A Farewell to Carbs

A 30-something navigating the world of Type 2 Diabetes while remaining fun, fashionable and fabulous.

What’s cooking: Tomato basil soup with chicken 01/29/2012


I have a cookbook addiction. I like paging through them, salivating over the photos and gathering ideas. To feed my habit on the cheap, I often check cookbooks out of the library and copy out recipes I want to try.

This is one of these recipes. I borrowed a cookbook called 15 Minute Diabetic Meals and jotted a few recipes down. I never got around to actually cooking any of them, though. But since it’s finally feeling like winter in my little corner of Pennsylvania, I was hankering for a soup.

Homemade soup is kind of tough for the single person. Most recipies make a LOT of soup. And even though you can freeze it, I find I’m pretty sick of soup after a few days.

I was also looking for a soup that could help me use up some bobs and bits around the house — a little leftover boneless, skinless chicken breast I had broiled to add to salads, a half-package of spinach that was nearing the end of its life span, the last few leaves of basil from my increasingly pathetic basil plant.

This soup is everything I was hoping it would be and more. It does use a lot of canned ingredients, which is not too great on the sodium side. On the plus side, it’s a quick recipe (TWO STEPS!! 10 MINUTES!!) that results in a really flavorful, hearty soup packed with veggies.

I modified the original recipe slightly to use no-salt-added tomatoes. To pump up the flavor, I added my own spices — opting to make it spicy with some chili powder and cumin. You can play around with the spices, though.

What you’ll need:

1 14.5-0unce can of diced tomatoes (with italian seasonings or low-salt if you’re watching your sodium)

1/2 of a 15-ounce can of navy beans, rinsed and drained

1 14-oz can of reduced sodium, nonfat chicken broth

1 c cooked diced chicken

2 ounces baby spinach, washed and destemmed

2 teaspoons chopped fresh basil

2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil

dash each of cumin and chili powder (optional)

1. Combine tomatoes, beans and broth in saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes.

2. Add chicken, spinach and basil. Add spices to taste, if using. Cook 2 minutes or until greens are well-wilted. Remove from heat and stir in oil.

Makes 4 servings (1 heaping cup of soup per serving)

Nutrition per serving:

Calories: 195

Total fat: 5.0 g

Cholesterol: 35 mg Sodium: 725 mg

Total Carbohydrate: 18 g

Dietary Fiber: 4 g

Sugars: 6 g

Protein: 18 g

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What’s cooking: Easy chicken cacciatore 01/15/2012

Filed under: cooking — Diabetic Diva @ 9:27 pm
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If I take a few minutes to think about my favorite meals of all time — the dishes I’d want as a last meal if I should ever find myself on death row and out of appeals, the entrees that make me think of love and comfort and deliciousness — one thing stands out as a pattern.

Tomato sauce.

Whether it’s a plate of chicken parmesan oozing with cheese or a fresh, spicy salsa topping a pile of tortilla chips, tomato sauce takes up a special plate in my heart and tummy. But tomato sauce is high in carbs (relatively speaking), especially when you add it to a heaping plate of pasta.

So I started flipping through recipes to find one that was heavy on the tomato sauce but light on the carbohydrates and came across one I cut out of a Diabetic Cooking magazine a year or so ago: Easy Chicken Cacciatore.

My mom made a version of this often as a family meal, and I’ve made it many times without a recipe. Cacciatore, or at least the dish as we know it in the U.S., has a couple of constants regardless of whether you’re going high-brow or bachelor: bell peppers, mushrooms, chunky tomato sauce and braised chicken.

This recipe, as the name states, is super-easy and doesn’t require you to use all the pots and pans in your kichen arsenal (or my kitchen arsenal, at least, which is admittedly lacking because I haven’t gotten married and thus have not benefitted from the wedding registry tradition).

Couple of notes: This recipe serves 6, which is a little much for a single girl like me. I either invite a friend or two over for dinner the first night and then pack the leftovers for my dinner the next three nights, or I cut down the recipe to serve four. I also skip the first step, but you might not want to. Finally, this recipe does not call for the dish to be served with noodles, rice or another carb. If you do serve it with a side dish to soak up the sauce, make sure you add on the additional calories, fat, carb, protein, etc.

What you’ll need:

1/4 c all-purpose flour

6 (4 oz) boneless, skinless chicken breasts OR 6 (5-6 oz) bone-in breasts, skin removed

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon olive oil, divided

1 large green bell pepper, cut into short strips

1 medium onion, cut in half lengthwise and sliced crosswise

1 package (6 oz) sliced button mushrooms

2 cloves of garlic, minced

2 cans (about 14 oz each) no-salt-added diced tomatoes, undrained

1 and 1/2 teaspoon of Italian seasoning

1/2 teaspoon of salt

6 tablespoons shredded part-skim mozzarella

1. Place flour in a large resealable food storage bag. Add chicken, 2 pieces at a time and  shake to coat.

2. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Brown chicken on both sides and remove from pan.

3. Add remaining 1 teaspoon oil to same skillet. Add veggies, cook and stir 3 to 4 minutes until mushrooms are lightly browned. Add garlic, cook and stir for 30 seconds. Add tomatoes, seasoning and salt; bring to a boil. Return chicken to skillet. Reduce heat, cover and simmer 18 minutes if using boneless chicken, 23 minutes if using bone-in chicken. Check to make sure chicken is cooked through before taking off the stove.

4. Serve chicken with veggies and sauce. Top with 1 tablespoon of cheese.

Servings: 6 (1 chicken breast, 2/3 cup of sauce and 1 tablespoon of cheese per serving)

Nutrition per serving:

Calories: 233

Fat: 6 g

Carbs: 14 g

Fiber: 3 g

Protein: 31 g