How To Prepare Vegetables Even Your Pickiest Eater Will Love

Slow-carb recipe tips: preparing delicious vegetables
On the slow-carb diet, one thing you’re going to eat more of than you probably ever have before is vegetables.

It seems really obvious, but a lot of people just don’t get it. To lose weight, they eat less calories, and that – to them means smaller portions of bread, fats, and sugars. But really, that’s not the way to do it.

It seems like a secret that no one knows but is right in front of your face. The best way to lose weight is really by eating more: more veggies.

Think about it this way: in a cup of whole oats you have 607 calories and 103 grams of carbohydrate (that’s more carbs that I eat in a day). In a cup of green beans, you have 44 calories and only 10 grams of carbohydrate. Sure, the grains might fill you up more, but that’s what fat and protein is for. I’d take 3 cups of green beans over a cup of oatmeal any day (and I love oatmeal)!

But I don’t like vegetables

I’ve actually heard someone talk about how they’re tired of choking down vegetables. Now, I understand it can get old quick. I can only stand broccoli in my omelet for about a week before I switch it out for spinach or kale. But vegetables could really be an untapped market in weight loss nutrition!

So I want to help out a bit. I’ve learned to love vegetables, and I’m trying different kinds I hadn’t considered before. Maybe one day I’ll write a post about different – and possibly strange – vegetables, but today I’m going to skip ahead to some cooking tips.

You see, loving veggies probably has a lot to do with the way you cook it. Personally, I love the flavor in vegetables. They come packed with a lot on their own. But often the cooking method can really seal the deal.

Roasted

This is a very easy way to prepare some delicious vegetable sides, especially if you’re already roasting some meat besides. They can go in together, and sometimes even in the same pan.

Technique: Prepare your veggies in a single layer on a baking sheet and drizzle a little bit of olive oil and sprinkle some cracked sea salt and pepper on top. Bake in a 375 to 400 degree oven (F) for 15 to 20 minutes or until tender.

Recommendation: Try roasting asparagus, cauliflower, onions, squashes, or sweet potatoes.

Grilled

It won’t be long before we’re all in relatively warm weather and smelling the familiar scent of coals blazing under some delicious meats. You grill because you like the flavor it gives to your chicken or steak. Why not also give that same flavor to your vegetables?

Technique: Much like roasting, toss your vegetables with some olive oil. This helps the browning and helps keep them from sticking too much. Sometimes I’ll form a tray out of aluminum foil if I’m grilling smaller veggies like cherry tomatoes, onions, or sliced peppers, but you can also just lay them right on the grill.

Recommendations: There’s nothing like grilled onions, peppers, zucchini, or eggplant. You have to watch some of the softer ones, though, because they get really soft really quick.

Stir fry

When people see the word “fry”, they automatically think it can’t possibly be healthy. But you know better, and you know that nice fats from oils are an essential part of a solid diet. Because you’re using a hot pan, though, you can’t just use any oil. I recommend using coconut oil or clarified butter when you stir fry.

Technique: To stir fry, use high heat with a few tablespoons of oil. When the pan is hot, toss in your veggies and keep tossing until cooked to your liking. I love to add just a smidge of sesame oil at the end to give it sort of a rich nutty flavor.

Recommendation: Some of my stir fry favorites include cabbage, green beans, and broccoli.

Sautéed

With a nice saute, you can thoroughly heat vegetables without wilting them too much. This is great for vegetables that are soft anyway. Again, you’ll need to use a fat with a high smoke point, like coconut oil or clarified butter.

Technique: Sauté is much like stir fry, only the action isn’t as intense. Heat your pan and a bit of olive oil over a medium-high heat. Toss in your chopped or sliced vegetables, stirring just occasionally.

Recommendation: You’ll love sautéed zucchini (my favorite), tomatoes, onions, and peppers.

Steamed

Most people might say this is the healthiest way to cook vegetables. I really don’t think it matters, except for flavoring purposes. What I like about steaming vegetables is that they won’t take on any extra flavors, and they often beautifully exhibit their natural colors. I love how green broccoli gets when steamed, for example.

