Archive | April 2012

Book Club Greek Quesadillas

A few of the nutrition girls and I have done a monthly book club for a while now where once a month we get together at alternating houses and talk about the book we have decided to read for the month (non-nutrition related).  That’s kind of a cover though, really, we get together to test out new recipes on each other and eat and drink.  Regardless, I love the change of pace from sitting in class or clinic together.  For this month, we read the Hunger Games and I made these Greek Quesadillas.  They were very easy and would make a good lunch, snacky appetizer, or light dinner.  Also feel free to vary the ingredients to fit your preferences.

Greek Quesadillas

Serves: 5-6

(6) 10″ whole wheat tortillas

5 oz. feta cheese

7-8 sundried tomatoes, packed in oil, drained (feel free to substitute for roasted red peppers)

12-14 black olives, sliced thinly

1/4 red onion, diced

5-6 oz fresh baby spinach, thinly sliced

1 tbsp. oregano, divided

red pepper flakes to taste


  1. Recipe makes 3 large tortillas , so place the first 10″ tortilla on a cutting board and sprinkle with desired amounts of each ingredient (feta, sundried tomatoes, black olives, red onion, spinach, oregano, red pepper flakes), keeping in mind that you will need to fill two more the same way.
  2. Coat pan with cooking spray and heat over medium high heat.  Place loaded tortilla into pan, top with another empty 10″ tortilla.  Cook until slightly browned on the bottom (a few minutes) and flip.  Cook other side a few more minutes.
  3. Remove from heat and cook 2 other tortillas the same way.
  4. Use pizza cutter to slice each tortilla into wedges.

Here’s a quick look at the other things we ate..

Jalapeno Cheddar rolls, s’mores dip, blueberry crisp (not pictured), guacamole with Wegmans marathon bread and Russian beef dish.. yum!


Maddi’s Shrimp-Avocado Bowls

There are two great things about this recipe, one is that it comes from one of my old college roommates whom I love and miss every day.  I kind of think of her as my very own Paula Deen.. she’s the southern belle always wanting to add more butter.  Although, I don’t want to paint a bad picture, she is a healthy little vegetarian and she weighs about 90 pounds, but I have heard her say more than once that “you NEED to use butter.”  Here’s one of my favorite pictures from college, “teaching” the butter-loving southern belle to snowboard…

The second best thing about this recipe is that I didn’t prepare it (ha!).  This comes from chef Dan, who jumped in to cook it without being asked.. I’m hopeful some blog recognition will encourage him to do this more in the future ;)

One note on this recipe- it is very high in sodium.  I buy low sodium of everything, but you know how those Asian ingredients can be sometimes.. high in sodium no matter what.  If you have a heart problem such as high blood pressure, it would not be responsible of me as a future RD to tell you to consume this on a regular basis!  So, it’s a nice treat, think of it that way :)

Maddi’s Shrimp- Avocado Bowls

Serves: 6

1 lb medium shrimp, peeled & de-veined (I only used 1/2 lb due to the high cost of shrimp, which also worked just fine)

Sprinkling of ground ginger (adjust to your preferences)

2 Tbsp. rice wine (Buy at an Asian store if you can- much cheaper then a supermarket)

2 avocados, peeled, pitted, and diced

Juice of 1 lemon

4 cups cooked brown rice/quinoa (I used 2 of the 90 second microwaveable packages of a brown rice/quinoa mixture.  If you don’t have that available, I would do 2c brown rice and 2c quinoa, mixed)

1 c chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley (I used about 2 tbsp. dried parsley instead)


1/3c low sodium soy sauce

3-4 tbsp. rice vinegar (also from Asian store if you can)

1 1/2 tbsp. rice wine

1 1/2 tbsp. toasted sesame oil (Asian store)

1 1/2 tbsp. sugar

1/2 tsp. salt


  1. Combine all the dressing ingredients in a small bowl.
  2. Place shrimp in another bowl, add ginger and 2 tbsp. rice wine, toss lightly.
  3. Bring 2 quarts of water to boil in a large pot.  Add shrimp mixture, cook for 2.5-3 minutes until shrimp is pink.  Drain in colander and let shrimp cool.
  4. In a large bowl, lightly toss avocado with half the lemon juice.  Add cooked shrimp and rice/quinoa.  Add remaining lemon juice and toss.  Add dressing & parsley, and toss.  Taste for seasoning, add more salt if necessary.  Serve at room temperature or chilled.

