Does the holiday season have you running ragged? Here’s a slowwww-cooker recipe that will warm you up and not keep you in the kitchen too long.
If you’d rather take the time, just bring it to a boil on the stove, reduce to a simmer and cook stirring occasionally until the potatoes are soft (nuke the potatoes in the microwave first if you’re really impatient).

If made with organic vegetable stock, it is vegan as well. Add additional vegetables like spinach or kale if you need more fiber and vitamins, beans for vegetarian protein or grilled pork to satisfy the meat-eaters, too.

Serves 4
3 lbs. sweet potatoes, roughly chopped and peeled or not
1 sweet onion, chopped (if tolerated or omit)
2 stalks of sliced celery
2 chopped medium carrots
1-2 Tbsp minced fresh garlic
5 cups of organic low sodium chicken or vegetable stock
1 cup of coconut milk
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper or cinnamon, all-spice or nutmeg (if tolerated) to taste
Place all ingredients except the coconut milk in a slow cooker. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cover and cook on low 6 hours or on high for 4 hours. Puree everything in a blender or leave chunky. Add coconut milk, stir thoroughly and cook another 30 minutes. Adjust seasoning and serve warm with a sprig of parsley for color.


IC Autumn Pork and Apple Stew

November 13, 2014


Where did October go? Here’s an easy and tasty autumn main dish. Thanks IC recipe guru, Marcia!

4 pork cutlets, pork steaks or medium pork chops
2 medium sweet onions (if tolerated or substitute 1-2 cloves crushed garlic)
3 large or 4 small Fuji or Gala apples
1 tablespoon butter
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon (if tolerated or substitute rosemary)
salt and pepper to taste
1 teaspoon sugar

Trim any excess fat off pork. If desired, brown meat on both sides in a greased frying pan. Peel, core and slice apples into thick slices. Slice onions into wedges. Melt butter in ovenproof dish. Layer half of the apples and onions into the bottom of the dish and place the pork on top. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and cinnamon or rosemary. Put the remaining apples and onions over this. Sprinkle with sugar.

Cover dish and bake in a slow oven, 300 degrees, for about 2 1/2 hours. The long, slow cooking melds the flavor and makes for meat tenderness. If using a slow cooker, cook 4-5 hours on high, or 7-8 hours on low. (Pork internal temperature should reach a minimum of 145 degrees testing with a meat thermometer per government food safety requirements). Serves four.

Tired of turkey? Here is an IC friendly fall entree that can also be used as a decorative and edible centerpiece! Experience a trip back in time when pumpkins were more than jack-o-lanterns. Be aware, although any round winter squash can be used, those old carving pumpkins are a tad stringy and less flavorful than other varieties. AND the recipe can be easily modified to be meat free.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees

2 – 4 pound sugar pumpkins (the smaller ones typically used for pie)
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1 (4 ounce) package of diced pancetta (if tolerated or substitute plain ham or preservative free bacon. Eliminate for a meat free, more IC friendly version but add plenty of basil for the missing flavor)
1/2 sweet onion, diced (if tolerated or 4 teaspoons of minced garlic or 2 diced garlic cloves)
3 1/2 cups cooked, drained elbow pasta cooked 2 minutes less than package directions (about 8 minutes)
1 10 ounce box frozen spinach squeezed dry
1/2 cup low-fat ricotta cheese
3/4 cup grated fresh Parmesan cheese (if tolerated) or shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup grated Gruyere cheese (if tolerated)
1/2 cup heavy cream (or substitute 1/2 cup lowfat evaporated milk to lower fat content)

Cut an opening in top of each pumpkin: remove and reserve tops: scrape out seeds and season inside with salt.
Cook Pancetta, ham or bacon in a skillet over medium high heat until cooked, about 4 minutes. Drain on paper towels if necessary. Add onion to skillet and cook 5 minutes.
Combine pancetta, onion, pasta, spinach, Parmesan and Gruyere in a bowl. Add salt and pepper. Level pumpkin bottoms with a knife without cutting through so they stay up-right. Divide Pasta mixture between pumpkins, packing tightly. Pour 1/2 cup cream over pasta in each pumpkin. set tops in place.
Bake pumpkins in a rimmed baking dish until flesh is easily pierced with a knife, about 1 hour and 30 minutes. Allow to cool a few minutes. Serve as is or scoop onto serving dishes scraping some pumpkin in each serving.

Adapted by Elizabeth Braun, MS, RD from Dash Recipes October 2013


October 17, 2013

One of our special IC patients is a valuable resource for recipes that are appropriate for IC. Here is her healthy chili choice that will warm you up without irritating your bladder. The recipe can be modified as indicated for vegetarian chili. Perfect for Fall!!


1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup chopped sweet onion (if tolerated)
1 cup chopped celery
2 sweet bell peppers cored and chopped (red, yellow or orange or green if tolerated)
1 pound ground lean chicken or turkey with no preservatives (for vegetarian chili substitute 1 can of beans and 1 cup of corn)
It is also possible to use 2 cups grilled chicken breast or turkey tenderloin instead of ground
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cumin (if tolerated or substitute dried basil)
1 teaspoon dried oregano
2 cups chicken or vegetable broth low-sodium or with no preservatives
2 15 ounce cans white beans drained and rinsed (mash one can of beans for thicker chili)
1/2 cup low-fat sour cream or plain yogurt (if tolerated)
salt and pepper to taste
shredded mild cheddar cheese for topping and/or can chopped mild green chilis if tolerated

In a large pot over medium heat warm the oil. Add chopped veggies and sautee for 5 min. Add chicken or turkey and cook through at least 5 minutes. Omit for vegetarian chili.
Add the garlic, flour, cumin (or basil) and oregano. Cook, stirring over low heat 2 minutes. Add the broth while stirring. Increase heat and bring to a boil stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to simmering and cook 10 minutes longer.
Add the beans and simmer another 10 minutes. Mash 1 can of the beans for thicker chili. Add a third can of beans and corn for vegetarian chili.
Stir in sour cream or yogurt. Season with salt and pepper.
Ladle into bowls and top with shredded cheddar and green chilis. May be served over rice, quinoa or other cooked grains. Add a warm piece of corn bread for a more hearty meal. Serves about 6.

