No fat no sugar no salt recipes — all new for you

The vast majority of visitors to our site come to view our recipes. So we’re making it easier for you to use.

Recipes are now divided into main courses, side dishes and special occasion meals and dishes.

The moistest chicken breast I've cooked.
The moistest chicken breast I’ve cooked.

Looking for a recipe to grill ahi tuna with a twist of lime? We have it for you.

Wondering what to make for a big family dinner? Take a look at our Christmas and Thanksgiving menus, among others.

Low salt, low fat recipes we’ve tried in the past four months have been added to the page to expand our evolving cookbook for people worried about salt, fat and sugar.

So click here now and enjoy.
John

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Low-fat, low-salt eggplant parmasan

The Italian dishes of my youth were loaded with high-fat, high-salt cheeses. So much for my Mediterranean diet since my angioplasty in 2012. I’ve been redoing Italian recipes in recent years to get out the fat and salt in most cheeses.

My eggplant parmesan recipe calls for low-salt panko breadcrumbs to bread slices of eggplant which have been coated in an egg-white wash.

Low-salt, low-fat eggplant parasan
Add more tomato sauce if you like.

Use a salt-free tomato sauce (I make my own but you can buy prepared ones like the Trader Joe’s variety I reviewed here).

Next add fat-free shredded mozzarella. I build mine like a lasagna, putting tomato sauce in the bottom of an oven-safe baking dish first, then a layer of eggplant slices, then more tomato sauce, then more eggplant until the top layer of sauce and then mozzarella. If you’re less worried about the salt in the cheese than I am, add more as layers while you built. Continue reading “Low-fat, low-salt eggplant parmasan”

A low-salt, low-fat lunch can get expensive, try $20+

Salad bars are my lunch choice when eating out these days. I’ve written about three near Millennium Park in Chicago, not far from my office.

My very expensive attempt to fill up at lunch -- salad, salmon, edamame and frozen yogurt.
My very expensive attempt to fill up at lunch — salad, salmon, edamame and frozen yogurt.

But salad alone rarely fills me up on any given day, so I often buy add-ons to try to quell my normal hunger pains. When getting my salad at Marinao‘s, I’ll also pick up two ounces of raw salmon for $7, often doubling the cost of lunch from around $7 to $14. Continue reading “A low-salt, low-fat lunch can get expensive, try $20+”

Low-salt Easter dinner: how to enjoy the holiday meal

Easter dinner traditionally means one of two main courses — either ham or lamb. But neither is an acceptable choice if you’re on a low-salt, or a low-fat, or a low-salt, low-fat diet as I am. That can make being a guest at someone else’s Easter feast a problem for you.

So do what I did this year. Invite family and/or friends to your house where you control the menu. Then assemble a low-salt, low-fat meal that everyone will enjoy, even if some guests are missing the ham (they can buy some at their houses).

My low-salt, low-fat Easter dinner
My low-salt, low-fat Easter dinner
Continue reading “Low-salt Easter dinner: how to enjoy the holiday meal”

Embeya for restaurant week? yes, yes, yes

Embeya, a progressive Asian restaurant in Chicago, has quickly become a favorite of mine for its great food and its total openness to making dishes that meet my low-salt, low-fat, low-sugar requirements.

I enjoyed my first visit there so much that I suggested my wife and I dine there with friends. We went at the start of Chicago’s restaurant week, an annual event (running through Feb. 6 this year) during which restaurants offer special menus at special prices to lure Chicagoans out of their warm homes on the coldest winter days and nights.

Embeya is offering either a three course meal for $33 or a four-course meal for $44. We went with the four-course offering and were not disappointed. And while everything was served family style, my portions were  served separately since they had less salt, an extra touch I really appreciate.

Embeya
My individual serving of Embeya octopus was amazing.

The first course included an amazing octopus dish that had people at our table who don’t normally eat octopus saying they loved it. It was the tenderest octopus I’ve had since dining in southern Italy last summer. Continue reading “Embeya for restaurant week? yes, yes, yes”

Recipe: Low-salt, low-fat baked mostaccioli

I wrote recently about my low-salt, low-fat baked mossaccioli. Here’s a step-by-step guide to making it.

