloves roasted garlic = 1 carb

½ cup shredded Parmesan = 0 carbs

cooked turkey bacon = 0 carbs

¼ cup minced chives = 0 carbs


Herb Salad

4 servings = 1 carb per serving without dressing


8 cups torn lettuce

your favorite sugar-free salad dressing

4 tablespoons sliced olives or 1 teaspoon chopped

4 tablespoons roughly chopped flat leaf parsley or mint


Toss lettuce with dressing together. Garnish with olives and herbs.