Low Carb Cooking 101
Ah, Memorial Day! It’s not just a day off work. It’s time to take the opportunity to remember those military personnel who have given their lives so that we can remain a free nation. Take a moment to remember our fallen men and women. Fly your American flag, and be thankful.
Memorial Day is also traditionally time for a family barbecue, so I’m publishing the menu and recipes a week early so that you have time to decide what you’re going to serve, buy the food, and get everything ready ahead of time. It’s hard to enjoy a party when you’re too pooped to pop.
This Memorial Day, the adults in my family will be enjoying T-Bone Steaks With Grilled Onions. So will the older children, but the younger ones are more likely to do justice to hamburgers and hot dogs, so there will be plenty of those on hand as well. I have not included the hamburgers and hot dogs in the menu, though, so if you’re serving kiddies of a certain age adjust your shopping list accordingly.
Our family gathering will be fairly large – a total of fifteen people, including munchkins – so I will be preparing all the recipes below. If your guest list is smaller, you will probably want to choose to prepare only one of the two vegetable dishes, either the Down Home Cole Slaw or Cauliflower Fauxtato Salad (but not both), and just one of the beverages. Do prepare both the Deviled Eggs and Cucumber Bullseyes, though. People always like finger food to munch on while they’re waiting for the rest of the food to be done.
If your family is the kind that insists on potato chips and other such garbage, get a kind that you’re not fond of. My family will expect chips, so I’ll be buying BBQ flavored chips, which I don’t like. (If I bought plain potato chips, I’d be a goner.)
Virtually everything on this weekend’s menu can be prepared ahead of time, and I suggest that you do this so that you can enjoy time with your family at the barbecue, too.
Here’s the Memorial Day weekend’s menu:
- T-Bone Steaks With Grilled Onions
- Cucumber Bullseyes
- Deviled Eggs
- Sesame Green Bean Packets
- Company Broccoli
- Down Home Cole Slaw
- Cauliflower Fauxtato Salad
- Cherry Coke Salad
- Georgia Peach Iced Tea
- Cherry Lemonade
Here’s the shopping list for the meal:
You may already have some of these things on hand.
- 4 T-bone steaks
- 2 4-ounce packages chipped beef
- 3 large onions
- 1 bunch green onions
- 1 pound fresh green beans
- 1 bunch celery
- 2 packages pre-shredded cole slaw vegetables (You can use 1 package pre-shredded cole slaw vegetables and 1 package pre-shredded broccoli slaw, if you prefer.)lemon slices or berries (optional – for garnish)
- chopped pecans or walnuts
- 1 head cauliflower
- unsweetened coconut, grated or shredded (fresh or prepackaged)
- 2 10-ounce packages frozen broccoli spears
- sour cream
- shredded cheddar cheese
- 2 dozen eggs
- 2 8-ounce packages cream cheese
- Worcestershire sauce
- Dijon mustard
- apple cider vinegar (to taste)
- soy sauce
- lemon juice (fresh or bottled)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- toasted sesame oil
- hot chili oil or Mongolian Fire Oil
- toasted sesame seeds
- grated lemon rind
- black pepper
- white pepper
- celery seed
- dried mustard
- unflavored Knox gelatin
- 1 package unsweetened black cherry drink mix (Kool Aid, Wyler’s, etc.)
- Crystal Light sugar free lemonade drink mix
- 1 2-liter bottle sparkling water
- liquid artificial sweetener
- Splenda packets
- Brown Sugar Twin
- Bigelow Country Peach Tea bags
- diet cherry cola (any brand)
- DaVinci Gourmet Sugar Free Almond syrup (optional)
- DaVinci Sugar Free Cherry syrup
- lots of ice
- heavy duty aluminum foil
Here’s the game plan:
Two days before the barbecue, hard-boil the eggs for the Deviled Eggs and Cauliflower Potato Salad. Shell them immediately and put the shelled eggs in a Zip Lock bag in the refrigerator.
At the same time, cook the cauliflower for the Cauliflower Fauxtato Salad. Put it in a container with a lid in the refrigerator to chill until the next day. Trim the green beans and prepare the rest of the raw vegetables and put them in Zip Lock bags at this time, too.
The day before the barbecue, prepare the Cherry Coke Salad according to the recipe directions and put it in the refrigerator. Continue on to prepare the Down Home Cole Slaw and the Cauliflower Fauxtato Salad. Cover them and put them in the refrigerator, too.
