Category Archives: Other Dinner

Yemista

Here’s yet another Greek favorite. We had to improvise a bit here to get its taste acceptable at 120 calories, and still feel authentic.

Ingredients
* 4 large tomatoes
* 4 medium-sized green ball peppers
* 250 gr of “riced” cauliflower (or rice)
* 50 gr finely chopped button mushrooms
* a small bunch of greens, chopped
* 1 leek, finely chopped
* chopped parsley, onion and garlic
* salt, pepper, oregano

Execution

1. With a knife cut the upper part of the tomato horizontally (see picture). Do the same for the ball pepper.

2. With a tablespoon dig out the tomato’s flesh, chop it finely, and place it in a frying pan. Do the same for the pepper’s spores and internal flesh, but instead throw these away.

3. In the pan that holds the tomato’s flesh, add mushrooms, leek, parsley, onion, garlic, salt, greens, pepper, oregano. Add 1 cup of water (or bone broth), and cook in high heat until the sauce is thickened. Remove from heat and mix well with the cauliflower.

4. Preheat the oven at 400F (200C). With the spoon fill up the internal part of the tomato and pepper with the pan’s contents. Place them in a small oven dish with half a glass of hot water, and bake them until the “rice” is cooked through.

Yemista

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Lahanodolmades

One of the best Greek recipes, lahanodolmades (stuffed cabbage), Paleo-ified (with cauliflower instead of rice). If using rice instead, use 1/2 cup of it, uncooked. 200 calories per plate!

Ingredients (makes 3-4 servings, 5 gr of net carbs each)
* 200 gr of low-fat beef ground meat
* 250 gr of “riced” cauliflower
* 120 gr of “riced” carrots
* 6-10 large cabbage leaves (of this variety preferably)
* 1 onion, chopped
* 1 TBspoon parsley, chopped
* 2 garlic cloves, minced
* 1 TBspoon olive oil (optional, avoid if dieting)
* 2 cups bone marrow broth, or water
* 1 large egg, in room temperature
* 1 large juicy lemon, or 2 smaller ones
* Salt & pepper to taste

Method
1. Wash the cabbage leaves, but be careful to not perforate them. Boil a lot of water in a big cooking pan and immerse the cabbage leaves in it for about 4-5 minutes. The point is to wilt them so we can roll them easily, not to cook them. Discard that water.

2. In a big bowl, mix the meat, the “riced” cauliflower, and the chopped onion, garlic and parsley. Generously add salt & pepper, and using your hands mix all ingredients very well.

3. Take one cabbage leave, and add a small handful of the meat mix on its lower, thicker side. Roll the cabbage once, then fold inwards the two left & right sides, and then continue rolling. Then place that on a cooking pot (with the opening of the rolling touching the bottom of the pot). Do the same for the rest of the mixture and leaves. The big secret for the stuffed cabbage to not unroll while cooking is to pack them very well at the bottom of the pot, so make sure you choose a cooking pot that’s the right size. The less room they have, the more securely will cook.

4. Start cooking in medium heat. Add the bone marrow broth, olive oil, and 1.5 cup additional water. Cook until the liquid has evaporated enough to reveal the stuffed rolls.

5. Remove the pan from the heat. Get a deep plate, and put the egg white in it (keep the egg yolk for later, separately). Start beating the egg white with a whisk for 3-4 minutes, until it becomes a fluffy, creamy substance (picture).

7. Add into the plate the egg yolk and beat again for 1 minute or so. The creamy substance should remain. Add the lemon juice in it, and beat again for 30 seconds. It should look like this now.

8. Using a deep ladle, carefully remove some broth and slowly pour it into the deep plate. Keep beating. Make sure the broth is not super-hot, or the egg will cook. Keep bringing broth to your deep plate. Just pour it slowly, and keep beating! It should look frothy (picture)!

9. Pour the plate’s content back into the pan, and tilt the pan a bit in all directions. It should now have a thick sauce! Crack some black pepper in it, and serve hot (gently reheat if required). Adjust lemon/salt and enjoy!

200 Calorie Hearty Soup

The problem with the low calorie diet recipes found online is that they often contain grains, which provide very little food per calorie. The smart way is to use vegetables mostly, so your stomach fills up until the next meal, no matter its caloric value. Here’s the golden standard of a recipe that provides plenty of nutrition, fiber, protein, and healthy fats to get you through the next meal.

