Cook, Eat and Be Happy!
Recipes for Busy People
by Janice Tucker Rhoda

Hi Everyone! I am a professional classical musician, and cooking is my main Hobby.

How do we find Time to Eat Healthy and keep up with our Busy Careers?

How do I continually make satisfying and nutritious meals for my husband? I tend to eat more vegetarian food than he does. How do I make balanced meals for both of us?

Since I'm constantly cooking, I've decided to add this recipe article to my website, for whatever it is worth to people! I make some recipes from scratch and others with store bought products. Specific product names are listed within the recipes.

I have dozens more recipes on file, but will start with the basics in this article.

This is a very personal page for me, telling you about the foods and products I like, and details about my private life.

Forewarning: I am not a professional cook, although I took many macrobiotic and Japanese cooking classes, and worked as a cook for a family in my 20s. I also had great role models growing up, and have cooked many years for people with discerning tastes.

This is my way of sharing how I make my busy life easier and healthier. My life seems filled with "living" in the kitchen, working on my ABCs of Strings method, taking care of my husband, chores and some social events.

Some of you may say: it's easier going out to eat! We do that occasionally, but it isn't always the greatest culinary experience. 95% of our meals are at home. We have a few favorite restaurants we can "count on" but we don't want to spend excessive amounts of money going out to eat when we can have dependable, healthy, delicious meals at home. They don't have to be perfect, and I am not a perfect cook by any means, but we can thoroughly enjoy simple home-cooked food.

But I, as well as many of you, spend so much time in the kitchen; it warrants important attention and analysis. I often wonder how other career-oriented people get on with their lives while eating healthy in the process. How does the real world live? It's time to share in a casual way for me. We can all learn from each other!

People often ask me: "how do you stay so thin?"
1. Genetics, my mother is very thin. Quick metabolism!
2. I eat healthy food.
3. I am very active; walk a lot, and play my violin a lot. (or viola, cello, bass)
4. I am very tall (5'9"), with long arms! My father said "it takes a long time for the food to get to the end of your extremities!"

I mostly eat vegetarian, but include eggs, fish and turkey in my recipes. If I make a meal with turkey, I barely eat any, and give it to my husband who loves it. Unfortunately I can't eat dairy, and miss it so much. More on that later.

I also forewarn you: I cook with Olive Oil 98% of the time these days. There are several nice oils out there, but I love and am addicted to olive oil. It's not only delicious, but reminds me of my Italian heritage every day! My father was of English heritage, but he had an Italian grandfather, and my mother's parents migrated to the USA from Italy. I like Filippo Berio, Extra Virgin Olive Oil! I've tried many others, but always revert back to this brand for taste and consistency. I have used Safflower Oil, Sesame Oil and Canola Oil for some recipes. I recently tried Coconut oil. Interesting taste, but it's sweet and doesn't match the taste of many of the dishes I make. Try it with scrambled eggs sometime. It's so oily the eggs freely slide in the pan, but watch out, they could fall out of the pan!

I must also forewarn you about how I measure things: Just like both grandmothers and mother: a little of this, and a little of that! I barely follow recipes on packages. Very often, I do not care for the results after following the measurements. My creative side almost always takes over! Recipes on packages have ingredients and measurements that can be changed, substituted or eliminated, as far as I'm concerned.

1) Janice's Banana Pancakes or Janice's Blueberry Pancakes for 2 people.

Makes approximately 8 pancakes.

1 banana
1 cup King Arthur gluten-free or Maple Grove Farms gluten-free or Aunt Jemima whole wheat mix
1 egg (Pete & Gerry's or Nature's Promise)
1 cup water
2 Tablespoons oil
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon clove

Mix egg, water, oil, cinnamon, clove in a bowl.
Finely slice the banana diagonally. (it looks classier and prettier than the blunt straight up and down slices)
While one side of the pancake is cooking, quickly add the slices to the wet/uncooked side. After tiny empty bubbles appear on the top of the pancake, Flip it!

I've tried mashing the banana and adding it to the wet mix, but it burns and/or sticks easier, and the banana taste isn't as potent to me.

Substitute Blueberries:
ADD 1 cup of thawed blueberries to the wet mix. I love Cascadian Farms frozen blueberries.
Substitute Apples:
ADD 1 cup of chopped Apples. (small cubes)

After the pancakes are cooked:
ADD Earth Balance margarine.
ADD Maple Grove Farms Maple syrup, or Nature's Promise Organic Maple Syrup which is less expensive, but not as full-bodied tasting as Maple Grove Farms.

