On many busy weeknights, I had to get dinner on the table for Dr. Atkins and myself in half an hour or less. Many of the entrées in the following pages, like Extra-Crispy Fish with Lemon-Dill Dip and Cheesy Chicken Cutlets with Arugula, were lifesavers on those hectic days. Over the years, I also turned to certain tried-and-true time-savers. For example, try washing and spin-drying enough salad greens for three days. Use what you need that night, and then refrigerate the remainder right in the salad spinner (or a zip-close plastic bag). On the next few evenings, simply take out what you need, add tomatoes, cucumbers, and avocado, and toss with dressing. This simple routine meant Dr. Atkins and I could enjoy a wonderfully fresh salad with our entrée every night of the week.
To save time prepping veggies like carrots, onions, and squash, wash, trim, and cut them up over the weekend or the night before and pop them in those handy zip-close bags. Fresh vegetables are incomparable, but blanched spinach, sweet peas, baby lima beans, and corn kernels all freeze well. Frozen fruit is also quite versatile, particularly out-of-season varieties.
Be sure to purchase the kind without added sugar. Keep an array of other ingredients, such as lower sodium chicken and beef broth, canned chickpeas, and unsweetened coconut milk (great for curries) in your pantry. Flavor boosters like olives and capers keep for months in the refrigerator (once opened). Combine them with garlic, olive oil, and low-carb pasta and you've got a meal!
My freezer is filled with nuts (the low temperature keeps them from getting rancid). A must in the low-carb kitchen, they add crunch to salads, and, when finely chopped, crispy coatings to fish and chicken.
With these items on hand, you'll surprise yourself with the variety of meals you can produce--in a flash.
Blackened Fish with Salsa Verde
Per serving: NET CARBS: 2 GRAMS Carbohydrates: 2.5 grams Fiber: 0.5 gram Protein: 31.5 grams Fat: 22 gram Calories:345 PREP TIME: 5 MINUTES COOK TIME: 14 MINUTES SERVINGS: 4
A quick tour of the supermarket's spice aisle reveals a variety of Cajun spice blends.
Each has a distinct nuance, but most include onion, garlic, pepper, and often dried chili peppers; all are fairly to quite spicy.
4 (6- to 8-ounce) catfish fillets, patted dry 2 tablespoons Cajun seasoning 2 tablespoons canola oil ¾ cup mild salsa verde 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 Sprinkle fish on both sides with seasoning.
2 Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add half of the fillets and cook until lightly browned, about 3 minutes. Turn and cook until just opaque, 2 to 3 minutes longer. Transfer to plates. Repeat with remaining fish.
3 Meanwhile, combine salsa and cilantro. Serve fish, topped with the salsa.
Salsa verde, also know as green salsa, is made from tomatillos. Like tomato-based salsas, it usually contains jalapeños and can vary considerably in heat level. You'll get plenty of spice from the Cajun seasoning, so look for a milder salsa.
Shrimp and Broccoli Rabe
Per serving: NET CARBS: 15 GRAMS Carbohydrates: 17.5 grams Fiber: 2.5 grams Protein: 35 grams Fat: 8.5 grams Calories: 282 PREP TIME: 20 MINUTES COOK TIME: 10 MINUTES SERVINGS: 4
Greens and beans are a classic Italian combination--creamy cannellini beans temper the bitterness of broccoli rabe. Add shrimp and red pepper flakes for an elegant meal. For photo, see here.
2 (¾-pound) bunches broccoli rabe, trimmed
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
4 garlic cloves, minced (2 teaspoons)
1 cup lower sodium chicken broth ¼ teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
11/2 pounds extra-large shrimp, peeled and deveined (about 30 shrimp)
¾ cup canned cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1 Fill a large saucepan two-thirds full with water and bring to a boil; add broccoli rabe, return to a boil, and cook until bright green but still firm, 3 to 5 minutes. Drain well in a colander.
2 Wipe out saucepan. Add oil and heat over medium-high heat. Add garlic and cook, stirring, until it just begins to color, about 30 seconds. Add broth, salt, and red pepper flakes-, bring to a boil. Cook until reduced by half, about 4 minutes. Add shrimp and cook until shrimp just begin to curl. Add broccoli rabe and beans, and cook until heated through, 1 to 3 minutes. Season to taste with salt.
