As the warm days of summer slip away, there are fewer opportunities for outdoor meals and barbecues. The final beautiful days of the season are often referred to as Indian summer. Discover a perfect Indian summer meal that celebrates the essence of the season and stays within the parameters of a diabetes-friendly diet. All the recipes serve approximately four people so you can double or triple them to serve a larger crowd!
Appetizers to Greet Your Guests
Most guests do not arrive at the same time. Even if you are planning a small gathering; you need to serve appetizers to greet your guests. They are something for everyone to nibble on as the main course is being prepared. These appetizers may also prevent some people with diabetes from experiencing hypoglycemia prior to the meal. Put out plenty of water bottles to refresh your guests. Serve water in plastic glasses with a crystal look for a fancy feeling and include citrus wedges for flavor and vitamin C.
Barbecue Flavored Chicken and Cheese Tidbits
Bring the flavor of barbecue to the event with these easy appetizers that take just a few minutes to prepare and serve.
- 2 ounces of low-fat American or cheddar cheese
- 1 cup of boneless, skinless thinly-sliced chicken
- 1/4 cup of low-sugar or sugar-free barbecue sauce
- 1 small sliced onion
- 1 small sliced green pepper
- 1 Box of Whole grain crackers
- Heat the oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Cut the cheese into small slices Mix the chicken and barbecue sauce in a bowl.
- Layer the crackers on a baking sheet. Top them with chicken, cheese, a slice of pepper, and a slice of onion.
- Bake for five minutes until the cheese melts and serve.
Spicy Pinto Bean Quesadillas
Spice up the day with some tasty quesadillas that are sure to make everyone look forward to the rest of your Indian summer meal. Legumes are an excellent source of fiber and help keep you satiated.
- 1 15-ounce can of rinsed pinto beans
- 1/2 cup of shredded low-fat pepper Jack cheese
- 1/4 cup low-sugar or home made salsa
- 4 whole wheat tortillas
- 2 teaspoons safflower oil
- Sliced avocado
- Mix beans, salsa, and cheese in a bowl.
- Put equal parts of filling on half of each tortilla.
- Fold the tortillas over and gently flatten with the palm of your hand.
- Heat the oil in a nonstick pan over low to medium heat.
- Cook the quesadillas on each side for a total of 5 minutes.
- Allow them to cool slightly then slice each tortilla into four equal, smaller pieces. Serve on warm foil with sliced avocados on the side.
Crispy Vegetable and Mozzarella Salad
A crunchy salad is a mainstay served with all types of meals. This variation on a caprese salad includes plenty of vegetables and flavor to tantalize your guests’ appetites with healthy doses of nutrients and antioxidants.
- 4 thinly-sliced tomatoes
- 1 thinly sliced cucumber
- 1/2 onion, peeled and thinly sliced
- 4 ounces of fresh, low-fat mozzarella cheese
- 2 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon of balsamic vinegar
- 1 teaspoon of dried rosemary or fresh, finely chopped rosemary
- Pepper to taste
- Toss the tomatoes, onion, and cucumber with olive oil, pepper, and balsamic vinegar.
- Let the vegetables stand for about a half hour while the guests are arriving.
- Toss and top with thinly sliced mozzarella cheese.
- Sprinkle with rosemary and serve.
Traditional Tossed Salad
A traditional tossed salad includes the summer vegetables people have learned to love for generations.
- 1 head iceberg lettuce/romaine lettuce
- 2 sliced tomatoes
- 1 sliced cucumber
- 1 sliced onion
- 2 sliced carrots
- 1/3 cup shredded, low-fat Parmesan cheese
- Slice the head of iceberg/romaine lettuce, tomatoes, carrots, cucumber, and onion.
- Toss together in a large bowl and top with shredded cheese.
- Serve with sugar-free, fat-free Walden Farms dressing.
The Magnificent Main Course
The main course is what satisfies your guests’ hunger and celebrates the last day of summertime. This main course includes barbecued turkey, lemony chicken, sweet potato fries, and roasted vegetables. It is a greeting to fall as well as a farewell to summer.
