4HB recipe thoughts?
May 19, 2011 1:52 PM   Subscribe

On week three of the 4 hour body diet - high protein, beans allowed, no carbs/dairy (except butter), no sugar, no fruit - incredibly tired of all the recipes I know! Help? snowflake details -

I've been using the crockpot 3-4 times a week, but we're gone from home for 12 hours each weekday, which means I cook things on the 10 hour setting, and then it sits on the warm setting for a while. Everything is starting to taste the same! I'm open to crockpot recipes that are for shorter times, and I could cook those on the weekend, and then reheat.

I'm not a huge fan of beans on their own, but am open to recipes with them - I may just not know how to cook them. Mainly bean based recipes will likely not work. (i.e. - lentil soup)

Other members of my household are not fans of :spinach, spicy food (some spice is ok, but not a lot), squash of any kind, dijon mustard, salmon, curries. Baked fish is questionable, but grilled fish is do-able.
If you have a spicy recipe that's good, and I could just reduce the spice, I can do that.

I don't want to spend a ton on groceries, but do want some variety. We have a farmers market in town, as well as all the usual grocery stores. We'll be going to a spice store next weekend, and may pick up some spice blends.

I've looked and looked online, but am digging through paleo and atkins recipes, and am growing frustrated by all the things we cannot have - fruit, cheese, etc.

I can cook things a couple of days in advance, but by the time we get home, we need to either be able to throw it on the grill or just heat it back up, I can't cook a complete meal.

Bonus if it's reheatable in one container, as we need lunch options, too, and the microwave time is limited, so heating up multiple containers at lunchtime can be difficult.

Oh, also - am trying to avoid any artificial sweeteners, and I'm allergic to soy milk, but not tofu, although I think we may be supposed to limit soy.

I've gone back through the older posts on the recipe topic, and pulled some things out, but I'm hoping people may have more ideas. Thanks!
posted by needlegrrl to Food & Drink (16 answers total) 30 users marked this as a favorite
No dairy except butter???

Are eggs allowed? I'm on Dukan and have been eating so many hard-boiled eggs that George Kennedy has started yelling encouragement in my ear...
posted by queensissy at 2:00 PM on May 19, 2011 [1 favorite]

Sorry, I hadn't heard of this diet before -- are the things you've listed the only restrictions? If so (i.e., if you don't care about fat), I've made this crock pot Pork Shoulder and it's ah-ma-zing. Melt-in-your-mouth, adaptable to most spices that would make sense to you. (And it doesn't taste "crock pot boring" to me, though of course YMMV.) Maybe serve over roasted cauliflower (which I can also eat buckets of).

This chicken marsala (the Italian kind, not Indian masala) makes me want to lick the pan. Not sure if the sugar in the marsala wine would be verboten. Benefit of taking quite well to re-heating.

Have you tried shirataki noodles? They're these bouncy-textured noodles that are basically all-fibre (low/no carb -- I think the non tofu added kind is no carb, it's the only kind I use). I like to put them in Asian-inspired noodle dishes. Like, maybe soy/terriyake/garlic/chili marinated flank steak or pork tenderloin, grilled then sliced. Saute some shredded carrots, cucumber/zucchini, sliced mushrooms. Toss it all together with the noodles in a sauce: maybe a soy & sesame oil glaze, or a peanut-butter based sauce. This has the advantage of being good hot or cold.

The shirataki noodles go well in soups too -- bring some chicken broth to a boil, toss in the well-rinsed noodles, add some chopped bok choy (or whatever greens), peas, corn, carrots, whatever. Add your cooked protein of choice. Super quick meal. (Mostly I find these noodles do well in Asian dishes, and not so well as a substitute for pasta, though many people seem to like the tofu versions in their much-missed pasta dishes.)

Roasted chickpeas are also awesome to snack on, or throw on salads. Good luck!
posted by miss_kitty_fantastico at 2:25 PM on May 19, 2011 [3 favorites]

I think crockpot stuff just tastes like mush. Why not grill meat or fish when you get home, and have salads or legal vegetables (green beans, etc?)
posted by Ideefixe at 3:08 PM on May 19, 2011

I'm not on this plan, but I've skimmed the book and I eat roughly based on similar principles. I've lost 20 lbs doing this and working out 2-3 times a week. This is what I eat every week:

Chicken thighs are cheap and even at whole foods are less than $3 a pound. If I have time, I dry-brine them overnight by sprinkling them with salt and pepper (optional but delicious: garlic and onion powder, cayenne, paprika, lemon pepper). If not I season them this way before roasting them, six at a time, at 375F for 40 mins or so.

I toss some broccoli florets in olive oil, salt, pepper, and garlic powder and surround the chicken thighs on the sheet pan with the broc and roast them along with the chicken. Roasted broccoli is delicious and this is coming from someone who doesn't like vegetables.

While the chicken/broccoli is in the oven, I make a big batch of soup. I sweat over low heat 1 chopped onion in olive oil for 5-6 minutes. A little crushed red pepper is optional and adds a nice little kick if you like that sort of thing. Some sauteed pancetta (pre diced from Trader Joes) or bacon is also a great option here but not necessary. Then I add a cup or so of lentils. I splurge on lentils du puy because I think its worth it and they're still cheap, but you can use regular lentils.

Then I throw in half a bag of frozen kale (you can usage spinach here as well). I pour in a box of supermarket chicken stock (or homemade if I have it handy), salt, pepper, and whatever spices I feel like. Trader Joes' 21 Spice Salute is great. Bring to a boil then lower the heat and cook for 20 minutes. Chicken, broc, and soup should all be done at around the same time.