Contributed by Marcia for the Grand Rapids Women’s Health IC diet blog. Thanks!


  • 1/2 butternut squash, peeled and chopped (yields: 3.5 cups raw)
  • 3/4 cup raw cashews
  • 1 cup milk, or more to thin out
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 2 tsp kosher salt, or to taste
  • 6-7 tbsp Nutritional yeast (provides the cheesy consistency)
  • 1/2 tsp or a bit more of dried Italian seasoning
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp Tumeric powder, if tolerated optional (gives the orangey colour)
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste if tolerated
  • Your pasta of choice (I used ~450 grams/4.5 cups dry penne for the casserole) + mix-ins


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and line a baking sheet.  In a bowl, season chopped squash with some oil (~1 tsp) and kosher salt (couple pinches) and stir. Add to baking sheet and roast in oven for 40 minutes, flipping once half way through baking.

2. If making the baked casserole: Process 1 slice of bread + 1 tbsp nutritiional yeast until crumbs form in a food processor. Set aside. If you plan on enjoying it straight from the pot you can skip this step.

3. Assemble your cheese sauce ingredients (cashews, milk, garlic, lemon zest, salt, nutritional yeast, pepper, mustard, seasonings) and add just the cashews to food processor. Process until a fine crumb forms similar to corn meal. Now add in the rest of the cheese sauce ingredients and process until smooth. Leave the sauce in the processor as you will be adding the squash.

4. Cook your pasta according to package directions. When squash is finished roasting, add it to the food processor or blender and blend it with the cheese sauce until smooth. Adjust to taste. The sauce will thicken up with time. If at any point the sauce becomes too thick, you can add a bit of milk to thin it out.

5. Drain and rinse pasta with cold water. Now add the pasta back into the same pot and add your desired amount of cheese sauce on top. Stir well. Add in any desired mix-ins like peas or broccoli. You can either heat this up in the pot, or pour it into a casserole dish (I used a 4 cup dish), sprinkle on breadcrumbs + paprika, and bake it at 350 for about 20-25 minutes. The casserole will serve about 4 people if you use 450 grams dry macaroni or penne. Store any leftover sauce in the fridge and use within a few days.

Recipe adapted for the IC Diet by Elizabeth Braun, MS, RD, from:

Makes 6 large servings


ravioli with pumpkin sauce

  • 1/3 cup diced green onion
  • 1 clove minced garlic
  • 1/2 tsp fennel or anise seeds
  • 1 cup evaporated skimmed milk
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 cup canned pumpkin
  • 2 9-ounce packages cheese ravioli
  • mozzarella or Parmesan cheese for garnish


  1. In a hot nonstick sprayed pan, stir 1/3 cup diced green onion, 1 clove of minced garlic and ½ tsp fennel or anise seeds until tender about 3 minutes and remove from heat.
  2. Combine 1 cup evaporated skimmed milk, 1 Tbsp flour, ¼ tsp salt and 1/8 tsp of black pepper (if tolerated) until smooth Stir into pan of browned onions and garlic and return to heat.
  3. Bring to a gentle boil until thick stirring constantly.
  4. Stir in ½ cup canned pumpkin and reduce heat to low for a few minutes and remove from heat.
  5. Cover to keep warm.
  6. Cook two 9 ounce packages of cheese ravioli according to package and drain.
  7. Serve sauce over ravioli and sprinkle with mozzarella or Parmesan cheese.

To see more pumpkin ideas, check out this post. 

Country Living Pumpkin Stew

November 19, 2012

This recipe requires cooking a real pumpkin, but is worth the effort as stew can be served in the shell. If cooking a pumpkin isn’t possible, substitute diced sweet potatoes. The recipe is from a Country Living Magazine edition published in the 1980’s.

pumpkin stew


  • 1 ½ pounds boneless beef round, cubed
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 4 cups water (2 of the 4 cups can be low sodium beef broth)
  • ½ tsp salt (less if using broth)
  • ½ tsp dried, crushed thyme
  • ¼ tsp dried, crushed sage
  • ¼ tsp ground black pepper
  • One 5 pound pumpkin (should yield about 3 cups)
  • ¼ cup flour and 1 cup water
  • 1 cup frozen peas


  1. In a large stock pot or 4 quart Dutch oven, brown beef in butter. Add onion and celery sautéing until browned.
  2. Stir in broth and/or water, salt and spices. Heat until boiling. Cook, covered I hour.
  3. To prepare pumpkin: Cut off top 2 inches of the pumpkin. Trim off a few inches from bottom of the pumpkin to make it flat, being careful not to cut through. Scoop out seeds and strings. Seeds can be cleaned and roasted later for snacking. Cut pumpkin flesh off top and bottom trimmings and add to beef that has finished cooking one hour. Cook additional 30 minutes.
  4. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Bake pumpkin shell on a flat pan with an edge for 20 minutes.
  5. Stir flour into 1 cup of water until smooth.
  6. Add to stew with peas. Cook, stirring until thickened.
  7. Spoon into baked shell and serve.
  8. Additional cooked pumpkin can be added or scraped from baked shell sides into stew.
  9. Don’t place pumpkin on direct heat.

For more IC friendly pumpkin recipes and tips on what to do with them this Autumn, check out this post!