A new family tradition my mom and I have during the holidays now is cooking together. On Easter, I tried a new recipe that was a hit among my family: roasted garlic brussel sprouts. My family and I liked how the brussel sprouts had a mix of sweet and savory flavors, and how since brussel sprouts are a healthy vegetable, we didn’t feel bad about having seconds!
Brussel sprouts are a member of the nutrient packed cruciferous vegetable family. They’re a great source of fiber, iron, vitamin c, folate, potassium, and phytochemicals that can reduce the risk of developing cancer. No wonder Moms everywhere are trying to get their kids to eat them!
Roasted Garlic Brussel Sprouts
Ingredients (Serves 6):
2 lbs brussel sprouts
3 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
2 cloves of garlic minced
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Trim stems off brussel sprouts and remove yellow leaves.
Cut brussel sprouts in half and place in large plastic ziplock bag.
Mince garlic cloves and add to plastic bag along with olive oil, salt, and black pepper.
Shake bag until all ingredients are well mixed.
Pour brussel sprouts into pan and place in the oven. Cook for 30-45 minutes stirring brussel sprouts every 7-10 minutes to promote even cooking. Brussel sprouts will be darker brown and soft when they are finished cooking.
It’s been a bit gloomy in the Chicago area lately, so today I decided to have a colorful smoothie to brighten up my day.
This is my favorite smoothie to make and I typically like to have it for breakfast or after I workout. It is a great source of protein and antioxidants (vitamins A and C) to help with starting the day out right and/or with recovery after a hard workout. Protein supplies the foundation for building muscles and to help keep you full throughout the day, while antioxidants help to ward off sickness and combat free radicals produced by exercise. Additional benefits of this smoothie are that it provides two servings of fruits to help with beginning to meet the “5 A Day” fruits and vegetable goal, and that the yogurt and milk in it provide calcium and vitamin D to help with building healthy bones.
Banana Berry Blast Smoothie
1 small banana
1 cup frozen berries (strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries all work great together or alone in this smoothie)
5 oz or one small container of Greek yogurt
1/2 cup milk
Add fruit, yogurt, and milk to a blender
Blend until all ingredients are well mixed. The smoothie will be pink in color.
St Patrick’s Day is typically celebrated with having corned beef and cabbage, and having many foods that are artificially dyed green. This St Patrick’s Day, I recommend trying something that is naturally green: a Spinach Strawberry Smoothie!
Back when I was helping out with the nutrition demos at a running camp, the dietitian I was working with had us make and share this recipe with all of the runners at the camp since it is a great source of iron. Iron deficiency anemia is common in distance runners, and is a problem that I have faced in the past, so I definitely recommend having this smoothie to keep you healthy, especially if you struggle with anemia.
Something I have always enjoyed about nutrition is that many of the nutrients work together to help with the absorption and utilization of other nutrients. One example of this is vitamin C and iron. Since this smoothie also has strawberries and orange juice in it, it is a great source of vitamin C which helps with absorbing the iron in it. I began calling it Popeye’s Spinach Strawberry Smoothie while I was an intern working with the track team at Benedictine since it helps to prevent and treat iron deficiencies so it keeps everyone who has it running strong.
During my internship, I also made a cooking demo video on how to make this smoothie, so this will be a slightly more interactive blog post since I will be sharing it to show how to make the smoothie.
Popeye’s Spinach Strawberry Smoothie
2 cups spinach
1 cup orange juice
6-8 frozen strawberries
Start by blending two cups of spinach and one cup of orange juice in a blender until well mixed.
Add one cup of frozen strawberries and blend until all ingredients are at the consistency desired.
Pour into a glass and enjoy a nutrient packed smoothie!
I’ve been on a quest to try more kinds of fish at my work whenever they’re on sale. The last two weeks, our big sale was on West Coast Dover Sole. After hearing so many customers rave about it, I decided to give it a try.
In regards to nutrition, sole is a lean protein and is a good source of b-vitamins. Additionally, the fillets are small and thin which can be good for portion sizing. Sole is very mild and takes on whatever flavors choose for seasoning.
Over the summer, I liked cooking putting pesto sauce made with basil from our garden on fish so I had the idea to make the sole with lemon and basil on it. Unfortunately, it was a little bland for me since I’m used to eating fish that is more flavorful like salmon, but I think this recipe could be good for picky eaters or those that want something mild. I think I would have liked it a little better if I went the extra mile and made pesto sauce to put on it, but I didn’t have the ingredients to do that.
Lemon Basil Sole
Ingredients (per serving):
4 oz dover sole
1 tsp basil
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 tbsp olive oil for pan
Preheat oven to 375. Sole is a delicate fish, so baking is a good idea so it does not fall apart.
While oven is heating, pour olive oil in a pan and spread it around to prevent sole from sticking.
Place sole in pan and squeeze lemon over sole to season. Also add salt, pepper, and basil at this time.
