Posts filed under ‘Recipes’

Stuffed Portobellos

I made this yummy vegetarian dish for Valentine’s Day.  I served it with quinoa drizzled with aged Balsamic vinegar and a roasted beet and arugula salad.  The mushroom recipe was adapted from Eating Well magazine.

Cheese and Spinach-stuffed Portobellos

4 large portobello mushroom caps

1 cup part-skim ricotta cheese

1 cup finely chopped fresh spinach

1/2 cup finely shredded Parmesan cheese, divided

2 T finely chopped kalamata olives

1/2 tsp Italian seasoning

1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper

3/4 cup prepared marinara sauce

1.  Preheat oven to 450degrees F.

2.  Place mushroom caps, gill-side up, on parchment paper on a rimmed baking sheet.  Roast until tender, 20-25 minutes.

3.  Meanwhile, mash ricotta cheese, spinach, 1/4 cup Parmesan, olives, Italian seasoning and the freshly ground pepper in a medium bowl.  Heat marinara sauce in a small saucepan over low heat.

4.  When mushrooms are tender, carefully pour out any liquid accumulated in the caps.  Return the caps to the pan, gill-side up.  Spread 1T marinara into each cap; cover the remaining sauce to keep warm.  Mound a generous 1/3 cup ricotta filling into each cap and sprinkle with the remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan.  Bake until hot, about 10 minutes.  Serve with the remaining marinara sauce.

Makes 4 servings.

Per Serving:  201 calories; 10g Fat (5g sat fat, 4g monounsaturated fat); 13g carbohdyrates; 14g protein; 2g fiber



February 15, 2014 at 1:13 pm Leave a comment

Chicken Fajitas with Cherry Salsa and Chocolate Cake with Strawberry Coulis

I am excited to be doing a guest blog for Meg’s Food Reality this week!  Her blog is all things gluten free since she must eat gluten free. She’ll soon be sharing one of her posts on my site and you will enjoy her sweet and cheerful nature and her wonderful recipes!  Thanks, Meg!

I have been really in to cherries recently.  Last week, I blogged about the benefits cherries can offer in regard to sports recovery.  The power of real food is amazing!

This month’s Eating Well magazine shares a lot of recipes using cherries.  This is my version of one of the recipes I tried.

Chicken Fajitas with Cherry Salsa

Serves:  4

1 teaspoon salt

2 cloves garlic, minced

zest of 2 limes

6 teaspoons lime juice, divided

1 1/4 teaspoons ground chipotle pepper

1 pound chicken breasts, skinless and boneless

1 tablespoon canola oil

1 medium white onion, thickly sliced crosswise

1 red pepper, quartered

1 cup chopped pitted sweet or sour fresh cherries

1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley

1/2 cup shredded Cheddar cheese

8 6-inch corn tortillas

1.     Mash 1 teaspoon salt and garlic in a small bowl with a mortar and pestle or a spoon until a paste forms.  Mix in lime zest, 2 teaspoons lime juice and 1 teaspoon ground chipotle.  Rub the paste all over the chicken.

2.     Heat large saute pan over medium-high.  (I actually used a pan with grill lines on it.)  Place 1 tablespoon canola oil in pan.  (Alternatively, you can grill the chicken and vegetables on a Bar-b-que.)

3.     Cook the chicken breasts in the pan until cooked through.  Remove from pan and place on cutting board.

4.     Cook the red peppers and onions in the pan, using more oil if needed.  Cook until charred, soft and tender.

5.     Slice chicken breasts into 1 inch strips.  Thinly slice the pepper and all but one slice of the onion.

6.     Combine cherries, parsley, the remaining 4 teaspoons lime juice, the remaining 1/4 teaspoon chipotle and pinch of salt in a bowl.  Finely chop the remaining slice of grilled onion and stir into the salsa.

7.    Serve the chicken and vegetables with the salsa and cheese on the tortillas.

Per Serving:  347 calories; 4g fat; 33g carbohydrate; 37g protein; 6g fiber.