The recipe below doesn’t provide weight of ingredients, as it’s designed for a big pot (so you can freeze some of it), but a portion as in the picture below is a bit less than 200 calories. Just use whatever veggies are already on your fridge.

200 Calorie Hearty Soup
200 Calorie Hearty Soup

Ingredients
* Chicken breast, OR some (cleaned) white fish with bones
* 1/2 butternut squash, cubed
* Sweet potato, cubed
* 2 carrots, cubed
* 1 cup of cabbage, shredded
* 1 cup of cauliflower, cut
* 1/4th cup mushrooms, sliced
* 1 bell pepper, sliced
* A small bunch of kale/spinach/chard, chopped
* 1/2 onion, sliced
* 1 can of kidney or canellini or garbanzo beans (washed, drained)
* 2 cups of chicken stock (preferably homemade)
* salt & pepper to taste
* juice of a half a lemon

Method
1. In a big pot, bring good quality water to a boil, and add the chicken and everything else, except the lemon and the beans. Cook for about 30 minutes in medium heat.

2. If using fish instead of chicken, add it at the last ~5 minutes of the cooking process. Add the beans in the last 2-3 minutes of the cooking process.

3. Enjoy hot, by squeezing some lemon on your plate.

Fajitas with keto tortillas

Made these sizzling fajitas last night. The most interesting thing about it is the grain-free, ketogenic tortillas. They were a great substitute. You can find the exact recipe here. For the spice mix of the fajitas, I used this (minus the cornstarch and sugar, plus a bit of chipotle). The rest of the ingredients to assemble the fajitas: beef, peppers, onions, guac with some salsa, sour cream.

Fajitas

ketogenic grain-free tortillas

Amaranth Greens

These are by far my most favorite greens. While the amaranth seeds aren’t Paleo/Pegan (due to being the same family as quinoa), its green leaves are game. Here’s how we eat these in Greece.

Ingredients
* a big bunch of amaranth leaves
* some salt
* Extra virgin olive oil
* Fresh lemon juice

Method
1. Wash the amaranth leaves in cold water and drain.

2. Bring salted water to a boil in a large pot (filled halfway).

3. Boil until soft, for 20-30 minutes, turning them twice. Drain.

4. Place some of the leaves on a plate, drizzle with some olive oil, and lemon juice. Enjoy hot or cold (do not reheat)!

Low Carb “Naked” Chicken Pot Pie

No reason for extra carbs that don’t hold major nutritional value. Here’s a high fat, low carb, crustless version of the traditional chicken pot pie. Came out great tonight!

Ingredients (for 4 people)
* 1/3rd of already roasted boneless chicken or duck pieces
* 1 large rutabaga, cut in small cubes
* 2 carrots, peeled and sliced
* 1/2 cup of green beans, cut in small pieces
* 1 small shallot, finely chopped
* 50 gr (1.5 tbspoons) of butter
* 1 large Tablespoon of almond flour (or 1.5 teaspoons of tapioca or arrowroot flour)
* 1 teaspoon of garlic powder
* 2/3 cup of sour cream
* 1 Tbspoon of Parmesan cheese
* 1 cup of chicken bone broth
* mozzarella cheese as a topping
* salt & pepper

Method
1. Boil the rutabaga, carrots, and beans under medium heat until tender, about 20 minutes. Strain it. Preheat the oven at 425 F (270 C).

2. On a large pot add the butter and the onion. Let the onion become translucent under medium heat.

3. Add the flour, garlic powder, and bone broth, and then slowly add the cream, parmesan while stirring.

4. When it starts to thicken quite a bit, turn off the heat, add the chicken pieces and the veggies, and salt & pepper. Stir.

5. Transfer the whole thing on a baking dish, and add mozzarella on top. Bake until golden brown on top.

Enjoy!

Goat Soup (and bone broth)

This might be my all time favorite soup. It’s a Greek traditional recipe, exactly as my mother makes it in Epirus, Greece (mainland). The great thing about it is that the recipe doubles as bone broth-making. I used to do lamb or bison bone broth mostly (they were more likely to be pastured than beef), but I really prefer the goat broth the best. The lamb is too fat, and bison/beef taste is a bit too heavy for my taste. Goat though, is just perfect. Regarding chicken broth, I’d only use pastured, and true pastured chickens are almost impossible to find in the US (even in farmer’s markets, it’s a scam, they just never look like older, real pastured chickens).

