Recipe ReDux: Easy Roast Chicken Pieces

This month’s Recipe ReDux theme is Cookbooks, and I knew right away that this was the one I wanted to use. One of the best Christmas gifts I can remember receiving was when my mother made my sister and I a cookbook of basic family recipes. At 24 and 22, my sister and I were only beginning to learn our way around the kitchen. Even though I’d just gone through my food science lab class over the summer, which included knife skills among other baptism-by-fire activities, I had basically zero confidence in my cooking skills beyond how to peel an onion. Having some tried-and-true family favorites in one place was a life-saver.  


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How to Deal with Food Porn

With New Year’s Resolution season right around the corner, thinking about possible barriers is a key factor in setting yourself up for success. A common complaint from my clients is that they’ll be doing great with their eating and workouts but get thrown off course by videos and pictures of indulgent foods that crop up in their social media feeds and spark food cravings.  Aside from the physical effects of taking in extra calories or going overboard on stuff like sugar, salt, and fat, these instances can also be a confidence-crusher, which leaves their self-esteem in shambles and starts an inner monologue about lack of willpower.

Thing is, there’s actual science behind our responses to these images. There’s even a word for it: Visual Hunger. These pictures and videos actually have been associated with brain activity that can trigger cravings. The good news is, there are ways to deal without quitting social media altogether.

My story for Shape features real-life advice from real-life registered dietitians for how to keep food porn from derailing your diet. Some of what we discuss:

  • Recognize that it’s not real. These images are meant to create and feed a fantasy. You don’t have to buy in.
  • Deconstruct your response. What are you really craving? Is it a flavor? A texture? An experience?
  • Unplug! Take a break from your device, turn off the TV.
  • Reconnect to your motivation. Check in with yourself about how much progress you’ve made and how good it feels to make choices that support your goals. Do what you need to hold yourself accountable if that helps.


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Easy Side: Sauteed Mushrooms and Onion

In the wintertime (it’s almost winter, technically, so I can say “wintertime), I find that I want to add mushrooms into practically every meal. I like to look at food cravings as the body’s way of telling us what it needs, so maybe it’s got something to do with less sunlight and a need for more vitamin D in my diet. As I talk abut in  this Fitness article, mushrooms just so happen to be one of the few plant sources of vitamin D.

You’d need to eat a lot to cover all your daily needs if they were your only source, but every little bit counts, right? Mushrooms also packed with B-vitamins, which are key to countless body processes. Vitamin B-6, for example, plays a roll in production of mood-regulating neurotransmitter serotonin, which tends to take a big dip in the darker months, so making sure we’re getting enough B-6 can help us avoid feeling the SAD.

This recipe is great for those days you just feel too wiped out to slave over the stove for too long. It’s ready in ten minutes and is packed with flavor. I’ve been loving this on top of my savory oats in the morning.

savory mushroom oats

It’s also tasty in salad (even cold), with eggs, or served alongside chicken, pork, beef, or fish. I also love mushrooms on toast with cheese. I hope you enjoy this recipe!  Continue reading “Easy Side: Sauteed Mushrooms and Onion”

RawSpiceBar Giveaway Winner!

Today’s post is sponsored by RawSpiceBar.

Happy Thursday! Thanks to every who entered my RawSpiceBar giveaway. Today’s randomly selected winner is: Jen!

As for what her favorite spices are, Jen wrote, “I’m a fan of cumin and cinnamon. Got a nice big bag of herbs de Provence in the south of France last month that I can’t wait to crack open 🙂”

Congrats! Send an email to info(at)jessicacordingnutrition(dot)com with you contact info and I’ll have the company get your prize sent out to you!

You can also order gift subscriptions for your favorite foodies. Check out the RawSpiceBar:  3, 6, & 12 month spice gift plans. This also makes a great gift for yourself : )

Want to learn more about must-have spices and their health benefits? Check out my Shape post on 10 healthy spices to stock your kitchen with.

Some other stuff I have to share today:

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Sweet Potato Toast

Have you guys tried sweet potato toast yet?  Essentially, the idea behind this foodie trend is that you cut slices of sweet potato and toast them up in a toaster, toaster oven, or regular oven as you would sliced bread. To find out just how idiot-proof it is, I tried it myself.  The verdict?


Why have I not been doing this forever?

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Roasted Garlic Baked Turkey Meatballs

Spaghetti & meatballs was a regular part of the dinnertime rotation for me, growing up. Some of my earliest cooking memories are of helping my mom make her marinara sauce, which is one of my all-time favorite foods. It was also one of the first things I started cooking when I moved into my own apartment and began learning my way around the kitchen.

It took me until I was well into my twenties to start experimenting with my own meatball variations, though. It was my squeamishness about handling raw meat, honestly. Glad I got over that one, though. They’ve since become a favorite. The one I keep coming back to is this easy recipe for baked turkey meatballs.

I hate frying things because I hate dealing with splattering oil and messy clean-up, and this way happens to be healthier to boot. I also swap in rolled oats for breadcrumbs to up the fiber while keeping sodium in check. This particular version feature roasted garlic, but if you don’t have any, feel free to leave it out. I’d recommend grating your cheese fresh to get the richest flavor and keep any cellulose-related anxiety at bay. While it won’t kill you, necessarily, why put wood pulp in your meatballs if you don’t have to?

I love to enjoy these over zucchini noodles, spaghetti squash, or salad. I hope you dig them as much as I do!


