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Each of these selections is truly low-carb, with six grams of carbohydrates or less per serving, and none of the recipes require special low-carb brand food, obscure ingredients, or sugar substitutes. Desperate for a real Italian dinner? Try Chicken Parmesan Romana. Hankering for heat? Flaming Shrimp Portobello is fiery and delicious. Craving crunch? Crisp and Crackly Cheese Crackers provide the right snap.
Keeping readers motivated, the recipes in The Carbohydrate Addict's No Cravings Cookbook address individual palates in an energizing new way. This is the ultimate cookbook for winning the fight against carbohydrate temptation, reaching and maintaining your ideal weight, and reviving the pure pleasure of eating.
Author Biography: Drs. Rachael and Richard Heller are the authors of a dozen previous books, including The Carbohydrate Addict's 7-Day Plan, The Carbohydrate Addict's Diet (3 million copies in print), and The Carbohydrate Addict's LifeSpan Program (1.8 million copies in print). The Hellers are also distinguished researchers and professors emeritus (Mount Sinai Medical Center and the Graduate Center of the City University of New York). Together, they achieved a combined weight loss of 200 pounds and have kept the weight off for more than twenty years.
In the pages that follow you will not find recipes to delight your friends, excite your family, or entertain your guests. There are no tips on preparing large family dinners or holiday parties. Instead, the dishes here have been developed to please your taste buds, cater to your needs, and satisfy your cravings so that you can stay on your low-carb eating program without sacrifice or deprivation.
We have not divided this book into neat sections devoted to breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Instead, the recipes have been organized around specific cravings—so that you can find the kind of food you want when you want it. It’s the craving you seek to satisfy, not the time of day.
If Richard and I had our way, each recipe would have a serving size of one, maybe two. It is a point of fact, however, that combining ingredients, especially in low-carb cooking, doesn’t work that way. Most dishes need a minimum of two to four servings to achieve an ideal balance of flavors. Although a dish may provide multiple servings, they are all yours to enjoy. Refrigerate them for a day or two, warm them up or enjoy them cold, or freeze them for the next time a craving hits.
So leave behind the needs and desires of the rest of the world and get ready to focus on meeting your weight-loss goals and satisfying your cravings. Chances are, you’re long overdue for some well-deserved rewards of your own.
You’ve planned and shopped and cooked for others. You’ve sliced, diced, and sautéed until you were blue in the face. You’ve scrubbed the pots and taken care of the dishes and, if you were lucky, very lucky, you’ve heard the words “This is good,” mumbled through a food-packed mouth or two. And you’ve wondered when you were going to break free of the endless chore of taking care of other people.
Well, welcome to a little bit of healthy selfishness, where what you want counts—your dreams for tomorrow and your desires for today—a haven where you can lose weight without deprivation and indulge your cravings without guilt.
Most of all, healthy selfishness is learning to listen to the little voice inside of you that has been told to be quiet for too long, that has started speaking in barely perceptible whispers, and that longs to shout to the world, “This is my life, too!”
For us, personally, that voice has been our savior. Once we learned to honor it and stand up for it, we were able to lose a combined two hundred pounds and keep the weight off, without deprivation, for more than two decades.
You have heard the experts attest to the fact that weight loss requires extraordinary discipline and sacrifice. Our answer: Bull! Self-sacrificing feats of restraint and abstinence can work for only so long. In the end, the human need for comfort and pleasure almost inevitably wins out.
A successful weight-loss program requires, most of all, a commitment to treat yourself well, to put your own needs first, and to fully enjoy the pleasure that food was meant to provide.
Chances are you’ve tried the sacrifice approach ... many times. It simply doesn’t work. Now it’s time to listen to that little voice inside you and indulge in a bit of well-earned healthy selfishness.
It works. We know and we have proof; actually more than two hundred pounds’ worth!
PLANNING FOR PLEASURE
If you were to have guests for dinner—family, friends, even strangers—chances are you would plan your meal in advance. You’d choose the recipes, buy the food, and prepare the dishes after carefully considering all your options. Isn’t it odd, then, that most low-carb dieters rarely plan their own meals ahead of time—giving little or no thought to the new and exciting dishes with which they might please themselves?
As a first step toward incorporating a bit of healthy selfishness in your life, we encourage you to plan for pleasure. Take the same time, energy, and interest that you would give to your family, friends, kids, a family pet, even a perfect stranger, and think about what you would like to eat. Choose the recipes you want to enjoy, purchase the ingredients you need on hand to make them, and take the time to prepare the low-carb dishes that best suit your diet. Go ahead and cook up a storm—with just your needs and desires in mind. You’ll find it’s time well spent.
