Chicken Tenders: Slow Carb and Paleo Comfort Food

Slow Carb Chicken TendersChicken Tenders, Chicken Fingers, Chicken Strips, Chicken McNuggets.  Normally we think of these things as breaded, deep-fried (and possibly mechanically-separated, chemical-filled) parcels of junk food.
It doesn’t have to be that way.  Using almond meal and some other seasonings, you can create your own, healthy almond-crusted chicken tenders.
Ingredients
  • 1 cup almond flour
  • Sea Salt to taste
  • Black Pepper to taste
  • Other seasonings of choice  (I throw in about a heaped  teaspoon each of onion powder, garlic powder, paprika and oregano.  Feel free to add cayenne, parsley, cajun spice blend or anything you like.)
  • 1 egg
  • 2 large chicken breasts, boneless, skinless, cut in tender-size strips
Directions
1) Pour a cup of almond flour into a zip lock bag (or a dish with high sides that can be shaken around a bit)
2) Add salt, pepper and other seasonings until it smells good to you – we use A LOT.
3) Dip all white meat chicken tender strips into a beaten egg, then lightly coat in flour/seasoning mixture.
4) Broil  (or outside of the US, use the “grill” setting on your oven) on high for 10 minutes, then flip and broil for another 5-8 minutes.
5) They are ready when the coating starts to turn brown on both sides.  Serve with mustard or Slow Carb and Paleo friendly condiments.
Check out our post to learn to make your own Slow Carb and Paleo friendly mayo and ketchup.

Pro Tip:Just about any type of meat you’d normally coat with breadcrumbs can be done with almond meal or any other nut meal. Let your imagination run wild. Fish fillets, pork chops, even an Italian classic chicken parma. Check out our recipe for Walnut Crusted Pork Chops if you’re looking for inspiration.

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Slow-Carb Tips: Successfully Stocking Your Fridge

Be prepared for slow-carb diet success!
Creative Commons License photo credit: Tedward

The weekend’s almost here, which means it’s the perfect time to fool-proof your ability to stick to the plan next week. There’s one way that’s almost guaranteed to help get you results every time:

Preparation.

The Boy Scout motto notwithstanding, being prepared is easily the best way to keep yourself from slipping up. Think about the last few times you’ve had difficulty. I’d bet that most of them were due to needing to make game-time decisions or not thinking about your plan well enough ahead of time.

The easiest way to prepare for the week ahead is to get as much of the work as possible done ahead. Let’s look at several different ways you can work ahead.

Here are my three Ps:

Plan your attack

The general who wins the battle makes many calculations in his temple before the battle is fought. The general who loses makes but a few beforehand.
– Sun Tzu,
The Art Of War

Don’t think that you will always be successful by winging it. Maybe sometimes you will, but most of the time you won’t.

The best tip I can ever give anyone who is trying to follow a new diet is to plan your meals in advance. When I have the best success, I know what I’m going to eat all week. It takes the thinking out of things, and the less I have to think about eating right, the more likely I am to do it.

So the first thing I want you to do is to make a menu for yourself for the coming week. Plan in snacks if you want to, but make sure you know exactly what you’ll eat.

Pro tip: this will also save money because you can always make extra at night and have the leftovers for lunch.

When the circulars for the grocery stores in your area come around this weekend, get them all and figure out where the best place to get things is. Then use your menu to make a list and separate it by store. Now you not only know what you’ll eat, you also know where you’ll get it from and roughly what your budget will be.

Procure the goods

The next tip I have for you is to buy in bulk. Most sales are usually better in bulk anyway (the big honkin’ tray of meat is usually cheaper per-pound than the one- or two-serving sized one).

If you’ve got one nearby, a bulk store like Costco or Sam’s Club will be your friend. My wife and I shop once a month and get enough almost for the whole month, with the exception of the fresh veggies (I like to get those
once a week). We save a lot of money that way.

Buying beans and lentils dry is far cheaper than buying canned too and are not hard to make. I’ve got a couple recipes linked for you towards the end.

You may be saying to me now, “I can’t possibly eat fast enough for it not to spoil.” That’s OK. There are ways to handle consumption in bulk. Use reheatable containers and freeze what you know you won’t get to for a few days. They’ll feel just like frozen dinners, only you wont be eating crap.

