Adventures in cooking low carb, volume 1

I’ve been meaning to get back to low carb eating, and I decided that after our Memorial Day camping trip would be the perfect time to start. But since restarting habits can be hard, I needed some inspiration – new recipes! I spent a morning on AllRecipes and Google hunting down low carb recipes, and I found a lot of interesting ones.

Here are the ones I’ve tried in the last two weeks.

Avocado Tuna Salad
While mayo is actually considered good for low carb diets, I have grown a little bored of my traditional tuna salad recipe. It’s rather bland. So I decided to give this a try, and I made it for Jim and me when I was working from home last Wednesday. It was very good. I could mostly taste the avocado. I will likely make it again. It was very easy to prepare. I cheated and used bottled lemon juice. There weren’t any leftovers, but I do worry a little about the red onion getting too potent. I’ll have to make more next time, so I can see how it works as a prepare-ahead-and-take-to-work kind of lunch.

Shrimp Cauliflower Lemon Salad
This recipe was my first ever experience of cooking with cauliflower. I’d never even bought a cauliflower before, having only ever had it on veggie trays or in a steamed vegetable medley. Since so many low carb recipes use cauliflower as bread replacements, I thought I’d give it a try. I bought frozen shrimp at Costco, so I used Mellissa’s suggested technique for perking it up a bit.

The predominant flavor of this “salad” was lemon. Here I did use a fresh lemon. I also added feta cheese for a little extra flavor and protein. I made this for lunch on Friday while working from home again, and it made three servings, so I ate the other two for lunch on Saturday and Sunday (adding the feta right before eating). It held up very well with the lemon flavor actually lessening a bit over the time in the fridge. I will definitely make this again. I felt very healthy eating it!

Dijon Garlic Salmon
Since I’m trying to eat more fish, I needed another salmon recipe. I love anything with Dijon mustard, so this recipe caught my eye right away. It was so easy to make: no sauteing needed, just a little veggie chopping. I used only a half a red onion since that’s what I had left from the avocado tuna salad. That was plenty!

I made this recipe Tuesday night for dinner. Jim and I ate it with steamed broccoli topped with butter and Parmesan cheese. I cooked fish sticks for Christopher following my meal pairing plan. Jim and I both loved this recipe, although he didn’t enjoy the garlic quite as much as I did. There are two salmon fillets in the refrigerator, and I look forward to having one for dinner tonight.

Zucchini Lasagna
I was inspired by this recipe to try replacing noodles with thinly sliced zucchini. However, I used my normal lasagna recipe. I made this lasagna last night for dinner using some of my Grandma Puleo’s homemade sauce that Jim made last month. Christopher had homemade meatballs which we’d frozen with the sauce.

I started by putting some sauce in the bottom of a 9×13 pan. Then I layered the zucchini across the bottom. Initially I was overlapping each piece, but then realized I’d run out of zucchini, so I switched to laying them flat right next to each other. I had cooked half a sweet onion with two pounds of ground beef, drained the grease, and then mixed in some sauce (maybe about 2-3 cups, enough to make it look like sloppy Joes). I layered half the meat mixture on top of the zucchini in a thin layer. I had also mixed two eggs and about a cup of Parmesan cheese into 15 ounces of part-skim Ricotta cheese. I layered all of the cheese on top of the meat, and then I spread another layer of zucchini. I topped that with the rest of the meat, and covered the whole thing with sauce before cooking at 350 degrees for about 50 minutes.

I overdid it on the sauce. Unlike noodles which absorb the water from the sauce, the zucchini adds more water as it’s cooked, so our lasagna was a little soupy. But it was very good! It tasted like lasagna, unlike the noodle-less lasagna I made two years ago when we first started eating low carb.

I will definitely be making this again (with less sauce), and we’ll be enjoying it for the rest of the week as there are 7 more servings in the fridge.

NOTE: Next time I’ll include pictures. I’m always more enticed to try a new recipe when I see a picture. I planned to take a picture of the lasagna last night, but it didn’t turn out to be very appetizing looking, even though it tasted great.

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