Category Archives: Rockin' Recipes

A Breakfast Believer!

Whether weight loss is your game or managing your diabetes (or both), you have heard, “breakfast is the most important meal of the day” at least once.  Most of us actually heard this at some point growing up or in the process of growing up our own family.  Back then it had to do with being at our best during the school day and hopefully having our brain function optimally.  These days, it has more to do with trying to jump start a metabolism that has decided to enjoy early retirement or trying to bring down a fasting blood glucose number that seems to peak first thing in the morning.

Breakfast.  Just the word conjures visions of french toast, banana nut pancakes, bacon, sausage links, biscuits, gravy, piggies in the blanket….. mmmmmmmmmm! For a weight loss crusader or a diabetic defender, these visions will stay just that….. visions.  As a faithful follower of Weight Watchers, I know that you can treat yourself to these every once in awhile, especially if you manage your allotted daily points in a way that allows it.  However, as a diabetic there is a question as to the definition of “once in awhile” and as for this diabetic….. treating myself once just creates a vicious craving that I would rather be without!  And, bottomline, although those breakfast choices are once-in-awhile options, breakfast is not.  Breakfast should be an everyday occurrence for an endless list of reasons; after all, it is the most important meal of the day!

Breakfast.  Just the word conjures a steady stream of excuses…… I don’t like to eat in the morning, I don’t have time to eat in the mornings, I am not hungry in the mornings, nixing breakfast helps cut 1/3 of the day’s calories, yada yada yada.  When I first started Weight Watchers in 2005 I was one of those I-don’t-like-to-eat-in-the-morning people.  After a few months I became very frustrated with losing an average of less than 1 pound a week.  My group leader re-addressed the topic of breakfast and its effects on weight loss with me. I decided, heck, if I could figure out how to enjoy exercise, I could figure out how to enjoy breakfast!  My new routine became ½ cup of original Fiber One cereal mixed into a 98% fat free Yoplait yogurt, 1 small banana and a large glass of water.  Within a month or so of adding breakfast to my day, my average weekly weight loss increased to 1.5lbs a week.  I became a Breakfast Believer!

So, my ½ cup of original Fiber One cereal mixed into a 98% fat free Yoplait yogurt, 1 small banana and a large glass of water became my daily breakfast.  The only part that varied was the flavor of yogurt. For 3 years – over 1,000 days that included a pregnancy – this was my Old Faithful of breakfasts.  When I received my diagnosis of type 2 diabetes in October 2009, I was left utterly dumbfounded.  Yes, Old Faithful was healthy; yes, it had contributed greatly to my weight loss (93 lbs) and to my efforts to maintain my loss; yes, it seemed responsible for keeping my “plumbing” in good order; however, in an instant, the arrival of diabetes turned my old friend to a new foe!

This value of this breakfast had been quantified for years as “3 points.”  This is fantastic in a Weight Watchers World.  Now, it was quantified as “65g carbohydrates.”  This is known as one big fat no-no in a type 2 diabetes world.  Every diabetic is different and their blood sugar responds to different foods at different times of the day.  I tried everything.  I tried Fiber One and water, yogurt and water, Fiber One and the banana, the banana and water….. you get my drift.  My blood sugar was just not on board with any of the combinations.  Now I was stuck.  I needed to lose 80 lbs, so I knew I needed to eat breakfast.  My mornings are CRAZY trying to get myself ready for work and my 2 year old ready for school.  I needed an new Old Faithful.  It needed to be delicious, fast, low carb AND low points.  How’s that for high maintenance??

Two fellow Weight Watchers turned me on to Egg Beaters.  Now, I had eaten them before and I loved them.  The key to this “turn on” was that they let me in on a little secret……. THEY CAN BE MICROWAVED!  Who knew?  Microwaved egg substitute out of a carton gave rise to my current Old Faithful.  Not only is it “5 points” and “18g carbs (11 net)”…… it can be prepared in less than 4 minutes and yes, I have timed it on multiple occasions!  The punch line – my blood glucose is routinely 120ish 2 hours after my 1st bite. I take the ingredients for the week to work every Monday morning so that i am never left empty handed and tempted to just wait it out until lunch.

