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Buffalo Chicken, Haricot Vert Almandine & Butternut Squash

Buffalo chicken thighs with butternut squash and harict verts

¼ cup Frank’s Red Hot Sauce

2 T butter, melted

1 T minced garlic

3 pounds chicken, rinsed and patted dry or 2 thighs per person

Salt & pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Put parchment paper on cast iron or oven proof roasting pan. Sprinkle salt and pepper on chicken. Cook 30 minutes. Turn thighs and remove extra oil. Cook another 30 minutes. Raise oven to 450. Remove extra oil. Combine melted butter, garlic and hot sauce and drizzle over thighs. Cook about 10 minutes, turning once or twice, until skin is crisp

Spiralized butternut Squash

Serves 2

Spiralized butternut squash

1 neck–the straight portion— butternut squash, peeled with ends cut off and spiralized

1 tablespoon butter or extra virgin olive oil

Lemon juice

Salt and pepper

In cast iron or heavy pan, heat oil or butter over medium/high heat. Add squash and stir until softened, 3-5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Turn off heat and add lemon juice to taste.

Haricot Vert Almandine

12 ounces haricot verts, pointy ends removed

¼ cup slivered raw almonds

1 tablespoon butter

Salt and pepper

Lemon juice, optional.

Steam beans in a little water for about 5 minutes; test for doneness. Drain and return to a medium/low heat. Add butter and almonds and stir until almonds brown. Add salt and pepper. Remove from heat and add lemon juice.

Tofu “Ramen” Soup

Low Carb Tofu “Ramen” Soup

Before I started eating a low carb diet, I ate plenty of vegetarian meals, alternating meat with other protein like dairy, beans and tofu. But beans are not low carb and dairy is high in calories and fat; so, in my vegetarian low carb meals, I use usually use tofu. My favorite brand of tofu is The Bridge, made locally in Connecticut. It is firm. My favorite way to cook it is to cube it up and add tamari and sesame oil and bake it until it gets light brown. The outside is firm and the inside soft and it has a satisfying “bite” to it. Tonight, I made it and added it last minute to my “ramen” soup. Delicious!

I use a generous 8-ounce portion of tofu for the meal because nothing else has enough calories to make it filling. For dinner. If using real ramen noodles, you could cut down on the amount of tofu used.

This recipe is a good basic one. Feel free to experiment with other proteins or vegetables.  Sautéed shitakes, broccoli, spinach, kale and cabbage are all good in there. Chicken, shrimp, pork, beef works in instead of tofu. If you don’t like spicy kimchi, just omit.

shirataki noodles

Low carb shirataki noodles

Tofu “Ramen” Soup 

Serves 4

2 pounds tofu, cut into small pieces and dried

2 packages tofu shirataki “noodles”

1-pound baby bok choy, stems and leaves separated and chopped (broccoli, spinach, bok choy, kale, cabbage)

4-8 ounces kimchi, chopped

1 tablespoon Korean chili (optional)

3 cups chicken or vegetable stock

½ bunch scallion, chopped

1-inch piece of ginger, finely chopped

3 cloves garlic, finely chopped

4 tablespoons low sodium tamari or 1/3 cup yellow or white miso

3 tablespoons sesame oil

1-2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Heat oven to 350 and place tofu on a pan, with a piece of parchment paper. Take 1 tablespoon of sesame oil and 1 tablespoon tamari and coat tofu. Bake tofu about 45 minutes or until light brown.

On medium, sauté garlic, scallion and ginger until fragrant, about a minute. Raise temperature to medium high and add bok choy stems and stir until wilted, a few minutes. Add bok choy leaves, kimchi and juice, Korean chili, shirataki noodles and stir. Add stock and bring to a boil. If using miso, ladle out some stock and add to miso and stir until dissolved. Lower heat so it is not boiling and add miso. If not using miso, add tamari. Turn off heat and add sesame oil. Ladle into bowls and add baked tofu. Serve with sesame oil on the side.

Tofu baked with tamri and sesami oil

 

 

 

 

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Low Carb Chicken Soup and Bone Stock

Low Carb Chicken Soup

Homemade chicken stock rocks. It is very easy to make and is mostly hands-off, but it does need to cook for hours. I always have frozen chicken bone stock, as I use it for my own cooking and for my Pugs in their food. You can freeze portions in plastic or glass containers or Ziplocs or make small portions in ice cube trays and pop those into a Ziploc.