Bake at 375 for 10-12 minutes. Sole will flake and be at an internal temperature of 145 degrees or higher when it is done. I always like to use a meat thermometer to make sure my fish is done! Serve with veggies and a starch and you have a healthy meal.
Something I love about my job in the seafood and meat department is that we have a book where I can look up the nutrition information on any type of seafood we sell, and learn about the nutrition benefits of each type so I can help the customers make healthier choices. One type of fish that has surprised me with its nutrient contents is our local wild caught whitefish! Salmon is usually touted as the king of healthy omega 3 fats, but a serving of whitefish has more omega 3s in it than leaner sockeye salmon. Like other types of fish, whitefish is a great source of magnesium, B-vitamins, and protein, but an additional benefit of whitefish for me is that it is from the midwest so I feel like I am getting even fresher fish since it does not need to travel as far.
I like recommending whitefish since its mild and takes on the flavor of whatever you season it with, so it’s a great choice for new fish eaters or kids. A new way I have liked cooking it is with a citrus marinade we sell near our department. If you are pressed for time, using a seasoning mix or marinade that is already made is perfect for helping you be able to cook a healthy meal at home…in my case, it was perfect for while I was working more hours, trying to get back into running shape for a 10k in April, and studying for my exam to become a registered dietitian. I will include directions for making a citrus marinade that I like to use when I’m not pressed for time.
Recipe: Citrus Marinated Whitefish
Whitefish: 4-6 oz servings per person (keep the skin on to help hold the fish together!)
3 tbsp grapeseed oil for cooking
1/4 cup citrus marinade per portion: Whole Foods Citrus Mojo Marinade (Disclaimer: I am not trying to sell this marinade through putting it on my blog. Just recommending it since it’s delicious!) or homemade citrus marinade
Homemade Citrus Marinade Ingredients:
1/3 cup orange juice
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground pepper
1/4 tsp salt
If making homemade marinade, whisk all ingredients together in a bowl.
Place fish on a plate or a pan and use 3/4 of the marinade to marinate fish for 30 minutes.
After fish has marinated, pour grapeseed oil into a skillet on the stove and spread around to prevent fish from sticking. Turn stove to medium heat and begin cooking whitefish meat side down for three minutes.
And make sure to use a bigger pan than I did 😉
Carefully flip whitefish to skin side and put stove to low heat. Pour remaining marinade onto whitefish and cover. Cook for nine more minutes or until fish has reached an internal temperature of 145 degrees or higher.
Put whitefish on a plate and enjoy with sides. I like pairing it with vegetables like brussel sprouts, kale, or broccoli and a starch like sweet potatoes or rice.
Since I am recent grad working more hours at my job in a seafood department, I have started trying out more recipes at home to give recommendations to customers and my future patients. A couple weeks ago, I decided to buy a frozen pack of cod portions and bring it home for my family to try.
A common piece of nutrition advice is to try to have two servings of seafood a week since most varieties are relatively lean proteins that are great sources of vitamins, minerals, and omega 3’s. For those you that are a little weary trying about seafood, cod is a great fish to start out with since it has a mild flavor with a light flaky texture. Cod is a great source of b-vitamins, protein, iodine, brain-boosting choline, and a moderate source of omega 3’s, so it is a great addition to the dinner table.
Cod is known for being fried as part of fish and chips, or on a fish fillet sandwich, so I decided to bake breaded cod by adapting a recipe from Whole Foods Market’s website (Baked Breaded Cod). Baking instead of frying helps to keep the recipe low in fats that may lead to heart disease, and allows the breadcrumbs on top of the cod to become crispy and combine well with the cod.
Lightly Breaded Lemon Cod
Ingredients (For 3-4 portions):
Olive oil to coat baking dish
1-4 to 6 oz portion of cod for each person you are serving
1/4 cup whole grain bread crumbs (I used gluten free so I could eat it)
Salt to taste
Ground black pepper to taste
3 tbsp melted butter (optional)
If using frozen cod, take out of freezer the day before and allow to thaw in the refrigerator.
When ready to make, preheat over to 425 degrees. Spread olive oil in baking dish.
In a separate bowl, grate one piece of bread until you have 1/4 cup’s worth. I suggest using the end piece of a bread loaf to get finer breadcrumbs.
Evenly space cod portions in pan and season with salt and ground pepper. Add lemon juice by squeezing half a lemon over the cod portions.
Sprinkle portions with breadcrumbs and optional melted butter.
Bake cod until breadcrumbs are crispy and cod flakes or approximately 12-15 minutes. Use a food thermometer to ensure cod has reached an internal temperature greater than 145 degrees.
After making its way into the spotlight as a trendy vegetable, kale started finding its way into salads, smoothies, and other dishes. It is trendy for good reasons: it’s in season for half of the year so you can buy it locally for added nutrition at a lower cost, and it’s full of many important nutrients including vitamins A, C, K, folate, calcium, potassium, and iron just to name a few.