Prepare the bounty

Once you’ve got your food at home, it’s time to fix it up so you don’t spend hours each day cooking. There are many different small things you can do to make meal prep a lot easier on you.

  • Chop up things like onions, garlic, peppers, and other veggies you know you’ll use a lot. Use tupperware containers to store them in. Then when it’s time to use them, just toss a bunch in your pan.
  • Separate your meat right away. Cut larger chicken breasts in half. Slice a large hunk of beef into steaks or pork roast into chops. Store them in separate containers so you only have to thaw one serving at at time.
  • Stock up on your spices. The more you have, the more varied and exciting your meals will be.

When you prepare ahead of time, you make it almost silly not to follow your plan. There are left no excuses because your food is already there. You just have to eat it.

Recipes that work well in bulk

One of the best ways to prepare ahead of time is to actually cook in bulk. If you find a really nice roast on sale, cook it all at once in a slow-cooker, and you’ll be all set to portion it out for the week.

Here are a few recipes to help:

When you take some time to think about what you’re going to do and then take some action ahead of time, you’ll go a really long way towards having a foolproof lifestyle change. Then, once you’re used to your new diet, it’ll become a habit and you’ll be living a healthier lifestyle before you realize it.

Let’s hear from you: what’s your favorite way to foolproof your fitness?

Need more slow-carb kitchen tips?

Check out our new e-book, “10 Slow-Carb Shortcuts Even Tim Ferriss Doesn’t Know About (Yet)”!

But the tips won’t stop there! Each month you’ll get a new slow carb tip or recipe delivered to your inbox. If you don’t love it, you can unsubscribe at any time.

Come join us!

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.

9 Egg Recipes For Your Slow Carb Diet

9 ways to cook eggs deliciouslyEggs: roughly 70 of the most awesome calories you can eat. Packed with healthy protein and fat, they’re a really easy way to get the 20g Tim recommends in the morning.

The problem is some people get tired of them. And if you’re like me, you wouldn’t miss anything if you never eat an egg again in your life!

With this post, I’m going to show you nine super tasty ways to prepare your eggs so that they’re not just the same old thing anymore. At the end, I’ll link you to some recipes that use them.

Once you are able to master these techniques, your skills with the egg will lead you to hundreds, maybe thousands of recipes.

Hard Boiled

I won’t tell you how to scramble an egg, but I did want to stick with one of the two basics. The fact is, the perfectly hard boiled egg eludes almost everyone.

It took me a while to get the perfect hard boiled egg, and with practice and a bit of tweaking, you’ll be able to cook one every time.

  1. Place your eggs in a small saucepan and add water to cover.
  2. Bring the water to a boil and let it ride for 7 minutes.
  3. Run cold water into the pan for a couple minutes to cool them down.

Check out Laura’s deviled eggs recipe for one using hard boiled eggs.

Soft Boiled

Soft boiled is pretty much what it sounds like: not quite a hard boiled egg. But just because you cook it less doesn’t mean it’s easier. It’s actually a bit harder, but once you discover the secret it’ll feel easy.

Soft boiled eggYou’ll want the white to be firm and the yolk to be slightly runny (hence soft).

Here’s how you soft-boil an egg:

  1. Bring your water to a boil, and then kick it back to a simmer.
  2. Gently lower your eggs in (so you don’t splash boiling water on yourself) and let them simmer for 5 minutes. If you find 5 isn’t long enough for your tastes, you can leave them in a little longer.
  3. Cool the eggs off under cold running water.
  4. When you eat your egg, cut the top 1/3 or so of your shell and eat the egg out of its shell with a spoon.

I wouldn’t make a soft-boiled egg and store it like I would hard-boiled. Make them when you plan on eating them.

Poached

Poaching an egg basically means boiling it outside of the shell. My first attempt was a disaster, but like many things, it gets easier with practice.

  1. Bring water to a boil in a saucepan. Once it’s boiling, reduce it to a simmer. You don’t want super-active water, but it does need to be very hot.
  2. Crack an egg into a ladle. Using a ladle or big spoon really helps to make sure your egg doesn’t separate in the water.
  3. Gently dip the ladle into the water to submerge the egg and slide it off.
  4. Let your egg cook for about 3 minutes and gently scoop it out to enjoy with your breakfast!

