Category Archives: Lunch

Photos by and property of Royce Cara Berler. May be used with author’s permission.

Turkey Bolognese with Zucchini “Noodles”


  • 4 tsp. olive oil
  • ½ pound ground skinless turkey breast
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 (14 ½ ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 (9 ounce) package vacuum-packed cooked lentils
  • ⅓ cup plus 2 tbsp. water
  • 1 tbsp. sun-dried tomato paste or minced sun-dried tomatoes (not oil packed)
  • 2 tbsp. chopped fresh oregano, plus extra oregano leaves for garnish
  • ¼ tsp. plus ⅛ tsp. black pepper
  • 3 zucchini, cut into thin lengthwise ribbons using vegetable peeler **
  • 4 tbsp. grated Parmesan

** If you’ve got a vegetable spiralizer, use it to prepare the “noodles” instead of a vegetable peeler. 


  1. Heat 2 teaspoons oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add turkey and ¼ teaspoon salt and cook, stirring often, until no longer pink, about 3 minutes. Add 1 teaspoon oil, carrot, and onion and cook, stirring often, until carrot and onion are softened, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  2. Add tomatoes, lentils, ⅓ cup water, tomato paste, 2 tablespoons oregano, ⅛ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Simmer, stirring occasionally, about 3 minutes, adding additional water if needed to prevent sticking.
  3. Meanwhile, combine zucchini and remaining 2 tablespoons water in large microwavable bowl. Cover with wax paper and microwave on High until crisp-tender, about 2 minutes. Drain and transfer to large bowl. Add remaining 1 teaspoon oil, remaining ⅛ teaspoon salt, and remaining ⅛ teaspoon pepper; toss to coat.
  4. Divide zucchini evenly among 4 plates; top evenly with sauce. Sprinkle evenly with Parmesan and garnish with oregano

Serves 4 – gluten free

The Bolognese sauce freezes beautifully, so if you have time, make a double batch for an easy dinner later. 


Photos by and property of Royce Cara Berler. May be used with author’s permission.

Portobello Mushroom Slimburger



  • ¼ lb. lean grass-fed ground beed, bison or organic ground turkey
  • 1 egg
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Mushroom “Bun”

  • 2 large Portobello mushroom
  • 1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. In a mixing bowl, place your ground meat, egg, garlic, salt and pepper and mix together thoroughly.
  2. Form one patty and cook either on a grill or in a sauté pan with just a bit of coconut or olive oil.
  3. Cook until done, about 4 minutes on each side.
  4. Next, remove your mushroom stems and wash and dry the mushrooms. Coat them in olive oil, salt and pepper and place it on a heated sauté pan or grill, cooking for about five minutes on each side, or until soft.
  5. Place your patty on top of the mushroom. Add sliced tomato and lettuce if you’d like, and serve.

Serves 1

Photos by and property of Royce Cara Berler. May be used with author’s permission.

Skillet Chicken With Mushrooms and Caramelized Onions

Recipe by Yasmin Fahr.


Yield:4 servings
  • 5 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons sherry vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • ¼ teaspoon red-pepper flakes
  • Kosher salt and black pepper
  • pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 3-inch pieces
  • 2 medium yellow onions, thinly sliced (about 4 cups)
  • ¾ pound cremini mushrooms, stems removed and thinly sliced (about 4 cups)
  • ½ cup fresh flat-leaf parsley or dill leaves and fine stems, roughly chopped
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan or pecorino (optional)
  • Bread or cooked pasta, for serving


Step 1

In a large mixing bowl, combine 2 tablespoons oil, 2 tablespoons vinegar, the honey, mustard, red-pepper flakes and 1 teaspoon salt; whisk until smooth. Pat the chicken dry and season with salt and pepper, then add to the mixture, coating it well. Set aside at room temperature, stirring it once while you make the onions.

Step 2

Heat a 12-inch cast-iron or heavy skillet over medium-high until very hot, 1½ to 2 minutes, then add the onions in an even layer. Season with salt, then cook, mostly undisturbed, for 4 minutes more, stirring every minute or so. Add the mushrooms, season with salt, and stir to combine. (It will look crowded, and that’s OK.) Allow to cook mostly undisturbed until the mushrooms shrink and start to brown, about 4 minutes, stirring every minute or so.

Step 3

Stir in the remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil and allow the onions to cook until they start to color, stirring and lowering the heat as necessary to avoid burning, about 2 minutes. Push the onions and mushrooms to the edges of the skillet, then add the chicken pieces to the center. Pour any remaining marinade (there will be very little) over the onions and mushrooms. Cook undisturbed for 4 to 5 minutes, then combine the chicken and vegetables and cook, stirring occasionally, until the chicken is cooked through, about 10 minutes more. (Reduce the heat to medium if the onions look like they are burning at any point.)

