Italian dinner dietary restriction puzzle

My boyfriend and I are spending New Year's Day afternoon cooking for his grandparents, who are old Boston Italians. We were hoping to make them familiar food that they can freeze, since they're no longer great cooks, as well as dinner for them, us, and his parents. But time is short (one afternoon!) and the food has to be suitable for people who are diabetic, have high blood pressure, and avoid almost all vegetables. Right now we are thinking of a bunch of lasagnas (meat, spinach, eggplant) so they can freeze some and we can eat some. Any other suggestions for this situation? I'm bringing Marcella with me, if it helps.

  • Posted by: LucyS
  • December 29, 2012


healthierkitchen December 30, 2012
Like minestrone, maybe a pasta e fagioli, using farro instead of pasta or a mix of farro and whole wheat orzo? Use canned tomatoes with no added salt. For a veggie lasagna, I find that my family doesn't mind whole wheat lasagna noodles. I also make what we call lasagna rollups but I've also seen called rosettes, where you use the long skinny whole wheat lasagna noodles, then fill them with a combo of ricotta cheese and spinach and sauteed mushrooms (and some tomato sauce) roll them on end with some more tomato sauce and a little cheese sprinkled on top.
lloreen December 30, 2012
Pasta isn't great for diabetics, so this is tough. Marcella has some good braised short rib recipes that would freeze well.
LisaMC December 30, 2012
Totally agree with the Italian turkey sausage! Pasta is a simple carb and can effect sugar levels but there are many whole grain pasta options out there which will help with this. Maybe consider polenta layered with Italian turkey sausage, a dribble of marinara then sprinkled with your favorite Mozzerella (naturally a lower sodium cheese). Also, minestrone soup is a nice & easy one pot way for some variety. Whole grain bread on the side...yum!
sdebrango December 29, 2012
I know when you are dealing with old school Italians it can be difficult to please, I know they avoid vegetables but almost every Italian I know eats broccoli rabe, you could do an orecchiette with broccoli rabe, and use Italian turkey sausage instead of pork. It has plenty of flavor without having to use a lot of salt so thats good for high blood pressure and regarding the diabetic they can eat more of the sausage and broccoli rabe and less of the pasta. I like your lasagna idea it is always a great option.
LucyS December 29, 2012
Sorry! Don't know why this posted twice.
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