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5 Ways to Make A Frozen Meal More Satisfying

This post is sponsored by MorningStar Farms.

If you’ve been reading my blog even a little bit, it’s pretty obvious that I like to cook. Sure, getting to eat delicious food is part of it, but even more so, I love the therapeutic aspect of cooking. Working with my hands relaxes me, and having the chance to be creative with various ingredients and cooking methods helps me hit the reset button.

It wasn’t always that way, though. As a college student living on my own for the first time, I had no idea what to do in the kitchen, but I was curious. In my senior year, I had an internship at a publishing house that did cookbooks, and I got sent home with a bunch of different titles. I remember sitting on my floor (I did not have much in the way of furniture) trying to figure out how to recreate what I saw on those pages. Some of my early attempts were hilariously bad, but I was so hungry, I rarely cared. Well, there was that one time I tried to grill romaine leaves on a George Forman grill…Wouldn’t recommend anyone try that.

I also relied a lot on frozen meals. Amy’s bowls—especially the brown rice bowl and pasta shells—stick out in my mind. Now the company makes a ton of varieties I’ve never even heard of that my 20-year-old self would have definitely been into. Of course, this was in my pre-RD days when I never thought about sodium or preservatives or any of that other fun stuff, so I was mostly concerned with cost and taste, but in the grand scheme of things, my health nut Grandma and chemical-conscious mom had at least turned me on to some better alternatives that were available then. A lot more companies have been working on creating healthy, tasty frozen meals in the decade-plus since then, so even though I wouldn’t encourage making frozen meals a mainstay, having a few convenient options in the freezer can help you stick to a healthy eating routine.

Presentation is a whole other matter. You don’t need a degree in food psychology to know that eating soggy stir-fry from a cardboard bowl while standing at the kitchen counter is not going to be very satisfying. Research from the Cornell Food and Brand Lab shows many ways that what we see on the plate influences how much we eat and how fulfilled we feel.

Earlier this fall, I went to an event hosted by MorningStar Farms where we tasted some of their new products and enjoyed a wine pairing with each course.


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Grilled Black Garlic Miso Pork Tenderloin

For better or worse, I have a savory tooth and not a sweet tooth. When it comes to animal proteins, I generally prefer to stick to wild/organic/cage-free fish, chicken, turkey, eggs, and yogurt whenever possible, but once in a while I get a craving for pork, beef, or lamb that I just can’t get out of my head. Pork is one of my favorite “in moderation” foods. #sorrynotsorry

I recently made this black garlic-kissed pork tenderloin and from the first bite, I knew this was one of those “in the vault” recipes. It’s the perfect blend of savory, sweet, and salty. My curiosity led me to discover that the combination of black garlic and white miso paste in a marinade is just divine. Wondering what the heck black garlic is? I wrote a post for Fitness about it because I think it’s way too delicious to keep to myself.

I enjoyed this recipe with roasted sweet potato and brussels sprouts-a great comfort food dinner on a cold night. It also happens to be delicious with salad, as I found out when I enjoyed the leftovers the next day.Though you can obviously grill this outside, for city-dwellers like me, it’s a cinch to make on a grill pan. I use a  Calphalon Nonstick Grill Pan that I absolutely love. It’s not too heavy and so easy to clean between uses. Definitely a plus when you have limited kitchen space!

I hope you enjoy!


Black Garlic Miso Pork Tenderloin Continue reading “Grilled Black Garlic Miso Pork Tenderloin”

Recipe ReDux: Pumpkin Chocolate Cranberry Quickbread

Good morning! Today I’m linking up with the Recipe ReDux to bring you a special holiday dessert recipe. 

With Thanksgiving coming up this week, the holiday season is kicking into high gear. It’s totally normal to stress about how to keep things real when there are lots of opportunities to overindulge. My advice: Prioritize.

Decide which treats are worth making room for and honor those preferences. It will be a lot easier to turn down store-bought cookies or soda at the office party if you’ve got homemade pie or a cocktail on your mind. Maybe you skip passed hoers d’ouvres because you know you’re going to want potatoes with your meal.

I feel like making holiday treats healthier can be a slippery slope. In a sense, I find that the idea of a “healthy” treat runs counter to the whole concept of a treat. If there is something super-specific that you only have once or twice a year and will not be satisfied with an approximation of, then just go for it—savor a small serving and move on with your life. In the long run, you’re less likely to feel deprived and have a better chance of sticking with overall healthy habits. That said, there are some small tweaks that can improve the nutrition stats without sacrificing flavor or texture.


While I’d still consider this bread an “in moderation” food, I enjoyed playing around with some healthy swaps. Here, I cut the sugar down to a half-cup (most recipes call for a full cup of everyone’s favorite legal white powder) and swap in some white whole wheat flour for some of the all-purpose. I also use low-fat plain yogurt and pumpkin puree to allow me to cut the butter in half. Using fresh cranberries instead of dried also offers a refreshing twist that’s also lower in sugar. I hope you enjoy this!

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Thinking Out Loud: Thanksgiving Countdown and Friendsgiving

Good morning! Thursday is that day I post random stuff from the week, so without further ado:

I’m sad about Leonard Cohen‘s death, so I’ve been cooking my feelings. Sad as I am to see him go, I’m also comforted by all the wonderful music he left us with. You guys know I’m a big music nerd.

I found out this weekend that I know how to bake after all. No more excuses. Did you see my recipe Monday? You’re going to love this one.

rosemary lemon bread

Here’s some other stuff I have to share today.

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