Larger shrimp typically cost more than smaller ones, but it's less time-consuming to peel a pound of extra-large shrimp than a pound of medium shrimp. Look for "easy peel" shrimp that are slit along the back. You can simply grab the legs and tail and pull--the shell pops off.
Chicken Thighs alla Puttanesca
Per serving: NET CARBS: 4.5 GRAMS Carbohydrates: 7 grams Fiber: 2.5 grams Protein: 46.5 grams Fat: 11.5 grams Calories: 324 PREP TIME: 10 MINUTES . COOK TIME: 25 MINUTES SERVINGS: 4
Chicken thighs have a richer flavor than breasts and are better able to stand up to the bold sauce. If you can't find boneless thighs, use bone-in ones rather than boneless breasts, but increase the cooking time to 40 minutes.
8 (4-ounce) boneless, skinless chicken thighs ¼ teaspoon pepper 20 pitted kalamata olives 1 (141/2-ounce) can crushed fire-roasted tomatoes in purée 2 garlic cloves, minced (1 teaspoon) 1 tablespoon coarsely chopped fresh oregano leaves or 1 teaspoon dried oregano 2 tablespoons capers, rinsed and drained
1 Heat oven to 425°F. Put chicken in a 11/2-quart baking dish; season with pepper and scatter olives on top.
2 Combine tomatoes, garlic, and oregano in tomato can. Spoon over chicken to cover. Bake until chicken is just cooked through, about 25 minutes.
3 Transfer chicken and sauce to a platter; sprinkle with capers and serve.
Extra-Crispy Fish with Lemon-Dill Dip
Per serving: NET CARBS: 3 GRAMS Carbohydrates: 5 grams Fiber: 2 grams Protein: 51 grams . Fat: 32.5 grams Calories: 520 PREP TIME: 5 MINUTES COOK TIME: 14 MINUTES SERVINGS: 4
This dish works best with a mild, slightly sweet fish such as scrod, pollock, whiting, haddock, or hake.
2 (1-ounce) bags low-carb soy chips, finely ground 4 (8-ounce) fish fillets, about 1/2 inch thick 2 tablespoons canola oil, divided 1/2 cup mayonnaise 3 tablespoons chopped fresh dill 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest ¼ teaspoon pepper
1 Spread ground chips on a piece of waxed paper or paper plate. Dredge fillets in chips to coat on both sides.
2 Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add half the fish and cook until just opaque inside and golden brown outside, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Carefully transfer to plates and tent with foil to keep warm. Repeat with remaining tablespoon oil and fish.
3 Combine mayonnaise, dill, and zest in a small bowl. Season with pepper and serve alongside fish.
The ground chips make for a somewhat fragile coating, so turn the fish fillets carefully. If you don't have a long fish spatula, you may want to use two spatulas, or a spatula and a wooden spoon.
Scallops with Lemon-Chive Sauce
Per serving: NET CARBS: 3.5 GRAMS Carbohydrates: 5.5 grams Fiber: 2 grams Protein: 21 grams Fat: 15 grams Calories: 238 PREP TIME: 10 MINUTES COOK TIME: 10 MINUTES SERVINGS: 4
Sea scallops can measure up to two inches across. They tend to be chewier than the smaller bay scallops; take care not to overcook them lest they become rubbery. Pat them thoroughly dry before cooking--if they are damp, they won't brown properly.
2 pounds sea scallops, patted dry (28 scallops) 1/8 teaspoon salt ¼ teaspoon pepper 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided 1 garlic clove, minced (1/2 teaspoon) 1 (10-ounce) bag baby spinach 11/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
1 Season scallops with salt and pepper.
2 Melt 1 tablespoon of the butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add spinach and stir until wilted. Transfer spinach to a platter and cover loosely with foil to keep warm.
3 Wipe out skillet and return it to stove over medium-high heat. Add remaining 2 tablespoons butter. When butter is melted and begins to sizzle, add half of the scallops and cook until browned, about 2 minutes; turn and cook until just opaque, 1 to 2 minutes longer. Transfer to platter and cover loosely with foil to keep warm. Repeat with remaining scallops.
4 Carefully add lemon juice to the skillet, as butter may splatter. Use a wooden spoon to scrape up any brown bits from bottom of pan. Remove from the heat; stir in chives and zest. Pour over scallops and serve.
You use the lemon juice in this recipe before you need the zest, but be sure to remove the zest (that is, the colored part of the peel) from the lemon before you juice it. Once you've cut the lemon it's nearly impossible to zest it.
