Tag Archive | "low-carb"

Low-Carb Lime-Chili Grilled Wings

Cook these wings on the grill or in a grill pan.

Looking for low-carb treats that are easy yet taste great? You may want to check out Colette Heimowitz’s “The New Atkins for a New You Cookbook” (A Touchstone Book, $19.99). One idea is for Lime-Chili Grilled Wings.

“Wings typically come in three segments,” Heimowitz writes. “The parts closest to the body look something like miniature drumsticks and are somethings sold as ‘drumettes.’ The middle part has two thin bones and the tips are often discarded as they contain so little meat. Removing the wing tips has another benefit in this dish: it helps to ensure even cooking — the tips tend to burn on the grill.”

Lime-Chili Grilled Wings

1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
1 tablespoon virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons chili powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons salt
3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
12 chicken wings, tips removed

Combine lime juice, oil. chili powder, cumin, salt and cilantro in a large bowl. Add wings and toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate 2 hours, turning occasionally.

Prepare a charcoal or gas grill for medium-heat grilling or heat a grill pan. Grill wings until browned and cooked through, about 20 minutes. Serve hot.

Approximate nutritional value per serving: 2 g carbs, 1 g net carbs, 1 g fiber, 20 g protein, 7 g fat, 150 calories.

Makes 4 servings.

From “The New Atkins for a New You Cookbook” by Colette Heimowitz

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Oloves Are Easy to Love


Have you been looking for a low-calorie, low-carb snack that actually tastes like food? And that’s also good for you? That’s the beauty of Oloves, pouches of green olives stuffed with your choice of flavors.

These tart treats are vegan as well as kosher. They aren’t packed in juice, either, so you can nibble on an entire packet without getting your fingers wet. You don’t need to cool them down, either, because they are shelf table; so, you can pack them up for a picnic, put them in your lunch box or grab them whenever you need a quick bite.

Oloves come in three flavors:

  • Hot Chilli Mama, or habanero
  • Lemon Lover, or lemon and garlic
  • Light-Hearted Vinaigrette
  • Tasty Mediterranean, or basil and garlic

I tried the basil and the habanero varieties, and both were pleasant treats that satisfied a mid-afternoon snack craving.

The price is $1 a pouch at H-E-B.


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Low-Carb Tacos Are a Real Easy Treat

Low-carb Tacos in a cabbage shell.

I had some roasted pork belly left over from my recent trip to Tim’s Oriental & Seafood Market and wondered what to do with it. Bonnie Walker came up with a great suggestion: tacos. A few strands of cabbage, some radishes and you’re all set.

Except for the corn shell.

I don’t do flour or corn all that often because of my diabetes, so tortillas were out.

That’s when I remembered the low-carb tacos at Urban Taco in the Quarry Village, which are like chicken wraps in that they come in a large lettuce leaf.

Instead of shredding the cabbage, I could use a cabbage leaf as the sturdy shell.

I warmed up the meat, and the rest of it fell into place, down to the fresh cilantro I picked from the backyard. Great flavor and part of my diet. They were so good, I had the rest the following evening.

Low-Carb Tacos

3 or 4 cabbage leaves or large lettuce leaves (see note)
8 ounces meat of your choice, such as carnitas, carne asada, roasted pork belly, ground beef or picadillo, lengua or tripas

Radishes, sliced
Pico de gallo
Jalapeños, sliced
Queso fresco or other cheese
Salt, to taste

Note: Cabbage heads can be tight. To peel whole leaves more easily, carve out the core at the bottom and separate the leaves slowly from the bottom up.

Lay out the cabbage leaves on one or two plates. Divide the meat among the leaves. Top with your choice of toppings, such as radishes, pico de gallo, jalapeños, cilantro, queso fresco, salsa and cilantro.  Salt to taste.

Serve immediately.

Makes 1 to 2 servings.

From John Griffin

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Mash Cauliflower for a Low-Carb Alternative

DiabeticTG-2This is an excellent low-carb substitution for mashed potatoes that even cauliflower-haters enjoy.

Mashed Cauliflower

1 large head cauliflower, cut into florets
6 tablespoons butter, cut into tablespoon-size pieces, divided use
2 slices bacon, optional (see note)
1/8 cup whipping cream or sour cream
Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste

Steam the cauliflower until it is tender.

If using the bacon, melt 1 tablespoon butter in a saucepan while the cauliflower is steaming. Add the bacon and fry until crisp. Remove to paper towels and dry. Cut into strips.

