Tag Archives: South Beach Diet

Low-carb Chicken Nuggets

I love junk food. LOVE IT. But there are lots of reasons why I shouldn’t eat it on the regular.

I’m not a big fan of diet recipes that try to emulate the real deal. Usually they lack in flavor or texture. But I’m willing to try them once in a while.

Here’s a recipe that satisfies my fast food desire: homemade chicken nuggets. Not only are they kid friendly (my son gobbled them up), but they are great for those on low-carb or gluten-free diets.

This is a great weeknight dish since they only take about 40 minutes from start to finish. Serve them with cheesy broccoli quinoa and you’ve got yourself a tasty junk-like meal.

Low-carb Chicken Nuggets | A healthy, homemade recipe from Alaska Knit Nat

Low Carb Chicken Nuggets

Serves 2-3

Ingredients:

1 pound of chicken tenders (chicken breast would be fine)

1 tsp. baking soda (optional)

3/4 cup almond flour

1/2 tsp. onion powder

1/2 tsp. garlic powder

1/2 tsp. smoked paprika

salt and pepper to taste

2 eggs

Low-carb Chicken Nuggets | A healthy, homemade recipe from Alaska Knit NatDirections:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with foil and spray with cooking spray.

Cut your chicken into two-inch pieces. Place them in a bowl with two tablespoons of cold water and the baking soda. Let sit for 15 minutes. Drain and pat dry with paper towels. (This step is optional, but I find it makes a more tender nugget as per America’s Test Kitchen’s advice).

Whisk together the eggs in a pie pan. Combine the dry ingredients in another pie pan.

Toss the chicken pieces in the egg then gently dredge them in the almond flour mixture. Place on the baking sheet. Bake for 12 minutes, flip them and bake another 10 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool a couple of minutes before serving.

Low-carb Chicken Nuggets | A healthy, homemade recipe from Alaska Knit Nat

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Salmon salad lettuce wraps

With a new year comes New Year’s resolutions, and I’ve decided to join the countless others who resolve to eat more healthily. As a contributor to Anchorage Food Mosaic Project, I was recently asked what my Food Year’s Resolution was. Fewer cheeseburgers was the first thing that came to mind, but also to cut down on carbs and to eat more healthily in general.

My husband and I are trying out the South Beach Diet, which is a low sugar and carb regimen. The first phase is pretty strict, but that doesn’t limit my ability to cook delicious food.

Today’s lunch was quick to prepare and pretty dang delicious. I love me some smoked salmon, but that stuff is expensive. I wanted to make a dish that had the flavor of smoked salmon, but was a little easier on the pocketbook.

This salad recipe is chock full of nutrients and with the use of smoked paprika, it fulfilled my craving for smoked salmon. I purchased my canned salmon at Costco, but if you’re lucky to have an Alaska fisherman friend, you could certainly make this with fresh-cooked salmon!

Smokey Salmon Lettuce Wraps | A Healthy Lunch from Alaska Knit Nat

Smokey salmon lettuce wraps — A South Beach Diet phase 1 recipe

Makes about 6 wraps

Continue reading Salmon salad lettuce wraps

Crustless Breakfast Quiche

I had a hankerin’ for a fancy type breakfast this morning. I thought a quiche would be nice, but I didn’t want to make a crust or use a ton of butter. I found this tasty recipe and decided to tweak it slightly. I’ve never made a quiche, but whatever I concocted this morning was cheesy, salty, creamy and darn delicious. It’s also South Beach Diet friendly!

Crustless Breakfast Sausage Quiche | Alaska Knit Nat

Crustless Breakfast Quiche

Serves 3

Ingredients:

2 eggs

1/2 cup milk

1/3 cup plain Greek yogurt

3 oz. Neufchâtel cheese, cubed

4 breakfast sausage patties

2 green onions, chopped

1 cup grated cheddar cheese

pepper to taste

butter

Crustless Breakfast Sausage Quiche | Alaska Knit Nat

Directions:

Grease a small casserole dish liberally with butter. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Fry up the breakfast sausage patties. Once browned, cut into bite-sized pieces.

Mix together the milk, eggs and yogurt. Add in the cheeses, sausage and green onions. Add pepper to taste. Pour into casserole and bake for one hour till browned and bubbly on top. Let cool for five minutes before serving.

The best part was the little pockets of cream cheese with every bite.

Crustless Breakfast Sausage Quiche | Alaska Knit Nat

Auntie A’s Choice Chili

My little sis has become quite a capable cook. Last month she came up from Pittsburgh to visit the family, but mostly to hang out with her nephew (my son), Jack.

While she was here I asked her to cook dinner for us one night and she could choose what to make.

She concocted a fabulous chili with a couple of surprising ingredients.

Here’s her basic recipe for a chunky, meaty, beany chili with a good kick. I did alter the recipe slightly, but that’s the great thing about chili — it’s really customizable depending on what’s in your pantry. These were the ingredients in my pantry today.

Awesome Chili Recipe from Alaska Knit NatIngredients (eyeball it):

  • 1 lb. of beef, cut into bite size bits (sub ground beef or pork)
  • olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 orange bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 fresh anaheim peppers, chopped
  • 1 canned chipotle pepper in adobo, seeds and pith removed, chopped finely
  • 1 tsp. chili powder
  • 2 cans of fire-roasted chopped tomato, with their juices
  • chicken stock
  • 2-3 Tbs. cumin
  • 1 can pumpkin (optional)
  • 2 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 3 tsp. oregano
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 2-3 squares of unsweetened chocolate OR 2 tsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 cans of beans of your choice, such as cannellini, pinto, kidney or black — partially drained and not rinsed
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Directions:
    If you’d like your peppers to have a smokier taste, do the following steps. Otherwise, just chop the peppers.

