Archive of ‘FOOD’ category

Roasted Comfort Salad – BYOL


Bring Your Own Lunch! This dish was inspired by a roasted root vegetable salad created by Chef Michelle Bernstein. I recently attended a nutrition oncology symposium in which she was the keynote speaker. If you are not familiar with her, she is a well-known Miami chef, restaurateur, television host, and celebrity in the foodie biosphere. Michelle’s objective was to demonstrate dishes rich in nutrients that would appeal to cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy and radiation, as they are known to have little to no appetitive. Her dish was so beautiful and brimming with healthy deliciousness, I had to bring it home and put my own spin on it.

I am, and have always been, a sucker for roasted vegetables. Certain veggies that are cooked under high heat for an extended period of time become extremely rich and deep in flavor. The sugars caramelize and form a sweet crust that will send shivers down your spine. This is what I call true comfort food. I have created this dish as a lunch on its own or with a side salad, but feel free have it in smaller portions as a side dish. When roasting vegetables, it is important to remember to cut most of the vegetables the same size to ensure that they cook at the same rate.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Ingredients: Serves 5

5  Large Carrots IMG_2601

3 Large Parsnips

2 Medium Sweet Potatoes

2 Large Heads of Cauliflower

2 Tablespoons Olive Oil

1 Teaspoon Salt

1 Teaspoon Pepper

2 Tablespoons Rosemary, Chopped

2 Tablespoons Thyme, Chopped

5 Ounces Goat Cheese

10 Tablespoons Roasted Pumpkin Seeds (Pepitas)

I like the carrots, parsnips, and sweet potatoes sliced into sticks- not too thin and not too thick. The cauliflower cooks much faster than the other veggies, so cut into large chunks. Place cut vegetables in an extra large bowl (you may need two) and massage the olive oil, salt, pepper rosemary, and thyme into each piece. Place ingredients on roasting pans, and cook for 45-55 minutes, turning halfway through. As you can see in the photos, I roasted all the veggies together. However, the cauliflower was cooked perfectly about halfway through, so I would recommend roasting it separately and only for 25-30 minutes.



Allow the vegetables to cool completely before removing from pan. Because this was my lunch for a week, I portioned out the recipe into 5 servings prior to refrigeration. Do what works best for you. Top with 1 oz. of goat cheese and 2 tablespoons of roasted pepitas to add a protein punch and a crunchy topping. This recipe may be eaten hot, cold, or at room temperature, although I prefer it hot with cold goat cheese. Enjoy!



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HTV- “Hide the Veggie” Turkey Gumbo


This recipe was adapted from a traditional Louisiana Gumbo recipe. It has remained true to its soulful flavor and hearty nature. Always remember in cooking (not necessarily baking) there is room for variation. Feel free to add, subtract, or substitute ingredients here. This recipe serves as your blueprint- so if you are feeling wild, I encourage you to experiment. As long as you follow the basic guidelines, your gumbo will be fab!

Serves: 6

You will need:

• 2 tablespoons plus 1/3 olive oil
• 6 oz Andouille sausage, diced –to distribute flavor
• 4 cups skinless turkey breast, pulled or chopped (Chicken breast will work just fine)
• 4 cups chopped onions
• 2 cups chopped celery
• 3 cups chopped green bell pepper
• 2 tablespoons Sea salt
• 2 tablespoons homemade Cajun blend (see recipe-or a store bought blend of your choice)
• ½ cup whole wheat flour
• 1- 28oz can peeled plum tomatoes
• 2 bay leaves
• 1-10 oz package frozen chopped spinach, defrosted and excesses liquid removed
• 10 cups low-sodium turkey or chicken stock, divided
• ¼ cup chopped parsley leaves
• 3 cups cooked long-grain brown rice

Begin by sautéing the onions, celery, bell, salt, and Cajun blend in 2 tablespoons olive oil in a heavy bottomed soup pot on medium heat. Let these babies enjoy their steam bath, so don’t rush this process. We want them golden and translucent. This usually takes 25-30 minutes. At first glance, it may appear to be a large amount of veggies (that’s the point!), but it will actually cook down a great deal. Don’t skimp in this department. You will be amazed with the depth of flavor that the onions, celery, and peppers impart.