Vitamin C (87% daily value), Vitamin A (38% dv), Zinc (27% dv), Potassium (25% dv), Magnesium (23% dv), Calcium (18% dv), Iron (15% dv).

The fajitas were so yummy!

I realize dessert is a “sometimes” food, but I really love to cook a yummy dessert, especially on Sunday nights when the family is all together getting re-charged for a new week!  This cake was easy to prepare and also a hit!

Chocolate Cake with Strawberry Coulis (I can’t remember where this recipe came from, but it is not mine!  I apologize.)


8.5 oz. bittersweet (60% cacao) chocolate, broken into pieces

3/4 cup unsalted butter

4 large eggs, separated, at room temperature, divided

2 egg whites

1/2 cup sugar


1 1/2 cups sliced fresh strawberries (8 oz)

1 Tablespoon sugar

1/2 Tablespoons lemon juice

1.     Preheat oven to 300°F.  Coat a 9-inch springform pan with cooking spray.

2.     Melt chocolate and butter in double boiler.  Remove from heat, and whisk until smooth and glossy.  Whisk egg yolks, then stir into chocolate mixture.

3.     Beat all 6 egg whites with electric mixer on high 1 to 2 minutes, or until foamy.  Add sugar, and beat 4 minutes, or until stiff peaks form.  Gently fold egg white mixture into chocolate mixture until just combined.  Pour into prepared pan, and bake 40 minutes, or until toothpick inserted into center comes out mostly clean.  Cool.

4.     To make Coulis:  Combine strawberries, sugar, and lemon juice in bowl of food processor; let stand 5 minutes.  Add 2 tablespoons water, and puree until smooth.  Strain through fine-mesh strainer.  Serve Cake drizzled with Coulis.

Sooo good!  A thin slice is all you need!

This is what is blooming in my yard this week!

June 13, 2012 at 10:04 am 2 comments

What is Nutritional Yeast?

Nutritional yeast sprinkled on popcorn?  salads?  mixed with tofu to make a scramble?  What is this stuff and why use it?

Nutritional Yeast is the go-to source for B-Vitamins and essential amino acids for a vegan and vegetarian diet.  These diets, as wonderful as they are, can be lacking in B-vitamins, especially Vitamin B-12, because B-12 primarily comes from animal products.  Nutritional Yeast contains complete proteins and is a good source of fiber.  Short of taking a supplement, nutritional yeast is a very good way to fill in the gaps that could develop in a meatless diet.

Nutritional Yeast is a deactivated yeast that is made from strains of a particular culture and grown in mixtures of cane and beet molassses.  After the yeast is harvested, it is washed, pasteurized and dried.  It is sold as a powder or flakes.

Nutritional yeast is yellowish with a nutty, cheesy flavor.  It can be sprinkled on popcorn, garlic bread and salads.  It can be mixed into smoothies, juice, cereals, soups, gravies and sandwich spreads.  It can also be added to stir fries and casseroles.

Nutrition Information of interest:

Serving size: 2 heaping Tablespoons

Calories:  60

Nutrient                                     Amount/serving                                    % Daily Value             

Fat                                                 .83g

Sodium                                       5.12mg

Potassium                             320mg                                                              9%

Carbs                                            7.2g                                                             2%

Fiber                                            3.9g                                                             16%

Protein                                         8.34g                                                        17%

Iron                                                 .77mg                                                      4%

Thiamin (B1)                             9.6mg                                                     640%

Riboflaving (B2)                       9.6mg                                                     565%

Niacin                                        56mg                                                        280%

Vitamin B6                                  9.6mg                                                    480%

Folic Acid                                240mcg                                                       60%

Vitamin B12                                8mcg                                                      133%

Zinc                                               8.2mg                                                       21%

Selenium                                    22.4mcg                                                     32%

Don’t confuse Nutritional Yeast with Brewer’s Yeast.  Brewer’s Yeast is the bitter by-product of producing beer.  Active Dry Yeast is also distinguished from Nutritional Yeast.  Its purpose is to raise baked goods, such as bread.

