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goat cheese

Breakfast Recipes, Recipes, Uncategorized, Vegetable Recipes

Mushroom Spinach Spaghetti Squash Strata

Dear Diary,
Whether it’s called a frittata, quiche or strata…it all has to do with eggs in some sort of casserole form. Eggs have so many good qualities that I have to agree with the commercials that boast their incredible, edibleness. Eggs are an inexpensive form of protein that are easy to prep in a variety of different ways. They contain tons of vitamins, minerals and nutrients including selenium, choline, and essential amino acids. Be sure not to short yourself by ditching the yolk! It’s good for you and does not increase cholesterol or risk of stroke…in fact some studies show it’s quite the opposite.
This recipe is packed with protein, veggies, and flavor and is very versatile. Keep it vegetarian or add in a little uncured bacon for additional flavor and protein. You can also play around with adding or swapping out vegetables depending on taste preference and availability. The best part is that it’s perfect for any meal and tastes great warmed up the next day too. For me, leftovers are an easy and fast way to get in a veggie packed meal when I have little time.

Bon appétit!

Mushroom Spinach Spaghetti Squash StrataMushroom Spaghetti Squash Quiche - Diary of a Dietitian
  • 1 medium spaghetti squash, about 2.5 lbs
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 2 cloves fresh garlic, crushed
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3 cups cremini mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 cups fresh spinach, chopped, packed tight
  • 6 large eggs
  • 1 cup feta or goat cheese
  • 1 cup low-fat cottage cheese
  • 1 tsp onion or garlic powder
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper, divided
  • Cooking spray
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Cut squash in half and place face side down on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or foil. Bake for 30 minutes, remove from the oven and set aside to cool until safe to handle.
  2. In the meantime, preheat large skillet on medium-high heat and spray with cooking spray. Add mushrooms and saute for 5-7 minutes. Add onion and garlic and cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Add spinach, 1/2 tsp thyme, 1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp black pepper and saute until spinach is wilted. Remove from heat and set aside.
  3. To make the crust, remove seeds from the spaghetti squash and separate flesh into strands using a fork. Transfer to a medium bowl along with 1/2 tsp thyme, garlic, and salt; mix to combine. Transfer to a deep oven safe dish that has been sprayed with cooking oil and press evenly onto bottom and sides using your hands. Set aside.
  4. In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, cottage cheese, feta/goat cheese, mushroom kale mixture, 1 tsp onion or garlic powder, 1 tsp thyme, 1/2 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp black pepper and mix to combine. Pour into prepared crust and flatten with spatula.
  5. Bake in 400 degrees F oven for 50 mins or until the knife inserted comes out clean. Allow to cool and set for 10 mins. Cut into 8 slices and serve hot.
Tips: Any dark, leafy greens like kale can be used in place of the spinach. Use fresh thyme if you it available.
Kale and Mushroom Spaghetti Squash Quiche

Adapted from an ifoodreal recipe. Pictures from




Tomato Artichoke Hasselback Chicken
Recipes, Uncategorized

Tomato Artichoke Hasselback Chicken

Dear Diary,

Hasselback potatoes are an old Swedish favorite that has recently made a come back. Hasselback basically means making several slices part of the way through the potato and stuffing those slices with something delicious. The “stuffing” is traditionally butter and some type of cheese which is what most people like on their potatoes. Not all that healthy of a side dish, but it does spark some healthy inspiration.

I recently found a recipe that used the same method on a chicken breast. By using a lean protein source, it can become a main dish star instead of a side dish. I had to give it a try and put my own twist on it. Plus, the name is fun to say so when people ask about it I can say, “It’s Hassleback Chicken of course!”

I used goat cheese, big surprise there I’m sure, with tomatoes and artichokes but any “stuffing” can be used. A mixture of ricotta cheese, spinach, and garlic would be delicious or light cream cheese, sun-dried tomatoes, and fresh basil. The possibilities are truly endless! For a vegetarian version, a sweet potato could be used in place of the chicken breast. Mmmm…a Fall inspired Hasselback Sweet Potato…stuffed with dried cherries, apple slices, nutmeg and cinnamon. Yum!