Pan-Seared Steak with Mustard Sauce
Per serving: NET CARBS: 0.5 GRAM Carbohydrates: 0.5 gram Fiber: 0 grams Protein: 46 grams Fat: 44 grams Calories: 592 PREP TIME: 5 MINUTES COOK TIME: 15 MINUTES SERVINGS: 4
To turn this dish into company fare, add two tablespoons of brandy or cognac to the hot pan after removing the steaks but before adding the broth.
1 tablespoon canola oil 4 (8-ounce) sirloin steaks, about 1 inch thick 1/2 teaspoon salt ¼ teaspoon pepper 1/2 cup lower sodium beef broth or water 2 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled 1 tablespoon coarse-grain Dijon mustard 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil to pan and season steaks with salt and pepper. When skillet is very hot, add steaks and cook until done to taste, 4 to 6 minutes per side for medium-rare. Transfer to a plate and cover loosely with foil to keep warm.
2 Pour broth into skillet, scraping up browned bits from bottom of pan. Add bacon, mustard, and any accumulated juices from the steak, stirring to combine. Bring to a boil. Whisk in butter until blended. Serve sauce over steak.
If you can't find 8-ounce steaks, buy two 1-pound steaks. Cut them in half before cooking and serve a half steak per person, or cook the steaks whole (you may need to increase the cooking time slightly), then slice before serving.
Pork, Spinach, and Noodle Soup
Per serving: NET CARBS: 7 GRAMS Carbohydrates: 10 grams Fiber: 3 grams Protein: 38.5 grams Fat: 23 grams Calories: 395 PREP TIME: 15 MINUTES COOK TIME: 15 MINUTES SERVINGS: 4 (2 cups each)
This is a hearty main-dish soup. Look for presliced 10-ounce packages of cremini mushrooms in your grocery store. They are sometimes called "Baby Bella" mushrooms, as they are younger versions of the popular portobello.
2 tablespoons canola oil 2 garlic cloves, minced (1 teaspoon) 1 tablespoon dried lemongrass 4 ounces sliced cremini mushrooms 3 (141/2-ounce) cans lower sodium chicken broth, plus 1 can water 4 ounces low-carb spaghetti 1 pound thin boneless pork chops, cut into strips 1 medium carrot, grated (¾ cup) 1 (10-ounce) bag baby spinach (4 cups packed) 1 tablespoon tamari sauce 1/2 teaspoon dark sesame oil
1 Heat canola oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add garlic and lemongrass; cook, stirring, until fragrant, 15 to 30 seconds. Add mushrooms and cook until most of the liquid has evaporated, about 5 minutes. Remove and reserve.
2 Bring broth and water to a boil. (To save time, heat broth and water in the microwave so it will come to a boil quickly.)
3 Break spaghetti into 2- to 4-inch lengths; stir into boiling broth and cook 5 minutes less than package directions. Add pork and carrot and simmer until pork is just cooked through, 4 to 5 minutes. Stir in mushroom mixture, spinach, tamari, and sesame oil.
4 Use tongs to divide pasta, pork, and vegetables among bowls. Top with hot broth and serve.
Dried lemongrass often has a woody texture that some people can find off-putting. Put it in a tea ball or tie it in cheesecloth to allow the flavor to infuse the soup, then remove before serving. (If you opt to infuse, add the lemongrass with the broth instead of with the garlic.)
Pasta with Gorgonzola and Walnuts
Per serving: NET CARBS: 6.5 GRAMS Carbohydrates: 9.5 grams Fiber: 3 grams Protein: 25 grams Fat: 54.5 grams Calories: 616 PREP TIME: 10 MINUTES COOK TIME: 14 MINUTES SERVINGS: 4
Gorgonzola is one of Italy's premier cheeses. Made of cow's milk, it's fairly mild among blue cheeses, though it makes for a robust, full-flavored sauce.
1 (12-ounce) box low-carb penne 6 ounces Gorgonzola cheese, crumbled (about 11/2 cups) 2/3 cup toasted walnut pieces 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil 11/2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary 1 garlic clove, minced (1/2 teaspoon) 1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 Cook penne according to package directions.
2 Meanwhile, combine cheese, walnuts, parsley, oil, rosemary, and garlic in a large serving bowl. Stir gently and season with pepper to taste.
