Rick’s Chicken Salad

healthy-chicken-salad

Chicken salad on our old wooden plates!

We enjoy cooking together, and I admit that Rick is a much better chopper! One of our favorite lunch foods is chicken salad; it’s a great use for leftover chicken as everyone knows, right? Also it’s low in carbs and has a good combo of protein and veggies in our version. (The amount of chicken I’m giving is based on leftover roast chicken; you can start fresh and cook your own chicken if you prefer.)

Rick’s Chicken Salad

INGREDIENTS:

  • Approx. 2 cups of cooked chicken shredded; (we use the whole leftover chicken breast as we both prefer dark meat so usually the breast is left over)
  • carrots diced (last time we used 2 carrots)
  • celery, diced (3 stalks)
  • 1/3 red onion, diced
  • 6-7 roasted or raw almonds, chopped fine
  • 3-4 Tbsps. light mayonnaise
  • 1-2 Tbsp. Mustard (last time, whole seed Dijon)
  • 1Tbsp. Pickle relish
  • Juice of 1/2 lime
  • Lemon pepper (salt free) to taste
  • Dash of Cayenne pepper (or drop in Siracha- our new found favorite)
  • Optional; 3-4 Tbsp. apple, skin on, diced; your choice; (we are lucky to have an apple tree and use those when in season or get what’s featured at the Farmer’s Market)

A Variation: Susan’s Chicken Salad Sauce (a bit more Indian/Mediterranean spice mix)

First mix the sauce:

  • 3-4 Tbsp. light mayonnaise or 1/4 cup light mayo and 1/4 cup Greek plain yogurt (if dairy is not a problem)
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon (more or less, depending on your taste – lemon to me is a necessity)
  • 1 tsp. White wine vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp. mustard any type you like (Dijon or whole seed; I also like Snug Harbor * mustard)
  • 1/4 tsp. cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. curry powder and/or turmeric
  • Salt-free spice mix like Mrs. Dash’s
  • Ground pepper to taste
    *www.snugharborcompany.com

As I’ve said before, use the amounts you like, but these proportions work well.
Combine all ingredients into a bowl, and mix well.
Serve on lettuce leaves and/or whole grain toast; depending on your carb situation.

We really like eating our lunch al fresco under the apple tree in the back yard.

Enjoy!!

Salad with Goat Cheese, Persimmons or Pears and Mustard/Garlic Vinaigrette

salad with persimmons, endive and greens

Persimmon and Endive Salad–salad with persimmons, endive and greens

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Salads are a big part of our diet, especially in summer. We have them at the end of almost every dinner, with many types of  dressings; (my parents and grandparents who lived with us were European, and this was what we did–I still do as I find it is a great savory way to end a meal–plus no big need for a heavy dessert). One dressing I made recently is a variation of classic vinaigrette. This dressing makes enough for a large salad to serve 3-4 (or 2 major salad lovers).

We like the taste contrast of fruit and a bitter green, such as endive and arugula, with this tangy, mustard/garlic dressing. This salad can be a main dish if you add grilled chicken (leftover from your barbecue) or really good topped with grilled or roasted salmon.

Amounts aren’t exact- use your own taste as a guide; for example, not everyone likes as much garlic as we do.
SALAD WITH PEARS/PERSIMMONS AND GOAT CHEESE
INGREDIENTS
  • 1/2 to 3/4 head of red butter lettuce; washed, spun and torn
  • 1/3 cup of endive, arugula, and/or frisée (you can substitute any local greens you have but we like this combo)
  • 1 small pear, and/or fuyu persimmon,sliced thin (depending what’s in season)
  • 1 avocado sliced into approx. 1/2 ” cubes
  • 1/2 red onion, sliced thin or chopped
  • Shred goat cheese such as goat Gouda ( any type) or Midnight Moon* on top
  • 2-3 tsps Chopped toasted pecans or sliced almonds (optional)

(Tip from caterers: add dressing to lettuces and toss, then spread other ingredients on top so that they don’t all fall to the bottom before serving.)

* a semi-hard goat cheese made in Holland, from Cypress Grove Creamery, www.cypressgrovechevre.com.

DELISH MUSTARD/GARLIC VINAIGRETTE

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup walnut oil (just a small amount adds a subtle nutty flavor)
  • 1/4–1/3 cup white wine vinegar; to taste
  • 1 Tbsp. crushed garlic; 3 cloves crushed *
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1 tsp. Dijon or Mendocino mustard**
  •  Salt-free spice like Mrs. Dash’s; Pepper to taste
Whisk all ingredients (or shake in a jar)
* Cook’s Illustrated Magazine tip for crushing small amounts of garlic:
Smash heads with flat of a chefs knife to peel, cut off ends; rub the peeled heads between the upside down tines of a fork; then crush the larger pieces with the fork to yield crushed garlic.
**http://www.mendocinomustard.com
Enjoy!

Sunday Breakfast Sweet Potato Frittata

breakfast-frittata_web   Breakfast Frittata

Welcome to Type2 Delicious!

When my partner was recently diagnosed with type2 diabetes, (and high blood pressure), he was pretty depressed and upset, especially as he was used to eating pasta, muffins, and starchy vegetables including potatoes and sweet corn, plus occasional sweet desserts.
(Note: all “better choice” statements in this blog are in context of my partner’s diabetes and are not intended as medical recommendations.)

Luckily we also normally (pre-diagnosis) ate lots of green salads and vegetables such as asparagus, zucchini, other squashes, carrots, kale, chard, etc. and mainly good fats including avocado and olive oil. But we now have to pay attention to different ways of eating.