After you have finished with the salad, prepare the Company Broccoli according to the recipe directions, but do not bake it. Cover it and put it in the refrigerator. You’ll bake it tomorrow.
Half the hard-boiled eggs for the Deviled Eggs and remove the yolks. Put the whites back in the Zip Lock bag and pop them back into the refrigerator. Prepare the yolks according to the recipe directions and put them in a bowl. Cover the yolks with plastic wrap laid directly on top of them and put them in the refrigerator. You’ll fill the whites with the yolk mixture tomorrow.
Finally, prepare the Sesame Green Beans and put them in a serving dish covered with plastic wrap in the refrigerator. You’ll reheat them briefly in the microwave tomorrow.
The morning of the barbecue, make the Georgia Peach Iced Tea and the Cherry Lemonade put them in the refrigerator to chill.
Stuff the Cucumber Bullseyes and Deviled Eggs and put them on serving platters in the refrigerator. Cover them tightly with plastic wrap.
Make sure the grill is clean and ready to go. Better yet, get someone else to do it.
Set up your buffet table, including putting out your serving forks and spoons, the dinner plates, napkins, silverware, hot plates (if you have them), and trivets or hot pads to protect the table from the hot dishes. Set up a drinks bar in a separate location, and get out the plastic or paper cups and a cooler to hold the ice.
Send someone else out for the ice while you take a shower and change. Make sure they know to put the ice in the cooler on the drinks bar.
When the guests arrive, put out the Cherry Lemonade and Georgia Peach Iced Tea on the drinks bar and uncover the Deviled Eggs and Cucumber Bullseyes and put them on the buffet table.
Just before you’re ready to eat, preheat the oven to 350 degrees and start the grill
Put the Company Broccoli in the oven to bake. Place the Sesame Green Beans in the microwave, but do not reheat them yet.
Grill the onions and the steaks. While the steaks and onions are grilling, take the cole slaw, fauxtato salad, and Cherry Coke Salad out of the refrigerator, uncover them, and put them on the buffet table.
When the steaks and onions are done, put them on a serving plate on the buffet table. Reheat the green beans while you take the broccoli out of the oven and put it on the buffet table. Put the green beans on the buffet table.
Sit down, relax, and enjoy your family and guests. You deserve it.
And, finally, here’s the recipes:
T-Bone Steaks With Onions
- 2 large onions, cut into 1/4-inch slices
- 2 tablespoons Brown Sugar Twin
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon ground mustard
- 2 tablespoons butter, melted
- 4 T-bone steaks
- heavy duty aluminum foil
- large, straight cucumbers
Preheat the grill.
Place the onion slices in a single layer on a cookie sheet. Sprinkle the Brown Sugar Twin, salt, pepper, and mustard evenly over the slices. Transfer the onion slices to a large piece of heavy duty aluminum foil. Stack the slices to preserve space, but do not stack more than one slice on top of another.
Drizzle the onion slices with the melted butter, then fold the foil over the onion slices and seal it tightly.
Place the onions on the grill over medium-hot heat for 15 to 25 minutes or until they are tender, turning the packet over once. Remove the onion packet from the grill or move it to a section which receives minimal heat until the steaks are ready.
Grill the steaks at the same time as the onion packet is cooking, turning them once. Do not close the cover of the grill while cooking.
Use an instant meat thermometer to determine doneness. For rare, an instant meat thermometer will register 140 degrees; for medium it will register 160 degrees, and for well-done it will register 170 degrees.
Place the steaks on the dinner plates and top them with the sliced onions.
Yeah, I know I gave this recipe to you before, but I love these things!
- large, straight cucumbers
- favorite cheese ball, softened (I like Rod’s Favorite Spread best. See the recipe below.)
Slice the ends off the cucumbers. With a vegetable peeler, take off alternating strips of the cucumber skin. Then, with an apple corer, core the seeds from the center of the cucumbers, leaving as much of the flesh as possible. (If the cucumbers are very long, it is best to cut them into 6-inch sections to do this.)
Push the cheese ball mixture down into the cored sections of the cucumbers. Be sure that it is firmly packed in with no gaps. Wrap each section in plastic wrap and chill.
Before serving, slice the stuffed cucumbers into 1/4-inch slices.