3 Drain pasta thoroughly and toss with sauce. Serve hot.
nuts about nuts
Nuts are one of nature's most nutrientrich foods. Walnuts are high in omega-3 fatty acids; almonds pack vitamin E and fiber; pine nuts and cashews boast iron; and macadamia nuts are rich in monounsaturated fats, which can lower blood cholesterol levels.
Toasting nuts heightens their flavor. Here are three ways to toast them; watch them carefully as they can burn easily.
Stovetop: Put nuts in a dry skillet over medium-low heat. Cook, shaking the pan almost constantly, for 2 to 3 minutes.
Oven: Spread nuts on a baking sheet. Toast in a 300°F oven until fragrant, 8 to 10 minutes.
Microwave: Set on a paper towel and microwave at full power until fragrant, 1 to 11/2 minutes.
Per serving: NET CARBS: 5.5 GRAMS Carbohydrates: 6.5 grams Fiber: 1 gram Protein: 25.5 grams Fat: 38.5 grams Calories: 474 PREP TIME: 10 MINUTES COOK TIME: 15 MINUTES SERVINGS: 4
Cook the egg mixture in the hot saucepan (after the pasta has been cooked), but away from direct heat so that the eggs do not curdle. You'll still reduce the risk of foodborne illness without having pieces of scrambled egg in your pasta.
12 ounces low-carb fettuccine 4 ounces pancetta, coarsely chopped 2 large eggs ¾ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese ¼ cup heavy cream ¼ teaspoon pepper 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 Cook fettuccine according to package directions.
2 Cook pancetta in microwave on paper towels until crisp, 3 to 4 minutes. Drain on clean paper towels.
3 Meanwhile, whisk eggs, cheese, cream, and pepper in a bowl until combined.
4 Drain fettuccine and return to hot saucepan. Turn off the heat, pour cream mixture over pasta and toss; add butter and toss until butter is melted and sauce is evenly coated. Transfer to serving bowl and crumble reserved pancetta on top. Serve hot.
Swordfish with Savory Balsamic Sauce
Per serving: NET CARBS: 2.5 GRAMS Carbohydrates: 2.5 grams Fiber: 0 grams Protein: 31 grams Fat: 14 grams Calories: 269 PREP TIME: 5 MINUTES COOK TIME: 12 MINUTES SERVINGS: 4
Choose steaks that are ¾ to 1 inch thick--increase the cooking time slightly if yours are thicker; decrease it if they're thinner. To properly cook fish, the rule of thumb is 8 to 10 minutes of cooking time for every 1 inch of thickness.
1 1/2 tablespoons canola oil 4 (8-ounce) swordfish steaks, about % inch thick, rinsed and patted dry 1/2 teaspoon salt ¼ teaspoon pepper ¼ cup balsamic vinegar 1 tablespoon unsalted butter 2 tablespoons capers, lightly crushed
1 Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over high heat until it shimmers. Season fish with salt and pepper. Cook fish until browned, about 5 minutes; turn and cook until just barely opaque, 3 to 4 minutes longer. Transfer to a platter and cover loosely with foil to keep warm.
2 Add vinegar to pan and boil until reduced by about half, about 1 minute. Whisk in butter until melted; add capers. Pour over fish and serve.
time-saving techniques and pantry staples
No matter how hectic your schedule is, you're almost always better off carving out the time to prepare foods at home than relying on takeout, fast food, or eating out. But when you're running late, what can you do to speed things along? Here are tried-and-true shortcuts that can make short work of dinner preparation.
Plan the week. You'll spend less time at the supermarket if you have made a written schedule of dinners.
Fresh garlic and ginger are incomparable, but sticking a spoon in a jar of the prepared products can shave a few minutes off a recipe's prep time.
Alphabetize your spice rack.
Knowing that paprika is between oregano and parsley means you won't have to empty a cabinet to find it (and then put everything back).
Save scraps. Don't toss the crumbs from the bottom of that bag of low-carb bread crusts.
Pasta with Spicy Tomato-Shrimp Sauce
Per serving: NET CARBS: 7.5 GRAMS Carbohydrates: 20 grams Fiber: 12.5 grams Protein: 55 grams Fat: 9 grams Calories: 336 PREP TIME: 10 MINUTES COOK TIME: 15 MINUTES SERVINGS: 4
Don't let the word "spicy" throw you--this versatile sauce can be adapted to suit any palate. Leave out the pepper flakes entirely if you're serving those who prefer mild foods.