A Breakfast Believer’s Breakfast Burrito – 5 Weight Watchers Points, 18g carbs/7g fiber

1/2 c Egg Beaters

1 Mission low carb small flour tortilla

1 Tbsp salsa

1/4 c Weight Watchers shredded cheese

1/2 small or 1/4 large avocado, sliced

Microwave bow of Egg Beaters for 2 minutes, stirring about every 30 seconds.  While microwaving eggs, place tortilla on plate and put cheese on tortilla.  When eggs are finished put on top of cheese.  Top eggs with salsa and sliced avocado. Breakfast Bliss!

Whether we are hustling ourselves to work or hustling children to school, breakfast is just an easy thing to miss.  However, once you experience the impact the most important meal of the day can have on your weight loss efforts or how the right breakfast may help decrease your blood glucose faster than skipping a morning meal, you  too, will be a breakfast believer!

Do you have an Old Faithful?  I would love to hear what made you a Breakfast Believer!

The Dishing Diabetic

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The Great Zu-dini!

Sometimes I think I should take my show on the road as a Substitution Magician. After 4 years of eating to manage my weight and then adding blood glucose management to that a year ago, it feels as if I have found a substitute for nearly all of my favorite foods. Some did not require much effort, like substituting low carb flour tortillas for regular flour tortillas or egg beaters for real eggs. Other favorites, such as spaghetti and mashed potatoes proposed a much larger challenge for my “skills.” However, as the saying goes, where there’s a will, there’s a way!

True magic is made when you actually believe your substitution is better than the real deal. I can’t pinpoint when this magic happens, but, stick with it long enough and it really does happen. I was discussing this with a colleague in our office kitchen one morning. She was heating up her homemade pumpkin oatmeal (utterly AMAZING) and I was making my regular breakfast burrito. Both breakfasts included a sophisticated level of substitutions; however, we agreed that even if we could eat the “originals” our concoctions were based on, we would actually choose our alternatives. Magic! Our assumption was this…. somewhere along the way in our journey to make life changes (the only way weight loss can healthfully be achieved and maintained) we actually realized that our new food choices made us feel better.  Four days into my efforts my daily heart burn disappeared, for good.  About 4 weeks into my efforts I noticed how much better I was sleeping.  A couple of months (and a handful of pounds lighter) into it and  the constant dull ache in my hips and knees was gone.  The sensation of feeling better, feeling younger, began to carry more importance than eating the foods that tasted better. The WLDS (Weight Loss Deprivation Syndrome) and the DDS (Diabetic Deprivation Syndrome) began to dissipate and give way to a feeling of being in control for once.  I realized that the only thing I was depriving my body of was heart burn, aches, pains, sleeplessness and the list goes on….. and as for those things, I was more than happy to live without them.  As for everything else….. a substitute had to exist!

Mashed cauliflower became mashed potatoes in my house. Now the entire family and extended family prefers the substitution. My substitution for spaghetti has also become a fan favorite.  Now, remember the only 2 rules I enforce when sharing recipes…. approach with an open mind and don’t-knock-it-til-you-try-it.  Zucchini is the substitution for noodles in my spaghetti.  Yes, zucchini….. or as I like to call it…. The Great Zu-dini!  Zucchini has been a staple of my diet for a very long time.  I like to use thin slices of zucchini as “chips” for my dip.  I love to saute it with baby portobello mushrooms with a little shredded romano cheese sprinkled it.  Zucchini also makes wonderful zucchini fries (I use olive oil and about 1/2 c. flour). I can even make mini pizzas with zucchini serving as the crust (George Stella’s Good Carb Family Cookbook’s Pizza Stuffed Zucchini Bites).  Zucchini, a required prop for any seasoned Substitution Magician, deserves the title The Great Zu-dini.

Spaghini……. (spaghetti with zucchini) 6 servings; Per serving: 4 Weight Watchers Points, 24 g carbs, 5 g fiber

8-10 zucchini (speared and cut in 1/2)

2 cartons sliced mushrooms

1 lb 96% fat free ground beef  

1 sweet yellow onion, chopped

1 lg can (26 1/2 oz) low carb spaghetti sauce (I uses Del Monte Green Pepper & Mushroom)

6 Tbsp reduced fat grated parmesan cheese

Cut zucchini into spears about 3-4 inches long and steam until crisp-tender.  Spray large skillet with cooking spray and saute mushrooms and onions.  Add ground beef to mushrooms and onions, brown and drain.  Return meat mixture back to skillet and add can of spaghetti sauce and heat.   Spoon 1 cup zucchini into 6 bowls. Scoop about 3/4 cup spaghetti sauce mixture on top of zucchini and top with 1 Tbsp reduced fat grated parmesan cheese.  Enjoy!