Rod’s Favorite Spread
- 1 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
- 2 4-ounce packages chipped beef, shredded
- 1 bunch green onions, chopped (green parts only)
- 2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce (or to taste)
Use an electric mixer to blend all the ingredients together. Place the spread in a decorative bowl and cover it tightly with plastic wrap. Refrigerate until time to serve. Can be made up to 2 days ahead of time.
- Eggs for deviled eggs are best if they’re not extremely fresh. Buy the eggs a few days to a week before you want to make the deviled eggs.
- 1 dozen eggs (***See the note at the bottom of the recipe.)
- mayonnaise (to taste)
- salt (just a little – to taste)
- black pepper (a lot!)
- paprika (optional – for garnish)
Place the eggs in a large pan or Dutch oven. Cover them with cold water, making sure that the water comes up an inch or two above the eggs. Discard any eggs that float to the surface!
Place the pan or Dutch oven on the stove and turn the burner to high. As soon as the water reaches a rolling boil, turn the heat down to medium and set the kitchen timer for 10 minutes.
When the timer goes off, remove the eggs from the heat. With kitchen tongs, take the eggs out of the water and place them in a colander.
Wait until the eggs are just cool enough to handle and shell the eggs under running water to remove any bits of shell. Place the shelled eggs back into the colander to cool and dry.
(Note: At this point you can put the eggs in a Zip Lock bag in the refrigerator, or you can halve them, devil the yolks, and refrigerate the whites and the deviled yolks separately until you want to put everything together. They’re much easier to store this way than they are once they’re filled. You can even take them separately to the party and fill the whites there.)
Slice the whites in half and remove the yolks to a bowl. (It’s easiest if you use a spoon to pry the yolks out of the whites.) Put the yolks in a bowl and add several tablespoons of the mayonnaise, the salt, and the black pepper. Use a hand mixer to whip the ingredients together.
Once the ingredients are thoroughly blended, continue to add mayonnaise a tablespoon at a time until the yolk mixture is the consistency that you prefer.
Spoon the yolk mixture back into the egg white halves and sprinkle them with paprika if you choose. Cover and refrigerate the deviled eggs until it’s time to serve them.
***Note: Some people like some dry mustard or pickle relish in their deviled eggs, but I don’t. If you like them, add them.
***Variation: Mixing a 6-ounce can of drained tuna or salmon in with the yolks is quite good. With the fish, some people might like to add a little dried dill weed.
Sesame Green Bean Packets
- 1 pound fresh green beans, trimmed and sliced into 1-inch pieces
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon hot chili oil
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 teaspoon soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
Wash, trim, and slice the green beans.
Heat the olive oil, toasted sesame oil, and hot chili oil in a large skillet or wok over medium-high heat. Put the green beans in the heated oil and stir fry until the beans are crisp tender, about 5 minutes.
Remove the green beans from the skillet with a slotted spoon and place them in a serving bowl. Put the butter and the soy sauce on the beans and toss until the butter is melted and the beans are evenly coated.
Sprinkle the beans with the toasted sesame seeds and toss to distribute the sesame seeds evenly.
***Note: Sesame Green Beans can be prepared ahead of time and placed in the refrigerator in a covered container and reheated.
- 2 10-ounce packages frozen broccoli spears
- 1 cup sour cream
- 1/2 cup cheddar cheese, grated
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon rind
- salt (to taste)
- freshly ground black pepper (to taste)
Cook the broccoli according to the package directions. Drain well. Place the cooked broccoli spears in a shallow baking dish.
Combine all the remaining ingredients except for the paprika. Stir to thoroughly combine them. Spoon the mixture over the broccoli. Sprinkle the top of the dish with the paprika.
Bake the casserole at 350 degrees for 20 minutes, or until casserole is hot and bubbly.
Serves 6 @ 4.1 grams of carbohydrates per serving.
Note: This recipe can be doubled or tripled for a crowd.
Down Home Cole Slaw
- 2 packages pre-shredded cole slaw vegetables (You can use 1 package pre-shredded cole slaw vegetables and 1 package pre-shredded broccoli slaw, if you prefer.)
- 1 to 2 cups mayonnaise (enough to bind and to your personal taste)
- 1/2 teaspoon white pepper (to taste)
- dash salt (to taste)
- 1 teaspoon celery seed
- 1/2 teaspoon dried mustard (optional – to taste)
- 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar (to taste)
- 2 packets granular Splenda or 1 teaspoon liquid artificial sweetener (to taste)
Combine all the ingredients and toss to distribute everything thoroughly. Taste and adjust the seasonings to your personal taste.