When you steam, you’re just a step away from raw. They’re soft enough to not crunch, but still natural enough to show you what their real flavors are.

Technique: You can get steaming inserts for pots, and that’s probably the most recommended way to steam. Basically you add water to your pot, stick the veggies in the steaming tray, and cover. Cook time will depend on the vegetable and your preference. Check it, and when it’s as soft as you want, it’s done.

Alternatively, I’ve steamed veggies in the microwave. In a bowl, you can put a few tablespoons of water and add the vegetables. Most microwaves these days have a “fresh vegetable” button or setting you can use that will pretty much cook them perfectly.

Recommendation: My favorite vegetables to steam are carrots, parsnips, broccoli, and cauliflower.

Raw

Of course you don’t really have to cook your vegetables, now do you? Many vegetables can lose some nutrients in the cooking process, and sometimes their flavor even changes.

When you get your taste buds back under control, you will actually begin to find really delicious flavor in raw vegetables. I personally love to eat raw peppers, carrots, celery, and tomatoes just to name a few. Experiment, and you’ll find a whole new world of flavor!

We want to hear from you! What’s your preferred method of enjoying a nice veggie? Lay it out in the comments!

photo credit: thebittenword.com

Jason spends most of his time writing about his adventures with fitness on the slow-carb and paleo diets at his blog, FindingMyFitness.com. Want even more recipes? Check out his newsletter and get 10 more free slow-carb recipes.

Slow-Carb Recipes for Chicken: 30 Different, Totally Delicious Recipes

photo credit: ruben alexander

Not too long ago, I talked about eggs. Today we talk about the chicken. So I guess we have that answer!

One of the easiest and most versatile proteins you’ll find on the slow-carb diet is chicken. I find it’s the quickest way to a solid slow-carb meal when I don’t know what else to have.

It can be easy to get tired of the same old thing every time, though. In an attempt to help you overcome the boredom, I’ve gone around the internet looking for some of the best chicken recipes and put them in one spot.

To determine what would go on the list of the dozens upon dozens I saw, I answered one question: what would I love to have for dinner tonight?

Here are the internet’s 30 best slow-carb chicken recipes! I had a hard time deciding how to categorize them, but this is what I came up with.

Soups/Salads

Classic Chicken Salad - photo by Riki Shore
photo by Riki Shore

Thai Chicken Salad
Chicken, Leek and Mushroom Soup
African Style Chicken Salad
Classic Chicken Salad

Grilled/Roasted

Slow Carb Chicken RecipeSmoked Fruit & Pistachio Stuffed Chicken
Smoked Pepper & Onion Stuffed Chicken
Tandoori Chicken
Chicken Cordon-Bacon
30-Minute Easy Slow Carb Roast Chicken
Just Chicken and Mushrooms
Jalapeño Dijon Grilled Chicken

International

Slow Carb Chicken Curry RecipeSlow Carb Peppery Chicken Curry
Spicy Balinese Chicken Wings with Sambal
Chicken Korma with Mixed Vegetables
Indian Butter Chicken 4HB Style
Slow Carb Orange Chicken
Oven Barbequed Chicken
Chicken Satay

One-Pot Meals

Rosemary & Spinach ChickenPaleo Chicken Bog
Slow Carb Greek Pot Roasted Chicken
Moroccan Chicken Casserole
Asian-Inspired One Pot Chicken
Rosemary & Spinach Chicken
Southwest Chicken & Beans
Chicken Cacciatore

Miscellaneous

Slow Carb Chicken TendersTaco chicken wings with guac dip
Chicken Tenders: Slow Carb and Paleo Comfort Food
Peggy’s Chicken “Fried” Steak
Coconut Curry Chicken Nuggets
Chicken Livers and Onions

Do you have a favorite chicken recipe? Share it in the comments!

Jason spends most of his time writing about his adventures with fitness on the slow-carb and paleo diets at his blog, FindingMyFitness.com. Want even more recipes? Check out his newsletter and get 10 more free slow-carb recipes.

