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Savory Baked Apples

This is a dessert that most people love from their childhoods, but for some reason today it gets overlooked as not “special enough.” But special is exactly what it will be called when you make it. Serves 4.

Ingredients

  • 4 baking apples such as Rome or Jonathan Gold
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped candied ginger
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ½ cup hot water

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375°.
  2. Core apples to ½ inch of bottom.
  3. Combine the dry ingredients plus ½ teaspoon of the water in a small bowl and mix, then spoon into the cavities until full.
  4. Set apples in an 8" x 8" baking pan, pour remainder of water in pan bottom, seal in foil and bake 30 minutes or until apples are soft.
  5. Serve warm. Optional toppings include a dollop of nonfat frozen yogurt or nonfat sour cream.

Per serving: 93 calories, 0 protein, 24 gm carbohydrate, 0 gm fat, 0 gm sat fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 0 gm mono fat, 2 gm fiber, 5 mg sodium

THE SEASONED COOK Use the remaining mixture by simmering 5-10 minutes and spoon over apples before serving. Make extra apples for breakfast too!

Pear Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

 Remember twice-baked potatoes—yummy but oh, so fattening? Here’s a richer and sweeter version that’s much more heart friendly. Sweet potatoes are a rich source of antioxidants; pears are high in fiber. Next time you’re tempted to serve baked potatoes, think sweet.

Try this with: Honey Grilled Salmon

Ingredients

  • 2 medium sweet potatoes
  • 3 large pears, peeled and sliced into bite size pieces
  • 1 tablespoons olive oil, extra-light
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • chopped hazelnuts (optional)

Directions

  1. Bake whole sweet potatoes at 425° for 45 minutes, or until done. Cool slightly.
  2. Meanwhile, in a nonstick skillet sauté pears in olive oil over medium heat until tender, about 10 minutes. Add sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Stir well for about a minute until sugar dissolves.
  3. Cut potatoes in half lengthwise, scoop out pulp, leaving skin intact. Mash pulp.
  4. Mix mashed potatoes and pears together and stir well. Stuff mixture back into shells.
  5. Bake for 15 minutes or until heated through. Garnish with chopped nuts if desired.

Per serving: 170 calories, 2 gm protein, 35 gm carbohydrate, 4 gm fat, 0 gm sat fat, 3 gm mono fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 6 gm fiber, 12 mg sodium

THE SEASONED COOK Extra-light olive oil has the same number of calories as regular olive oil, but has a very light flavor making it quite useful in sweet dishes. Sweet potatoes are often referred to as yams, but they’re actually two different vegetables. To save time, you can prepare ahead through step 4.

Honey Grilled Salmon

We love salmon for its versatility—and its omega-3 contribution to our heart health. Plus with high selenium levels it’s a cancer fighter too. Note the rub relies on garlic powder, which is less likely to burn in the cooking process than fresh garlic. Cumin (the second most popular spice in the world—black pepper is first) has a distinctive and warm taste. Serves 4. 

Try this with: Pear-Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

Ingredients

  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 4 4-ounce salmon filets

Directions

  1. Preheat broiler.
  2. Combine paprika, chili powder, garlic powder, and cumin. Stir in honey to form a smooth syrup.
  3. Using your fingers, spread syrup gently over the salmon. Place on a foil-covered oven-safe pan that you’ve sprayed with cooking spray. Broil for 5-7 minutes, depending on thickness, just until fish flakes easily off the fork.

Per serving: 213 calories, 24 gm protein, 6 gm carbohydrate, 10 gm fat, 2 gm sat fat, 5 gm mono fat, 70 mg cholesterol, 1 gm fiber, 61 mg sodium

THE SEASONED COOK Rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, cold water fish such as salmon prevent clotting in blood vessels and may help raise HDL cholesterol. Omega-3 fatty acids also help keep the heart beating in a healthy rhythm. The new guidelines recommend two to three meals of fatty fish each week.

Glazed Raspberry Chicken

Sweet meets savory and makes a date with delicious! This quick and easy dinner (serves 4) features healthful boneless, skinless chicken breasts glazed with raspberry preserves and fresh herbs. Ready in 30 minutes, high in protein, low in fat and under 300 calories per serving…prepare to fall in love!

