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Holiday Recipes, Uncategorized

Roasted Brussels Sprouts & Sweet Potatoes with Bacon

Dear Diary,

I read an article recently that listed BACON as one of the ten foods Dietitians and Nutritionists NEVER eat. Wait…WHAT? We don’t eat bacon? When did that happen? I can understand the vegetarians and non-pork eaters saying no to bacon, but really…the rest of us don’t eat bacon? Or…maybe I’m one of the few that admit to eating bacon? One may never know…or care because let’s face it, it’s bacon!

While I might opt for uncured and nitrate free bacon, I embrace what a slice or three of bacon can add to a dish. It can bring the perfect balance of salty to compliment the sweet. Another recipe I have made for many years, Brunswick Stew with Smoked Paprika, calls for 2 slices of bacon for a recipe that creates 6 portions. If I’m doing my math correctly, that is 1/3 of a slice of bacon per serving. We can embrace moderation and gain a ton of flavor by using high fat, flavor filled foods in small amounts.

I am a lover of creating dishes that are packed with veggies and bursting with flavor all at the same time. This vegetable roast nails the sweet, savory, smokiness that a Fall inspired side dish is all about. Warning, it may put Aunt Ida’s canned yams to shame at the Thanksgiving table!

Roasted Brussels Sprouts & Sweet Potatoes with Bacon

15-20 Brussels Sprouts, trimmed and cut in half

2 medium Yams (aka Sweet Potatoes), scrubbed, not peeled, cut into 1 inch cubes

1 Granny Smith Apple, not peeled, cut into 1 inch cubes

1 medium Sweet Onion, thinly sliced

2-3 slices of Uncured Bacon, chopped

2 Tablespoons Olive Oil

2 Tablespoons Balsamic Vinegar

1 Tablespoon Honey or Maple Syrup

1/2 teaspoon each Salt, Black Pepper, Dried Thyme

Directions: Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a large cookie sheet with parchment paper. In a large bowl, combine all ingredients, except bacon, and toss to mix well. Spread out the mixture on the parchment paper and evenly distribute the bacon over the top. Roast for 15-18 minutes, mix so vegetables cook evenly, and roast for another 12-15 mins. If the bacon is crispy and the vegetables have some char the dish is ready. It may need 5-10 more mins depending on amount of vegetables.

Spaghetti Squash with Sausage and Mushrooms from Diary of a Dietitian
Recipes, Uncategorized

Spaghetti Squash with Mushrooms and Chicken Sausage

Dear Diary,

Fall is my favorite food season! The markets right now are full of the years best offerings of winter squash, apples, pears, potatoes and Brussels sprouts. Spaghetti squash is one of the most versatile of the winter squash options to cook with. Spaghetti squash can be used to replace pasta or rice and easily takes on the flavor of the herbs and spices it’s cooked with.

Cooking with winter squash can be intimidating if you have never done it before. The outer shell is difficult to cut through in it’s raw state. Having a good sharp knife is essential to any kitchen, but when cutting winter squash it’s an absolute must. If you still fear cutting off an appendage while trying to get to the good stuff inside, never fear, there are ways to cook squash whole.

Spaghetti Squash with Mushrooms and Chicken Sausage   

  • 1 medium spaghetti squashSpaghetti Squash
  • 8 ounces cremini mushrooms
  • 5 links chicken sausage (I used Aidells Chicken & Apple)
  • 3/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • Salt to taste
  • 5 teaspoons grated Parmesan cheese

1. Cut the spaghetti squash lengthwise, spray the inside with olive oil in anIMAG4700_1 oil mister (Misto makes a good one). Turn the squash cut side down on a baking sheet with edges or a 9×13 glass baking dish. Bake at 375 degrees for 40-45 minutes. Spaghetti squash can also be cooked whole by piercing the squash several times with a skewer and baking at 375 degrees for 1 hour. By baking it whole, it will not have a roasted flavor like when it’s cut in half.

2. While the squash is baking, chop onion, slice mushrooms and thin slice sausage. In a 12 inch skillet, over medium heat, add olive oil and saute onions and mushrooms for 5-6 minutes. Add sausage and dried thyme (use fresh thyme if you have it) and continue sauteing for another 8-10 minutes. Add balsamic vinegar and turn heat down to low until squash is ready to be added.

3. After the squash is removed from the oven, flip it over to cool just enough so you can remove it from the shell. Use a fork to shred the inside so that it looks like spaghetti. Add squash to the mushroom and sausage mixture and turn heat up to medium. Fold in squash and heat 4-5 minutes or until heated through.

4. Recipe makes 5 servings. Top each portion with 1 teaspoon of Parmesan cheese. Use any left over portions for lunch the next day!