I wanted to share with you my top 5 kitchen must-haves for every kitchen. These tools are perfect for those starting out in the kitchen in one way or another. Whether you’re a grad fresh out of school, or a young professional starting your life on your own, these tools are a great starter kit to being a successful home cook. Yes, there are other “kitchen accessories” that help make cooking a little easier, but these 5 tools are the bare necessities. I will go over my top 5 kitchen accessories in a later blog. So let’s jump right in!
This recipe was inspired by one of my favorite Miami restaurants…Finka Table and Tap. This is a MUST DO when visiting Miami. This gastropub features traditional Cuban food with a Peruvian/Korean twist. Like me, you may find it very difficult to order just one item. If you have to choose just one, I highly recommend their Cuban fried rice…yummmm. It is definitely my favorite dish on the menu.
One day, while scrolling through the Gram, I came across a dish Finka was featuring. It was a roasted 1/2 chicken in a naranja agria (sour orange) gravy over risotto. When I saw the dish, I was like, “Gotta have it!”, and since I am almost 1300 miles from Miami, I decided to improvise and make my own interpretation of this dish. The final product was killer, and I knew I had to share with you all. I hope you enjoy this Latin derived recipe!
For the month of May, Banza (Instagram: @eatbanza) is celebrating the deliciousness of plant-based meals. I wanted to support their #BanzaPlusPlants initiative the only way I know how, and that is through this delicious meal. Banza pasta is not your typical pasta. They ditched the typical wheat pasta, and substituted chickpeas instead. What does this mean for the pasta? Double the protein, four times more fiber, and nearly half the net carbs, without compromising the taste (https://www.eatbanza.com/pages/our-pasta). For this particular recipe, I decided to use the shell shaped pasta because these little shells act as mini bowls that hold the sauce, ensuring delicious goodness in every bite. So, if you like this recipe, leave a comment and be sure to share on social media using #BanzaPlusPlants and tag both @eatbanza and myself @nate_thechefboy_rd. Enjoy!
After sampling this dish with multiple people and getting great feedback, I wanted to share with you all how I make mysuprême de volaille, French for “Chicken Suprême”, with root vegetables. I decided to add mashed red potato to this dish but will be excluding it from this recipe.
Like all dishes, proper mise en place is a must. The reason being, when you start cooking, there is no stopping to find ingredients. You risk messing up. This recipe may seem overwhelming at first. Just read through it a couple times, place all your ingredients in front of you, and practice.
2 boneless chicken breasts (skin on)
Ground black pepper (fresh is better)
1-2 tbsp Grapeseed oil/canola/vegetable oil
4 garlic cloves
1/2 small bunch of thyme
4 tbsp Butter
2 shallots, sliced thin
1/8-1/4 cup brandy or white wine
3/4 cup reduced chicken stock (reduce 1 cup chicken stock to 1/4 the amount)
Ingredients (root vegetables):
4-6 Baby carrots
2-4 baby golden beets
2-4 baby red beets
1 small bunch rosemary
1/2 small bunch thyme
1 brunch parsley
1. Preheat oven to 425. Remove chicken breast from refrigerator to allow it to come to room temp (2-3 minutes). Season w/ salt and pepper.
2. Wash and dry all veggies. In a roasting pan place rosemary, thyme and parsley creating a bed for the root veggies. Season the bed with salt. Place your veggies in the herb bed and wrap with aluminum foil (tight seal). Place pan on stove top to get the cooking started (~1 minute). Once you hear crackling, transfer pan to oven and cook for 30-40 minutes depending on size.
3. Place large skillet on medium high heat and add your oil. Lower heat to medium and add you garlic and thyme. Place chicken breast skin side down on hot pan. DO NOT MOVE CHICKEN UNTIL SKIN HAS BROWNED (~4min). Flip chicken and add 1-2 tbsp butter (depending on size of breast). As the butter melts, spoon over the chicken, BASTING the skin until golden (~3min). Flip chicken skin-side down and baste the other side. Remove the chicken from stove and transfer to oven (cook 10 min in oven). Once cooked, remove chicken from the oven and transfer chicken to a plate to rest. Drain the excess fat into a bowl
4. Place skillet back over medium heat. Add shallots and remaining butter. Transfer garlic and thyme from the previous step back into the pan. Once shallots have caramelized, about 4 min, lower the heat and deglaze the pan with your brandy or white white. Scrape the bottom of the pan clean. Once the alcohol burns off (you’ll know because the alcohol smell will go away) add reduced chicken stock, stir, and season with salt and pepper. Let the sauce cook for a couple minutes, then pass through strainer. Press the shallots and garlic into the strainer. Place back over heat and reduce sauce to thicken it (~5min)
5. Remove vegetables from oven and halve them. Arrange on the plate like a little garden. In the center of the plate you can spoon you mashed potato. Slice your chicken breast and transfer chicken pieces onto plate all at once. Drizzle your sauce on the chicken and veggies, but be careful not to put too much on the crispy skin.
