Archive for the ‘Diabetic Recipes’ Category

Watermelon and Feta Salad

Saturday, August 8th, 2009
Watermelon and Feta Salad

Watermelon and Feta Salad

Boy oh boy, we need to make a post.  I have been swamped at work, and we are currently doing some work on the site (a slight redesign is in the works).  It is funny how guilty you start to feel as the days add up between posts.

So, I have decided to quickly put something together to ease my guilt…a Watermelon and Feta Salad recipe. 

This salad is like this post…quick and fresh.  Some of you may be able to throw it together without even hitting the market; these six ingredients may be sitting in your fridge now.  

The combination of salty, tangy feta and the sweet, cold watermelon work extremely well together.  It is really an amazing combination of flavors.  And to make it even better, the cucumber adds texture; the tomato adds nice flavor; the red onion brings a bit of zing to the party.  Top it with fresh parsley and fresh ground black pepper – and you have a perfect summer side dish for any picnic or cookout. 

My tips for this Watermelon and Feta Salad:  Cube the watermelon, cucumber and tomato so that they are all about the same size.  It makes the overall look of the salad more appealing.  Serve it immedietely.  This is not the best salad to have sitting around before you plate it.  Toss and serve; this is key.

Cubed Watermelon

Cubed Watermelon

Watermelon and Feta Salad

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups watermelon, cubed
  • 1 cup tomatoes, seeded and chopped
  • 1 cup cucumber, seeded and and cubed
  • 1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled
  • 1/2 cup diced red onion
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley leaves, chopped
  • Fresh ground black pepper
  • Red pepper flake (optional)

Directions:

1.)   In a large bowl, combine the watermelon, tomatoes, cucumber, feta and red onion. 

2.)   Top with fresh ground black pepper and fresh parsley and toss gently.

3.)   For some heat – add a few red pepper flakes.

Quinoa Salad with Black Beans

Wednesday, June 24th, 2009
Quinoa Salad with Black Beans

Quinoa Salad with Black Beans

I am currently in South America – Buenos Aires to be more precise.  So far, I am pleasantly surprised.  The people are warm and inviting; the food has been amazing; our hotel is surrounded by small shops, markets and trendy restaurants.  More details on my trip, the food and everything else that goes along with the travel experience to follow in a later post. The point of this post is to discuss cooking with the ancient “grain” quinoa, from South America, and it just so happens I am in South America.  There…I have made the connection.  On we go.

I discovered quinoa (pronounced Keen – wah) a few years back while looking for a vegetarian filling for stuffed peppers that was more nutritious than rice. For most, quinoa is known as a type of grain, not entirely true though.  If you want to get techinical, quinoa is actually a seed; it is referred to as a grain because of its cooking characteristics. 

Quinoa has a very delicate flavor and a lovely texture.  People have said it is similar to couscous – I disagree.  The texture is soft, yet there is slight bite from the spiral tail of the quinoa.  Spiral tail?  Yes, as quinoa cooks the outer germ around each grain twists to form a white spiral tail.  This tail is what gives it a pleasant bite or crunch.  The texture combination is why I love quinoa – it is heartier, more nourishing than other grains.  And thanks to its recent exposure in cooking magazines and shows, you can easily find quinoa at most supermarkets and at natural foods stores. 

Quinoa - Close Up

Quinoa - Close Up

Quinoa is high in fiber, calcium and iron, low in fat and is very easy to digest.  Compared to other grains, quinoa is the highest in complete protein which makes it an ideal ingredient for vegetarians.  Quinoa is so nutritious in fact, that it was used to sustain Incan armies who would march for several days on a simple mixture of quinoa and fat, or “war balls” as they called them.  As I stated previously, quinoa is an ancient grain; records show that quinoa has been cultivated in the South American Andes since around 3000 BC.  Quinoa has only been grown outside of South America for a relatively short period of time.  In the US, most quinoa comes out of Colorado.

So, how do you cook this stuff?  I cook my quinoa in a saucepan, a 2:1 ratio of liquid to quinoa.   For the liquid, I usually substitute stock for water as the grains absorb so much of the flavor.   Rinse your quinoa before cooking to remove any leftover residue.  I bring my stock up to a boil, add the quinoa and reduce the heat to the lowest setting and cover.  I usually let it sit for about 10-15 minutes until the liquid is absorbed.   Then I fluff with a fork and set aside.  Don’t worry too much if there is a bit of excess water on the grains – it tends to evaporate as it sits.  If you feel compelled, you can always drain in a wire strainer.  I suggest reading the instructions on your box as each variety of quinoa cooks differently.  Trial and error works best when cooking quinoa. 

Uncooked Quinoa and Vegetable Stock

Uncooked Quinoa and Vegetable Stock

Quinoa can be used in hot and cold salads and casseroles, or you can add quinoa to soups and stews for more substance.  This recipe is adapted from a recipe I found on EpicuriousQuinoa with Black Beans and Cilantro.  I used roasted red peppers and ancho chili powder for an even richer, smokier “southwest” flavor.  The fresh cilantro adds a bright flavor to the recipe, you notice it immediately – it screams “fresh”.   

