@TheDoctors – Healthy Food Options to Cook Together

Our segment on @TheDoctorsTV airs this Wednesday on FOXLA at 3pm – Check local listings – https://www.thedoctorstv.com/when-its-on

A few months ago the producers from the day time talk show “The Doctors” reached out and asked if Kaia and I would be interested in doing a segment with them. We obliged ; )

The segment focuses on healthy food alternatives. The goal is to spotlight the still growing issue of diabetes amongst children in the United States where 1 in 5 kids is pre-diabetic.

They asked us to come up with some recipes that would be a healthy alternatives that are easy to make, and can be fun to cook for parents and kids together.

– Dinner 1 – Turkey Meatballs, homemade marinara on noodles. 
Ingredients – 

  • 2 lbs 93/7 Ground Turkey
  • 1 cup Spinach chopped
  • 1 tsp Cumin
  • 1 tbsp Salt 
  • 1 tbsp Garlic
  • 1 cup Bread Crumbs 
  • 1 tbsp Pepper freshly cracked black pepper
  • 2 tbsp Butter
  • 1/2 cup Pecorino Cheese grated
  • 2 tbsp Olive oil
  • 2 tbsp Italian Parsley chopped fine
  • Basic Tomato Sauce or we can make our own.  – Roma Tomatoes, Fresh Oregano, Yellow Onion, Garlic, Black Pepper, Green Onions, Salt, Vegetable Stock
  • 8oz. Spaghetti Noodles

Preparation – Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. – Meatballs – In a large mixing bowl combine the ground turkey, 1 cup of breadcrumbs, 1 cup of chopped Spinach, 1 tsp of cumin, 1 tbsp of minced garlic, 1 tbsp of Salt, 1 tbsp fresh cracked black pepper, 2 tbsps of softened butter. Mix the ingredients together well. Roll and Ball the mixture into a about 16 2 oz. meatballs. In a cast iron pan or saute’ pan, heat a tbsp of Olive Oil and place the meatballs in the pan browning them. Use the remaining oil for the 2nd round of meatballs. After browning the meatballs. Place the pan with all the meatballs into the oven and cook for 10 minutes – Noodles – In a larger pot, boil salted water, add noodles and cook al dente – Sauce – in a separate pan, heat the sauce and add the meatballs to finish cooking. Add the al dente noodles and continue cooking on low heat for about 3 more minutes. Use a fork or tongs to twirl noodles on. Plate meatballs and pasta. Shave the Pecorino cheese on top of the plated pasta and add some chopped parsley. 

After submitting this particular recipe, we received an almost immediate response from producers asking if there was a way to get rid of certain ingredients? Like the butter, cheese and breadcrumbs which we knew were not so healthy additions to our meatballs… We knew there was a way! After a few different try’s we sent this…

“Hi everyone, we’ve tried some new variations of the our Turkey Meatballs and landed on this iteration… in lieu of the breadcrumbs and butter we used roasted cauliflower and a couple eggs. Instead of the softened butter we used eggs plural. But, we think we could have gotten away with only one egg, and if you are making this recipe try it with one egg only! Oh, and no cheese at all, and use zucchini noodles instead of the spaghetti noodles”.

In retrospect, my email response could have been a little better put together and not so scattered, but you have to understand we were meat-balled out by then. After they got our notes, they asked if I could send the new recipe… I forgot to send the recipe, HA!

Anyhow, after laughing off my previous blunder(s), they got the recipe.

The new recipe is… 

  • 2 lbs 93/7 Lean Ground Turkey
  • 1 cup Chopped Organic Spinach
  • 1 cup Riced and Roasted Cauliflower – preheat oven to 400 degrees, chop or use a food processor to dice the cauliflower (stock removed) fold in a tbsp of olive oil and a tsp of salt, cover a sheet tray or pan with foil and lay the cauliflower flat, roast for about 25 mins, remove from oven and let cool.
  • 1 large Egg
  • 1 tbsp of Kosher Salt
  • 2 tsp Fresh Cracked Black Pepper
  • 1/2 tsp Cumin
  • 1 tbsp Minced Garlic 
  • 1 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil – This is only to coat the pan. 

It’s the same preparation as the last, but instead of the breadcrumbs and butter you will add the riced and roasted cauliflower. After mixing the ingredients well they go into the oven at 375 for 15 mins. The lower temp and longer time allow for the cauliflower and egg to firm.

The best around!

Ultimately we were still asked on the show. With the initial challenge of making our meatballs healthier by eliminating and replacing certain ingredients, we learned a great deal and were able to flex our creative muscles to make them work. The roasted cauliflower and egg was a genius idea that proved to successfully bind the ingredients as well if not better than the breadcrumbs and butter.

