Chicken Pesto Cauliflower Bake

This chicken pesto cauliflower bake is another one of those recipes I just made up. I got the idea for flavors from one of the low-carb pizza options we make, which uses chicken, pesto, a mix of cheeses, and tomatoes. As usual, roasted cauliflower stands in for pasta, making it a wonderful low-starch casserole for those following a diabetes or prediabetes diet. Also note this dish is fast to throw together if you pre-baked both the chicken and cauliflower. Serves 6-8 Ingredients 1 x-large head cauliflower 1 lb organic chicken breast Lots of fresh garlic (~ 6-10 medium cloves), minced 1 large sweet onion, diced 1/4 cup + 1 Tbsp store-bought pesto 2 slices light provolone, cut into small pieces 1/2 cup organic or light shredded mozzarella 2 medium tomatoes, diced Optional: Additional pesto or grated Parmesan for topping   Directions Roast the cauliflower ahead of time: Preheat oven to 450 degrees F and lightly grease a large roasting dish. Cut the cauliflower into bite-size florets and sprinkle with sea salt. Roast for 30 mins, stir, and roast 15 min more. Place in a large mixing bowl. Bake the chicken ahead of time (approximately 30-40 min in preheated 350 degree F oven.) Cool, shred, and place in the mixing bowl with the cauliflower. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F, and lightly grease a 9×13-inch glass casserole baking dish. Saute the garlic and onion with just a tiny bit of olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat, until translucent. Add to the mixing bowl. Mix the pesto in with the cooked cauliflower, chicken, garlic, and onion, and stir to combine well. Spread into the greased baking dish. Sprinkle with both the provolone and mozzarella cheeses. Bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes, top with the diced tomato, and return the dish to the oven until the casserole is lightly browned, about 10 more minutes. Serve with additional pesto or grated Parmesan for topping, if...
read more

Grilled Chicken Fajitas

This chicken fajitas recipe originally comes by way of my brother-in-law, who is the family grill master. Upon my request my husband has made it his own by lightening way up on the oil and boosting the amount of garlic. We’ve taken to doubling the recipe so we can use the already grilled meat for Chicken Salsa Verde Casserole later in the week; it’s our nod to the time-saving tip of “cook once, eat twice.” Although whole grain tortillas are used as the wrap I usually enjoy it without for a still tasty low-starch/ low-carb version. Serves 4-5 Ingredients 1 lb organic chicken breast tenders 2 Tbsp (or less) olive oil Lots of fresh garlic (~ 6-10 medium cloves), minced 1/2 tsp ground black pepper 1/2 tsp oregano 1/2 tsp chili powder 1/2 tsp salt juice of 1/2 lemon (or 1/4 c concentrated lemon) 2 whole red bell peppers, sliced  into strips 1 large or 2 small sweet onions, sliced into strips Serve with: whole grain tortillas, sour cream or plain yogurt, sliced avocado, salsa, and fresh cilantro   Directions To create the marinade for the chicken: In a bowl combine the olive oil, garlic, black pepper, oregano, chili powder, salt, and lemon juice. Place in a sealable plastic bag with the chicken meat, seal, and massage the ingredients into the meat. Refrigerate 1 hour to overnight (the longer the meat marinates the better.) Preheat your outdoor grill to medium-high, and slice up the peppers and onion. Place the marinated chicken along with the peppers and onions on a long strip of sprayed aluminum foil on the grill. Cook for 5-7 minutes, then turn everything over. Cook the veggies for approximately 7 more minutes, until they are soft yet still crisp. Cook the chicken until it is cooked through and there is no pink inside (internal temperature of 180 deg F.) Serve with the whole grain tortillas, sour cream or yogurt, avocado, salsa, and fresh...
read more

Baked Chicken Parmesan

This baked chicken Parmesan is low-starch and low-carb because it uses just a sprinkling of croutons for crunch and requires no breading of the chicken cutlets–so it’s perfect for those following a diabetic lifestyle. Don’t skip the fresh basil and fresh garlic, as they take the flavor up a notch. And consider doubling it so you can freeze the extra servings for lunch! Serves 4-6 Ingredients 1 lb organic chicken breast Lots of fresh garlic (~ 6-10 medium cloves), minced 1/2 to 2/3 jar (24 oz) low-sugar marinara or spaghetti sauce 1/2 bunch (~ 1 large fistful) fresh basil leaves, cut into strips 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese (organic or light), divided in half 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided into half 1/3 package (5 oz) garlic croutons, crushed Optional: additional freshly grated Parmesan or a Parmesan mix   Directions Bake the chicken ahead of time (approximately 30-40 min in preheated 350 degree F oven.) Cool and shred. Grease the bottom of a 9×9 glass baking dish (or 9×13 if doubling the recipe). Also bump the oven temperature up to 375 deg F. Heat a very small amount of olive oil in a skillet on medium-high. Saute the garlic a few minutes until soft. Arrange the chicken in the bottom of the glass baking dish, and pour the marinara sauce over the chicken. Top with the sauteed garlic, fresh basil, half the mozzarella cheese, and half the Parmesan cheese. Sprinkle on the croutons and top with the second half of the mozzarella along with the final amount of Parmesan and an additional sprinkling of fresh Parmesan, if using. Bake approximately 20 minutes, until the cheese is melted and lightly...
read more

