Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Homemade Applesauce

Ok, clearly I love fall...and fall related food items. A naturally sweet and delicious side dish or snack. Depending on the apple variety you're working with, you may need to reduce or increase the sugar. I used about 4 honeycrisp and 6 sweet sixteens. I left the sauce a little chunky, largely because making it homemade allows me to. Turned out fantastic with a lot of natural apple flavor and sweetness coming through. After giving this a whirl, you'll probably wonder why you ever purchased applesauce pre-made.


10 apples (approximately; peeled, cored, and diced)
1 1/2 cups water
1/2 tsp. cinnamon (more if you like more)
1/8 tsp. nutmeg
2 Tbsp. brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar (or 3-4 packets artificial sweetener, if you'd prefer)
1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
lemon peel (2 swipes with peeler)

1. Combine all ingredients into a large pot.  Bring to a boil then reduce to medium and cover.
2. Let simmer at a low to medium heat for 40-45 minutes, stirring consistently.
3. When apples are soft, remove from heat and let cool for 5-10 minutes. Remove lemon peels.
4. For chunkier sauce, mash with a fork or potato masher. For smoother sauce, mash through fine metal strainer using a wooden spoon. 

final product!
The lemon juice and peel actually enhances the natural apple flavor so don't leave it out if you don't have to.

Serve warm or chilled, however you'd prefer.
Makes about 3 pints.

Pumpkin Bread...Skinny Style!

This may not quite compare to your favorite coffee shop's pumpkin bread but I've skipped the glaze and a whole lot of sugar so you conscious eaters aren't deprived of this fall favorite! In fact, this turned out so good and so moist that I have no reason to ever combine a different set of ingredients for pumpkin bread!

1 cup light brown sugar
2 egg whites
1 cup pure pumpkin
1/4 cup canola oil
1/3 cup fat free plain greek yogurt
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray 1 loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray.
2. In large bowl, combine brown sugar and egg whites. Beat with wire wisk.
3. Add pumpkin, oil, yogurt and vanilla. Beat with electric mixer until completely combined.
4. In a separate bowl stir together flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda and salt.
5.  Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and stir until mixture is completely moistened, being careful to not over mix.
6. Pour batter into loaf pan and bake 45-50 minutes. Cool in pan for 10 minutes then transfer loaf to a wire rack to cool. 

Makes 1 loaf. Can be doubled.

Serving Suggestions:
Sprinkle with a tablespoon of brown sugar before baking for an added appeal.

Also, I always try to use fresh, real food so if you can get your hands on a pie pumpkin and make the puree in place of canned pumpkin, that'd be ideal! If you've never done that before, it's quite simple and a quick google search will yield plenty of how-to's.

Since this bread is so moist and contains yogurt, I'd store the loaf in a zip lock bag in the refrigerator to enhance shelf life and prevent molding. 

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Ground Turkey Chili

 Whether it's a chilly fall evening or game day, a big bowl of chili always hits the spot. Using ground turkey and flavor packed spices will reduced the fat content and increase the comfort of this crave-able dish. And the best part, whether you think so or not, I'm willing to bet most of you already have every one of these spices in your spice cabinet!

1 tsp. olive oil
1.25 lbs. lean ground turkey (93/7 fat content)
2 Tbsp. onion (finely chopped)
1 Tbsp. garlic (minced)
1 medium green pepper
2 cups water
1 1/2 cups tomatoes (diced)
2 Tbsp. ketchup
2 Tbsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper (increase to 1/2 tsp. if you like spicy!)
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1 can (16 oz.) pinto beans (drained and rinsed)
1 can (16 oz.) kidney beans (drained and rinsed)

1. Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add ground turkey and cook until browned.
2. Drain and rinse turkey. Return turkey to pot and add onion, garlic green pepper and water.  Simmer over medium heat for 10 minutes.
3. Add tomatoes, ketchup, chili powder, paprika, oregano, cayenne pepper, cumin, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil.
4. Reduce to low heat, cover and simmer for 20 minutes.
5. Add beans and simmer for an additional 10 minutes.

Serving suggestions:
Garnish with dried parsley flakes and enjoy with a couple crackers. Skip the sour cream and cheese...this chili can stand alone!

Great leftover and freezes well.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Spaghetti Squash Pasta

Here's an easy, guilt free way to indulge in pasta. Super easy and versatile (not to mention DELICIOUS) Other than being lighter in texture, I don't know if I could really even tell a difference from regular pasta noodles. So head to your local farmer's market and pick up a spaghetti squash or two! 
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Cut spaghetti squash in half lengthwise and remove the seeds.
3. Spray a baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray and place each half face down.
4. Bake squash for 30 minutes.
5. Remove from oven and let cool until handle-able (about 15-20 minutes).
6. Take spoon and scrape the stringy insides of the squash into a bowl. Add your favorite pasta sauce, cheese, etc.
Serving suggestions: I melted shredded cheese on top, added homemade marinara pasta sauce (could use pre-made purchased pasta sauce too!), and served it with baked chicken breast. An awesome health conscious meal that I'll be making again VERY soon.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

Fall's here which means the oven is back in commission. Put those flavor packed brown bananas sitting on the counter to use and try out this super simple moist banana bread recipe (adding the chocolate chips is your call).  Looks good, doesn't it?! I have a feeling this loaf won't last long!

1/2 cup butter (softened)
3/4 cup sugar
2 ripe bananas
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 eggs
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 cup chocolate chips (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray 1 9''x5'' bread pan with non-stick cooking spray. Set aside.
2. Cream butter and sugar together in large mixing bowl. Add bananas and vanilla extract.
3. Add two eggs, flour and baking soda and mix until completely moist.
4. Stir in chocolate chips and scrap mixture into pan.
5. Bake at 350 degrees for 55-65 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool in bread pan for 10-15 minutes.   

Makes 1 loaf. Can definitely be doubled to yield 2 loaves.

Serving suggestions: Try substituting the chocolate chips with walnut pieces.

Feel free to mess around with the wheat to all-purpose flour ratio for extra fiber.  However, keep in mind the gluten content of whole wheat flour is lower and you may end up with a loaf of banana bread significantly lacking structure. I typically stay on the safe side.