Changing for the better, one bite and (deep) breath at a time.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Artichoke Chicken and Potato, Squash and Goat Cheese Gratin

Sundays are for cookin' in my house.  I normally don't get home until between 5:30 and 8 pm during the work week, so if I want to try a more time-consuming recipe I love to do it on Sunday afternoons.  It makes for great leftovers all week too!

I saw this Artichoke Chicken recipe on The Chew, a great daytime cooking show hosted by chefs, food lovers, and quirky personalities.  Check it out on ABC if you haven't before - I watch it when I come home for lunch (my office is 3 miles away).  It intrigued me for two reasons: 1) it only requires one baking dish (or Dutch oven); and 2) it won a cook-off hosted on the show.  OK, a third reason: it's really healthy and really delicious!

A coworker gave me some beautiful yellow squash from his friend's garden, so I wanted to experiment with a new recipe for squash as well.  Five minutes of internet searching gave me this fantastic Potato, Squash and Goat Cheese Gratin from the Kitchn.  I bought potatoes from the North Scottsdale Farmers' Market and used fresh organic basil, goat cheese, and parmesan cheese from Whole Foods.  Served with a spinach and avocado salad, this meal was a hit with the boys.  It's flavorful and easy - all you need is some time to cook it!  

I doubled the potato gratin because I had so much squash and cooked it at 350 instead of 400 so it could go in with the chicken, which required 90 minutes in the oven at 350 degrees.  Once the chicken was done, I cranked the oven to 425 and cooked the potatoes until they were soft, then removed the foil for an additional ten minutes.  The potatoes ended up taking almost 2 hours because they had to cook at a lower temp and there were so many of them with a doubled recipe, but it was well worth it.  I had accounted for about 2 hours of cooking time anyway; however, I wouldn't recommend making these recipes when you're pressed for time!

I did forget one step - pouring the milk over the potatoes - but we didn't miss it!

Artichoke Chicken

Serves 4-6


3 1/2-4 pound chicken legs and thighs
1 cup artichoke hearts (halved)
1 medium onion (cut into chunks - to match the artichokes)
1 pound white button mushrooms (halved or quartered)
2 tablespoons brown mustard
1 clove garlic (minced)
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar (I used apple cider vinegar because I was out of red wine vinegar)
1/4 cup red wine
1/4 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon dried tarragon
1 bay leaf
salt and pepper (to taste)


Place chicken, skin side up, in a baking pan.  

Distribute onion, artichoke and mushrooms over the top. 

Combine olive oil, mustard, red wine, red wine vinegar, garlic, dried spices, salt and pepper and pour over the chicken.   

Bake at 350 degrees for 1 1/2 hours, basting every half hour.  Yum, right?

Potato, Squash and Goat Cheese Gratin

Serves 6


2 medium yellow squash
4 small to medium red potatoes
3 tablespoons olive oil
4 ounces goat cheese
salt and pepper
1/4 cup whole milk
1/3 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon thinly sliced basil, optional


Preheat oven to 400°F.  (Again, you can cook at 350 if you make it with the chicken - it just takes longer to cook.)

Use a mandoline or chef's knife to slice the squash and potatoes into very, very thin slices, 1/8-inch or less. Toss the sliced vegetables with the olive oil in a large bowl.

Pour a small drizzle of olive oil in a casserole dish (around 8 or 9 inches square) and spread it around the bottom and sides. Place 1/3 of the squash and potato slices in the bottom of the dish—no need to layer them squash-potato-squash-etc.—then season with salt and pepper. Top with half of the goat cheese, scattered evenly in large chunks. 

Repeat with another 1/3 of the vegetables, seasoning again with salt and pepper and topping with the other 1/2 of the goat cheese. Finish by layering on the final 1/3 of the vegetables and seasoning with salt and pepper.  Below is the top layer before I added the cheese:

Pour the milk over the entire dish. Top with the parmesan cheese. Bake, covered, for 30 minutes, then uncover and bake 15 more minutes, until the top browns. 

Scatter on the fresh basil, if using.

Here are both finish products:

And the chicken is perfect:

Perfect potato/squash medley:

Serve with a spinach salad - a perfect dash of color (and nutrients)!



Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Feta and Roasted Bell Pepper Dip

My usual appetizer go-to's include pesto bites, avocado salsa, goat cheese and smoked almond crusted olives, and lentil hummus.  For our Mother's Day celebration this year, I decided to mix it up with this Feta and Roasted Bell Pepper Dip (aptly named Hotsy Totsy Dip) from Chin Deep.  I had about 10 minutes to make an appetizer to bring to my parents' house - we had just gotten back from celebrating Mother's Day in LA with my husband's family!  For breakfast in LA we made egg's benedict, blueberry scones, and fruit salad, and dinner in Scottsdale included seared ahi steaks, chipotle shrimp with avocado, and a giant salad.  I think both moms enjoyed their mama love - and great food - this year.

