Every time I turn around, it seems something new has appeared, making fabulous low-carb claims, whether it is a book, product, spokes- person, or what have you. The never-ending hit parade of all things low carb doesn’t seem to be coming to an end anytime soon. As a matter of fact, the business of low carb is escalating faster than the national deficit—not quite in the trillions of dollars, but definitely billions. For a long time I thought this was just a Dr. Stillman déjà-vu deal, until the flashback wouldn’t go away.
As the Dinner Diva of SavingDinner.com, I want to know what my subscribers want. A while back, I began getting hit with a ton of requests for a more low-carb-friendly Menu-Mailer. The last straw came when one of my subscribers who had been with me from the beginning e-mailed me and told me that her husband had been diagnosed with diabetes. And yes, she asked the fatal question: Would I please do a more low-carb-friendly Menu-Mailer?
Like a lot of people, I believed the low-carb fad diets would hit the skids anytime soon, and I couldn’t wait. I pooh-poohed the idea and scoffed at the notion of those limiting their carbs. In my mind, eating low carb was eating bacon, eggs, and steaks. You call that healthy?
I did a little research and discovered going low carb didn’t need to look like steak for every meal. Quite the contrary—it could be a lifestyle of variety and flavor, could actually contain vegetables, and be outright healthy. In the meantime, I tried going low carb myself. Not only did I feel better and more satiated, while eating less food, but I began to read and read some more on the actual, real-life, not-manufactured-for-your-viewing-pleasure science. There really is something behind this low-carb phenomenon. It is here to stay, and I’m very glad it is. I guess you could say that I’m a believer.
In August 2003, I realized this was something exciting and introduced my first Low-Carb Menu-Mailer (for more information on Menu-Mailer, go to www.savingdinner.com). I realize now, more than a year later, that low carb isn’t a diet; it’s a lifestyle and it is here to stay.
It is in that spirit that I offer you the next Saving Dinner book. While the recipes are low carb (and that is 10 or fewer net grams of carbs for the entrée—not counting the Serving Suggestions), there are certain members of your household who aren’t going to want to do low carb all the way, so there are regular, non-low-carb Serving Suggestions offered as well for that person or persons. You don’t have to make two dinners so you can low carb it, while the kids eat a regular, non-low-carb meal. Isn’t that great?
Just as the first Saving Dinner book offered you the recipes, menus, and shopping lists divvied up by weeks and seasons, so does this book. I think this is the way to go in today’s world—having the hard work of menu planning already done and ready to go. The shopping lists are again at your convenience, on my website in a printer-friendly format, just go to www.savingdinner.com and click on Shopping Lists. You don’t need to schlep your book to the grocery store and take a chance on losing it.
A big caveat to those who may be following certain low-carb diets with big lists of do’s and don’ts. This book does not adhere to any one low-carb diet plan. It’s just low carb, end of story. You won’t find oddball ingredients like pork rinds, weird ketosis-inducing, low-carb mixes made with strange things you’ve never heard of. I use regular ingredients and admittedly, I’ve been skewered for it. People have written absolutely unprintable e-mails denouncing my low-carb ideas because I had the audacity to add 1 tablespoon of whole-wheat flour to a recipe—even though I’ve kept the recipe very low carb. Apparently, in their eyes I’ve committed the carbinal sin (get it?) by using big no-no ingredients.
But the issue in my mind, is keeping the recipes low carb (they are) and using real ingredients, easily accessible and found at just about any market, to carry out this goal. I’ve held true to this principle for years: that the more natural and real your ingredients are, the easier it is to accomplish and keep up as a lifestyle.
Consider this book as another weapon in your arsenal to keep you organized and on target to help you get dinner on the table. With this tool, you can accomplish that without having to sacrifice your time, health objectives, or sanity. Saving Dinner the Low-Carb Way is all about helping you meet your goals.
HOW TO USE THIS BOOK
Saving Dinner the Low-Carb Way is designed to give you everything you need to do dinner. The recipes, serving suggestions, and, most important, categorized shopping lists are all contained within this book. Speaking of shopping lists, for your convenience, I have also added printer-friendly shopping lists to my website (savingdinner.com) so you can print out the appropriate list without having to lug your book to the store.