Quinoa Salad with Black Beans
Yield: 4-6 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped yellow onions
  • 1 jar of roasted red peppers, drained and chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked quinoa, drained
  • 3 teaspoons ancho chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 15-ounce can black beans, rinsed, drained
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro, divided
  • Feta cheese, cut into small cubes

Directions:

1.) Prepare your quinoa to the package directions. Rinse before cooking.  Once cooked, drain and set aside to cool.

2.) Heat oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onions and sauté until they begin to soften, about 5 minutes.

3.) Stir in the roasted red peppers, ancho chili powder and cumin and salt.

4.) Remove the mixture from heat, place in a large bowl and let stand to cool.

5.) Once your onion mixture is cool, add the black beans, ¼ cup of the cilantro and quinoa.

6.) Just prior to serving sprinkle in the remaining ¼ cup of cilantro and feta cheese. This dish is served at room temperature.  Taste again, season with salt and pepper as needed.

Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Pecan Topping

Friday, June 19th, 2009
Mashed Sweet Potatoes With Pecan Topping

Mashed Sweet Potatoes With Pecan Topping

Looking for a tasty, healtier alternative to mashed potatoes?  My mashed sweet potatoes are sweet, crunchy, creamy – just delicious.  They work well with most of your summer time staples…hamburgers, hot dogs, ribs, chicken – the list goes on and on. 

A tip to make this recipe even easier is to buy the pre-wrapped sweet potatoes that you microwave. There is no need to remove the wrapping, pierce or wash – just throw them in the microwave for about 5-10 minutes.  For this recipe I microwaved 4 at a time.

Once the sweet potatoes are cooked, remove them from the microwave and let them cool; you want them cool to the touch so you can remove the inside goodness from the skin.  Once they are cooled, slice them in half and spoon out the inside into a baking dish and mash them with a potato masher.

Mash the Sweet Potatoes With a Potato Masher

Mash the Sweet Potatoes With a Potato Masher

This recipe is not only simple, it is nutritious.  Sweet potatoes packed with vitamin A, they are also a great source of vitamin C, iron, calcium and fiber.  The recipe does, however, contain a good amount of sugar and fat in it.  But don’t worry – if you are cooking for someone on a special diet it is easy to adjust this recipe. I was cooking for my mother, so I adjusted a portion of the recipe to suit her diet; I used less of the topping (contains brown sugar and butter) on her portion.  Sweet potatoes are a good option for diabetics as they have the lowest glycemic index rating amongst all root vegetables.

If you wanted to adjust the sugar content even further to make a diabetic friendly version, I would suggest eliminating the brown sugar completely from the topping and replacing the maple syrup with sugar-free syrup.  Sweet Potatoes are naturally sweet so they don’t need much help.

I tried both the full fat, full sugar version and the trimmed version and I must say – they were both excellent.

Ingredients:

Topping:

  • 1 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans, I use the Pecan Pie glazed Pecans by Emerald Nuts
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) chilled butter, cut into 1/4-inch pieces

The Rest:

  • 6 prewrapped microwavable sweet potatoes
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons salt

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350°F.

1.) Mix the brown sugar, pecans and butter in small bowl. Set aside – preferably in the fridge to chill.

2.) Prepare a glass baking dish with butter. I simply put a bit of butter on a paper towel and wipe. You could even substitute canola oil as well.

3.) Cook your sweet potatoes in the microwave. Remember, you have to pierce sweet potatoes before putting them in the microwave unless you buy the pre-wrapped microwaveable sweet potatoes. Cook on high for about 8-10 minutes until tender to the touch. Let cool.

4.) Once your sweet potatoes are cool, place them in a dish and mash with a potato masher.

5.) Beat eggs, maple syrup, vanilla, lemon juice and salt in large bowl. Mix in the mashed sweet potatoes.

6.) Transfer sweet potato mixture to prepared dish. Sprinkle pecan topping evenly over mixture.

7.) Bake until sweet potato mixture is set and the pecan topping bubbles, about 1 hour. Let stand 15 minutes and serve.

Corn, Avocado and Tomato Salad

Monday, June 1st, 2009
Corn, Avacado & Tomato Salad

Corn, Avocado & Tomato Salad

No food tastes more like summer than fresh sweet corn, straight off the cob.  Small roadside stands selling their fresh harvest – really, there is nothing better especially in Ohio.  You may have heard…but you have never had corn until you’ve tried Ohio sweet corn.   I honestly believe that. 

Although we haven’t entered prime corn season, that doesn’t mean you have to settle for canned corn.  The grocery stores are already selling the season’s first corn on the cob – and it’s pretty good.   Get your corn fix early with this Corn, Avocado and Tomato Salad – it’s got such bright flavor!  Dressed with a cilantro lime dressing – it too, screams “SUMMER”.   

