Change your food, change your life.
Yes, it may be as simple as that. We all know that many of us are prediabetic because of our food choices.
Together, let’s share recipes that are common and healthy. Let’s learn from each other—life is much easier that way, don’t you think?
Note: Before making any changes to your diet, talk with your healthcare provider and a nutritionist/dietitian to discover what will work for you.
T = tablespoon
t = teaspoon
EVOO = extra virgin olive oil
c = cup
Cabbage and Sausage
20 minutes to prep and serve
1 head of cabbage, chopped into small strips or pieces
1 onion, diced (optional)
2 bell peppers, diced (optional)
4 to 5 large links or about 1.5 lbs of precooked sausage sliced into rounds. Kielbasa, smoked chicken and apple, whatever sausage you want, as long as it’s precooked.
6 T olive oil, or 3 T olive oil and 3 T butter
Salt and pepper to taste
Strip the outer wilted leaves off the cabbage head. Rinse and dry the cabbage. With a large knife, cut the head of cabbage in half, starting from the base. Cut each half in half, ending up with four pieces.
Cut away the hard core and ribs, then chop the cabbage into smaller pieces or small strips.
Put the oil and butter in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the onion and peppers, if you’re using them, and cook for about 10 minutes, then add the sausage and cabbage. Note: cabbage wilts. If it seems that you have too much cabbage, put as much in as you can and stir for a few minutes until it’s wilted and you have more room to add the rest.
Add salt and pepper, maybe ½ t of each while cooking. When the cabbage is looking lovely and wilted and has brown bits, and the sausage is properly browned, do a final taste for seasoning. Add more if needed.
Try sliced melon on the side, to cut some of the richness of this dish.
Roasted Chicken and Root Vegetables
1.5 hours prep and serve (about an hour of that is cooking time)
1 whole chicken, pat dry inside and out, and leave naked on a plate in your refrigerator overnight. This will dry it out and help it crisp up in the oven. Remove chicken from the refrigerator and let it rest at room temperature 30 minutes to an hour before cooking.
4 lbs of any combination of root vegetables including sweet potatoes, parsnips, rutabaga, carrots, onions, turnips, beets, whatever. Rough chop them all to the same size, about 1.5” chunks.
½ c EVOO and more if needed
2 T minced garlic
2 t dried thyme
3 t dried rosemary
Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 450°F. Whisk ½ c EVOO, garlic, thyme, rosemary and salt and pepper together in a bowl. Change the seasonings to your preference, if you like.
Spread the chunks of root vegetables on the bottom of a large roasting pan and coat with some of the oil mix, tossing to ensure they’re all happily oiled.
Place chicken (now at room temperature) breast side up in the middle of the pan, on top of some of the veggies. Gently work your fingers between the skin and the breast meat, and with a spoon or baster, pour a bit of the oil mix into the openings. You’ll be surprised how much of your hand will fit in the space, but go easy and don’t rip the skin.
Also rub all over the outside of the chicken with the oil mix.
If you don’t have enough of the oil mix, whisk up a bit more and finish coating the chicken.
Place pan in the oven uncovered and roast for 20 minutes. Turn the oven down to 400°F and continue cooking for about 45 minutes, until a thermometer inserted between the thigh and drumstick, but not touching bone, reads 160°F-165°F, and when poked with a knife, the juices in that area run clear. If chicken is done, remove it from the pan and set it on a platter, tented with foil.
If the vegetables under the chicken are not done, leave them in the pan and put it back in the oven while the chicken rests. Check the veggies after 10-15 minutes, they should be tender.
Carve the chicken and serve alongside the veggies.
Pour the pan juices into a bowl or gravy boat and set on the table, along with the chicken and veggies.
Sausage and Eggplant Lasagna
1.25 hours prep and serve (about an hour of that is cooking time)
2 large eggplants, sliced into discs about ½” thick
4 T olive oil, approximately
1 lb Italian or chicken sausage, seasoned and loose, not in casing
3 t minced garlic, more or less, to your taste
1 T oregano or Italian seasoning, or a bit of both
24 oz marinara sauce, any flavor you like
1 C mix of fresh basil, parsley, baby kale, baby spinach, whatever greens you like
15 oz ricotta cheese
½ C grated parmesan cheese, divided in half
1 egg, beaten
1.5 C shredded mozzarella cheese, divided into 1 C and ½ C
Salt and pepper as directed, amounts to your taste
Read all of the directions before you start.
