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.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Cauliflower "Mac" & Cheese with Truffle Oil

 I love reinventing classic comfort foods into healthier alternatives. This vegetable-rich take on Mac & Cheese leaves out the refined, white pasta in favor of complex-carbs, higher fiber content, and more vitamins. Because of its white color and relatively neutral flavor, cauliflower is a great alternative for starchier dishes. Cauliflower "Mac" & Cheese (and who ever complained about truffle oil?) is a great main dish or could serve more guests as a side. I served it as a Meatless Monday dinner entree, alongside some fresh whole grain bread.

The Nutrition Rundown: Replacing low-nutrient, refined white pasta with cauliflower gives this dish tasty, heart-disease reducing benefits. Bulking up the creamy sauce with white bean puree helps cut back on saturated fat (another heart-health hooray!). The beans also add protein and soluble fiber, which make it a more filling and complete meal.

Cauliflower “Mac” and Cheese with Truffle Oil
Serves 6
2 Tablespoons cooking oil, divided (I used coconut oil)
1 head cauliflower, chopped
1 15 oz can white kidney beans (no salt added), drained and rinsed
4 cloves garlic
1 cup shredded cheese (I used ½ extra-sharp, grass-fed cheddar and ½ Gruyere)
¼ cup milk (I used 2%)
¼ cup crème fraiche (you can substitute sour cream or plain yogurt)
½ onion, diced
¼ cup fresh oregano, chopped
¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped
1-2 Tablespoons truffle oil (optional)
Salt and pepper

  1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Using ~2 teaspoons of cooking oil, grease 9x13” baking dish.
  2. Fill large pot with salted water and bring to a boil. Add cauliflower and cook until tender,  ~5 minutes. Drain and set aside cauliflower and pan for later use. (You could also steam the cauliflower or use frozen and steam in microwave).
  3. In food processor, make sauce by combining white beans, garlic, cheese, crème fraiche, milk, salt and pepper. Pulse until creamy and set aside.
  4.  Preheat remaining cooking oil to large pot over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook, stirring often, until translucent. Add cauliflower and toss to combine. Cook ~2-3 minutes until cauliflower begins to brown. Add sauce and herbs and stir to combine. Turn off heat, and add truffle oil if using as well as additional salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Pour mixture into prepared dish. Bake for ~20-25 minutes, until top is golden brown. Remove from oven, and allow to cool slightly and set for ~5 minutes before serving warm. 

Monday, March 3, 2014

All-Natural No-Bake Brownies

When shopping at the supermarket, "all-natural" doesn't necessarily mean healthy. But these brownies are fudgy, delicious, and full of truly natural and healthful ingredients. Packed with nuts and fruit, they taste good enough for dessert, and will nourish you well enough to be a balanced breakfast. You can whip up a batch in about 10 minutes, plus a little extra time for chilling, so no excuses not to indulge in these chocolaty treats!

The Nutrition Rundown: Bananas and dates replace the usual refined sugar and add potassium, an important electrolyte, which blunts the rise of blood pressure when you have too much salt and helps regulate the body's fluid status. Nuts and fruit will give you lasting energy instead of the typical post-pastry crash.

All-Natural No-Bake Brownies with Peanut Butter Frosting
(Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free)
Makes 20 Brownies
Ingredients for Brownies
10 oz pecans
1 cup shredded, unsweetened coconut
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 ripe bananas
1 cup dates

Directions for Brownies

  1. Pulse pecans, coconut, and coco powder in food processor until it resembles coarse meal. Add bananas and dates and continue to pulse until well combines (you may need to remove lid and stir ingredients occasionally). 
  2. Press brownie mix into 9x13" pan. 
Ingredients for Frosting
1/4 cup organic, natural peanut butter
2 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 Tablespoon coconut oil
1 Tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Directions for Frosting
  1. Blend all ingredients in food processor until well combined. 
  2. Using rubber spatula, cover brownies in peanut butter topping. 
  3. Cover and chill brownies in refrigerator at least 1 hour before serving. Store, covered, in refrigerator up to 1 week. 

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Gluten Free Beet Muffins

Beet muffins may sound weird, but shredded beets add color and flavor to these tasty gluten free goodies. I used almonds and oats as the gluten free "flour" base. With orange, spices, and creme fraiche topping, they are reminiscent of carrot cake but without too much added sugar and instead packed with tons of nutrients. 

The Nutrition Rundown: Oats and almonds replace refined flour, adding soluble fiber, healthy fat, and protein. Beets give the muffins betacyanins, pigments that have been shown to act as powerful cancer-fighting agents. 

Beet Muffins
with Orange Crème Fraiche Topping
(Gluten Free)
Makes 12 muffins
Ingredients for muffins
3 beets, cleaned, peeled, rough chopped
1 cup almonds, toasted
½ cup rolled oats (labeled “gluten free”)
2 tsp baking soda
1/8 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1 Tablespoons grated fresh ginger (or ½ tsp ground ginger)
¼ cup dark brown sugar
3 eggs
½ lemon, zest and juice

Directions for muffins
  1.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Using butter or oil, grease 12 muffin tin or prepare with parchment liners and set aside.
  2. Pulse beets in food processor until shredded.  Remove beets and set aside in small bowl.
  3. In food processor, pulse almonds and oats until coarse meal. Add baking soda, salt, cinnamon and ginger and pulse to combine.
  4. Place dry mixture in medium mixing bowl. Whisk in brown sugar. Create a well in center of mixture and add eggs. Whisk eggs into dry mixture. Add beets and lemon and fold to combine.
  5.  Pour batter into prepared muffin tins. Bake for ~15 minutes, until set in center. Remove from pan and cool on wire racks. Muffins without topping may be served warm or room temperature, and can be stored in enclosed container at room temperature.  

Ingredients for Topping
1/3 cup crème fraiche
2 oz goat cheese
Zest of 1/2 orange (plus additional as desired)
1 1/2 Tablespoons honey

Directions for Topping
  1. Combine all ingredients with electric mixer (or whisk together thoroughly).
  2. Place topping in piping bag (or sealable plastic bag with corner cut). Pipe onto top of muffins.
  3. Garnish with additional orange zest if desired. Store in refrigerator.  Allow to chill at least one hour before serving.