Hopefully the ingredients, prep and cooking descriptions are workable for you. If there are any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out! We love hearing from you!

We had a lovely time working with the team @TheDoctors. Hopefully we can bring some more of our creations to them and you!

We are looking forward to a continued great 2020! We will be launching a line of breakfast bars, jams, jellies and preserves in the next month. They will be available online! Stay Tuned!


Seafood Salad: A Hobbled Story!

Squid might not be the first item on your shopping list, I can promise that if you give it a shot you won’t be disappointed!

On a weekly basis Kaia and I attempt creating new things based on already existing dishes, while putting our own twist on things.

The idea for our seafood salad came from, get ready for it: a squid salad recipe.

We wanted something light, still carrying some protein. We thought fish or seafood would be a great protein to incorporate. I felt our diet had been lacking greens, so we went in the direction of a seafood salad.

Kaia and I headed out to our relatively local Whole Foods. As you know we’ve shopped on a budget, but if you’re smart in your purchases Whole Foods can be budget friendly. Recently I injured my foot and ankle, and it was throbbing inside my walking cast on the way to the store.

Kaia suggested some oysters to add to our seafood shopping list. She wanted to practice her shucking skills, and boy does she have talent as an oyster shucker! In culinary school my Chef Instructor suggested singing some Barry White while shucking (think South Park, and you’ll get in a good laugh). Trying to explain Barry White to a 10-year-old is just not going to happen for 2 reasons: 1. Barry is bedroom music, and 2. Kaia is fricken’ 10!

My foot was in trouble (because it’s injured, and also) due to my unwillingness to accept that I am aging. Plus, we are livin’ la vida loca! Sometimes you’ve just gotta roll with the punches, or in my case torn ligaments. Either way, I was in pain as we walked (no dancing today) through the Whole Foods. As a parent, it’s not always easy to “keep your cool,” but I try my best when it comes to Kaia.

Whole Foods, as you might have experienced, tends to be a little on the higher cost side of grocery shopping. We have learned that if we price compare, it ends up costing about as much as Ralphs and is usually the best quality.

On this excursion, rather than buying a $35/pound Chilean Sea Bass, we sauntered down the seafood aisle (rather, I hobbled). We happened upon octopus and squid. We had cooked octopus before (more than a couple times), and as far as we were concerned Daddy Daughter Cooking had already been there and done that. We decided to move on further down that aisle.

When we saw it, we knew we had to have it. That is to say, we were grabbed by the tentacles… squid tentacles! Kaia walked up to the counter, and said, “just the tentacles please!” I can only imagine what she must look and sound like to the person behind the counter. She can’t even see over the counter. In fact she needs to take a few steps back just so they can see her. She’s so cute… She loves talking to all the fun people that help us in the store. These shopping adventures are made fun by the kiddo’s interaction with others, especially those folks in the know. 


One of the greatest things Daddy Daughter Cooking wants to highlight and encourage is learning by tracking down these different ingredients. Kaia and I spend a lot of time talking to people that work and sell specialty (and normal) food products in the grocery store, farmers market, and anywhere else we can find food. This is how we learn about how to buy food items. Truth be told, I have even learned a few new tricks for cooking things differently (that I didn’t learn in culinary school). This practice of asking questions and learning has become an integral part of what we do. We genuinely hope you follow suit. There is empowerment in understanding.

Back to the shopping. Once we had the tentacles and oysters in hand, we stopped by the veggie aisle. We didn’t start in this section today, because we needed to know what our protein would be for the salad before we picked out veggies. We decided romanesco broccoli, tomato, red onion and a lemon would compliment the little danglies.

Here’s the final list:

1 head of Romanesco Broccoli – this product is so cool, its color is that of a sun-faded broccoli combined with some cauliflower. It’s surprisingly versatile. You can sauté, blanch, boil, or bake them – $3.67


6 Roma Tomatoes – we love these and use them all the time – $1.77
1 Red Onion – these gems are great for circulation and amazing on salads and a staple in Greek cooking – $0.92
1 Lemon – another extraordinarily versatile item.  In this case we intend on using it for our vinaigrette – $0.69
1 lb. Squid (Tentacles Only) – boys love gross looking things and girls have stronger stomachs… Adults hide your fears, and try to remain strong! – $8.99

Check back with us later in the week to see what we came up with…  Thanks!