Here’s an Eggs Benedict recipe on Finding My Fitness with your name on it to try out your poaching skills.

Remember: poaching eggs is LEGAL!

Steamed

The first time I had a steamed egg was in a Korean restaurant. It was so tasty, I decided to include it in this little guide.

It’s super simple:

  1. In a heat-safe bowl, like porcelain or glass, whisk your egg and a splash of water so it’s fluffy. You can add (any spices you like) here as well.
  2. Add a couple inches of water in a pot (not so much that water gets in your bowl) and place the bowl in it. Cover the pot and let it simmer over medium-low heat for about 15 minutes.
  3. Quicker but less fancy alternative: cover the bowl with a plate and cook for 3-4 minutes.

I like to add some scallion and garlic to my steamed egg!

Baked

If you’ve got a smaller baking dish (like ramekin cups), this is a great method to try out. I’m not talking about a quiche, although they do also make delicious slow-carb meals.

To bake eggs,

  1. Heat your oven to 325ºF degrees (160ºC).
  2. Crack your eggs into your baking cups and sprinkle with some freshly ground salt and pepper.
  3. Bake for about 10 minutes, or until the yolk is as hard (or soft) as you would like it to be.

Fried

Everyone knows how to fry an egg, but everyone does it differently. What most people do is probably “over easy”, but it’s always fun to try out a few different things. Here are three ways to change up your fried egg.

Sunny-side up

Sunny-side up is possibly the easiest of the bunch. If you like your yolk pretty runny and have trouble flipping the egg without breaking the yolk, this might be your go-to style.

Here’s how I do it:

  1. Heat up your pan on a medium-low heat. You can add a dash of oil or ghee for lube, but if you’ve got a good pan you won’t need it.
  2. Once your pan is hot, crack and drop in your egg being careful not to break the yolk.
  3. Let it cook for 3-4 minutes or until the whites have completely cooked through.
  4. If you want a slightly harder yolk, cover the pan about half way through cooking.

Basted

Basted eggs are very similar to sunny-side up. The difference is that when your whites are almost done, you’ll spoon some of the hot oil or butter over your egg to cook the top a bit.

Over easy/Over hard

This is how I normally cook my fried eggs because I generally like a solid yolk.

Both of these are eggs you flip (as denoted by the word “over”), and the easy or hard bit refers to the yolk.

To go over easy:

  1. Start your egg just like you would for sunny-side up.
  2. When your whites are all but done, gently slide a spatula under the egg and flip it, being careful not to break the yolk.
  3. After a couple minutes, nudge the yolk with your spatula to gauge its doneness. If it’s too jelly-like for you, let it cook a bit longer.
  4. Over easy means the yolk isn’t solid completely. If you want your egg over hard, wait a few more minutes until it cooks through.

Don’t forget to crack some salt and pepper over your eggs while they’re still a bit wet!

A few more egg recipes to get you started

Beyond these techniques, there are many recipes that maybe blend a few kinds. For example, a fritata is essentially a fried scramble that is baked at the end. Quiche is similar to a fritata but usually has more cheese and cream involved.

Here are some of our favorite recipes revolving around eggs:

With these skills, you’ll be able to cook any egg to perfection.

Pro Tip: the absolute best eggs you can get will come from chickens who roam around the yard, preferably your yard, eating bugs and grass. The omega-3 content will be much higher, and the omega-6 count will be much lower.

But we can’t expect that to be in everyone’s grasp, so the next best kind will be the ones you find at Whole Foods and places like that that call their eggs come from cage-free chickens with a grassy, organic diet.

The ones I usually end up with, though, are omega-3 enhanced eggs. Eggland’s Best makes some, and you can get them at Sam’s club for relatively cheap. In my opinion, eggs are the easiest and most economical way to work to balance out your omega-3/6 ratio.

Do you have any egg prep secrets you can share with the group? If so, leave some 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.

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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!