Preheat oven to 400°F. Spread eggplant rounds onto two baking sheets lined with parchment or foil, or don’t line them if you’re not worried about the eggplant sticking. Chances are it won’t stick. Brush the up side with a thin coat of olive oil, flip the rounds and brush the other side with a thin coat of olive oil. Lightly sprinkle salt and pepper on top. Put trays into oven.
Roast the eggplant for 15 minutes, flip the rounds over and switch the trays’ positions. Roast for another 15 minutes, then remove from oven.
Turn oven down to 350°F.
While the eggplant is roasting, get the sausage into a large skillet with a bit of oil in the bottom, and cook on medium heat until brown. Break up sausage as it cooks. The final product should look quite crumbly.
Tilt the skillet and scoop out most of the grease (if there is any). Add the marinara sauce, garlic, oregano and/or Italian seasoning, and fresh greens to the sausage. If your sausage is pre-seasoned, add whatever seasonings you think will enhance flavor. Or, don’t add any more seasoning. It’s to your taste. Bring it all to a boil, then quickly reduce heat to a medium to low simmer. You don’t want the sauce burping out of the skillet. Simmer for 10 minutes to marry the flavors.
In a bowl, combine the ricotta, quarter cup parmesan, half cup mozzarella, and the egg. Add a pinch of salt and pepper if you like. Stir thoroughly.
Coat a 9 x 13-inch baking dish with nonstick spray and spread half of the marinara sauce evenly in the bottom.
Cover the sauce with a layer of eggplant rounds. Spread all of the ricotta mix on top of the eggplant.
Add a second layer of eggplant rounds on top of the ricotta layer, then spread the other half of the marinara sauce on the eggplant.
Sprinkle one cup mozzarella and quarter cup parmesan evenly over the top of the dish.
So, the layers go like this: sauce, eggplant, ricotta mix, eggplant, sauce, mozzarella and parmesan.
Bake for about 30 minutes, until it’s bubbly hot and the cheese is melted.
Milk Pork Chops (or Chicken)
Serves 4+ (depends on amount of chicken or pork you use)
1 hour prep and serve
2-3 lbs skinless and boneless chicken thighs, legs, or breasts, or pork chops.
Smoked paprika to taste
Salt and pepper to taste (try Aleppo pepper for a little heat)
3 T butter
1 T olive oil
2 c milk (more or less, depending on size of skillet or pot – the milk should come up maybe halfway on chicken or pork)
2-3 T minced garlic
Zest of 2 lemons
1 T dried thyme
Preheat oven to 400°F. Drop 2 T butter and 1 T olive oil in large ovenproof skillet or pan. Something big enough to hold all of the chicken/pork. Bring heat under skillet to medium. Season the chicken/pork with smoked paprika, salt, and pepper. When butter is just melted, place chicken/pork into skillet and brown all sides. You’re not trying to cook it through, just getting a nice brown color. Maybe 1-2 minutes per side.
Remove the meat and add 1 T butter to the skillet, plus the milk, garlic, lemon zest, and thyme. Give the sauce a good stir, then taste and adjust seasoning. Add more of whatever sounds good.
Put chicken/pork back into skillet in all that lovely sauce. Place a lid on or, if you don’t have a lid, cover it tightly with aluminum foil.
It goes in the oven for 10 minutes. Pull the skillet out and turn the chicken/pork pieces over. Test the temperature – when cooked, pork chops will be about 145°F and chicken will be about 165°F.
Depending on the temperature at the 10-minute mark, put covered skillet back in the oven for 5 to 15 minutes, until your chicken/pork reaches the appropriate temperature.
Remove the chicken/pork from the skillet and pour the pan sauce into a gravy boat or whatever you have handy. At the table, encourage people to pour the sauce on the meat.
Roast some veggies to go with the dish, or serve a salad full of tasty bits.