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Roasted Vegetable Bean Salad

In Autoimmune disease, Fighting Cancer, Gluten-Free diet, Meal Ideas, Recipes, Vegetarian on October 4, 2013 at 9:44 AM

roast veg bean salad 1 cropJust because fresh, summer vegetable season is drawing to a close does not mean you have to stop eating them!  Vegetables of all shapes, sizes and colors provide an abundance of nutrition, are naturally low-calorie, loaded with antioxidants for fighting disease and inflammation, and fill a hungry tummy for an extended period of time (thank you, fiber!).  Whether you are watching your waistline, trying to prevent cancer, heart disease and type 2 diabetes, or managing inflammatory autoimmune conditions, such as scleroderma, lupus and multiple sclerosis, this salad is a healthy addition to your eating plan.  It is compatible with vegan and gluten-free lifestyles as well.  Some of the ingredients are available fresh all year round whereas others will be found in your grocer’s freezer during the off season (which are equally nutritious and healthful).  This tasty and refreshing salad makes an excellent pack-n-go lunch choice or a light meal to share among friends.  The recipe as outlined below makes three generous servings containing 260 calories, 20 grams of carb, 16 grams fat (only 2 grams saturated…nice!), 8 grams fiber and 8 grams of protein.   Enjoy!

Salad Ingredients:

1 cup of peeled fresh or frozen edamame (green soybeans); steam frozen in microwave 4-5 minutes

1 cup fresh or frozen corn, steamed in microwave 3-5 minutes (cut fresh off cob)

2 cups fresh or frozen thin green beans, washed and cut into pieces (blanch fresh beans in boiling water for 90 seconds; steam frozen beans in microwave 3-4 minutes)

1 cup grape tomatoes, sliced lengthwise

1 orange and 1 yellow bell pepper sliced into 1-inch pieces  (organic is best)

10-15 large fresh basil leaves, cut into ribbons (this will serve as primary leafy green)

Dressing Ingredients:

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/8 cup red wine vinegar

1 tsp. honey

1/4 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. fresh ground pepper

Preparation Instructions:

1.  Prep edamame, corn and green beans as described above.

2.  Heat oven to 425 degrees.  Combine sliced peppers and tomatoes in small amount of olive oil and spread in single layer on baking sheet lined with parchment or foil coated with cooking spray.  Roast for 15 minutes (until blistered), remove vegetables from oven and roasting pan, and place on new foil for 10 minutes to cool.

3.  Combine all cooled vegetables into large mixing bowl:  corn, edamame, green beans, roasted peppers, tomatoes and basil ribbons.

4.  Whisk together dressing ingredients in a smaller bowl and toss with vegetables.

5.  Chill at least 2 hours before serving to allow for flavor enhancement.

6.  Serve with warm bread, as desired.

Would you like more healthy recipe suggestions?  Interested in learning realistic strategies for creating a balanced lifestyle to meet your individual health needs?  Consider ordering the second edition of my book,  “You Gotta Eat!” at  Eat well!  Feel well!


Pumpkin Custard

In Gluten-Free diet, Holiday Eating Strategies, Recipes on November 20, 2012 at 12:58 PM

By request, I am sharing a tasty, tried-and-true recipe for a healthier alternative to pumpkin pie.  This modified version of the traditional favorite is significantly lower in fat, carbohydrates, and calories–making it a smart choice for people with diabetes, heart disease, high cholesterol, as well as those trying to prevent weight gain over the prolonged feeding-frenzy that is the holiday season!  And, it is also gluten-free, so those with celiac sprue and gluten intolerance may even indulge in this tasty treat.

The pumpkin custard recipe outlined below uses a standard 9-inch glass pie plate, and consists of 6 servings.  Nutritionally, a 1/6 slice of this recipe contains a mere 120 calories, 0 grams of fat, and 20 grams of carbohydrate, and, as mentioned above, is gluten-free.  One-sixth of a traditional pumpkin pie contains approximately 425 calories, 19 grams of total fat, and 53 grams of carbohydrates—essentially a whole meal’s worth for someone desiring to limit calories and/or dramatic surges in blood sugar.   Even if you plan to serve a traditional pie at your upcoming dinner party, adding this pumpkin custard as an alternative will certainly be appreciated by your guests with specific dietary needs.