There are two types of Serving Suggestions in the book: LC (low carb) and just Serving Suggestions (regular ones for non-low- carbing family members). The Serving Suggestions are asterisked on the grocery lists because I don’t want you to feel roped in by any of my suggestions. However, the LC Serving Suggestions are not asterisked, as I am trying to help you put together a complete, low-carb meal.
I would strongly suggest that you read the recipes before you hit the grocery store each week with the list. It helps to know what your menu is about before you head out the door. That five minutes of reading through the menu and recipes may help you make a quick decision if your store is out of something or if you would prefer a substitute. You can’t do that if you don’t know what you’re shopping for!
This book is chock full of sidebars . . . read them! There is a ton of information to help you take full advantage of these menus and to make the recipes your own. As I was writing these recipes out, I would think of something else that would empower you in the kitchen, so I made a sidebar out of it. The more you know, the faster you’re able to do the recipes and shopping. That’s a good thing!
When appropriate, I have added Do-Ahead Tips to help make dinner easier the next day (e.g., precooking turkey or chicken for a salad, etc.). However, there are all kinds of things you can do the day before, if you so desire. I kept it basic, you might want to do more—it’s totally up to you. You also can move days around if you want—just remember that the Do-Ahead Tips may no longer be appropriate if you do.
If you do want to make substitutions (due to allergies, preferences, etc.) on some of the grocery items, feel free! For those who are more kosher minded, the pork and shellfish recipes can easily be substituted out with any poultry, chicken being a very easy fit.
Just remember, Saving Dinner the Low-Carb Way is another weapon in your arsenal to help you conquer the drive-thru and keep your family at the dinner table. Enjoy! SAVING
DINNER THE LOW-CARB WAY
DAY ONE: Sweet Teriyaki Pork Chops
DAY TWO: Low-Carb Mexican Casserole
DAY THREE: Jack Fish
DAY FOUR: Bourbon Chicken on Spinach
DAY FIVE: Happy Family Beef Stir-Fry
DAY SIX: Crock Goulash
4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
1 pound beef flank steak
4 boneless pork chops (4–6 ounces each)
11/2 pounds boneless pork (cut into 1-inch cubes)
1 pound ground turkey
1 pound cod fillets (if not using frozen, other firm white fish can be used instead)
sesame oil (dark; sometimes called toasted; comes in a small bottle)
soy sauce (low sodium, if available)
**lc salad dressing—your choice
1 small green bell pepper
1 small red bell pepper
1/2 pound snow-pea pods
2 bunches green onions (you’ll need 1/2 cup + 4 teaspoons)
3 pounds onions (keep on hand)
2 medium tomatoes
1 head garlic
1 piece gingerroot (you’ll need 1 tablespoon grated)
1 bag spinach (you’ll need 4 cups); **lc (1 meal)
red cabbage (you’ll need 3 cups)
**lc 2 heads lettuce (not iceberg) (2 meals)
**lc salad veggies (2 meals)
**lc spaghetti squash (1 meal)
**lc green beans (1 meal)
**lc turnip (1 meal)
**lc broccoli (1 meal)
**lc cauliflower (1 meal)
**lc pumpkin wedges (purchase a small pie pumpkin or sugar pumpkin) (1 meal)
**russet potatoes (1 meal)
**red potatoes (2 meals)
1 141/2-ounce can chicken broth (you’ll need 1/2 cup)
1 jar salsa (you’ll need 3/4 cup)
black olives (you’ll need 1/4 cup chopped)
apple juice (you’ll need 4 tablespoons, if not using bourbon)
**black beans SPICES
half-and-half (you’ll need 1/2 cup)
sour cream (you’ll need 4 tablespoons + 1/2 cup)
Cheddar cheese (you’ll need 1 cup shredded)
Monterey Jack cheese (you’ll need 1/2 cup shredded)
**lc 8-ounce package cream cheese
1 package taco seasoning mix
**2 pounds brown rice
1 pound cod fillets (if not using fresh)
**lc low-carb tortillas
bourbon (you’ll need 4 tablespoons, if not using apple juice)
SWEET TERIYAKI PORK CHOPS
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small green bell pepper...