Low Carb Mussels with Coconut Curry Broth

This soup (or stew)  is easy to make, loaded with flavor, low carb friendly and it also delivers 665 mg of heart-healthy omega 3s.  That’s a lot to pack into a simple dinner recipe!  The coconut-curry broth gives seafood dishes that could potentially be bland a punch of creamy, rich flavor, and would work well with just about any fish or seafood.  I happened to pick mussels because they were in my freezer and waiting to be used.  This dish of Low Carb Mussels with Coconut Curry Broth ended up as the perfect foil for the mussels!

 

Low Carb Mussels with Coconut Curry Broth

Low Carb Mussels with Coconut-Curry Broth

This Low Carb Dish does not Require Rice for a Complete Dinner

I first had mussels and curry broth together at a restaurant called Thai Basil in Denver, Colorado.  They served it with a huge bowl of rice on the side of course, but the curry was so rich and full of flavor that the rice was easy to ignore.  I find that to be the case in most of the Thai, Mexican and Asian restaurants that I visit.  Rice is not compliant with a low carb, slow carb or keto lifestyle but a dish that is prepared with a knowledge of spice blends and classic flavor combinations really needs no rice to complete it.  In fact, I find the rice often just mutes the glorious, sometimes delicate flavors of the dish.

Sometimes with meat proteins, a long slow cooking process is required to really enhance the texture and flavor of the dish.  The nice thing about fish and some of the bright, spicy sauces that often accompany fish dishes is the length of cooking time needed to get the desired flavor is minimal.

Next time I make this low carb mussels with coconut curry broth for dinner I will probably add some white fish (halibut, cod, etc.) to get a little more protein and add a little more texture.  The broth is rich enough on its own however to make a completely satisfying weeknight dinner.

Recipe:  Low Carb Mussels with Coconut Curry Broth

Ingredients:

  • 1-2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 14-oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1 heaping tsp minced garlic (I used garlic from a jar)
  • 1 heaping Tbsp grated fresh ginger
  • 2 tsp curry paste (you can use curry powder if you wish)
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds, crushed (either in grinder or with mortar/pestle)
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (or any other hot pepper spice)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 14-oz can coconut milk (AROY-D is good brand, you can use lite if you want- I did not)
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine (dry red wine is OK also)
  • 2 lbs. mussels (I used frozen mussels – Bantry Bay Brand)
  • chopped fresh cilantro for garnish

Directions:

  1. Heat oil in large pot over medium-high heat.  Add the onion and cook for about 5 min, or until translucent.
  2. Add tomatoes, garlic, ginger, curry paste or powder, fennel seeds, cayenne and salt; cook a few minutes until well blended and heated throughout.
  3. Add coconut milk and wine, bring to a boil and cook for 2 minutes
  4. Add the mussels, cover and reduce heat to medium.  Cook for a few minutes until mussels have opened (about 4 min).
  5. Serve garnished with cilantro.

Nutrition:

  • CAL 311
  • FAT 14 G
  • CARBS 17 G
  • SUGAR 3 G
  • PROTEIN 23 g

Online Coaching Available:

I have followed the slow carb diet for 3 years and the keto diet for 2 years now, and I have put my “been there done that” knowledge to work helping people figure it out.  I am currently an online diet coach (info can be found here if you’re interested), and have just hit the 250-client mark.  Come and visit me and see if online coaching might be for you!

If not for diet, there are other coaches on the site that coach anything from writing a blog, to getting up early, to getting rid of that pesky procrastination.  Explore the site while you are there.  There are some wonderful coaches and the testimonials will tell you what you need to know.  Click here to get to my profile and then explore others from there.

Low Carb Stir Fry: 4-hour body appropriate

Low carb diners tend to think they must avoid the cuisine of ethnic oriented restaurants because the dishes are often accompanied by rice, breads and various forms of “fillers”.   Asian, Mexican, and Indian cuisines are some of my favorites and they can be just fine for a slow carb, low carb or keto lifestyle!   Simply focus on the wonderful array of proteins, vegetables, sauces and spice mixes.  (sometimes a little sugar is slipped into restaurant sauces so that is something to watch for if you are being really strict).  If you are still wary of restaurants in your area, make your own version!  This low carb stir fry the hubby made for me the other night was wonderful, and since I didn’t have to cook it I felt like I was at a fancy schmancy restaurant (kind of).

