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The South Beach Diet Quick & Easy Cookbook

Contributed by: Judi Lofthouse of

The South Beach Diet Quick & Easy Cookbook is written by Arthur Agatston, MD, and Associate Professor at the University of Miami, School of Medicine. Other useful books by him are the South Beach Diet and The South Beach Diet Good fats, Good Carbs Guide. Similar to the Atkins diet, the South Beach diet names sugar as one of the culprits for obesity in modern society. The 'Thrift Gene theory' allows the storage of belly fat during plentiful times allowing survival during lean times.

The South Beach Diet Quick & Easy Cookbook
When the results of the low fat, high carb diets of the 1960s & 1970s were examined, the myth of cutting fat from diets was revealed. People became obese and the incidence of diabetes rose. The theory behind the South Beach diet is that a diet of good fats, good carbs, lean proteins and fibre results in safe, steady weight loss has had proof in many celebrities who have been successful in weight including a former president of the United States. The similarity to the Atkins Diet ends with the practicality of this diet. Tips on quick meals made without a recipe are useful and encourage the reader to think outside the box, which, in essence, is the key to permanent weight loss.

The diet consists of three phases. The first cuts out all starched and sugars for two weeks. The second reintroduces wholewheat carbs into the diet. This continues until a healthy weight has been reached. The last phase allows the eating of anything in moderation while the principles of the diet are adhered to. In the South Beach Diet Cookbook, most of the recipes have 10 ingredients or less and phases 1, 2 and 3 are clearly marked. Preparation times are realistic and the nutritional notes are useful to everyone regardless of diet. The photographs are colourful and appetizing and are not intimidating to a novice.

Recipes include everything from classic French such as Ratatouille, a good stable for anyone, to Greek, Italian, Indian and Asian cuisines. The format of the book divides recipes by categories, eg. poultry, vegetarian etc. which proves quite useful. This book would be a welcome addition to any kitchen regardless of dietary requirements.

South Beach Chicken Paella

Saffron makes this simple one-pan classic a real treat, lending brilliant color and pungent flavor. This is one of the few recipes that takes a little bit longer to cook than most of the others in this book; it's a great dish to serve for company.

Prep Time: 10 minutes Cook Time: 35 minutes

  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup whole-grain, quick-cooking brown rice (page 10)
  • 3/4 cup roasted red bell peppers (from a jar), drained and thinly sliced
  • 2 cups lower-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/4 teaspoon powdered saffron
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Season chicken with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a large, straight-sided skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken and onion; cook, stirring often, until onion is softened, about 5 minutes.

Stir in rice. Add red peppers, broth, and saffron; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until most of the liquid is absorbed, about 30 minutes. If paella has excess moisture, cook uncovered for 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in parsley, season to taste with salt and pepper, and serve.

Makes 4 (1 1/2 cup) Servings

Nutrition at a Glace Per Serving: 360 calories, 7 g fat, 1.5 g saturated fat, 45 g protein, 26 g carbohydrate, 1 g dietary fiber, 440 mg sodium

About the Author:
Judi Lofthouse is an Editor of The
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