Lemon-Chia Seed Bread

I “pinned” today’s recipe on pinterest a few weeks ago because it looked so refreshing to me for Spring.  Ironically, the day I made it we got a disgusting wintry mix and temp’s were in the 30’s.  At least it left me hopeful for Spring.  When I made my shopping list on Saturday and actually checked out the ingredients, I knew I needed to do some “healthifying” of it to give it more nutritional value.  I didn’t try the original of course, but I enjoyed my version which was considerably less fat and calories.. enjoy!

Lemon- Chia Seed Bread– adapted from Apple A Day

Makes: 1 loaf

Zest & juice of 2 large lemons, divided

1 cup whole wheat flour

1/2 cup all purpose flour

1 tsp. baking powder

1/4 tsp. salt

2 tbsp. unsalted butter, softened

1/4 cup unsweetened apple sauce (this acts as a fat substitute to replace 4 tbsp. of butter!)

3/4 cup granulated sugar

2 large eggs

1/2 cup skim milk

1.5 tbsp. chia seeds (These may be in the organic or health food section of your supermarket, if not use poppy seeds)

1/4 cup confectioners sugar


  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.  Spray with cooking spray and flour one 9×5 inch loaf pan.
  2. Finely grate enough zest from lemons to measure 2 tsp. on to cutting board and squeeze enough juice to measure about 1/4 cup into a small bowl (basically, all of the juice from the 2 lemons).
  3. Into a bowl sift together flour, baking powder, and salt.
  4. In a large bowl with an electric mixer beat together butter, apple sauce, granulated sugar, and lemon zest until light and fluffy.  Beat in eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition.
  5. With mixer on low speed add flour mixture and milk alternately in batches, beginning and ending with flour mixture and beating just until batter is combined well.  Beat in chia seeds and 1 TBSP lemon juice and pour batter into prepared loaf pans, smoothing tops. Bake loaves in middle of oven until a tester comes out clean, about 1 hour.  Check for doneness with a toothpick.
  6. While bread is baking, in a small bowl stir together 2 TBSP of remaining lemon juice and confectioners’ sugar to form a glaze.
  7. After bread is done, allow to cool for 15 minutes.  Then, remove bread from loaf pan and poke many small holes (with toothpick) into the top of the bread.  Brush glaze repeatedly over the top until it is absorbed.

Note from the original: bread keeps 4 days at room temperature or 1 month frozen.


Roasted Veggie Enchiladas- Piled High!

I will start off by saying that this is probably a weekend recipe.  It’s not a lot of active time, but you will be waiting around for about an hour.  Depending on how you deal with hunger, that may not work for you (certainly wouldn’t for me!).  The good news is that it makes a lot of leftovers, so make it Sunday and have a meal ready for you on Monday :)  Now I don’t want to toot my own horn here, but the other good news is that it was freakin’ delicious.  Not only does it taste good, but it’s good for you too.  If you are watching your weight, I might advise you to cut out the cheese on the bottom two layers and only use about 1/2 cup on the top layer.  Other then that, this is PACKED with vegetables, and with that, tons of nutrition.  Aside from the blur on this photo, just look at the colors..

