Taste and Savor Life!

Flavorful Happy Healthy Food and Wine

Healthy Chef Partyologist Nancy Waldeck makes eating better fun. The creative and colorful recipes in Taste and Savor Life taste as good as they look! Discover a treasure of new ideas and culinary tips, tricks and techniques – along with practical wine suggestions that are perfect complements to the recipes. Chef Nancy knows that making healthy cooking a part of your life does not require a lot of time, extraordinary ingredients or special talent. All you need is an enthusiastic attitude and a desire to eat well and feel great. You can use recipes like Slow Cooker Chicken Chile Soft Tacos or Easy Red Pepper Risotto for dinner on your own, lunch for work, feeding the kids well or sharing good food with family and friends. Together with the wine pairings for every recipe, the delicious dishes make time in the kitchen productive, important and enjoyable.

Taste and Savor

Delicious Healthy Recipes and Tasty Wine Tips

Chef Nancy Waldeck has paired her unique flavor of healthy cooking with her expert knowledge of wine to create a recipe experience that has ravenous followers. Welcome to the Taste and Savor philosophy – good food and wine that you can enjoy in minutes. Each entry features a quick and easy recipe, a kitchen Smidgen to top off your meal, a bonus Get creative idea and an expert and cost-conscious wine pairing


“This is a great cookbook with recipes that taste good and not like cardboard – even tho they are good for you. I like the fact that there are references to wines for the selections. Cooking a healthy good tasting meal doesn’t always go hand in hand. but these selections are good and good for you. It is also easy to carry with you so that you can take the book to the grocery store so as not to miss an ingredient. This makes a perfect gift as it is a reasonable price. This is one of those real world cookbooks and not one with selections above my means or ability to cook.”

Francine, an Amazon reviewer

“This is a cookbook for all levels of cooks. I like to cook, and the author’s take inspired me to try new things. Raw kale? Never tried it until I saw the recipe for kale coleslaw that includes kale, tomatoes, carrots and a spicy dressing. Now I am a big fan. I enjoy the recipes because they are flavorful enough to surprise dinner guests, and healthy enough that the people you cook for know you care about their well-being. And wine with grits? Why not, according to this author. Gotta love it!”

Mary Nell Graham

“Chef Nancy Waldeck has performed magic in creating a practical cooking guide for both the beginner and the advanced cook! Nancy’s style is clear in terms of her instructions, the pictures are aestheically pleasing in presentation and the advice is down-to-earth in a way to ensure fabulous results. She really comes through in her excellent knowledge and pairing of wines as well. I highly recommend Taste and Savor!”

Mindful Books



Smoked Paprika is a popular ingredient in many Mediterranean recipes. Once you try it you’ll use it again and again. Made from smoked, ground pimiento peppers, it has awesome savory flavor tastes great on just about everything. If you are a vegetarian or limiting your intake of meat, try smoked paprika for a “bacon-y” taste.

Turmeric is a yellow-colored power pack of antioxidants. Not only does it turn your food a beautiful saffron color, it also helps fight inflammation. MD Anderson Hospital is currently conducting clinical trials on the efficacy of turmeric for cancer treatment. When you use it in cooking, make sure to warm it in a little oil with black pepper. You’ll increase the bioavailability of its Curcumin, a good-for-you ingredient.

Ground Chilies from Ancho to Chipotle, Aji to Esplette help ramp up the flavor in food without necessarily adding lots of heat. Use your favorite ground chilies to make your own Chile Powder blends by adding cumin, salt and pepper. With foodies exploring international cuisines, the availability of more “exotic” chilies is soaring.

Garam Masala is a spice I can’t do without. Just like curry powder it is a blend of unique spices. Made from ingredients like cumin, cardamom, nutmeg, cinnamon, anise and black peppercorns it is pungent, but not hot. All the major spice houses stock Garam Masala now.