Step 4

Add the remaining 2 teaspoons sherry vinegar, stirring and scraping up anything on the bottom of the skillet. Season to taste with salt.

Step 5

Remove from the heat and top with the parsley and cheese, if using. Serve with bread or pasta.

Photos by and property of Royce Cara Berler. May be used with author’s permission.

The Best Caprese Salad

Recipe by Melissa Clark.


  • 3 tbsp pine nuts
  • 1/3 cup packed fresh basil leaves, coarsely chopped
  • 1 1/2 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more as needed
  • 1 whole burrata cheese (usually about 6 oz)
  • 2 large or 4 small ripe peaches, pitted and cut into wedges
  • 1 pound ripe tomatoes, cut into wedges (or use cherry tomatoes, halved or left whole)
  • Flaky sea salt


In a small skillet over medium heat, toast the pine nuts, shaking the skillet occasionally, until they are golden, about 3 to 5 minutes. Pour the pine nuts into a small bowl and set them aside.

In a blender, combine basil, lemon juice, sea salt and olive oil. Puree until a chunky dressing forms (you don’t want this to be perfectly smooth; the irregular texture is nice with the creamy cheese).

Place the burrata in the center of a large platter, and arrange the peaches and tomatoes around it. Spoon the dressing over the cheese and the fruit. Drizzle with additional olive oil, and top with the toasted pine nuts and a sprinkling of flaky sea salt.

Serves 4

Photos by and property of Royce Cara Berler. May be used with author’s permission.

Skillet Chicken With White Beans and Caramelized Lemon

Recipe by Alison Roman


  • 1lemon, thinly sliced, seeds removed
  • 1shallot, peeled and cut into thin wedges
  • Kosher salt and black pepper
  • pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs or breasts (about 4 to 6)
  • 1tablespoon canola oil
  • 1(15-ounce) can small white beans (such as Great Northern, navy or cannellini) or chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1bunch kale, ribs removed, leaves torn into large pieces
  • Flaky sea salt
  • Olive oil, for drizzling


Step 1

Toss lemon slices and shallots together in a small bowl and season with salt and pepper; set aside. (This will lightly pickle the shallot and soften the lemon while you cook the chicken.)

Step 2

Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat and add chicken, skin-side down. Using kitchen tongs or a spatula, press the chicken evenly into the skillet so it makes good contact with the hot surface (which will promote browning). Cook, resisting the urge to check too frequently, until the skin is deeply golden brown (think of the color of a well-baked croissant), 5 to 8 minutes, depending on the size of the chicken pieces. At this stage, most of the fat should be rendered and the skin should be crispy. Flip and continue to cook until pieces are cooked through, another 7 to 10 minutes.

Step 3

Using kitchen tongs, transfer chicken to a plate to rest, leaving all the fat behind. Add lemon and shallot to the chicken fat, standing back if you need because it will sizzle. Cook, swirling the skillet, until the lemon has started to caramelize and brown, 3 to 5 minutes. (It’ll smell like a mix of lemonade and caramel.)

Step 4

Add the beans to the skillet and season with salt and pepper. Cook, tossing occasionally, until the beans have started to brown a bit and soak up all of that caramelized lemon chicken fat, 3 to 4 minutes. Working in batches, add kale and toss to wilt, seasoning with salt and pepper as you go.

Step 5

Return the chicken to the skillet, along with any juices that have collected on the plate, and cook for a minute or two, just so everything gets to know each other in there.

Step 6

Divide the chicken, beans and kale between plates, making sure to top each serving with a few lemon slices. Sprinkle with flaky salt and a final few turns of pepper, and drizzle with olive oil.

Yield: 4 servings

Photos by and property of Royce Cara Berler. May be used with author’s permission.

Roasted Broccoli & White Beans

Recipe by Alison Roman.


  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more for pan
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4-5 cups broccoli florets
  • 1 15 oz. can white beans, rinsed and drained
  • a heavy pinch red pepper flakes
  • juice of 1 lemon, plus a few slices to roast
  • kosher salt + fresh cracked pepper
  • freshly grated Parmesan


Preheat oven to 400F.

Drizzle a baking sheet lightly with olive oil, set aside.

Mix olive oil, garlic and red pepper flakes in a bowl. Toss broccoli in garlic oil mixture to coat, followed by white beans (be careful not break up white beans with heavy handling). Place mixture on prepared baking sheet, nestling a few lemon slices in the mix. Season with salt & fresh cracked pepper and roast in oven, tossing occasionally for about 15-20 minutes. When beans and broccoli begin to char, top with a heavy dose of Parmesan cheese, turn the oven to BROIL and cook for 2 minutes, or until cheese is melted and starting to bubble.