Nutritional Yeast can be found in most stores.  Bob’s Red Mill, and Red Star are popular brands and have recipes on their websites.  Whole Foods also sells Nutritional Yeast under their brand name.

I made a wonderful dish using Nutritional Yeast.  The recipe is from Vegetarian Times.  I can say it is kid tested and approved by mom (me), husband and teens!

Mac and Cheese Style  Cauliflower

Serves 8

Get all the creamy, cheesy goodness of mac and cheese—without the high starch content of macaroni. To make your own breadcrumbs, tear firm, fresh bread into pieces and whirl in a food processor or blender until crumbs form.

1 large head cauliflower (1 ½ lb.), cut into medium florets (8 cups)
2 Tbs. butter or margarine
3 Tbs. all-purpose flour
2 cups low-fat milk
1 clove garlic, minced (1 tsp.)
2 cups grated extra-sharp Cheddar cheese
½ cup nutritional yeast
1 pinch cayenne pepper
2 egg yolks
1 ½ cups fresh breadcrumbs

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add cauliflower florets, and boil 5 to 7 minutes, or until just tender. Drain, reserving 1 cup cooking liquid, and set aside.

2. Melt butter in the same pot over medium heat. Whisk in flour, and cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Whisk in milk, garlic, and reserved cooking liquid, and cook 7 to 10 minutes, or until sauce is thickened, whisking constantly. Remove from heat, and stir in cheese, nutritional yeast, cayenne pepper, and egg yolks until cheese is melted. Fold in cauliflower.

3. Coat a 13- x 9-inch baking dish with cooking spray. Spread cauliflower mixture in baking dish, and sprinkle with breadcrumbs. Spray breadcrumbs with cooking spray. Bake 30 minutes, or until casserole is hot and bubbly and breadcrumbs are crisp and brown.

I put the casserole in individual ramekins and it looked as good as it tasted!

On another note, I wanted to share some photos of what is blooming in my yard right now.  I just love how there is always something blooming from April through September.  Right now, this is what is blooming!

Happy warming up with Spring!  It makes me so happy!

May 23, 2012 at 4:23 pm 1 comment

Coconut Almond Snack Balls

I tasted these balls about a year ago.  A fellow dietitian and Dietetic Internship student was dealing with GI issues.  She is an avid marathon runner and desperately needed “safe” foods for her long runs and snacks.  She developed these balls and shared them with our class.  I LOVED them and have somewhat altered the recipe.  She now has a blog called Gluten Free Runner’s Kitchen.  Please check it out for more wonderful gluten-free recipes.  Read about her and you can find her original recipe for Raw Coconut Almond Bliss Balls which you may like better!

These balls are a perfect snack:  carbohydrates, protein, and fiber.  They are made of real food and contain healthy fats and a multitude of phytonutrients from every ingredient!  Great combination.  I hope you enjoy them!

Coconut Almond Snack Balls

10 pitted dates

1/2 cup raw almonds

2 Tablespoons Tahini

1/2 cup raw almond butter

3 Tablespoons honey

1/2 cup unsweetened coconut

1/2 cup raw cocoa powder

1 Tablespoon cinnamon

Using a food processor, chop dates and almonds until they are a fine crumb.  Add tahini, almond butter and honey and process again.  Add cocoa powder, coconut, and cinnamon and process one more time until smooth.  If the mixture is a little dry, add more almond butter.  If it is a little too wet, add more cocoa.

Form the mixture into balls (about 1 Tablespoon) and roll into coconut.  Refrigerate.  Savor!

On another note, it is starting to look like spring around here and I am so excited to feel the warm sun and enjoy more colors than just drab brown!

I hope to use a real camera (instead of my cell phone!) in the future!  As my practice “blossoms”, I can splurge on a camera!

Happy April!

