Learn to make delicious, Italian Christmas bread!

panettone-510125663December 18, 2014
1 p.m.
306 Whitney-Hendrickson Building
Markey Cancer Center

A free class series presented by: Dr. Philip DeSimone.

white beans

Soup’s On!

It’s getting cold and time for soup!  Several soups can be helpful and nutritious dishes for everyone, especially patients receiving cancer treatment.  Soups are a great alternative for those who find it difficult to tolerate solid food, are experiencing nausea or who are looking for a change.

While broth-based soups are not very high in calories, many sources of calories and protein can be added, such as soft shredded meats, cheeses and cooked vegetables.  Did you know that consuming meat or vegetable broth counts toward meeting your fluid needs?

Creamed soups offer a calorically dense and delectable choice.  For those sensitive to hot foods, cold soups can be soothing and just as nutritious.  Try this recipe from the American Institute of Cancer Research’s Test Kitchen.

White Bean Soup with Spinach, Leeks and Couscous

white bean soup

White bean soup


2 tsp. olive oil

4 leeks, bulb only, chopped (rinsed very well)

2 cloves garlic, chopped

2 cups chopped carrots

1/2 tsp. dried mint leaves

2-3 tsp. ground cumin

4 (16 oz.) cans fat-free, reduced-sodium chicken broth

2 (16 oz.) cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed

2 bay leaves

1/4 cup whole-wheat couscous

2 cups packed fresh spinach leaves

1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice

Salt and pepper to taste

1/4 cup chopped parsley


In large soup pot, heat oil over medium heat. Add leeks, garlic and carrots and sauté until tender, about 5 minutes. Add dried mint and cumin. Stir until fragrant about 2 more minutes.

Stir in chicken broth, beans and bay leaves. Bring to boil; reduce heat to low.

Stir in couscous. Cover and simmer for 5 minutes. Stir in spinach; add lemon juice and season with salt and pepper.

Remove bay leaf. Garnish with parsley and serve immediately.

Makes 8 servings.

Nutritional information

Per serving: 170 calories, 2.5 g total fat (0 g saturated fat), 30 g carbohydrate,

8 g protein, 7 g dietary fiber, 520 mg sodium.

Note: For more calories and protein, add cooked, shredded chicken or turkey sausage.  Don’t like couscous?  Try substituting cooked rice or noodles.

Fresh focaccia with rosemary

Learn to make Italian bread!

Fresh sliced bread

Fresh sliced bread with tomatoes

Join us Thursday, October 23, 2014 at 1:00 p.m.

306 Whitney- Hendrickson Building
Markey Cancer Center

Learn to make and taste fresh, delicious Italian bread! A free class presented by: Dr. Philip DeSimone.

Basket of fresh fruits and vegetables

3rd Annual Classes at Rushing Wind Farm

Join us

Sunday, October 19 from 4 to 6 p.m.

Only 30 spaces available! Sign up today to reserve your spot!

Email your name and how many will be attending to:


or call 859-257-0519

Exclusive event

Closeup on woman cutting fresh dill

Cutting fresh dill

The Real McCoy, Inc. & Catering is partnering with the University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Center for an exclusive event for cancer patients, survivors, and their families to come and enjoy an afternoon at the farm and learn all about preparing home grown fruits and vegetables.

Mark your calendar now for a free event featuring:

  • Cooking demonstrations!
  • Door prizes!
  • Farm fresh food!

Your host


Benita McCoy-Lyons

Hosted by: local chef and author of the Scratch Cooking Cookbook Series, Benita McCoy-Lyons.

Whole wheat spaghetti with basil and cherry tomatoes

Choosing whole grains

Making a small change in your diet – such as choosing whole grains more often, may have a big impact on your health. Whole grains foods, such as breads, cereals and pastas, have not been processed and therefore retain and provide us with more nutrients, including fiber, protein, iron and B vitamins.

Whole grains are classified as complex carbohydrates.  Our bodies convert complex carbohydrates more efficiently into a source of energy, keep our blood sugars level and are less likely to be stored as fat when compared to refined white flour (PDF, 89 KB) products.

Whole grains offer other benefits, too, by:

  • Keeping us from feeling hungry
  • Decreasing food cravings
  • Avoiding overeating

All of these benefits contribute to achieving a healthier body weight – which can lower your cancer risk.

Keep in mind that portion sizes still count, because excesses in caloric intake still can contribute to weight gain.

Try this recipe from the American Institute of Cancer Research to incorporate more whole grains into your diet.