When the cauliflower is ready, drain well. With paper towels, gently squeeze as much excess water as you can.

Place cauliflower in a mixing bowl with the remaining butter and whipping cream. Let the butter melt somewhat before you start to mix it. Add bacon strips, if using, and salt and pepper to taste. Mix until desired consistency is reached.

Note: You can also use roasted garlic, cheese or other flavors.

Makes 6-8 servings.

From John Griffin

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Griffin to Go: A Thanksgiving Feast for Diabetics


“You’re sublime.
You’re a turkey dinner.
You’re the time
Of a derby winner.”

“You’re the Top,” Cole Porter

I can’t begin to list the myriad things for which I’m grateful this year. So many blessings fall under the categories of family, friends, health and general welfare that I’m constantly humbled by the magnitude of them.

DiabeticTG-6But one item high on the list was the chance to share an early Thanksgiving dinner with my parents, one of my sisters, her husband and my nephew.

That may strike some of my friends as odd. They know that the traditional Thanksgiving dinner is not one of my favorites. All that brown food. The narcoleptic bloat that comes from overeating. I didn’t get it.

Well, maybe my body got it. When I was diagnosed with diabetes several years ago, I noticed that the Thanksgiving dishes I most avoided, such as dressing, were the ones that were the most laden with carbohydrates.

So, this year, I decided to make a more diabetic-friendly Thanksgiving meal, one with plenty of fall flavor but without all the harm.

It’s doubly important in my family since my father also lives with diabetes, and my nephew is a carb-addict who limits his meals largely to mashed potatoes, bread and a tiny bit of meat.


Cornbread-Sausage Stuffing (click for recipe)

Diabetes is different in each person. In me, the carb content, no matter the fiber content, causes my blood sugar to skyrocket. So, no pasta, no rice, no potatoes. Bread has to be limited and kept to certain kinds. Sugar actually affects my blood sugar level less than these other foods.

So, how do you translate that kind of limitation into dressing, which was created as a means of finding a new use for stale, old bread? That was the hardest challenge. Friends told me they had had breadless stuffings before, but that didn’t seem right. I thought about what I did like in some dressings: sausage, onions, celery. A great start. I sautéed them up and added apple and just a little cornbread.

Mashed potatoes in my parents’ home is a staple, and my mom made up a large pot, largely for my nephew. But I also did mashed cauliflower, which tastes enough like mashed potatoes to make believers out of my dad, a cauliflower hater. Adding a little bacon helped.


Holiday Cran-Raspberry Sauce (click for recipe)

Bacon was also featured in the sautéed cabbage, made bright with a touch of ground coriander. Asparagus, no longer limited to spring time, was roasted under the broiler at the last-minute.

The menu was easy, but could I get everything done on time? That’s the challenge all of us face on Thanksgiving. I made a time line and faced the drawback I generally face when I’m cooking for others: I couldn’t wait to get started.

The day before, I made the cran-raspberry sauce, the only sugar to be included in the meal and an item I would have to ration wisely, though the flavor and freshness of this dish makes it tremendously appealing. I also had to rinse the turkey in cold water for a long while because it wasn’t thawing quickly enough in a too-cold refrigerator.

The day we got together, I started with the turkey. Rinsing and drying it is always the way to start. Then I borrowed a technique from my colleague, Bonnie Walker, who made her turkey last year as if she were roasting a chicken. That meant cranking the oven up to 450 degrees and roasting the turkey, breast side up, at that high heat until the tips of the wings started to get dark, maybe 30 minutes. The heat was then lowered to 350 degrees where it roasted until finished.


Mashed Cauliflower (click for recipe)

The end result was a turkey with an ultra-crisp skin (perhaps my favorite part) and juicy meat inside. I was roasting a Butterball, so basting was not needed; but the bird did cook more quickly than it would have had it been roasted only at 350 degrees. It was ready about 20 minutes before the rest of the dinner was, which is fine, because you want it to rest before serving.

While the turkey was roasting, I started preparing the cauliflower, followed by the dressing, which went together too quickly. It ended up staying warm in the oven for more than an hour. The cabbage followed, with the asparagus going in the oven after we said our prayers, so it could cook while the rest of the food was served.

The last touch was to strain the pan drippings, rather than stirring in carb-heavy flour for gravy.


Sautéed Cabbage With Bacon (click for recipe)

It was Thanksgiving all right. Too much food to fit on the plate. Seconds and thirds and even fourths. But there was a difference. No one curled up into a ball after dinner or begged for a little down time.