A SIMPLE GUIDE TO CARB COUNTS
In the recipes that follow, carb counts are always given in total carb grams per serving. All carb counts are rounded to the nearest whole number. If a serving contains less than one-half gram of carbohydrates per serving, it is rounded to 0 (zero). If it contains more than one-half gram but less than one gram of carbohydrates per serving, it is rounded to 1 (one).
Unless otherwise indicated, the size of vegetables or other ingredients is considered to be “average” and carb counts are calculated in the same way.
Where onions, cabbage, or other ingredients are not specified by variety, the choice is yours. You may prefer the less pungent taste of a white onion instead of a yellow one, for instance, or your supermarket may generally carry only one or two varieties of cabbage. Unless indicated, we have found the specific variety makes little difference to either the taste or the carb count.
The recipes list ingredients simply as “sour cream” or “sausage” or “bacon,” etc. At the supermarket, however, you will face a myriad of choices: ten types of sour cream (low-fat, low-carb, all natural, etc.) and a dozen different sausages and bacons (sugar-free, low-salt, organic, etc.). For these and other ingredients, the variety (and the pros and cons of each choice) can present an almost overwhelming dilemma. Choose “low-fat” and you may be getting an item higher in carbs. Choose “sugar-free” and the product may include a hefty portion of sugar substitutes. Choose something that claims to be “low-carb” and you may not really be getting low-carb at all.
Our recommendation is, as always, to consult with your physician to determine your weight-loss and health priorities. If low-carb is your only goal, then avoid any prepared food in our recipes that contains sugar as an ingredient. (Almost any ingredient ending in “-ose” as well as a variety of corn syrups are names for sugars.) If saturated fats are also of concern, learn the names of the fats you should avoid and, again, pay attention to the ingredient list and nutrition label. And so on.
You’ll see that we’ve listed olive oil as the preferred cooking oil. In doing so, we considered the levels of saturated fats in a variety of oils as well as the level of monounsaturated fats, the smoking points, and the amount of omega-3 versus omega-6, both desirable oils. Since omega-3 is found in meats, fish, and vegetables, and is more likely to be consumed already by low-carb dieters, we thought it best to recommend an oil high in omega-6, that is olive oil. In addition, for each recipe we chose the oil whose flavor best suits the other ingredients. As always, however, the needs of your particular eating program, as determined by you and your physician, should prevail. If your physician recommends canola oil rather than olive oil, for example, that recommendation should supersede our ingredients list.
While all of the recipes is this book are low in carbohydrates (not just in net carbs but in total carbs), some may be more in keeping with your personal health-related goals. Enjoy on a regular basis those recipes that best fit all of your needs, and save others for special occasions. Even better, be creative and replace less-preferable ingredients with those that better meet your personal requirements. Feel free to substitute bacon with chicken or fish, for example, or enjoy a low-fat cheese rather than a higher-fat variety.
This is your cookbook as well as your life. The choices you make can help you rewrite both.
GLUTAMATES UNWANTED ADDITIONS
Glutamates, including but not limited to MSG (monosodium glutamate), are chemicals in food that are found naturally or, in the case of processed food, are added. When glutamates occur naturally, they don’t seem to cause significant problems for most dieters. When glutamates are added to processed foods, however, they can lead to increased hunger, cravings, and weight gain. Some individuals are quite sensitive to added glutamates, while others are not.
Food manufacturers add glutamates to food to make it taste better and to keep the consumer coming back to buy more. Glutamates may be present in foods under any of the following names (found in the products’ ingredient list):
anything enzyme modified
anything protein fortified
anything ultra pasteurized
hydrolyzed oat flour
hydrolyzed plant protein
hydrolyzed vegetable protein
hydrolyzed soy protein
plant protein extract
As a low-carb dieter, you might find it helpful to avoid processed condiments such as hot sauce, mayonnaise, and prepared horseradish that contain these additives. You might even decide you want to make your own condiments. We’ve included three recipes for homemade hot sauce, beginning on page 259, to get you started.
If you find yourself unexplainably drawn to a certain brand of food, you may want to check its ingredient list for any of the above items. We advise you to check with your physician if you have uncontrollable cravings for any food.
For more information on glutamates and their effects on your insulin levels, hunger, cravings, weight gain, and the ability to stay on a weight-loss program, see our Carbohydrate Addict’s 7-Day Plan or The Carbohydrate Addict’s LifeSpan Program.