Honestly, chopping was the hardest part of this recipe.  So, it’s very easy, just lengthy.  Here it is…

Roasted Veggie Enchilada’s – Piled High!- slightly adapted from Perry’sPlate

Serves: 4-6

2 red bell peppers, cut into matchsticks
1 head of broccoli, cut into 1/2-inch chunks
1 small sweet potato, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1/2 medium white onion, slivered
1 cup corn kernels, fresh or frozen
3 T olive oil
sprinkle of ground cumin
2 garlic cloves, minced
salt and black pepper
1 cup homemade or store bought medium salsa
2 ounces baby spinach leaves (about 2 big handfuls)
3 large whole wheat tortillas (or 6 small), cut into thirds and then halfed (basically cut into squares)
1 1/2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
2 thinly sliced green onions


  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Lightly oil a large cookie sheet.
  2. Place red bell peppers, broccoli, sweet potato, onion, and corn kernels onto cookie sheet. Drizzle olive oil and sprinkle the cumin and minced garlic over top. Add a generous pinch or two of salt and black pepper, then use your hands to mix everything together. After everything is coated well, spread the vegetables evenly in the pan. Roast for 30 minutes until vegetables are tender and begin to brown in spots. Stir or shake the pan every 10 minutes for even roasting. Remove pan from oven and reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees F.
  3. Prepare an 8×8 inch square baking pan with nonstick spray.  Spread 1/4 cup of salsa into the bottom of the baking pan. Add a layer of tortilla pieces, to completely cover the salsa. Top with 1/3 of the vegetables, a handful of spinach, 1/3 of the green onions and 1/3 of the cheese. Make a second layer, this time tortilla first, salsa, vegetables, spinach, green onions, and cheese. Top with a third layer of tortillas, salsa, vegetables, spinach, green onions, and cheese.
  4. Cover with aluminum foil.  Bake for 20 minutes. Remove the foil and bake another 10 minutes, until cheese is melted and everything is heated through.
  5. Let it sit for 5 minutes and cut into squares.


Alright so a healthy recipe will be coming this weekend (I just haven’t cooked it yet!), so to keep with my promise of Thursday posts I wanted to do a quick one about a common misconception of RD’s and why I feel it’s important to make a note.

I’m currently in outpatient rotations right now in my program, and yesterday I had my first very defensive, anti-RD patient.  It was a little unsettling, but it was an important lesson to learn.  “We” were people who always try to put him/her on a diet, and make him/her eat “disgusting” food like brown rice.  Obviously, this is not the kind of person that you want to suggest brown rice to, but rather something very basic like suggesting that they just eat 3 meals a day.  The RD I was working with handled the situation really well, and the patient began to relax.. a little.  The point here I feel I need to make is that I think we are so often viewed as the diet police, when in reality it is not like that.  If you are trying to make a healthier lifestyle change, often the best way to start is to make one or two simple changes in your life.  Here’s a few examples that I think I will encourage when I encounter a patient like that in the future:  walk 10 minutes more on your walk then you used to, take the stairs instead of the elevator, park your car far away from the store on purpose, have a problem with sweets? drink a bottle of water in between each cookie, Love whole milk? Mix it with half 2%, then after a few weeks, switch to full 2%, and so on (I bet you won’t tell the difference!).  Hate vegetables?  Add them into combination dishes in small amounts- i.e. toss tomatoes into your mac & cheese, etc.

These are all broad and may not apply to you, but I hope you get the idea that we aren’t the diet police.  If you are thinking about going to see an RD but aren’t sure, don’t be afraid that we are going to take away everything that you love to eat/drink.  We are taught to truly meet the client where they are, not where WE are as RD’s and lovers of healthy food, promise!

My Version of Chicken Milanese

Well I was really excited to give you guys the recipe for this roasted red pepper/parmesan cheese bread…

but it came out too dry :(

So instead of giving you a bad recipe, I will have to work on it and get it on here eventually.  Instead, I have a yummy chicken milanese-ish recipe that was inspired from Pinterest, but I changed a lot of it to fit what I prefer.  Please excuse the browning of the avocado’s, that is due to cutting it up way before I should have.  Don’t be discouraged by the long instructions list, it really isn’t that complicated, just a lot of mindless tasks.  I hope you like it!

