My father has diabetes and recently had some challenges with controlling his blood sugar levels. As a result, he has made a commitment to maintaining a diet that is lower in sugar and carbohydrates. Initially, he wasn’t thrilled about the idea of a low sugar/low carb diet. According to him, it meant he would “have to eat a lot of salad”. But after a few months of watching what he eats and cooking more meals that are lower in sugar and carbs and eating less out of the box (meaning less boxed and canned foods that typically have lots of sugar and sodium), he is realizing that eating a healthy diet to stay in control of his diabetes isn’t so bad after all, and he can eat lots of tasty, hearty foods and won’t be doomed to a life of salad. Not that eating salad is so bad, but we all need a little variety in our lives.
To help Dad on his journey (and Mom as well because she’s supporting him by changing her eating habits too), I decided to feature recipes with lower sugar and/carbs for The Daily Dish. My hope is that these recipes will inspire Mom and Dad to try new recipes, as well as anyone else who may living a low sugar lifestyle. Some recipes will be my own, and some will be featured recipes from fellow bloggers, but all will be delicious.
The first recipe in our Low Sugar Living Series is Mexican Stuffed Peppers. I made these peppers this weekend while the folks were in town and they got great reviews from the family! This was actually the first time I’ve made stuffed peppers and they turned out really good. I’ll definitely make more varieties of stuffed peppers, because peppers make a great shell for fillings since they have very low carbs and almost no sugar.
Mexican Stuffed Peppers
6 Bell Peppers (I used green but you can use any kind you like)
1.5 Pounds of boneless, skinless chicken breast (approximately 3 pieces)
1 Cup of Quinoa
1 Can of Ro-Tel
1 Can of black beans, drained and rinsed
1 Tablespoon of olive oil, plus extra for basting the peppers
1 Yellow onion, chopped
2-3 Cloves of garlic, minced
1 Tablespoon and 1 teaspoon of chili powder, divided
1 Tablespoon and 1 teaspoon of cumin, divided
1/4-1/2 Teaspoon of cayenne pepper (start with less and add more to taste)
Salt and pepper, to taste
1/2 Cup of chicken stock
1/4 Cup of cilantro (about a handful), chopped
About 1/2 cup of shredded pepper jack or jack cheese-just enough to sprinkle a little on the top of each pepper
Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.
Season the chicken breasts with one teaspoon of chili powder and one teaspoon of cumin, as well as salt and pepper to taste. Place in a skillet and pour about one cup of water in the bottom. Cover and cook on medium until the chicken is cooked through; about 20 minutes. Keep an eye on the chicken as you may need to add more water if the water cooks out of the pan.
While the chicken is cooking, boil two cups of water in a medium sauce pan. Once the water is boiling, add the Quinoa and Ro-Tel. Bring back to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer, covered for 20 minutes or until the quinoa is softened and liquid has absorbed.
When the chicken has cooked, remove from the skillet and allow to cool before handling. Once cooled, shred the chicken with two forks or your finger.
Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add the olive oil. When the olive oil is heated, add the onion and garlic and saute until the onion is softened, about 3-4 minutes. Add the shredded chicken, and black beans and stir to combine. Add one tablespoon of chili powder and one tablespoon of cumin, along with the cayenne pepper. Next add the chicken stock and stir to combine.
Add the cooked Quinoa and stir to combine, then season with salt and pepper to taste. Add the cilantro and stir to combine.
Cut the tops off of your bell peppers remove the seeds and brush the outsides of the peppers with olive oil. Fill each bell pepper with the filling-don't be skimpy; you should have enough of the mixture to stuff the peppers completely. Top with a little cheese on each pepper.
Place a piece of aluminum foil on a large baking sheet and place the stuffed peppers on the baking sheet. Bake for 30 minutes or until the peppers are softened and the cheese is melted and bubbly.
If you want to keep this recipe even lower in fat, you can skip the cheese or use low fat/fat free cheese