1 1/2 cups canned pumpkin puree

1/4 cup apple juice

3 egg whites, lightly beaten

12 oz. can evaporated skim milk

1 Tbsp. pumpkin pie spice

1/4 cup unpacked brown sugar


1.  pre-heat oven to 400 degrees

2.  combine all ingredients in a bowl and stir thoroughly

3.  prepare 9-inch glass pie plate using non-stick cooking spray and sprinkle lightly with brown sugar

3.  pour mixture into prepared pie plate

4.  bake for 35-45 minutes, or until knife inserted near the center comes out clean

I wish you all a happy and joyous holiday season!  Live well!  Feel well!

Linda 🙂

Baking For A Healthy Heart

In Holiday Eating Strategies, Managing cholesterol, Recipes on November 19, 2012 at 7:37 PM

Are you interested in baking up some healthier holiday goodies this year?  Modifying a traditional recipe is not as difficult or unsavory as it may seem… actually, it is a piece of cake!    Read on:

Heart-healthy baking is all about choosing the right variety of added fat.  All fats, regardless of their source, contain a unique combination of three primary components:  saturated, monounsaturated, and polyunsaturated fat.  Some fats contain trans fat as well, either occurring naturally (as in butter and beef) or from partially hydrogenated oil added during processing.  Eating too much saturated and/or trans fat is likely to result in clogged arteries and higher cholesterol levels, and should, therefore, be limited as much as possible.   Ideally, it is best to avoid all foods made from partially hydrogenated oil, and it is easy to do so by consulting the ingredients list.  Do not rely on the container’s Nutrition Facts panel, as “0 grams trans fat” or “trans fat free” claims are allowable for foods that contain less than 0.5 grams of trans fat per serving, according to the FDA.  This is a big loop-hole that many folks are not aware of… Be sure to verify the absence of “partially hydrogenated oil” from the ingredient list.

For the majority of your baking needs, with the exception of pie crust, you can use regular (non-light) soft tub margarine spreads containing no partially hydrogenated oils, such as Country Crock, I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter!, Promise Buttery, Smart Balance, Olivio, Canoleo soft, and BestLife.  Do you realize that cookies, cakes, quick breads, muffins, brownies, and other baked bars, do not require solid fat?   In addition to the soft spreads mentioned above, you can even get away with using naturally trans fat free corn, canola, or blended vegetable oils as a substitution for solid fats—–doing so will modify the texture and make your baked goods softer and moister.  Sounds like a worthwhile trade-in, right?  Using Grandma’s old-fashioned recipe?  Substitute 3/4 cup oil for 1 cup of butter or shortening called for in the recipe; 2/3 cup oil for 3/4 cup butter; 1/3 cup oil for 1/2 cup butter; 3 Tbsp. oil for 1/4 cup butter.  Make sense?  It’s as easy as pie!  Ahem…

Speaking of pie, you will want to use a solid fat when making your own crust.  The good news is that there are healthier options than the typical butter, Crisco shortening, solid stick margarines, and lard used to make flaky crusts & pastries:  Country Crock solid stick margarine claims to be “Great for Baking and Cooking” and actually lives up to that expectation, as a tablespoon contains only 2.5 grams of saturated fat  (compared to butter’s 7 grams) and 0 grams of trans fat (compared to Parkay, Imperial, and Fleischmann’s 1.5-2.5 grams), and behaves itself in the oven too!  Margarines have come a long way over the years, that’s for sure.  Promise sticks, containing 3 grams saturated fat per tablespoon, come in a close second, while I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter! sticks rank third, containing 3.5 grams saturated fat and no partially hydrogenated oil.

If you desire to lower the overall fat content in a recipe, you may replace part or all of the fat with applesauce, mashed over-ripe bananas, pureed prunes, low fat yogurt, or buttermilk.  These substitutions work best in quick breads, muffins, brownies, and other bars.

A final modification to reduce the fat and cholesterol content would involve substituting 2 egg whites or 1/4 cup of egg substitute (like Egg Beaters) for each whole egg.