One or two thighs plus all the broccoli is dinner for the night. The rest of the chicken thighs and the soup make up lunch for the next day or two. You can double bag the soup in gallon ziplocs for easy transportation and ziploc the chicken in a separate bag.

When I don't have time to make this stuff, I have a stock of Tasty Bites Palak Paneer in the cupboard and Turkey/Party Meatballs, both from Trader Joes, in the freezer at work.

Hope that helps.
posted by AceRock at 3:15 PM on May 19, 2011 [12 favorites]

I found that searching for "raw food diet" often turned up 4 hour diet compliant recipes. It was also a relief that I could have sandwich-like things again. For sides, I freaking love roasted carrots and green beans slowcooked with pepper (spicy!). Also, have you tried cooking fresh spinach with garlic? I didn't like spinach until cooking it myself.
posted by plaintiff6r at 3:19 PM on May 19, 2011 [1 favorite]

Also cheap and portable: frittatas. Try onions and tomato, or kale and ground beef. Surprising but good: crab, onion and tomato. Pancetta and asparagus is good too (dice both and saute before adding to eggs).

And it sounds like you're using the crockpot mostly for stews and similar things. Try braising big cuts of meat like pork shoulder or beef pot roast. You've taken care of your protein for the next few days and you can just worry about the sides separately.
posted by AceRock at 3:22 PM on May 19, 2011 [1 favorite]

yes, sorry - eggs are allowed. basically, no cheese & milk, but butter & eggs are ok.
posted by needlegrrl at 4:25 PM on May 19, 2011

There are tons of Low-Carb Recipes here. Not all of them match your requirements, but a lot do. You could probably modify a lot of them by omitting dairy as well.
posted by Nerro at 4:38 PM on May 19, 2011

Boneless pork shoulder in crockpot. Dump jar of pepperoncini on top, cook all day on low. Take pork out, discard liquid, shred pork. Incredibly flavorful, tangy, just a little spicy. Serve with awesome salsa, cilantro, avocado and beans.
posted by purenitrous at 5:24 PM on May 19, 2011

Do tomatoes qualify as fruit?
posted by Foam Pants at 5:40 PM on May 19, 2011

Okay, if eggs are allowed, frittatas and omelets like AceRock suggested are a good way to go. Pretty easy to change up ingredients for reasonably varied menus, and very quick.

Another thing I haven't tried yet but am going to attempt tonight is "noodles" made from really thinly sliced zucchini. Take a mandoline or potato peeler to make really thin strips, boil a little bit, and slop some no-sugar spaghetti sauce on it.

I also like plaintiff6r's suggestion for raw food recipes, if you have no nut/seed restrictions on the diet (which I do, unfortunately).

How's the weight loss going, anyway?
posted by queensissy at 6:04 PM on May 19, 2011

I've lost 5 pounds in week one and two, and weigh in is tomorrow for week 3. I'm actually doing a protein powder shake for breakfast (super low carb, no flavoring, no added sugar) because I was having a *really* hard time getting 30g protein in 30 min of waking. (it seems too early for my body to process meat, and I couldn't choke down enough eggs)

I'm not adding any exercise in, and this week did not drink enough water - my results would likely be greater without the protein shake, and with exercise & more water.

Thanks for all the suggestions - will try them this week!
posted by needlegrrl at 6:15 AM on May 20, 2011

Tomatoes are allowed, as are cucumbers.
posted by needlegrrl at 6:16 AM on May 20, 2011

This recipe for Fish Dijon changed my opinion of baked fish from "questionable," as you say, to "tasty." And I don't even usually like mustard! It's not healthy/diet food by my standards, but I'm more the type to watch out for fat than carbs. It sounds like it would meet your requirements. I'm listing measured amounts, but it's really ok to eyeball it to save time and avoid having to wash measuring cups. As long as you get the ratios sort of close, it'll be tasty.

Fish Dijon -- serves 4
1 lb white fish, whatever's on sale. (we've used tilapia, catfish, cod, etc.)
1 c. mayo
1/3 c. dijon mustard
1 t curry powder, or to taste
lemon juice

Mix mayo and mustard, then stir in curry powder. Place fish in a deep baking dish (we usually line with foil for easier cleanup). Rub fish with lemon juice, then spread the mayo/mustard/curry sauce on top of the fish. Bake at 350 until flaky (usually about 20 minutes for us, depends on the thickness of the fish).

This is awesome with green beans or broccoli or carrots or whatever veggies you're allowed to have.
posted by vytae at 8:08 AM on May 20, 2011 [3 favorites]

If you do choose to start braising in the crockpot, what will take it over the top is browning the meat before it goes into the crock. It takes a few minutes more but is totally worth it. Brown on all sides (really the verb should be "to golden" because that is usually the color you are looking for, at least with pork). After browning, pour off the oil, then deglaze with wine or stock, meaning pour about 1/4-1/2 cup of liquid in the the same pan and simmer while scraping the little delicious brown bits off the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon or spatula. Pour the resulting liquid into the crock with the meat, add more stock or whatever and let er go. You will be adding a depth of flavor that elevates whatever you are making from boring to interesting.
posted by AceRock at 7:02 AM on May 21, 2011

Also, if I remember correctly, Ferriss has you add beans to keep your calories up -- but with the assumption that you are working out (meaning strength training) regularly. This is important.
posted by AceRock at 7:04 AM on May 21, 2011

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