companion blog to the e-book the 24/7 Low Carb Diner

Companion blog to the e-book
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Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Delta Cafe Squash Casserole

I just discovered how to make my favorite dish from the Delta Cafe! I was modifiying a recipe for "Hashbrown Casserole" that I found on the Stella Style site. I didn't have a spaghetti squash, but I did have three of the acorn persuasion. They persuaded me to try it. OH! SO GOOD! (if you like squash) Even though I will be taking this to Thanksgiving tomorrow, I had to try some. Now it is my lunch and there will be less to share.

Delta Cafe Squash Casserole

3 large acorn squash
1/2 onion, diced finely
1 cup sour cream
2 1/2 cups Monterrey Jack cheese, shredded
salt and pepper to taste

Place whole squash in the microwave for 6 minutes. This will make them easier to cut. After cooling slightly, cut them in half and remove the seeds and most of the stringy pulp. Place them cut side down on a baking sheet and bake for about 40 minutes at 300 degrees. Let cool. Scoop out the pulp into a mixing bowl. Add onions, sour cream and 2 cups of cheese. Transfer this mixture to a casserole dish. Salt and pepper and top with remaining cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes or until lightly browned around the edges.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Hamming it up

Food Pyramid had hams on sale this week. We always eat Turkey for Thanksgiving, but since hams are cheap...

I went to buy a fully cooked ham for $1.49 a pound. But, as Food Pyramid always seems to do, they had better prices on some meats than they were advertising on others. I got a shank portion ham for just $1.19 a pound. Best thing is, they sliced it for free. Yep, even raw ham--sliced. This makes it an awesome find for Triple Play recipes. Last night we had it plain. I just fried up some slices. John went nuts. He must have told me he loved me five times. Freshly cooked ham does have a different flavor. The rest, I roasted in the oven for about an hour and a half.

My poor dogs were tortured. I gave them some fat scraps which they devoured. Then, the aroma of roasting ham in the house was incredible. My poor baby pitbull just couldn't help drooling all evening. He couldn't sleep like usual. John had a bit of a late night snack, and trimmed a bit more fat. The dogs were all about that! I am saving the bones for broth, and now I have at least 4 more pounds of delicious meat for casseroles and Monte Cristo sammies. I'm also going to make some Slices with Spices while I have the pumpkin pie spice out. I am thinking this is a better deal than the spiral sliced hams costing much more, and there is no pesky sugar curing or injections to ruin the carb count. Be on the lookout for good deals at your grocery store.

Monday, November 24, 2008


We had a Thanksgiving luncheon for our small church group on Sunday. Trying to keep it low carb is only so successful when it is a potluck. I made a low carb cheesecake. Everyone joked about it being low carb, but not low fat. Still, everyone chose it over the storebought chocolate cake. It was awesome. I combined several recipes according to what I had in the kitchen. Sooooo good! It is so creamy and smooth. Mine still cracked on top, but I hate messing with a water bath. If you have the patience, submerging the springform pan in a water bath will hopefully give you a perfect cheesecake top. If not, just hide the crack with some berries!

Lisa's Cheesecake

24 ounces of cream cheese
1 cup sour cream
1 cup Splenda plus 5 Tablespoons
3 eggs
1 Tablespoon Vanilla extract
2 Tablespoons Vanilla Whey Protein powder
1 cup pecans
3 Tablespoons butter
1 cup frozen berries

Toast pecans until lightly golden. Chop them finely. Melt butter and stir it into the pecans. Add 2 Tablespoons of Splenda. Press this mixture into the bottom of a 9 inch springform pan.

Bring ingredients to room temperature. Blend the cream cheese and Splenda. Add sour cream vanilla and protein powder. Blend well. Mix eggs in one at a time. Pour this into the prepared pan. Bake at 300 degrees for 50 minutes. Turn oven off. Open door for one minute. Close oven door and leave the cheesecake in the oven for one more hour. Chill for at least 3 hours.

Place berries in a saucepan and add sweetener to taste. (approx. 3 Tablespoons) Cook until liquid forms. I added a touch of xanthan gum to thicken the juices a bit, but this is optional. Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The Great FAT Debate

A couple of people who have purchased the e-book have requested the fat and fiber information. I now have that available for no cost as a supplemental file. It is easy to add those pages at the end of the chapters for the different types of recipes.

The reason that they are not included with each recipe is because low carbers generally do not count fat grams in their menu planning. There are many varied opinions on this. I'll leave that research to you. Some prefer a plan that is both low carb and low fat. I find that too restricting. Others promote the other extreme, even encouraging occasional "fat fasts." I haven't gone that far either.

Here is what I do know. I used to cook low fat. We didn't get healthy eating that way. Low fat foods tend to have additional carbs. Today, when I was typing out the nutritional stats, it would just about kill me to admit that I am advocating meals which contain 40-50 grams of fat per serving. In my old low fat days, that would have crashed the entire day. Old habits die hard. I do believe that carb counts matter most to my diabetic family. I also think caloric intake is important, but may not the main factor of weight loss. In this type of diet, the body learns to process food differently. The research is out there. Check out Dr. Bernstein's plan for much of the science. Right now our goal is controlling blood sugars, not losing weight.