2) Janice's Turkey & Black Bean Soup or Janice's Black Bean & Brown Rice Stew

You simply eliminate the Brown Rice from the Recipe, then it is a Soup!

Add these Ingredients to the pot:
2 quarts of water
1 Turkey Drum Stick (I use Shady Brook Farms Drum Sticks)
1 package of dried Black Beans (I use Goya Black Beans, 16 oz.)
Sometimes I soak the beans over night.
1 cup of brown rice. California brands are suppose to be free of arsenic, but no guarantees.
1 large onion
6 diagonally-chopped large carrots (or one 16 oz. package of "Organic Nature's Promise Baby Carrots")
6 celery ribs (Nature's Promise Organic Celery Hearts)
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
4 finely chopped garlic cloves (or 2 Tablespoons of Trader Joe's "California Garlic Powder")
1 teaspoon Sage
1/4 teaspoon Salt
1/4 teaspoon Pepper

If I have more time, I lightly sautéed the onion slices before adding them to the pot.

I cook it for one hour and half. After it is completely cooked, I remove the turkey drum stick from the pot, and place it on a large plate. I use a fork and knife and take all the meat from the turkey bone. I put the meat back into the pot. My husband loves dark meat, so I try to think of recipes he likes with turkey drum sticks.

When heating up the leftover Black Beans and Rice, I put a tiny bit of oil in the bottom of the sauce pan so the rice does not stick. After adding the beans and rice, I add a little water for moisture. (1/8 cup)

3) Janice's Baked Turkey Drum Stick with Root Veggies

I cook this in an old Corningware Pot. Love these pots!

1 Turkey Drum Stick
2 white potatoes
2 yams
3 or 4 medium parsnips
1 onion

3/4 cup water

Olive Oil
Fresh Garlic
Fresh Parsley (or dried)
Touch of salt

Directions: Cut the onion into half moon slices; place the pieces in the bottom of the pot.
Lay the turkey drum stick diagonally in the pot.
Cut up all the vegetables into small to medium-size pieces and place them on both sides of the turkey drum stick.
ADD the water!
Chop the garlic and fresh parsley, and sprinkle them evenly over everything in the pot.
If you're are in a rush, which I often am, skip the fresh parsley and use dried parsley, applying the desired amount to match your unusual culinary taste buds.

Remember to put 3/4 cup of water, so the veggies won't burn!

Cook for an hour and 20 minutes!

TIMING: The reason I like an hour and 20 minutes is because it just seems to be the perfect amount of time for many of the things I cook. PLUS, it's easy for my brain to comprehend and remember! Ha! You can look at it in the oven after an hour and see how it looks. Does it need more water? Of course now, I'm so use to cooking this dish, I don't bother to look until it's completely done, and I'm ready to serve it. Also, my timer rings in one hour, then I just add 20 more minutes.

I ALWAYS use a TIMER because I'm in the middle of so many projects; I can get VERY absorbed and completely forget I'm cooking. I only destroyed 2 pans by burning food. That's not bad considering I've been cooking for so many years. Actually the 2nd pan was burned while I was talking to a relative on the phone!

4) Janice's Curried Tofu & Onion over Brown Rice

When I don't have onions in the house, it makes me feel like I don't have FOOD in the house.

Chop Onions (1/8" x 1/8")
1/2 pound tofu (8 oz)

My mild, simple, quick Curry:
Garlic powder
Onion powder
Ground Ginger
Ground Tumeric
(brown sugar)

Put Olive oil in a small frying pan. Heat up the oil. ADD small chopped onions; they should be sizzling in the beginning, otherwise, the pan was not hot enough. ADD the spices. Mix and sauté. Or, mix the curry ingredients in a bowl ahead of time.

Pour the Curried Tofu over Brown Rice.

5) Janice's Brown Rice Recipe

1 cup of brown rice
2 to 3 cups of water depending on your desires. 2 1/2 cups of water is perfect for me.
Dash of salt

Boil for 45 minutes.

Beginning at age 19 I studied Macrobiotic cooking with Aveline Kushi and Wendy Esko, and took classes at the Kushi Institute with Japanese cooking stars in the 1970s. Pressure cookers were the only pans macrobiotic people used for cooking grains, and stainless steel or cast iron were used for everything else.

For many years now, I have cooked brown rice in a stainless steel pot. I have sautéed onions and put them in the water and rice after they have come to a boil. I have also added chopped garlic or garlic granules or parsley to the hot water, and a tiny bit of olive oil. Of course, add a dash of salt to the water in the beginning when the water is cool!

