December 12, 2017

Tested and busted!

Family members and relatives are often the hardest people to please and satisfy. July was a major birthday month for my family. To celebrate everyone’s birthday (5 within the first two weeks), I decided to host all birthdays at once. Secretly, I wanted to really test the myth that “eating healthy is expensive”. I wanted to see if I could plan a nice, simple, different than the usual, yet healthy dinner without “alarming” everyone, especially the teenage nieces and nephews. My family views my cooking as “too fancy” and honestly, I didn’t have the time to spend an entire day in the kitchen cooking and cleaning.

I am always thinking about you and your picky eaters. Of course, I had set some criteria for this secret test to be gluten-free, and sugar and casein-free where possible, and most importantly, I wanted to get the most bang for my buck, feeding 15 hungry souls while keeping it clean. The meal needed to be additive and preservative- free, with no GMO products, and as anti-inflammatory as possible (in case you forgot, that’s grains, gluten, sugars and vegetable oil-free).

What ended up on the menu? Keep in mind, it had to be fairly simple.

  • Black bean chips and roasted organic tomato salsa—to keep everyone busy and out of the kitchen
  • Romaine heart salad with cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, fresh herbs and a simple vinaigrette
  • Cajun turkey meatloaf (oh, I didn’t tell them it was turkey)
  • Sweet potato and cauliflower mashers ( I kept the cauliflower part a secret)
  • Roasted broccoli
  • Good old cheesecake with fresh blueberry sauce—as it happened to be the favorite dessert of the crowd
  • And some wine—nothing fancy

receiptsDid I once again bust the myth that eating healthy is expensive? You bet! The total bill was under $125.00. Yep, you can make the above menu for less than $10 dollars per person and still send everyone home with some left overs as I did. You don’t believe me? Check out the actual picture of the receipts.

Sometimes, we make things harder than they actually are. We tend to resist change, we like to keep things as they are—even though we don’t like the outcome. That sluggish feeling, the bloating, and the rise of insulin creates a wave of undesirable side effects on our system that keeps us unhealthy, sick, fat, and depressed.
You deserve better health and your family and kids deserve better health and a brighter future. Nutrition is the first step towards that: take that step, it’s not that hard, nor expensive.

Ready to give it a try? Do you want the recipes? Comment below and as the old saying goes… Ask and you shall receive!


  1. Love this challenge! I am ever so slowly convincing my extended family to eat this way with me. Love the “secret” mission and can’t wait to try the Cajun meatloaf.

  2. Your dinner sounds delicious! Can you provide preparation recipes?

  3. Wow, great success! Would love to try the sweet potato and cauliflower mashers?! Oh, and the cheese cake of course…surely goes without saying 😀

  4. Yes Please do send me the recipes!
    Thank you for being so Wonderful~
    You are an Inspiration…

  5. Catherine Hayes says:

    Great thinking chief! Love the recipes please or are they in your E book? Regards

    • Chef Varouj Kachichian says:

      There are some other great recipes in the book. Recipes coming soon. Thanks for your comment. V

  6. Of course I want the recipes but…did’nt you say it had to be casein free? the cheesecake…I know there is nothing like real cheesecake, but have you tried making it with tofu? or something else…

    thank you,
    Manon St-Amand

  7. Chef Varouj Kachichian says:

    Hi Manon,

    Yes, Casein free- where possible!

    Yes there are many other ways to make DAIRY-FREE cheesecake. Personally, I don’t use soy by products unless I know its organic and NON-GMO. Most soy are GMO. (something to take consider seriously)

    In this case, the good old real deal cheesecake was intentional. 🙂

  8. stephanie pinkus says:

    It all sounds wonderful. If the meatloaf has eggs, can you recommend a substitution? Thanks!

  9. Chef Varouj Kachichian says:

    Just skip it. or use a tablespoon of ground chia seeds as a binder. 🙂

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