Turnips, Parsnips, and Rhudabaga, Oh My!

Roots are in season this time of year. I enjoy root vegetables. They are a flexible food; they can be made into soups, salads, side dishes, main courses and appetizers. Roots can be the main attraction in any of those or as a small part of the overall dish. They are great steamed, sautéed, grilled and oven grilled. 

I chose this recipe to use the 4 turnips and a butternut squash I received in my Imperfect box. I also received a pound of uncured, sugar free, organic bacon in my Butcher box. This recipe is very adaptable. If I were going to use it as stuffing in a bird, I would add a tart apple and more nuts and swap bacon for sausage. If I were using it to stuff portabella mushrooms, I might swap out the bacon for sausage and possibly a tart apple. This would be a great side dish for a roasted pork loin or pork chops. If I were using it strictly as a side dish of pork, I’d omit the bacon.  The only caution here is if you are trying to keep your carbs and dietary sugars under a certain limit, this might not be for you. Squash are not really a low carb food; they are not refined carbs like bread and they do contain a fair amount of fiber.  Just take note of the carbs. They are a great accompaniment to a healthy diet. 

12/6/18 I made this again with some changes and I love it even more! I had some leftover Brussels Sprouts which I washed, quartered and added to the squash and turnips for roasting. While the squash mixture was oven roasting, I lightly sautéed the pecans in a tiny dab of coconut oil. Then I followed the recipe to add cranberries and sautéed pecans. When serving, I topped with a little crumbled gruyere cheese. It was delicious!


Butternut Squash with Turnips & Bacon

I can imagine this recipe as a filling for stuff portabella mushrooms or even as a hash by replacing the bacon with some country sweet sausage. Paleo Leap suggests a stuffing and I can imagine that would be delish.

*Note: the nutritional information is for the recipe with bacon*

Recipe adapted from https://paleoleap.com/roasted-butternut-squash-turnips/

  • 1 large butternut squash, peeled and chopped
  • 1 lb uncured, unsugared, bacon
  • 3 small turnips, peeled and chopped
  • 1 cup fresh cranberries
  • 1 cup pecans, coarsely chopped
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. allspice
  • 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil, or 1 tbsp. olive oil and 1 tbsp. reserved bacon grease
  • fresh parsley, to garnish, or if you love rosemary, add finely chopped rosemary to garnish


Preheat your oven to 400 F.

Fry bacon to just brown, do not overcook, reserve fat if desired.

When bacon has cooled, crumble or finely chop

In a large bowl, combine the butternut squash, turnip, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, olive oil and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Toss the squash and turnips until well-coated with the oil and spices.

Spread the vegetables on a greased baking sheet, and place in the oven.

Bake in the preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes.

Remove the baking sheet from the oven. Add the cranberries and pecans and toss everything.

Return to the oven and cook for another 15 minutes.

Serve sprinkled with fresh parsley or finely chopped rosemary and crumbled bacon.

When It’s Fish for Dinner

I buy stuff when it is on sale, vacuum seal it and toss it in the freezer. Though I do sometimes plan a menu and head to the store for those specific ingredients, I confess that is not my usual method. I’m also not a chef or even a formally trained cook. All of the women in my family were taught by their mothers who were taught by their mothers. We’re just comfortable in a kitchen. Growing up in the Pacific Northwest with a dad who loved to fish has instilled a comfort level with preparing and cooking fish I didn’t appreciate until I was raising my own family. 

Cod is a dense white bottom fish. Usually it is a fairly delicate flavor, but stronger than sole or tilapia. Cod is often used for fish and chips because it holds up well to breading and cooking. When cooked properly, it is moist, flakes easily with a fork. 

One of my favorite flavor combinations with cod is lemon and dill which is awesomely refreshing in the summer or fall. Another favorite of mine is a more Mediterranean flavor with lemon, capers, tomatoes and lots of garlic. This can also be made with more Italian seasonings like basil, rosemary, and thyme. Because I enjoy cooking, I always have dried herbs in my pantry. I also keep diced and whole stewed tomatoes and capers around because to me, they are a staple. I like this dish without the breading as well. Experiment! That is the fun of cooking!

