Yum Peaceful Cooking: Lemon Chicken & Rice with Artichokes - Second Salubrious Sunday

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Lemon Chicken & Rice with Artichokes - Second Salubrious Sunday

Well, apparently the whole family is all pumped about Salubrious Sunday. Of course I knew my youngest daughter would be. I mean, she's all into the eat healthy stuff (except for when she eats a whole row of Oreo cookies, but I can't really blame her there, I mean....OREOS!! hello?) Anyways, the other morning my husband says to me...."Do you want to go to the book store?" My mind starts ticking....omg...YES YES!!! God!! YES!!! They have COOKBOOKS there!! Does a bear shit in the woods? DUH!!! And my other daughter is like..."Mom, you should cook healthier meals more then just on Sundays." hmmm....are my normal dinners not all that healthy?

Sooooo....off to the bookstore we went and looky at what I gotVery Happy


Of course tonight's dinner came from my shiny brand spankin new cookbook!


Cooking Spray
1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast, but into 1/2" strips
2 1/2 cups chopped onions
1 cup chopped bell pepper
2 cups instant rice
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
14 oz. fat-free, less sodium chicken broth
1 - 14 oz can quartered artichoke hearts
2 tablespoons grated Romano or Parmesan cheese

Heat a large, heavy pot (such as a bean pot or dutch oven) over medium-high heat. Coat with cooking spray. Add your chicken, onions and bell pepper:

look at that color!!! oh man.....and the aroma!! Saute that group for about 5 minutes.

Stir in rice, lemon juice, salt, pepper and chicken broth:


Bring to a boil....cover and reduce the heat. Simmer for 15 minutes or until rice is tender.
Stir in the artichoke hearts and cook until thoroughly heated, about 1 minute.


Sprinkle with cheese and serve


I wasn't thrilled with the dish. The family loved it! I really had to fight with myself to not add garlic. Maybe I should have. Also, instead of instant white rice, I used instant brown rice. I don't think there's much of a flavor different between the two (bummer cuz I love brown rice). Instant is instant. I did have to double the liquid content however. Maybe I shouldn't have doubled the lemon juice and only increased the broth. I suggest just following the box instructions on your particular rice.

Here's the nutritional information:

Yield: 4 servings (serving size: 2 cups)
Calories: 340 (8% from fat)
Fat: 2.8 g (sat. 1 g. mono 0.7 g, poly 0.5 g)
Protein 35 g
Carb 40.7
Fiber 8.3 g
Chol 69 mg
Iron 3.1 mg
Sodium 773 mg
Calc 120 mg

**Rant Alert**
If you'd like to bypass my bitch session, just scroll down to the alcohol section below and enjoy! (god, don't you wish it was that easy in real life?)
If I don't make sense, just nod your head every once in a while with a little frown on your face and look interested. If you don't agree, get your own blog. If I'm completely wrong, hand me another glass of wine and lets talk.

I have an issue. Its in regards to fat vs low / no fat vs sodium vs sugar vs flavor yadda yadda yadda. When a recipe calls for no fat mayo or no fat sour cream....that just irritates the crap out of me. I think food products that are labeled as fat free or low fat (which is intended to make the consumer feel better about buying it cuz its suppose to be "healthier" Rolling Eyes) are a crock of shit. If you compare the sodium content and the sugar content...its crazy. With the fat, the sodium is lower. Without the fat, the sodium is higher and probably the sugar too. So you trade no fat for high sodium which boils down to one form of the product thats bad for your heart vs another form of the same product thats also bad for your heart....hmm...decisions decisions.

Now I just got this new cookbook that I really like. It wasn't labeled as a "healthy eating" cookbook. Which means that some of the recipes in there aren't as healthy as others. No problem....I'll just make those with my normal sour cream and call it day, on a different day. Ya the new cookbook version is probably a "lighter" version of the norm, with its 1 cup of fat free mayonnaise and 1/2 cup of fat free sour cream, and a can of reduced sodium 98% fat free cream-of-something soup, except I have a problem with the flavor. And that all sounds fine and dandy until you read the small print (the dreaded small print). MSG anyone? (I won't even get into the whole MSG thing that pisses me off even more...but don't take away my Big Mac please! LOL). What I really hate is when all my options are sucky (its like voting for a proposition or a political candidate.) I don't like having to choose between the lesser of two evils.