Some cooks make stock by cooking the chicken forever, then throwing away the tasteless chicken. There is no reason to do this! Instead, cook chicken until it’s done–about an hour if cut into pieces–then return the bones to the pot so they can continue to add flavor to the stock. It’s the bone and connective tissue that give the stock the best flavor and nutrients. To leech even more nutrients from the bones, add a couple of tablespoons of cider vinegar.

Yesterday, I was in the mood for chicken soup and my boys needed their stock and chicken, so I made a huge batch of chicken. Cobi and Ferdi eat dark meat and those bones have all the connective tissue that makes bone stock so healthy, so I cooked a few breasts for my husband and I and added a bunch of legs to make the stock rich.

Please note that if you are making stock for your dogs, omit the onion. Also, when the stock is done, strip off the remaining meat and connective tissue on the bones and add it to your pet’s meal—a gourmet treat!

For more information on the health benefits of bone broth, read: http://normalehmeierhartie.com/umami-beef-bone-stock/.

If you want “regular” chicken soup, simply add rice or noodles or any grain or potatoes, or serve the carb on the side for those who want it. If you want the mouth-feel of rice, but not the carbs, add riced cauliflower.

I tend to mix up what vegetables I use. This time, I used carrots, parsnips, peas, celery, zucchini and leeks.

Of course, if you are feeling like chicken soup but don’t have the time or desire to make your own, a quart of organic stock will do.

Low Carb Chicken Soup and Bone Stock

Making Chicken Bone Stock

Chicken Bone Stock

1 chicken, cut into 8 pieces (do not use organs; neck is fine), or any amount of chicken, but use at least some dark meat for the bones

1 onion, quartered, skin on (note: if making for your dogs, omit!)

2 stacks celery, roughly chopped

2 carrots, roughly chopped

1 parsnip, roughly chopped

1 turnip, roughly chopped

Handful parsley (can put in a piece of cheese cloth)

Put chicken into a large pot, add vegetables and cover 2 inches above ingredients with water. When water comes to a boil, lower heat to a simmer and skim off any scum that forms on the top. Simmer gently for an hour. Remove meat and vegetables (a large skimmer spoon is perfect for this).  When meat is cool, discard skin and remove meat from bones. Put bones and the vegetables back into the pot and simmer for at least another two hours. Occasionally check water level. You can simmer for hours, if desired. Remove bones and vegetables. Strip what meat/connective tissue remains on the bones and give to your pet. Discard remains. Whatever stock you don’t need can be frozen and stored in plastic or glass containers. Fat will rise to the top when chilled and can be removed.

Making Chicken Soup

Low Carb Chicken Soup  

6-8 cups stock

1-pound chicken cut or torn into bite-sized pieces

Root vegetables: carrot, parsnips, turnips, celery root, jicama, peeled and cut into bite-sized pieces

Broccoli, Kale, cut into small bite sized pieces, kale stems removed and discarded or chop and put into pot with root vegetables

Cauliflower, cut into small bite sized pieces or riced

Spinach, peas

Zucchini, spiralized or cut small

Leeks, white and light green parts, thinly sliced.

Lemon zest and juice (optional)

Heat stock to a boil and add root veggies and cook 20 minutes. Add broccoli and cauliflower, if using, and cook 10 minutes.  Add other vegetables and chicken for last 5 minutes, including riced cauliflower. Salt and pepper to taste.  Add lemon zest and juice to taste in serving bowl.

Low Carb Chicken Soup

Spinach, Baked Tofu and Sesame Stir-Fry

Baked tofu with tamari, sesami oil and seeds

If you think you don’t like tofu, try this recipe—I swear it will make you a convert! If you do like tofu, you will love it baked! Now, not all tofu is the same and my favorite is The Bridge, made by a small company in Connecticut, because it’s nice and firm and tastes so fresh. Baking the tofu changes its texture from soft and spongy to firm and chewy. In this recipe, I add both sesame oil and tamari, but you can omit sesame oil and it will still be good.

There are not a lot of low carb non-meat or cheese choices, but tofu is one of them, with 4 ounces containing only 1 gram. I love beans, for example, but they really aren’t low carb, so I eat them sparingly.

I use one pound of organic frozen spinach from Trader Joe’s—good and cheap. You can use baby spinach, but it’s expensive and really not worth it—plus, with frozen, you can have it on hand and ready to make this easy dish anytime. You can substitute broccoli, cabbage, bok choy or other greens, too. Kimchi adds more flavor, but the dish is good with it or without.

I also like to cook Asian meals with good quality peanut oil and use Loriva which is delicious and very fragrant.