Ingredients
* 1 lb (or half a kilo) of goat meat with bones (found in Mexican or Middle Eastern shops in the USA)
* 1 large golden potato, peeled & chopped in cubes
* 1 carrot, peeled & sliced
* 1/2 cup roughly chopped celery leaves (not stalks)
* 1 cup chopped chard (optional)
* 1 small shallot, finely chopped
* juice of 1 lemon
* salt & pepper

Method
1. Fill up a pressure cooker with spring or filtered, fluoride-free water, and the goat meat. Never use tap water for your bone broth or soups. Set the cooker to 45 minutes. If not using a pressure cooker, cook in low-to-medium heat for 2 hours and replenish with more water if it has evaporated.

2. When you open the pressure cooker (make sure first the steam has all gone away), run the bone broth through a sieve or thin colander onto a clean large bowl or pot. When the bone broth has gotten colder, you can then fill up plastic containers or even large ice cubes (I use these) and place them in your freezer for future broth usage in soups. Keep aside 2 cups of broth though for our soup.

3. In a pot, add these 2 cups of broth you reserved, 1 additional cup of filtered water, the potato, carrot, celery leaves, the optional chard, shallot, salt, and pepper. Let them boil in medium heat for a while, until the potatoes are done.

4. Add the goat meat, cook for another 1-2 minutes, turn off the heat, and add the lemon juice, and additional black pepper. Enjoy!

Vegetable Pulao

A very flavorful one-pot dish with lots of veggies, making it extra healthy!

Pulao

Ingredients
* half a cup of rice, or 1.5 cups of cauliflower rice
* chopped and other veggies (e.g. carrots, peas, artichokes, chayote, zucchini, mushrooms, asparagus, green beans etc)
* half of a large onion, chopped
* a handful of cilantro, chopped
* 1 Tbspoon of olive or avocado oil
* 2 cups of water, or vegetable, or bone broth (optional)

Spice Mix 1:
* 1 tspoon garlic powder, or 2 cloves
* 1 tspoon of grated ginger (or powder)
* 1/2 tspoon of cardamon powder
* 2 buds of clove
* 1/2 tspoon of cinnamon
* 1 tspoon of cumin powder
* 2 star anise
* 1 bay leaf, or 4 curry leaves

Spice Mix 2:
* 2.5 tspoon coriander powder
* 2 tspoon garam masala
* 1 tspoon turmeric
* 1 tspoon cumin powder
* 1 tspoon salt

Method
1. Wash rice, drain, and leave rice in water while preparing the rest. Skip this step if you’re using cauliflower rice.

2. In a deep frying pan, or cooking pot, add the oil and the Spice Mix 1, stir often under medium heat. When the smell becomes strong, add the onion and continue to stir.

3. When the onion is translucent, add all the veggies and stir well. When most of the liquid found in the veggies has evaporated, and veggies start get browned, add the Spice Mix 2 and stir well.

4. Drain the water from the rice, and add the rice into the pot. Add 2 cups of water (or broth), and close the lid. Check often to see if it needs more water before the rice is done. If you’re using the cauliflower rice instead, add just enough water to cook the veggies (it usually needs less water than rice).

5. When all the liquid is evaporated, and the rice is done, turn off the heat, sprinkle with cilantro, and serve. Freezes well too.

Butternut Squash with Chicken of the Woods mushrooms

Oh, wow!

Chicken of the woods wild mushrooms seem to be the most amazing mushrooms I ever had. I got them at eBay for $20 (80 gr, dried). They truly taste like meat! In my opinion, that’s the healthiest “meat” alternative for veg*ns, and not all these terrible soy-based processed cr@p, or even worse, that seitan nightmare.

I re-hydrated about 6 of them and cooked them with butternut squash tonight. The whole dish was absolutely amazing with the fresh herbs from my garden. Highly recommended.

Ingredients
* 1 small butternut squash, peeled, cubed
* A small handful of rehydrated chicken of woods, porcini, or chanterelles
* Oregano, savory, sage, mint, rosemary to taste, preferably fresh
* Salt & pepper to taste
* 1/3 cup olive oil
* Juice of 1/2 a lemon (optional)

Directions
1. Place and mix all ingredients into a small baking pan, with 1/2 cup of water. Cook on 400 F (205 C) for 30 minutes. Enjoy!