The point of this blog is not to give medical information — but to share some of the foods and recipes we’re creating as well as modifications we’ve made to recipes from other sources;
(I intend to give credit where credit is due).

We went to a diabetes workshop (pretty comprehensive–two 3-hr. sessions) that taught us several new things about diabetes and food.

One common misconception is that whole grains don’t count as carbs. Actually any type of carbohydrates, whole grain included, can cause blood sugar increases, therefore need to be monitored and quantity reduced; for example, only 1/2 cup of many cereals is the recommended “dose.” Actually it’s not simply what you eat but also the amount at one time and high concentration of carbs and sugars which can cause a spike in blood sugar.

But there is a definite advantage of whole grains in that they take longer to be digested and introduced into the blood stream, as they have additional fiber, whereas refined carbs, such as white flour, are almost immediately transferred into blood sugar. Also the type of sugars don’t matter, including fructose, honey, white sugar, etc., although again, whole fruits (sugar bearers though they are) have an advantage in that they are more slowly digested and have fiber, which again slows down the blood sugar process.

Actually it’s not simply what you eat but also the high concentration of carbs and sugars at one time which can cause a spike in blood sugar.

We learned you can eat pretty much what you want in small quantities, however, it’s optimum to spread out carbs (including fruits) into smaller portions eaten at intervals. Also eating protein and “good” fats such as olive oil with carbs is recommended as this also slows the process of blood sugar production.

Some other tips we learned:
Eating some light protein like nuts before going to bed is a good thing as it reduces blood sugar production overnight, especially if you eat dinner early and it’s a long time between your last meal of the day and breakfast.
Walking after eating a carb meal even for 10 minutes or so can reduce blood sugar by 30 points or more.
There’s a whole blood sugar point system; check it out with your doctor or a dietitian if you’re concerned you might have diabetes, and/or have questions about any of this information.
I also welcome you to share your own recipes and meal suggestions for diabetes as well as high blood pressure (mainly with limited salt– of course, it can be added at table which is what I do if I have the need).

It’s still a day to day task- I admit that preparing recipes which primarily feature vegetables often means lots of preparation; thoughtful planning, shopping, chopping, etc. One thing I try is to make enough quantities of dishes, especially complicated ones, so we have at least two meals. And yes, sometimes when the meal prep gets too much, we opt for a roast chicken from the grocery store with a simple salad and some leftover grain if we have prepared it the previous evening. If not, we might make something quick and easy like quinoa — 15 minutes cooking time.

Again, limited quantities of the carb no matter what type. We have pretty much given up white rice and regular pasta– and really haven’t gotten into whole grain pasta — we did it once; problem, though, as it was very tempting once sauced and was tough to limit quantities….sigh.

Now to get into the heart and sole (yes, fish is a staple).

I’m going to start with a breakfast recipe; will get to salads, lunch or snacks and main dishes. Please share your breakfast favorites!

SUNDAY BREAKFAST FRITTATA with sweet potatoes

INGREDIENTS

  • Serves 3-4 (all ingredients can be doubled for additional servings and/or leftovers)
  • 6- 8 eggs beaten, (fresh as possible- we’re lucky as we buy from a friend who has chickens so the yolks are golden orange)
  • 1–2 sweet potatoes or yams, washed and chopped in 1/4 ” cubes with skins – your choice (I’m a fan of the Japanese sweet potatoes, my partner loves the redder flesh jewel yams– you might know that sweet potatoes or yams are counterintuitive as they are way lower in glycemic index than other types of potatoes; white, yellow, red, ok, purple–sweets are a better choice).
  • 2-3 zucchini, chopped
  • 1/2 lb cremini mushrooms sliced (you can use button but cremini are more flavorful)
  • 1 small red or yellow pepper chopped
  • 1/2 large or 1 med yellow onion chopped
  • Salt-free Seasoning such as Mrs. Dash’s or Spike
  • 1 tablespoon Thyme (fresh) or 1 tsp. dried
  • 2-3Tbs. Olive oil
  • 1-2 small pats butter
  • Cheese for grating
  • Optional: pre-cooked chicken sausage, chopped or sliced

TO DO:

1. Heat butter and olive oil on med heat in large pan, add chopped sweet potatoes, cook -stirring and flipping with spatula til all sides are crisp and insides are tender -about 15 min. (You can cover for the first 5 minutes or so on lower heat, being careful not to burn.) Then uncover and finish on med heat.

2. In a separate pan or skillet, add about a Tbsp. of the oil and cook the onion til transparent.

3. Add the pepper and mushrooms to the onions. Sauté til tender, then add the zucchini and sauté another 5-7 minutes (adding more oil if necessary).

3. If adding sausage, heat in oven or separate pan–(I like to be somewhat efficient about clean up -so would heat in the oven on foil or foil-lined baking sheet.)

4. Cover the potato base with the vegetables (and sausage).

5. Season with thyme and salt free seasoning (and/or salt and pepper if no blood pressure issues).

6. Beat the eggs (add a tsp. of cream or milk – I think it makes them beat smoother). Cover the vegetable/( sausage)/potatoes with the eggs.

7. Let set a few minutes, then turn down to low heat. Use a spatula to go around the edges, and also make holes in the mixture- until it is cooked but not hard–to a custardy consistency.

Grate cheese of your choice on top; (we love Midnight Moon-great for grating (<*).
It’s a semi-hard goat cheese made in Holland, from Cypress Grove Creamery, http://www.cypressgrovechevre.com.

Remove from heat and let set for 5-6 minutes. Serve in wedges.

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