Are you new to the substitution game or are you an old pro?  What is your favorite substitution for your favorite food?  I look forward to hearing…. I need a good idea for dinner tonight!

Have a wonderful week!

The Dishing Diabetic

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How About Some Pudding, Puddin’?

I must offer you all a confession.  I suffer from a serious condition known as DDS – Diabetic Deprivation Syndrome.  My DDS is brought on by a decreased intake of foods containing the main ingredient sugar, which gives these foods a sweet taste and gives my taste buds their very own rave party!  I have severe onset DDS in the evening, during my post-dinner hours.  I also have panic-induced DDS as I truly fear for my life if my day does not end on a “sweet” note!!  I have too much to live for that not rising to see another day at the hands of DDS is not an option.  I also have too much to live for that letting too much sugar cross my lips is not an option.  So, what is a girl (with type II diabetes) to do?

I do find some comfort in my suspicion that many of my fellow diabetics also suffer from DDS.  Although it may result from breads, pastas, potatoes or rice – we all share this terrifying syndrome.  What is it they say about misery loving company?  I am fairly certain, even in the absence of scientific proof, that I am not facing this condition alone (who needs scientific proof….. just visit one diabetic message board and you will see DDS running rampant!).

So, for all of you with my type of DDS…. the type resulting from a sugar deficiency….. try ending your day on this note –

How about a little pudding, puddin’?

1/2 c. Jell-o brand fat free, sugar free white chocolate pudding (follow prep instructions on box) – 1 Weight Watchers point, 6g carbs

1 Tbsp Heath toffee bits (found on the baking aisle with the chocolate chips) 2 Weight Watchers points, 9g carbs

Yep, that’s right…. toffee bits!!  Hello rave party for my taste buds (and hello on-target bed time blood glucose #’s! *Depending on what you ate for dinner of course).

Top the 1/2 c. of pudding with the 1 Tbsp. toffee bits and good-bye DDS (for tonight at least).

Another FANTASTIC topping your pudding – 1/2 c. fresh blueberries (10g carbs).

I wish you all the very best in your own personal battle with DDS.  Please share your success stories for defeating this “life threatening” condition.

Til tomorrow, puddin’,

The Dishing Diabetic

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The Tale of the Deadly Diabetic Diablo Burger

Last week I posted It’s Burger Time, Baby (https://thediabeticdish.wordpress.com/2009/08/09/its-burger-time-baby/).  This was a fantastic moment as I discovered I could have a hamburger and keep my blood sugar on target.  I am talking about a burger WITH a bun, not a bun-less burger (aka a ground meat patty with salad on top).  One thing I failed to mention in that posting is exactly what kick started the burger craze that is currently taking place in my home.  Think about one of the most cruel television programs known to diabetics.  This is how I refer to the Travel Channel’s MAN V. FOOD!  Mr. Man LOVES this program.  We pretty much don’t miss an episode.  If you have never seen it, think – a man highlighting the “biggest” foods and eating challenges in different cities.  Hamburgers routinely make the list.  I think I have literally seen every combination of the most bizarre ingredients imaginable – think a fried egg and peanut butter on your hamburger!  Yes, on the same burger!

I am pretty much a sucker when it comes to Mr. Man and I enjoy making him happy.  And, you know what they say…… the way to a man’s heart….. Well, this diabetes thing put a pretty big dent in the menu of items I prepare now.  He is an absolute champ as he scarfs down spaghetti sauce over steamed zucchini while complimenting me on how good it is (I told you – CHAMP!); however, I still look for ways to cook meals that are exciting and new AND are blood sugar friendly!  Enter MAN V. FOOD and the grand idea to replicate one of the burgers highlighted on the show (replacing ingredients with their low fat, whole wheat versions).  How difficult could this be – jalapenos, serrano peppers, onion ring, low fat cream cheese, 96% fat free ground beef, whole wheat bun?  Not difficult at all if you don’t count nearly killing Mr. Man, MiMi, our 2 yr old – oh, and myself!!