6. Serve to those you love and enjoy!
This recipe was inspired by both the great Chef Gordon Ramsay as well as my favorite meal…BRUNCH!!!! When I think of brunch, I think of innovative dishes that really get those taste buds dancin’. I love the breakfast feel of brunch with a hint of lunch just tapping on the front door. This particular brunch dish brings together the Italian flavors of fresh rustic bread, garlic and olive oil (bruschetta) with an earthy balance of in-season wild mushrooms cooked to perfection. A brunch dish would not be complete without an oozing poached egg to bring the dish together. So without further ado, let’s get into this recipe.
***BONUS: Scroll to the bottom for my favorite brunch spots in both Miami and Boston!
Welcome to Nutrition For Performance’s first ever Review of Food! Our goal is to give you, the consumer, a review of the latest food/supplement products from a Dietitian’s point of view. This will allow you to bypass all the elaborate marketing tactics and give you the raw data behind the foods you consume. We will discuss taste, texture, nutritional implications and cost. Before we go any further, we want you to know that we are no way affiliated with these companies. We are not getting paid to do this. We simply want to provide our followers with professional insight that will empower them to make educated decisions when it comes to the foods they buy. This is a no BS review and we will simply state the facts. So without further ado, lets dive right in to this week’s Review of Food!
Moreso than ever before, the thought of going vegan/vegetarian has been on many people's mind. While many opt for this heavily plant-based diet due to health reasons, others choose this lifestyle in hopes to reduce their environmental footprint, or simply they have become aware of how animals are treated before becoming someone's dinner. However, many fail at maintaining a vegan lifestyle. Some reasons include the challenges that come with being vegan (i.e. planning meals, going out to restaurants, etc.), or people are just not seeing the results they want, thus creating a scenario where the perceived benefits outway the perceived challenges. If you are someone thinking of going vegan, check out this interview piece Nathan Diaz MS, RD, LDN did with other nutritional professionals where they dive into what people need to know about the vegan diet. Click here to access the radio piece.
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND) has a position paper that dives deep into what one must be aware of when going vegetarian/vegan. Click here to access this article.
**Note: This article, radio snippet, and position paper by the AND focuses on the vegan diet. Being a vegan is not just about what you consume, it is considered a lifestyle to many.
Being a vegan means you do not consume any animals or animal products (i.e. honey, gelatin, meat stocks, etc.). This is different from being a vegetarian in that vegetarians simply do not consume animals, yet still may consume animal products. As you can see from our definition of a vegan diet, many challenges surface. Here are the top three challenges vegans face:
- Accounting for and supplementing nutrients that are found in animals and animal products. Nutrients such as complete proteins (contain essential building blocks or amino acids), iron (especially for females), vitamin B12, calcium, zinc, iodine, and vitamin D need to be accounted for when adopting a vegan diet. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics has a position paper that dives deeper into the different nutrients one must be aware of when going vegetarian/vegan. It also talks about other ways to get these specific nutrients. Click here to access the position paper.
- Planning/cooking meals so you know exactly what you are consuming. This is a challenge for many, especially since cooking has become a lost art. If cooking is out of the question, there are food service companies out there that will deliver vegan meals to your door, but be prepared to spend a pretty penny on this service. A night out with coworkers, or a family dinner at your parent's favorite steakhouse? Be prepared to ask the server a lot of questions regarding the menu items. Many times, all the ingredients used in a dish are not listed on the menu, so ask ask ask!
- Sticking to being vegan/vegetarian. Many people go into this lifestyle to just try something new. That is perfectly ok. Make sure you have a deeper meaning as to why you want to go vegan or vegetarian. This will give you a purpose and give you a sense of motivation when obstacles come your way. Like any type of behavioral modification, it takes time to adopt. There will be plenty of "I quit" moments, but if you are serious about making a difference with your health or your environment, those "I quit" moments will be non-existent.
Give the radio interview a listen, as well as read the position paper to better understand what to look out for when going vegan/vegetarian. Best of luck!
Nutrition For Performance
Along with our fellow colleague and good friend from Rebel Nutrition, we are so excited to announce the release of our 1st ever cookbook–> Eating with a Purpose: Spring/Summer Edition. This has been months in the making, and we can’t wait to finally get this in your hands and to see all the delicious things you make from it. We’ve decided to release this edition for FREE because we want your feedback, comments, and what you guys would like to see in the future.