6) Janice's Delicious Tuna in a Pouch

2 Whole Wheat Pouches (Joseph's Stoneground Whole Wheat Bread; it is pita bread in pouch form)
1 "pouch" of tuna (Bumble Bee Albacore Tuna in Water Pouch) or 1 can of tuna
Garlic granules/powder
Olive Oil (Felippo Berio)
Balsamic Vinegar (Colavita Balsamic Vinegar, my favorite)

*Mash the tuna!
*Sprinkle garlic, parsley, oregano, pepper, salt.
*Add Olive Oil and Vinegar. *Mix well.

Cut celery and add to the tuna!

Toast the whole pouch. I only toast it for 30 seconds because I like the bread soft. When I cut it in two with my hands, as neatly as possible of course, I see steam on the inside, Very exciting! It's hot, so be careful.

After breaking open the steamy pouch, dribble a little olive oil inside, then quickly add the tuna mixture.

You can make this recipe without the celery, but it is not as tasty. Adding tiny chopped onions is a plus, but you need time to chop the onions finely. Unless you are one of those people who uses a food processor. I am NOT. I do NOT use a microwave either. My husband finally gave me an OK to remove the microwave from the kitchen, truly one of the happiest days of my life! My husband used it twice a year, and I NEVER used it. I only tried it in the beginning a few times, and just don't like the quality of food and drink after. I am an old fashioned cook, and will not EVER miss that microwave! and certainly love the extra room it created.

I can not eat cheese because I get kidney stones easily, and found when I do splurge on eating cheese I pay for it later with kidney stone formation. Not fun! But there are worse things in life. ADDING cheese to this Tuna recipe pouch would be fabulous! I miss 3 cheeses very much: Feta, Provolone and Cheddar! in that order. I use to make a 3 Cheese/3 Pasta dish casserole, and melted cheddar on tortilla chips in the oven. Feta! what can I say. I could eat that plain and be very happy!

7) Janice's Fruit Smoothies

I make a lot of Fruit Smoothies with the Montel Williams "Health Master" Juicer. Love it! A blender works fine, too. However, recently I purchased a Hamilton Beach Personal Blender. Clean up is a cinch!

I use Bananas, and water or apple juice as the base to all my smoothies.

1 cup water or Apple Juice
1/2 cup water and 1/2 cup Apple Juice
1 or 2 Bananas
1 Apple

I've also added Avocado, Blueberries, Pear, Orange, Kiwi, as well as cranberry and pomegranate juices.

I add one or more of the the following:
Powdered Spirulina (1/2 teaspoon)
Amazing Grass, Organic Wheat Grass (1/2 teaspoon) Barlean's Flax Oil (1/2 teaspoon)
Mountain Rose Herbs Evening Primrose Oil (1/2 teaspoon)
Nordic Cod Liver Oil with lemon (1/2 teaspoon)
*New Chapter Probiotic All-Flora (1 capsule)
*New Chapter Aloe Vera Force (1 capsule)
*Source of Life Garden Vitamin D3 (1 capsule)

*I break open 1 capsule per item and add the powdered form to my Blender before mixing.

I take these capsules separately:
Gaia's Milk Thistle Seed (450 mg) I only take one, even though the packaging says 3 capsules per day.
Life's DHA Omega 3 (550 mg) I take one per day, as recommended on the packaging.

You also could add honey or maple syrup, although I haven't personally.

8) Janice's Miso Soup

2 Tablespoons of Red Miso
1 sauteed onion
1/4 cup Wakame seaweed

Boil for 45 minutes. I've added Olive Oil after it is cooked.

Asian food is my favorite food. I often use miso and seaweeds in my soups. Kombu in Bean Soups, and Wakame in my Miso Soups. I toast Nori Seaweed on a flame and eat it as a snack. I've used Hijiki seaweed in Tofu dishes.

Back in my Macrobiotic days, Age 19 plus, I made whole wheat bread from scratch; grinding the wheat berries to make the flour! That took a lot of muscle power. I made Tofu and Seitan from scratch! A huge effort for such small pieces! But the taste was incredible from scratch! I cooked Tofu Lasagna for my Italian grandmother; she loved it! at least she said she did! Ha! A kind soul who would never criticize her 35 grandchildren in a million years!