Start with wheat pasta and low-fat ricotta cheese, about 13 ounces of each (these once came in 16-ounce packages but food makers have cut package sizes rather than raise prices in recent tough economic times).psta building1low fat ricotta

Combine the ricotta with egg white or egg white substitutes equal to one egg to thin it a bit, making it easier to spread. Continue reading “Recipe: Low-salt, low-fat baked mostaccioli”

Low-salt, low-fat baked mostaccioli: gotta love it

Most of the Italian-American classics I grew up with, lasagna, manicotti, stuffed shells, are off-limits to me now because of the fat in the cheese used, not to mention the high salt content of most cheese as well. I also can only eat whole wheat pasta now to get away from simple carbs that could impact my pre-diabetic sugar levels.

I have found whole wheat pastas I enjoy and I have begun finding low-fat and even no-fat Italian cheese. The cheeses still contains high salt levels, though, so I use them sparingly and as a treat.

One recent treat I made was whole wheat mostaccioli baked with low-fat ricotta cheese covered with my low-salt homemade tomato sauce (we call it gravy in my family).

Baked mostaccioli, gotta love it, and it's low salt and low fat.
Baked mostaccioli, gotta love it, and it’s low salt and low fat.
Continue reading “Low-salt, low-fat baked mostaccioli: gotta love it”

What happens when you go off your restricted diet?

I recently spent two days working as a movie extra, something I’ve wanted to try as part of my new effort to become an actor as a hobby and future possible career. As one of 650 people on the set those two days, I had no control over what I would eat and the planners of the event certainly were not thinking about my restricted diet amidst the mountain of other things they needed to consider.

So I went off my diet, first reluctantly and then hungrily as the two 14-hour days drained me physically. The first morning, I stuck with fresh fruit for breakfast but lunch was a roast beef sandwich, something I’m not supposed to eat. I took off the cheese to save some salt and fat and put all the meat in half a sandwich so I would eat less bread. I also only munched a few salt-laden potato chips instead of a whole bag. But I gave in to the chocolate chip cookie for dessert and even sought out a second one.

Day two, I started with a Boston cream doughnut which was fabulous. I used to eat those weekly, but have largely stayed away from them for the past year.

My lunch sandwich that day was something called a Big Tony, an Italian themed meal with mortadella, which is laden with fat, and high-salt ham gabagol which is an Italian spiced ham variety I grew up with. Again I only ate half the bread and one cookie this time.

Mortadella is an Italian bologna with gobs of fat in it
Mortadella is an Italian bologna with globs of fat in it
Continue reading “What happens when you go off your restricted diet?”

What Can Someone on a Restricted Diet Eat on Christmas Eve?

My days of eating ham or steak or a big rib roast on holidays are over, thanks to the angioplasty I had Aug. 13, 2012. So how can I continue to celebrate important days with food I enjoy? Have you been asking yourself that question too?

The answer for me is to go back to my roots. Italian-Americans at one point traditionally had a meal of seven kinds of fish on Christmas Eve. The tradition goes back to the old country and a time when Catholics could not eat meat on the night before Christmas. It also was a way for poor fishermen to feast with banquets that would have made the rich feel right at home.

Most seafood is allowed on my no-salt, no-sugar, no-fat diet. Cold water varieties like salmon are even encouraged because of the omega-3 fatty acids they contain, although I’ve already seen one study saying those aren’t the superfood some had thought they were.

Preparing salmon with Mrs. Dash no-salt marinades. Regular stores don't carry these marinades, order them online at Amazon.com
Preparing salmon with Mrs. Dash no-salt marinades. Regular stores don’t carry these marinades, order them online at Amazon.com

When my grandmother did the seven fishes, she included clams, eel, an Italian salted cod called baccala, squid, snails and I’m not sure what else, likely crabs and flounder.

I’m going with fish I prefer to some of those and which are available to me here in the Midwest — salmon, tilapia, crab, shrimp, mahi mahi, lobster, and a second salmon variety, coho salmon. I’m also making some squid for me, that’s a delicacy my wife doesn’t eat.

I’m using Mrs. Dash no-salt marinades to flavor some, tomatoes and lemons to flavor others. For side dishes, I’m making a pepper trio salad, portobello mushroom caps, broccoli and some small red potatoes.

When we sit down to that meal, we will have much to be thankful for, including all the new recipes I’ve created since completely changing my diet. I wish you similar success, keep reading and I’ll do my best to keep posting new recipes. Send me yours as well.

Buon Natale!
John

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