Suzanne Hollander, MS, RD

As a dietitian, home cook, and enthusiast of all-things-delicious, I'm often asked, "so what do YOU eat?" Here's a blog to answer that very question! My hope is that you'll find (even just a little) inspiration from some of my favorite recipes, restaurants, party-ideas and food musings for your own happy, healthy, food-loving lifestyle.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Caramelized Brussels Sprouts with Chickpeas, Cherries and Feta

I often cook with a lot of herbs and spices. Tonight, I opted to keep the flavors simple, allowing the natural flavors of the vegetables and fruit to shine through. The unorthodox addition of cherries was inspired by a recent online publication I did on Cooking with Fruit for Verily Magazine. I served this tasty vegetarian dish as our main fare, accompanied by some baked sweet potato "fries." Going meatless a few meals (or days) each week helps reduce risk of heart disease, expands your palate, and helps the environment. 

The Nutrition Rundown: Brussels sprouts and chickpeas together will give you lasting energy from complex carbohydrates. This dish is also packed with vitamins and lots of filling fiber. 

Caramelized Brussels Sprouts with Chickpeas, Cherries and Feta
Serves 6
1 large onion, sliced 
4 cups Brussels Sprouts, rinsed & drained (not dried), ends removed (cut large ones in half)
4 cloves garlic, smashed
2 Tablespoons olive oil
3 Tablespoons dried, unsweetened cherries
1 cup dried chickpeas, soaked overnight and drained (or 1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained)
2 Tablespoons olive oil
Juice of 1 lemon
1 ounce feta, crumbled
Salt and pepper

  1. Prepare vegetables. Add oil to large, heavy skillet. Preheat on medium heat. 
  2. Add onions, dash of salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, about 2 minutes or until onions are translucent and fragrant. 
  3. Add garlic, Brussels sprouts with their remaining rinsing liquid, and another dash of salt and pepper. Cover and cook about 5 minutes. Remove lid, stir, and add cherries and chickpeas. Add additional 1/4 cup water to cover bottom of pan if Brussels sprouts or onions are browning too quickly. Cover again and cook another 10 minutes, removing lid periodically to stir. 
  4. Remove lid. Stir in lemon juice. Cook additional 2-5 minutes. Brussels sprouts should be browning and soft to bite. 
  5. Sprinkle feta over the top of dish before serving. 

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Coconut White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies

The coconut in these otherwise traditional cookies adds chewy texture and delicious flavor. They got rave reviews in our house, but make sure you have a few friends to share with for some built-in portion control. 

The Nutrition Rundown: Using half whole wheat flour in traditional baked goods adds fiber and vitamins and cuts back on refined white flour, all without compromising texture or flavor. Baking your own cookies instead of getting store-bought not only tastes better but let's you control the ingredients, ensuring no trans-fats and just the flavor you like! 

Coconut White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies
Makes 2 dozen cookies
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 egg
1/2 cup white flour
1/2 cup + 3 Tbs whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup roasted, unsalted macadamia nuts, chopped
1/2 cup sweetened shredded coconut
6 oz white chocolate chips or chopped white chocolate


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cover 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. 
  2. In standing mixer, beat butter about 1 minute. Add both sugars and beat until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add vanilla and egg. 
  3. In separate bowl, sift together both flours, baking soda, and salt. Mix dry ingredients into wet in 2-3 batches, combine well after each addition. Combine nuts, coconut, and chocolate into dough. 
  4. Drop dough by rounded tablespoons onto prepared cookie sheets. Bake 10-12 minutes until golden brown. Cool on wire racks. Enjoy warm or store in an airtight container. 

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Mediterranean-style Spaghetti Squash

This recipe uses spaghetti squash in place of pasta for a lighter dish that will satisfy your pasta craving. It incorporates some of my favorite flavors, lemon, oregano, and olive, making it reminiscent of Greek cuisine. It's fast enough to be a quick weeknight meal. Remember to go easy with the salt shaker when making this as both feta and olives add great flavor and their own salt. I enjoyed it warm, though it would make a great cold salad for lunch or a potluck. Enjoy!

Mediterranean-style Spaghetti Squash
Makes 4 entree-sized portions
2oz feta, chopped or crumbled
1/4 cup kalamata olives, pitted and chopped
1 cup fresh basil, chopped
Juice of 1 lemon
2 tsp dried oregano 
2 Tbs olive oil
Salt and pepper
  1. Allow baked squash to cool to room temperature. Using fork or spoon, scoop spaghetti squash strands from skin into a bowl. Discard skins.
  2. Toss spaghetti squash with feta, olives, and basil. 
  3. In separate bowl, mix lemon, oregano, olive oil, salt and pepper. Pour dressing over spaghetti squash and toss. Serve warm, room temperature, or chilled. 

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Spaghetti Squash

Spaghetti squash is a winter squash variety that is harvested in early fall. It keeps for many months after harvest, so it is available all winter long. The inside of the squash, which ranges in color from light yellow to near-orange, pulls apart in spaghetti-like strands after cooking. Spaghetti squash makes a nutrient-rich, lower calorie substitute for pasta. Spaghetti squash is rich in these important nutrients: 
  • Potassium, an important electrolyte; 
  • Beta-carotene, natural pre-cursor to vitamin A (levels will be higher in more orange squash);
  • Folic acid, important for making new, healthy cells (and especially important for women of child-bearing age). 
Image from Steamy Kitchen
To cook the squash: 
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place 1 inch of water in glass baking dish. 
  2. Cut squash in half and discard seeds. Place squash flesh-side down in water. Fork the outer skin a few times on each half. 
  3. Bake ~30 minutes until fork tender. Strands can be easily scooped out with fork or spoon. 
Check back tomorrow for a tasty, easy recipe using the baked squash! 

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Sesame Quinoa and Kale

Served alongside homemade coconut shrimp
with sweet and spicy jalapeno sauce
New Year's resolutions abound! Did you decide to be healthier in 2014? Meals with plenty of fresh, seasonal vegetables, whole grains, and healthy (plant-based) fats fill you up and keep you healthy. This Sesame Quinoa and Kale has the added bonus of cooking up in less than 20 minutes (including the prep!), so you'll be on your way to a nutritious weeknight meal. I used a few pantry/refrigerator staples: coconut water, tahini, toasted sesame oil, and spices which add tons of flavor, so you can keep the added salt to a minimum. 

The Nutrition Rundown: Think you can't get enough protein on a plant-based diet? Think again! A side-serving of this dish has as much protein as a whole egg. It's also packed with numerous vitamins, including vitamin K, which is critical for blood and bone health. 

Sesame Quinoa and Kale
Serves 4-6
Based on 6 side-dish servings
1 Tbs olive oil
1 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed and drained
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 onion, small diced
1 Tbs curry powder
2 tsp cumin
salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 cups coconut water
1 bunch kale, stems removed and torn into 2" pieces
2 Tbs tahini
1 Tbs toasted sesame oil
Juice of 1 lemon 

  1. In medium saucepan, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add quinoa, garlic, onion, and spices, stir to combine and continue stirring frequently while quinoa toasts and onion becomes translucent, ~2 minutes. 
  2. Add coconut water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer, add kale, and cover to cook ~7 minutes, until quinoa is cooked but still intact with a bite.
  3. Stir in tahini, sesame oil, and lemon juice. Serve warm or cover and refrigerate to serve cold as a salad.