Low Carb Stir Fry

Pork & Chard Stir Fry

Benefits of Being Low Carb when Eating Out:

I was at a Thai restaurant in Portland Oregon with a friend and ordered one of my favorite curry bowls and it wasn’t until we left that I realized I didn’t even “see” the bowl of rice on our table.  It was a memorable meal, both in flavor and in companionship and the lack of rice with my curry bowl did not diminish the meal one iota!

I’m convinced that tastebuds do in fact change after being low carb for a long time.  Sweets are sweeter, a plateful of carbs is unappealing as you envision the bloat and lethargy of tomorrow, and red wine stands in just fine for cocktails.  I haven’t lost the taste for a good beer, but you get satiated so much faster that one beer every so often is a reward that feels like Christmas rather than a given.  If cheat days are part of your program, add a martini and/or a dessert and you are living a very good life indeed.

Tips for Low Carb Stir Frys in General:

For some reason I’ve always been intimidated by stir frys and cooking in a wok.  For some people it’s baking pies or breads, for some it figuring out how to cook fish or game correctly….for me it is the stir fry.  Thank goodness for the husband who is a low carb stir fry pro!

Following a great stir fry the other night I asked him to repeat the recipe for me.  Well, as with many good chefs and cooks, a “recipe” is not something he was able to relay with total accuracy.  I pushed and asked questions and the recipe below should be pretty close to the wonderful low carb stir fry he made.

Generally speaking, these are the components that make a good stir fry:

  • get the wok (or pot) smoking hot
  • have all the veggies and proteins chopped up into bite size pieces ahead of time
  • use some overall combination of:  oyster sauce, dry sherry, fish sauce, vinegar, and chile pepper
  • work fairly fast (make sure everything you need is laid out – the mise en place as they say)

Cris’s Weeknight Low Carb Stir Fry:

Ingredients:

  • sesame oil (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1 1/2 lb pork loin, cubed (about 2 cups cubed)
  • 1 tsp chile pepper (your choice on how hot of pepper)
  • 2 Tbsp bottled garlic
  • oyster sauce (about 1 1/2 Tbsp)
  • 2 cups chopped celery, large chop not mince
  • 1  small bunch chard. coarsely chopped
  • fish sauce (about 3 Tbsp)
  • apple cider vinegar (about 2 tsp)
  • dry sherry (about 1/4 cup)

Directions:

  1. Make sure all chopping is done and ingredients are laid out
  2. Add sesame oil to the wok and get it smoking hot
  3. once smoking hot, add port and chile pepper and cook 5-6 min. or until no longer pink, stirring constantly
  4. add garlic for 30 seconds; then add oyster sauce and stir for a couple of minutes until it thickens a bit.
  5. Add celery for about 1 minute; then add chard, fish sauce, vinegar and sherry and cook for about 2 min. or until chard leaves are wilted.

Online Coaching Available:

I have followed the slow carb diet for 3 years and the keto diet for 2 years now, and I have put my “been there done that” knowledge to work helping people figure it out.  I am currently an online diet coach (info can be found here if you’re interested), and have just hit the 250-client mark.  Come and visit me and see if online coaching might be for you!

If not for diet, there are other coaches on the site that coach anything from writing a blog, to getting up early, to getting rid of that pesky procrastination.  Explore the site while you are there.  There are some wonderful coaches and the testimonials will tell you what you need to know.  Click here to get to my profile and then explore others from there.

 

Harissa Glazed Salmon for Low Carb, Slow Carb or Ketogenic Lifestyles

I’m a salmon fanatic, both because I love the taste but also because I think it’s a nutritional powerhouse. especially for people on a low carb or ketogenic lifestyle.  It is one of those things that is wonderful grilled, oven-baked, roasted, smoked, and/or poached.  Pretty hard to go wrong with salmon.  It also lends itself wonderfully to any range of sauces or rubs.  This harissa glazed salmon is one of my favorite recipes and can be a quick weeknight dinner as well as a fancy-schmancy dinner party!

harissa glazed salmon

Harissa Glazed Salmon

Harissa is a wonderful North African sauce or condiment that is used to flavor many different kinds of dishes.  It is frequently used to flavor couscous or as a glaze for grilled main dishes.  It is also popular as a relish or condiment to have on the side with any roasted vegetable or protein.  I like it stirred into scrambled eggs or into creamy winter squash dishes also.