Tomato Artichoke Hasselback Chicken

  • 4 boneless, skinless Chicken Breasts
  • 2-3 Tablespoons Olive oil
  • Italian Blend of seasonings (dried basil, thyme, oregano)
  • Salt and pepper
  • Goat or Feta Cheese
  • Marinated Artichoke Hearts, quartered
  • Tomatoes, chopped

Directions: Clean, trim, and pat dry chicken breasts. On a cutting board, lay the chicken breast lengthwise right to left. Pinch the top and bottom so that the middle comes up a little. Make 6-7 vertical slices, 3/4 of the way through the chicken to create a “pocket,” and place in a glass baking dish that has been prepped with a generous tablespoon of olive oil. DO NOT CUT ALL THE WAY THROUGH THE CHICKEN BREAST. Repeat with the remaining chicken breasts. Once all 4 breasts are sliced and in the baking dish, sprinkle with Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper. Stuff each pocket with goat cheese, artichoke hearts, and tomato. Drizzle with another tablespoon of olive oil and bake, covered with foil, for 20 minutes at 375 degrees. Remove foil and bake an additional 12-15 mins depending on the size of the chicken breasts. Serve on a bed of mixed greens with a couple of spoonfuls of tzatziki (cucumber yogurt sauce).

Heirloom Tomato Goat Cheese Bruschetta
Holiday Recipes, Recipes, Uncategorized

Goat Cheese Bruschetta Two Ways

Dear Diary,

How do I love thee? I don’t need to count the ways like the poet Elizabeth Barrett Browning, I simply feed you delicious morsels that I created from my heart. While I was in Michigan, I planned a kid-free evening to cook for a few close friends. We could have easily gone out, but I opted to sip wine, catch up, and cook for these lovely ladies. It was food for my soul both literally and figuratively. Three hours later we were full, relaxed, and still chit-chatting the night away.

One of the secrets I shared while I cooked was what I like to call my magic sauce. Balsamic Glaze can be made by reducing a good balsamic vinegar or you can purchase it in most major grocery stores. My favorite is from Trader Joe’s since it has less sugar and more flavor than others I’ve tried. Most major grocery stores have Balsamic Glaze or Balsamic Reduction available, usually found in the olive oil and vinegar aisle. A generous squeeze of this dark and delicious magic sauce over the bruschetta made all the flavors pop. Needless to say, both recipes got rave reviews in the form of ohhhing and ahhhing while reaching for another one.

Caramelized Onion Prosciutto Bruschetta

  • 2-4 sweet onions, carmelized (click below for recipe)
  • Cherry or Grape Tomatoes quartered, heirloom if available
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • Pinch of Salt and Black PepperProsciuttoCarmelizedOnionBrucshetta2
  • French baguette, sliced 1 inch thick
  • Goat cheese
  • Fresh Spinach
  • Jalapeno Pepper Jelly
  • Prosciutto
  • Balsamic Glaze

First caramelize the onions, place in an oven safe bowl, cover with foil, and leave in a 250 degree oven or toaster oven until ready to use. I always make extra and use them the next day since they are a bit time consuming to make. In a bowl, combine tomatoes, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, and pepper (to taste). Set tomato mixture aside. Slice baguette into 1 inch thick pieces and place on a cookie sheet covered in foil or parchment paper. Brush baguette slices with olive oil and place in 400 degree oven for 6-8 mins or until toasted to a golden brown on the edges. Spread goat cheese onto the baguette slices, layer 2-3 spinach leaves, add a 1 teaspoon of Jalapeno Pepper Jelly, 1/2 slice of prosciutto, 1 teaspoon of caramelized onions, and top with tomato mixture. Arrange on a plate and drizzle with balsamic glaze.

