Monday, January 26, 2009


This is a very simple way to make personal-sized pizzas, or at least a reasonable facsimile thereof. Don't expect a thick crust or deep dish here, but it does satisfy the occasional pizza craving!

For each pizza, you will need:

1 Low-carb tortilla (I use Mama Lupe's, and the carb count reflects this)
2 T. Pizza sauce (Ragu PizzaQuick works great)
1/4 c. Mozzarella cheese, shredded
1 T. Parmesan cheese, grated
Pinch each of dried Basil and Oregano

Preheat oven to 450. Line a baking sheet -- or better yet, a pizza tray (if you have one) -- with parchment paper. Put the tortilla on the paper, spread the the sauce evenly over the tortilla, close to (but all the way to) the edge. Sprinkle mozzarella cheese evenly over sauce and then top with the Parmesan and herbs. Bake for 7-8 minutes, until the cheese is browned.

1 serving, 6 net carbs.

Notes: Naturally, you can add whatever toppings you like -- just bear in mind the size and thinness of thebase pizza that you're working with, and of course to include the extra carb cost of anything you add. Also, I like this best cut into 4 slices; each slice is therefore 1.5 net carbs and can be used as a low-carb "finger food" appetizer.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Tip: Snack portion control

Buying single-size servings of snacks (such as 1 oz. packets of peanuts, a favorite of mine) makes book-keeping much easier, but they are more expensive than buying bulk foods, and of course, you can't use that method for your own creations.

So, what I do is very simple. I get the "snack size" zip-top bags, portion the snack item into the bags, zip them closed (removing as much air as possible), and then use a permanent marker to write the carb count for the portion size on the bag. (If you're making up a whole bunch in advance, putting the date on there might not be a bad idea.)

It solves two problems for me -- 1) the portion control issue of knowing how much I'm having at one time, and 2) somewhat related, what I call the "open container syndrome", which is the tendency of finishing off a container of something once the package is opened. Tackling the mental issues with the physical ones at the same time is what makes this tip really useful.

Cinnamon Nut Mix

Cinnamon Nut Mix

1 c. Almonds, whole
1 c. Walnuts, pieces
1 c. Pecans, halves
3 T. Butter
4 T. Cinnamon, ground
3/4 c. Splenda
2 T. (appx.) Water

In a large non-stick pan or skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the nuts and stir to coat. Add cinnamon and Splenda, turning to coat completely. Add water a tiny bit at a time until the cinnamon and Splenda completely dissolve. Spread mixture over a baking sheet (lining with parchment paper is a good idea) and let cool completely.

Makes appx. 10 servings of 1/4 cup each, 3 net carbs

Note: It is vital that you do not add too much water -- you want the Splenda to simply dissolve, not turn into a syrup.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

General party food tips

There are many simple foods that you can lay out for your own party or have at someone else's affair that are generally low in net carbs. While you'll need to avoid chips, crackers, anything with a sauce (due to sugar and/or cornstarch), there's several common party items that are generally safe, such as:
  • Cheese (not cheese speads, but actual cheese)
  • Salami/sausage/pepperoni slices
  • Veggie trays (be careful of the dips, and remember that carrots can add up!)
  • Deli meats (figure roughly 1 carb per ounce unless you know for certain otherwise)
When making your own party or tailgate food, you have additional options:
  • You can make your own dips (using sour cream and flavorings) and make sure to omit any sugar or starches
  • Use low-carb tortillas to make sandwich wraps, and then cut into slices; alternatively, cut the tortillas into wedges, fry, salt lightly, and serve with salsa
  • Sizzle up some (sliced) Italian sausage with peppers and onions
  • Bratwurst works nicely, too, along with most of the common toppings (but not a sandwich roll, of course!)
  • Hot dogs are classic stadium food, and chili (no beans!), prepared mustard, and/or salsa make excellent low-carb dog toppers

Superbowl "Tailgate" Recipes

With the "Big Game" right around the corner, it's time to share my favorite game day recipes. Look for articles with the "tailgate" and "recipe" tags.

Teriaki Wings

Teryaki Wings

Per 2 lbs. of wings:

1/4 c. Soy sauce
1/4 c. Rice wine vinegar
2 T. Splenda
1 clove Garlic, minced
1 t. Ginger
2 t. Sesame seeds
(to taste) Red pepper flakes

Mix all ingredients together and add to marinading container with chicken wings. Place in refrigerator at least 4 hours before cooking, up to 24 hours.

Place wings and marinade in a shallow baking dish and cook uncovered at 325 for an hour. Remove wings from marinade and refrigerate if not using immediately. Right before serving, broil (low setting) until nicely browned (time depends on your oven... keep an eye on 'em!).

2 portions, appx. 7-8 wings, 1 net carb.

Note: Since the marinade does not use real sugar, it doesn't get syrupy when it cooks. If you'd like a thicker sauce on the wings, add 1/2 t. ThickenThin to the marinade ingredients above.

Hot Wings

"Hooters"-Style Hot Wings


1/2 cup Carbquik bake mix (or soy flour, but this negatively affects the taste)
2 t. Paprika
1 t. Cayenne pepper, ground


4 oz. (1 stick) Butter
1/2 Hot sauce (such as Crustal's)
(to taste) Garlic powder
(to taste) Cracked black pepper

Mix all coating ingredients in a zip-top bag; add 2 lbs. chicken wings. Toss to coat completely.

Fry in batches (I use a deep fryer at 360 for 10 minutes, 5-6 wings at a time) until cooked thoroughly.

In a small saucepan, combine all ingredients over medium-low heat until completely melted.

Using two bowls, one slightly smaller than the other, add the wings and sauce to the larger bowl, cover with the smaller bowl, and shake to coat. Serve immediately.

2 servings, appx. 7-8 wings each, for 2 net carbs.

(For a zero carb option, simply fry the wings without the coating -- this will require half as much sauce, as less will absorb into the "breading".)