Rona's Favorite Healthy (And Not So Healthy) Recipes

Clean Eating for Busy Families (And Sloppy Joe’s)

Clean Eating for Busy Families (And Sloppy Joe’s)

Recently, I had the honor of meeting Michelle Dudash, R.D.N. at Melissa’s Produce.  She’s the author of the above cookbook.  She revised and expanded it recently and treated me and other foodie friends to an afternoon of tastings and a demonstration of a couple of her healthy and tasty dishes.

Michelle has quite the background! She’s an award-winning registered dietitian nutritionist and Cordon Bleu-certified chef. Through her company Chef Dudash Nutrition, Michelle is a food and nutrition writer, recipe developer, TV personality, national nutrition and culinary spokesperson, and web show host.

AND she has two adorable daughters.  Who says you can’t bring home the bacon and cook it healthfully?  (OK, I’m paraphrasing, but you get the idea….) You can read more about her on her website;

She believes, and I agree with her, that eating clean is right for any age.  Less processing, less salt, less chemicals—more whole foods and nutrients!  And if you have picky kids, there are ways to “hide” the veggies and substitute healthier ingredients.

Another point of agreement is her view on salt.  Most cooking schools tout salting every time you add an ingredient to a dish.  I remember Cathy Arkle and I  rolling our eyes at the amount of salt our teacher added to the demo dishes.  Neither one of us is a big “salt-er” and neither is Michelle.  Those who wish to can add their own when the dish is on the plate!

Our menu of her delicious recipes consisted of:

(Using Melissa’s Steamed Chickpeas, Seedless Lemons & Mini Cucumber)


(Using Melissa’s Steamed Lentils, Cilantro, Jalapeños, Bell Pepper, Celery & Avocado)

(Using Melissa’s Organic Zucchini, Garlic & Mint)

(Using Melissa’s Cauliflower & Turmeric)

 (Using Melissa’s Fresh Baby Spinach & Basil)

(Using Melissa’s Garlic, Bell Pepper & Perfect Sweet Onion)

 These were all tasty dishes, but my favorite dish of them all was the sloppy joe’s.  I’m going to share her recipe with you here. It’s got a ton of flavor and no sugar added!  The sweet part comes from the addition of dates, which are super sweet.  Yes, they have a lot of natural sugar, but they’re also high in fiber and have other nutrients.

As someone who doesn’t eat a lot of red meat or bread, I substituted turkey for the beef and just put it in a lettuce wrap.  It was delicious! However, for the sake of authenticity, I’m sharing her original recipe.  Enjoy!

Simple Sloppy Joes with Naturally Sweet and Tangy Sauce

September 21, 2019
: 6
: easy

A quick and easy weeknight meal by Michelle Dudash, RDN!


  • 2 teaspoons high-heat oil, such as avocado, grapeseed or canola
  • 1 pound (93% lean) ground beef (grass-fed preferred)
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1/2 small yellow or white onion, quartered
  • 1/2 large green or red bell pepper, cut into 6 pieces
  • 5 Medjool dates, pits removed and torn in half
  • 1 cup beef or chicken bone broth
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked or sweet paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • Go withs: 100% whole grain buns
  • lettuce
  • pickles
  • Step 1 Heat a large skillet on medium high and add the oil.
  • Step 2 When the oil is shimmering, break the beef into small pieces and put it into the pan in a single layer.
  • Step 3 Allow the beef to brown on one side without stirring, about 5 minutes, then break up pieces with a flat-edged wooden spoon.
  • Step 4 Stir after the beef is browned on the bottom.
  • Step 5 Mince the garlic in a food processor. Add the onion and bell pepper and pulse until finely chopped.
  • Step 6 Push the beef to the side of the pan and add the vegetables, cooking until tender on medium-low heat.
  • Step 7 Finely chop the dates in the food processor and add to the beef.
  • Step 8 When the vegetables are tender, add the broth, tomato paste, chili powder, paprika, salt and pepper. Stir well and simmer for a few minutes to blend the flavors.
  • Step 9 Stir in the apple cider vinegar.
  • Step 10 Serve with buns, lettuce and pickles.

The next recipe I’m going to try is one from her book-a turkey pot pie.  Pot pie is one of my favorite dishes and she makes it with a whole wheat crust and, of course, uses all fresh ingredients.  Whether or not you have kids, these recipes are quick (many are less than 30 minutes), tasty and easy enough for the newest of cooks.




Related Posts