Mixing it up with mayonnaise and a little lemon juice for this salmon recipe turned the harissa paste into more of a creamy sauce.  The mayonnaise is totally optional, as the harissa paste is great as a glaze for salmon all on its own.

Another excellent way to cook a creative but easy salmon dish with harissa is to glaze the salmon with the harissa paste and then make a creamy yogurt and dill sauce for a topping.  That saying “it’s all good” definitely works here.

I used our award-winning  Harissa sauce from HeathGlen, but there are alternatives in various gourmet-type stores.  They all taste quite different.  I prefer one that is complex and has a range of chili peppers rather than a sauce that is so hot you can’t distinguish the unique flavors.  You can also make your own of course.  Click here for a harissa recipe you can make at home.

Recipe for Harissa Glazed Salmon:

Ingredients:

  • 4-5 salmon fillets (or 1 large salmon cut into fillets)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 lemon, thinly sliced
  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 1-2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp harissa
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 Tbsp wine (red or white)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Coat the inside of a 9 x 12-inch baking dish with oil or something like PAM  Sprinkle the salmon with salt and pepper and arrange salmon in baking dish
  2. In a bowl, mix together the mayonnaise, lemon juice, harissa, and smoked paprika, stirring until smooth.  Spread the mayonnaise mixture over the fish as evenly as possible.
  3. Place them lemon slices around the salmon and bake in the preheated oven until the fish is hot and has begun to turn opaque (about 6-10 min).
  4. Remove from the oven, turn the oven on broil, and raise the oven rack to the broil position.  When up to broil temperature return the salmon to the broiler rack and broil until nicely browned, about 3 min.
  5. Enjoy the Harissa Glazed Salmon with a glass of wine and refrigerate any leftover for tomorrow’s lunch!

Online Coaching Available:

I have followed the slow carb diet for 3 years and the keto diet for 2 years now, and I have put my “been there done that” knowledge to work helping people figure it out.  I am currently an online diet coach (info can be found here if you’re interested), and have just hit the 250-client mark.  Come and visit me and see if online coaching might be for you!

If not for diet, there are other coaches on the site that coach anything from writing a blog, to getting up early, to getting rid of that pesky procrastination.  Explore the site while you are there.  There are some wonderful coaches and the testimonials will tell you what you need to know.  Click here to get to my profile and then explore others from there.

Low Carb Steak Salad for Lunch or Dinner

Grilled steak is a family-favorite dinner at our house, and we generally try to grill enough of it to ensure a low carb steak salad for lunch the next day.  You can get quite creative with the type of dressing on steak salads, but simplicity can be just as flavorful sometimes.  Thinly sliced steak on a crisp radish and butter head lettuce salad the next day with a little creamy mustard dressing will make you feel like you’re a top chef!  So simple, so good, so compliant!

low carb steak salad

Steak and Radish Salad

Recipe for Low Carb Steak Salad:

Hanger steak is a great steak to use for this low carb steak salad, but of course any cut will do.  Just slice the steak thinly to get the best “mouthfeel” out of the salad as it mixes with a creamy mustard dressing and crisp peppery radishes.  Without further ado, here is the recipe, such as it is:

Ingredients:

 Serves 4
  • 16 oz Steak (I like flank steak or skirt steak)
  • 3 tbsps Dijon Mustard
  • 3 tbsps Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 tbsps Sherry Vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp Garlic
  • 1/2 tsp Oregano
  • 1/2 tsp leaf Dried Thyme Leaves
  • Lettuce, romaine or butter head is good but any kind works
  • 3-4 large radishes, sliced
  • 2 oz soft cheese, optional (goat cheese, blue cheese, or feta cheese is good)

Directions:

  1. Preheat a grill.  Brush both sides of the steak with some olive oil and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.  Grill 5 minutes on each side or until steak is medium rare.  Set aside. (alternatively use the grilled steak from the night before)
  2. In a shallow container large enough to fit the steak; whisk the mustard, oil, vinegar, garlic, oregano and thyme.  Marinate the cooked steak for 15 minutes, remove and slice into thin strips.  Set aside.  Put the remaining marinade and juices into a small pan and bring to a boil for one full minute.
  3. Arrange lettuce, radishes, and steak slices on serving plates.  Top with goat cheese, feta cheese or blue cheese and drizzle cooked marinade over the top.  Serve immediately.