Remove from oven, squeeze fresh lemon on top to taste. Serve with grated Parmesan and a poached egg if you fancy.

Serves 2-3

Photos by and property of Royce Cara Berler. May be used with author’s permission.

Jalapeño Grilled Pork Chops

Recipe by Eric Kim.


For the Pork Chops

  • 5 large jalapeños, stemmed
  • 5 large garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 bunch cilantro stems, cut into 1-inch pieces (about 1 packed cup)
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • ½ cup olive oil, plus more for cooking
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt (Diamond Crystal)
  • 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
  • 8 thin-cut, bone-in pork loin chops (½-inch thick)

For the Relish

  • 1 large jalapeño, thinly sliced into rings
  • 1 small red onion, thinly sliced into rings
  • ⅓ cup rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt (Diamond Crystal)
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • Cilantro leaves and tender stems, for garnish
  • Cilantro rice or cooked white rice, for serving (optional)


Step 1
Make the pork chops: In a food processor, blitz the jalapeños, garlic, cilantro stems, rice vinegar, olive oil, salt and sugar until smooth. Place the pork chops in a large bowl or resealable container and pour the marinade over them; turn the chops to evenly coat. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and up to 24 hours.

Step 2
While the chops marinate, prepare a charcoal grill for direct high-heat cooking, or heat a gas grill to medium-high.

Step 3
Make the relish: In a small bowl, toss the jalapeño, red onion, rice vinegar, salt, sugar and 2 tablespoons water. Set aside to quick-pickle until ready to serve, or refrigerate for up to 24 hours.

Step 4
Carefully grease the grill grate: Use tongs to grip a wadded paper towel dipped in oil and then rub the grates with the oiled towel. With the marinade clinging to them, place the pork chops on the hot greased grate. Grill until the chops are charred at the edges and no longer pink in the middle, 2 to 3 minutes per side. The meat is ready to flip when it releases easily from the grates. (If using a gas grill, close the lid between flips.) Alternatively, cook the chops on the stovetop in batches. Heat a large skillet or grill pan over medium-high. Add enough oil to lightly coat the bottom of the pan, and heat until shimmering. Add the chops, with the marinade clinging to them, to the pan. Sear until browned and caramelized at the edges and no longer pink in the middle, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Discard any remaining marinade.

Step 5
Serve the chops with the relish and cilantro on top. If you’d like, serve rice alongside.

Photos by and property of Royce Cara Berler. May be used with author’s permission.

Skirt Steak With Salsa Verde Salad

Recipe by Lidey Heuck.


1½ lbs skirt steak|
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
¼ cup red-wine vinegar
¼ cup thinly sliced scallions (about 2)
2 tbsp capers, drained and roughly chopped
1 tbsp minced garlic (about 2 large cloves)
½ tsp kosher salt, plus more to taste
½ tsp black pepper, plus more to taste
2 tsp chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 tsp chopped fresh mint
¼ cup toasted pine nuts
2 romaine hearts
½ cup crumbled feta cheese (about 3 oz)


 Step 1

If necessary, cut the steak crosswise into large pieces that will fit into a shallow, nonreactive dish. Transfer the steaks to the dish. In a glass measuring cup or bowl, whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, scallions, capers, garlic, ½ teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon pepper. Pour about of the dressing (about cup) over the steak and turn to coat both sides.

Step 2

Add the parsley and 1 tablespoon mint to the reserved dressing, stir, and set aside until ready to use. Cover and refrigerate the steak for at least 30 minutes or up to 24 hours. (If marinating the steak overnight, cover and refrigerate the reserved dressing.)

Step 3

In a small sauté pan set over medium heat, toast the pine nuts, tossing often, until golden brown, about 3 minutes. Set aside.

Step 4

Set the grill to medium-high heat, or heat a grill pan on the stovetop over medium-high.Pat the steaks dry with a paper towel and grill for 3 to 5 minutes on each side for medium-rare. Transfer to a plate, sprinkle with salt, and allow to rest for 10 minutes.

Step 5

While the steak rests, cut the romaine hearts lengthwise into quarters. Arrange the romaine hearts in one layer on a large platter, leaving room on one side for the steak.Sprinkle the feta, pine nuts and the remaining 1 tablespoon mint over the romaine. Slice the steak crosswise into 3-inch pieces, then slice against the grain to cut the steak into wide strips. Arrange the sliced steak on the platter, then drizzle the reserved dressing over the romaine and steak. Serve immediately.

Photos by and property of Royce Cara Berler. May be used with author’s permission.

Sweet and Spicy Grilled Vegetables with Burrata

Recipe by Melissa Clark.