Good quality peanut oil

Peanut oil is nice because it has a high smoke point.

Spinach, Tofu and Sesame Stir-Fry

1 tablespoon peanut or extra virgin olive oil

1 pound extra firm tofu, cut in small bite sized pieces

4 large garlic cloves, minced

1” piece teaspoon grated or minced fresh ginger

¼ teaspoon red chili flakes or 1 tablespoon Korean red pepper

Soy or tamari sauce to taste

1-pound frozen spinach, defrosted and squeezed dry

2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds

3 teaspoons sesame oil, divided

½ bunch scallion, chopped

Black pepper

½ cup kimchi, chopped and use liquid (optional)

PREPARATION

Rinse tofu and blot dry with a paper or kitchen towel. Put tofu on parchment paper on an oven tray and coat tofu with 1 teaspoon sesame oil and soy sauce. If you have the time, let tofu marinate 30 minutes, then bake at 350 for 45 minutes to one hour or until golden. Put tofu aside. Heat the oil over medium-high heat in a large nonstick skillet, cast iron pan or wok, and add garlic, scallion, peppers and ginger. Cook, stirring, until fragrant, about one minute, and add soy sauce to taste. Add the spinach and kimchi and stir-fry until the spinach is hot, about one minute. Add tofu. Stir in the sesame seeds, and add more soy sauce to taste. Remove from the heat and add 2 teaspoons of sesame oil.

Tofu cubed in sesami oil and tamari

Serve with spiralized, sautéed zucchini or sautéed riced cauliflower.

Low Carb Kimchi “Cauliflower Fried Rice”

Low Carb “Cauliflower Fried Rice”

A delicious low carb “fried rice” dish made with cauliflower instead of rice!

In China and Korea, fried rice dishes are usually served as a side dish or made with leftovers; mine is meant as a main entrée. I wanted to see if “cauliflower rice” could stand up as a main ingredient instead of rice and I think it did very well as a substitute  I used baby bok choy, but you can use regular bok choy, broccoli, cabbage or spinach.

Typically, small amounts of meat are used in fried rice dishes, but because vegetables are so low calorie, I added more meat to make a satisfying and filling meal. If you would rather go meatless, either add more egg or use tofu. Tofu can be baked or marinate it in a bit of the seasoned soy sauce. This is also the ideal dish for leftover meat. I happened to have picked up a smoked duck breast and it was just hanging out in my freezer, so I decided to use it up for this dish.

The seasoned soy sauce is delicious and may become a go-to favorite to add to lots of Asian dishes!

Kimchi “Cauliflower Fried Rice”

Serves 4

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil or good quality peanut oil, like Lorivar

1 onion, chopped

8-12 ounces pork loin, smoked duck breast or duck leg confit, chicken, or extra firm tofu; chopped into small pieces

1 tablespoon butter

2 tablespoons sesame oil

2 pounds riced cauliflower, allow to defrost and squeeze out extra water if using frozen

1-pound baby bok choy, ends removed and stems and leaves separated and chopped coarsely

2 cups kimchi and liquid, coarsely chopped

½ bunch scallion, chopped

salt

Toasted sesame seeds

3 eggs, beaten

Heat oil on medium and cook onion until soft. Raise heat to medium high and cook meat until done. Add bok choy stems and cook until softened. Add butter and sesame oil and when melted, add cauliflower. Stir until hot. Add kimchi, scallions, bok choy leaves, and salt and stir until hot. In a separate pan, heat oil to coat pan and add egg when hot. Flip egg when almost set. Remove from pan and cut into strips. Add to dish. Sprinkle sesame seeds. Serve with seasoned soy sauce.

Seasoned Soy Sauce

¼ cup tamari or soy sauce

1 scallion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 tablespoons sesame oil

1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds

1 teaspoon Korean chili powder (this is a mild chili powder. If using something else, consider reducing amount)

1 teaspoon black pepper

Combine all ingredients

Pickled Watermelon Radishes & Carrots

Pickled radish and carrot

Pickled Watermelon Radishes and Carrots

I was lucky enough to receive an amazing batch of homemade kimchi for Christmas and it inspired me to make pickled radishes and carrots with the watermelon and purple radishes I had from the farmer’s market. (Daikon is traditionally used, but I prefer the colorful radishes instead of the white daikon.) I usually use a food processor, but don’t have mine in NYC and decided to use a spiralizer. I’m digging the way the colorful curls turned out! The recipe I use calls for 2-3 tablespoons of salt and sugar, but I use less. Taste it and decide for yourself. The vegetables pickle in minutes with warm water; I leave mine out for about an hour, then chill in the refrigerator. They can be used right away.