AN EASY BUT ESSENTIAL TOFU TIP
One of the many delights of cooking with tofu is that it takes on the flavors of all of the herbs and spices with which it is cooked—but only if it is drained of the excess liquid in which it is packed.
We have discovered a simple and quick technique for draining the excess liquid from the tofu block without damaging the tofu so that, like a rich sponge, it can soak up the wonderful flavors of the dish you are preparing:
To get your tofu ready for cooking, lay the block on its larger side on a clean, dry dinner plate. Gently stack three dinner plates on top of the block, in an even distribution of weight. The weight will exert a slow pressure on the tofu and liquid will begin to pool at the base of tofu in the plate.
Place the tofu and plates in the refrigerator for 1 hour, returning every 10 to 15 minutes to check for and drain the pooled liquid.
After one hour, remove the tofu from the refrigerator, drain the last pool of liquid, and use the tofu as directed in the recipe.
ONE LAST THOUGHT
Each recipe in the pages that follow is low enough in carbs to comply with virtually any low-carb diet. Rather than being faced with cumbersome carb counting, your challenge will be this: to answer the question, “What am I craving right now?”
With that answer in mind, or with a desire just to browse, look over the fifteen sections in the Contents (page ix), listed by cravings. From “Chinese Delights” to “Italian Indulgences,” from “Crunchy Satisfaction” to “Comfort Food,” each section in this book will provide you with at least thirteen low-carb choices (a baker’s dozen) to make you feel good all over.
WHAT ARE YOU CRAVING?
PREP TIME: 5 minutes SERVINGS: 4
COOK TIME: 1 hour CARBS PER SERVING: 2 grams
When nothing but the tangy taste of barbecue will do, this quick fix works wonders. The dish that inspired our version was served to us in a tiny bed-and-breakfast in New Orleans where Sue and Alan, the owners, threw a cookout in our honor. They had lost a combined forty pounds eating low-carb and wanted to show us that they could cook Cajun without the carbohydrates.
1 cup white vinegar
2 teaspoons paprika (hot or sweet)
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (or as desired)
1 cup olive oil
Salt and pepper, as desired
11/2 pounds chicken legs, backs, quarters, or wings
In a medium-size bowl, combine the vinegar, paprika, mustard, basil, cayenne pepper, olive oil, and salt and pepper as desired, to form a marinade. Mix well.
Add the raw chicken and stir so that all the surfaces of the chicken are exposed to the marinade. Cover the bowl and place it in the refrigerator for 1 hour.
Remove the chicken from the refrigerator and discard the marinade before cooking. Do not use the marinade for basting. Either grill the chicken on a barbecue until thoroughly cooked or place the chicken in a shallow baking pan or on a cookie sheet and bake for 1 hour in an oven that has been preheated to 350°F.
To add extra crispness to oven-baked chicken, for the final 10 minutes of cooking, turn the oven temperature to broil. To avoid burning the chicken, watch it carefully.
Serve warm or cold.
Steaks and burgers take on great flavors from this marinade. Prepare the steak as you would chicken. For great Cajun barbecued burgers, add a small portion of the marinade to ground beef, form the beef into patties, and grill or broil them as usual.
Succulent Barbecued Pork Chops
PREP TIME: 15 minutes SERVINGS: 4
COOK TIME: 1 hour CARBS PER SERVING: 2 grams
If you love a powerful barbecue flavor, you’ll enjoy these chops right off the grill. Or pop them in your broiler. Plain old oven cooking can’t diminish their flavor.
1/2 stick unsalted butter
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon cayenne
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
2 teaspoons dried rosemary
2 teaspoons dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup olive oil
4 pork center loin chops (about 4 to 6 ounces each)
In a large skillet, melt the butter over very low heat. Remove the skillet from the heat and allow it to cool. Add the soy sauce, mixing constantly.
Add all the spices and salt. Mix well. Return the skillet to very low heat and add the olive oil, stirring to keep the mixture from separating.
Allow the mixture to cool for 5 to 10 minutes.
Prepare the grill or preheat the oven to 350°F.
While it is still liquid, reserve half of the butter mixture for later basting. Place the chops in a skillet with the remainder of the mixture and coat the chops.
Remove the chops from the skillet and cook thoroughly on the grill or in the oven. Discard the butter mixture from the skillet.
Using only the butter mixture that did not make contact with uncooked pork, turn the chops and baste halfway through cooking. If you’re cooking the chops in the oven, broil them during the last 10 minutes of cooking to make them crispy and brown.