Did you know that pumpkin pie is one of the most nutritious Thanksgiving desserts?  The nutritious part is the pumpkin…however, the traditional pumpkin pie recipe is loaded with calories, fat, and sugar, potentially requiring you to loosen your belt at the table and have 911 on speed-dial!  Stay tuned for a sumptuous pumpkin custard recipe that will allow you to enjoy the fall bounty without adding to your waistline.

Enjoy a happy and healthy Thanksgiving!

Another Yummy Fish Recipe

In Meal Ideas, Recipes on January 11, 2012 at 10:56 AM

Yesterday, I provided examples of some meals and snacks I would typically eat, which included a delicious fish recipe at dinner.  Many people desire to add more fish to their diets, but are often at a loss for tasty and satisfying recipes that even the pickiest eaters would enjoy.  Therefore, I am providing yet another simple fish recipe that is worth introducing to less-than-enthusiastic fish eaters.  (check out the recipe archive for more ideas.)   As I have mentioned before, my husband is not a big fish fan, and I have struggled for years to create options that we both enjoy.   I have achieved some success in recent years with the widespread availability of milder, less fishy-tasting choices available at the market today—such as tilapia and Rainbow trout fillets.  I used Rainbow trout for the recipe outlined below, but you can substitute salmon, tilapia, whitefish, or other trout species just as easily.  Despite being a dietitian, I am far from a gourmet cook.  Like many of you, I do not enjoy spending hours in the kitchen, and prefer healthy, no-fuss recipes.  This one is no exception.  Plus, if my husband will eat fish prepared this way (and actually enjoy it), you and your family are more likely to enjoy it as well.  Try it tonight!


Fresh Rainbow trout fillets  (best when purchased same day)


chopped unsalted pistachios (or other rich-flavored nuts, such as pecans)

olive oil



1.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees

2.  Spread trout fillets on foil, and brush a small amount of olive oil on each fillet  (keep skin on bottom)

3.  Sprinkle each fillet with fresh ground pepper (I use a liberal amount for super zesty flavor!)

4.  Drizzle 1/2-1 Tbsp. honey over each fillet and spread with spoon to coat entire surface

5.  Top each fillet with 1-2 Tbsp. chopped nuts, distributing evenly, and pressing into honey to keep them in place

6.  Transfer each fillet (carefully) into baking pan

7.  Bake at 375 degrees for 15 minutes

Viola!  Dinner from start to finish will be done is less than 30 minutes.  While fish is cooking, you can microwave a small sweet potato for each person, and/or steam a pot of vegetables such as broccoli, asparagus, green beans, cauliflower or spinach. 

If you desire to try the acorn squash I used as a side dish in my previous entry, “All in a Day’s Eatin'”, follow these guidelines:  cut an acorn squash in half and remove the seeds.  Brush the inside with olive oil and season with freshly ground black pepper and cinnamon.  Bake, cut side up, at 400 degrees until tender, about 35-40 minutes.  Scoop out and enjoy!  I put the squash in the oven first since it has a longer baking time, and then baked the fish at 400 degrees for 10 minutes, as opposed to 375 degrees for 15 minutes.  

ENJOY!  Let me know what you think 😉

Lemon Pepper Grilled Tilapia

In Recipes on September 30, 2011 at 5:47 PM

Tilapia is a mild, low-fat, white fish that is rather inexpensive and widely available in most food stores and restaurants these days.  I recently received a question regarding tilapia’s health value relative to salmon, which seems to be the most popular fish due to it’s high omega-3 content and widely-accepted protective heart benefits. Tilapia is certainly a healthy choice for those who are sensitive to more strongly flavored fish (such as salmon), but, since tilapia is raised in warmer waters, and therefore is lower in fat, you will not be getting a substantial amount of omega-3.   But that doesn’t mean tilapia is not worth eating.  As long as it is prepared in a healthy manner (i.e. not deep fried or smothered in butter), it is a worthy substitute for higher fat protein sources, such as beef, pork, and lamb.  I recently experimented with some tilapia fillets and was pleasantly surprised that my finicky-fish-fearing husband enjoyed it too.  Shocking!  So, I figured if he liked it, other fussy fish eaters may like it too 😉 

This fish is very easy to prepare and cook on the grill (in foil packets) for 10 minutes.  For those of you who fret over cooking fish, you can’t go wrong when you wrap each fillet in its own foil packet.  No need to worry about the fish flaking off through the grates on the grill!  (been there…done that…) As usual, I am not going to note specific measurements for each ingredient, as I just gather the seasonings and have fun with it.  I encourage you to do the same.  As long as you like all the seasonings listed, you really can’t go wrong, and each time you make it, it will be a new experience.  You can also experiment with herbs other than parsley and make this recipe all your own.  Enjoy!


