WOW! Those are some HUGE breasts!

It’s an attention grabbing title for sure but for many of those with Diabetes or diabetes risk factor, weight is a significant factor of the disease. That is not to say that all overweight people have diabetes or that one won’t get diabetes if they are of normal weight. Being overweight or obese is linked with diabetes according to Diabetic Care Services  . It has to do with the insulin-glucose relationship, not always with eating a poor diet.

That being said, I have found a relationship between managing diabetes and knowing how to prepare wholesome AND delicious foods. Many of my friends have diabetes or risk factors and they often come to me for food advice. This disease hits even closer to home for me. My Papaw was diagnosed with diabetes and eventually died from heart failure because he didn’t manage his disease well. When I would visit him and Mamaw in Georgia, I helped in the kitchen and Papaw never realized his food didn’t have glucose spiking ingredients. He ate well and felt fantastic. After I boarded the plane to head home my Mamaw was in full charge of the kitchen and it was right back to sugar in the spaghetti sauce and white pasta, fried foods and sugar laden desserts. I still wonder if he would still be with me if I had written down my recipes sooner.

Papaw and me
Papaw and me

A request was made to my Facebook page to post some recipes that are diabetic friendly. I jumped at the chance!

This recipe was originally created for a new mom that had a few dietary restrictions but it included white rice, a big no-no for diabetics. Quinoa, however, is a great substitute. It is high in protein (containing nine essential amino acids), high in fiber, and contains 3 grams of fiber per serving.

In my quest to rework the chicken recipe, I checked the glycemic index (GI)  of every ingredient to insure it would not have major impacts on blood sugar levels. The index rates a foods impact on blood sugar levels using a 1 to 100 scale. The lower the number the less the blood sugar impact. You should try to eat foods with a GI of 50 or less. My explanation is a slight oversimplification but, for the sake of brevity, is a decent summary.

I have placed the GI in parentheses next to each ingredient when available.

Almond Encrusted Mushroom Chicken

2 boneless skinless breasts (GI: 0)

1 cup almonds, unsalted, coarsely chopped (GI: 15)
Filling:

3/4 cup cottage cheese (GI: 0)

¼ cup onion sliced thin (GI: 15)

½ cup portabella mushrooms sliced (GI: 15)

2 clove garlic, minced

2 tablespoons brown or Dijon mustard, no sugar added (GI: 35)

½ teaspoon paprika (GI: 5)

¼ teaspoon dried thyme (GI: 5)

olive oil (GI: 0)

20150422_142445

1 cup Quinoa (GI: 35), rinsed well*

1 green onion, sliced thin

Preheat oven to 350⁰F.

Using a food processor or stick blender, puree cottage cheese until smooth.

Sautee onions, mushrooms, thyme and garlic in 1 teaspoon olive oil until onions are a light golden brown. Stir occasionally to prevent burning.

Combine sautéed vegetables with cottage cheese, mustard and paprika.

Split chicken breasts lengthwise almost all the way through.  Stuff cheese mixture in chicken and carefully, but firmly, roll the chicken in the chopped almonds to coat. Place almond coated chicken in a baking dish and drizzle with olive oil.  This part is messy and takes some practice, so don’t get upset if you end up with filling everywhere. Just stuff it back in a press the almonds onto the top of the chicken.

This was the joke I had with my husband that led to the post title. This is a single chicken breast in a 2 qt casserole dish. He bought the chicken breast for those that are wondering.
This was the joke I had with my husband that led to the post title. This is a single chicken breast in a 2 qt casserole dish. He bought the chicken breast for those that are wondering.

Bake until meat thermometer registers 160⁰F, internally. Check half way through baking and cover with foil if almonds are browning too much.

While the chicken is cooking prepare the Quinoa according to the directions on the package, adding the sliced green onions when almost all the water is absorbed.

I will usually put a red pepper (GI: 15) into the oven while the chicken is baking. Place it in a small dish, or even into the pan with the chicken, and drizzle with olive oil. Turn the pepper once while it is roasting.

Serve with a salad or steamed vegetable seasoned with your favorite salt free seasoning.

I will mix any left over filling with the pan drippings from the chicken to use as a sauce. Just before serving, sprinkle a pinch of coarse salt (Kosher or Sea) over the food. This gives a fully salted flavor without a lot of sodium.

*Rinse the quinoa well before cooking. Quinoa is coated in saponins which is a natural plant defense again insect attacks. It is basically a plant produced insecticidal soap and tastes rather bitter.

Please let me know if you enjoyed this dish or have any suggestions for improvement.

Follow me on Instagram or Twitter @deneesalazar

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