Yes, there was a dessert served later that evening. And, no, it wasn’t diabetic-friendly. It was my sister’s birthday, and Mom made her favorite: coconut-cream pie. But by avoiding all those carbs earlier in the meal, I enjoyed my slice without too much guilt. And that’s something else for which I’m grateful.

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Have Your Dressing and Cut the Carbs, Too

DiabeticTG-5Dressing or stuffing, for many, is a way of using old bread or rice. Yet you can keep the dish on your Thanksgiving menu and cut back the carbohydrate count.

Cornbread-Sausage Dressing

1 rib celery, minced
1/2 onion, minced
2 tablespoons butter or olive oil
3 mild Italian sausages, casings removed and broken into small pieces
1/2 apple, chopped
1 or 2 stale or toasted cornbread muffins, to taste
1 tablespoon fennel seed
Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste
1/2 cup pan drippings from the roasted turkey or chicken stock

Sauté celery and onion in butter or olive oil, about 5 minutes or until soft. Add sausage and cook until done. As sausage is beginning to turn brown, add apple to mix and stir thoroughly. When sausage is done and apple somewhat soft, crumble the cornbread muffin over the top and stir in. Add fennel, salt and pepper and season to taste. Place in an 8-inch square pan and keep warm until ready to serve. Just before serving, pour pan drippings over the top.

Makes 4-6 servings, depending on how much cornbread you use.

From John Griffin

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Beto’s Comida Latina: Reel in the Fish Tacos


Food: 3.5
Service: 3
Value: 3.5

Rating scale:
5: Extraordinary
4: Excellent
3: Good
2: Fair
1: Poor

Where to have lunch? The car knew the moment it turned onto Broadway: Beto’s Comida Latina.

The fish tacos, the empanadas, the quesadillas – all seemed to be calling me. So, a friend and I turned into the parking lot and turned on to the best meal I have had there in ages.

I have always enjoyed going to Beto’s. The casual atmosphere of the dining room, a few longnecks and the patio out back (too hot for our current heat, but great in the fall), the Latin fare that goes beyond Tex-Mex to embrace Central and South American cuisines. But my last couple of visits were average, nothing to get worked up about.

I’m glad to see that has changed. Most everything we had at that lunch was marked by a welcome vibrancy, from the fresh ingredients to the steaming hot nature of the food itself, that was nearly irresistible.

betos1The fish tacos were the special that day, with a pair and a salad arriving for $5.99. Don’t pass this by if you can. Our version flirted with perfection. The cilantro coleslaw on top was fresh and crunchy, the poblano sauce creamy with just the right amount of bite, and the grilled fish juicy and plentiful. There was a slight bit of water coming from the tacos, but it didn’t affect the flavor.

It also didn’t affect the hold that great fish tacos have. For some reason, this dish has never caught on in San Antonio as well as it should. So, we should be extra thankful that Beto’s, among other places, has cultivated a devoted following for them. For those of us who love them, their hold is as gripping as the latest John Lescroart or Michael Connelly mystery.

The accompanying salad was topped with pickled red onions and slices of jícama, which added two contrasting yet complementary textures to the crisp romaine.

A spinach and mushroom quesadilla bore no trace of the promised chipotle, and it didn’t really need it. Who needs more when you have soft spinach leaves and mushrooms melting into one with the corn tortilla thanks to a judicious amount of cheese.

betos4A sauté of fresh vegetables, ranging from squashes and tomatoes to eggplant and sweet potato, with a sprinkling of queso fresco on top, made a substantial side dish and a nice balance to the carbohydrates from the tortillas. (Beto’s, ever attentive to people’s dietary needs, offers low-carb options as well as gluten-free dishes. Ask your server.)

But you can’t go low-carb and enjoy Beto’s signature dish, its flaky empanadas, made with puff pastry. From a choice list of savory fillings, including chicken poblano and beef and red chile, the calabacita con puerco called, and it proved an excellent choice with its stew of squash and pork with a touch of sweet corn.

I heeded the call once again when the waiter mentioned mango-rhubarb among the dessert options. The luscious sweet-tart nature of the fruit a good foil for the buttery pastry.

Give in to such calls every once in a while. You could be as amply rewarded as we were at Beto’s.


Beto’s Comida Latina
8142 Broadway
(210) 930-9393
Lunch and dinner Monday-Saturday

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