Health-e-Recipes, Issue # 494

March 4, 2014

Pep Up Your Pasta

Whole-wheat rigatoni and colorful red peppers are the stars of this simple pasta sauté. Whole grains are rich in fiber, a nutrient important for lowering risk of certain cancers, particularly colorectal. The subtle sweetness of the red peppers is balanced by cherry tomatoes and spinach, adding potent phytochemicals. These natural plant compounds may help protect cells from the types of damage that may lead to cancer.

Rigatoni with Red Peppers


  • 12 oz. rigatoni, whole-wheat preferred
  • 1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large red onion, coarsely chopped
  • 2 medium red bell peppers, deseeded and sliced into 1/2-inch strips
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 10 oz. fresh spinach leaves
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, divided
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh basil


Cook rigatoni according to package directions for al dente. Drain pasta, reserving 1/2 cup water. Return pasta to pot to keep warm.

While pasta cooks, in skillet heat oil over high heat. Stir in onion, peppers and tomatoes. Add salt and pepper, to taste. Sauté, stirring occasionally. After 5 minutes, add spinach and continue to sauté until vegetables are tender and spinach is wilted, about 5 more minutes.

Add vegetables, reserved pasta water and 1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese to pasta and gently toss to combine.

To serve, top pasta with basil and remainder of Parmesan cheese.

Makes 6 servings.

Nutritional values

Per 1½ cup serving: 282 calories, 6 g total fat (2 g saturated fat), 49 g carbohydrate, 
14 g protein, 2 g dietary fiber, 171 mg sodium.

More healthy recipes

Find more healthy recipes on the UK HealthCare website.

Making smoothies in blender with fruit and yogurt

Smoothie demonstrations

Need a little inspiration?

Smoothie demonstrations are offered on the fourth Wednesday of every month at 1 p.m. in the Psych-Oncology Services office, third floor, Whitney-Hendrickson Building. Read more about it and watch a video demo.

Preparing the ingredients for chicken marinade.

Change in taste affecting your appetite?

There are many changes that come with the diagnosis of cancer and the subsequent cancer treatments – which include changes in the sense of taste.

Common problems for patients undergoing radiation or chemotherapy include changes in the taste buds, making some foods taste bitter or metallic, too salty or sweet – or even tasting like “cardboard.”

While this can be extremely frustrating, adding a few simple ingredients to your dishes may just mean the difference between an inedible dish and an unforgettable dish.

Metallic Tastes

During radiation or chemotherapy treatment, some patients may find that their foods have a metallic flavor or taste bitter. This flavor change is one of the most common side effects of treatment, and it is often an issue when trying to eat red meats.

One way to lessen these taste alterations is to try adding something acidic to the particular food or dish. These acidic additions can be as simple as squeezing a lemon on the particular item, adding vinegar-based condiments to the meals, such as barbeque sauce, or even marinating your meats in an acidic dressing or wine.

If acidic flavors don’t work for you, adding a little bit of sweetener to foods can alleviate the bad taste. This doesn’t just apply to already sweet foods. Experiment with meats, vegetables and anything else that may have these unappetizing, bitter flavors. Try some sweeteners such as sugar, honey, agave nectar or maple syrup on a food item to enhance its flavor.

Everything Tastes Ultra-Sweet

Some patients may also find that particular foods taste super-sweet.  Lemon or lime juice also can be used in small increments to neutralize these overbearing sweet flavors in their foods. Try adding a few drops at a time to dishes and increase as needed until the super-sweet flavor has been muted.

A little bit of sea salt can also help those super-sensitive taste buds. Try adding a small pinch at a time to your foods, increasing as needed until some flavor has been restored in your food.

Food Now Tastes Bland and Boring

If treatments are causing all your foods to taste poor and bland, try a combination of the tips addressed earlier. If those don’t work, try increasing the spices or herbs in your dishes to help heighten your senses and to give your taste buds a little treat. New flavors such as onion, garlic, basil, rosemary or mint may be just what you need to enhance your dish.

These tips may not completely resolve these unfortunate side effects but may give you another chance at enjoying your meals. It’s important to play around with these tips to find what works best for you.


Chicken breasts with citrus and herb marinade.

Chicken breasts with citrus and herb marinade.

Citrus Marinade

(Yield: 1.5 cups)

1 cup orange juice

1/4 cup lemon juice

1/4 cup lime juice

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tsp. ground coriander

1 tsp. lemon-pepper seasoning

Mix all ingredients together in large, wide and shallow non-metal casserole dish or mixing bowl. Add food to be grilled and turn to coat all sides. Cover and refrigerate for 1-6 hours. When ready to grill, remove meat and discard marinade.

