Making it Diabetes-Compatible

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A reader here at Diabetes Support/Information About Diabetes, asked me about making Diabetic friendly (Compatible) Chili.

I could have been really smart mouthed and said to the reader that “real” chili is pretty much a Diabetes-Compatible dish. Originally it was made just with ground beef and lots of spices. Over the years, to extend the food dollar, beans were added. The only higher carbohydrate component to chili is the tomatoes. But I am a good guy and choose to answer her as follows:

Look at what you like about chili. Is it the heat (spiciness), the meatiness, the texture?

Find a recipe that you like and look at the recipe in terms of using lower carbohydrate items in place of higher carbohydrate foods. For example: replace tomato sauce with roasted tomatoes or a really high quality diced tomato.

If chili isn’t the same for you without beans (while a good source of protein, it is high-ish in carbohydrates) cut the amount of beans in the recipe down and substitute another vegetable for some of them. It really works, if you have an open mind. If you crave beef stew and beef stew ain’t beef stew without potatoes, think about replacing all or some of the potatoes (at the end of cooking) with cauliflower. Is it the same? No, actually it is maybe even better.

Bottom line is that one does not know how good, or bad something is until they try it. I am always saying: “if you don’t like it, you NEVER have to eat it again. That is perfect. It gives you another chance to be a mad scientist in YOUR Diabetes-Compatible kitchen.

Looking at What You Love in a Different Light

It is all about seeing things a “little” differently. Instead of thinking about what you should not eat, look at what you can eat and then stretch your mind and your cooking abilities to make one heck of a scrumptious Diabetes-Compatible dish.

The first item I ever did this with was spaghetti squash. When I first tried it I got caught up in the name “SPAGHETTI” squash. I prepared it with tomato sauce and meatballs. I didn’t much like it. But there was something about it so I kept working at it. I did it with just oil and parmesan cheese and liked it. I then tried pesto and loved it.

What I still craved was tomato and pasta. One of my favorite dishes in years gone by was Pasta “Fresca." Simply prepared pasta with fresh tomato and basil, sometimes I added a bit of zucchini. I recreated this dish with the spaghetti squash. To my delight, it was wonderful. It was, I thought and my family thought, as good as, maybe better than, the “old” dish.

The next experiment HAD to be mac and cheese. The kid in me always loved that dish. I had to look at it in a new way. What was it about the mac and cheese that I liked? It was the cheese sauce. It was a hop, skip and a jump to making it with spaghetti squash. It has a bit more chewiness than the pasta version but it is rich and thick and creamy. It was: "ALMOST” mac and cheese. It tasted great and fit into my carbohydrate budget.

When I had mastered the way to have a hamburger on a bun (Sandwich thins, Joseph’s Pita) I found myself wanting something lower in carbohydrates to fill out the plate. Potato salad seemed to be “just the ticket”, but potatoes are so high in carbohydrates. I played around with cauliflower as the substitute. It was the same recipe I used for potato salad except the potato. I loved it. I sent some into the office (I always make too much) and our office assistant, a seventeen year old boy, declared it better than the original. If a seventeen year old, without Diabetes, liked it better than the original, how bad could it be? Teenagers hate everything.

Last week I shared my recipe for chicken parmesan. The ONLY change from the old recipe was not breading the chicken. The breading really didn’t add any flavor, just a lot more carbohydrates.

For the recipe posted here yesterday morning, I called on a food memory. I had a client in NYC, Zaro’s Bread Basket. They made the most outrageously scrumptious cream cheese brownies. How did I find a way of making that Diabetes-Compatible? Scroll back to yesterday morning’s recipe post and….
ENJOY!!! Be happy, be healthy, and BE DECADENT! –w

Source: Ward Alper, The Decadent Diabetic