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Cooking with the U of U Health Crew

It's not just about cooking—it's about crafting stories, one dish at a time.
Join the U of U Health Crew as we bring you into our kitchens, sharing laughs, lessons, and love for food.

From our kitchen to yours

The 4-Weeks Make Your Own Meals Challenge

It's more than just cooking—it's an exploration, an experience, and an expedition.

Many of us know the benefits of cooking at home, but it can still be a challenge. Registered Dietitian Theresa Dvorak joins us weekly with a new recipe to try. Whether it's time, skill in the kitchen, lack of nutrition knowledge, or something else, join us for recipes and conversations to help overcome common barriers many face when making food at home. 

Every week, Theresa will bring in a new recipe to try. The following week, the Cooking Crew will report back about how it went and if they liked the recipe. We hope you will also make the recipe and tell us what you think. You can post your pictures and experience on Facebook and find out what other listeners thought about the recipes.

Join the challenge


Side Quest: Four New Thanksgiving Recipes

Bonus Episode

Spice up your Thanksgiving feast for the vegetarians in your circle or just try something new. Theresa assigns each Cooking Crew member a recipe beyond the traditional Thanksgiving spread. Discover the verdict on Scot's Three Sister's Harvest, whether Nayeli's Pumpkin Chia Seed Pudding stole the spotlight, if Jhonny's Roasted Beet Crostini was a crowd-pleaser, and whether the Miso Spinach Salad felt like an odd one out or seamlessly blended with the rest of the festive fare.

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Savoring Success

Episode 6

The Cooking Crew wraps up their Make More Meals at Home challenge with a lip-smacking review of the Vietnamese-inspired Turkey Meatballs. Reflecting on their journey, the crew contemplates the challenge's impact, insights, and whether they'll continue to embrace homemade meals.

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Vietnamese-Inspired Turkey Meatball Rice Bowls

Episode 5 / Recipe 4

The Crew shared their thoughts on last week's modified enchilada suizas recipe. Did Nayelli enjoy it enough to make it a regular meal? Meanwhile, Alex went rogue and learned a valuable lesson. Leftovers galore brought smiles to everyone's faces. For the final recipe, Theresa invites us to embark on a saucy and pickle-packed adventure with Vietnamese-inspired turkey meatball rice bowls.

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Chicken Enchilada Suizas

Episode 4 / Recipe 3

Did Alex conquer her culinary nemesis of overcooked chicken and master the art of succulent poultry? Were the other crew members equally triumphant in their roasted chicken challenge? With their newfound knowledge of quinoa, how did they fare in the cooking process? The anticipation builds as the crew dives into a new Chicken Enchilada Suizas recipe with a vegetarian alternative. However, Nayeli, the guardian of Mexican culinary tradition, is uncertain about this nontraditional take on enchiladas.

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Roasted Chicken, Brussels Sprouts, and Quinoa Pilaf

Episode 3 / Recipe 2

Did last week's sweet potato and black bean chili recipe leave the U of U Cooking Crew craving more? Find out as they dish on the tweaks, insights, and hurdles they encountered. Theresa raises the stakes for week two with a whole roasted chicken challenge and shares the secret to restaurant-quality Brussels sprouts. She also introduces the Crew to a different take on rice pilaf, using a hard-to-pronounce but healthy grain high in fiber, protein, and all the essential amino acids.

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Black Bean and Sweet Potato Chili with Cornbread

Episode 2 / Recipe 1

Theresa faces skepticism from the crew about her black bean and sweet potato chili's taste compared to meat-based chilis. She offers baking tips for cornbread and debunks the myth that high-carb recipes are unhealthy.

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Meet the Crew and Kick Off the Challenge

Episode 1

Dive into the very first episode of "Cooking with the U of U Crew"! Get acquainted with the members of the U of U Health Crew: Scot, Alex, Jhonny, and Nayeli.

Listen as they candidly share their personal challenges and barriers that have kept them from crafting healthy meals at home. With guidance from Registered Dietitian Theresa Dvorak, they set ambitious goals for the upcoming 4-week 'Make More Meals at Home' challenge. Whether you're a seasoned home cook or just starting out, join the journey, share your own challenges, and be inspired to elevate your kitchen game!