So, for me, I'm not going to think about the fat. It is glorious to have real cream in my coffee and to cook with cheese. But the choice is up to you. If your body can tolerate more carbs, then switching to lower fat cheeses and using less butter may be more successful. I guess the only hard rules are that you won't be at a healthy weight if you consume both the fats and the carbs without restriction.

For more information on tweaking the low carb diets to be more calorie restrictive, check our George Stella's newer cookbook, Eating Stella Style.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Life Intervenes Soup--or Creamy Chicken Cilantro

When it comes to quick fix meals, I usually don't follow recipes; I just throw stuff in a pot. Today was no exception. I didn't get my menu planning done on schedule last week. One mega cold combined with a Court of Honor Program for my Eagle Scout. Between mucus, chills and making punch for a one hundred reception guests, my shopping and menu didn't get done. So, I am playing catch up today. Yesterday was devoted to my youngest's film making venture. He didn't like the food I had planned to pack for our lunch, so we did resort to MacDonalds. Dad still had his proper food, though. (Thanks to my well stocked freezer, he had a chicken version of Mermaid Muffins for lunch and Cowboy Comfort Breakfast) Dinner was a freezer casserole. Good to have those always ready.

This morning, I cleaned up a few leftovers. In class last Friday, we had a Middle Eastern luncheon. We had some leftover garlic lemon chicken. That went into the pot with a quart of chicken broth. I still had about 2 cups of leftover coleslaw mix. I added that too. I tossed in 3 cilantro cubes, and bit of salt and pepper. I let that simmer while making coffee and cleaning up the kitchen. When the cabbage was tender, I added about 8 ounces of cream cheese. After stirring that together, I poured it into a jar for John to take for his lunch. If it sounds good, but you don't happen to have any garlic lemon chicken, just add about 1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder and a tablespoon of lemon juice to your pot.

Now, I'm making myself hungry. I think I'll have a bowl of my own and finally get the rest of the week's menu written. Flexibility. It's a good thing.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Cilantro cubes

I love these flavoring cubes from Knorr. I am one of those who adores the flavor of cilantro. It doesn't taste like soap to me, anyway. I have tried to grow it fresh, but it ends up all tall and spindly without good leaves. I buy the fresh, but seldom use the whole bunch before it gets "slimified" (a term my creative son would use to describe the mushy, slimy texture of unknown vegetation at the bottom of the produce drawer).

These little cubes do the trick. They crumble nicely between the fingers. Even though they look like their cousin, the boullion cube, they are much softer and don't have to be dissolved. I like the cilantro cubes in both Mexican and Thai food. I also use the chipotle cubes. I seldom buy fresh or canned peppers, as I need them only once in a while. These are less expensive too.

Here in our neck of the woods, you an find these gems in the spice section of the ethnic foods aisle. Look up near the top if you are at Wally World. That is where I find mine. What a great little secret!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Good Friends

I just wanted to take a minute to thank all my friends in my homeschool support group for the encouragement I got last night. Our topic was how to find the time to teach the kids and still make nutritious meals. We had lots of great ideas. I learned some things. I shared my cooking system for the first time in public. Even though no one there is in desperate need of a diabetic diet, my friends were all so supportive. I really appreciate the positive feedback I received. You girls rock! Keep watching my blog even if the system doesn't work for you. Just like homeschool, we all do things a little differently.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


This past weekend, I got my dear hubby to pitch in on Prep Day. It is so much more fun to share the cooking chores as a real team effort. He has been fighting cravings lately. Oh, have we all been there. He usually leaves it up to me to plan the menu for the week, but when cravings hit, some suggestions for the cook can prevent a binge! His weakness is fried chicken. My weakness is handling raw poultry. I just don't like it. I don't care for pulling the meat off the bone either. Most of my recipes call for boneless, skinless breast meat. We compromised. Chicken strips and nuggets were in order.

Now, I don't have a recipe in the cookbook for these. We pretty much follow George Stella's version. Check out his cookbooks, they are wonderful. Basically, we follow the standard technique for making fried chicken, simply substituting soy flour for regular flour. John agreed to cut the chicken. I dredged and fried. We made up six pounds worth. After all, if you are going to drag out the frying equipment and use all that oil, you might as well do a Multiply Meal or a Triple Play meal. We are doing a Triple Play meal plan. We ate some Sunday Night. Today, we are having Fried Chicken Salad. On Thursday, we will have Chicken Strip Roll Ups like you can get at McDonalds or Sonic. Yum.

Here are a few tips about frying with soy flour.
**Be careful, because the soy flour turns darker than regular wheat flour. It is easier to think your food is done before it really is. Although the chicken may appear nearly burned, it does not taste that way.
**The soy flour seems to cause a bubbling action in the oil after a few batches. This is no problem unless your oil is too close to the top of the pan. Always leave about 3 inches for the bubbles. You can lower the heat also if this becomes a problem.

Like to try my breading recipe? This is not exact (I didn't measure)
1/2- 2/3 cup soy flour
1 Tablespoon Barbeque seasoning (this had salt already in it)
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

I'll try to post a photo later.