After the veggies are cooked to perfection, add the diced sausage and allow to brown nicely (about 10 minutes). The reason we want the sausage diced into smaller pieces is so there is more surface area to for each little pearl to impart as much essence as possible. Traditional gumbo recipes call for at least a pound of sausage, but honestly 6 ounces is plenty to give a deep smoky, sausagey flavor. Add the tomatoes, let simmer for 5 more minutes, and then transfer to a heat-resistant bowl.



Now for the sneaky part…Place the entire package of spinach in a blender with two cups of the stock. Blend until very smooth. Hold aside until you complete the next step-The Roux. This is the only thorny area in this recipe. In the same pot that the vegetable mixture was prepared in, whisk together the remaining olive oil and the whole wheat flour on medium-low heat. The idea is to cook that raw flour taste out, while adding both a rich nutty flavor and creating a thickening agent for the gumbo. This step can take anywhere from 10-20 minutes depending on the heat level, as temperatures vary greatly. You want the flour to darken significantly, but not burn. Do not walk away! This pot of gold can burn very easily, so sit tight and babysit. When the roux is as dark as it will get before burning, you have achieved perfection. Quickly whisk in the spinach puree, veggie-sausage mixture, and the turkey stock. Add turkey, bay leaves, and parsley, and allow pot to simmer on medium-low for 45 minutes to an hour.

Serve each bowl of gumbo with ½ cup of brown rice, and enjoy!


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The Anti-Resolution Solution


It is that time of year again when we are all bombarded with quick-fix solutions to help us achieve health and turn our lives around, prompt! It’s the time that headline news consists of belly busters and boot camp strategies, local gyms meet their yearly quota on new members, and as a nation we discuss our least favorable qualities and decide that we will make a change this year! Well, I hate to be the bearer of bad news but Time Magazine recently released statistics stating that only 8% of people stick to their resolutions. I don’t know about you, but that is enough for me to throw the whole New Year Resolution initiative out the window! I intentionally did not post this on January 1st for this very reason.

Yes, I do believe that we all need a motivating factor to pump us up and get the motivation juices flowing, but let’s be real. Coming off of a holiday season filled with indulgences that we dream of only once a year, it is nearly impossible to slap ourselves back into submission once the clock hits 12. We need to work our way into this health thing gradually. We must make our peace with the eggnog, the latkes, the gingersnaps, and those amazing little hors d’oeuvres that appear only during the holidays. Saying “sayonara” and “see you next year” takes some time. So my proposal to you is, be easy on yourself. Don’t become a statistic. Wait until you are prepared.

We are more likely to fail when we force deprivation before we are intellectually ready. Now, I am not condoning carrying on this wild fiesta for months! Commit to yourself that you will make a minor change in a reasonable time period. A simple and small step will make a difference in your 2014 waistline.

This allows you to ease into the New Year on a positive note, without forcing you to jump into your fatigues and go whole-hog on your Nintendo Wii or to drop a car payment at Whole Foods. At this point, we are priming the pump for a sustainable year of good health. I have listed some good examples of small changes below to start on Monday, January 6th (because all anti-climactic things tend to start on a Monday):


  1. Walk for 20 minutes 3 times per week. This is about establishing a routine. It doesn’t matter if you put your sneakers on and wander at a snail’s pace for the first few weeks (or few months-really!). What matters is the fact that you’re slowly creating a new routine for yourself. It is human nature to strive for more, so I promise you won’t be slugging along for too long.
  2. Say goodbye to remaining holiday sweets. Alright, so I know I said that saying sayonara to the holidays need not occur overnight- but this is how it starts. Rid yourself of any holiday scented naughty sweets. We have the rest of the year to be naughty, so let’s raise the bar a bit.
  3. Bring back the veggies! Hey, remember what a sweet potato looked like before we adulterated it with marshmallows and granola? It is actually a wondrous jewel trapped in its own casing, all edible. What about spinach before the cream and cheese?  Let’s get back to basics in the New Year and remember to eat our veggies in their naked state (well, maybe with a little olive oil and garlic).


Enjoy this lovely January weekend, and let’s ease into 2014 together!

Bryee Shepard, MS, RD

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