Recipe Redo Blog

Traditional Recipes Redone…Healthier

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Pesto Green Beans from Maria Isabella

This recipe is compliments of  Maria Isabella, Author of In the Kitchen with Cleveland’s Favorite Chefs and was created by JIM PERKO, Executive Chef of the Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute.

4 servings

Ingredients:Jim Perko Meal

  • ¼ cup firmly packed fresh spinach leaves
  • ¼ cup firmly packed fresh parsley leaves
  • ¼ cup firmly packed fresh basil leaves
  • ¼ cup toasted walnuts (see note), chopped
  • ¼ cup toasted pecans (see note), chopped
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon finely chopped garlic
  • 5 cups fresh green beans, cut into ½-inch lengths


  1. Put the spinach, parsley, basil, walnuts, pecans, and salt in a food processor and pulse until coarsely pureed. Add the oil and garlic and pulse again until well incorporated. Set aside.
  2. Boil or steam the green beans until just tender, about 5 minutes. Drain well.
  3. Combine the pesto with the green beans and toss well.

Note: To toast the walnuts and pecans, preheat the oven to 275°. Spread the nuts on a baking sheet and place in the oven. Check after 10 minutes, then again every 2 minutes until golden.

Remove from the oven. Let cool, then coarsely chop.

For the complete meal pictured, see the other recipes that accompany this dish…

Butternut Squash, Carrot, & Ginger Soup

Herb-Seasoned Wild King Salmon with Mushrooms & Grape Tomatoes

Jim & Debbie’s Healthy No-Bake Dessert Bars


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Cold and Creamy Cucumber Soup from The Kerr House

This recipe is compliments of The Kerr House, a Destination Spa Group member.

This chilled soup makes a wonderful appetizer or side on a hot summer day. Bright bursts of dill provide a pleasant contrast to the milder flavor of cucumber.


  • 6 medium cucumber, peeled, seeded and chopped
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 ½ cups plain yogurt
  • 1 ½ Tablespoons honey
  • 1 ½ teaspoons fresh dill weed
  • ¼ to ½ teaspoon Tabasco
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg, grated
  • 4 fresh mint leaves
  • 1 garlic clove
  • Green onions, chopped, or snipped chives for garnish


Place all ingredients (except garnish) in a food processor until fairly smooth, leaving little chunks of cucumber. Check seasonings. Chill at least 2 hours. Garnish and serve. Serve 6 to 8.

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Butternut Squash, Carrot, & Ginger Soup

This recipe is compliments of  Maria Isabella, Author of In the Kitchen with Cleveland’s Favorite Chefs and was created by JIM PERKO, Executive Chef of the Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute.

Ingredients: DSC_0014-580x333

  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup firmly packed, thinly sliced onion
  • 1 cup peeled and diced carrot (2 to 3 medium carrots)
  • ½ teaspoon minced fresh ginger
  • 4½ cups peeled, seeded, and diced butternut squash (about 2 medium squash) (can substitute precut squash from the supermarket)
  • 5 cups water (see note)
  • 3 tablespoons Minor’s natural vegetable base (found in the freezer or refrigerated section of better grocery stores) (see note)
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper, optional
  • Fat-free plain yogurt for garnish, optional


  1. Heat the oil in a 4-quart saucepot over medium-low heat. Add the onion and sauté just until transparent. Add the carrots and sauté, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes. Add the ginger and sauté for 2 more minutes.
  2. Add the butternut squash, water, vegetable base, and cayenne pepper, if using. Increase heat to medium-high and bring to a boil. Then turn down the heat to medium-low and simmer, partially covered, for 45 minutes.
  3. Remove from the heat and puree the soup until smooth, using an immersion or stick hand blender for best results. (You can also use a blender or food processor, but be sure to work in batches.)
  4. Divide the soup among 4 bowls. Serve warm, garnished with yogurt, if desired (see note).

Note: If desired, you can substitute 5 cups vegetable stock from a carton, preferably Kitchen Basics, for the water and Minor’s vegetable base.

Note: You can simply add a dollop of yogurt to each bowl. Or dilute some yogurt with a little water and spoon it either into a squirt bottle, a pastry bag with plain tip, or a plastic sandwich bag clipped in the corner. Make a design of your choice on top of the soup. (Jim drew a couple of circles and used a toothpick to drag multiple lines from the outer edges in toward the center.)

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Jim & Debbie’s Healthy No-Bake Dessert Bars

This recipe is compliments of  Maria Isabella, Author of In the Kitchen with Cleveland’s Favorite Chefs and was created by JIM PERKO, Executive Chef of the Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute.