Italian Seasoning and Herbes de Provence are both herb blends from the beautiful Mediterranean. Similar ingredients are basil, thyme, marjoram and oregano. Often Herbes de Provence includes dried orange peel and lavender. I use them interchangeably if I don’t have one or the other.

Sea Salt is just what it sounds like, salt obtained by the evaporation of seawater. Because of its mineral content, it may taste a little different than table or kosher salt. When cooking, I prefer to use coarse ground sea salt and with baking my choice is fine ground sea salt.

Freshly Ground Black Pepper is a must for good cooking. If you have pre-ground black pepper at home, open up the tin and smell the difference between it and freshly ground pepper. If you get tired of grinding all the time, every few days take a TB of peppercorns and process them in your spice grinder. Put them in a bowl on your counter and you will quickly discover what a difference the fresh pungent pepper can make in your cooking.


Dijon Mustard is made with brown or black mustard seeds that are zestier and more full flavored than the yellow seeds. I use Dijon in lots of recipes, not only for its taste but its ability to emulsify ingredients in dressings and sauces.

Mayonnaise with Olive Oil is now available and easy to find. Soybean oil is used in most prepared mayos – mainly because it’s cheap. Recently Kraft released a mayo made with olive oil with reduced fat. It’s a super alternative to other mayos on the market.

Capers are the unripe buds of a plant native to the Mediterranean. After the buds are harvested, they are dried in the sun, then pickled in vinegar or salt. Curing brings out their tangy flavor, similar to olives. Capers pickled in vinegar are easy to find, and perfect for Taste and Savor recipes.

Calamata, (Kalamata) olives are from Greece, and named for the city around which the olives are grown. They are especially fruity tasting with a meaty texture. The vinegar marinade that they are often soaked in enhances their unique flavor. I love the convenience of having sliced and pitted Kalamata olives in the pantry.


Canned Tomatoes are a staple I can’t live without. Muir Glen from California makes my favorite brand. Try the fire-roasted tomatoes for an extra boost of flavor.

Canned Beans are often my go-to on hectic weeknights or leisurely weekends. I have a row each of Cannellini, Garbanzo and Black Beans in my Pantry. As long as you rinse and drain them well, they lose more than a third of the salt content, taking them from high sodium to the acceptable range. Canned beans are a super substitute for home made.

Canned Pumpkin is one of my favorite ingredients for dessert, soups and any dish that needs creamy texture and light sweet flavor. I actually prefer canned pumpkin to fresh – too often fresh is stringy and lacks taste.


Whole Wheat Pasta is made from made from 100 percent whole durum wheat (the same high-protein variety that’s refined for use in the best white pastas). The key to making good whole wheat pasta is to NOT overcook it. Leave it “al dente” or just a little firmer than white pasta – it will be nutty and delicious. Trying to get used to whole wheat pasta is easy. Just incorporate a quarter, then a half of whole-wheat pasta to the white pasta you are used to eating. By the time you are eating three quarters of the whole-wheat pasta – you will have switched.

Whole Wheat Couscous is not a grain but pasta. It can be made of barley, corn or semolina, but whole-wheat couscous tastes nutty and toasty. Tiny grains of pasta make a quick and easy base that acts like a sponge, soaking up any delicious flavors you add.

Ancient Grains like millet, farro, barley, amaranth and sorghum add lots of flavor, fiber and taste to your cooking. Its amazing to think that we’ve only been enjoying them for about 10 years in the United States. Each brings its own unique set of nutritional goodies, and most are easy and quick to make. Try substituting one for other in your cooking for lots of fun and discovery.

The most famous of ancient grains is probably Quinoa (Keen-wah). It contains all 9 essential amino acids, making it a power packed protein source. Most commonly considered a grain, quinoa is actually a relative of leafy green vegetables like spinach and Swiss chard. Revered by the Incas as the “mother grain” it is actually a seed from the Goosefoot plant. Sold in the U.S. only since the mid-eighties, it has a mild nutty flavor that is a great background for strong bold flavors like smoked paprika, lemon juice and garlic. Try substituting Quinoa for Couscous or Rice in your favorite dish.