April 3, 2012 at 1:01 pm 2 comments

Energy Bar

I’m always looking for a quick snack for athletes.  Snacks are important, especially for those who need extra calories and have a hard time eating large meals.  Snacks made of real food are a good way to maintain your energy between meals.

A snack should be a combination of carbohydrates and protein.  It is also a good idea to have a carbohydrate that contains fiber.  Real food is always better than a bar.  Many bars have few ingredients with minimal processing, but an apple and peanut butter or yogurt and carrot sticks are better options.

I recently discovered this recipe from the Food Channel and made some alterations.  It’s GREAT for high school athletes as they can pop it into their backpacks for an afternoon snack between lunch and after school athletic practices.  This recipe has been “Teen Approved” and has become a favorite!  It is quick and easy to prepare and contains a good balance of carbohydrates and protein and naturally-occurring fiber.  But don’t tell!

(The first time I made these they came out very crumbly and wouldn’t stick together.  I tried a different peanut butter that was more stable at room temperature, and they held together quite well.  I recommend Teddy Natural Peanut Butter.)

Peanut Oat Energy Bars

1/2 cup honey

1/2 cup natural creamy peanut butter

2 Tablespoons maple syrup

1 Tablespoon canola oil

1/4 cup light brown sugar

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

2 cups rolled oats

2 cups Koala Crisp cereal

1/4 cup toasted wheat germ

1 cup chopped roasted peanuts

1/2 cup chopped dried apricots

1/2 cup dried cranberries


Heat oven to 350°.  Place oats on large sheet pan with sides.  Roast in the oven for 15 minutes or until lightly toasted.

Spray a 9″ X 13″ pan with cooking spray and set aside.

In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine honey, peanut butter, maple syrup, canola oil, brown sugar, and cinnamon.  Stir and cook until mixture just begins to bubble.  Remove from the heat.

In a large abowl, combine oats, rice cereal, wheat germ, peanuts, apricots, and cranberries.

Pour the peanut butter mixture over the oatmeal mixture and stir gently with a spatula until well combined.  Transfer to the pan and press firmly into the dish.

Allow to cool completely (about 1 hour) and cut into squares or bars.

Serving:  14 bars

Calories: 240; Fat: 10g; Saturated fat: 1.5g; Carbohydrates: 30g; Protein: 6g; Sodium: 70g.

I  would like to try an alteration of this recipe by replacing the peanut butter and peanuts with almond butter and almonds.  Adding different dried fruit would also be good, such as dried cherries.   FYI:  These bars are gluten-free if you use gluten-free oats.  Stay-tuned for a really yummy GF snack from a fellow dietitian!

This weekend I will be bringing these bars to my son’s regatta.  They’ll be rowing fast!

March 30, 2012 at 10:37 am 3 comments


Recently, my daughter treated me to a “Foraging” class at Massachusett’s Audubon Society at Drumlin Farm. The class was led by Lawrence Millman, author of Fascinating Fungi of New England. He was both witty and funny. Unfortunately, both Natalie and I stared quizzically ahead while listening to terms such Schizophyllum, mycelium, and polypore.

We were looking forward to bundling up and searching for mushrooms in the woods but wouldn’t you know it, very few mushrooms grow in the winter! Oh, well! We had a great time finding different fungus. Our favorite: Turkey Tails.

I was hoping to use my foraged mushrooms in one of my favorite pasta recipes, but had to purchase them in the store instead. Much safer, I’m sure!

First, a nutrition word about mushrooms. One cup of mushrooms is 15 calories, 2g carbohydrates, 1g fiber, and 2g protein.

They are a good source of riboflavin, niacin, and pantothenic acid, all B vitamins. This is good news for vegetarians as their intake of B-vitamins can be low. Mushrooms’ protein content are another plus for vegetarians.

Mushrooms contain a good amount of phosphorus, copper and selenium. Mushrooms are the richest source of selenium in the produce section of the grocery store.

Mushrooms may help protect against some cancers.

Mushrooms have been shown to stimulate the immune system.

Mushrooms provide a sense of satiety while supplying a small amount of calories.