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The 4-Week Make Your Own Meals Challenge


Many of us know the benefits of cooking at home, but it can still be a challenge. Registered Dietitian Theresa Dvorak joins us weekly with a new recipe to try. Whether it's time, skill in the kitchen, lack of nutrition knowledge, or something else, join us for recipes and conversations to help overcome common barriers many face when making food at home.

Every week, Theresa will bring in a new recipe to try. The following week, the Cooking Crew will report back about how it went and if they liked the recipe. We hope you will also make the recipe and tell us what you think. You can post your pictures and experience on Facebook and find out what other listeners thought about the recipes.

Listen Now
    Week 4

    Vietnamese-Inspired Turkey Meatball Rice Bowls

    Serves: 4


    Pickled Vegetables

    • 1 cup shredded carrots
    • 2 radishes, cut into matchsticks or thin slices
    • 6 tbsp. distilled white vinegar
    • 3 tbsp. sugar
    • ¼ tsp. kosher salt


    • 1-pound lean ground turkey
    • 3 garlic cloves, minced
    • 1 tsp. fresh ginger, minced
    • 2 tbsp. reduced-sodium soy sauce
    • ¼ cup panko breadcrumbs
    • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
    • 3 scallions, chopped, white and green parts separated


    • 2 ½ tbsp. reduced-sodium soy sauce
    • 1 ½ tbsp. seasoned rice vinegar
    • 1 tbsp. hoisin sauce
    • ½ tbsp. brown sugar
    • 1 tsp. toasted sesame oil
    • 1 tsp. fresh ginger, minced
    • 1 small garlic clove, minced


    • 3 cups cooked brown rice
    • 1 cup shredded red cabbage
    • 1 cup thinly sliced English cucumbers
    • 1 jalapeno pepper, sliced
    • ¼ cup fresh cilantro leaves
    • hot sauce for serving (optional)


    1. Prepare the Rice per package instructions.
    2. Prepare the pickled vegetables: In a small bowl, toss carrots and radishes with the vinegar, sugar, and salt and place in the refrigerator.
    3. Prepare the meatballs: Preheat the oven to 400˚F. Spray a large sheet pan with olive oil. In a large bowl, combine the ground turkey, garlic, ginger, soy sauce, bread crumbs, egg, and the white parts of the scallions. Mix thoroughly. Using your hands, form into 1 ½ inch meatballs, about 20. Place meatballs evenly spaced on the prepared sheet pan. Bake for about 18 minutes, or until cooked through.
    4. Prepare the sauce: In a medium pot, combine all the sauce ingredients, then add the cooked meatballs, tossing to coat. Bring to a boil over medium heat and cook for about 1 minute, to thicken the sauce slightly.
    5. Drain the pickled vegetables.
    6. Assembling the bowls: Place ¾ cup rice in each bowl and top with 5 meatballs and sauce. Add ¼ cup shredded cabbage, ¼ of the pickled vegetables, and ¼ cup cucumber, and top with the sliced jalapeños, cilantro, and green parts of the scallions. Drizzle with hot sauce (if using).  

    Nutrition Facts

    • Serving Size: 1 bowl
    • Calories: 435
    • Total fat: 13.5 g
    • Saturated fat: 3.5 g
    • Cholesterol: 131 mg
    • Carbohydrates: 51 g
    • Fiber: 5 g
    • Protein: 29 g
    • Sodium: 894 mg
    Vietnamese-Inspired Turkey Meatball Rice Bowls
    Week 3

    Chicken Enchilada Suizas

    Serves: 10

    Time: 1 hour

    Recipe Cost: $26.21

    Cost per serving: $2.62


    • 3 chicken breasts (4 cups cooked) ½ cup fresh cilantro
    • 1 tbsp. canola oil
    • 2 tbsp. ground cumin
    • 1 cup chopped onion
    • 2-3 chipotle chiles in adobo sauce, chopped (1 can)
    • 3 bell peppers (1 green, red, and yellow), chopped
    • 1 12-oz can of black bean, rinsed
    • salt and pepper to taste
    • 8 oz grated cheddar cheese
    • 12-15 7" flour tortillas (or 10 10-in tortillas)
    • 1 4-oz can diced green chiles (optional)
    • 10 oz Monterey Jack cheese
    • 1 cup jarred green chile salsa
    • 1 cup 2% milk
    • 1 cup chicken broth, low-sodium
    • garnishes: avocado & tomato as desired


