Monday, October 25, 2010

Apple Honey Balls

The air is cool, the trees are bright with autumn colors, apples are still abundant and pumpkins are on the doorstep, all of which makes me crave the earthy, rich flavors of the season and are the inspiration behind this soft, flavorful, nutritious cookie. The flaxseed meal provides a good dose of omega 3 fatty acids, as much as 170 mg per cookie! It also gives it a nutty flavor which pairs so well with the grated apple. The light coating of pumpkin pie spiced sugar really makes this the perfect cookie for an autumn day, but the real treat is that it's only about 7 carbs each!

Apple Honey Balls
(Makes 28 cookies)

¾ cup all-purpose flour
1 cup almond flour (or finely ground almonds)
¼ cup flaxseed meal
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground mace
1/3 cup zero trans-fat buttery spread (I use Smart Balance)
¾ cup Splenda granular
2 tablespoons honey
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
¾ cup grated Granny Smith apple (peeled and cored)
1½ teaspoons lemon juice

Topping Ingredients:
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

1. Preheat oven to 375-degrees. If desired, line cookie sheet with parchment paper; set aside.

2. In a small mixing bowl, combine the flours, flaxseed meal, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and mace. Stir with a fork to break up any clumps in the almond flour; set aside. Grate the apple into a small bowl and toss with the lemon juice; set aside.

3. Prepare the topping by placing the sugar in a small bowl with the 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice, stir to combine; set aside.

4. In a large mixing bowl, cream together the buttery spread, Splenda and honey with a handheld or standing mixer. Add egg and vanilla and beat for 2 minutes. With a wooden spoon, add the dry ingredients all at once and stir until well combined. Fold in the grated apple. Drop the dough by rounded teaspoonful into the sugar-spice topping mixture (or a level small cookie scoop). Roll just one side in the sugar-spice mixture and place on cookie sheet with the topping mixture side up. (Tip: If dough is too soft, place in refrigerator for 15-20 minutes and it will be easier to handle.)

5. Bake for 12-13 minutes until bottom begins to brown. Remove to wire rack to cool. Store at room temperature in an airtight container.

Nutritional Information per cookie: 70 calories, 6.9 g carbohydrate, 4.2 g total fat, 0.7 g saturated fat, 42.5 mg sodium, 0.8 g fiber, 1.6 g protein.

Original recipe by Kathy Sheehan, copyright 2010

Monday, October 18, 2010

Glazed Chicken with Pear

I know that grilled chicken is an excellent, lean protein choice but it can be boring, especially when it's on the menu a couple of times a week. When I was thinking about how I could prepare it tonight, I looked around my kitchen and saw a beautiful, ripe pear sitting in my fruit bowl and remembered how the sweet and savory combination of fruit with meat can be so satisfying. Pears and apples are abundant in stores right now and they are at their peak. I especially like a Bartlett pear for this recipe because it cooks and softens quickly, but if you prefer a crisper fruit, try Bosc or Red Pear. The mixture of nutmeg, apple juice with the broth reduces into a nice, light glaze. This quick recipe takes only about 15 minutes to prepare and makes a beautiful and delicious autumn meal.

Glazed Chicken with Pear
(Makes 2 servings)

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 6 oz. each)
Poultry seasoning
Lemon pepper
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 large, ripe Bartlett pear (cored, peeled and sliced)
¼ cup low-sodium chicken broth
½ cup apple juice or cider
Dash of nutmeg
½ teaspoon cornstarch (omit for gluten free recipe)

1. Butterfly or pound chicken breasts until about ½" thick. Season both sides with a dusting of poultry seasoning, lemon pepper and salt. In a measuring cup, combine the chicken broth, apple juice and nutmeg. Measure the cornstarch in a small bowl and add 2 tablespoons of the liquid. Stir cornstarch until dissolved; set aside.

2. Heat a non-stick skillet over medium heat, add olive oil and add chicken breasts. Cook for 3-4 minutes, turn and continue cooking for another 3 minutes or until juices run clear. Remove chicken to a plate and cover with foil to keep warm.

3. Add pear slices to the pan and cook for 1 minute, turn each slice and continue cooking for another minute. Add the broth-juice mixture and simmer until liquid has been reduced by half and pear slices are soft. Return chicken breasts to pan to reheat. Add cornstarch mixture and stir liquid until thickened slightly. Turn chicken to coat with glaze.

4. Divide chicken and pear slices equally between two serving plates and serve immediately.

Nutritional Information per serving: 320.5 calories, 24.7 g carbohydrate, 6.3 g total fat, 1.2 g saturated fat, 312.5 mg sodium, 3.3 g fiber, 40.1 g protein.

Original recipe by Kathy Sheehan, copyright 2010

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Pumpkin Whip

One of the cooking classes I taught last spring was how to incorporate more vegetables into one's diet. This recipe is a great example of how I hoped to turn a vegetable hater into a vegetable lover! You won't believe how jam-packed this simple dessert is with nutrition. One serving provides 148% of your daily requirement of Vitamin A, 110 mg of calcium, 8% vitamin D, 16% vitamin E, 2% vitamin C and almost 5% iron. It's a good source of beta carotene, low in carbs and, as if all of this isn't enough, it tastes like pumpkin pie and is delicious, especially on a cool autumn day. Your kids will love this soft, creamy pudding and never know they're eating vegetables. Take a few minutes to whip some up today. Your body will thank you tomorrow!

Pumpkin Whip
(Makes 6 servings)

15 oz. canned pumpkin (1¾ cups)
2 cups cold almond milk (skim or soy milk can be substituted)
½ teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons Splenda granular
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1 pkg. fat-free, sugar-free vanilla pudding mix

1. In a blender or using a wire whisk, blend the pumpkin, almond milk, vanilla, Splenda, and pumpkin pie spice until well combined. Add pudding mix and whisk for 2 minutes. Pour into individual serving dishes and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. Serve cold.

Nutritional Information per serving: 65.3 calories, 13.3 g carbohydrate, 1 g total fat, 0 g saturated fat, 250 mg sodium, 2.4 g fiber, 1 g protein.

Recipe by Kathy Sheehan, copyright 2010