Diabetic or not, enjoy healthy meals

Holiday dining and celebrations are a culinary challenge for most Americans, especially those with diet-related illnesses. While I’m not a diabetic, my family medical history provides a cautionary tale. The American Diabetes Association estimates that 23.6 million people in the U.S. have diabetes, but only 17.9 million people actually have been diagnosed. This means approximately 5.7 million people have diabetes and don’t know it.

Because so many Americans — including my husband, mother, father, youngest sister and many other family members and friends are diabetics — I decided to collect 150 of my favorite, healthy recipes and create “The Kitchen Diva’s Diabetic Cookbook: 150 Healthy, Delicious Recipes for Diabetics and Those Who Dine With Them.”

Throughout “The Kitchen Diva’s Diabetic Cookbook,” I’ve prepared recipes suitable for a diabetic that also are satisfying for non-diabetics. I use these recipes when entertaining family and friends.

This easy-to-use cookbook addresses the health and dietary needs of pre-diabetics, juvenile diabetes, Type I and Type II diabetics, women with pregnancy-related diabetes, those with diabetic-related complications or anyone seeking to embrace a healthier diet and lifestyle.

Diabetes symptoms vary depending on how high the blood sugar is elevated. Some people, especially those with prediabetes or type 2 diabetes, may not experience symptoms initially. In type 1 diabetes, however, symptoms tend to come on quickly and be more severe. Although type 1 diabetes can develop at any age, it typically appears during childhood or adolescence. Type 2 diabetes, the most common type, can develop at any age and often is preventable.

Some of the signs and symptoms of type 1 and type 2 diabetes are increased thirst; frequent urination; extreme hunger; unexplained weight loss; the presence of ketones in the urine (ketones are a byproduct of the breakdown of muscle and fat, which happens when there’s not enough insulin); fatigue; blurred vision; slow-healing sores; mild high blood pressure; and frequent infections, such as gum or skin infections and vaginal or bladder infections.

This recipe for Crispy Roasted Chicken is from “The Kitchen Diva’s Diabetic Cookbook.” It’s easy and delicious, and provides a healthy meal for diabetics and those who dine with them during the holidays … and every day!

Crispy Roasted Chicken

This is one of my family’s favorite chicken dishes. I usually prepare it for Sunday dinner after church and for holiday celebrations. Sprinkling the skin with baking powder helps draw out the moisture, so the skin gets crackling crisp in the oven.

1 (5–1/2 to 6 pound) whole chicken, or 5 pounds breast, drumsticks and thigh parts

1/2 tablespoon baking powder

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 tablespoons garlic powder

2 tablespoons poultry seasoning

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper

1 small onion, halved

1 lemon, halved

8 sprigs rosemary

4 cloves garlic cloves, smashed

2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme

Cooking oil spray

1. Remove the neck, giblets and any pieces of fat inside of the bird. Rinse the bird with cold water inside and out. Remove any excess fat and leftover pin feathers. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels. Sprinkle the chicken skin (breast side only) with the baking powder. Place the chicken on a roasting rack in a large baking pan and let it air-dry in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. Pat the chicken dry with more paper towels.

2. Spray a large baking pan with cooking-oil spray. Rub the olive oil all over the chicken. Turn the chicken breast side up, twist the wing tips and tuck them behind the bird. Sprinkle the chicken inside and out with the garlic powder, poultry seasoning, salt and pepper. Rub the spices inside and out of the bird, or if using parts, on both sides. Stuff the cavity with the onion, lemon, rosemary, garlic and thyme, or place aromatics under the chicken parts

3. Preheat oven to 425 F. Place the chicken in the upper half of the oven and cook, uncovered, for 15 minutes to brown and crisp the skin. Lower the oven temperature to 350 F. Spray the chicken with the cooking-oil spray. Roast the chicken for an additional 35 to 40 minutes, or until the juices run clear when a thigh is pierced with a knife, or an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thigh and not touching bone registers 165 F.

4. Remove the chicken from oven and allow it to rest, uncovered, for at least 10 minutes prior to carving. Do not cover the meat because it will steam and soften the crispy skin. Makes 10 servings.

Angela Shelf Medearis is an award-winning children’s author, culinary historian and the author of seven cookbooks. Her Web site is www.divapro.com ••