    1. Preheat oven to 350˚F. Place chicken in pot of boiling water and cover; simmer for 15-20 minutes. Remove from heat, drain, and shred chicken.
    2. In medium skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Cook onions and bell peppers until just soft; approx. 5 min.
    3. Transfer to a large bowl. Add chicken, beans, cheddar cheese, green chiles, salsa, cilantro, cumin, & chipotle chiles, stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste and mix well.
    4. Use butter to grease 10" x 13" x 2" baking pan or 2 smaller pans.
    5. Place 1 flour tortilla on flat surface and place about ½ cup chicken mixture along one edge. Roll up from filling side and place seam side down in a prepared pan. Repeat process with remaining chicken mixture. Sprinkle Monterey Jack cheese over enchiladas. These can be stored for one day; cover and chill. Combine milk and chicken broth and pour over enchiladas.
    6. Cover pan with foil and bake 30 minutes.
    7. Remove foil and continue baking 10 minutes or until thoroughly heated.
    8. Place 1 or 2 enchiladas on individual serving plates and garnish with avocado, tomato, and the additional cilantro.

    Nutrition Facts

    • Serving Size: 2 enchiladas
    • Calories: 755
    • Polyunsaturated fat: 1.5 g
    • Carbohydrates: 72 g
    • Protein: 37.5 g
    • Total fat: 34 g
    • Monounsaturated fat: 5 g
    • Fiber: 3.5 g
    • Sodium: 1270 mg
    • Saturated fat: 14.5 g
    • Cholesterol: 110 mg
    • Sugar: 14 g
    Chicken Enchilada Suizas
    Week 2

    Roasted Chicken, Brussels Sprouts, and Quinoa Pilaf

    Serves: 4-6

    Recipe Cost: $15

    Cost per serving: $2.50

    Ingredients: Whole Roasted Chicken

    • 1 3-3.5 lb. whole chicken (if frozen, thaw in fridge for 2-3 days before roasting)
    • 3 tbsp. olive oil
    • 1 ½ tsp. kosher salt
    • ¾ tsp. ground pepper
    • 1 ½ tsp. smoked paprika
    • 1 ½ tsp. garlic powder

    Directions: Whole Roasted Chicken

    1. Pre-heat oven to 375˚F.
    2. Pat chicken dry with paper towels.
    3. In a medium roasting pan place chicken breast side up. Tuck wing tips under back.
    4. Mix seasonings and oil together in a small bowl.
    5. Rub the oil and spice mixture all over the chicken.
    6. Roast chicken uncovered for 1 ¼ to 1 ½ hours or until meat thermometer reads 175˚F (ensure to not touch a bone or puncture all the way through to the center cavity).
    7. Remove chicken from oven, cover, and let stand for 10 minutes before carving.

    Nutrition Facts: Whole Roasted Chicken

    • Serving Size: 3 oz
    • Calories: 190
    • Total fat: 11.4 g
    • Saturated fat: 3.2 g
    • Unsaturated fat: 7.07 g
    • Cholesterol: 64.6 mg
    • Carbohydrates: 0 g
    • Fiber: 0 g
    • Protein: 20.4 g
    • Sodium: 100.7 mg



    Serves: 4

    Recipe Cost: $7

    Cost per serving: $1.75

    Ingredients: Quinoa Pilaf

    • 1 cup quinoa
    • 1 13-oz. can of coconut milk
    • 1 cup water
    • 2 tbsp. olive oil
    • ¼ cup minced onion
    • ¼ cup diced red bell pepper
    • ¼ cup diced cauliflower
    • 1 small, diced zucchini
    • 2 minced garlic cloves
    • ½ tsp. salt
    • ¼ tsp. pepper
    • 1 tsp. Italian seasoning

    Directions: Quinoa Pilaf

    1. Place coconut milk, water and quinoa, in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to low and let simmer for 15 minutes.
    2. Sauté minced onion, red bell pepper, cauliflower, and zucchini in 2 tbsp. of olive oil.
    3. Combine cooked quinoa with onion, red bell pepper, cauliflower, zucchini and seasonings.
    4. Serve.