Tilapia fish fillets  (if buying frozen, thaw ahead of time)

parsley (dried or fresh)

lemon juice

extra virgin olive oil  (EVOO)

salt and pepper


1.  Preheat grill on high.

2.  Cut out the same number of pieces of foil as you have fish, large enough so you can completely enclose each fillet.

3.  Drizzle a small amount of olive oil on each piece of foil to keep fish from sticking.

4.  Placed thawed fish on foil.

5.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper as desired (I add extra pepper and go very light on the salt).

6.  In a small bowl, mix some EVOO with parsley and lemon juice, and spread or brush over each fillet.

7.  Create foil packets by wrapping edges completely around fillets.

8.  Grill 10-12 minutes over high heat, or until fish flakes easily.

Open foil packets carefully to allow steam to escape, and TA-DA!  Dinner is done!

You can substitute real butter for the olive oil, or do a little blend of the two if you so desire.  Just remember, olive oil is healthier for your heart and cholesterol levels, so if you are going to cook with fat, it is always best to choose the healthiest option.   And, to keep calories to a minimum, you will want to use all fats sparingly, including olive oil.

I serve this fish with minted peas and redskin potatoes.  ENJOY!

Seafood Paella

In Recipes on February 2, 2011 at 5:37 PM

A friend of mine shared this recipe with me about 5 years ago and it has since become a family favorite.  I had never made a  traditional Spanish dish before, and only knew of Paella  from the Seinfeld episode in which Mrs. Costanza exclaims, “nobody is eating my Paella”, after George’s pals fail to show up for dinner 😉  I adapted my friend’s original recipe to better serve my own taste and preparation preferences—she is more of a gourmet, while I’m a “quick and easy” gal in the kitchen.   I’m not a big fan of mussels and cockles, which the original recipe calls for, so I chose to limit the shellfish to shrimp and scallops only. 

This delicious, low-fat recipe is an “all in one” meal that can provide several days worth of leftovers for a family of 2 or 4.  Or it will serve a dinner party of 8-10 adults.   I typically add a tossed salad and some gourmet bread as side dishes when entertaining guests with this meal.  (Make sure no one at your party has a shellfish allergy)

Unlike your typical baked Paella (pie-ay-ah), this version is made on your stovetop in about 30 minutes.  You can make it and serve immediately, or you can cook it ahead of time and keep it warm in the oven until you are ready to eat.   I prefer the cook ahead method  so I am not spending all my time in the kitchen after my guests arrive…  You can also make it the day before and then warm in the oven next day.


20-30 jumbo scallops, thawed and pulled into quarters 

25-30 pre-cooked large shrimp, tails removed  (if using frozen, thaw ahead of time)

red bell pepper, chopped

medium vidalia (sweet) onion, chopped

4 garlic cloves, minced

15 oz. can peas and carrots, drained

24 oz. low sodium, organic chicken broth

2 1/2 cups rice:  1/2 cup black rice, 1/2 cup red rice, and 1 1/2 brown jasmine rice

1/2 pkg. Saffron  (most pkgs are 0.5 oz)

extra virgin olive oil

Hints:  I buy both the shrimp and scallops from the freezer section at Trader Joe’s.  They have fabulous tasting Japanese Sea Scallops that don’t cost a fortune, and they have large, pre-cooked shrimp with tails removed already.  Thaw both in the refrigerator the night before, following the thaw instructions on the bag.  Saffron is found in the spice section of most grocery stores.  If you have trouble finding individual black rice and red rice packages, you can substitute a whole cup of a “mahogany rice blend”.  The brown jasmine rice is best if it is rinsed before cooking.