For the Sweet-and-Spicy Sauce:

¼ cup chopped raisins, preferably golden, or dired apricots
⅔ cup white wine vinegar or cider vinegar (or a combination)
2 tbsp honey, plus more to taste
2 tbsp fish sauce or colatura (optional)
¼ tsp red-pepper flakes
Pinch of fine sea salt

For the vegetables (use any or all):

Extra-virgin olive oil
2-3 bell peppers, quartered, stems and seeds removed
1-2 zucchini or summer squash, sliced diagonally ½-inch thick
1 small eggplant, sliced diagonally ½-inch thick
2-4 ears yellow corn, shucked
8 oz mushrooms, trimmed and halved or quartered
1 bunch thick asparagus, ends snapped
8 oz cherry tomatoes, preferably sill on the vine

For serving:

2 small burrata or fresh mozzarella balls, or 2 cup fresh ricotta
Flaky sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Basil or mint leaves, for serving
Crusty bread slices


Step 1

Make the sauce: Put raisins or apricots in a small heatproof bowl. In a small saucepan, combine vinegar, honey, fish sauce or colatura (if using), red-pepper flakes and salt. Bring to a boil, then let simmer until the mixture reduces slightly, about 3 minutes. Immediately pour over the raisins and let cool. Taste and stir in a little more honey if the sauce is too harsh. (Sauce can be made up to 1 week ahead and stored in the refrigerator.)

Step 2

Prepare the vegetables: Oil the grill grate and light the grill. Have a serving platter at the ready.

Step 3

Grill the peppers, zucchini, eggplant and corn directly on the grate, in batches if necessary, and turning them as needed. Move them around the grate so they cook evenly. Cook until they are lightly charred, watching them carefully. 5-12 minutes, depending on the vegetable.

Step 4

To grill the muchrooms and asparagus, place them in a grilling basket if you have one, or put directly on the grill. (Arrange the asparagus perpendicular to the grates so they don’t fall through.) Grill, turning as needed, until charred all over, 6-10 minutes. Grill the cherry tomatoes, using the vine as a handle if possible, for 1-2 minutes, until they start to burst and char slightly. Transfer all the vegetables as they cook directly to the serving platter.

Step 5

Add the cheese to the platter next to the vegetables. Immediately drizzle everything with some of the sauce, stirring it up to get the raisins, and with olive oil. Sprinkle with flaky sea salt and pepper and scatter the herbs generously on top. Serve the extras sauce and bread alongside for making crostini with some of the vegetables and more of the tangy sauce.


To make this using a broiler, spread the vegetables on a rimmed sheet pan, drizzle with oil and broil until browned on top, then flip and broil until browned on the other side. The timing will depend on the vegetable, so stick with one kind per baking pan. You’ll need to do this in batches. You can also use a grill pan.

Photos by and property of Royce Cara Berler. May be used with author’s permission.

Youvarlakia Avgolemono (Lemony Greek Meatball Soup)

Recipe by Melissa Clark.


1 lb ground chicken (or ground turkey or beef), very cold

¾ cup chopped fresh dill or parsley, plus more for garnish

½ cup grated yellow onion (from about 1 small onion)

¼ cup grated carrot (from about 1 carrot)

¼ cup uncooked long-grain rice, such as basmati or Carolina, well rinsed and drained

1 garlic clove, finely grated, pushed through a garlic press, or minced

1 tsp fine sea salt, plus more as needed

½ tsp freshly ground black pepper, plus more as needed

½ tsp finely grated lemon zest

6 cups chicken stock

2 large eggs, at room temperature

⅓ cup fresh lemon juice (from about 2 lemons)


Step 1

In a large mixing bowl, combine ground chicken, ¼ cup dill, onion, carrot, rice, garlic, salt, pepper and lemon zest. Gently mix with your hands until well combined.

Step 2

Gently form the mixture into 24 meatballs, each about 1¼ inches in diameter, placing them on a plate or baking pan. Cover and chill for at least 20 minutes or up to 24 hours. This helps the meatballs keep their shape while cooking.

Step 3

In a large pot, bring stock to a boil over high heat. Reduce to medium and use a slotted spoon to carefully add meatballs to the pot. The broth should cover the tops of the meatballs by about ½ inch. If not, add a little water. Simmer gently, adjusting the heat so the broth doesn’t boil, until meatballs are cooked through and rice is tender, 25 to 35 minutes. (Break open a meatball to test it.) Remove pot from heat.

Step 4

In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs and lemon juice until just mixed. Slowly add a ladle of warm broth to the egg-lemon mixture, whisking constantly. Whisk in another two ladles of broth to temper the egg mixture.

