By Linda Gassenheimer
"Why are millions of people giving up their bagels, sandwiches, and pasta meals?" asks Linda Gassenheimer, the award-winning cookbook author, syndicated newspaper columnist (Dinner in Minutes), and radio personality, in the introduction of Low-Carb Meals In Minutes. "After unsuccessful attempts at weight loss from low-fat, high-carb diets, they're finally getting the results they want from a low-carb lifestyle. "Today's high profile and hugely popular, low-carb diets —The Zone, Protein Power, Sugar Busters, Dr. Atkin's New Diet Revolution, and The Carbohydrate Addicts Diet don't easily fit in with today's busy, on-the-run lifestyles. Often these diets have been misunderstood by people who mistakenly thought they now had permission to gorge themselves on unlimited amounts of bacon, steak and other high-fat protein. Containing 180 recipes, Low-Carb Meals In Minutes is a fun and easy blueprint for truly delicious food that is fresh, healthful and can be on the table in 30 minutes or less.
When Linda Gassenheimer's husband decided to switch to a low-carb diet five years ago, she completely immersed herself into this new change in their lifestyle. But like so many others, she sought to figure out, "How do I do it? What do I eat?" As a graduate of Le Cordon Bleu and the owner of her own cooking school in London, she wanted meals that provided plenty of culinary excitement. Gassenheimer began by attending medical lectures, consulting with physicians and reading many books and articles about the low-carb lifestyle. As her understanding of the low-carb approach increased, she began writing her own articles, gave lectures and taught cooking classes. She created recipes that transform a few ingredients into creative, delectable dishes that taste as good as they look.
Gassenheimer learned that she had to "fundamentally rethink my approach to shopping and cooking." As she did with Dinner in Minutes, she began by reorganizing her pantry, eliminating low-fat processed foods, such as fat-fee cookies, cakes and other sugary desserts, fat-free mayonnaise, salad dressings, cream cheese, and sour cream, condiments, sauces and salsas where sugar is one of the first five ingredients. She added instead, lots of fresh vegetables, low-fat deli meats such as turkey breast, chicken, ham, and lean roast beef, eggs, real mayonnaise made with olive or canola oil, high fiber, and no-sugar-added whole grain cereals for breakfast. Then she organized her shopping based on how food is purchased in the supermarkets. Low-Carb Meals In Minutes takes the guess work out of amounts for recipes, helps you quickly and efficiently navigate supermarkets by departments, and provides essential information on how to take advantage of today's timesaving prepared foods and substitutions.
Linda Gassenheimer organizes Low-Carb Meals In Minutes in three stages. Quick Start reduces carbohydrate intake for maximum weight loss. The 14-day meal plan for this phase allows for an intake of about 30 to 40 grams of carbs a day. Breakfast is often the most difficult meal to plan on a low-carb diet. Yet there's plenty of variety in the recipes. In no time, such menus as Salsa and Sliced Eggs, Smoked Chicken and Cheddar Grill, Grilled Portobello and Canadian Bacon Omelette can be on the breakfast table. Lunch and dinner offer the same wide variety including Salmon Balsamico on a Bed of Field Greens, Grilled Cheddar and Chicken Salad or Veal Scaloppini with Garlic Greens and Saffron Cauliflower, Rosemary-Roasted Pork with a Fennel Gratin and Brussels Sprouts or Steak au Poivre with French Green Beans and Hearts of Palm Salad. The nutritional balance of these meals is 10 percent of calories from carbohydrates, 36 percent of calories from lean protein, 40 percent of calories from monounsaturated fat, and 11 percent of calories from saturated fat.
Which Carbs, the second phase of Low-Carb Meals In Minutes, focuses on effectively bringing carbs (high-fiber, low simple sugar carboydrates) back into the diet without gaining weight. Again Gassenheimer takes the guesswork out of which carbs to select with a second 14-day menu plan. During this phase, 75-85 grams of carbohydrates are consumed per day. High-fiber cereal is now added to breakfast. Begin the day with Sausage, Mushroom, and Onion Egg Pizzetta with Bran Cereal, or a Raspberry-Red Smoothie with Toasted Walnut Oatmeal. For lunch there's Nuevo Tex-Mex Layered Salad or Hollywood Cobb Salad. A dinner menu might include Pesto Chicken with Steamed Artichokes and Fresh Figs, or Whisky Pork Chops with Rosemary Lentils and Red Beet Salad. The nutritional balance of these meals is 23 percent of calories from carbohydrates, 38 percent of calories from lean protein, 27 percent of calories from monounsaturated fat, and 8 percent of calories from saturated fat.
The Right Carbs brings you to the third and permanent phase of the low-carb lifestyle. Here Linda Gassenheimer incorporates more high-fiber carbohydrates into another 14-day plan. The breakfast menu could include Smoked Salmon Crepes with Bran Cereal, or a Western Omelette with Oatmeal. At lunch try a Shrimp Caeser Wrap with Pears and Yogurt or Turkey or Asparagus Penne Salad with Tangerine and Orange Yogurt, and for dinner there's Roast Beef Hash with Shitake Mushrooms and Cinnamon-Walnut-Baked Apples, or Pork and Peach Salsa with Pasta Salad and Melon. with this final phase, you will consume an average of 125 to 135 grams of carbohydrates per day. The nutritional balance of these meals is 38 percent of calories from carbohydrates, 30 percent of calories from lean protein, 22 percent of calories from monounsaturated fat, and 7 percent of calories from saturated fat.
Low-Carb Meals In Minutes fits today's fast-paced lives. Taking into account that people eat on the run, have lunch at their desks or drop by fast food restaurants, and that dinner is often takeout, home delivered, or restaurant fare, Gassenheimer offers recipes based on assembling bought, prepared foods and a guide to eating out and ordering in. Other useful sections include:
"The low-carb lifestyle has certainly changed our lives," says Linda Gassenheimer. "My husband and I no longer think about what is and isn't low-carb—we just consider it good food that fits in our busy schedule."
Linda Gassenheimer's Miami Herald column "Dinner in Minutes" is syndicated over the Knight-Ridder/Tribune wire to more than 400 newspapers. She is the author of the James Beard Award-winning Dinner in Minutes: Memorable Meals for Busy Cooks and Keys Cuisine: Flavors of the Florida Keys (both are now in their third editions). She is the producer and host of a weekly segment, "Food News and Views," on WLRN-FM Public Radio which airs all over South Florida.
Gassenheimer has also appeared on many TV programs including Good Morning America, Cookin' U.S.A., The Low Cholesterol Gourmet, and Canada AM. She has made many appearances on the Television Food Network. She also took the "Dinner in Minutes" concept on television as a regular segment on the Miami NBC-TV affiliate. Linda Gassenheimer holds an advanced Cordon Bleu Degree, studied with Simone Beck in the South of France, and with Marcella Hazan at her cooking School in Bologna, Italy. She has also served as Executive Director of a chain of gourmet supermarkets in Miami. She has run her own cooking school in London and currently teaches classes on the popular, low-carbohydrate lifestyle. Ms. Gassenheimer is also the author of French Cuisine and Simply Sauces, as well as the recent Vegetarian Dinner in Minutes.
Low-Carb Meals In Minutes
By Linda Gassenheimer
Bay Books, October 2000
Trade paperback, $18.95
Color photographs throughout
Information provided by the publisher.
This page created November 2000
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