    Nutrition Facts: Quinoa Pilaf

    • Serving Size: 1.5 cup
    • Calories: 285
    • Total fat: 15.26 g
    • Saturated fat: 6.4 g
    • Unsaturated fat: 8.08 g
    • Cholesterol: 0 mg
    • Carbohydrates: 31 g
    • Fiber: 4.1 g
    • Protein: 7.28 g
    • Sodium: 315 mg



    Serves: 4

    Time: 30 minutes

    Recipe Cost: $2.23

    Cost per serving: $0.56

    Ingredients: Roasted Brussel Sprouts with Garlic and Olive Oil

    • ½ lb. brussel sprouts
    • 5 cloves garlic
    • 2 tbsp. olive oil
    • pinch of sugar 
    • salt and pepper to taste (adjust the amounts of garlic, oil, salt, and pepper to taste) 

    Directions: Roasted Brussel Sprouts with Garlic and Olive Oil

    1. Heat oven to 450°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
    2. Wash and quarter larger sprouts/half smaller sprouts.
    3. Mince the garlic. Add olive oil, sugar, salt, and pepper, then toss mixture with brussel sprouts and spread on a baking sheet.
    4. Roast at 450°F, for 10-15 minutes until crispy.

    Nutrition Facts: Roasted Brussel Sprouts with Garlic and Olive Oil

    • Serving Size: 1 cup
    • Calories: 87
    • Total fat: 7.1 g
    • Saturated fat: 1.0 g
    • Unsaturated fat: 6.0 g
    • Cholesterol: 0 mg
    • Carbohydrates: 5.53 g
    • Fiber: 1.6 g
    • Sugar: 1.3 g
    • Protein: 1.7 g
    • Sodium: 51.4 mg (depending on taste)
    Roasted Chicken, Brussels Sprouts, and Quinoa Pilaf
    Week 1

    Black Bean and Sweet Potato Chili with Cornbread

    Serves: 4

    Time: 30 minutes

    Recipe Cost: $6.87

    Cost per serving: $1.72

    Ingredients: Black Bean and Sweet Potato Chili

    • 1 large yellow onion
    • 2 medium (or 1 large) sweet potatoes peeled and chopped to ½ inch cube
    • 3 cloves fresh garlic peeled, minced
    • 2 15-oz. cans black beans, rinsed and drained
    • chili spice blend (2 tbsp. chili powder and 2 tbsp. cumin)
    • ⅛ tsp. cayenne pepper, optional
    • 2 15-oz. cans diced tomatoes
    • 2 cups vegetable stock, add more for a desired consistency
    • 1 avocado
    • ¼ bunch fresh cilantro
    • salt
    • ground black pepper
    • 2 tbsp. olive oil

    Directions: Black Bean and Sweet Potato Chili

    1. Peel and coarsely chop the white onion. In a large sauce pot over medium heat, warm 2 tbsp. oil until hot but not smoking. Add the onion and sweet potatoes, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is translucent and the potatoes are just tender, 5 to 7 minutes.
    2. While the onion and potatoes cook, prep the garlic and black beans. Finely chop, press, or grate garlic. Rinse the black beans.
    3. To the pot with the onion, stir in the garlic, chili spice blend, and as much cayenne pepper as you like and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the black beans, tomatoes, vegetable stock, and 1 cup water, and season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook, stirring occasionally, for 15 to 30 minutes.
    4. While the chili simmers, cut the avocado in half. Remove the pit, scoop out the flesh, and cut the flesh into ¼-inch-thick slices. Coarsely chop the cilantro.
    5. Serve chili in bowls and garnish with avocado and cilantro.

    Nutrition Facts: Black Bean and Sweet Potato Chili

    • Serving Size: 2 cups
    • Calories: 323
    • Carbohydrates: 55 g
    • Protein: 13 g
    • Total fat: 8 g
    • Cholesterol: 0 mg
    • Sodium: 573 mg
    • Saturated fat: 1 g
    • Fiber: 16 g
    • Sugar: 12 g



    Serves: 9

    Recipe Cost: $2.61

    Cost per serving: $0.32

    Ingredients: Cornbread

    • 1 cup cornmeal (fine ground is best)
    • 1 cup whole wheat flour
    • 4 tsp. baking powder
    • ½ tsp salt
    • 1egg
    • ¼ cup sugar
    • 1 ¼ cup milk
    • ⅓ cup canola oil