After writing the recipe out, I have decided that a healthy addition to this summer salad would be shelled edamame – wouldn’t you agree?

Corn, Avocado and Tomato Salad
Makes about 4-6 servings. 

Recipe (slightly) adapted from Paula Deen’s Corn, Avocado and Tomato Salad.

What You’ll Need:

  • 3-4 ears of fresh corn
  • 1 ripe avocado, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 cup finely diced red onion

Cilantro Lime Dressing

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated lime zest
  • 1-2 tablespoon fresh lime juice (depending on taste)
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro (reserve a bit for presentation)
  • Good pinch of salt (I use Fleur de sel)
  • Pinch pepper
  • Few dashes of Tabasco

Directions:

1.) Remove the corn from the cob. Place in a microwave safe bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Microwave for 5 minutes on high. Rinse with cold water to stop cooking. Drain on a tea towel thoroughly.

2.) Combine the prepared corn, sliced avocado, halved tomatoes and diced red onion in a large glass bowl.

3.) Mix the dressing ingredients together in another bowl and then pour over the salad. Gently toss to mix. Add some additional cilantro on top prior to serving.   Taste.  If you feel it needs salt, add some.  The corn can take a good amount of salt – it brings out all of the flavors.

Sugar Free Splenda Pound Cake

Tuesday, May 12th, 2009
Sugar Free Splenda Pound Cake

Sugar Free Splenda Pound Cake

NOTE: This is not a SUGAR FREE cake – it is made with Splenda for baking, which does contain sugar.

Families face challenges, some harder than others – but the beauty of family challenges is that you face them together.  My family has recently faced some new challenges – mom was recently diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes.  This was such a shock since although she hadn’t been feeling all that well for a few weeks, she wasn’t displaying any of the classic diabetes symptoms.

So here we are, already a few weeks later and the way we do things has already changed, the way we cook and eat has changed – it had to. But all for the better – these changes will benefit everyone in the family.  We obviously can - and will – still get together and enjoy food, we just will be enjoying healthier options.

This Mother’s Day was our first “Diabetic Friendly” holiday.  I cooked fish in parchment with very light salt, little oil, and lots of flavor – ginger, lime zest, garlic and a bit of heat.  I also made a Greek Couscous with grilled vegetables, pine nuts and cheese.  The recipe was inspired by the recipe for Grilled Vegetable and Israeli Couscous Salad I found on Things Alauna Makes.  My recipe was similar but I omitted the tomatoes and used a sugar free vinaigrette instead.

Jody got the hard part – dessert. She took on the challenge of working with Splenda to create something a bit more health conscious and fine for mom or any diabetic to eat – a Splenda Pound Cake.  Splenda is one of the better sugar substitutes in my opinion, it doesn’t have that bitter aftertaste that Sweet’N Low has.

The batter for this sugar free cake turned out like any other – not nearly as sweet, but the texture was the same.  The cake rose nicely and had a beautiful golden brown color to it.  The recipe states to bake the cake at 325 degrees for 1 hour and 20 minutes, this is far too long.  I set my timer for 1 hour, but took it out after 45 minutes.  Be sure to watch this one!

The flavor was more like a shortcake, my mother thought it tasted like Lorna Doone cookies.  I can’t say it was moist like pound cake either…this could have been due to the baking time, not sure? We served the cake with some beautiful fresh berries (blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, and strawberries) and a dollop of Splenda sweetened whipped cream.  Overall, the presentation was beautiful and the taste was pleasant.  There is much work to be done in this new chapter of my baking life…more sugar free treats to come!

Sugar Free Splenda Pound Cake With Berries and Whipped Cream

Sugar Free Splenda Pound Cake With Berries and Whipped Cream

Sugar Free Splenda Pound Cake
Yield: 18 servings

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups sifted cake flour
  • 1 1/2 cups SPLENDA(R) Sugar Blend for Baking
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 6 large eggs
  • 1 (8 ounce) container sour cream
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Nutrition Info:

Per Serving

  • Calories: 306 kcal
  • Carbohydrates: 34 g
  • Dietary Fiber: 0 g
  • Fat: 14 g
  • Protein: 4 g
  • Sugars: 16 g

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
  2. Grease and flour a 10-inch tube pan or a 12-cup Bundt pan; set aside.
  3. Combine flour, SPLENDA(R) Sugar Blend for Baking, and baking soda in a large mixing bowl. Cut butter into flour mixture with a fork or a pastry blender until crumbly. (This procedure may be done with a mixer at the lowest speed. Cover mixing bowl with a clean tea towel to prevent spattering).
  4. Combine eggs, sour cream, and vanilla in a small mixing bowl; add 1/4 of the egg mixture to flour mixture. Beat at low speed with an electric mixer until blended. Beat at medium speed for 30 seconds or until batter is smooth, stopping to scrape down sides of the bowl. Repeat procedure 3 times.
  5. Spoon batter into prepared pan.
  6. Bake for 1 hour and 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan on a wire rack 10 minutes. Remove from pan; cool completely on a wire rack.

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