Ingredients: (Makes 24 bars)

  • 1 cup toasted walnuts (see notenobakebars
  • ¾ cup golden raisins
  • ¾ cup sugar-free dried cranberries
  • 5 brown rice cakes or 12 ultra-thin 100% whole-wheat rice cake squares, preferably Paskesz brand
  • ½ cup fresh orange juice, divided
  • 2 tablespoons agave nectar (can substitute honey)
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 6 ounces 70% dark bittersweet chocolate
  • 1 tablespoon instant espresso powder
  • Cocoa powder or ground cinnamon for garnish, optional
  • Raspberries for garnish, optional


  1. Place the walnuts in a food processor. Pulse until fine. Add the raisins and cranberries. Pulse until the mixture becomes sticky.
  2. Add the rice cakes. Continue to pulse until the mixture becomes fine and loose. Add 2 tablespoons of the orange juice, agave nectar, vanilla, and cinnamon. Pulse one last time until the mixture becomes sticky and gummy.
  3. Place the mixture in an ungreased 8 x 8-inch glass baking dish, spreading evenly across the pan. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing the mixture into the bottom of the pan with a flat-bottomed object to evenly distribute it. Remove the plastic wrap and set the dish aside.
  4. Combine the chocolate, remaining orange juice, and espresso powder in the top of a double boiler that’s been placed over barely simmering water on low heat. Stir just until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth.
  5. Remove from the heat quickly and immediately pour the melted chocolate mixture evenly over the top of the pressed walnut mixture. Cover and refrigerate at least 30 minutes. Cut into desired shapes.
  6. If desired, dust cocoa powder, cinnamon, or a mixture of both onto your plates before placing the dessert bars. (Using a stencil is optional.) Add a few raspberries, if desired.

Note: To toast walnuts, preheat the oven to 275º. Place the nuts on a baking sheet and bake, checking after 10 minutes, then again every 2 minutes, until golden.

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Herb-Seasoned Wild King Salmon with Mushrooms and Grape Tomatoes

This recipe is compliments of  Maria Isabella, Author of In the Kitchen with Cleveland’s Favorite Chefs and was created by JIM PERKO, Executive Chef of the Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute.

Makes 4 servings

  • ¼ cup well-rinsed, drained, and finely diced white part of leek (see note)Jim Perko Meal
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
  • ½ teaspoon finely chopped garlic
  • ¾ teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • Coarsely ground black pepper
  • Freshly grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 4 (4-ounce) wild king salmon fillets, skinned and boned
  • 16 fresh shiitake mushrooms, wiped clean, stems discarded, caps quartered
  • 20 assorted-color grape tomatoes, halved
  • Leek Garnish (recipe follows), optional
  1. Preheat the oven to 375º.
  2. Combine the leeks, 1 tablespoon of the oil, the parsley, garlic, ½ teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon pepper, and lemon zest in a bowl. Add the salmon fillets and toss until well coated.
  3. Fit a wire rack into a rimmed baking sheet. Place the salmon on the rack and bake for about 12 to 15 minutes, or until lightly opaque inside.
  4. Meanwhile, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a sauté pan over medium to medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms and season with the remaining ¼ teaspoon salt and about ⅛ teaspoon pepper. Sauté until lightly caramelized to bring out what Jim describes as “the umami flavor” (or savoriness). Remove the pan from the heat.
  5. If desired, for each serving, place a salmon fillet on top of a portion of Pesto Green Beans (recipe follows) in the center of the plate. Spoon the tomatoes and mushrooms around the beans. If desired, arrange a few strands of leek garnish on top of each salmon fillet. Serve warm.


Note: To clean a leek, cut off and discard the dark green leaves just at the place where the light green starts, about an inch above the white part. Trim off the roots, then make a lengthwise cut from the top down almost through the bottom. Rinse the leek thoroughly under cold water, separating the leaves to make sure to get any dirt that may be hiding between them. Drain well and prepare as instructed.

Leek Garnish

1. Simmer ¼ cup finely julienned white part of leek in a saucepan with ½ cup vegetable stock until tender, about 5 minutes. Drain.

Nutritional Information per Serving, (Serving Size: 1 piece):

Calories: 180                        Sodium: 320mg        Sugars: 0g                 Cholesterol: 55mg

Saturated Fat: 1.5g  Fiber: 0g                    Protein: 24g              Carbohydrate: 1g