Brown Basmati Rice is deliciously fragranced Basmati rice with more fiber. (I like white Basmati, too!) Basmati has longer grains than other rice, making it easy to cook and keep warm without becoming sticky. Brown rice is not milled, chewier and more nutritious than white rice.


Pomegranate Molasses is simply reduced pomegranate juice. It has a unique, tart-sweet flavor and is a gorgeous red jewel color. Use it in anything calling for honey or molasses, or put a teaspoon in your tea. If your local store don’t carry it, it’s easily found on the web.

Agave Nectar or Syrup is a sweetener produced in Mexico from the same plant as tequila. I like it for 2 reasons: it is sweeter than sugar, so I can use less of it in a recipe and it has less of a glycemic load so you don’t get as much of a sugar rush when eating it. When you replace the sugar in a recipe with agave make sure you only use half of the amount of sugar called for in the recipe. Be aware that agave will create a more “cakey” texture than regular sugar.

Stevia is an herb plant from the sunflower family. It has recently been approved for sale in the United States as a sweetener. It is 300 times sweeter than sugar, so just a pinch will make your food sweet.

Whole Wheat Pastry Flour allows you to add extra nutrition to any of your baked goods without sacrificing flavor or texture. Not all of the bran and germ portions of the wheat kernel have been removed during the milling process, so it has a fine-texture and a high starch content perfect for baking.


Balsamic Vinegar prized is for its sweet, fruity flavor and mild acidity. You can use it in everything from appetizers to dessert. Expensive artisan-made balsamic vinegars are aged in wood barrels for at least 12 years and can cost over $100 per bottle. No need to mortgage the house for the recipes in this cookbook, commercially available Balsamic is fine.

Sherry Vinegar is Spain’s answer to Italy’s Balsamic. Made from Sherry, it’s smooth yet potent and assertive, a tangy alternative to try with almost any Mediterranean dish. Both sherry (the wine) and the vinegar have been produced in southern Spain since well before the 16th century.

Rice Vinegar is sweeter, milder, and less acidic than Western vinegars, 4% acidity versus average 6% in other vinegars. This makes it a great alternative for those undergoing treatment for illness, individuals who don’t like acidic foods or simply as an ingredient in a delicious salad dressing that won’t compete with your wine. You may hear the term “rice wine” vinegar – it refers to the way the vinegar has been processed – but it is exactly the same as rice vinegar. Make sure to buy the unseasoned variety.


Extra Virgin Olive Oil is my go-to oil. Olive oils that are less than 1% acidity and produced by the first pressing of the olive fruit through the cold pressing process are called extra-virgin olive oil. You don’t have to spend a lot of money on this oil, most commercially available oils are fine for cooking. To finish a dish, or make a special salad dressing, its fun to taste oils from different countries to decide on your favorite.

Olive Oil, Canola Oil, Grapeseed Oil and Avocado Oil are all oils with higher smoke points that I use to sauté. All are easy to find in any grocery store, with Avocado oil the most expensive.

Coconut Oil has become very popular. I use it to sauté Asian or Indian foods or for dishes with coconut or sweet ingredients.

Toasted or Dark Sesame Oil is an excellent addition to any dish that for which you want to a pop of deep dark nutty taste. This dark colour and flavor are derived from roasted/toasted sesame seeds. Cold pressed sesame oil has a different flavour than the toasted oil, its often used in Indian versus other Asian cuisines. Make sure to add the sesame oil at the end of your preparation, when you add it during cooking it loses some of its delicious taste.

Nut Oils – Roasted Almond, Walnut, and Hazelnut are the perfect enhancers when you are looking for an alternative to olive oil. Just like toasted sesame oil, nut oils are best as finishers: as a drizzle over a piece of grilled fish or chicken, or as an ingredient in a sauce or delicious dressing. Make sure to store open nut oils in the fridge – they are delicate and can go rancid easily.

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