Step 5

Slowly drizzle the egg-lemon mixture back into the pot with the meatballs, stirring gently so you don’t break apart the meatballs. Return the pot to medium-low heat until it just starts to simmer. (Wait for a bubble or two to appear, but don’t let the pot boil.) The broth should be silky. Remove from heat, stir in remaining ½ cup of dill. Taste and add salt and pepper, if needed. (It may need quite a bit of salt if you are starting with unsalted broth.) Garnish with nutmeg, if you like, and dill, and serve.

Yield: 4 servings
TIme: 1 hour

Photos by and property of Royce Cara Berler. May be used with author’s permission.

Roasted Salmon with Chickpeas, Zucchini, and Red Pepper

This recipe by Weight Watchers is a delicious  low fat and low calorie meal.

Easy and quick to make. Having made this dish numerous times I have adjusted the measurements for the ingredients to suit my taste as well as adding the mushrooms. You should do the same and feel free to use any of your favorite vegetables.


2 tsp paprika, smoked, sweet variety

2 tsp ground coriander

2 tsp ground cumin

2 tsp kosher salt

1.5 tsp black pepper

2 medium uncooked zucchini, cut into ¾-inch chunks

1 medium sweet red pepper(s), chopped

1 large uncooked red onion(s), thinly sliced

1 8oz package baby bella mushrooms

15½ oz canned chickpeas, rinsed, patted dry

4 tsp, divided Extra virgin olive oil

1.5 pound(s) uncooked skinless wild salmon fillet, cut into 4 equal pieces

½ medium lemon, cut into thin wedges


Step 1

Preheat the oven to 450°F. In a small bowl, mix the paprika, coriander, cumin, salt, and black pepper until well combined.

Step 2

On a large sheet pan (16 by 12 inches), toss the zucchini, bell pepper, onion, and chickpeas. Add 1 tbsp of the oil and 4 tsp of the spice mix. Toss the vegetables and chickpeas again to coat and spread into a single layer. Bake for 20 minutes.

Step 3

Coat the fish with the remaining 1 tsp oil and the remaining spice mix. Remove the pan from the oven. Stir the vegetables, then clear 4 spaces among the vegetables so the fish can sit right on the pan. Arrange the fish on the pan. Continue to bake until the fillets are cooked through, about 10 minutes.

Step 4

Serve with the lemon wedges.

Serving Size: 1 fish fillet and 1 cup vegetable mixture

Photos by and property of Royce Cara Berler. May be used with author’s permission.

Chicken & Rice Soup

This is the perfect time of year for great soup recipes! This chicken and rice soup by Ali Slagle I found in the New York Times cooking app is delicious!

I added some red pepper chili flakes for a great kick! With or without the butter this soup is a perfect meal on a cozy winter night!

Please try it and let me know what you think.


8 cups chicken broth

1 lb boneless, skinless chicken thighs

4 stalks celery, leaves reserved and stalks thinly sliced

3/4 cup jasmine rice (unrinsed)

Kosher salt

1/2 cup fresh parsley leaves

1 tsp fresh lemon zest plus up to 1/2 cup of lemon juice (from 2 to 3 lemons)

1 small garlic clove

1 tbsp unsalted butter (optional)


Step 1

Ina large Dutch oven or pot, combine the broth, chicken, celery and rice. Season lightly with salt. (Some broths have more salt than others, so start easy.) Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, then reduce heat and simmer until the chicken is cooked through and the rice starts to break down and lose its shape. 20-30 minutes.

Step 2

Meanwhile, finely chop together the parsley leaves, lemon zest and up to 1/2 cup celery leaves. Transfer to a small bowl, grate the garlic clove into the bowl, season with salt and stir to combine.

Step 3

Using tongs, remove the chicken from the pot and transfer to a medium bowl. Using two forks, shred the chicken into pieces, then stir it back into the soup. Remove from heat, stir in the butter (if using), and season to taste with the salt. Stir in the lemon juice a little at a time until the soup is bright, but still tastes like chicken. (You may not use the full 1/2 cup juice.)

Step 4

Divide the soup among bowls and top with the parsley-lemon mixture. (The soup, minus the lemon juice and parsley mixture, can be refrigerated  for up to 3 days; the rice will absorb liquid as it sits, so add more chicken broth when re-heating. Add the lemon juice and fresh herb garnish just before serving.)

Photos by and property of Royce Cara Berler. May be used with author’s permission.

Baked Spaghetti Squash

Here’s a great dish by chef Ali Slagle I grabbed from the New York Times and whipped up.


