Renata’s Kitchen Cooks for Chicago-Area Nurses

Berlice is my go-to gal for fitness and wellness!

Dr.Karin Molander’s top two things to do to keep healthy during Covid Crisis keep running through my mind: Sleep well and eat well. As I listened to my two friends who are nurses at Chicago Hospitals, I wondered how they were going to take care of others. They could barely move once they got home, scrubbed down, and slept until it was time to return for another round of duty. I knew it was time to buddy up and cook for them on strenuous nights.

This is not hard for me, because there are five adults living here, and most of us like to cook healthy food a lot. Thankfully, my daughter bakes vegan treats daily. We can easily add a few servings to deliver in repurposed containers. It’s definitely a thrill to leave the house on a mission! We arrange a setup time, drop the food on the front step, text when back in the car for contactless delivery.

My first friend, Berlice, is on the front lines at Cook County Hospital, and her unit is now “All-Covid”. I am praying for her daily. If anything happens to my Berlice, I will be inconsolable. Last month we were working out at the gym, and chatting about health and wellness. This month, my girl is out there on the battlefield, and her texts have me pacing the kitchen floor. I have positive Covid patients. It is hot in the high-pressure rooms. We need a lot of prayers at this time. I see worried people a lot.

My texts back to her are about lentils, vegetable soups, and scripture. Hebrews 6:10: For God is not unjust so as to forget your work and the love which you have shown toward His name, in having ministered and in still ministering to the saints.

My other friend, Marisa, is a nurse at Rush Hospital, and she was recently accepted into medical school in Michigan. Last month, I was praying for her to get into medical school. This month, I’m praying for her to continue to improve and sustain the lives of the patients she serves. I go back to Dr. Molander’s list, and reach out with healthy food. It feels holy to stay connected to these powerfully, spirit-driven women.

So what is healthy? I know everyone has different ideas about what is healthy. Thankfully, I know these two women well. When I think about long, hot hours, the first thing I think of serving them is soups that have lentils, vegetables, garlic and onions, with some healing spices. They need a bit of protein, so legumes and fish are good choices. Baked goods are lovely treats. I did not hesitate to pack Berlice with a lunch that included oranges for vitamin C.

If you feel a calling to buddy up with a nurse practitioner, please email me at and I will see what I can do. I may even be able to pair you with nurses in different locations, though I cannot be certain. I will do my best.

The types of meals needed are from home cooks who are comfortable cooking whole grains, legumes, fresh or frozen wild-caught fish. Rookies may want to sit this one out! We want to keep our nurses balanced, fully hydrated, and humming with good health. Please copy this story to anyone you think could be a good fit.

I invited my buddies to take a look at and pick anything they like for me to cook. I can’t promise I will be able to deliver every single recipe, but it gives me a good idea of their tastes and preferences!

Stay well, my friends. Keep cooking and sleeping.

Live to love,


Frozen to Fabulous

Wild-Caught fish from Costco bakes frozen to fabulous, veggies sautéed for topping.

Please browse my recipes on Renata’s Kitchen and vote for your favorite dishes to be delivered to our two favorite Chicago Nurses!!



  1. You are a blessing <3

    • Marisa, that is saying a lot coming from one of Elmhurst’s own nursing heroes. Thank you for all you are doing in this pandemic. I am in awe of you. Text or call me anytime! Food is coming. 🙂

  2. Proud to call u a friend

    • Oh, I am proud to call YOU a friend, Nancy! You always inspire me. Thank you for your donations to the Elmhurst Yorkfield Food Pantry during the Renata’s Kitchen: Feed the Local Kids GoFundMe drive.

  3. Let’s hear it for Berlice and all the great work that medical professionals are doing now. And to Renata for the amazing soups that will keep them healthy!

  4. This is a staple in our home and I hope the nurses (and you) will enjoy it! I have many nurse friends and pray for all medical staff daily.

    • This looks divine, Amy! You’re such a good cook so I know this will be a hit. Thank you!! I would love
      to know your absolute favorite classic chocolate cake recipe ever. I think you already told me, but it will be nice to share with the community kitchen. I am craving a rich, fudgy, classic double layer chocolate cake.


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.