Makes 4 servings.

Per serving: 19 calories, 0 g total fat (0 g saturated fat), 5 g carbohydrates,

0 g protein, 0 g dietary fiber, 0 mg sodium.

Recipe from the American Institute for Cancer Research: www.aicr.org.


Post by Jenna Brammell

Dietetic Intern, University of Kentucky

fresh papaya

Cooling Off

Hot weather isn’t the only reason you may want to get some cold foods and drinks this summer. Consuming chilly foods and beverages may be beneficial for patients going through radiation and/or chemotherapy for many reasons.

Common side effects of these treatments are painful mouth sores, irritation and inflammation caused by a condition called mucositis. While there is no complete cure, some patients find that chilled foods and drinks are easier to tolerate than their hot counterparts.  Patients who also experience nausea or vomiting after treatments also may find that heated foods have stronger smells and flavors, making them harder to tolerate.

Finding chilled food options

There are numerous ways to find delicious cold foods, especially during the summer months. Local grocery stores, ice cream parlors and smoothie shops are great places to look for soothing solutions, but there also are a lot of options for those who like to cook at home.

The papaya pineapple smoothie recipe found below is great for those patients who like to make fruity smoothies in the comfort of their own kitchens.  Not only is this treat full of great flavor, some studies have shown that certain enzymes in papaya may help improve symptoms of a dry mouth, and this fruit also has an abundance of cancer-fighting antioxidants.

More than smoothies

If you are tired of the typical ice cream or smoothie, try something a little more savory, such as the “Cooling Cucumber Avocado Soup” (recipe below).  This soup is not only refreshing way to soothe a sore mouth, but the avocado also has numerous health benefits, including good fats, protein and vitamins. For those who do not like avocado, substituting plain Greek yogurt is one way to maintain the health benefits without sacrificing the flavor.

While cool foods and drinks typically are easier for patients with sore mouths to consume, it is important to remember that not all chilled dishes are created equally:  Some patients experiencing mouth sores may find that sour or tart dishes, such as citrusy smoothies, can irritate their mouths even more, while some patients find that these flavors make their foods more appealing and easier to eat.

Be cautious when trying new dishes to find flavors that work best for you.  Once that’s done, these foods can be prepared in advance and kept in the refrigerator and enjoyed for 3-5 days.



Fresh papaya can be soothing.

Papaya Pineapple Smoothie

  • ½ cup chopped papaya
  • 2 cups chopped fresh pineapple
  • 8 ice cubes
  • 1 cup rice milk or almond milk
  • ½ cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • ¼ cup coconut milk
  • 1 tablespoon finely ground flax seeds
  • ½ teaspoon freshly squeezed lime juice
  • ½ teaspoon maple syrup

Combine all of the ingredients in a blender and process until smooth. Serve immediately.

Variation: Add 1 tablespoon of unrefined virgin coconut oil for additional healthy fat and calories.

For extra protein, add a scoop of whey protein powder.

If using frozen fruit, leave out ice cubes as the smoothie will be thick enough without them.

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Storage: Store in an airtight glass container in the refrigerator for 2 days. Shake well before serving.

Per serving: Calories: 125; Total Fat: 4.7 g (2.8 g saturated, .7 g mono-unsaturated); carbohydrates: 21 g; Protein 2 g; Fiber 2 g: Sodium 20 mg.



Cucumber avocado soup with shrimp offers good fats and protein.

Cooling Cucumber Avocado Soup

  • 2 cups water
  • 2 lbs English cucumbers – peeled, seeded, and cut into chunks
  • 2 ripe avocados, pitted and peeled
  • 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
  • ¼ teaspoon agave nectar
  • sea salt
  • pinch of cayenne
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh mint
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh cilantro

Pour 1 cup of the water into the blender, then add the cucumbers, avocados, lime juice, agave nectar, ¼ teaspoon of salt, and the cayenne. Blend until extremely smooth, gradually adding more water until you reach the desired consistency. Taste and adjust the amount of salt, adding as much as ¾ teaspoon more. Chill for at least 2 hours, then stir in the mint and cilantro just before serving.

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 2 hours in the refrigerator.

Storage: Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.

Per serving: Calories 95; Total Fat: 7.2 g (1 g saturated, 4.5 g mono-unsaturated); Carbohydrates 8 g; Protein 2 g;  Fiber 4 g; Sodium 105 mg


Recipes from The Cancer Fighting Kitchen by Rebecca Katz with Mat Edelson


Post by Jenna Brammell

Dietetic Intern, University of Kentucky