8 ounces low-carb rotini 1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined ¼ teaspoon salt 2 teaspoons olive oil 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes, or to taste 1 cup low-carb marinara or tomato sauce
1 Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup pasta cooking water.
2 Meanwhile, season shrimp with salt. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Stir in red pepper flakes and immediately add shrimp, arranging in a single layer. Cook until pink, 1 to 2 minutes; turn and cook until just opaque, 1 to 2 minutes longer. Transfer to a plate.
3 Add marinara sauce to pan and cook until heated through. Add pasta and shrimp; toss to combine. Use reserved cooking water if needed to thin the sauce to your preferred texture.
Cheesy Chicken Cutlets with Arugula
Per serving: NET CARBS: 3 GRAMS Carbohydrates: 4 grams Fiber: 1 gram Protein: 63.5 grams Fat: 21.5 grams Calories: 481 . PREP TIME: 10 MINUTES COOK TIME: 12 MINUTES SERVINGS: 4
Arugula adds a peppery bite to this dish. Spinach is a fine substitute, especially if you are feeding more delicate palates.
4 ounces arugula, cleaned and dried 1 medium tomato, cut into 8 thin slices 1/2 pound fresh mozzarella, cut into 8 thin slices 3 teaspoons canola oil, divided 5 teaspoons unsalted butter, divided 8 (4-ounce) chicken cutlets 1/2 teaspoon salt ¼ teaspoon pepper
1 Place the tomato slices on a cutting board or large platter. Top each with one-eighth of the arugula and a slice of mozzarella.
2 Heat 11/2 teaspoons of the oil and 11/2 teaspoons of the butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until it shimmers. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Add 4 cutlets and cook until lightly browned on one side, about 2 minutes. Turn and top each with a tomato, arugula, and cheese pile. Cover and cook until chicken is just opaque inside and cheese is melted, about 3 minutes. Transfer to serving plate and cover loosely with foil to keep warm.
3 Wipe out skillet; repeat with remaining oil, butter, chicken, and tomato piles. Serve hot.
Spicy Chicken Soup with Black Beans
Per serving: NET CARBS: 8.5 GRAMS . Carbohydrates: 13.5 grams Fiber: 5 grams Protein: 31.5 grams Fat: 12.5 grams Calories: 298 PREP TIME: 10 MINUTES COOK TIME: 22 MINUTES SERVINGS: 4 (1 cup each)
Tender and rich in flavor, dark chicken meat is the better choice for most chicken dishes. when cooked for longer periods of time, it's less likely to dry out than is white meat.
1 tablespoon olive oil 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1-inch pieces 2 medium celery stalks, chopped (1 cup) 2 garlic cloves, minced (1 teaspoon) 4 cups lower sodium chicken broth 1 cup canned black beans, rinsed and drained 1/2 cup canned diced tomatoes with chilies 4 tablespoons sour cream 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh cilantro
1 Heat oil in a large saucepan over high heat. Add chicken and cook, stirring as needed, until browned, about 5 minutes. Add celery; reduce heat to medium and cook until celery is bright green and crisp-tender, about 3 minutes longer. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
2 Stir in broth, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Add beans and tomatoes and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer until chicken is cooked through, 10 to 13 minutes. Serve, topped with sour cream and cilantro.
Per serving: NET CARBS: 11 GRAMS Carbohydrates: 19.5 grams Fiber: 8.5 grams Protein: 7 grams Fat: 7.5 grams Calories: 164 PREP TIME: 10 MINUTES COOK TIME: 30 MINUTES SERVINGS: 4 (2 cups each)
Hearty and full of greens, this vegetable soup takes a little bit longer to get on the table than other recipes in this chapter, but most of that time is unattended. You can return phone calls, do the laundry, or just take a deep breath while the soup simmers.
2 tablespoons olive oil 2 cups sliced mushrooms 1 medium onion, diced (¾ cup) 1 small carrot, halved and sliced (1/2 cup) 1 pound escarole, trimmed and coarsely chopped (7 cups) 1 (3- to 4-inch) Parmesan rind 1 (141/2-ounce) can lower sodium vegetable broth, plus 1¼ cups water 1/3 cup dried lentils (2 ounces), rinsed and picked over 1/3 teaspoon salt ¼ teaspoon pepper
1 Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat; add mushrooms, onion, and carrot. Cover and cook until crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. Add escarole, broth, Parmesan rind, and water; increase heat to high, cover, and bring to a boil.