PREP TIME: 25 minutes SERVINGS: 4
COOK TIME: 25 minutes CARBS PER SERVING: 4 grams
The smoky taste of this rich soup will satisfy your need for barbecue without your ever having to fire up the grill. We created this recipe on a fishing trip with two friends who failed to mention they hadn’t brought enough backup food supplies. At the last minute, we had packed along canned clams, the only portable source of protein we had in the house. Good thing, too! When our friends failed to catch even one fish, we fried up the leftover bacon from breakfast and made a soup that was far better than any imaginary fish dinner.
1/2 pound bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup diced onion
1/2 cup diced celery
1/4 pound kohlrabi, cut into
3/4-inch cubes (optional)
2 cans (6.5 ounces each) fully cooked clams, drained (retain juice) and chopped
2 cups clam juice and/or chicken stock (or our Classic Chicken Stock, page 66)
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon paprika, sweet or hot Dash of cayenne (optional) Dash of salt
1 cup heavy whipping cream
2 teaspoons arrowroot
powder dissolved in
4 teaspoons of water (for thickening) (optional)
1/4 cup snipped chives, as garnish (optional)
In a skillet, fry the bacon until completely cooked and set it aside, discarding the bacon grease. In the same skillet, sauté the onion until translucent. Add the celery and continue to sauté until the onion browns and the celery softens.
Remove the skillet from the heat, and add the kohlrabi, clam juice and/or chicken broth, pepper, thyme, basil, paprika, cayenne, and salt. Cover and cook over low heat, stirring often, for about 10 minutes.
Turn off the heat and allow the skillet to sit for 5 minutes. Stir in the heavy cream and the clams. Add the bacon, crumbled, and mix. Heat slowly.
Remove from the heat. If desired, add the arrowroot and water mixture for thickening. Stir constantly to make certain it is distributed throughout.
Serve warm topped with snipped chives as garnish.
Sydney Harbor Prawns
PREP TIME: 6 minutes SERVINGS: 4
COOK TIME: 10 minutes CARBS PER SERVING: 2 grams
Australian barbecues are legendary to the point that Aussies write songs about them. We came across the original version of this recipe at a friend’s cookout that lasted from one sunset until the next. This dish was the first course, served with great company and a red-streaked end-of-day view of Sydney’s harbor. The olive oil marinade keeps the shrimp juicy. The flavor is Aussie to the core.
1/2 medium diced tomato
1 cup olive oil
1/2 cup lemon juice
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon paprika
4 teaspoons diced onion
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
11/2 pounds large shrimp (or prawns), cleaned, shelled, and deveined
6 romaine lettuce leaves (or arugula)
In a large, shallow bowl, combine the tomato, olive oil, lemon juice, soy sauce, salt, paprika, onion, thyme, and garlic powder. Mix well. Add the shrimp so that the marinade completely covers it.
Cover the bowl and refrigerate for 2 hours, then discard the marinade.
Fire up the barbecue grill to the appropriate temperature, or preheat the broiler.
Place the shrimp in a grill holder or on metal skewers and cook over the hot grill for 5 minutes; turn and cook an additional 5 minutes. Or broil the shrimp in the oven for 5 minutes, then turn and broil an additional 2 minutes. In either case, cook until the shrimp are opaque and thoroughly cooked.
Serve warm on a bed of lettuce or arugula.
PREP TIME: 15 minutes SERVINGS: 4
COOK TIME: 25 minutes CARBS PER SERVING: 2 grams
We love these appetizers as a prelude to any low-carb meal. They’re also great with celery stuffed with cream cheese as a change-of-pace snack.
10 strips bacon
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup water
20 medium sea scallops
20 wooden toothpicks
Olive oil or nonstick cooking spray
Dash of cayenne or paprika (hot or sweet) (optional)
Preheat the oven to 400?F.
Cut the bacon strips in half, crosswise. Cook the strips in a skillet until almost cooked through but not yet browned or crispy. Drain them on a paper towel, allowing them to cool completely.
Meanwhile, combine the soy sauce and water in a small bowl.
Dip each scallop into the mixture and place it on a plate. Wrap 1 half slice of cooled bacon around each scallop and secure with a toothpick.
Oil a baking pan or cookie sheet or spray one with nonstick cooking spray, then evenly space the scallops on it.
Sprinkle the scallops with a dash of cayenne or paprika and bake them in the oven until the bacon becomes crisp and the scallops are thoroughly cooked and no longer translucent (about 10 minutes).
Drain them on paper towel and serve warm or cool. Remember to remove the toothpicks before eating.