Vegetable Soup

Since we moved in this new home last year, which has a larger backyard, I planted a small garden. I planted mint, kale, chard, savory, cilantro, parsley, arugula, radishes, and a few more things. Here are some pictures of my kale, chard, and savory.

garden-1

garden-2

garden-3

Here’s a basic recipe on how to make some soup, with whatever vegetables you have around. This was my mainly-asparagus soup yesterday. When you buy asparagus, you can cut them in half, steam the upper, softer part and eat them with some butter, while you can use the bottom, harder parts in the soup.

soup-1

Ingredients
* Greens (e.g. kale, chard, spinach, sorrel etc)
* tubers (e.g. 1 potato or yam)
* roots (e.g. carrots, kohlrabi, parsnip, turnip, rutabaga, etc)
* veggies (e.g. cabbage, pepper, asparagus, leeks, zucchini, tomato etc)
* 1 onion
* 3 cloves of garlic
* 2 cups of bone broth (pastured animal for the Phase 1 of the diet, or salmon head thereafter)
* salt & pepper
* Juice of 1 lemon

soup-2

Directions
1. Wash/peel, and cut roughly the veggies. Add them all in a big pot, along the broth, under low heat.

2. When liquids have reduced to half, about 40 minutes later, turn off and remove from heat.

3. Use an immersion mixer, and turn them into a smooth soup. Add salt, pepper, the lemon, and optionally, paprika or ginger.

4. Serve hot, and let the rest in the pot to get cold, before you refrigerate or freeze it.

Variation: On step 4, open a white bean can, wash and strain them, and add them to the hot soup.

Fritters

Fried vegetables is a nice snack or dinner, but it still needs to eaten only on occasion. We had this today on our picnic. The great thing about this recipe is its versatility: you can add any kind of root or tuber, along with some veggies.

fritters

Ingredients (makes 8 fritters)
* 1 egg
* 2 zucchini, shredded
* 1 carrot, shredded
* choice of other shredded roots/tubers: potato, yams, turnip, parsnip, rutabaga, kohlrabi
* choice of “riced” veggies: broccoli, cauliflower, peas, onion (optional)
* 2 tablespoons of almond flour (optional)
* salt & pepper
* 1 teaspoon of paprika (optional)
* 2-3 tablespoons of shredded cheddar (optional)
* 1/3 cup of avocado oil

Directions
1. Add some salt on the shredded zucchini, and set aside for 10 minutes. Afterwards, using your hands, squeeze as much water from it as possible. The less water you have there, the better the fritters will hold together.

2. Add all ingredients together in a big bowl (except the oil), and blend together well. Start forming burger-size patties.

3. Fry with some oil under medium heat for a few minutes, until well browned underneath, and then carefully turn them and fry for a few more minutes. Remove to a kitchen towel (to absorb the oil) for a few minutes, and eat hot or cold.

Jackfruit Pulled “Pork”

Here’s another way to lie to yourself that you’re eating meat, hehe… Although to be honest, it’s a recipe that holds on is own. Some people have reported that it tastes like chicken, but I think that it tastes more like artichoke, rather than meat.

jackfruit

Ingredients (for 2)
* 1 can of jackfruit in water (not brine or syrup)
* 1 teaspoon paprika
* 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
* 1 teaspoon of garlic powder
* 1 teaspoon of onion powder
* other spices of your choice
* 1 Tbspoon avocado or olive oil
* 1 cup of vegetable broth
* 1/2 cup of gluten-free, low sugar, bbq sauce (or make your own)

Directions
1. Drain the jackfruit can and rinse in a colander. Cut out and discard the woody triangle end of each piece.

2. Using your fingers, or two forks, “pull” the “pork” apart. Add the spices, and coat well using your hands.

3. Place in a frying pan, with a little of oil, and cook until all juices have evaporated, about 5 minutes.

4. Add the vegetable broth and the bbq sauce, cover the pan, and cook until all juices have evaporated and the mixture resembles that of a pulled pork, about 30 minutes.

5. Serve hot, in romaine lettuce leaves, or in oopsie buns, along a coleslaw.