Online Coaching Available:

I have followed the slow carb diet for 3 years and the keto diet for 2 years now, and I have put my “been there done that” knowledge to work helping people figure it out.  I am currently an online diet coach (info can be found here if you’re interested), and have just hit the 250-client mark.  Come and visit me and see if online coaching might be for you!

If not for diet, there are other coaches on the site that coach anything from writing a blog, to getting up early, to getting rid of that pesky procrastination.  Explore the site while you are there.  There are some wonderful coaches and the testimonials will tell you what you need to know.  Click here to get to my profile and then explore others from there.

Smoky Lentil Tomato Soup with Red lentils & Spinach

Lentil soup in and of itself can be pretty bland, so it’s key to experiment with assertive flavors.  I like smoky flavors so I used smoked paprika and smoked tomatoes in the recipe below for “Smoky Lentil Tomato Soup”.  Although lentil soups are often a mainstay for vegetarians, but the addition of chorizo or shrimp and be wonderful flavor enhancers if you are of the carnivorous or Pescatarian bent  Either way, lentil soup is a powerhouse of nutrition and protein in the form of a warm, flavorful comfort food.

smoky lentil tomato soup

Smoky Red Lentil & Spinach Soup

Cooking notes for Smoky Lentil Tomato Soup:

Quick-cooking red lentils are my favorite dried lentil for soups, mostly because I prefer the visual appeal.  Red lentils also cook into a creamy soup quite rapidly, going from dried-in-the-pantry to tender in 15 to 20 minutes.  The French green lentils (called the du Puy variety) are said to hold their shape better and have a slightly more peppery flavor, but honestly I have not noticed that subtlety.  Just know that it is not important for lentils to keep their shape intact.  Longer cooked, lentils add to the soup’s body after they have broken up, and they taste just as good.

Most vegetarian lentil soup recipes have a somewhat “earthy” flavor.  Adding some rosemary will give it a bit more robust flavor, adding cayenne a spicy flavor and pork or chorizo a more complex savory flavor.  Hearty greens are a great addition to all soups and a squeeze of lemon always adds a bright fresh flavor.

Since we smoke a lot of our produce on our farm, I have used smoked tomatoes in the version below called Smoky Lentil Tomato Soup.  Smoked tomatoes may be difficult to find, so substitute in some smoked paprika and some smoked chipotle peppers if you have those instead.  Be creative.  The lentils, an onion and some broth is really the basic template and you can enhance the flavor with whatever you have in your pantry from there.

Recipe for Smokey Lentil Tomato Soup

Ingredients:

  • 1-2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 2 Tbsp smoked paprika (or your favorite paprika)
  • 1 cup dried red lentils
  • 5 cups broth (use vegetable broth or chicken broth)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 cup smoked tomatoes (alternatively use 1 24-oz can fir-roasted tomatoes)
  • 4 cups fresh baby spinach
  • Optional:  add 3/4 cup chopped kalamata olives, 1 lb cooked chorizo, 6-8 large shrimp, 1/2 tsp spicy chili pepper

Directions:

  1. Saute onions over med-high heat in a large pot for 5 min or until translucent.  Add garlic, thyme and paprika and saute briefly, for about 15 seconds.
  2. Add lentils, broth and salt and bring to a boil.  Once it comes to a boil, turn heat to medium-low and simmer for about 20 min., stirring occasionally.  Add the tomatoes and simmer another 20 min. until lentils are quite tender.
  3. Add spinach and stir until spinach is wilted.  Taste and season with more salt and pepper if needed.  Add any of the optional ingredients and bring up to serving temperature over medium heat.

Enjoy for dinner and tomorrow’s lunch!

Online Coaching Available:

I have followed the slow carb diet for 3 years and the keto diet for 2 years now, and I have put my “been there done that” knowledge to work helping people figure it out.  I am currently an online diet coach (info can be found here if you’re interested), and have just hit the 250-client mark.  Come and visit me and see if online coaching might be for you!

If not for diet, there are other coaches on the site that coach anything from writing a blog, to getting up early, to getting rid of that pesky procrastination.  Explore the site while you are there.  There are some wonderful coaches and the testimonials will tell you what you need to know.  Click here to get to my profile and then explore others from there.

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