Too much chicken? Make Diabetes–Compatible Chicken Salad

jurrasic chic (1).JPG

This guest post was written by type 2 diabetic and chef Ward Alper exclusively for Information About Diabetes. He writes frequently on his website, The Decadent Diabetic.

I always come back to a reader here at Diabetes Support that complained that he “could not face another meal of chicken and veg.” My response to him is that it is all in how you look at it. For budget reasons, both monetary and carbohydrate budgets, chicken has become the “meat” of choice for many people. But when is too much of a good thing simply too much?

I hate to sound like Jerry Seinfeld but…Do you ever wonder why chicken breasts are so big these days? How did they get that way? I remember serving a whole stuffed chicken breast in many of my restaurants. Sure it was a big portion and often needed a doggie bag. To do that today would be a serving for four people and still might need the doggie bag.

Too often today HALF of a boneless skinless chicken breast weighs 12-16 ounces, how big was that chicken before it was plucked? Are the chickens we get in the “stupidmarket” Jurassic chickens?

The problem is that the recommended serving size is 3-4 ounces (the deck of cards model). Upfront I will tell you I am a person with a bigger appetite and like at least a 6-7 ounce serving. To add insult to injury, if you only want one chicken breast, you get to pay more than if you want five. Five is fine if you have a very large family AND a freezer. What are we supposed to do?

I am lucky and have freezer space. So what I do is buy in bulk, prepare it to size and freeze the rest. My personal preference with chicken is to cook it completely then freeze it. I actually LIKE leftover chicken. I think the flavor is really intensified. In truth, reheated chicken can be a bit dry. Even you/me have to do something with the portion size. The other day I found some of these big pieces. No problem I thought, just cut them in half pound them out have thin chicken cutlets for all kinds of wonderful dishes. So out came my trusty rolling pin (my personal choice for beating chicken to an even thickness. BANG…nothing. BANG ….nothing. I beat on that poor chicken breast over and over again and could not reduce the thickness by anywhere enough. I tend not to get too crazed about what the farmers are feeding their stock, but this made me really wonder. If that breast was so resistant to my banging, what was in it? My only choice was to slice the chicken thinly and do a stir fry, or a fricassee, or roast it whole and slice away. Not the end of the world except…I wanted chicken cutlets for my chicken parmesan or my chicken Picatta.

As I said, unlike some people, I am a huge fan of leftover chicken. I like nothing better than to go to the fridge and find some already cooked chicken for chicken casseroles, tortilla pies and of course, chicken salads. Like all people, we like things on our OWN terms. Great to have the chicken salad but I want what I want when I want it. Like most of you, I work pretty hard at managing my eating to work for my Diabetes. Why do we need the extra frustration of not getting a reasonable size portion?

One more hoop to jump through, but once you get that jumbo chicken down to a reasonable size it is the blessing and the curse of all of us with Diabetes. Well, those of us that eat chicken that is.
I need to remind my friend that chicken is one of the most versatile meats. It takes on the flavor of any seasonings. It also imparts its own flavor to other parts of the dish. Are you too busy to make chicken stock from scratch? I certainly get it. Just add some raw or even roasted chick to a store bought chicken broth. You can even do some sodium control if you buy a low sodium product. Strain it and you have stock as close to homemade as you can get in 30 minutes.

To make my life very easy, I freeze some of that chicken stock in ice cube trays to add to a recipe that calls for ¼ of a cup of chicken stock or less.

I just have to learn not to wonder what size chicken laid such a big egg to produce such a big chicken breast. One could have nightmares.

ENJOY!!! Be happy, be healthy, and BE DECADENT! –w

Ward Alper, The Decadent Diabetic