For colds and coughs my husband and I love Zand Menthol Cough Drops and Olba's Cough Syrup. We use the cough drops when we feel a cold coming on, and it works really well for us in warding it off! I haven't had the flu in at least 30 years. Since college? or perhaps high school? I can't remember the last time I had the flu. I do not get the flu shot. I had another type of vaccination in the past and got very ill from that, so I refrain from getting the flu shot. Many people really think the flu shot helps them and that's great, but for me: "if it ain't broke, don't fix it!"

9) Janice's Turkey Burger

Fresh Lean Ground Turkey of Shady Brook Farms (I make small patties and put them in the freezer.)
Garlic powder

After thawing 2 patties, I sprinkle the spices on one side.

Add Olive oil to the pan. Use a medium flame. While the "spicy" side is cooking, I quickly add the same spices to the top, uncooked side. I cover the pan to be sure the turkey is cooked all the way through.

10) BREADS we like:

Nashoba Brook Olive (Kalamata olives, caramelized onions)
Nature's Promise Whole Wheat
Matthew's All Natural Whole Wheat
Food for Life Ezekiel Cinnamon Raisin
Mestemacher Sunflower Seed Bread
Mestemacher Whole Rye Bread

In my macrobiotic days, I made whole wheat bread from scratch, sometimes adding ground brown rice.

11) PASTA:

I've made Pasta from scratch, but these are my boxed preferences:

Nature's Promise Pasta - Rigatoni Whole Wheat
Nature's Promise Whole Wheat Linguine
Japanese Buckwheat Soba Noodles
De Boles Pasta - Organic Penna

Soba Noodles contain wheat flour, buckwheat flour, yam and salt. They are delicious with sesame oil and miso. Substitute miso with Tamari.

My favorite time I made Linguini from scratch for Anchovy Spaghetti was with my older sister. We spent so much time chopping up the enormous amount of garlic to add to the dish, we were almost too late to get tickets to the movie Out of Africa! We ooh-ed and aah-ed so much while eating our supper!


I've made tomato sauce from scratch, but these are my bottled preferences:

Classico Pasta Sauce Tomato & Basil
Francesco Rinaldi Tomato & Basil

Chef Mark Janicki, Culinary Arts Director of Eastern Maine Community College, USA, says "Dell'Amore Premium Marinara Sauce is the absolute best jarred sauce."

13) FISH:

Sometimes I add my own spices and herbs to Salmon and Haddock, but I highly recommend Chef Paul's Seafood Magic! It's a genius recipe from Chef Paul. I love cooking fish in a Cast Iron pan with olive oil, but often use stainless steel. Squeeze Lemon before serving.

I will leave the Fish Recipes up to my Brother who is the supreme expert! He cooks a famous 7 Fish Dish meal every year for the holidays! and goes fishing on a regular basis.


Dried Beans or Split Peas
Salt or Miso

Combine ingredients and boil for 1 1/2 hours.

I have used all of the following Beans or dried Peas. My favorite combination is 8 oz. of Lentils with 8 oz. of Split Peas, so 1/2 of the 16 oz. bag.

Goya Dry Lentils
Goya Dry Split Peas
Goya Dry Black Beans
Goya Dry Navy Beans
Goya Dry Pinto Beans
Goya Dry Red Kidney Beans
Dried Chick Peas -- they take hours and hours to cook thoroughly in a pressure cooker with the added Kombu Seaweed to help soften them and make them more digestible, but they are amazingly delicious homemade! Needless to say, I don't cook Dried Chick Peas very often.
Dried Adzuki Beans

The only canned products I use are Progresso Dark Red Kidney Beans for making Pasta e Fagioli or Nature's Promise Chick Peas for making Hummus.

I use 3 or more of the following Vegetables:
White Potatoes
Shiitaki Mushrooms
White Mushrooms
Portabello Mushrooms
Swiss Chard

I sometimes add Kombu seaweed or Hijiki seaweed.

Obviously, while the soups are cooking, I am on the computer or writing music, or playing violin, viola, cello, or bass for my new technique books. That's why it's important I use my Timer!

15) Janice's Preferred Daily Beverages:

Bigelow Cozy Chamomile Tea with a touch of Maple Syrup

Equal Exchange Organic Coffee called "Mind, Body & Soul" with a touch of Maple Syrup

Nantucket Nectar, Squeezed Lemonade and Big Cranberry, 16 oz. bottles.
I add 1/4 cup of either kind to an 8 oz glass. Fill the rest of the glass with water, and mix. I sometimes put a 1/2 teaspoon of maple syrup for sweetener in the "Squeezed Lemon" and mix. (I rarely use sugar at home)

16) Janice's Preferred Alcoholic Beverages:

Kahlua (Rum and Coffee Liqueur) mixed with Silk's Very Vanilla Soy Milk

Santa Christina Red Wine -- we discovered this wine while dining in Italy. It's very smooth, and the least acidic of all the wines we tried.