Fettuccine with Hearty Mushroom Ragu

Serves 6

2 cups reduced-sodium vegetable broth

¼ cup dried porcini mushrooms

3 portobello mushrooms, stemmed

2 tablespoons olive oil

8 ounces cremini mushrooms, thickly sliced

8 ounces oyster mushrooms, halved if large

8 ounces shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and quartered

1 onion, chopped

3 large garlic cloves, chopped

1 ½ teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

¾ cup dry Marsala wine

6 ounces mascarpone cheese

1 pound dried fettuccine

¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

1. Combine the broth, tomatoes, and porcini mushrooms in a small saucepan. Cover and bring to a simmer. Remove from heat and let stand until porcinis soften, about 15 minutes. Drain; reserve the soaking liquid. Coarsely chop the porcini mushrooms and set aside.

2. With a spoon, scrape off the dark gills under the Portobello mushroom caps and discard; cut into 1-inch pieces and set aside.

3. Heat a large heavy frying pan over medium-high heat. Add olive oil. Add the Portobello, cremini, oyster, and shiitake mushrooms, then the onion, garlic and rosemary. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, and sauté until the juices evaporate and the mushrooms begin to brown, abourt 10 minutes. Add the porcini muchrooms. Decrease the heat to medium-low. Add the Marsala and reserved soaking liquid. Cover and simmer until the sauce is reduced by almost half and the mushrooms are tender, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in the mascarpone cheese. Season with salt and pepper.

4. Meanwhile, cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until just tender but firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 minutes. Drain, reserving 1 cup of the cooking liquid. Add the pasta to the sauce and toss until the sauce thickens and coats the pasta, about 2 minutes, adding the reserved cooking liquid to thin the sauce if necessary. Season again with salt and pepper. Transfer the pasta to a bowl. Top with the Parmesan cheese and serve.

Per serving: 565 calories, 17g fat, 81g carbohydrates, 21g protein, 7g fiber, 110mg calcium, 299mg sodium.

March 20, 2012 at 5:20 pm 2 comments

Kick Start Your Day with Breakfast

To continue with March’s theme of National Nutrition Month, today I’m sharing

 Power Up with Breakfast

from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

Breakfast is a way to start your day the right way!  Eating a balanced breakfast not only gives you energy and powers of concentration, but also helps you eat less later in the day.  Studies have shown that healthier weight is achieved by including breakfast in your day.  A balanced breakfast would be one that includes carbohydrates, protein, healthy fats, and fiber.

Breakfast doesn’t have to be a big deal.  Here are some easy ideas.

  • Instant oatmeal with walnuts and some fruit (dried, frozen or fresh).  For added protein, make the oatmeal with non-fat milk instead of water.
  • Low-fat or non-fat yogurt with fruit and a topping of your favorite cereal.  My favorite yogurt is plain, non-fat Greek yogurt.  Greek yogurt contains more protein than regular yogurt.  Plain yogurt does not have any added sugars.  Add your own fruit!

  • Smoothies are an all time favorite of mine!  The options are endless.  Try frozen fruit + some milk + some yogurt.  Want extra power in that protein?  Add ground flaxseeds (healthy fats and fiber), dried oats (for added fiber, whir ¼ cup in blender before you add other ingredients), acai pulp (more antioxidants), whey protein powder.  For a vegan alternative, blend frozen fruit, soy milk, and hemp protein powder.  I just tried it the other day and it is pretty good!
  • Top cold cereal with fruit.
  • Top toast with cottage cheese.
  • Top a toaster waffle with yogurt and fruit.

  • Spread peanut butter on a whole wheat tortilla.  Top with a banana and roll it up!
  • Stuff a whole-wheat pita with chopped hard-boiled egg and some shredded cheese.  Add some spinach for even more nutrients.
  • Spread almond butter on a whole-grain toasted bagel.  Top with apple slices.

What is your favorite breakfast?

March 6, 2012 at 2:17 pm Leave a comment

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