Turn your stove to medium and place the pepper directly over the heat, on the burner itself. Blacken the peppers on all sides (the process takes about seven minutes) and place in a Ziploc bag for 10 minutes. The steam should help make the skin come off easily. When cool enough to handle, remove as much skin from the peppers as possible. You now have roasted peppers and have no need to ever buy them in a jar again. Chop them and prepare chili as follows.

Heat a large dutch oven or pot over high heat and coat the bottom with olive oil. When hot, add the cubed meat and brown on all sides. Set aside with any juices. Add a little more olive oil and cook the onion and peppers till onions are soft, about 5 minutes.

Add the meat (and any juices), tomatoes, pumpkin, paprika, chocolate, garlic powder, oregano and cinnamon. Add a couple of cups of chicken stock until it’s the consistency you like. Add the chili powder and cumin slowly. These strong spices are hard to chase away once added. Add a little at a time, wait five minutes, and then taste whether it’s a good move to add more.

Bring to a simmer and turn down the heat, stirring once in a while so the bottom doesn’t burn. If it’s too thick, add some chicken stock. If you like a more soupy chili, cook with the pot covered. If you’d like it more stewy and thick, cook uncovered. Either way, cook for at least an hour. Twenty minutes before serving, add the beans and cook till beans are heated through. Salt and pepper to taste.

Serve with grated cheddar cheese in a squirrel bowl, if you desire.

Chicken with Artichokes in a Smoky Cream Sauce

I’m on day seven of the South Beach Diet (or, as I like to call it, the South Beach Challenge) and I’m finding more ways to make delicious food without missing pasta.

Last night was chicken with roasted red peppers, capers and artichoke hearts in a smoky cream sauce. Ok, ok, I broke a few guidelines on this one. I used chicken thighs when the diet recommends white meat and I used half and half. The official cookbooks recommend fat-free half and half (which sounds like an oxymoron to me) but when I looked at the ingredients at the grocery store, the second ingredient was corn syrup. What the? That’s why I stuck to the regular kind.

Chicken and Artichokes in a Smoky Cream Sauce

Here’s how to make it.

Serves 2

Ingredients:
olive oil
2 skinless chicken breasts (or 4 thighs), cut into large chunks
1 roasted bell pepper, sliced
1/2 small onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 Tbs. capers
6 canned artichoke hearts, cut in half
1/4 cup chicken stock (eyeball it)
1/4 cup half and half or milk (eyeball it)
1/4 cup fresh or canned chopped tomatoes (eyeball it)
1 Tbs. smoked paprika
salt and pepper
handful of chopped fresh basil

Chicken and Artichokes in a Smoky Cream Sauce

Directions:
Coat a skillet with olive oil and heat over medium high. Salt and pepper the chicken. When the olive oil is just starting to smoke add the chicken. Brown both sides (about 5 minutes each side). Refrain from moving the chicken around to ensure a nice golden brown. Set chicken aside.

Chicken and Artichokes in a Smoky Cream Sauce

Add the peppers, onion, garlic, capers and artichokes and sauté till onions are soft, about 5 minutes. Add the chicken back to the pan and pour in the tomatoes, stock, cream and paprika. Bring to a simmer for about 5 minutes to thicken it up a little. Turn down the heat and cover. Let simmer 10 minutes or until chicken is done all the way through. Toss in the basil and cook uncovered another minute or so, combining everything.

Chicken and Artichokes in a Smoky Cream Sauce

Serve and sprinkle with parmesan cheese, if you like.

Asian Meatballs

I’m thinking about doing the South Beach Diet. The problem is, I love pasta and noodles. I had a hankering for gyoza tonight, so I thought I’d just make the filling in the form of meatballs and ditch the noodle.

Turned out I didn’t really miss the won ton wrapper after all. This meal is quick and uses common fridge ingredients. Put whatever veggies you prefer in the stir fry. I happened to find a tasty edible mushroom in my yard right before dinner, so I tossed that in at the last minute.

Asian Meatballs

Ingredients (I eyeball everything):
1 lb. ground beef
1 egg
2 Tbs. soy sauce
2 Tbs. rice vinegar
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup panko flakes (not South Beach friendly, so omit if needs be)
2 tsp. sesame oil
1/2 tsp. fish sauce
1/2 tsp. ginger powder
2 green onions, finely chopped
salt and pepper

For the sauce:
1/4 cup chicken stock
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 tbs. rice vinegar
2 tsp. sesame oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 tsp. fish sauce
1/2 tsp. ginger powder
1/2 tsp. corn starch (again, not South Beach friendly)
1 Tbs. oyster sauce (optional)

Broccoli, tofu, zucchini, and other stir fry veggies

Directions:
If using tofu, drain it and cover in paper towels. Place a heavy pan on top to get more liquid out. Mix together the meatball ingredients thoroughly, cover and let sit in the fridge for 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Form meatballs and place on a cooling rack on top of a cookie sheet so the fat is allowed to drain away while they cook. Bake for 30 minutes or until they are browned and cooked all the way through. Set aside.

Whisk together the sauce ingredients and set aside.

Meanwhile, cut the tofu into cubes and cut your stir fry veggies up into bite-sized pieces. Heat 2 tsp. cooking oil in a wok over high flame until the oil shimmers. Add the tofu and brown on all sides, about 5 minutes. Set aside. Add another teaspoon of oil to the wok and reheat. Add the veggies and half the sauce. Mix well, cover and let cook for about seven minutes or until veggies are tender.

Uncover, add the rest of the sauce, the tofu, the meatballs and toss till everything is thoroughly coated.

Serve alone or with brown rice or farro if you aren’t in Phase 1 of the South Beach Diet.

Asian Meatballs