This is a flavorful way to enjoy nearly any firm white fish. If you are using a more delicate, thinner fish than cod, however, you will need to reduce the cooking time in the pan and in the oven. 

Mediterranean Pacific Cod

I have adapted this recipe from The Mediterranean Dish recipe. I served this recipe with a side of herbed polenta and a simple green salad, though I think their serving suggestions would be wonderful also. For those of you avoiding carbs, simply do not dredge the cod. With butter or butter substitute, brown the cod on both sides in a cast iron pan. Transfer the fish to a glass dish and bake at 400 for the same amount of time in the recipe.

Serving suggestions: Serve immediately with Lebanese rice and this Mediterranean chickpea salad or this traditional Greek salad.

This recipe is adapted from https://www.themediterraneandish.com/baked-cod-recipe-lemon-garlic/

  • 1.5 pounds Pacific Cod
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro
  • 5 cloves diced garlic
  • 3-4 diced roma tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup large Spanish capers
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose or semolina flour (I prefer semolina)
  • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 5 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp melted butter

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Mix lemon juice, olive oil, and melted butter in a shallow bowl. Set aside

In another shallow bowl, mix all-purpose flour, spices, salt and pepper. Set next to the lemon juice mixture.

Pat fish fillet dry. Dip fish in the lemon juice mixture then dip in the flour mixture. Shake off excess flour.

Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat (watch the oil to be sure it is sizzling but not smoking). Add fish and sear on each side to give it some color, but do not fully cook (about a couple minutes on each side) Remove from heat.

To the remaining lemon juice mixture, add the minced garlic and mix. Drizzle all over the fish fillets.

Bake in the heated oven for until it begins to flake easily with a fork (10 minutes should do it, but begin checking earlier). Remove from heat and sprinkle chopped parsley.

March 22, 2017 Spring is here!

Heirloom Caprese Salad

Spring is the first taste of fresh veggies and fruits making me yearn for summer harvests from my garden. One of my favorite crops are tomatoes. I don’t eat many of them these days because I avoid nightshades, but that doesn’t stop me from enjoying these juicy, acidy fruit once in a while. My all time favorite is a good caprese salad. It’s light, refreshing and has a wonderful compliment of flavors. The recipe offered here is from Joshua Weissman made with fresh, delicious ingredients. You can omit the cheese and it is still delicious. Add some fresh mint as a variation.

Heirloom Caprese Salad

*Light, delicious and healthy, especially of you limit or forego the cheese!*
Fresh mozzarella cheese has 80 calories per ounce. This recipe calls for 2-8 oz balls divided among 4 people, so I assumed 4 oz/person. You certainly can reduce that.

Yields: 4 servings

  • 4 medium-large Heirloom tomatoes (any color), 29 cal/serving
  • 2, 8-ounce balls of fresh mozzarella, 320 cal/ 4oz serving
  • 2 bunches of fresh basil (10-15 basil leaves)/ 1 cal/ 2tbs serviing
  • Flakey sea salt to taste. 0 cal/serving
  • extra virgin olive oil for drizzling, 119 cal/ 1Tbsp
  • fresh cracked pepper to taste, 0 cal/serving

Slice the tomatoes and mozzarella into ½ inch rounds.

Pick the leaves off of the basil stalk so that you leave the whole leaf intact.

Place a round of mozzarella on a large plate, followed by a basil leaf, and then layer a tomato on top so that the tomato is leaning up against the mozzarella to reveal some of the basil, and some of the cheese. Repeat the process alternating cheese, basil, tomato, all the way around the plate until it connects like you see in the photo. You can do this either around the rim of the plate like I have or you can do it in a straight line on a serving tray, it's totally up to you.

Drizzle generously with a good quality extra virgin olive oil, sprinkle with flakey sea salt, and crack some fresh black pepper on top.

Serve immediately or refrigerate and serve later in the day.


  • Preparation time: 5 minutes
  • Total time: 5 -60 minutes, if you chill before serving


  • Calories: 469
  • Fat: 19.6 grams
  • Carbs: 5 grams
  • Protein: 5 grams