1.  Combine rice, chicken broth, and saffron in a large saucepan with lid.  Cook 30 minutes, covered.

2.  In skillet, saute red pepper, onion, and garlic in olive oil over medium heat, until onions become translucent.

3.  Add raw scallops to vegetables and saute for about 5 minutes.

4.  Add peas & carrots, and pre-cooked shrimp to mixture and stir.  (if using raw shrimp, add at same time as scallops)

5.  When rice is done, combine sauteed veggie/seafood mixture and toss well.

6.  If not serving immediately, place mixture in large baking dish (I use a lasagna pan), cover with foil, and place in warm oven (200 degrees) until ready to serve.


Grilled Seafood and Spinach Stirfry

In Meal Ideas, Recipes on July 14, 2010 at 10:23 PM

Nothing quite beats the taste of summer grilling.  However, come July, you may be getting tired of the same ol’ barbequed fare??  How about grilling up some hearty fish or shellfish for something nice & healthy this weekend?  Adding the fish to a stirfry will make for something new and different.  Hint—this is a perfect meal for couples or friends to cook together—one person grills the fish while the other starts up the stirfry.  Give this tasty meal a try:


4 ounces of uncooked whole wheat spaghetti, broken into 3-inch pieces

1 pound of fish or seafood:  scallops, shrimp, steak cut salmon, halibut, tuna steak, swordfish, or any combination of the above to equal one pound total

1/4 cup orange juice

3/4 cup dry sherry (either the “cooking wine” or the real thing)

1 tbsp. chopped fresh basil leaves  (or 1 tsp. dried)

1 1/2 tsps. chopped fresh marjoram leaves  (or 1/2 tsp. dried)

1/4 tsp. salt

1/8 tsp. pepper

1 tbsp cornstarch

3 large carrots, thinly sliced (about 2 cups)

1 large onion, halved and sliced

4 cups baby spinach, torn into bite-size pieces

extra virgin olive oil


1.  Grill fish/seafood until flaky or cooked through  (use a grilling pan for shrimp and scallops for best results).  Remove any skin or bones, and cut into bite-sized pieces.

2.  Cook pasta as directed on package and drain. 

3.  Mix OJ, sherry, cornstarch, basil, marjoram, salt and pepper in a small bowl.

4.  Heat wok or 12-inch skillet until very hot.  Add olive oil and rotate pan or wok to coat sides.

5.  Add carrots and onion to hot pan and stirfry about 5 minutes, or until “tender-crisp” and then remove from pan or wok when done.  (you can also choose to chop carrots and onion into larger chunks and grill along with the fish instead of stir-frying…just be sure to cut the veggies into smaller pieces before adding to other ingredients)

6.  Add orange juice sauce mixture to pan/wok and cook and stir about 1 minute or until thickened.

7.  Stir in cooked vegetables, grilled fish pieces, spaghetti, and spinach.  Cook about 1-2 minutes or until mixture is heated through and spinach just starts to wilt.

Ready to serve!   Recipe makes 4 servings.

Happy summer to all of you 😉

Tomato and Tortellini Salad

In Meal Ideas, Recipes on July 1, 2010 at 8:50 PM

When I have a girlfriend or two coming over for a relaxing summer lunch, I don’t want to be preparing food while trying to enjoy conversation with my friends at the same time—definitely NOT relaxing for me!  I prefer fixing the meal ahead of time so all I need to do is serve it when we are ready to eat.  The entree salad I am going to share with you is perfect for such an occasion—I prepare it in the morning, allow the tossed dressing and salad mixture marinate in the fridge for 1-4 hours, and then the light, refreshing meal is ready to be enjoyed out on the patio with my friends.  It is an “all in one” meal—ideal for simple preparation, serving, and clean up on a hot summer day.  It serves 3-6 people, depending on appetites.  An icy glass of iced tea or white wine will compliment this dish well.


