My kitchen has been a science lab for the past few days; sadly, it can be said that one or two of the recipes I’ve concocted, turned it into a crime scene as well. Truthfully, most the recipes under construction are make-overs. My daughters love eating my food but complain that I never write down how to prepare the dishes.
Guilty as charged!
Now that the diabetes plague has settled over our house, it’s important I’m confident that what I mix up isn’t going to explode into glucose and fat, so I’m making a real effort to verify and record the ingredients in the foods I make. I’m also researching nutritional values.
Rich is a Jersey guy, and Jersey guys love their Italian. But Rich is also a diabetic, so a great deal of Mama Mia’s Menu is off limits. To keep a happy home, Aunt-Bea-Me has made Rich’s pallet a priority. I know the insides of his stomach like I know the floor plan of my own kitchen!
Now let’s get this show on the road, ladies and gentlemen:
Do No Harm Chicken Parm (for two)
1-2 teaspoons Olive Oil
2 3 0z skinless, boneless chicken breasts
1 teaspoon lemon pepper
Salt to taste
1 egg white beaten in a shallow bowl and set aside
2 Tablespoons Panko, Japanese bread crumbs
Spray Pam (or similar brand)
2 Tablespoons shredded Parmesan cheese
4 Tablespoons shredded low moisture Mozzarella cheese
1 cup marinara * recipe to follow
2 ounces dry whole grain spaghetti pasta (2 oz. dry pasta = 1 cup cooked pasta)
1 15 oz can tomato sauce
1 Tablespoon canned tomato paste
1-2 Tablespoons low sugar ketchup
¼ teaspoon Worchester Sauce
½ teaspoon garlic powder
2 teaspoons honey
A variety of herbs, dried or fresh:
1 bay leaf
Dried herbs are stronger than fresh. If you’re using fresh herbs, you’re going to have to use about 3 times more than you would the dry. Ex: 1 teaspoon dried basil = 3 teaspoons fresh basil.
I grow most of my own herbs and use them fresh in warm months. Whatever I don’t use, I dry and have handy for cooler months. Personal tastes vary, but when using fresh herbs for a small recipe like this one, I normally use about 1 teaspoon of chopped Oregano, I Tablespoon chopped Basil, ¼ teaspoon fennel seeds, ¼ teaspoon finely chopped Rosemary, and sometimes I add about 1 teaspoon of chopped Thai Basil, depending on my mood.
Thai Basil and Fennel seeds add a sweet licorice flavor, creating depth.
There are many premixed, ready for use dried Italian-Blend herbs in the market place. If doing it that way, again, for a small recipe such as this, I think I would recommend starting with a slight Tablespoon, and adding more according to taste.
Mix all ingredients for marinara in a large saucepan over medium heat. Stir from time to time as mix comes to a slow simmer. Cover and simmer on low heat for approximately 15 minutes, stirring periodically. (There’s going to be more sauce than you need for this recipe, so put leftovers in a sealed container, store in the refrigerator, and serve it over turkey meatballs another day.)
Meanwhile as sauce simmers, trim all fat from the chicken breasts. Place each, one at a time, in a plastic bag. Using a flat meat hammer, pound until chicken breasts are about ½ inch thick.
Preheat oven to 375°. Add Olive Oil to heavy oven safe frying pan. (Cast iron is my preference!) Spread oil evenly.
Dredge each chicken breast in egg white, on one side only, and transfer to frying pan, undredged side down.
Sprinkle each piece of chicken with salt to taste, add ½ teaspoon Lemon Pepper, and 1 Tablespoon Panko. Lightly spray Panko surface with Pam. (Some bread crumbs may blow off, so be prepared!) Bake chicken for 15 minutes then remove the pan from the oven and add 1-2 Tablespoons of Marinara Sauce to each piece. Then add 1 Tablespoon Parmesan cheese and 2 Tablespoons Mozzarella to each chicken breast. Return pan to oven, cooking for 10 minutes, or until cheese is melted and brown. (Internal temperature should be 160-165°.) While chicken is baking, prepare spaghetti according to package directions, drain but do not rinse. Set aside.
Plate chicken. Add 1/2 cup cooked spaghetti and cover with 1/4 cup Marinara Sauce. I usually serve our meals on luncheon-sized plates. It gives an illusion of having more to eat than is actually there.
Even though the nutritional values in this dish are good, they’d be better if you skipped eating it altogether. But in the real world, real people, even diabetics, want to enjoy what they eat. The American Diabetes Association recommends that 45-60 % of your daily caloric intake should be composed of carbohydrates, and 25-35% of the calories should come from fats. Also recommended is that protein should be approximately 12-20% of your daily Caloric intake.
Nutritional Values per serving:
361 calories, 46 carbs, 5 fats, 34 proteins, 341 sodium and 5.5 sugar
An excellent way to decrease carbs in this dish is to pass on the pasta. Doing so will reduce Carbs from 46 gm to 17. To balance this meal, I prepared a lettuce, apple and toasted pine nut salad accompanied by sugar free homemade poppy seed dressing. it was simply delish!
Aunt-Bea-Me Pearl for today: If dinner isn’t the only thing cooking in the kitchen, pour yourself a nice glass of sweet tea, and relax!