2 Stir in lentils. Reduce heat to medium-low; cover and simmer until lentils are tender, 20 to 25 minutes. Remove rind, season with salt and pepper, and serve.
When you use Parmesan in cooking, it pays to use freshly grated cheese--it really is superior in flavor to pre-grated cheese. Buy a block that weighs about six ounces, and save the rinds for a soup like this one. They soften and add an incomparable depth of flavor to the broth. If you don't have an immediate need for the rinds, they will keep for up to 3 months tightly wrapped in the freezer.
Sesame Chicken with Gingery Greens
Per serving: NET CARBS: 3.5 GRAMS Carbohydrates: 8 grams Fiber: 4.5 grams Protein: 62 grams Fat: 36 grams Calories: 655 PREP TIME: 15 MINUTES COOK TIME: 20 MINUTES SERVINGS: 4
If your skillet isn't large enough to hold the chicken breasts without crowding, transfer them to a baking sheet before you put them in the oven.
Chicken: 2/3 cup sesame seeds 1 large egg 1 tablespoon water 1 teaspoon salt 4 (8-ounce) boneless, skinless chicken breasts 11/2 tablespoons canola oil Greens: 1/3 cup mayonnaise ¼ cup coarsely chopped red onion 2 tablespoons unseasoned rice wine vinegar 11/2 tablespoons lower sodium chicken broth 21/2 teaspoons tamari sauce 1/2 teaspoon grated fresh ginger 1 garlic clove 1/2 teaspoon salt 8 cups mesclun greens or other tender lettuce
1 For the chicken: Heat oven to 350°F. Put sesame seeds on a plate.
2 Lightly beat egg, water, and salt in a shallow bowl. Dip chicken into egg mixture, shaking off excess; press each side into sesame seeds to coat.
3 Heat oil in a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken; cook until golden, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Turn chicken over and place in oven. Bake until cooked through or until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the breast registers 165°F, 6 to 8 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes, then cut into slices.
4 Puree mayonnaise, onion, vinegar, broth, tamari, ginger, garlic, and salt in a blender until smooth. Toss greens with dressing and divide among plates. Top with chicken.
Cut the prep time for the dish by washing and drying the greens on the weekend, and then storing them in the fridge. You can also make the dressing in advance--keep it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week.
Snow Peas with Chili Oil
Per serving: NET CARBS: 3.5 GRAMS . Carbohydrates: 6 grams Fiber: 2.5 grams Protein: 2.5 grams Fat: 1 gram Calories: 42 PREP TIME: 10 MINUTES COOK TIME : 3 MINUTES SERVINGS: 4
Look for chili oil in the Asian foods aisle of your market. If you can't find it, use 1/2 teaspoon vegetable oil and a pinch of red pepper flakes.
¾ pound snow peas, trimmed and strings discarded (4 cups) 1/2 teaspoon chili oil 1 garlic clove, minced (1/2 teaspoon) ¼ teaspoon salt
1 Bring a medium saucepan of salted water to a boil. Add peas and cook until bright and crisp-tender. 11/2 to 2 minutes. Drain; wipe out saucepan.
2 Add oil, garlic, and salt to saucepan and set over medium heat. Return snow peas to pan. Cook, stirring, until coated, about 30 seconds; serve hot.
Buttermilk Sweet Potato Puree
Per serving: NET CARBS: 13 GRAMS Carbohydrates: 14.5 grams Fiber: 1.5 grams Protein: 1.5 grams Fat: 2 grams Calories: 82 PREP TIME: 10 MINUTES COOK TIME: 7 MINUTES SERVINGS: 6 (1/3 cup each)
Be sure to vent the plastic wrap, either by, folding part of the plastic back and leaving an inch or so open or by poking several holes in it with a fork.
1¼ pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks 1 tablespoon water 1/3 cup buttermilk 1 tablespoon unsalted butter 1/2 teaspoon salt ¼ teaspoon ground cardamom or ground cinnamon
Put potatoes in a microwavable bowl with water and partially cover with plastic wrap. Microwave until fork-tender, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer potatoes to a food processor. Add buttermilk, butter, salt, and cardamom. Process until smooth. Serve hot.