Place the cole slaw in a serving bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and put it in the refrigerator for at least one hour to chill and let the flavors meld.
Serves 6 to 8.
***Note: Leftover Down Home Cole Slaw turns into a nice main dish salad with the addition of diced ham.
Cauliflower Fauxtato Salad
- 1 head cauliflower
- 1 1/2 cups mayonnaise (to taste)
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard (to taste)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt (to taste)
- 8 hard-boiled eggs, coarsely diced
- artificial sweetener (to taste)
- 3 stalks celery, sliced
- 1/4 large onion, finely diced
Wash and trim the cauliflower, then cut it into bite-sized pieces. Rinse the cauliflower nuggets in a colander, shaking off as much water as possible.
Place the cauliflower nuggets in a large microwave container with a lid and NO ADDITIONAL WATER. Cook the cauliflower until just crisp tender, 5 to 10 minutes, depending upon the power of your microwave. Drain the cauliflower nuggets in the colander. Place the cauliflower nuggets back in the microwave container and put them in the refrigerator to cool down and chill for at least 1 hour.
Combine the chilled cauliflower nuggets with the remaining ingredients and toss them to distribute them evenly and coat everything with the mayonnaise. Taste and adjust seasonings.
Place the salad in a serving dish, cover the dish with plastic wrap, and put it back in the refrigerator for at least an hour to chill and let the flavors blend.
Serves 4 to 6.
***Note: Leftover Cauliflower Fauxtato Salad turns into a nice main dish salad with the addition of diced ham.
Serves 8 @ 482 calories, 52 grams fat, 7 grams protein, and 3 grams carbohydrates w/ 1 gram fiber.
Cherry Coke Salad
- 1/2 cup cold water
- 3 packages unflavored Knox gelatin
- 4 cups flat diet cherry cola
- 1 package unsweetened black cherry drink mix
- 1 tablespoon liquid artificial sweetener
- 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut, grated or shredded (fresh or prepackaged)
- 1/2 cup chopped celery
- 1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
Using a glass measuring cup, soften the gelatin in the cold water for about 2 minutes, or until the gelatin is completely dissolved. Microwave the dissolved gelatin on high for 1 1/2 minutes. Stir well to blend and further dissolve. Pour mixture into a large bowl.
Add the flat diet cherry cola, unsweetened Kool Aid, and the liquid sweetener to the gelatin mixture. Stir the mixture until there is no fizz left at all.
Take 1 cup of the mixture and put it in the blender with the cream cheese. Process the mixture until it is completely blended and smooth. Pour the cream cheese mixture back into the large bowl with the reserved gelatin mixture and stir it to blend everything thoroughly. Refrigerate until the mixture begins to thicken, stirring occasionally to keep the cream cheese thoroughly incorporated.
When the mixture is thickened (about the consistency of uncooked egg whites), add the remaining ingredients and stir gently to blend. Transfer the mixture to a gelatin mold or a pretty serving dish. Place it back in the refrigerator to finish setting up.
When serving, you may garnish this with sweetened artificially sweetened whipped cream if you wish.
Serves 8 @ 2.41 grams carbohydrates per serving.
Georgia Peach Iced Tea
lots of ice
4 cups boiling water
4 Country Peach Tea bags (Bigelow Tea)
1/4 cup DaVinci Gourmet Sugar Free Almond syrup
Add boiling water and allow tea to steep for 8 minutes for 2 1/2 quart size and 5 minutes for individual serving. Add syrup and ice. Refrigerate before serving.
Yield: 2 1/2-quarts with about 5 grams of carbohydrates for the entire recipe.
- 1 tub Crystal Light sugar free lemonade drink mix
- 4 cups sparkling water
- 4 teaspoons DaVinci Sugar Free Cherry syrup
- ice cubes
- lemon slices or berries (optional – for garnish)
Stir together the Crystal Light and the sparkling water until the Crystal Light is dissolved. Add the DaVinci Sugar Free Cherry Syrup and still to combine.
Fill four 10-ounce glasses with ice and divide the lemonade mixture between them. Garnish with lemon slices or fresh berries, if desired.
Serves 8 @ about 1 gram of carbohydrate per serving. Nutritional analysis does not include the optional lemon slices or berries for the garnish.