7 Must-Have Tools for Your Slow Carb Kitchen

Slow-Carb kitchen from the 1940s

How does your kitchen match up to the needs of a slow-carb diet?

Here at The Slow Carb Foodie, we’re committed to helping you become the best slow-carb chef you can be. Part of becoming that chef is working with the right tools. Today I’m continuing my series on building the perfect kitchen by talking about the different tools you’ll need.

You might have a lot of them, but I bet there are a couple pieces you don’t have. The idea is not to have a ton of gadgets (MED principles still apply in your kitchen) but to have a collection of the best things for your purposes.

This short list of tools will allow you to make a good 90% of everything you’ll see on this site or find in any cookbook.

French Press

We need to start our day off right, and to do that you need a french press. You may already have a fine coffee maker, but I’m telling you you’ll never get a cup of coffee as delicious as one made in a press. Not even a Keurig makes coffee like my french press can, and I use both regularly.

They’re inexpensive and you’ll thank me for it later.

Bonus: I’ll cover a “that’ll do” gadget later, but I’d also recommend a coffee grinder (burr preferably). They can double as a spice grinder, and frankly there’s nothing like the taste of freshly ground beans steeped for 3 minutes in hot water to get a guy or gal going in the morning.

Extra bonus: some of my favorite cofee is from Blanchard’s in Virginia. In fact, it’s what I’m drinking now!

Slow cooker

slow cooker

This tool will prepare more of your slow-carb meals than you realized. The best thing about the slow cooker is that you can prepare ahead of time, cook while you’re not home, and almost effortlessly have dinner, lunch, and second dinner ready when you get home from work.

Cast iron skillet(s)

They just don’t make things like they used to.

Teflon is OK for a little while. I have a Pampered Chef saute pan that held together for a while and was easily my favorite pan. But even it is starting to become useless.

The best pan you’ll ever use – ever – is the cast iron skillet your grandmother had. It’s so seasoned, nothing will stick to it and it cooks the best food ever. They heat wonderfully evenly, and a good seasoned pan will last literally forever. If your grandmother hasn’t given you one, start one for your grandkids.

Great set of knives

Faberware just doesn’t cut it anymore. I promise I didn’t intend for that pun to be there, but I’m leaving it!

Get yourselves a nice set of knives that cut well. My favorite knives are Wusthof. They don’t need to be $400 Japanese ginsu knives, but they should cost more than $20.

Tupperware

With all this preparing ahead and bulk operations you’ll be doing to save yourself time, money, and energy, you’ll need somewhere to put all that extra food. Invest in a good food storage container set and you’ll have everything you need.

Money-saving tip: You can often buy lunchmeat in tupperware containers and it’s not more expensive than the kind in plastic bags. Also, cheat-night Chinese takeout runs could net you some pretty handy leftover containers.

Pyrex

Skip the metal bowls and baking pans and just go glass. It’s easier to clean, won’t rust, and has no teflon that can flake off.

A good set of pyrex mixing bowls and baking dishes will get you a long way.

Food processor

From chopping vegetables and nuts to blending up your favorite salsa or even making your own mayonnaise, a food processor will be one of the kitchen tools you go to over and over and over. I thought about adding “blender” to the list, but I’m trying to keep it light and tight, and a food processor will do most of what a blender would anyway.

Your best bet would be a food processor with multiple blades, but even a simple one will be extremely useful. I use mine easily every other day.

Extra: This is the “this’ll do” item I mentioned when I talked about the coffee grinder. If you’re in a pinch, a food processor will do that job as well.

That’s it!

You simply don’t need any more than that. If you were expecting a bunch of expensive, state-of-the-art gadgets, I’m sorry to disappoint. All of the little stuff you’ll already have, like spatulas, can openers, and measuring cups. I wanted to give you a short and tight list of extremely useful things you can add to your kitchen to make it that much easier to maintain focus on your health.

Let’s here from you: Which most useful kitchen gadget do you have that you just couldn’t live without? What do you have that’s not on this list?