On Monday, I plan on making Bulgogi and having a feast with the kimchi and pickles and other sides for a delicious meal.

Spiralized radishes and carrots

Pickled Watermelon Radishes and Carrots

1/2 lb. carrots, shredded in food processor or with a spiralizer

1/2 lb. daikon, watermelon, purple or other radishes, shredded in food processor or with a spiralizer.

3 cups warm water

3 tablespoons distilled or rice vinegar

1 tablespoons sugar

1 tablespoons salt

Mix warm water, vinegar, sugar and salt until everything is dissolved. Choose a pitcher or bowl with a lip that can be used for pouring mixture.

Peel, wash and cut radishes and carrots to desired size. Put into a container and add liquid.

Umami Beef Bone Stock

Beef stock simmering

Bone stock is a big deal lately. Drinking broth is the newest health craze; there are many good nutrients found in the bones/connective tissue of animals that leech out into the broth when simmered for a long time, releasing healing compounds like collagen, proline, glycine and glutamine.

My dogs’ homeopathic vet agrees about the healthfulness of bones and recommends first a raw diet (bones ground up with meat) then cooked meat with bone broth. So all of us have the bone broth—I’ll drink some for the health benefits—but I really love how homemade stock elevates any dish you use it in to fine cuisine.

Bone broths are staples in the traditional diets of every culture and are the foundation of all fine food. That’s because bone broths are nutrient-dense, easy to digest, rich in umami taste and they boost healing.

The health benefits of bone soup are numerous; consuming bone broth, including beef, lamb, chicken fish and more, can:

  • Treat leaky gut syndrome
  • Overcome food intolerances and allergies
  • Improve and protect joint health
  • Improve elasticity and make you look younger
  • Boost immune system
  • Aids in detoxification

Bone broth contains:

  • 19 essential and non-essential amino acids
  • Collagen/gelatin, which help form connective tissue
  • Nutrients that support digestive functions, immunity and brain health

You will want to use grass fed meat. I buy mine in Northern Westchester, at a Hemlock Hill Farm and was there last weekend, buying meaty beef bones.

Roast beef bones before simmering them make the stock richer.

I make a big batch of beef stock once a year or so and it’s enough to make French Onion soup, stews and other dishes that require beef stock; about 16 servings total. It is perfect to make on a rainy day or whenever you plan to spend the day at home. It doesn’t require much hands-on work, just a long cooking time. You can buy either meaty bones or bones and connective tissue with little meat; the meat will be so cooked that there is little flavor left and you probably won’t want to eat it. If you have dogs or cats, however, they would enjoy it.

The first meal I make with the stock is always French Onion soup. Made up of only a few ingredients, the soup is loaded with umami flavor from the stock and it is superb.

Beef Bone Stock

Preheat oven to 450

3 pounds meaty bones or 5 pounds bones.

2 onions, unpeeled and quartered

1 large carrot, quartered

2 stalks celery, roughly chopped

Bouquet garni

2 tablespoons unfiltered apple cider vinegar (helps leach out even more nutrients)

Put meat, onion and carrot into an oven proof container and bake one hour, turning occasionally.

Ready for the oven
Beef bones and veggies ready for stock pot

 

Put meat and vegetables in a stock pot and deglaze roasting pan with 2 cups of water, then add to stock pot. Add 3 1/2 quarts of water, the celery, apple cider and bouquet garni. Bring to a boil, then lower to a simmer for 5 hours.  Remove bones and vegetables and discard. Allow stock to cool. To hasten cooling, put pot in sink with drain plugged and add cold water and ice in sink. Freeze in containers or freezer Ziplocs; I freeze in quart-sized Ziplocs and partially defrost if I need less than 4 cups.

I’ll post French Onion soup recipe soon!

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Low Carb “Wanton” Pork Loaf and Baby Bok Choy

Wanton Pork Loaf and Bok Choy

I created this recipe based on the filling for Chinese wantons with pork and shrimp. Before going low carb, I’d make a big pot of soup with them and a bunch of veggies. Then, I went low carb and made the filling without the wrapper, just tossing the meat into the soup—I’ll make and post it later, when it gets cold.

So, if you like pork dumplings, you’ll like this meatloaf.

I don’t add shrimp to my recipe, because my husband is allergic to it. Add it or not—pork only is delicious.