Two 9 oz. pkgs refridgerated whole wheat cheese tortellini

4 cups of shredded green and red leaf lettuce

3 Tbsp chopped fresh basil

4 Roma tomatoes, chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)

1/2 tsp. pepper

2 Tbsp. cider vinegar

3 Tbsp. olive oil

1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard


1.  cook tortellini, drain, and run under cold water to cool

2.  Mix lettuce, basil, tomatoes, and pepper in a large bowl

3.  Stir in cooled tortellini

4.  Mix oil, vinegar, and mustard in a small bowl — toss with tortellini/salad mixture

5.  Cover and refrigerate 1-4 hours, until chilled


Chicken Fajitas with Homemade Guacamole

In Meal Ideas, Recipes on March 28, 2010 at 7:49 PM

A skinless, boneless chicken breast is a staple in most weight loss and cholesterol lowering diet plans.  Many folks complain of boredom with the same ol’ chicken day after day, week after week.   Some of you have probably eaten enough chicken in your lifetime to have grown wings and feathers by now…  Does the thought of eating chicken for dinner AGAIN tonight sound about as exciting as flossing your teeth?   Well, don’t give up on this lean, low calorie, low fat, satisfying source of animal protein—I have a recipe that will stimulate your palate for chicken again.  And, for busy folks out there, it takes less than 30 minutes to prepare.

Ingredients:  serves 4-6 adults

2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breasts, sliced into strips

3-4 bell peppers, sliced into thin strips  (I suggest red, orange, and/or yellow to add nutrients & color)

large Vidalia onion, sliced into thin strips  (nice and sweet!)

Southwest-style seasonings of your choice  (as mild or spicy as desired)

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

3-4 ripe avocados  (they should be dark colored, not green,  and give slightly to pressure)

fresh salsa  (brand of your choosing)

1 juicy lemon  (halved and squeezed for juice)

1 cup finely shredded cheddar cheese

8-12 whole wheat tortillas or lavash  (6 or 10 inch)

Prepare guacamole:

1.  slice around center pit of each avocado–remove pit—spoon out flesh of avocado and mash

2.  add lemon juice to prevent browning and infuse flavor  (I usually use 1/2 lemon’s juice for 3 avocados), mix with spoon into mashed avocado

3.  add spoonfuls of salsa and mix until the desired flavor and consistency is achieved

4.  I do not like garlic in my guacamole, but you can also add a clove or 2 of minced garlic if you please…

Prepare chicken & vegetables:

1.  Brown chicken strips in olive oil over medium high heat in skillet

2.  Add seasoning, mix in, and continue cooking chicken for few more minutes

3.  Add peppers, onions, more olive oil, (more seasoning if desired) and stir-fry until vegetables are “tender-crisp”  (if softer veggies are desired, remove skillet from heat, place lid on skillet to “steam” for 5-7 minutes after stir-frying)

4.  Steam 8-12 tortillas/lavash in microwave for 45-60 seconds—suggestion:  place tortillas between two lightly moistened paper towels while heating

Assemble Fajitas:

 Spoon fresh guacamole in center of tortilla, top with chicken & vegetables, drizzle salsa and finely shredded cheddar over the chicken, fold, and ENJOY! 

Got leftovers?  An effortless lunch or dinner is ready for tomorrow 😉

Chicken Chili in a Flash

In Meal Ideas, Recipes on March 16, 2010 at 8:37 AM

Looking for a healthy, low fat meal that will appeal to the whole family?  I am sharing my favorite “all in one” chicken recipe, chock full of protein, vegetables, and fiber, that is ready to serve in less than 20 minutes—watch out Rachel Ray!!!   The recipe, as defined below, will serve four adults, but you can easily double the recipe for tasty leftovers in days to come 😉  Try it tonight! 


3 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, diced

14.5 oz can of Diced Tomatoes with Green Pepper & Onion 

1.25 oz. mild chili seasoning mix  (suggesting mild if you have kids, but go for 5-alarm spicy if you please!)

15.25 oz. can Whole Kernel Golden Sweet Corn  (do not drain)

15 oz. can red, kidney, OR black beans, drained and rinsed  (if vegetarian, skip the chicken and add all three kinds of beans!)

1.  Combine diced chicken, undrained tomatoes, and seasoning mix in medium saucepan—cook over medium heat 5-10 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through.

2.  Add undrained corn and drained & rinsed beans, and simmer for 5 minutes or until heated through.

Top with shredded cheddar, a dallop of sour cream, and/or chopped onions as desired.

Please note:  If you need to cut sodium, choose “no salt added” corn, tomatoes, and beans and use only 1/2 of the seasoning packet.


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