Things are Heating Up

imagesAs I settle in at my new work environment and some new responsibilities, things are getting a bit easier, but I still can’t get adjusted to the difference in certain staff’s attitude between what I’m used to at my hospital and how it’s done here. In a few words, “I just can’t wait till all the building repairs are done so we can go back!”, the unfortunate part is that it will probably take about a year before the hospital is fully operational again. That Sandy truly did a number on it!

So it means I have to get used to being in a “double boiler” without also constantly heating up and either burning my own insides or dumping all the hot water on somebody else. I need to find some outlets to let the steam out once in a while. Or every day, judging by how things are going here at this hospital. I’ve been trying to take small 15-minute breaks, when possible, to hide in the office and just check my mail, read or write the posts. 🙂 I wish the hospital would not be so isolated and I can go outside and browse through some stores, but, no, only an army base and a golf course around here. Ughhhh! You just can’t win!

Sometimes I simply sit and think about food, what I’ll make next week or some new dish I have to try, maybe look at a few recipes. Sounds great you’d say! Yes and no. As when you’re under stress, you tend to crave comfort food, and none of the choices you have in mind are too healthy. So choosing to compromise is a task in itself, finding how to make it appealing yet nutritious is an extra twist.

I don’t know what you crave when you think of comfort food, I usually want pasta, potatoes, chocolate, or other wonderful sweet and carb-filled things. And there is always a special soft spot for some Russian food. That’s my ultimate “childhood memories wrapped in double layer of comfort and joy” dishes.

I’m working on my “last meal” menu, in case I’m ever put on a death row.

What’s Cooking This Week

Yep, you guessed it, Russian food! Well, a very close Russian variation of an American classic. When I think of Russian staples, potatoes, mushrooms and meat immediately come to mind, they are in most Russian dishes but can also be easily “translated” into any other international version. This dish can delight both Russian and American families and is packed with protein and other beneficial nutrients.

“Russian Supreme” Twice-Baked Potatoes


4 large baking potatoes, skin intact and washed thoroughly

1 lb of lean ground beef

1 onion, chopped

1 cup of cut mushrooms

1/3 cup of chopped tomatoes

1/2 cup of cheddar style daiya shreds (or use regular cheese)

1/4 cup of chopped fresh herbs, like parsley

1 tspoon of each basil and oregano

salt, pepper, olive oil


Rub the potato skins with salt and pepper, make a cut lengthwise, wrap each in foil and bake at 425 degrees for about 30-40 minutes or until the potatoes are soft. Let them cool off a bit, cut each in half lengthwise and scoop out the soft part leaving the skin intact.

In a frying pan, heat up some olive oil and saute chopped onion until yellow golden, add ground beef and stirring often saute until almost done, season with salt, pepper and dry herbs. Then add chopped mushrooms and tomatoes and finish cooking. Stir in scooped out potatoes and chopped fresh herbs, mix well.


Fill each potato half with the mixture and top with some cheddar shreds. Line a baking sheet with foil and arrange the potatoes. Bake at 375 degrees for 10-15 minutes.


Serve along a salad as a great meal either for lunch or dinner. You’ll feel completely indulged yet health-conscious.