ALSO– we will be holding a contest
Send us a picture of your personal twist on any dish from this book, and we will pick our favorite to be featured in our next cookbook!
We decided on these specific recipes to celebrate the spring and summer and to highlight the delicious produce that is in-season during these bountiful months. We encourage you all to go to your local farmer’s markets to get the produce for these recipes, if possible. Locally sourced, in-season produce is more nutrient dense, flavorful, environmentally friendly, and cheaper!
All the work we put into this cookbook was for one reason, YOU. So have fun with it, don’t stress too much about following the recipes exactly, and please send us your pictures and comments!
We all have been told as a child, “You can’t leave the table unless you finish your vegetables!” Though this is not the most effective way to get children to eat vegetables, they had a point about their importance. Packed with nutrients, this food group contains fiber to help with normal digestion and elimination as well as helps with healthy weight loss by filling you up without adding the calories. As dietitians, we would love everyone we work with to be as excited about vegetables as we are but we are not naive nor do we live in a fantasy world. We understand that though vegetables are one of the healthiest foods we can put in our body, it is also one of the least liked foods out there by all ages and populations. So how can we as dietitians help the veggie haters out there accept and consume more vegetables? In this article we will give you FIVE tactical ways you can include vegetables in your diet without knowing they are even there.
- Hide Vegetables In Smoothies
This is a quick and simple way to get at least 1-2 servings of veggies. Choose leafy greens that do not have a distinct flavor like spinach or kale. We personally love adding spinach due to their consistency when blended. You can not taste it nor can you feel the spinach texture in the smoothie. If you like fruits, such as berries or bananas, throw these sweet fruits in your smoothie to mask the taste.
2. Add Chopped Spinach or Kale to Your Spaghetti Sauce
Adding chopped spinach or kale to a pasta sauce is another great way to mask flavor and texture. Because pasta sauce has so many other flavors going on, leafy greens will not even cross your mind when chomping into a bite of spaghetti.
3. Try a Warm Zucchini Noodle “zoodle”/Whole Wheat Noodle Mix
Speaking of pasta and spaghetti, try a zoodle and whole wheat pasta mix. Be sure the zoodles are warm that way they blend right in with the whole wheat pasta. This coupled with leafy greens in the sauce, you can easily get 2 servings of veggies right there.
4. Wrap Em In Bacon
Bacon…nuff said. Our favorite recipe is bacon wrapped asparagus. You can pan sear these or even throw them on the grill for a weekend fiesta! C’mon, anything wrapped in bacon is going to be pure heaven.
5. Hide Vegetables in a Casserole, Rice, OR Mashed Potatoes
Similar to the mechanism behind the pasta sauce, casseroles are a great way to hide veggies because there are so many complex flavors that overpower the vegetable taste. Adding cauliflower to rice and mashed potatoes (½ and ½ mixture) can ensure you get your vegetables without knowing they are even there. You can also add grated broccoli to a cilantro rice and not even know there is broccoli in there.
There you have it! Here are some great ways you can incorporate veggies without knowing they are even in a 10 foot radius of your food. Remember, the end goal is to increase vegetable intake by any means necessary. If that means wrapping them in bacon, that is a step in the right direction. In order to go from a veggie hater to a veggie lover, take baby steps. It does you no good to start cold turkey with chomping down on a raw floret of broccoli or some good ole spinach. Find a vegetable that you like and can tolerate and change up the way you prepare it. So for now, step out of your comfort zone, try something new and let us know how it goes.
Sleep plays a vital role in optimal health and performance. Getting enough sleep can affect your mental health, safety, and physical health. Sleep is measured by many factors but to keep it simple, we will look at sleep duration and sleep quality. Sleep duration is the amount, in hours, of undisturbed sleep. Sleep quality is measured by slow wave sleep and rapid eye movement. Slow wave sleep happens when you are in deep sleep and the body is building up physical and mental energy. Certain functions decrease, such as brain and muscle activity, and the body can actually rest. Rapid eye movement occurs when the body is in the REM stage of sleep. This is the stage of sleep when you are actively dreaming. Both slow wave sleep and rapid eye movement occur more often when undisturbed sleep duration is longer. In this article, we will focus on how sleep affects physical health and how nutrition plays a role in this relationship. Studies have shown that individuals who tend to have less than optimal sleeping patterns, less than 7 hours of undisturbed sleep, tend to be at higher risk of becoming obese. Other studies have shown that sleeping less than 8 hours a night can increase your chances of injury by 70%.¹ Now that we have some background on sleep we will be reviewing how carbohydrate and healthy fats play a vital role in sleep.