I add half a package of gelatin to all meatloaves, because it improves the texture and helps it retain moisture. (Works for meatballs, too!) I discovered this from The Science of Good Cooking: Master 50 Simple Concepts to Enjoy a Lifetime of Success in the Kitchen by Cook’s Illustrated.

I just spent the weekend in upstate New York and had the most delicious boy choy ever at Blue Mountain Bistro. They grill theirs and I don’t have a grill in NYC, so I sautéed mine. They were kind enough to share the ingredients and this is it, with the addition of sautéed mushrooms. I use Loriva pure roasted peanut oil

Loriva sesami oil

when I cook Chinese dishes because it smells and tastes so good in them. The dish turned out great and so full of flavor that I will make it again and it would work well to jazz up a plainer meat, like roasted chicken. Equally as good would be to add some chicken, pork or tofu and make it a one dish meal.

The pork loaf is high in umami taste with pork and Tamari and the bok choy has Tamari and mushrooms to give it that extra taste and help you forget you aren’t eating lots of carbs and fat!

Low Carb “Wonton” Pork loaf

Serves 4

1 ½ pounds ground pork or ¾ pound ground shrimp and ¾ pound ground pork

½ bunch scallions, sliced fine

1/4 cup milk

1 egg

2 tablespoons low sodium Tamari

1 tablespoons sesame oil

Black pepper

1 tablespoon Korean red pepper (less if using a spicier red pepper)

½ bunch parsley, stems removed and chopped

½ package gelatin

½ -inch ginger, chopped fine or grated

2 cloves garlic chopped fine or grated

Good handful baby spinach, coarsely chopped

Preheat oven to 350. Put gelatin, milk and egg in a bowl and stir in gelatin, then add rest of the wet ingredients. Gelatin will soften. Add remaining ingredients. Bake 45 minutes. I cook half two nights in a row for my husband and I so both nights the meatloaf tastes great.

Baby Bok Choy with Oyster Mushrooms

Serves 2

1-pound baby bok choy, ends removed and rinsed well; separate stems and leaves

½ pound Oyster or other mushrooms, remove stem and chop coarsely

1 large clove garlic, chopped fine

½ piece ginger, chopped fine

1 tablespoon low sodium Tamari

½ tablespoon sesame oil

Black pepper

2 tablespoons sesame seeds, toasted at 350 in the oven for about 5 minutes or until they get lightly brown

Good quality peanut oil like Loriva or Extra virgin olive oil

Heat cast iron pan on high; coat bottom with peanut or olive oil. When hot, add mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes until water is released and they begin to brown. Add bok choy stems and cook, 3 minutes. Lower heat to medium low and add ginger and garlic and cook a couple minutes, until softened. Add leaves and cook until wilted. Add soy sauce and black pepper, stirring to coat. Turn off heat and add sesame oil and seeds.

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Low Carb Kimchi “Ramen” Soup

Kimchi “Ramen” Soup

The secret ingredient here is the tofu shirataki “noodles” which imitate real noodles with their texture, but a 4-ounce serving has only 10 calories and 3 carbs! It’s basically soybeans and yam flour. The texture is amazingly like noodles and the flavor is bland—but it’s what you have the noodles with that give it flavor and these are perfect in soup. This is a basic recipe, but totally stands on its own. Jazz it up with tofu, chicken, pork, broccoli, shredded carrots, spiralized zucchini and any other vegetable or protein you have on hand. Leftover chicken and pork? They are perfect for this soup.

Tofu Shirataka “Ramen”

Kimchi “Ramen” Soup

Serves 3

3 Eggs, beaten

2 packages tofu shirataki “noodles”, drain in colander and rinse and drain

1 pound baby bok choy, ends cut off, stems and leaves separated and chopped

6-12 ounces kimchi

2 cups chicken or vegetable stock plus water as needed

8 ounces shitake mushrooms, chopped

½ bunch scallion

1-inch piece of ginger, finely chopped

3 cloves garlic, finely chopped

3 tablespoons low sodium tamari

1-2 tablespoons sesame oil

1-2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Heat a small pan on medium high, add oil to coat and pour eggs in. let set and flip. Remove from pan and cut into strips and set aside. In a pot, heat olive oil on medium and add ginger and garlic, cook 2 minutes, but don’t allow to brown. Raise heat to medium high and add shitake mushrooms; cook until water releases and they begin to brown. Add baby bok choy stems and cook a few minutes until wilted. Add baby bok choy leaves, stock, soy sauce, kimchi, egg strips and bring to a boil. Turn off heat and add sesame oil. Taste and add more sesame oil and soy sauce as needed.

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