So having Diabetes is tough, but it can be especially difficult when juggling busy days, and kids, and dinner time.
To make things worse, I’m forgetful! I’m easily caught up in the chaos and before I know it, it’s dinner time and I’m unprepared and haven’t even checked my blood sugar.
Meal planning REALLY helps me with this. If I know what I’m going to cook, or can prepare things ahead of time, it makes everything that much easier. I can’t say enough about how much PLANNING in general is key to success with diabetes. When mealtime rolls around, I want to think about it as LITTLE as possible. This way I’m less likely to skip meals or make unhealthy spur of the moment mealtime decisions. We’ve all had drive-thru days, or “stand-at-the-counter-and-eat-whatever-I-find” meals. As a mom, some days that’s just self-preservation, but as a Diabetic it really is a recipe for disaster..and poor blood sugar control, highs, lows, feeling terrible, no energy, I could go on and on…
I try to make an effort to have a plan for mealtimes, but particularly for dinner. Here are my two secret weapons:
1. NO MORE TO GO — this is a great site that sends you weekly dinner meal plans. You get the shopping list, the recipes, photos, and even vegetarian and vegan substitutes. Every recipe I’ve ever made from no more to go has been simple, tasty, quick, and the kids usually like it too. In fact, some of these recipes have become “go to” recipes that I use at least a couple of times a month. It’s GREAT. I highly recommend you try it out, especially if you struggle to get dinner on the table in the midst of hectic weeks like I sometimes do.
2. ROASTED CHICKEN — this is by far my favorite busy-week recipe. I have two young children, who can be pretty picky eaters, but this satisfies them every time. I know what you’re thinking…a whole chicken? too complicated. too long. I can’t.
But I promise you, YOU CAN! If you haven’t cooked a chicken this way, it will change your life. I haven’t cooked a plain ol’ boneless skinless chicken breast in forever because once you eat this chicken you can’t go back to plain, dry, stovetop chicken breast. Let me break it down for you:
The best part about this recipe for me, is that I spend about 3 minutes getting the chicken prepped, and then everything goes into the oven for an hour. I’m HANDS-FREE in the hour before dinner time which is priceless. I can play with the kids, show them how to set the table, do a couple of loads of laundry, give the girls early baths, check my blood sugar…I mean I can get a lot done in that pre-dinner hour. And it’s so much better than the usual routine of me standing at the stove, making a mess in the kitchen, playing referee for the kids while they roam the living room unsupervised and high on the freedom from said lack of supervision.
Here’s what you have to do.
Get a whole chicken ( a much better bargain than just buying individual parts, I might add). And cut out the backbone. Easy, but not the most glamorous part of the recipe. Here’s a video on that if you need a little convincing. I use a knife because I don’t have dedicated chicken shears (gasp) and it works just fine.. Or just channel Martha Stewart, or Jacques Pepin, or Julia Child. Whatever works for you, but get that backbone outta there.
Once that’s done, the rest is cake…er, chicken. I put a mix of butter, herbs, salt, & pepper, under the skin and on top. By “mix” I mean I literally just take half a stick of room temp butter and toss in whatever herbs I feel like that day, and mix it up. You can use other delicious add ins like hot sauce, dijon mustard, white wine, but I’ve got the toddlers so I keep it simple. They always clean their plates so why mess with a good thing?
I throw in two whole heads of garlic with the tops cut off, because I LOVE roasted garlic. I add a lemon (if i have one) and some fresh herbs to the bottom of the pan, then plop the chicken in there and it’s ready to go.
And I do sweet potatoes at the same time. In this picture I went through the trouble of cutting them up and putting them in the pan, but usually I just wrap them in foil whole, and put them in at the same time as the chicken.
That. is. it. After an hour at 425 degrees, Dinner’s done!
Sometimes I add a salad, or green beans (because something green on the plate makes it feel official), and bread to go with the roasted garlic cloves that I like to devour.
This meal is a total win for diabetes. The free-time while it’s in the oven gives me plenty of time to check my blood sugars pre-meal. And the sweet potatoes, even though they’re sweet, are easy on the blood sugar.
So easy!! Plus there are usually leftovers, which makes it a double win because lunch or dinner for the next day is taken care of.
Do yourself a favor–go get yourself a chicken!!!! Your family will ooh and ahh at the fancy factor, and they don’t have to know you didn’t break a sweat.
BEST CHICKEN EVER ROAST CHICKEN — hands on time: 5 mins TOTAL time: 1hr, 5mins
- 1 whole chicken
- 2 heads of garlic (tops chopped off–the whole head, not just a clove)
- 2-4 small sweet potatoes (depending on how many your family will eat, cook as many or as few as you need. I usually cook 4 and have leftovers)
- 4 tbs butter
- 2 tbs fresh herbs, chopped ( rosemary & thyme are my go to but parsley, sage, or even just dry herbs if you don’t have fresh on hand). Plus extra for aromatics in pan if desired.
- 1 lemon cut in half
- salt & pepper to taste
- olive oil
- preheat oven to 425
- chop heads off garlic and set aside
- chop herbs and mix into room temp butter, set aside
- fork potatoes and wrap them in aluminum foil
- butterfly chicken (remove backbone)
- turn chicken breast-side up, and pat dry. using a spoon or spatula smear half of butter mix under the skin (between the skin and breast meat). Spread the rest of butter mix liberally onto the outside of the chicken** (breast, legs, wings, etc). Sprinkle with Salt & Pepper **I keep it simple for a kid friendly version, but for an added kick, you could add a few tablespoons of white wine, a tablespoon of dijon mustard, and/or a splash of hot sauce here.
- In an iron skillet or oven safe pan, place any extra dry herbs, half a lemon, and garlic tops if desired. drizzle with olive oil and place chicken on top.
- place garlic heads in alongside the chicken, and drizzle with olive oil.
- Put chicken and foil wrapped sweet potatoes in the oven for 1 hr or until potatoes are fork tender and chicken reaches internal temp of 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Take all the glory for a stress free, fancy meal.