    Directions: Cornbread

    1. Preheat the oven to 400˚F.
    2. Combine cornmeal, flour, baking powder, sugar and salt to a medium bowl.
    3. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg. Add the milk and then the oil and whisk to mix in.
    4. Oil an 8 or 9-inch square baking pan or 12 muffin cups. Pour batter into pan and place the pan into the preheated oven.
    5. Bake for 20-25 min (12-15 minutes for muffins) until starting to turn lightly golden on top and cooked through. (Can test by inserting a toothpick into the center of the pan and if it's cooked it won't have batter on it).
    6. Cut into 9 pieces and serve cornbread while still warm.

    Nutrition Facts: Cornbread

    • Serving Size: 1 piece
    • Calories: 176
    • Total fat: 1.1 g
    • Cholesterol: 19 mg
    • Carbohydrates: 38 g
    • Fiber: 3 g
    • Protein: 4 g
    • Sodium: 150 mg
    Black Bean and Sweet Potato Chili with Cornbread
    Challenge accepted!

    Meet the Crew

    Are you ready to stir up some fun and flavor with the U of U Health Crew? Embark on our 4-week challenge and transform the way you see home cooking. We're diving deep into easy, mouth-watering recipes while tackling the misconceptions surrounding nutrition.

    With our eclectic crew—from a new mom figuring out her way around the kitchen, to a gen-x foodie looking for healthy yet tasty recipes—we're all about embracing the joys and hiccups of the culinary world. Engage with us on social media, share your cooking tales, and become part of a community that celebrates good food and better company.



    Manager, The Scope

    As a busy professional with an evolving palate, Scot's looking to gain some new go-to recipes and kitchen skills. He wants healthy meals to add to his weeknight dinner rotation.



    Social Media Manager

    A busy working mom, Alex hopes to gain some kitchen confidence and find quick, healthy recipes to feed her family. With a toddler keeping her on her toes, she needs fast, fuss-free meals that don't take time away from playtime.


    Communications Specialist

    Jhonny loves whipping up special holiday dishes but is looking to cook nutritious meals that he can easily recreate at home without breaking the bank!


    Spanish Communications Specialist

    Nayeli enjoys cooking up new recipes from TikTok and family favorites from her mom. Now, she's looking to take her skills up a notch and learn how to prep healthy meals for the week ahead.

    MS, RDN

    Theresa Dvorak

    Theresa Dvorak is a registered dietitian and assistant professor in the Department of Nutrition and Integrative Physiology at University of Utah. Theresa's background as a certified athletic trainer led her to specialize in sports dietetics as a certified specialist in sports dietetics as well as weight management at Intermountain Health Care for nearly 15 years.

    Currently, she directs the Culinary Medicine program at University of Utah where she strives to provide meaningful and practical nutrition education and culinary skills to graduate-level students within University of Utah Health Sciences. She also teaches and oversees community culinary medicine classes. Theresa's passion for teaching kitchens is palpable in all that she does!


    Registered dietitian Theresa Dvorak from U of U Health
    From The Scope's Health Library

    Learn More with Theresa Dvorak

    Eating for Fat Loss

    If your goal is to lose fat and retain lean muscle mass, you have to eat properly. There are many myths and misconceptions when it comes to getting your body to let go of that extra fat. Registered dietitian Theresa Dvorak talks about which research-based lifestyle and diet changes you have to make to ramp up your metabolism to become a better fat burner. She also talks about the amount of time it will take to start to see changes and what to do if you plateau.

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    Seven Questions for a Dietitian

    On this episode of Seven Questions for a Specialist, we speak with Theresa Dvorak, registered dietitian at University of Utah Health. What's the best and worst thing you can eat? What often causes people to fail at their diet? How do you know if you're eating healthy? Hear what answers Theresa has for these questions and more.

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    Leftovers: Keep or Toss?

    Last week’s dinner has been in the fridge for several days now, is it still safe to eat? Registered dietitian Theresa Dvorak answers all the questions you might have about leftovers. She goes over some food safety basics concerning storing, freezing, and reheating food so it doesn’t go to waste.

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    Let's cook, learn, and laugh together