Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Homemade-Applesauce Muffins

These muffins have quite a story. They started out as a craving for banana bread turned healthy (the recipe is 2 posts down!). In the banana bread recipe, I used applesauce instead of oil to make the bread healthier and more moist. While I was making the bread, I got half way through the recipe, when I realized I didn't have applesauce. So, I cored, chopped and cooked down an apple and made my own. It worked great, and the banana bread came out wonderfully.

So, a few days later, there I was, just minding my own business when WHAM! A craving for muffins. I remembered that the recipe for the banana bread which I had adapted, had mentioned using the batter for banana muffins as well. I made my way to the kitchen, and, of course, no bananas in sight. My MacGyver skills kicked in, and I gathered my supplies. I wasn't coming out of that kitchen without muffins. No, not today.

I 'settled' with apples. I figured, I had cooked one down for the banana bread, what happens if I only use apples in place of the bananas. Let me tell you, these muffins turned out wonderfully. They are so moist, with just a few tiny chunks of apples here and there. They're surprisingly sweet for using such a small amount of sugar, and the amount of cinnamon is perfect. My family is in love with these muffins, and at the moment, there are only three left from our second batch this week! My boyfriend also loves these muffins, calling them Apple Pie Muffins, because he's convinced they taste just like apple pie.

Of course, the greatest thing about these muffins, is how healthy they are. They're only 84 calories each. Yeah, you read that right. Not to mention the fact that there is no added fat, and they're made with whole wheat flour and minimal sugar. Every day I have one for breakfast AND a bedtime snack. They're wonderful warmed in the microwave with a spritz of spray butter, or room temperature. Have fun baking and enjoy!

Nutrition info is below the recipe!
Homemade-Applesauce Muffins
Makes 21 muffins
5-6 small apples, cored (about 26 oz, or 1lb 10 oz)
2 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup splenda
1/4 cup old-fashioned oats, uncooked
3 tsp baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon (divided)
1 teaspoon milled flax seed
dash apple pie spice
1 egg
3/4 cup skim milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon honey
Preheat oven to 350.
Prepare 21 muffin tins with muffin papers, lightly sprayed with canola oil.
1. Chop the apples into 1 inch chunks. Place in a large saucepan and combine with 1 teaspoon cinnamon. Cover, and cook over low until the apples are softened (15-20 minutes). Stir often. Remove the top if too much liquid accumulates in the pan.
2. Drain the apples in a large colander. Once cooled, puree the apples in several batches until they have reached a slightly chink applesauce consistency. Measure 1 3/4 cup applesauce (eat the rest!) and set aside.
3. Combine all dry ingredients (including remaining cinnamon) in a large bowl.
4. In a separate bowl, whisk together egg, milk, vanilla extract, honey, and cooled applesauce.
5. Add the dry to the wet ingredients, stirring with a spatula or wooden spoon, until just combined. Do not over mix.
6. Use a large spoon or cookie dough scoop, and measure equal amounts into each muffin tin, about 3/4 full.
7. Bake for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean.
Calories: 84 Fat: .7 g Carbohydrates: 19 g Fiber: 2.2 g Sugars: 5.6 g Protein: 2.3 g

Monday, May 10, 2010

Rosemary Chicken and Rice Soup

I have a pretty sensitive stomach, this week especially. Today I knew that I wouldn't be able to eat a heavy meal, but I was in the mood for something hearty. So what came to mind? Chicken soup of course. Maybe it is a placebo effect, but chicken soup cures all ailments! When I looked in my pantry, though, all I found was sodium-packed, condensed chicken noodle soup...I don't think I need to mention names.

So I set out to make a homemade chicken soup, that was healthy, hearty, yet still easy on my stomach. I was pleasantly surprised as to how delicious this soup turned out to be! It was super quick to make (15 minutes from start to finish!), flavorful and filled me up without upsetting my stomach.

This soup is delicious for when you're feeling under the weather as well as when you're feeling fine!

Rosemary Chicken and Rice Soup
Serves One
1/2 cup brown instant rice
1 & 1/2 cups + about 1/2 cup low sodium chicken broth
1 small chicken breast (about 2.5 ounces)
8 baby carrots
4 slices baby bella mushrooms (or 1 whole mushroom)
olive oil

1. Prepare the instant rice on the stove, following the package directions, substituting water with chicken broth. Add about 1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary. When the rice is prepared, add about 1 & 1/2 cups chicken broth. Simmer over low heat.

2. Season the chicken breast lightly with salt, pepper, thyme and rosemary. Cook in a small skillet over medium heat, about 3-4 minutes per side, or until thoroughly cooked. Set chicken aside and return pan to heat. Spray lightly with olive oil.

3. Chop the baby carrots into small rounds and toss in the hot pan for about 2 minutes, or until tender. Add to the rice and chicken broth.

4. Chop the chicken breast into small pieces and add to the pot of rice and broth.

5. Finally, chop the mushrooms into small pieces and add to the pot.

6. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and rosemary. Simmer for 3-4 minutes.

7. Enjoy!
Nutrition: Calories: 275 Carbs: 40g Fat: 2g Protein: 24g

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Whole Wheat Cinnamon and Raisin Banana Bread

The other day I was laid up at home, sicker than a dog. I had the strongest craving for banana bread, and I managed to drag myself off the couch to make some. I Googled healthy banana bread recipes, and was unimpressed with what I found. Most recipes were ridiculously high in calories, carbs or fats...And were probably titled 'Healthy,' only because the recipe contained fruit. Finally I found a basic banana bread recipe, and decided to give it a shot...With my own added and tweaked ingredients, of course. I swapped white flour with wheat flour, packaged apple sauce with homemade apple sauce, Splenda for sugar, and added cinnamon, raisins, flax and honey.

This banana bread is so incredibly moist, you would swear there was oil added. The banana bread doesn't have any 'healthy' after taste, and has just the perfect amount of sweetness. It is so low in calories for such a large piece, it can be eaten at any meal of the day...Including snack! You'll love this recipe, I guarantee it.

Whole Wheat Cinnamon and Raisin Banana Bread
Makes 12 servings

Dry ingredients
2 cups whole wheat flour
1/4 cup Splenda
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp bakind soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tablespoon milled flax seed
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 oz raisins (two miniature boxes), chopped
dash apple pie spice
Wet ingredients
1 medium apple (or in a pinch 1/4 cup unsweetened apple sauce)
3/4 cup skim milk
1 1/2 cup mashed banana
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp honey

1. Preheat oven to 350.
2. Peel and core the apple. Chop into 1/2 inch pieces. Cook in a saucepan over medium heat until very soft, adding a tablespoon of water if needed. Pulse in a food processor until the apple has reached a thick appleasuce consistency. Set aside.
3. Combine all dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
4. Combine all wet ingredients in separate bowl.
5. Using a spatula, stir together wet and dry ingredients until just combined. Do not over mix.
6. Pour into a large, lightly greased loaf pan.
7. Cook for 55-65 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the banana bread comes out clean.

Nutrition Info
Calories: 155
Fat: 1.2 g
Cholesterol: 18 mg
Sodium: 284 mg
Carbohydrates: 36 g
Dietary Fiber: 3.6 g