Per serving: NET CARBS: 7.5 GRAMS Carbohydrates: 10.5 grams Fiber: 3 grams Protein: 21 grams Fat: 20.5 grams Calories: 290 . PREP TIME: 15 MINUTES COOK TIME: 15 MINUTES SERVINGS: 4
Tofu may not have originated in Italy, but it takes beautifully to this Italian-inspired vegetable saute. Don't forget to press and blot the tofu dry-removing as much moisture as possible will ensure a crispy crust. Let the tofu stand while you assemble the remaining ingredients and prepare the other vegetables.
11/2 pounds extra-firm tofu, cut crosswise into 8 slices 3 tablespoons canola oil, divided 2 medium red bell peppers, thinly sliced (2 cups) 1 (10-ounce) package sliced button or cremini mushrooms 4 garlic cloves, minced (2 teaspoons) 1/2 teaspoon salt ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes ¼ cup thinly sliced fresh basil
1 Set tofu on a plate lined with a double layer of paper towels; top with more paper towels and another plate, then put a can on top of plate so sides of tofu bulge slightly. Let stand 5 to 10 minutes, then pour off and discard liquid. Pat dry with clean paper towels.
2 Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add tofu and cook until golden, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Transfer to plates and keep warm in a 200°F oven.
3 Heat remaining 2 tablespoons oil in skillet over medium heat. Add peppers; cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add mushrooms, garlic, salt, and red pepper flakes. Cover and cook until mushrooms begin to release their liquid, about 3 minutes. Uncover, increase heat to high, and cook until almost all of the liquid has evaporated, about 3 minutes longer.
4 Stir in basil. Divide vegetables over tofu and serve.
Green Beans and Carrots al Pesto
Per serving: NET CARBS: 4.5 GRAMS Carbohydrates: 7 grams Fiber: 2.5 grams Protein: 2 grams Fat: 2 gram Caches: 48 * PREP TIME: 2 MINUTES * COOK TIME: 10 MINUTES * SERVINGS: 4
Either store-bought or homemade pesto can be used in this simple yet tasty recipe. Quarter four or five baby carrots lengthwise and you won't have to scrub or peel a carrot.
1/8 teaspoon salt 1 (9-ounce) package frozen Italian- style green beans 1 large carrot, peeled and cut into coins (1 cup) 1 tablespoon basil pesto Pepper
1 Bring ¼ inch water to a boil in a medium saucepan over high heat. Add salt, green beans, and carrot. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until beans are heated through, 5 to 6 minutes. Drain and transfer vegetables to a warmed dish.
2 Mix with pesto and season with pepper to taste.
Sugar Snap Peas with Tomatoes
Per serving: NET CARBS: 7 GRAMS Carbohydrates: 9.5 grams Fiber: 2.5 grams Protein: 2.5 grams Fat: 3.5 gram Calories: 77 . PREP TIME: 5 MINUTES COOK TIME: 2 MINUTES SERVINGS: 4
Tarragon is a mild anise-flavored herb. It adds a unique dimension when combined with sweet sugar snap peas and slightly tart tomatoes.
1 tablespoon unsalted butter 1 (9-ounce) package frozen sugar snap peas, thawed and drained (or 2 cups fresh) 12 cherry tomatoes, halved (¾ cup) ¾ teaspoon dried tarragon ¼ teaspoon salt 1/8 teaspoon pepper
Heat butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add peas and cook, stirring constantly, 1 minute. Add tomatoes and tarragon. Cook, stirring, until peas are bright green and tomatoes are heated through, about 2 minutes longer. Season with salt and pepper and serve.
Spinach Saute with Roasted Peppers
Per serving: NET CARBS: 1 GRAM Carbohydrates: 3.5 grams Fiber: 2.5 grams Protein: 2.5 grams Fat: 3.5 grams Calories: 51 PREP TIME: 3 MINUTES COOK TIME: 7 MINUTES SERVINGS: 4
Bagged baby spinach makes a quick and delicious vegetable dish. Although the spinach may be "prewashed", it should still be rinsed before using. Don't worry about drying the spinach, as the water clinging to the leaves will help it to steam.
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil 3 large garlic cloves, peeled and smashed with flat side of chef's knife 2 (6-ounce) bags baby spinach ¼ teaspoon salt 2 roasted red peppers, patted dry and coarsely chopped
1 Combine oil and garlic in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Cook, stirring often and pressing down on garlic, until golden, about 1 minute. Remove and discard garlic, if desired.