Slow Carb Deviled Eggs

Slow Carb Egg Recipe

Slow Carb Egg Recipe
Slow Carb Deviled Eggs
Even the biggest egg lover eventually gets sick of eggs done the same way (or the same 3 or 4 different ways) while eating a Slow Carb lifestyle.

I’m not an egg lover to begin with, and sometimes I even have to go on egg “detox” for a few days when I OD on eggs.  I am, however, always up for trying something new.

After posting the bacon baskets last week, I kept thinking about how cute they’d be with little deviled eggs in them so I decided to make deviled eggs for the first time in my life.

Low and behold, I actually enjoyed them… a lot.  And, that’s a very rare thing for me.  Normally, I’m just happy if I can choke them down at 7am.

I think there were a few reasons I enjoyed them so much, and you may want to consider when trying to do your own deviled eggs.

1)    I used fresh free-range, organic, and antibiotic/hormone-free eggs.  This makes a huge difference in taste.  HUGE.  If you don’t believe me, buy two sets of eggs, and do a side-by-side comparison.  You will see and taste the difference.

2)    I made sure the eggs were cooked absolutely perfectly using this method.  It’s a bit anal, but quite easy to do with a kitchen timer, and you don’t get the nasty, gray overdone eggs.

3)    I used fresh homemade mayo.

I use a really basic recipe.  Because I used my own mayo with garlic, mustard and vinegar in it, there’s really no need to season the eggs much.  The mayo does all the work.  If you don’t make your own mayo, you may need to season a bit more.

Deviled eggs are a quick and easy breakfast, a portable snack, or a great finger-food for parties.    These should keep for a few days in the fridge, but mine seem to disappear within 48 hours anyway (Australian boyfriend had never had a deviled egg and is now OBSESSED!), so food spoilage has not been an issue.

Ingredients

  • 8 hard boiled eggs
  • 2-3 tablespoons mayo
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Paprika and/or springs of parsley (If you want to dress them up for a party)

Note:  For a little kick, add a few drops of Frank’s Red Hot or sprinkle of Cayenne Pepper.

Directions

  1. Hard boil eggs.  I definitely advise using the method above.
  2. Slice eggs, lengthwise, down the center.
  3. Gently remove yolk into a bowl.
  4. Add mayo and any additional seasonings.
  5. Sprinkle with paprika and serve.

Cauliflower to go with any Slow Carb Meal (aka “Faux Rice”)

Not the usual low-carb cauliflower (a.k.a. "faux rice") - delicious cauliflower side dish

Not the usual low-carb cauliflower (a.k.a. "faux rice") - delicious cauliflower side dish Well over a decade ago I was introduced to “Faux Rice” and “Faux Potatoes” when my parents went on a low carb diet.  This normally consists of “ricing” a head of cauliflower, steaming it and then covering it in some sort of low carb marinara or meat sauce to mask the fact that it tastes nothing like rice or potatoes.

With a little bit of time and effort, you can create a cauliflower dish that doesn’t need to be disguised, covered or smothered by rice sauces.  These are great served like hash browns for breakfast or as side dish with any meal of the day.

I like to chop up an entire cauliflower at once (as well as extra onion and garlic) and keep the extra in the fridge so I can make it a few times throughout the week with minimal prep.

Cauliflower to go with any Slow Carb Meal

(Makes 2 cups)

Ingredients

  • 2 c raw cauliflower, grated using a cheese grater or chopped to the size of your pinky thumbnail
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • Oil (macadamia nut oil or olive oil)
  • Sea salt, fresh ground pepper
  • Optional seasonings (You can spruce up the dish with a seasoned salt, herb blend or or paprika – Don’t try all of them at once!  I like to use a blend of  Italian Herbs or Turkish Seasoning and usually buy from Penzey’s because they’re high quality and don’t have fillers.)

Directions

  1. Pour a bit of oil into a frying pan, and set heat to medium.  Add the onions and sauté until translucent or even a bit crispy.  5-6 minutes.
  2. Add garlic.  Cook until fragrant.   1-2 minutes.
  3. Add cauliflower.  Turn heat up a bit a cook until golden brown.  About 6-10 minutes.
  4. Season with sea salt and fresh ground pepper.
  5. Add other seasonings if desired.