Since it’s the new year, it’s a great time to try a new healthy recipe. Raw kale can sometimes be bitter for my liking on its own, so I usually sauté the kale to ease back on the bitterness. It’s a simple recipe that just takes a few minutes, and it goes great with almost any meal!
Simple Sautéed Kale
Kale (typically 1.5-2 leaves per person since it shrinks during cooking)
Salt and pepper to taste
Wash kale in cold running water and pat dry with a paper towel.
In a medium skillet, pour enough olive oil to be able to spread and coat pan. Put stove at medium heat.
Remove kale leaves from the stems and add to the skillet to cook.
After all kale is in the skillet, add salt and pepper. Stir kale to spread seasonings and periodically throughout cooking time for even heating.
Kale is finished once it is slightly wilted. Remove from skillet and enjoy!
Having to follow a gluten free diet for medical reasons can be difficult over the holidays when there are a bunch of treats around, so a couple years ago I started making gluten free cookies to keep me happy during dessert time. The past three years I have made gluten free gingerbread cookies that are so good, most people cannot tell they’re gluten free! My favorite part about the recipe is that most of its flavor comes from baking spices so baking the cookies fills my kitchen with a wonderful aroma that can get me in the holiday spirit.
Gluten Free Gingerbread Cookies (Adapted from King Arthur Flour):
– 2 1/4 cups gluten free all purpose flour
– 1 cup almond flour
– 1/2 tsp xanthan gum
– 1/4 tsp baking soda
– 1 tsp ground cinnamon
– 1 1/2 tsp ground ginger
– 1/4 tsp ground cloves
– 1/2 tsp salt
– 1/2 cup brown sugar
– 6 tbsp softened butter
– 1 egg
– 1/2 cup molasses
– 1 tsp vanilla – Optional: frosting
Add flours, xanthan gum, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves to a large bowl and stir until blended.
Add brown sugar and butter to mixture and stir with an electric mixer until blended and texture is fluffy.
Add egg, molasses, and vanilla and mix with electric mixer until well blended.
Split dough into two flattened discs and refrigerate for at least one hour. I usually refrigerate the dough over night. This also allows me to do clean up in shifts.
When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350
If desired, roll out dough onto parchment paper scattered with dough to prevent sticking, and stamp with holiday themed stampers. Place on parchment paper lined baking sheets and cook for 8-12 minutes at 350.
After cooking, let the cookies sit on a baking sheet for five minutes and then transfer to cooking rack.
If decorating is desired, allow cookies to cool completely before frosting. I usually use a frosting with a tipped dispenser for better accuracy with designing. If you are planning to stack the cookies for storage or as a gift, learn from my tiny mistake this year and use a fast drying frosting!
These cookies are a great addition to a holiday meal and can even be a sweet gift for friends and family. Happy Holidays!
Some things I have been lucky about with working in a seafood department are knowing when all the great sales are and getting to learn how to make different types of seafood like salmon, scallops, and now lobster tails! After making lobster tails to celebrate my boyfriend’s birthday and feeling immense pride about them turning out, I have taken advantage of the lobster tail sale this time around by getting them more than once. Lobster is a great source of protein, vitamin B-12, selenium, zinc, and copper so it is definitely a dinner treat I can get behind.
Lobster can be an intimidating dish to prepare, but following a recipe can make it much easier!
Lobster Tail Recipe:
Lobster tails (I used 4 oz ones. I recommend 1.5-2 tails per person if served as a main entree)
Grassfed butter (one pat per tail)
Preheat oven to 375 to bake lobster
Split the back of the lobster tail open with a chef’s knife by cutting through the shell. (This can be somewhat dangerous, so if you are unsure about doing this, ask your local fishmonger for help!)
Place in pan with a small amount of water
Place butter pats over lobster meat where the back was split.
Bake for 20 minutes, turning the pan at the halfway point.
Lobster is done when the shell has turned red and meat has become white. Remove from the oven and enjoy!
This recipe has a simple, savory flavor and is best enjoyed along with vegetables and risotto. It can impress when done right and is a great addition to a holiday meal! Enjoy!
Hi Everyone and welcome to Rehning Recipes! I’m a recent graduate of a combined Masters of Science in Nutrition and dietetic internship program in the Chicagoland area. I have been a runner for the majority of my life which helped me get into nutrition, and have also worked in a seafood department for almost two years while I was in grad school so I have some expertise in preparation of seafood. I plan on taking the RD exam early next year in order to finally achieve my dream of becoming a registered dietitian working in the clinical setting.
Something I love about nutrition is how I can be creative in the kitchen by making healthier, flavorful recipes for my friends and family to enjoy. I plan on utilizing this blog to post recipes I have created or tried out in order to spread the concept that eating healthy can be fun and flavorful!