*Photo credit: ellenm1

Jason spends most of his time writing about his adventures with fitness on the slow-carb and paleo diets at his blog, FindingMyFitness.com. Want even more recipes? Check out his newsletter and get 10 more free slow-carb recipes.

Spice Up Your Kitchen: 11 All-Star Seasonings Every 4 Hour Chef Needs


You’re tired of the same old thing, right? Yeah, I know Tim Ferriss told us we should eat the same things over and over, but we don’t have to listen.

Here’s the thing, though: you don’t have to be a fancy chef to take something ordinary and make it exquisite. All you need are the right tools.

Over the next several weeks, I’ll be showing you how to prepare the same foods different ways. There are recipes for eggs, chicken, veggies, beef, and more just waiting for their time to come. But before we get to those, we need to get your kitchen ready.

The Basics

The star of any “4 hour kitchen”, in my opinion, is going to be your spice rack. Here’s the down low on the ones I think you need immediately.

Pro Tip:
If you only have one tool in your kitchen for seasoning, it should be a spice grinder.

If you’ve never had freshly ground pepper, you haven’t tasted pepper. Get a grinder like this for salt and pepper. For other spices, a mortar and pestle can work really well, or you can get a blade grinder. A small coffee grinder works very well.

Some of the will work fine already in powder form though, so no need to get ridiculous. The really aromatic ones (cinnamon, cloves, etc) are just best freshly ground.

Sea Salt
I prefer to use an iodized sea salt because most of us are iodine deficient or celtic sea salt because it’s less processed. The one everyone’s talking about these days, though, is Himilayan salt.

Veggie Salt
I add Veggie Salt to soups, stews or lentils to add depth of flavor when I don’t have any stock or broth on hand.  I believe there are some equivalent products in the US.

Whole Peppercorns
Any will do, just pop them in a grinder.  Fresh pepper has so much more flavor than pre-ground.

All Purpose Spice Blend
When I don’t have time to think about seasoning, there’s nothing easier than coating some chicken or meat in a pre-blended everyday seasoning and serving it up with some veggies – not the most gourmet meal, but it serves its purpose  (quick and easy!) and still tastes great. Lowrey’s makes a fantastic seasoned salt.

Italian Herb Blend
Pre-blended Italian herbs are great for seasoning chicken, soups, stews, Bolognese sauce, etc.   I buy this blend from Penzey’s because their spices are very high quality, but any blend will do so long as it doesn’t have any added fillers.

Dried Chili Flakes
Sprinkle chili on just about anything to add a bit of kick. I usually buy in bulk and put the chili into a grinder with some sea salt to make a chili salt blend and because I like my dried chili a bit finer than the whole flakes.  You can also make your own custom blends with peppercorns and other spices by putting them directly into a grinder or shaker.  You can get something fancy and make it a staple on your table or just re-use spice grinders that you’ve emptied and washed out.

Garlic Salt
It almost seems like cheating, but that’s OK. We’re all about hacking our lifestyle to make it easier anyway, aren’t we? I use garlic salt on meats, eggs, veggies, and in various rubs. It’s pretty versatile and delicious.

The Clinchers

Cinnamon

Sure, you can put it in your coffee, but have you ever tried it on chicken? I dare you. Toss it into some coconut milk with a curry powder or boil it with your lentils and some salt. Really subtle, but enough to tingle the taste buds!

Cloves

Cloves are really nice in tea, especially with a bit of orange rind in it. Did you know it works extremely well with pork?

Cumin

Eggs, chicken, beef, use it anywhere. Is there any other spice that is like cumin? It goes amazing with most meats and is particularly spectacular in hamburgers. I also like to put it in my lentils or beans while they cook.

Curry

Using curry is one of the simplest ways to really kick up any dish. I’ll show you a bunch of them later on. I use both yellow and red varieties. My favorite use for curry is in a chicken dish that I’ll eat over a bed of shredded cauliflower, or “fake rice”.

By adding any of these spices to the ordinary meals you’re already eating, you’ll be following the principle of keeping it simple, while at the same time creating something pretty different.

We’d love to hear from you! What is your favorite way to spice up your slow-carb meals? Share with us in the comments!