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Eating well while living with diabetes

Easy Spinach-Artichoke Enchilada Casserole (Photo by Lauren Kelp and Constance Mariena)

Some may be coming from a new diagnosis for the new year like diabetes. But what should you eat to stay healthy?

Out next week is “The Easy Diabetes Cookbook” by Mary Ellen Phipps ($21.99; Page Street Publishing, Co.) In this cookbook, Phipps teaches three key nutrients diabetics need to help manage their blood sugar levels while also showing them that it does not need to mean bland, flavorless meals.

Phipps sat down for a brief Q&A all about her new book.

Q. How did you get the idea for this cookbook?

A. I’ve always been passionate about reducing stress and adding joy to people’s kitchens, but especially so for people with diabetes. It’s a disease that can suck the fun out of food or leave people feeling like they’ve lost all sense of control in the kitchen. I’ve lived with diabetes since I was 5 years old and wanted to give people the same confidence and freedom I have in the kitchen!

Q. What makes your cookbook different from any other diabetes one out there?

A. I am a registered dietitian but I also have diabetes myself. So, I get it. Getting to combine both my personal experience and professional expertise lends a unique angle to the book. I also strive to always focus on what to ADD to your diet when you have diabetes, not what to take away.

Q. What do you wish people knew most about diabetes?

A. I wish people understood that diabetes doesn’t care how old you are, what you look like, or where you’re from. Anyone can develop diabetes. There are so many risk factors for diabetes and many we don’t fully understand, so it was important to me to create a resource that everyone could understand and use.

Q. What is your favorite recipe in the book?

A. The main theme of the book is easy recipes and the “Quick & Delicious Entrees” and “15-Minute Meals” chapters have so many good recipes, but I’m a sucker for a good low sugar dessert. My absolute favorite is probably the Flourless Chocolate Chip Pecan Cookies.

Q. Anything else you feel I should know?

A. Each recipe comes with tips and tricks, and full nutrition information so readers can feel confident in the kitchen!

Below is a recipe for a casserole that diabetics and non-diabetics will enjoy.

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Reprinted with permission from The Easy Diabetes Cookbook by Mary Ellen Phipps, Page Street Publishing Co. 2021.

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EASY SPINACH-ARTICHOKE ENCHILADA CASSEROLE

Spinach and artichoke dip joins forces with enchiladas to create your new favorite casserole! Beans and artichokes pack this dish with fiber while the salsa and cheese pull everything together. With 14 grams of fiber and 19 grams of protein, your blood sugars will be nice and steady after dinner.

gluten-free | high fiber | no added sugar | yield: 4 servings

3 cups (500 g) frozen quartered artichoke hearts, thawed

1 medium onion, finely chopped

1 tsp dried oregano

1 clove garlic, minced

Black pepper, as needed

4 cups (120 g) baby spinach

1 (15-oz [425-g]) can white beans of choice, drained and rinsed

8 (6-inch [15-cm]) corn tortillas

2/3 cup (75 g) shredded Mexican cheese blend

3/4 cup (180 ml) salsa verde

Salsa, sliced avocado, fresh lime juice, and finely chopped cilantro (optional)

Preheat the oven to 400∂F (204∂C).

Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add the artichoke hearts, onion, oregano, garlic, and black pepper. Cook the mixture for 7 to 10 minutes, or until the onion is translucent and the artichoke hearts are browned. During the final minute of cooking, add the spinach and beans and cook until the spinach has wilted.

In a 9 x 13-inch (23 x 32.5-cm) baking dish, layer 2 tortillas, 2 to 3 tablespoons (14 to 21 g) of the Mexican cheese blend, 3 to 4 tablespoons (45 to 60 ml) of the salsa verde, and one-fourth of the bean and veggie mixture. Repeat this order until you’ve used all your ingredients.

Cover the casserole with foil or an oven-safe lid and bake it for 20 minutes, or until the cheese has melted. Serve the casserole with the salsa, avocado, lime juice, and cilantro (if using).

STORAGE: Store the casserole in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Estimated Nutrition Facts per Serving: 368 calories; 59 g carbs; 14 g fiber; 3 g sugar; 19 g protein; 7 g fat (6 g saturated fat); 546 mg sodium

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