Ingredients

  • 4 4-ounce skinless, boneless chicken breasts
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon basil
  • 1 teaspoon rosemary
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • ½ cup all-fruit raspberry preserves

Directions

  1. Heat oven to 375°.
  2. Place chicken in baking dish. Brush with olive oil, sprinkle with basil and rosemary, top with sliced onions. Bake, uncovered for 15 minutes.
  3. Turn chicken over, spoon preserves evenly over chicken. Bake uncovered another 15 minutes, basting occasionally. Spoon sauce over chicken to serve.

Per serving: 248 calories, 27 gm protein, 24 gm carbohydrate, 4 gm fat, 1 gm sat fat, 2 gm mono fat, 72 mg cholesterol, 1 gm fiber, 268 mg sodium

THE SEASONED COOK Feel free to use any all-fruit preserves you happen to have on hand.

Italian White Beans and Garlicky Swiss Chard

A lush combination of flavors teams with great nutrition for a double bonus dish. Serves 4.

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 cups Swiss chard or kale (about 1 bunch) rinsed and chopped
  • ¼ cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 15-ounce can white beans, drained and rinsed
  • ¼ cup Parmesan cheese, grated

Directions

  1. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium high heat.
  2. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  3. Stir in chard, broth and pepper flakes.
  4. Cover and cook over medium heat about 4 minutes or until chard is wilted and crisp-tender. Add beans and heat through.
  5. Serve with freshly grated Parmesan cheese and a splash of balsamic vinegar, if desired.

Per serving: 189 calories, 11g protein, 25g carbohydrate, 6g total fat, 2g sat fat, 3g mono fat, 6mg cholesterol, 6g fiber, 182mg sodium

THE SEASONED COOK If choosing low-fat sausage (shown here), pick one with no more than 3 grams of fat per 100 calories—or try a vegetarian version.

Cod with Orange Sauce

When your grocer has a sale on white fish, you’ll want to rely on this delicious menu. The presentation is as impressive as the flavors (serves 4).

Ingredients

  • Canola oil spray
  • ½ cup orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1½ pounds cod fillets
  • ½ teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1 orange peeled and sliced in rings

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350º. Spray an oven-proof dish with oil.
  2. In a bowl mix together orange juice, honey, and garlic. Place fillets in dish, cover with orange juice mixture.
  3. Place dish on top shelf in oven and bake for 10-12 minutes depending on thickness.
  4. Remove fish to serving plates. Add cornstarch to remaining orange sauce. Cook and stir frequently until thickened. Pour over fish and garnish with orange slices.

Per serving: 282 calories, 32 gm protein, 23 gm carbohydrate, 7 gm fat, 2 gm sat fat, 3 gm mono fat, 74 mg cholesterol, 0 gm fiber, 550 gm sodium

THE SEASONED COOK: Cod, like other cold-water fish, is a source of Omega-3 fatty acids, which promotes heart health.

Hearty Spinach and Bean Soup

Make Popeye proud! This satisfying soup is ready faster than you can say “I am what I am!” Fresh spinach, low in calories and high in phytonutrients, protein-packed beans and dashes of cinnamon and cumin make this soup super delish! Add depth with fire-roasted tomatoes or smoked paprika. Serves 4.

Ingredients

  • 1 15-ounce can low-sodium kidney or navy beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 24-ounce can low-sodium tomatoes, chopped, undrained
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 cups chopped spinach
  • pepper to taste

Directions

  1. In a large soup pot stir in beans, tomatoes, onions, cinnamon, and cumin.
  2. Heat soup to boiling; reduce heat and simmer 5 to 10 minutes.
  3. Stir spinach into soup. Season to taste with pepper.

Per serving: 147 calories, 9 gm protein, 29 gm carbohydrate, 1 gm fat, 0 gm sat fat, 0 gm mono fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 10 gm fiber, 583 mg sodium

THE SEASONED COOK It’s easy to use spinach these days because it comes pre-bagged. Just rinse and cut off the stems. Spinach packs a wallop of beta-carotene and is rich in other vitamins and minerals.

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