1 large (3- to 4-pound) spaghetti squash, halved lengthwise and seeded

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Kosher salt and black pepper

1 cup freshly grated Parmesan

½ cup panko

1 garlic clove, grated

1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves

8 ounces mozzarella, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (optional)

***I personally added tomato sauce and Gardein meatless frozen meatless meatballs


Heat the oven to 450 degrees. Brush the cut side of each squash half with 1 tablespoon olive oil, then season with salt and pepper. Place squash, cut-sides down, on a parchment-lined baking sheet and roast until the squash is tender when poked with a fork, 35 to 40 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, stir together the Parmesan, panko, garlic, thyme and the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.

Flip the squash and use a fork to scrape the squash into spaghetti strands. Stir in half the mozzarella, if using, then sprinkle the squash with the remaining mozzarella and the panko mixture. Roast until the top is golden brown and mozzarella has melted, 20 to 25 minutes.

Photos by and property of Royce Cara Berler. May be used with author’s permission.

Chipoltle Lime Chickpea and Avocado Salad

Here is a great vegetarian salad! Awesome as a main dish. Easy to put together as no cooking is required. This recipe is also great beacuse you can interchange flavors and make it different everytime which as usual I have adjusted to my own taste. I happen to love chickpeas but you can easily interchange the chickpeas for black beans or any other kind of bean you fancy! I am also a huge fan of Mexican Cuisine and this has a really tasty Mexican influence incorporating Queso Fresco, a Mexican curmbling cheese and chipoltle peppers in adobo sauce!


1 TBSP  Fresh Lime Juice

Canned Chipolte Peppers in Adobo Sauce (use 1 minced pepper per serving)

1 TSP Olive Oil

1 Cup Canned Chickpeas rinsed and drained

1/2 Cup Kumato, Grape or Cherry Tomatoes quartered

1/4 Avocado diced

2 TBSP Cilantro chopped

1 TBSP Red Onion Chopped

1 Cup Mixed Greens

1 OZ Queso Fresco Crumbled

Salt and Pepper to taste



Combine lime juice, chipoltle pepper, oil, salt and pepper in a medium bowl. Mix well and then add the chickpeas, tomatoes, avocado, cilantro and onion. Sprinkle Queso Fresco on top and voila!

Enjoy! You will thank me..

Photos by and property of Royce Cara Berler. May be used with author’s permission.

Roasted Greek Style Chicken and Vegetables

This is the easiest most delicious recipe of all time. Another one of Weight Watchers greatest hits! Does not matter whether you are following their plan or not, this is so versatile and tasty, everyone will love it! Chicken breasts, artichoke hearts, tomatoes and zucchini seasoned with fresh lemon, oregano, garlic and olive oil and then roasted…what could be bad? You can take it one step further and add things you like such as black olives and feta cheese..I dare you…

I actually altered the seaoning a little to suit my taste and have shared this version directly with you, so dont be afraid to be creative..and please let me know what you think!



cooking spray, 2spray(s)
tsp, extra virgin, divided
5 medium clove(s), chopped
2 tsp dried oregano
1 1/2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
2tsp lemon zest,  divided
 12tsp  salt, or to taste
12tsp freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
large zucchini, raw, sliced 1/4-inch thick
cup(s) grape tomatoes, halved
14oz can artichoke hearts quartered without oil, drained well
1 lb uncooked boneless skinless chicken breasts


Preheat oven to 450ºF. Coat a large nonstick baking pan with cooking spray.

In a large bowl, combine 4 tsp oil, garlic, oregano, lemon juice, 1 tsp zest, salt, and pepper; add vegetables and toss to coat. Lift vegetables out of bowl with a slotted spoon, leaving some oil mixture in bowl. Place vegetables in an even layer on one side of prepared pan, leaving room for chicken. Add chicken to bowl and turn to coat; place on empty side of pan.

Roast until vegetables are tender and chicken is cooked through, stirring vegetables once, 15-20 minutes. Drizzle vegetables with remaining 1 tsp each oil and zest; toss to coat. Drizzle chicken with any pan juices.

Serving size: 3 oz chicken and 1 c vegetables


Turkey cutlets can be used instead of chicken breasts – just add them to the pan about 5 minutes into the cooking time because they cook more quickly than the vegetable mixture.

Photos by and property of Royce Cara Berler. May be used with author’s permission.

Crispy Falafel

These are insane! They are perfect. I did not change anything about the recipe, followed exactly including cooking time. I think they are perfect for sharing a typical Mediterranean meal.  Straight from my favorite cookbook, Jerusalem! I made with the spiced chickpea and vegetable salad and then served all with baba ganoush, hummus and the best tahini dressing!