I guess what this all comes down to is dieting vs. healthy eating. All this hype about sugar free, low calorie, fat free, cholesterol free.....omg. Its enough to drive a person f'ing insane. Lets just cut the crap and call it like it is. If you want to be healthy, eat fresher, less processed foods in a more balanced manner (proteins, simple carbs and complex carbs). If you want to lose weight....change your eating habits and eat healthier.

Soo....I have this really great new "Cooking Light" cookbook right? But I'm not going to prepare several of the meals in it and include them in my Salubrious Sunday posts because I don't consider unnaturally processed funky media-hyped foods as healthy. I refuse to substitute using no-fat, crappy-tasting sour cream. I don't like using plain yogurt in the place of sour cream or mayo either...it just tastes different. For my healthy meals, I'll just leave those creamy, saucy or cheesy recipes out.

And nooooo...I don't consider my alcohol drinks healthy either, but then again I'm not putting a "no cholesterol, fat free" label on them and pretending they are.

And on THAT note...lets break out the alcohol and shake off this irritation Very Happy

For some reason I'm really on this beer & tequila combo kick. It seems that the tequila drowns out the beer and the ginger ale covers up the tequila bite and makes it go down sooo damn smooth. Then there's all these frozen juice mixes to try....YA BABY!!! Tonight's was Raspberry Lemonade and I wasn't disappointed.


Cool and refreshing....I'm on my third as we speak Very Happy


  1. I'm totally with you Dani, on the light vs. healthy issue. I'm convinced that all that stuff labeled Low something is worse for you than the normal. Come on, people want to lose weight eating low fat yogurt (0,1% fat), instead of full fat yogurt (that hardly reaches 5% fat) and make an issue of that. And then eat a large quantity of cheese or butter (and we talk about 60 - 85% fat).
    Eating healthy means making certain choices in terms of choosing white meat over red, fresh cheese (ricotta, cottage cheese) over aged cheese, reducing the amount of fat you add to your meal and preferring e.g. olive oil to butter, preparing simple grilled or roast meat instead of heavy sauces. And most important of all, varying the food, eating a lot of fresh fruit and vegetables. That's what I think. While you stick to these rules, you can afford yourself to get off the route every now and then.
    Happy Healthy meals!

  2. Good for you for eating healthier. As you know we're trying to do that in my house as well. Let me know how you like the cookbook.

    I don't see why you couldn't have added garlic to the dish. It's not like it's going to add any fat or calories.

    I never use fat free but I do use low fat mayo, part skim ricotta and mozzarella, etc.

  3. Yeah Dajana!! I'm not the only one the feels this way. whew LOL

    I just realized that this recipe was listed in the cookbook as a one dish meal with only 2 veggies? (onions and bell pepper). Ya...needs work fo sho

    Michele, I wanted to try the recipe as it was intended first. Next time I will add the garlic for sure, and probably some chopped parsley. It just needs something as a pick-me-up.

  4. Mmmm, lemon chicken. I'm also with you on the fat-free stuff. Not only is it a crock, but have you tried baking with fat free sour cream? It just doesn't work right. Now if I could just convince my girlfriend to stop buying all that non fat crap...

  5. I totally agree with you - No Fat = No Flavor + High Sugar + High Sodium (ie MSG).

    Give me the fat and I will exercise portion control instead. I would rather have a little bit of something that tastes good, than a lot of something that tastes like soggy cardboard. ;)

  6. good discussion all in moderation the rice and chicken looks good rebecca

  7. Thanks everyone. It really is nice to know that I'm not the only low fat, fat free yadda yadda yadda snob! LOL.

    Rebecca - Nice to meet you :). How fun to have a dietician stop by. If I make a blunder in my "healthy diet" posts and am way off base (which I'm sure will happen LOL), I'd love to hear your expert thoughts of knowledge.

  8. Why are you covering tequila bite?!!!

    Take a big sip... get a little shiver... mmmmmmm.... tequila!!

  9. Spryte - LOL I didn't intend to I swear its just the way it worked but then....it went down soooo smooth. It was like drinking flavored soda or something, but more fun! ; )

  10. WOW (impressed look). Your dishes looks so yummy.

    Here I bought a sauce pack for Lemon Chicken so as to skip all the seasonings! and i will try this friday after work.


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