Barbecued Turkey Breast for All Seasons
Turkey breast is a low-fat option that suits all seasons. The barbecued flavor pays homage to summer while the turkey itself is a reminder of the harvest and Thanksgiving days to come. Remember to remove the skin prior to serving.
- 1 pound of sliced turkey breast tenderloin
- 3/4 cup of low-sugar ketchup
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 1 minced garlic
- 1/4 tablespoon chili powder
- 1/4 tablespoon powdered coriander
- Dash of black pepper
- Fresh parsley
- Mix the ketchup, lemon juice, garlic, chili powder, and cumin in a small sauce pan.
- Cook on low to medium heat until it starts to boil.
- Simmer for seven minutes then transfer the sauce to a bowl to use.
- Grill the turkey slices on an uncovered grill rack.
- Cook and turn until they are fully cooked with no pink inside.
- Brush with sauce during the last three minutes of grilling.
- Serve with a sprig of parsley as the garnish.
Luscious Lemon Pepper Chicken
Lemon chicken adds a tangy flair to the meal and includes the refreshing flavor of lemon, which is always perfect for a summer celebration.
- 1 pound of chicken tenderloins
- 2 large lemons
- 1/2 teaspoon dried garlic
- 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of black pepper to taste
- Squeeze the juice from the 2 large lemons into a bowl and add garlic.
- Dip chicken tenderloins into the lemon juice before grilling.
- Coat each side of the chicken generously with black pepper.
- Grill until the chicken is completely cooked with no pink inside and serve.
Sensational Sweet Potato Fries
Dare to serve baked fries made with healthy sweet potatoes rather than the fatty French fries that leave you feeling heavy and guilty.
- 5 large sweet potatoes cut up into wedges or fries
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon oregano
- Dash of pepper
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Put the potatoes, cut side down, on a baking sheet. Drizzle with oil and seasonings. Bake for 30 minutes until crisp. Turn once during the baking process.
Vegan Roast: Broccoli and Cauliflower
Roasted vegetables are a delicious side dish that makes you think of the roasted veggies typically served at fall gatherings. These vegetables are cruciferous which excellent sources of fiber.
- 4 cups fresh broccoli florets
- 4 cups fresh cauliflower florets
- 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 4 cloves chopped garlic
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Toss the broccoli and cauliflower with oil, garlic, and red pepper.
- Place on a baking sheet and cook for about 30 minutes until tender and serve. (This can also be done by wrapping the seasoned vegetables in aluminum foil and placing them directly on a grill.)
Finish the Course off with Guilt-Free Desserts!
Nothing tastes better at the end of the summer than fresh fruit. These desserts use fresh berries, melon, and apples for a summertime taste that also beckons the fall days ahead. Serve with coffee and tea with sugar substitute and fat-free half and half.
Wonderful Watermelon Pizza Pie
This watermelon pizza pie looks impressive and only takes a few minutes to prepare.
- 1/2 cup low-fat plain Greek yogurt
- 1/3 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 large sliced of watermelon from the middle of the melon
- 1 cup of strawberries
- 1/4 cup raspberries
- 1/2 cup blueberries
- Mix the yogurt and vanilla in a bowl.
- Spread the yogurt over the slices of watermelon.
- Cut the watermelon into wedges, like a pizza pie.
- Top with strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries for a colorful summer treat.
Bodacious Baked Apples
The end of the summer and beginning of fall is the ideal time to go apple picking and serve this Indian summer dessert to pique everyone’s appetites for the cooler days ahead.
- 4 medium apples, peeled, seeded, and diced
- 2 tablespoons melted butter
- 3 tablespoons Splenda brown sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 3 tablespoons slivered almonds
- Cooking spray
- Preheat the over to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Combine apples, melted butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon in a bowl.
- Lightly spray a baking sheet with cooking spray.
- Bake the apples for about 40 minutes until they are tender.
- Serve topped with slivered almonds.
Invite everyone over to celebrate Indian summer and appreciate a healthy feast with no guilt. It is the perfect way to bid farewell to the summer and greet the fall days ahead. And it is likely nobody will know your delicious meal is also diabetes-friendly!