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Sunday, December 15, 2013

Recipe Change Ups

If any of you have been following along in my blog, I just got done with another round of the hCG diet. All in all, I lost 23 pounds in 42 days. There were a couple of hiccups along the way with no weight loss for some unknown reason, but I pushed through it. Now I'm on the "Atkins" 3-week stabilization period, where I've failed at least twice before and regained a bunch of weight back. Once you get out of shape during these 3 weeks it's really hard to get back on track and it's easy to give up. I was determined not to let that happen to me again! So, I've looked up a number of recipes online that are low carb. The only difference between Atkins Induction and this stabilization period (besides the fact that if you gain 2+ lbs you can't have anything to eat all day until dinner and then stuff yourself full of the fattiest steak you can find. I've done this before and it works, but I hate starving myself all day) is that not only does it need to be low carb, but also low fat (and as little sugar as possible), so not every Atkins Induction recipe will work for my needs.

So, I've scoured the internet looking for some good ones, and as always, I want to thank Alton Brown for giving me not just the knowledge of how to put together a recipe, but how to COOK in general. How to know what will work and what won't, and how to make changes to get your food to taste even better.

Case in point, a Cheesy Chicken Broccoli recipe I found on I'm sure it's good as is, but I knew I could make it REALLY good.

It calls to cook the chicken and bacon ahead of time, add some mayonnaise, sour cream and chicken bullion and mix it all together with the broccoli, sprinkle cheese on top and bake for 25 minutes in a 350 degree oven. Well, that's all well and good, but honestly, I hate the texture of melted cheddar cheese. It gets hard, plastic-y, and so greasy, so I had a better idea. Here is my recipe (which isn't quite as Atkins friendly unfortunately!):

Cook your chicken and bacon ahead of time and make a basic bechamel sauce instead. I used Alton Brown's recipe that he taught me for his baked Mac and Cheese. However, I ended up with WAY too much sauce, so you can cut it in half, or save it for another application! I did only 10 oz of cheese since he calls for 3/4 of it to be in the sauce and the rest to go on top. But I changed it up again - I had several different kinds of cheese, so I used  2 slices of pepper jack, 2 slices of provolone, 2 slices of Colby jack, and the remainder as shredded cheddar. It had a slightly queso-dip taste due to the pepper jack which I really liked.

[The basic bechamel requires 3 tbs of flour. Since I only used about half the sauce, that's only 1-1/2 tbs of flour, and that 1-1/2 tbs is divided into at least 4 servings, so I really don't think the carb count would be terrible. I did omit the garlic powder as she suggested to save on carbs as well.]

The only other change I made to the recipe was that instead of doing 1/4 cup mayonnaise and 1/4 cup sour cream, I saved some fat by doing 1/4 Greek yogurt in place of the sour cream. I also did what she suggested and just added the bullion cube to that mixture without any added water.

One word of warning: I wouldn't be too liberal with the salt, here. Cheese has a lot of salt, so does bacon and the bullion cube. My final product was a bit salty because I'd seasoned the chicken prior to cooking, and salted the cheese a bit. 

But the end result? Oh my goodness, it's amazing. I'm going to be making this over and over for sure!

I've done minor changes to a couple of other recipes as well, mostly by replacing some of the fat with Greek yogurt, which I can't even taste in the final product. I did it with an egg salad recipe I found on the same website, and it tastes just as good to me!

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