This recipe combines feta, bell peppers, lemon, Sriracha sauce, garlic...yum, yum, yum.  I multiplied the recipe by 1.5 because I had 12 ounces (2 6-oz containers) of feta.  Additionally, I threw in a box of Fig brand garbanzo beans, which come in PBA-free packaging, to add some protein and fiber and to bulk up the dip even more.  The beans made the dip a bit more like hummus, which is all good in my mind.

This recipe takes about five minutes, and when the recipe multiplied by 1.5 and the beans are added it serves at least 12-15.  My husband thought this was great and has been eating it with rice chips and cut-up carrots all week.  It would also be great with sliced bell peppers, jicama, cauliflower, or cucumber.

8 oz. crumbled feta cheese

2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 Tablespoon regular Sriracha OR Sriracha chili garlic sauce
2-3 large garlic cloves, minced
4 roasted red peppers (I used jarred)
Juice of 1/2 lemon or lime
10 ounces garbanzo beans
Sea salt and pepper to taste

Place the feta in the bowl of a food processor along with the roasted red peppers. Saute the minced garlic cloves and hot sauce in the 2 tablespoons of olive oil, just until fragrant (about 1 minute).  Note: I added them raw to the mix because I was extremely short on time.  Cool for 10-15 minutes before adding the garlic mixture to the feta. Process until well combined. Add lemon juice, salt and pepper. Process a few seconds longer. 

Adjust seasoning. 

Serve with whole grain chips, crackers, bread, and a variety of your favorite raw veggies and olives.



Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Grab a Friend Giveaway!

When I started Freebie Friday, I didn't intend for it to be a weekly event.  There was a lot of interest from my vendor friends and some great support, however, so I kept with it on a weekly basis.  In order to make Freebie Friday more special and take off some of the pressure of preparing each week (I do have a full-time job and 2 side jobs, after all), I have decided to change Freebie Friday to Freebie First Friday.  So, we'll do a giveaway the first Friday of every month.  Stay tuned for the next Freebie First Friday to come on June 1st!

Image via Gourmet Live

Now, onto the good stuff!  I love sharing nutrition info and trying to teach people how to make any sort of change - no matter how small - that will help them become healthier and happier.  I'd love to share cooking, nutrition, and healthy living tips with your friends, family, and coworkers as well!  If you want a chance to win $25 Visa gift card for yourself AND a friend, do the following easy things:

1. Tell your friends about Nutrition Transitions on Facebook and ask them to "like" us between now and Tuesday, May 29th at 11:59 PM (Pacific).  Oh, and May 29th just happens to be my golden birthday, and for my birthday I want you to win!

2. Ask them to leave a comment on this blog post, telling who sent them to us.  Something like this is fine:

"Joe Smith sent me!"
You can send multiple people over to like our FB page and subsequently comment on the blog; each comment will be considered separately, so the more people you send, the better your odds!

3. On Monday we will randomly draw a commenter listed, and the person who left the post as well as the person who sent them there will each win a $25 Visa gift card!

Simple, right?  So engage your friends and family, and ask them to start posting for both of you! You might just win 25 buckaroos! 


Friday, May 4, 2012

Freebie Friday - $15 to North Scottsdale Farmers' Market!

If you haven't checked out the North Scottsdale Farmers' Market, a year-round market open every Saturday on Shea and 94th Street, then you are missing out!  I love checking out the local finds, from meat, veggies and honey to crafts, jewelry, tamales, and creme brulee.  They also have a fantastic delivery service that is only $3 if you're within 10 miles and a bit more if you're farther away.  There are no excuses for missing your farmers' market delivery!  Read more about NSFM and the benefits of shopping at your farmers' market here.

Remember, as the temps rise in AZ this summer and other markets close, the North Scottsdale Farmers' Market stays open and just moves inside to an air-conditioned space! Check out their website for hours, as they change slightly during the summer.  

This week's Freebie Friday is a $15 gift certificate to the North Scottsdale Farmers' Market, brought to you by Marketing Director Merissa Ramos!  Leave a comment below, telling us what you like to buy local, no matter where you live.  You have until midnight Friday night Pacific time to leave a comment.  A winner will be randomly chosen by Monday morning.  Good luck!