1 1/4 cups (250 grams) dried chickpeas

1/2 cup finely chopped onion (about 1/2 onion, or 80 grams)

1 clove garlic, crushed

1 Tablespoon finely chopped flat-leaf parsley (I omitted)

2 Tablespoons finely chopped cilantro

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon ground coriander

1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

3/4 teaspoon salt

3 Tablespoons water

1 1/2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour

about 3 cups (750 mL) flavourless oil, for deep-frying

1/2 teaspoon sesame seeds, for coating


1. The night before, place chickpeas in a large bowl and cover with cold water at least twice their volume. Set aside to soak overnight.

2. The next day, drain the chickpeas well and pour them into a food processor. Add in the onion, garlic, parsley, and cilantro. Blitz the mixture until everything is finely chopped, but not overly mushy or pasty. It should be able to hold itself together.

3. Add in the spices, baking powder, salt, flour, and water. Mix using a wooden spoon until well-blended and smooth. Cover the mixture and leave in the fridge for at least 1 hour. This can be made ahead and saved in the refrigerator for up to 4 days and in the freezer for up to 1 month.

. Fill a deep, heavy-bottomed pan with enough oil to come up to 2-3/4 inches on the side of the pan. Heat the oil up to 350°F (180°C).

5. Meanwhile, with wet hands press 1 Tablespoon of the mixture in the palm of your hand to form a patty or a ball the size of a small walnut. (you can use a wet ice-cream scoop for this)

6. Sprinkle the balls evenly with sesame seed and deep-fry in batches of 4 to 6 balls for 4 minutes, until well-browned and cooked through. Giving the balls the proper time in the oil will ensure they dry out on the inside, preventing them from falling apart.

7. Drain  in a  colander lined with paper-towels and serve immediately while hot. Serve with warm pita bread and tahini dressing.

This is one food that I can say is not great as a leftover. Much better served hot and immediately after being cooked.


Photos by and property of Royce Cara Berler. May be used with author’s permission.

Creamy Cauliflower Soup With Tahini

I don’t know about you but I love Cauliflower! I also love Tahini and this
combination is beyond delicious! The recipe also calls for crispy cauliflower on top which just puts it over the edge. It is so easy to prepare and another recipe that can be made ahead and used for a few days! The original recipe came from a magazine called Clean Eating and has become part of my regular winter repertoire. As usual, I have altered slightly to suit my taste but I think you will love it. Check it out and do let me know what you think.


Crispy Cauliflower Topping:

1 head cauliflower cut into small florets
(1/2 – 3/4-inch florets)

1 Tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil

sea salt and ground black pepper to taste


2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 yellow onion, chopped
8 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tsp ground sumac
1 tsp smoked paprika
pinch of cayenne pepper (gives the soup a nice kick, but is optional)
1 large head cauliflower cut into medium florets
1 medium yukon gold potato cut into 1 inch pieces
6 cups low sodium vegetable broth
1tsp sea salt+ additional to taste
1/2 cup tahini paste
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/3 cup fresh dill, chopped


Prepare topping. Preheat oven to 425F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. In a large mixing bowl toss the florets with olive oil, salt and pepper and once all is coated spread the florets out on the baking sheet and roast for approximately 20 minutes or until the florets get nice and brown and crispy. (I like them almost burnt, but you definitely want them crispy if not burnt)

Meanwhile, in a large pot on medium, heat olive oil. Add onion and sauté until softened and translucent. Then add the garlic, sumac, paprika and cayenne and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, until fragrant, stirring constantly.

Add medium florets, potato, broth and 1 tsp salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook, partially covered, until potatoes and cauliflower are tender, about 20 minutes. Stir in tahini and lemon juice and simmer for 2 minutes more.

Using an immersion blender, puree soup. Season with additional salt as needed. Divide the soup between the bowls and top with fresh dill and crispy cauliflower.

I like the soup on the thicker side, if you prefer a thinner consistency use slightly less tahini paste.


Photos by and property of Royce Cara Berler. May be used with author’s permission.

Turkey and Zucchini Burgers with Sumac Sauce

This recipe comes from one of the greatest cookbook ever…Jerusalem, written by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi. The whole book is incredible and this particular dish is another one of my favorites! The combination of flavors are spectacular and it is another very easy recipe to make and is great for making ahead as they are just as delicious the next day.

As usual I have altered the recipe slightly to suit my taste and desired quantity.

Definitely drop me a note after trying these would love to know what you think!


For the Turkey Zucchini Burgers:

1 1/2 pounds ground tureky breast
2 medium zucchini, coarsely grated (about 2 cups)
3 green onions, thinly sliced
1 large free range egg
2-3 tablespoons chopped mint
2-3 tablespoons chopped cilantro
4 large garlic cloves, crushed
1 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1 1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
3/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

For The Sumac Sauce:

1/2 cup sour cream
2/3 cup greek yogurt
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tablespoon sumac
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

( I prefer the sauce on the thicker side, if you want it thinner you can add 1 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil)


First make the Sumac Sauce by combining all the ingredients in one bowl, stir well and chill.