2 Add spinach in 2 or 3 batches, tossing with tongs. When all has been added, season with salt and cook, tossing, until wilted, about 2 minutes. Add peppers and cook, tossing, until heated through, about 1 minute longer. Transfer to a warm dish and serve
Red bell peppers are an excellent source of cancer-fighting pigments called carotenoids, and roasted red peppers are even higher. As with lycopene in tomatoes, cooking concentrates these compounds.
Broccoli and Cauliflower with Orange Butter
Per serving: NET CARBS: 3 GRAMS Carbohydrates: 6 grams Fiber: 3 grams Protein: 2.5 grams Fat: 6 grams Calories: 80 PREP TIME: 3 MINUTES COOK TIME: 15 MINUTES SERVINGS: 4
If you prefer, you can use two eight-ounce bags of fresh broccoli and cauliflower florets (or pick them up at a salad bar); you'll need to increase the cooking time to six or seven minutes.
2 (10-ounce) boxes frozen broccoli and cauliflower florets 2 tablespoons unsalted butter 2 teaspoons grated orange zest ¼ teaspoon salt 1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 Bring ¼ inch water to a boil in a large saucepan over high heat. Add broccoli and cauliflower. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. Drain vegetables in a colander. Wipe out saucepan.
2 Melt butter in saucepan over medium-low heat. Stir in orange zest and cook 30 seconds. Add vegetables, salt, and pepper; toss until evenly coated and heated through, about 1 minute.
Look for a rasp-style microplane grater to make quick work of grating citrus zest--if you don't see one in a kitchenware store, check out a hardware store.
Stir-Fried Ginger-Garlic Greens
Per serving: NET CARBS: 3 GRAMS Carbohydrates: 6 grams Fiber: 3 grams Protein : 3 grams Fat: 7.5 grams Calories: 98 PREP TIME: 6 MINUTES COOK TIME: 9 MINUTES SERVINGS: 4
Iceberg lettuce doesn't just belong in the salad bowl. Here it makes a transformation into a delicious cooked vegetable. For photo, see here.
2 tablespoons canola oil 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced 1 tablespoon chopped fresh ginger 3 large scallions, sliced (1/2 cup) 1 (12-ounce) bag iceberg lettuce mix with radishes and carrots 1 (16-ounce) bag baby spinach 1 tablespoon soy sauce 1/2 teaspoon dark sesame oil
Heat canola oil in a heavy saucepan over medium-high heat. Add garlic and ginger; cook, stirring, until fragrant but not browned, about 30 seconds. Add scallions, lettuce mix, and spinach in batches, tossing with tongs. Stir-fry until wilted, 2 to 3 minutes longer. Add soy sauce and sesame oil, toss, and serve.
spotlight on ginger
At first glance, ginger wouldn't impress anyone as a nutritional powerhouse. One teaspoon of fresh ginger--about the amount in a serving of a stir-fry--supplies only 8 milligrams of potassium and just trace amounts of vitamins and other minerals. Yet this rhizome is full of health-boosting properties.
Ginger contains several potent phytochemicals. Most of its punch comes from phenols, the same group of compounds that imbue red wine with its healthful properties. It also contains cucurmin, an anticarcinogen, and capsaicin, the antioxidant that gives peppers their heat.
Look for ginger with plump knobs and smooth, somewhat shiny skin. The skin can be tough, so recipes often recommend peeling it before use. Because navigating the knobs with a paring knife or vegetable peeler can be tricky, use a spoon to scrape off the skin. Fresh ginger is quite fibrous. Although some recipes say to chop or mince it, you may prefer to grate ginger to obtain its pulp, then discard the larger strings.
busy people have rediscovered the slow cooker in the past decade: Combine the ingredients in the morning, plug in the machine, and come home to a wonderfully aromatic, delicious meal. If you don't have a slow cooker, simply keep your pot over a bare simmer on the stove top or in a 350°F oven.We've provided cooking times for both low and high heat, so choose which best fits your schedule and kitchen tools. These dishes take time to cook, but because you don't need to stir the pot or check it at all, you'll save time in the end.
Shrimp, Chicken, and Sausage Jambalaya
ATKINS FOR LIFE LOW-CARB COOKBOOK. Copyright © 2004 by Atkins Nutritionals, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles or reviews. For information, address St. Martin's Press, 175 Fifth Avenue, New York, N.Y. 10010.