Let’s not make dessert complicated this Valentine’s Day. For the easiest, tastiest dessert, all you need are three ingredients and three steps: cinnamon crackers, bananas and chocolate; then melt, roll and freeze! These are ingredients you most likely already have in your pantry, and if you don’t they’re certainly easy to find at any grocery store. The dairy-free chocolate-covered bananas are made extra-special with a crunchy coating of crushed cinnamon crackers. If you have kids, invite them to help out in the kitchen by peeling bananas or crushing the crackers. With such a tasty and simple recipe, this might just become a year round dessert staple.
Each of these desserts has 400 calories or less, 20 grams of total fat or less, 10 grams of saturated fat or less, and a max of 400 milligrams of sodium per serving. Dessert should be a special treat and most definitely can be enjoyed on Valentine’s Day. If you’re trying to watch your figure, cut calories even further by sharing dessert or cutting the portion in half.
When life gives you lemons, you make lemonade. When life gives you apples, you make apple tart! Here’s the back-story: I had a bushel of apples in my kitchen recently and thought, “I’m heading out of town, will my family really eat all these apples while I’m gone?” I didn’t think so . . . since I hate wasting food, I decided to turn 6 of the apples into a tart. “A tart?” you say. “Too complicated”, you huff. Actually, not complicated at all. And since there are just 5 ingredients, it’s easier to prepare than most main dishes we conquer on a hectic weeknight. Read on and enjoy those apples. Oh, and by the way, you can also make the tart with sliced pears or peaches.
Food Safety Note
These rum balls have been modified from the version my mom made when I was younger. The original version calls for a raw egg (the batter isn’t cooked). To make these rum balls kid-friendly and adhere to prevent salmonella, I use a pasteurized whole egg and swapped in rum extract for the real stuff. This means the egg was heat treated to kill pathogens, though it looks like any other raw egg. Many markets carry them—look for the word “pasteurized” on the label.
According to the USDA’s Dietary Guidelines for Americans, we should all be eating 2 cups of orange veggies each week. Pumpkin pie can help meet these recommendations plus that brilliant orange color provides the antioxidants vitamin A and lutein.
Fatty ingredients like traditional pastry crust, butter, cream cheese, half-and-half, or shortening can sabotage the nutritional value. Mountains of sugar from canned pumpkin pie filling and spoonfuls of sugary toppings can also send calories through the roof. Topped with whipped cream or a la mode, a slice can weigh in at close to 500 calories.
Healthy Pumpkin Pie Tips:
- Use gingersnap cookies for a lighter crust made without partially hydrogenated oils or make your own canola oil pie crust.
- No need for mounds of sugar—let the sweetness of the pumpkin take over.
- Steer clear of sugary or heavily-sweetened pumpkin pie filling. The canned pumpkin puree should have one ingredient; add your own spices from there.
- Serve with one heaping spoon of freshly made whipped cream and fresh fruit like apples, oranges and pears.
- Try Food Network Kitchens slimmed version.
A lower-fat cheesecake that’s not low on flavor. If you’ve never tried this combination before, now’s the time.
Recipe: Pumpkin Cheesecake
Cut the calories on apple pie with this lightened pastry.
Recipe: Apple Cranberry Phyllo Turnovers
A bite-sized treat, filled with pumpkin goodness.
Recipe: Pumpkin Caramels
Hot days call for frozen pies. Cool, creamy and smooth — they’re like instant air conditioning for your mouth. When I was little, my grandmother lived in the Florida Keys and I visited every summer. The best memories I have include cooling off in the crystal clear Atlantic and taking heaping spoonfuls of her velvety key lime pie.
My grandma had key limes growing in her backyard, so making pies was a breeze (a very warm breeze, but a breeze nonetheless). For those of you without the green gems in your market, I’ve got the perfect solution. I’ve made the pie countless ways and discovered that you can make it with ANY citrus juice and zest. Pick your favorite – lemon, lime, orange, grapefruit – add a few simple ingredients, and you’re in frozen pie heaven.
What’s not to love about chocolate cake? One of my most vivid childhood memories involves sneaking slivers of my mom’s rich chocolate layer cake iced with a killer fudge frosting. For some reason, the cake tasted better the second day, when I ate it directly off the serving plate (with the refrigerator door wide open).
In my opinion, there’s always room for decadence in a healthy diet. Enjoy what you love once in awhile and eat healthy most of the time. If you want to know why you should relegate chocolate cake to “once in awhile,” consider that one unfrosted slice, can have 650 calories and 33 grams of fat.
So what about those everyday chocolate cravings? I’ve developed a sinful-tasting chocolate cake – one that tastes naughty but is nice nutritionally. In fact, I wanted THIS cake for Mother’s Day this year (after considering all my store-bought options). I prepped the ingredients 2 days ahead (dry ingredients in one bowl, wet ingredients in another) and waited until Mother’s Day to mix and bake. Easy breezy. And so heavenly. I hope you love it too!
Whenever a crowd gathers for a holiday celebration, there are bound to be guests with various dietary considerations or food allergies. Accommodate everyone on your Easter celebration guest list this year with these seasonal treats.
Creamy rice pudding is teamed up with sweet cherries for a magical (and gluten free) combination.
Recipe: Rice Pudding with Cherries (*see note)
Low in saturated fat and cholesterol, this down-sized classic will make your guests swoon.
Recipe: Pineapple Upside Down Cupcakes