There is no way to tell you last night’s happenings that could possibly detail the hilarity that ensued; but, I am going to try.  I mixed the 1lb ground beef with ground pepper, garlic salt and A1 steak sauce, divided into 5 patties and set aside.  I sliced 4 slices of onion, leaving the rings intact, and set aside.  I chopped the 6 jalapenos and 6 serrrano peppers and put in a bowl.  In a small mixing bowl I mixed about 1/3 c flour, 1 egg, 2 c fat free milk, chili powder & ground pepper and set aside.  In a skillet I put 3 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil and heated it up.  I then poured the bowl of chopped peppers into the oil to sauté.  Did I mention that I did not de-seed the peppers?  I have been known to exaggerate a time or two, but I am not stretching the truth AT ALL when I tell you that within minutes my entire family was sneezing, coughing, hacking, and gasping.

I have never experienced ANYTHING like this.  The rest of my family was driven to waiting for dinner in the backyard; while I bravely faced the peppers inside (with the help of a trusty bandana tied around my face).  I am NOT kidding!  If anyone knows how this happened, please share!  Do the seeds put off a gas as they cook?  Was it the peppers?  The jokes at my expense are nowhere near slowing and I have to tell you, I absolutely deserve it!  As soon as I turned off the heat and moved the skillet the relentless “pepper burn” came to and end almost as quickly as it began.  However, I was a fool to think this evening was anywhere near over.

I went on my way…… I dipped each onion slice in batter, let as much batter drip off as possible and lightly fried them in extra virgin olive oil.  The patties were cooked on the grill.  When they were ready I carefully constructed my masterpieces.  From the bun up: fried onion slice, meat patty, 2 BIG spoonfuls of peppers, and 2 slices reduced fat cream cheese laid side by side, top bun.  They were beautiful, smelled heavenly and would hopefully be very kind to my blood sugar.  After one bite it was clear….. these would forever be known as the Deadly Diabetic Diablo Burgers. Although my blood sugar handled them well, there was nothing kind about these burgers.  There he sat, trying to maintain his “champ” status with sweat drenching his brow as he complimented the meal.  He actually said, “my scalp is itching.”  What kind of pepper can make one’s scalp itch? I could not even finish my burger and that has to be a first!!

I THINK the outcome might have been pleasurable if I had de-seeded the peppers; but, I am too emotionally scarred to try again. It will a very long time before I attempt to replicate anything involving peppers. This will go down as one of my funniest, potentially dangerous, cooking snafus!

Smile, Laugh, Love!!

The Dishing Diabetic

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Let’s Do the Mash, the Cauliflower Mash!

Ok, hold on to your hats….. thing are getting a little experimental at The Diabetic Dish!!  Please proceed with your very best don’t-knock-it-til-you-try-it open mind!!!

Can you think of a better plate mate for meatloaf than mashed potatoes?  Ever get a hankerin’ for shrimp and grits (a deep south favorite)?  Do you miss being able to make a meal out of something topped with shredded cheese, bacon bits and chives?  It probably doesn’t make sense that a diabetic would obsess about grits or potatoes….. seeing as they are pretty much forbidden when you have diabetes.  This is what I thought until a colleague (also a fellow Weight Watcher) mentioned mashed cauliflower to me.  Let me just tell you about my initial reaction; well, I probably don’t have to tell you about it, I am pretty sure you are having the same reaction as you read this.

Again, remember, don’t knock it til you try it!  Curiosity got the best of me and I had to try it.  The ultimate test was when I approached my husband with the open-your-mouth-and-close-your-eyes routine.  The result: we have not had a potato in our home in the 11 months since we started mashing ……. cauliflower!

Creamy Ranch Mashed Cauliflower (8 servings; 1 serving=1 c.; 2 points/serving, approx. 8g carbs/serving)

3 heads cauliflower

4 oz Reduced Fat Cream Cheese

1/2 c Light Sour Cream

1 package Hidden Valley Ranch dry mix

1 tsp ground pepper

Cut off cauliflower florets.  Steam florets for about 15 minutes until a knife slides smoothly through a floret.  Drain florets.  Place in large bowl.  Use a potato masher to roughly mash the florets (you can even use the back of a large spoon to mash the florets).  The cauliflower should be cooked long enough so that it can be mashed by hand.

