The Daily Southerner, Tarboro, NC

January 9, 2013

Getting in Shape with Low Carb

Karen's Kitchen
Karen Freeman

TARBORO — I can't wait for summer to come back. But, when it does, I want to be ready. So, I have decided that it's time for my low carb diet. It's not a hard diet; you can have almost any type of meat and green vegetable, salad, onions, squash. There are lots of choices. They just mostly can't be white.

The first recipe is a great way to cook chicken. You can work off some energy while pounding the chicken to make it thin. This is also a beautiful dish to serve to company. They never have to know that it’s a low-carb entrée. It has one only carb per serving.

The second recipe is asparagus with a slight zap. The dill and mustard give it a little spark. The asparagus in the recipe is fresh, however, you could used canned, just don’t cook it as long. This recipe has three net carbs per serving.

Recipe number three is peppers with goat cheese. This not only makes a great side for this meal, but it would make a great entrée for lunch with a salad. It has three carbs per serving.

The fourth recipe is to add some color and to give us a well-rounded meal. Squash cooked on the grill is always a good choice. Be careful not to overcook it. This dish has great flavor and only one net carb per serving.

The last recipe is for fun. It's pizza. Not standard pizza but pizza. Instead of the bread for the crust, it uses a portabella mushroom. Good antioxidants and good taste!

Baked Chicken with Herbs

4 Skinless, boneless, chicken breast halves

Salt & Coarsely Ground Black Pepper

1/2 of an 8-oz Package of Cream Cheese, softened

1/4 Cup Red or Green Bell Pepper, finely chopped

1/2 Tsp Snipped Fresh Rosemary

1/4 Tsp Dried Rosemary

1 Tbsp Olive Oil

1 Tbsp Snipped Fresh Chives

Place each breast half between two pieces of plastic wrap. Using the flat side of a meat mallet, pound lightly to 1/2-inch thickness. Remove plastic wrap.

Season chicken with salt & pepper. Top each chicken piece with 2 tbsp of the cream cheese and 1 tbsp of the sweet pepper. Sprinkle with rosemary. Fold in the sides. Roll up, pressing the edges to seal. Secure the rolls with wooden toothpicks.

Cook chicken rolls in hot oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat about 4 minutes or until lightly browned, turning to brown all sides. Remove to a 2-quart square baking dish. Sprinkle with additional pepper. Bake, uncovered, in a 375 degree oven for 25-30 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink.

Sprinkle with snipped parsley.

Roasted Asparagus in Mustard-Dill Sauce

2 Lbs Asparagus Spears

1/4 Cup Chicken Broth

2 Tbsp Dill Mustard (or Dijon Mustard plus 1 Tsp fresh dill)

Freshly Ground Black Pepper

2 Tbsp Grated Parmesan or Asiago Cheese (optional)

Lemon Slice (optional)

Fresh dill sprig (optional)

Snap off and discard woody bases from asparagus. Arrange in a shallow baking dish. Combine broth and mustard. Pour over asparagus, turning asparagus to coat with mustard mixture.

Bake in a 425 degree oven, uncovered, for 15-20 minutes or until asparagus is crisp-tender. Transfer to a serving dish. Sprinkle with pepper. If desired, garnish with cheese, lemon slice, and dill sprig.

Peppers Stuffed with Goat Cheese

1 Ounce Soft Goat Cheese

1/4 Cup Shredded Monterey Jack Cheese (1-oz)

1 Tbsp Snipped Fresh Chives

1 Tbsp Snipped Fresh Basil or 1 tsp dried Basil, crushed

2 Medium Red, Yellow and/or Green Sweet Peppers, quartered lengthwise

For the filling, in a small bowl combine goat cheese, Monterey Jack, chives, and basil. Set aside.

Grill peppers on the rack of an uncovered grill (is using charcoal) over medium-hot coals about 8 minutes or until peppers are crisp-tender and beginning to brown, turning once halfway through grilling. (For a gas grill, preheat grill. Reduce heat to medium-hot. Place peppers on grill rack over heat. Cover and grill as above.) Remove peppers from grill.

Spoon cheese mixture into sweet pepper pieces; return to grill. Grill for 2-3 minutes more or until cheese is melted. Serve immediately.

Grilled Summer Squash with Cheese

3 Small Yellow Summer Squash or Zucchini

2 Tsp Olive Oil

1/4 Tsp Salt

1/8 Tsp Black Pepper

3 Tbsp Picante Sauce (with no sugar added)

1/4 Cup Shredded Monterey Jack Cheese

1 Tbsp Snipped Fresh Cilantro

Trim ends from squash; halve squash lengthwise. Brush squash with oil; sprinkle cut surface with salt and pepper.

Grill squash on the rack for 8 minutes or until crisp-tender, turning once and brushing occasionally with Picante sauce. Transfer squash to a serving platter; sprinkle with cheese and cilantro.

Portabella Mushroom Pizza

1-Tsp Olive Oil, Plus More For Brushing

1/2   Medium White Onion, Sliced

4 Large (About 4-Inch) Portobello Mushrooms, Stems Removed

1 Cup Tomato Sauce (or pizza sauce)

1 Cup Raw Veggies of choice, diced

6 Oz. Mozzarella Cheese, grated

2 Tbsp Italian Grating Cheese (like Parmigiana Reggiano)

Preheat the oven to 375degrees. Heat olive oil in a small non-stick sauté pan. Cook onions until tender and a light golden brown, about 4 minutes. Set aside.

Brush the outsides of the mushrooms very lightly with a coating of olive oil. Evenly divide the sauce among the caps. Divide the onions among the caps and sprinkle them over the sauce. Add the Mozzarella cheese and sprinkle with grating cheese.

Place the mushrooms onto a non-stick baking sheet and bake for about 8 minutes or until the cheese has melted and the mushrooms are slightly curling around the edges.

Did You Know?


If you use disposable scouring pads cut them in half first. This way you get double the amount of pads, you can throw them away after each use, no more rust and you sharpen your scissors at the same time.

To remove burnt on food from stove top electric burner pans mix cream of tarter with water to make a paste. Spread paste on burner pans and let set overnight. Next morning wipe clean.

For non-drip trash disposal, place newspapers at the bottom of empty trash bags before using.  This way, all liquids will seep onto the newspaper and not drip when you remove the bag from the bin.

Microwave messes can easily be cleaned up by boiling water in a bowl or mug. Let it stand in the microwave a few minutes. Steam allows the mess to be easily wiped away.

Tired of digging through all those pot lids for the right one? Store them neatly in a dish drainer next to your pots and pans.

To keep white potatoes white, add a bit of white vinegar to the cooking water. It can’t be tasted. I use a small Worcestershire sauce bottle with a dispenser top.

When using only part of a bell pepper, cut it from the bottom or the sides, leave the seeds attached because they hold the moisture. You can put the rest in a resealable plastic bag and use it up to 4 days later. It won’t be mushy.

My new favorite tip (and it is not my own) is to open the dishwasher door before spraying pans or dishes with nonstick spray and hold the pan or dish over the door. There is no mess on the counter or sink and it all washes away when you wash the dishes!

When adding salt to water for cooking (pasta or potatoes, etc) wait until water comes to a boil, and then add. Adding salt to a pot before water boils can cause pitting and discoloration on the bottom of the pan.