Chopping on the Cheap, Budgeted Groceries with Creative Intent

New week, new shopping list! Our weeks usually begin in a flurry, spending a lot of time catching up from the week prior or being inundated with new happy-happy, joy-joy stuff. Sometimes it’s a new unexpected bill or a parking ticket (wink wink) because maybe you forgot to move the car for street cleaning… all on account of Sunday Funday becoming unmanageable. This isn’t the type of Sunday Funday I had in my 20s, but the day at the park that turned into a BBQ and then turned into a bowling night with Kaia and her two best friends. If you live in a larger city like we do, the likelihood is pretty strong that at some point you’ll get a parking ticket.

Anyhow this leads us to just one of many Monday things on our list, Chopping (and shopping) on the cheap, budgeted groceries with creative intent!

After picking Kaia up from school we headed directly to our local grocery Ralphs (They are a subsidiary company under the KROGER umbrella). I knew before we walked in that I had a limited budget of about $40. We were looking to maximize our spending.

I have always been upfront with my daughter about what we can afford, and not just in the food department. She has never gone without what she needs, but she understands that we can’t spend money on all the frivolous things we might want. That being said, I think she trusts me to always make it work… and she should.


On our drive we discussed what we thought we can do on our $40 grocery budget for the week. Lots of roma tomato, fruits, and other veggie ideas came up. Produce is always a great place to start. We think it’s better to start with a veggie option and build the meals around them. The versatility of veggies and what is doable with them is far greater than that of meat.

We have turned our shopping into a dance. Think of the produce section as the introduction to a ballet and as you build to the crescendo we hit the meat and poultry counter. As we sauntered through the store, we notice different things that inspired our budgeted creativity. Our $40 needs to stretch for 4 dinners for 2, as well as some breakfast stuff. We also have some things like cream, spices, herbs and some mixed noodles (we sometimes like to make our own noodles so we wanted to pick up some semolina, the base grain, too).

This weeks shopping purchases:

  • 1 gallon of 2% milk – we like it better than whole milk on our cereal or in our oatmeal, and it’s less fat – $2.79
  • 1 bag of dehydrated organic spring mushrooms – to use for homemade cream of mushroom soup – $3.99
  • 1 large white onion – purchased to be used in a pasta sauce or even a salsa. Who doesn’t like chips and salsa? – $0.85
  • 1 bunch green onion – these can also be used in sauce, pasta, or salsa – $0.99
  • 1 large jalapeño – again this is something that could be used in our salsa or to spice up a sauce and/or soup – $0.21
  • 1.05 lbs broccoli (stalks on) – Kaia requested some broccoli, so we got some. My thoughts were that they could be used to make a broccoli cheddar soup (we have some leftover cheddar from our amazing grilled cheeses with beet greens) – $1.67
  • 2.42 lbs. roma tomatoes (about 12 tomatoes) – these were bought in bulk to be used in a number of different things. Tomato sauce, salsa, possibly a soup or a layer to some sammies – $3.61
  • 1.99 lbs. organic Chiquita bananas – for breakfast smoothies or just as a snack – $1.77
  • 2.05 lbs. of beef roast (tri-tip) – this item was on sale at nearly 50% off so we grabbed it… always have to be on the lookout for solid sale item. We cook this meat in a much shorter time period than BBQ masters. We do however have a way of doing it that emulates that of a 12 hour smoke – $12.76
  • 1 loaf french bread – just because we wanted some carbs to go along with all that we had – $1.59

Our total coupons or savings because that’s what we do, was $9.65. Our total expenses were $30.23. When all was said and done we still had some dollars left for treats we might want later in the week.

For additional savings, check out IBOTTA – it is awesome! Basically you have to scan the items your purchased using the barcode and your receipt. Here’s a referral link from me for the app. Its great for additional savings. For instance, we earned $2.75 from this trip alone. They will send a check or link it to your venmo account and you get paid when you have at least 20 bucks in your IBOTTA account.

Takeaway from this trip to the grocery store: Shopping on a budget is not such a daunting task. We have learned over time that most people in the stores are pretty gruff to begin with; meaning everyone is in a hurry, employees might not be as excited as we are, etc. It’s not a complaint, just an observation. Ultimately, our goal has been to make grocery shopping fun.

We try to put smiles on other people’s faces as we laugh and frolic through the store. We have very little shame in the store: You might occasionally hear me speaking loudly, calling for Kaia who may be 2 aisles over, or Kaia asking me if she has grabbed enough tomatoes, from across the veggie department.

The best suggestion I can give is to give less *insert bad word*. It’s a win/win: you will live longer and so will the kids… plus you may even keep your hair the same color a little longer. And for the Dads out there, you may even keep your hair on your head for a little while longer.

Keep following us, later in the week you will be able to see what awesomeness we came up with with these items plus a few others we already have in the fridge and cabinets at home.

Hope you all are having a great week. See ya soon!