Heirloom Tomato Goat Cheese Bruschetta

  • French baguette, sliced 1 inch thick
  • Crumbled herb goat cheese
  • Cherry or Grape Tomato mixture
  • Fresh Garlic
  • Fresh Basil
  • Balsamic Glaze

Slice baguette into 1 inch thick pieces and place on a cookie sheet covered in foil or parchment paper. Brush baguette slices with olive oil and place in 400 degree oven for 6-8 mins or until toasted to a golden brown on the edges. Sprinkle each baguette slice with crumbled goat cheese, use tomato mixture from above recipe adding in crushed garlic (1-2 cloves) and chopped fresh basil. Drizzle with balsamic glaze.

Both bruschetta recipes are very versatile. Playing around with a different cheese like feta instead of goat or leaving out the jalapeno pepper jelly is part of the joy of creating a dish versus just cooking it. I purposely leave out some measurements because cooking and baking are not the same. In baking, measurements are very important. Cooking on the other hand is about experimenting, creating, and sometimes throwing the whole thing out. Have FUN with it!

Summer Salad from Diary of a Dietitian
Salad Recipes, Uncategorized

Avocado, Strawberry & Goat Cheese Salad

Dear Diary,

School is out and so are the fresh fruits and vegetables! Summer is the best time to eat perfectly ripened, juicy berries loaded with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Many years ago, I was with my friend Pam in Las Vegas and we went to the crepe place in Paris (the casino that looks like the Eiffel Tower). We ordered triple berry crepes and as we ate she said, “Oh man, this tastes like summer in my mouth!” It was winter in Michigan at the time and a little taste of summer in Vegas was something we both needed.

Over the years, I have thought of her saying that and how much food is a part of our seasons. Apples, pumpkins, and cinnamon are as much a part of Fall as the leaves changing on the trees. Winter makes me crave veggie laden soups and stews that have cooked all day in the slow cooker. Summer is reserved for salads, berries, and refreshing iced tea. This salad bursts with freshness, crunch and creaminess that is a virtual summer party in my mouth.

Bolthouse Farms makes an exceptional line of yogurt based salad dressings that have become my go to when I don’t have time to whip up something homemade. Their Mango Chipotle, at 40 calories for 2 tablespoons, is the perfect compliment to any fruit based salad. Bolthouse Farms dressings are found in most major grocery stores in the refrigerator section.

Avocado, Strawberry & Goat Cheese Salad

  • Mixed Salad Greens (Spinach, Romaine, Kale, Arugula)
  • Avocado, sliced
  • Strawberries, quartered
  • Turkey Breast, chopped
  • Walnuts, chopped
  • Almonds, chopped
  • Goat Cheese, crumbled
  • Mango Chipotle Bolthouse Farms Salad Dressing

Directions: Built your salad and enjoy with a tall glass of unsweetened iced green tea! Mango, blueberries, and apples would be great add-ins to this salad.

Click here for more information about the health benefits of berries including weight loss and metabolism boost!

Fresh herbs can turn a so-so dish into a wow dish!
Recipes, Uncategorized, Vegetable Recipes

Fresh Herb Polenta with Mushrooms

Dear Diary,

Today I feel like the luckiest person in the world. I am writing to you from my new favorite spot in our little atrium herb and vegetable garden. When we moved in, the atrium was a dry dirt plot filled with overgrown plants. It was not an inviting place and had not been given any love for a long time. I knew it had so much potential and pictured fresh herbs, tomato and bell pepper plants, and beautiful flowers thriving. Now, with some sweat equity, help from my super handy Dad, and Pinterest, I am enjoying watching it grow.

One of my boys has been keeping a very close eye on the daily changes with our heirloom and yellow pear tomatoes as well as our orange and red bell peppers. We have picked leaves off of every fresh herb to smell them and he can now identify basil, mint, oregano, lemon thyme, and cilantro. I think it’s so important for children to learn about how food grows and to be able to prepare their own meals.

Herbs don’t just look and smell good. They also have a wealth of health benefits including protective polyphenols. Polyphenols are plant compounds with potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. With all these wonderful fresh herbs available, I decided to make a fresh herb polenta dish using other vegetables I had in the fridge. The herbs paired perfectly with polenta (also known as corn grits), goat cheese, zucchini and mushrooms. This recipe is versatile and a combination of fresh and dried herbs could easily be used depending on what is available. Bon Appetit!