BLT Bean Bowl

This BLT bean bowl is a delightful and filling twist on the classic BLT sandwich–except using nutritious beans. I use mung beans, but you could also use another small bean, such as a lentil. I’ve found that the mung bean is one of the few starches that is likely to keep your blood sugar on an even keel post-meal since it has such hunger satisfying protein and fiber–perfect for those following a diabetes diet. This BLT bowl is also the first recipe I created on my own rather than adapted from someone else’s recipe first. Serves 5-6 Ingredients 8 slices turkey bacon 1 cup dried mung beans 1 bag (5 oz) fresh organic spinach 1 bag (5 oz) fresh organic arugula 3-5 cloves fresh garlic 1 large container grape tomatoes, halved 1.5 – 2 oz grated fresh Parmesan cheese for topping Directions Cook (or Foreman grill) the turkey bacon ahead of time, cool, and break up into small pieces. Bring the mung beans and 2 cups of water to boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer uncovered for 25-30 minutes. Rinse and drain. Steam both the fresh spinach and fresh arugula together in a separate large pot. Heat a small amount of olive oil in a large skillet on medium-high. Saute the garlic for a few minutes until soft. Add the grape tomatoes and saute just another minute or two until slightly soft. Add the steamed greens, turkey bacon, and mung beans and mix to heat up and combine well. Serve with the Parmesan cheese for...
read more

Chicken Florentine Casserole

This chicken florentine casserole is naturally low-starch, if you’re someone who prefers (or needs) to eat low-carb. Although I’ll admit it’s a bit involved and requires a couple do-ahead steps, the mix of flavors is wonderfully yummy. I’ve taken to making a double dish of it, as it freezes well. Serves 4-6 Ingredients 1 lb organic chicken breast 4 slices turkey bacon Lots of fresh garlic (~ 6-10 medium cloves), minced 1 package cremini mushrooms, rinsed well, and loosely chopped into large chunks 2 bags (5 oz each) fresh organic spinach 5 oz (usually 1/2 of a 10 oz) container natural condensed cream of mushroom soup 1 Tbsp (or a little less) Italian seasoning 1/4 cup milk 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese (organic or light) Directions Bake the chicken ahead of time (approximately 30-40 min in preheated 350 degree F oven.) Cool and shred. Cook (or Foreman grill) the turkey bacon ahead of time, cool, and break up into small pieces. Heat a very small amount of olive oil in a very large skillet on medium-high. Saute the garlic, mushrooms, and spinach, taking care to keep turning the spinach over until it wilts down and the mushrooms and garlic get soft. Place in a strainer and use a spoon or spatula to really press and drain any excess liquid. Place mixture in a greased 9×9 glass baking dish (or 9×13 if doubling the recipe.) At this point you can also start heating the oven back to 375 degrees F. In the now empty skillet mix together the cream of mushroom soup, Italian seasoning, milk, Parmesan cheese, and cooked chicken, stirring until all flavors are combined. Pour mixture on top of the spinach-mushroom mix in the baking dish. Sprinkle with the chopped turkey bacon, and top with mozzarella cheese. Bake 20-25 minutes in the 375 degree F oven, until bubbly and lightly...
read more

Chicken Salsa Verde Casserole

This salsa verde casserole is one of my husband’s favorite low-starch recipes–and he doesn’t even need to be eating low-carb! Of course, he doctors his up by adding the optional starch ingredients, below. Brown rice can easily be substituted for the cauliflower rice. When we previously made this recipe with brown rice we made ahead just about 2 servings’ worth, which equates to 1 to 1 1/2 cups cooked, and then spread it out over approximately 4 servings the rest of the recipe will make. If you cook and shred the chicken ahead of time then the rest of the recipe is an incredibly quick and easy one-dish meal perfect for a weeknight. Serves 5-6 Ingredients 1 lb organic chicken breast 1/2 whole sweet onion, diced 1 whole red bell pepper, diced 1 tsp cumin Frozen cauliflower rice (equivalent to 6 servings), thawed 1 cup jarred salsa verde 2/3 cup shredded light cheddar cheese Toppings: fresh cilantro, avocado, and plain yogurt or sour cream Optional: 1/2 cup corn and/or 1/2 can drained and rinsed black beans   Directions Bake the chicken ahead of time (approximately 30-40 min in preheated 350 degree F oven.) Cool and shred. Heat a very small amount of olive oil in a very large skillet on medium-high. Saute the onion, bell pepper, cumin, and optional corn and beans for 5 minutes, or until the onion is translucent. Mix in the thawed cauliflower rice, cooked chicken, salsa verde, and cheese, stirring until all flavors are combined. Serve with fresh cilantro, avocado, and plain yogurt for...
read more