But Sugar is Sweeter

Archive for April, 2011

Healthy Granola

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I’ve really been trying to eat more yogurt, and more fruits and vegetables.  It’s not that I don’t like these things, in fact I actually really love them – its just that sometimes I forget how good they are.  I figured having granola around would be a perfect way to insure I’d eat both yogurt and fruit in the morning.  If I have some awesome granola in the pantry,  how could I pass up a fruit, yogurt and granola parfait for breakfast?

I’ve tried a bunch of granola and  I’ve learned that some granola should actually be in the grocery store right next to the “Cookie Crisps” cereal, because it offers about the same nutritional value.  I’ve got nothing against Cookie Crisps, but if your trying to make yourself a healthy breakfast, don’t be tricked by some “healthy” granola impostor at the store.  This granola actually is healthy, and the flax seed really helps to up the nutritional value.  Flax seed adds some fiber, and  it’s the best source of Omega-3 fatty acids you can get – but you barely notice it’s there. You could definitely try upping the amount used if you’re feeling adventurous.  I found mine in the same aisle as the flour, and it’s sold at most grocery stores.    A lot of granola recipes call for dried fruit, but since I tend it eat this with yogurt and fruit anyways, I like mine plain.

Healthy Granola

  • 5 1/2 cups old-fashioned oats
  • 1 3/4 cup sliced or slivered almonds
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/3 cup flax seed, milled
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup applesauce
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 Tablespoon vegetable oil

Preheat oven to 300º.  Mix the brown sugar, honey, applesauce and oil in a small bowl or a measuring cup.  In a large bowl, stir together oats, almonds, salt, cinnamon, ginger and flax seed.  Add the applesauce mixture to the dry ingredients and stir to moisten all the oats.

Spray a cookie sheet with cooking spray, and spread the granola evenly on the sheet.  Place in the oven for 30 minutes, then remove, and flip the granola using a spatula, cook for 20-25 minutes more.  Remove from oven, and let cool on the cookie sheet.  It will still seem a little moist when you first removed it from the oven, but will crisp more as it cools.

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Chipotle Almond Chicken Mole

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If you’re looking for a change from your ordinary weeknight menus – look no further!  When I first saw this recipe, I knew I wanted to make it because it would really add a lot of interest to our normal weeknight menu rotation.  While being very unique, it doesn’t call for a bunch of crazy ingredients – you could find everything at Walmart if you wanted.   I was a little worried John wouldn’t like this since it’s not your typical American fare, but to my surprise I think he liked it even more than me!  It has a smokey flavor, and yet is a little bit creamy because of the ground almonds used in the sauce.

When planning meals for the week, I put  Spicy Bean Burritos on the menu, because they also call for chipotle peppers in adobe sauce, and that way I knew the can I bought wouldn’t go to waste.  If you like your dinner on the spicy side, then use the entire chipotle pepper.   Personally, I like just a hint of heat, so I removed the seeds from the 2 peppers I used, which really cuts down on the spice.  I also happened to have some corn tortillas left over from Chicken Enchiladas , so that helped to cut down on ingredients to buy (corn tortillas last forever, or so it seems).

The recipe makes a lot of sauce, so it could really accomodate anywhere from 2 – 4 large chicken breasts.  If you don’t want to make the whole batch, just freeze the sauce and use it over some leftover chicken at a later point in time.  We ate it plain, but I’m planning on serving the leftovers over some cilantro-lime rice, yummmm.

Chipotle Almond Chicken Mole

  • 2/3 cup roasted almonds (salted is fine)
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped onion
  • 2 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 1 (14.5 oz) can  fire roasted diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 2 chipotle peppers in adobe sauce, roughly chopped
  • 1  tablespoon  sugar
  • 1/2  teaspoon  ground cumin
  • 1/4  teaspoon  salt
  • 1/8  teaspoon  ground cloves
  • 2  (6-inch) corn tortillas, torn into small pieces
  • 1  (14 1/2-ounce) can vegetable broth
  • 1  tablespoon vinegar
  • 2 – 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, trimmed of all fat

To prepare the chicken:

Preheat oven to 450°.  Sprinkle chicken with salt &  pepper and wrap, individually, in tin foil to keep the chicken moist while baking.   Place on a cookie sheet and bake for 25 minutes. Slice into strips.   *This can be done up to a day ahead of time.  As an alternative, you could poach the chicken breast in water for 15 minutes, or use leftover chicken breast from another meal.
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For the Sauce:

Place the almonds in a food processor and process for 2-3 minutes or until smooth (it takes a little bit of time, but should end up looking like peanut butter). Keep in the food processor.
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In a large skillet heat oil on medium heat.  Add the chopped onion and garlic cloves.  Sauté for 3-4 minutes.  Add the rest of the ingredients through broth: tomatoes, chipotle peppers, sugar, cumin, salt, cloves, tortillas, vegetable broth.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer for 15 minutes.

Add the tomato mixture to the food processor with the almonds.  Also add 1 T. vinegar.  Puree mixture until smooth.  Return mixture to pan and add the chicken to heat through. Serve over rice if desired.

Adapted from Cooking Light