Add the sour cream, cream cheese, ranch mix and ground pepper to the florets and continue mashing.

Once thoroughly mashed, ENJOY!!

Few notes – you can mash as little or as much as you like.  You can even use a hand mixer if you like.  We like ours a little chunky.  This is wonderful as a side or as a main meal topped with low fat shredded cheese, bacon bits and chives.  OR saute shrimp and onions and mix into the cauliflower for diabetic shrimp ‘n grits!  Added bonus: our 2 1/2 year old gobbles it up….. she has no idea that it is a vegetable!

Now, here is where things get a little crazy….. I really could have lived without white potatoes; however, I mourn the loss of sweet potatoes in my diet.  I LOVE this delectable starch pretty much any way you cook ’em.  So, here is my idea….. I am going to bake just one sweet potato and mix it into the recipe above leaving out the sour cream, pepper and ranch mix and adding a little ginger and cinnamon.  Think it will work??  Let’s cross our fingers….. check back in later this week to find out!!

Grab your mashers, ladies and watch in amazement as you create a new dish that you, your family and your blood glucose will love!

The Dishing Diabetic

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It’s Burger Time, Baby!

Can you remember those first couple of months after you received your diagnosis of type II diabetes?  Those horrifying moments where you realized your list of “favorite foods I can not have anymore” just got one item longer?  I spent most of the first month after my diagnosis feeling like I was in a mine field.  Each time hunger would set in, I would launch my “what am I in the mood for?” routine and somehow that list would end up longer.  It felt like every time I came up with an option I had not already assigned to this list, it, too, had too many carbs!  Pre-diagnosis, I might only have to pass up the 1st 2-3 ideas because they had too many points (Weight Watchers lingo).  Post-diagnosis, I found the list of foods I was in the mood for being knocked over like dominos the length of The Great Wall of China.   A donut, pizza (even Lean Cuisine pizzas!), cereal with milk, hamburgers, pasta, Subway, po-boys, chips and queso, just chips, french fries, waffle fries, cheese fries, Bahama Buck’s (BEST snow cones ever), Texadelphia (BEST cheese steaks ever), enchiladas, ice cream (Blue Bell – the BEST ever) …….and the list goes on…..

SIDENOTE:  before I go any further….. I look at that list and I can’t escape the rediculous notion that IS IT ANY WONDER I have type II diabetes to begin with??  Hmmmmm…..

I digress. It was awful.  At least to me it seemed all but devastating.  3 years ago I had happily navigated a 93 lb. weight loss over 18 months with the help of Weight Watchers and exercise.  The beauty of this time in my life was that I could eat anything I wanted as long as I minded the points.  In addition, there was always a way to take a favorite and “modify” it to make it lower points.  The “devastating” realization for me is that you can make high fat foods “low fat”; but, you can rarely make high carb foods “low carb”.  I realize I may be opening the floor to debate along the lines of the use of sugar alcohols, etc.  There is some debate on the effect of sugar alcohols and how you count them.  I personally still get a high blood glucose reading after eating “no sugar added” foods that added sugar alcohols instead sugar (please share your own experiences with me, I always love to learn!).  Back to my point, if I wanted to make a high carb food fit in with my new diet I had to eat crustless pizza, bunless hamburgers, chipless salsa, wrapless wraps, … you get my drift.

Well, have I got news for you!!  In a moment of titanium nerves mixed with a sheer determination to eat a hamburger WITH A BUN….. I acutally REMOVED an item from my “favorite foods I can not have anymore” list. 2 hours after my hamburger endeavor I had a blood glucose reading of 119!!  Can I get a Woo Hoo?!!  Fire up the grill, it’s burger time, baby!

Blood Glucose Lovin’ Burgers (9 points, 22g carbs/4g fiber)

1 lb ultra lean ground beef (to season: I mix garlic salt, ground pepper and A-1 steak sauce into the meat) – divide into 4 patties

4 Mrs Bairds 100% Whole Wheat hamburger buns (22g carbs/4g fiber)

sliced tomato, sliced purple onion

1 small avocado

4 slices reduced fat cheese (my fave is pepperjack)

Spicy mustard

grill or cook patties on the stove top.  Spread spicy mustard on top and bottom bun. Then, from bottom up layer: 1/4 avocado sliced, burger patty, 1 slice of cheese, sliced purple onion, top bun.