That was an amazing trip in May 2012! My husband and I traveled with my brother and his wife. My brother, being the daredevil of the bunch, rented a car and drove us into the Alps north of Venice. We visited 4 cities in a week: Milan, Venice, Florence, Verona. As the translator, I found the Italian people everywhere spoke in a very clear, easy-to-understand Italian. They were very kind and respectful.

17) Janice's Blueberry & Raspberry Dessert

1 package of Cascadian Organic Frozen Blueberries (8 ounces)
1 package of Cascadian Organic Frozen Raspberries (8 ounces)
1 or 2 Tablespoons of Applesauce
3/4 Cup Water
1/4 teaspoon Cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon Clove
tiny dash of Salt

Boil the Blueberries, Raspberries, Water, Cinnamon, Clove and Salt together for 15 minutes.
Add 1 or 2 Tablespoonfuls of Applesauce per dessert before serving.

18) Janice's Brussels Sprouts & Tofu Sausages or Janice's Broccoli & Tofu Sausages

2 Links of "Smart Sausage" - Italian Style Veggie Protein Sausage (package of 4)
It says "13 grams of protein" and "Cholesterol Free" on the package.
1 package of Brussels Sprouts, or Broccoli Florets (16 oz)

After boiling for 15 minutes, I cut each sausage into 6 diagonal pieces. Dribble with Olive Oil before serving.

Sometimes I sauté onions with garlic in olive oil and add them to the water as it begins to boil.

Nature's Promise Organic Frozen Broccoli Florets are surprisingly delicious. Frozen vegetables are often fresher tasting than store-bought fresh vegetables. I use Stop & Shop Frozen Brussels Sprouts.

19) Janice's Onioned Tuna in Soft Taco Wrap

"La Banderita" Whole Wheat Soft Taco
Red Onion
Olive Oil

Marinate finely sliced Red Onion (1/2 moon slice) in Olive oil and Balsamic Vinegar. Also add fresh sliced garlic, parsley, oregano, salt, pepper.

Fold the TACO in half and put in toaster for 5 seconds, take out, and toast the opposite section for 5 seconds. (I refrigerate this product)

Put the Onioned Tuna on the flat Taco and fold.

My Husband said "it was delicious."

20) Janice's Oatmeal with Fruit

3/4 cup Oatmeal (I use Quaker Oats, Old Fashioned)
1 1/2 cups Water
1 banana
2 apricots
1 small handful raisins (1/4 cup)
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/16 teaspoon ground clove
tiny dash of salt

Thinly slice a banana at an angle. ADD cinnamon, clove and salt to water. Cover and boil for 3 minutes. ADD oatmeal, stir gently. Cover and boil for 10 minutes. Let it stand for 10 more minutes, then serve. I like my grains well done!

Top with Maple Syrup and Silk Soy Milk - Very Vanilla, and you're probably eating what I'm eating for breakfast!

You can use Quaker Oats, the Quick 1-minute kind, but the taste is more bland than the old-fashioned! There are lots of Organic Oatmeals out there, and I have tried them, but Quaker tastes great to me!

21) Janice's Lox & Bagel Delight

I buy 1 package of Bruegger's Smoked Salmon. There are 7 or 8 small pieces of salmon in the 3.5 oz package. Many other smoked salmon brands taste too fishy to me.

I lived in Brookline Massachusetts for many years, a city known for its Jewish delicatessens. There are many food items I miss. Besides Lox and Bagels, Kasha Knishes and Matzo Ball soups are other favorites of mine.

Bagel -- I like Bruegger's multi-grain.
Garlic powder
Olive oil
Red onion

ADD a tiny bit of Olive oil sprinkled on both halves of a well-toasted bagel.
Place finely sliced half-moons of red onion on one half of the bagel.
Place 2 or 3 pieces of the Salmon from the package. I like two, and I give my husband three.
Sprinkle a tiny bit of Oregano and Garlic powder on the Salmon.

My husband said it was better than he's ever had at a restaurant. Is he in love or what? I can do no wrong.

Peace be with all of you!

~Janice Tucker Rhoda
Author of ABCs of Strings
Published by Carl Fischer Music

Article: Cook, Eat and Be Happy!
Recipes for Busy People

Copyright © August 12, 2013
by Janice Tucker Rhoda
Inspired by my Husband and family.