My Version of Chicken Milanese

Serves: 3-4

3 boneless skinless chicken breasts

approx. 1/3 cup shaved Parmesan cheese, divided (or grated if you don’t have fresh available)

1 cup milk

2 cups Panko breadcrumbs

1/4 cup flour

1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

1/2 teaspoon salt

approx. 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

2 cups cherry tomatoes

8 oz. fresh spinach

1 garlic clove, minced

1/4 small white onion, diced

1 avocado

1 juiced lime


  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Trim raw chicken of fat and pound chicken breasts down to about 1/2″ thick (very thin)
  3. Put the tomatoes on a foil rimmed cookie sheet and drizzle with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and a pinch of salt.
  4. Roast for about 20 minutes (depending on your oven, they may be done in as little as 20 min. or as long as 40 min.), stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes are shriveled.
  5. Mix the oregano, salt, pepper, flour ,and panko and set on a plate.
  6. Place the milk for the chicken in a shallow bowl.
  7. Dip each chicken piece into the milk and then dredge in the bread crumbs. You should have a thin, even coating.
  8. Heat 1/4 cup of olive oil in a large nonstick skillet. Cook the chicken for about 4 minutes on the first side, or until evenly browned and crisp. Flip and cook for another 2-3 minutes or until the other side is browned and crisp and the chicken is firm to the touch.
  9. When chicken is done, transfer it to a paper towel lined dish and remove some of the excess oil. Then transfer the chicken to an aluminum lined cookie sheet and cover each piece with a small handful of shaved Parmesan cheese.
  10. Bake the Parmesan covered chicken in your 400 degree preheated oven for about 4-10 minutes until the cheese is bubbly and chicken is cooked through.  Depending on how thin your chicken is, this may take less or more time.
  11. As the chicken bakes, sauté the spinach over medium heat in a little bit of olive oil, chopped onion and garlic.
  12. While the spinach cooks, dice avocado into bite-size pieces and sprinkle with fresh lime juice.  Set aside.
  13. When the chicken is done, cut into strips – set aside.
  14. Put a small handful of spinach on a plate, place chicken strips on top, then scoop some of your avocado mix and roasted tomatoes on top of your chicken.

Quinoa Corn Edamame Salad

This is going to be a pretty weak post, I’ll say it right now.  I had a big, brain draining test yesterday and as you can see, I’m barely getting this post in before midnight.

This salad was perfect, I didn’t change a thing from the original, so it’s only fair that I link you right to the blog I got it from.  What I love about it is that it made a LOT (it was leftover lunch for a few days).  If you’re not familiar with quinoa, you’re missing out!  It’s has a grain texture, similar to that of couscous, but unlike other grains it is high in protein.  It’s great for vegetarians because it is a complete protein, meaning it contains all of the nine essential amino acids. “Essential” means that they can not be made by the body, and must be consumed.  For vegetarians to get the same protein as a meat eater, they need to be cautious of matching foods that provide all of the essential amino acids (i.e. rice and beans), so it is nice that quinoa has already done that for them.  It’s also great because it kind of takes on the flavors that it is mixed with, and is not a strong flavor alone.

One important thing to look for when you buy quinoa is the stamp of “fair trade.”  Quinoa actually originates in the warm climates of Peru and Bolivia, where it was a staple crop for the people there.  Unfortunately since it has become so popular in America, we are willing to pay a lot more for it and the people who relied on it to survive can now no longer afford it.  It’s very sad, so please buy a “fair trade” stamped package, even if it is a bit more, in order to ensure that a fair price was paid for the grain and those people are not being taken advantage of.  Well enough of the nutrition lesson, and I hope you give the recipe a try! ;)

Quinoa Corn Edamame Salad

I served with a 5 oz piece of salmon and side salad of spinach