Take that, list!!  As of today, I am a hamburger eating BWWD2 (Busy Woman With Diabetes 2)!

On a serious note…. I refer to the three months between my diagnosis and my follow up appointment as The Greatest Pity Party Ever Thrown.  Over this 90 day period I managed to drive my A1c up 1 whole point, much to my wonderful endocrinologist’s dismay.  It is my opinion that those of us lucky enough to get a diagnosis early on can get swept away down the river of denial.  We get bogged down in the lists, the no-no’s, the frustration, the depression and on top of all of that, the disease is invisible (when it finally becomes visible, it is too late).  For me, it was my best friend (Mr. Man) and my hope to be  sitting in side-by-side rocking chairs decades from now and my beautiful daughter and wanting to be here to witness every moment of her future that brought the lights up on my pity party.  What is your party pooper?  I would LOVE to hear what drives you and why you are fighting the good fight!!!!

Enjoy the burgers!!

The Dishing Diabetic

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This Isn’t the Spinach Your Mom Made You

Thursdays start with a fasting glucose reading and a visit to the scale.  Thursdays end with our new absolute favorite dinner – shrimp/mushroom/spinach wraps.  So, no matter how each Thursday begins, it ends with a truly decadent meal that is both diet friendly and blood glucose friendly.

This particular Thursday began with mixed reviews.  My fasting glucose was 131……better that in the 140’s, but still much too high. Last night’s activities included exercise and a meal well within my carb limits.  So, I will just keep plugging along in my quest to maintain daily fasting blood glucose levels that are endocrinologist approved.  Now, the visit to the scale is not as cut and dry.  How do I categorize a .2 lb gain?  Where as it is definitely not a loss….. is it really a gain?  Isn’t it really more in the realm of “maintaining”?  And, where as losing is more desirable than maintaining, I will take maintaining over gaining any day of the week…… or should I say any weigh day of the week?!?!?  There is a catch though….. this is the 3rd Thursday in a row of this so called maintaining.  This my fellow BWWD2’s (Busy Women With Diatabetes 2), is what I call a plateau.  Give me a mountain, give me a mole hill, just Puh-LEASE, no plateaus!!  I have got to find the edge of this thing so that I can resume my weight loss descent.  This week I am throwing everything I have at this plateau – exercise, strict adherence to my Weight Watchers points, consistent consumption of water and….. PRAYER!  If this doesn’t work, someone please, build me a ladder!

Onto the good stuff….. our new absolute most favorite meal! Shrimp/Mushroom/Spinach Wraps (makes 4 servings; 1 serving=2 small wraps. 1 serving = 7 points on Weight Watchers and approx. 20 net carbs)

8 small Mission Burrito Carb Balance Flour Tortillas

1 lb shrimp, peeled

2 cartons sliced baby portobello mushrooms

2 6oz. bags of baby spinach

4 Tbsp. Golding Farms Creamy Vidalia Onion Vinaigrette (Wal-mart & Sam’s Club)

1 1/3 c. Weight Watchers shredded cheese

1/4 tsp. ground pepper

Toss mushrooms in large bowl with 2 Tbsp. dressing and 1/8 tsp. ground pepper.  In a separate bowl, toss peeled shrimp in 1 Tbsp. dressing and 1/8 tsp. ground pepper.  In a large skillet, cook the mushrooms, drain and set aside.    In the same skillet, cook the spinach right to the point of throughly wilted, but not completely “soggy”, drain & set aside.  You can put the spinach in the same bowl with the mushrooms.  In the same skillet, cook the shrimp.  When the shrimp are thoroughly cooked, add the mushrooms, spinach and 1 Tbsp. of dressing back to the skillet with the shrimp Warm entire mixture all the way through.

Place 2 tortillas on each plate.  Put 1/6 c. cheese on each tortilla and spoon 1/8 of the shrimp mixture onto each tortilla.  Wrap the tortillas around the mixture.  ENJOY every savory bite!

Allergic to shellfish?  Try this recipe with chicken!!  Mmmm Mmmm GOOOOOOD!

Happy Friday, everyone!

The Dishing Diabetic


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