Preheat the oven to 425F.

In a large bowl combine all ingredients for the meatballs except the sunflower oil. Mix with your hands and shape into about 20 small burgers.

Pour 1 1/2 tablespoons into a large frying pan and heat over medium heat until hot, then sear the burgers in batches so they get golden brown on both sides.on both sides, about 3 to 4 minutes per side. then transfer the burgers to a baking sheet lined with either wax paper or parchment paper and transfer to the oven for about 10 minutes, or until the burgers are cooked through.

Divide the burgers evenly n plates and spoon the sauce over the top and then enjoy!

Photos by and property of Royce Cara Berler. May be used with author’s permission.

Grilled Artichokes With Aioli

I love eating something spectacular in a restaurant and then trying to make it at home. I had these grilled artichokes at Hillstone’s , which is a chain that is connected to Houston’s, and I have not stopped eating them since. They are great as a starter or even as a meal in the summer with a glass of wine. When I host a BBQ, I often prefer to serve a vegetable as an appetizer or hors d’oeuvre instead of bread, chips or crackers since it is less filling and I  like when people are able to eat dinner. I tend to serve single items in courses, keeps it interesting and guests typically enjoy!



1 Whole Artichoke per person as a meal,  1/2 Artichoke per person as a starter

Olive Oil

1 whole lemon

Course Sea Salt

Black Pepper

2 garlic cloves per artichoke, chopped


For The Aioli:

2 cups Hellman’s mayonnaise

3 tablespoons green sweet relish

2 garlic cloves minced

2 teaspoons capers

1 tablespoon anchovy paste

1 teaspoon dijon mustard

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire

salt and pepper to taste



Photos by and property of Royce Cara Berler. May be used with author’s permission.

Five-Spice Turkey and Mushrooms

Wow! This one is so yummy. I took it straight from the Essential Weight Watchers Freestyle  Cookbook, and let me tell you; it is definitely essential! Other than doubling up on the original garlic, it is perfect just the way it is. I had never used Chinese 5 spice before and it is my new favorite flavor to cook with.

You can even add some steamed white rice as a side dish but it is just as satisfying without it.  It is an easy, quick and super light meal that can be cooked on Sunday for multiple meals during the week..if it lasts that long!





Serves 4

4 teaspoons canola oil
1 onion, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, crushed or minced ( I used 4 because I love garlic, so feel free to adjust to your liking)
1 pound ground skinless turkey breast
1/2 teaspoon Chinese 5-spice powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 pound cremini mushrooms (baby bella) quartered or sliced
1 zucchini halved lengthwise and then sliced
1 1/2 cups loosely packed pea shoots or watercress
1/3 cup water
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1/4 cup chopped cilantro (optional)






Heat 2 teaspoons oil in large skillet over medium high heat.  Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened about 3 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add turkey, 5 spice powder, salt and pepper. Cook, breaking turkey apart with wooden spoon until no longer pink. Transfer turkey and onion mixture to a medium bowl.

Heat remaining 2 teaspoons of oil in same skillet. Add mushrooms and cook, stirring often, until tender, about 4 minutes. Add zucchini slices and cook, stirring constantly until just crisp-tender, about 2 minutes. Stir in turkey mixture, pea shoots, water and soy sauce; cook, stirring constantly, just until pea shoots are wilted, about 2 minutes.

Divide evenly with or without the rice and sprinkle with the optional cilantro.



Photos by and property of Royce Cara Berler. May be used with author’s permission.

Salsa Guacomole Combo

This recipe is so simple, but so delicious and proves again that things don’t have to be complicated to taste good. I love the mixture of the flavors and by not blending them you can really taste all of the different flavors pop individually.
I love Mexican food but tend not to eat so often because its typically heavy, combine this with a homemade quesadilla and you have a light and delicious meal!


Serves 4

1 whole ripe avocado diced
1 whole ripe red tomato diced (or you can use a mixture of small heirloom tomatoes for a real burst of delicious flavor)
Cilantro (bunch of leaves removed from stems and then chopped)
2 slices red onion chopped
Juice of 1 whole lime
1 jalapeño pepper chopped (optional if you want to add some spice)
Salt and pepper to taste


Mix the avocado, tomato, cilantro, red onion, jalapeño if using, salt and pepper gently together in a bowl. Once mixed squeeze the juice of the lime over the top and gently toss again

Generously spread 1/4 of the mixture on top of your quesadilla and enjoy or use as a salsa dip for chips, either way you will love this!