Katie's Healthy Bites: My Ode to Apples

by in Healthy Recipes, September 20, 2009

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We’re kicking off Apple Week here at Healthy Eats, and I thought what better way than to share some fun facts and a few recipes (both savory and sweet) that star this simple fruit. Make it a day of apples.

For breakfast: Buckwheat Pancakes with Applesauce
For lunch: Chicken Salad (with an apple and walnut crunch)
For dinner: Balsamic Rosemary Chicken with Roasted Apples

But first up, some apple trivia (I’m a nerd for this stuff!). Did you know…

  • Apples are member of the rose family, which maybe that why they smell so yummy when you take a bite!
  • The world’s top apple producers are China, United States, Turkey, Poland and Italy.
  • The top apple-producing U.S. states are Washington, New York, Michigan, Pennsylvania, California and Virginia.
  • Apples ripen faster at room temperature (and I think they taste better when they’re not stored in the fridge).
  • Keep the peel on. Most of the fiber and antioxidants are in the skin.
  • Bobbing for apples is a classic fall game. They float because they’re 20 to 25% air!
  • We grow an estimated 7,500 varieties of apples all around the world.
  • And in case you were wondering, my favorites are Honey Crisp, Pink Lady and Granny Smith…what are yours?

Now on the to good stuff — recipes! We’ve all heard the phrase “an apple a day keeps the doctor away.” Well, they aren’t a cure-all food, but they are a healthy and easy item to use in many meals, especially now while they’re in season.

Buckwheat Pancakes with Fresh Applesauce
Serves: 4 (2 pancakes each)

    Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup spelt flour (or all purpose flour)
  • 1/2 cup buckwheat flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon honey or 1 teaspoon agave
  • 1 cup skim milk
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 large egg

In a large bowl, stir together spelt flour, buckwheat flour, cinnamon and baking powder.  In a separate bowl, combine the wet ingredients — milk, oil, honey and egg.  Back in the larger bowl, mix together the wet and dry ingredients with a wisk to avoid clumping.

Heat a griddle or sauté pan over medium heat.  Coat with cooking spray or vegetable oil to prevent sticking. Pour or scoop the batter onto the pan, using about 1/8 cup for each pancake. Brown on both sides, and serve hot with warm applesauce (recipe below).

Applesauce
Serves: 4

    Ingredients

  • 4 sweet apples (like Fuji or Honey Crisp)
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon honey or 1 tsp agave*
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

In a saucepan, combine apples, water, honey and cinnamon. Cover, and cook over medium heat for 15 to 20 minutes, or until apples are soft. Allow to cool, then puree in a food processor to your desired consistency. Dish out on to your freshly cooked buckwheat pancakes.
*If your apples are really sweet you may not need to add any sweetener

Nutrition Info (for pancakes and applesauce combined):
Calories: 245; Fat: 6 grams; Saturated Fat: .95 grams; Protein: 7.3 grams; Cholesterol: 61 milligrams; Sodium: 354 milligrams; Fiber: 4.3 grams

Tarragon Chicken, Apple, Cranberry & Walnut Salad Sandwich
Serves: 4

    Ingredients

  • 8 slices whole-grain bread
  • 12 ounces boneless, skinless chicken breast, cooked and shredded
  • 2 tablespoons low-fat Greek yogurt
  • 1 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 3/4 cup Granny Smith apple, skin on and diced
  • 2 tablespoons dried cranberries
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted, roasted walnuts, chopped
  • 1 tablespoons fresh tarragon, chopped

Combine the cooked chicken, yogurt, Dijon mustard, apples, dried cranberries and walnuts in a bowl and mix well. Split chicken salad into four equal portions, and serve each portion with two slices of toasted whole-grain bread.

Nutrition Info:
Calories: 362; Fat: 8.25 grams; Saturated Fat: 1.6 grams; Carbohydrates: 44 grams; Cholesterol: 74 milligrams; Sodium: 497 milligrams; Fiber: 7.16 grams

Balsamic Rosemary Chicken with Roasted Apples & Butternut Squash
Serves: 4

    Ingredients

  • 5 boneless, skinless, chicken breasts (5 ounces each)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoons fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 4 cups butternut squash, cubed
  • 2 cups apples, skin on and cubed (I like Golden Delicious)
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Pepper to taste

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Place chicken in a bowl or seal in a plastic bag. In a separate, smaller bowl, combine half of the oil, the Dijon, balsamic vinegar, rosemary and pepper. Pour the mixture over chicken and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.

While the chicken is marinating, prepare the squash and apples. Toss the apples with maple syrup and lemon juice. In a baking dish, coat squash with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Bake covered for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and add the apple mixture. Bake uncovered for another 30 minutes or until squash and apples are tender. Stir occasionally.

While squash and apples finish cooking, remove the chicken from refrigerator. Heat a skillet to medium high heat. Cook chicken for 5 to 6 minutes per side or until cooked through. This works great on the grill as well.

Serve with warm squash and apples.

Nutrition Info:
Calories: 335.5; Fat: 9.15 grams; Saturated Fat: 1.5 grams; Protein: 34.6 grams; Carbohydrates: 31.5 grams; Cholesterol: 82 milligrams;  Sodium: 324 milligrams; Fiber: 4.5 grams

Katie Cavuto Boyle, MS, RD, owns HealthyBites, LLC and competed in season 5 of The Next Food Network Star.

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Comments (19)

  1. Loress Dunn says:

    My faves are Pacific Rose (not very appley in flavor) and Gala. I always leave the peel on for eating fresh and don't know why anyone would want to remove it unless for a recipe. It is my belief that apples truly do 'keep the doctor away.'

  2. Sandy says:

    For eating–Honey Crisp, Gala, McIntosh
    For baking–Granny Smith

  3. Jaclyn Rogers says:

    for eating- red delicious. For baking- granny smith. My kids will eat any kind of apple if you put it in front of them.

  4. Susan W says:

    I haven't met an apple I did not like!

  5. Jennifer says:

    I like Golden Delicious for eating and I agree with the Granny Smith for cooking. There's nothing better.

  6. Mia says:

    We used to have "Apple Day" every year in the fall after picking bushels of apples from my grandmother's backyard. Mom would get us all (4 kids) in the kitchen with the task of making as many apple dishes as we could think of (or create as my brother used to do) that we could freeze for the winter. Mmmm… apple crisp, apple bread, apple cider, apple pies, apples, apples, apples!

  7. Kristina Hudson says:

    My favorites are Honey Crisp and Ambrosia. I can't stand Granny Smith! For baking I'll use Golden Delicious, Cortland, or JonahGold. I also throw in some eating apples alot of the time when I'm baking. I love the different flavor they lend and they also add a different texture to the finished product.

  8. carol says:

    My favorite apple for both eating and cooking is the Northern Spy. Crisp, juicy, holds its shape when cooked and a unique flavor. Unfortunately a biannual apple with a strong yield every other year.

  9. Dianna says:

    Lately I've really gotten back into eating apples. I found a bad of apple slices which was sweet and fresh. I open the frig and grab a hand full and munch away. I've tried both the sweet red and tart green. I don't like the tart green. They didn't have very much flavor, but the sweet red was wonderful!

  10. Jennifer says:

    Hands down, Pink Lady are my year-round favorite. I never stray…until the fall, when I eat my heart out of every apple in sight. I love honey crisp and all of the Michigan varieties. I always eat an apple a day, 365 days a year. It's my favorite food! :)

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