Fresh Herb Polenta with Mushrooms

  • 3 cups water
  • 1 cup polenta (I used Bob’s Red Mill)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 ounces Goat Cheese
  • 1 tablespoon grated parmesan cheese
  • Fresh herbs such as oregano, thyme, garlic chives, and basil
  • 2-3 cups Cremini Mushrooms, quartered
  • 2 small zucchini, cut slightly larger than mushrooms
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced onion
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons sweet marsala wine
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

Directions: Cook polenta according the package directions for making “cereal.” Bring water to a boil, add polenta and salt. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook for 5-6 minutes stirring occasionally. Remove polenta from heat, cover, and let stand for a couple of minutes. Stir in butter, goat cheese, parmesan cheese, and chopped fresh herbs. Cover polenta to keep warm while prepping the vegetables. In a small skillet over medium heat, add olive oil, onion, garlic, mushrooms, and zucchini. Saute for 5-6 minutes and add wine and black pepper. Continue to saute until vegetables are tender. Serve vegetable mixture over the polenta and top with more fresh herbs, goat cheese salt and pepper if desired.

Avocado Caprese Baked Chicken
Recipes, Uncategorized

Pinterest Dinner Party

Dear Diary,

I pin a lot of recipes from Pinterest. Actually making the recipes is a whole other story. This past Sunday a few of my friends and I were planning one of our usual gatherings that includes good food, good conservation, good cocktails, and our children entertaining each other. I have longed to have a “Pinterest Party” which entails preparing several favorite “pinned” recipes. Once I threw the idea out there, my friends were totally game and allowed me to pick an appetizer, main dish, side dish, and dessert.

First up was the appetizers. I am slightly obsessed with goat cheese, especially when it’s in the form of an appetizer or on a salad. I have eyed the Sundried Tomato Polenta Bites from Recipe Girl for quite some time. My friend Melissa stuck to the recipe except she used prepared polenta (comes in a tube) from Trader Joe’s. These cute little bites are the a perfect marriage of savory flavors and were an instant hit with all of us.

The main dish was Avocado Caprese BAKED Chicken which I prepared. To cook the chicken I used Gimme Some Oven’s Perfect Baked Chicken recipe. This recipe kept the chicken breasts moist and tender without having to watch it too closely. After the chicken was ready, I followed the Avocado Caprese Skillet Chicken recipe from Cooking Classy. The result was gorgeous layers of avocado, fresh mozzarella slices, and tomato sprinkled with fresh chopped basil and Balsamic Glaze from Trader Joe’s. Magnifigue!

Andrea took on the Summer Vegetable Tian despite the somewhat labor intensive slicing of vegetables. The store was out of yellow summer squash, so she replaced them with sliced carrots. Having never tried it with the yellow squash, I can easily say I would stick with the carrots. The slightly caramelized onions on the bottom and cheese on top of beautifully layered veggies made this recipe a keeper. When I make it in the future, I will definitely use my mandolin to slice all those veggies!

Most recipes I have tried from Skinnytaste are fantastic and are crafted very similar to my own kitchen creations. The Amazing Flour-less Brownies, made with sneaky healthy ingredients like black beans, are something I had to try. Our friend Yi confirmed that this recipe was simple to make but she was more than a little skeptical about how they would taste. The adults gave them the thumbs up and the kids gave a double thumbs up. My little chocolate loving children could not wait to find out if there would be any left for second servings.

All of these delicious dishes were washed down by our resident bartenders Moscow Mules…thanks Laurie! Hoping I can talk all of them into another Pinterest Dinner Party but I have a feeling that won’t take too much effort!


The Menu

Sundried Tomato Polenta Bites

Avocado Caprese Skillet Chicken

Baked Chicken Breast

Summer Vegetable Tian

Amazing Flour-less Brownies