Not only is this ultra-creamy version of mac-and-cheese nearly as fast as the boxed variety, but your family will be able to pronounce every ingredient. If they aren't broccoli fans, substitute a frozen vegetable of your choice.
4 servings, 1 1/4 cups each
8 ounces whole-wheat elbow noodles (2 cups)
1 10-ounce package frozen chopped broccoli
1 3/4 cups low-fat milk, divided
3 tablespoons flour
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
3/4 cup shredded extra-sharp Cheddar cheese
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook pasta for 4 minutes. Add frozen broccoli and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until the pasta and broccoli are just tender, 4 to 5 minutes more.
Meanwhile, heat 1 1/2 cups milk in another large pot over medium-high heat until just simmering. Whisk the remaining 1/4 cup milk, flour, garlic powder, salt and pepper in a small bowl until combined. Add the flour mixture to the simmering milk; return to a simmer and cook, whisking constantly, until the mixture is thickened, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and whisk in Cheddar, Parmesan and mustard until the cheese is melted.
Drain the pasta and broccoli and add to the cheese sauce. Return to the heat and cook, stirring, over medium-low heat, until heated through, about 1 minute.
Per serving:412 calories; 13 g fat ( 7 g sat , 1 g mono ); 37 mg cholesterol; 56 g carbohydrates; 22 gprotein; 7 g fiber; 640 mg sodium; 236 mg potassium.
Nutrition Bonus: Vitamin C (70% daily value), Calcium (40% dv), Vitamin A (25% dv), Magnesium (16% dv).
These popcorn balls are made with agave nectar and peanut butter and are spiked with chocolate-covered pretzels and dried cherries for a special treat. Try making them for your Halloween party this year.
12 (2-inch) balls
6 heaping cups popped corn
1/4 cup agave nectar (see Note) or honey
1/4 cup creamy natural peanut butter or almond butter, at room temperature
2 tablespoons finely chopped dark chocolate-covered pretzels
2 tablespoons finely chopped dried cherries
Line a baking sheet with parchment or wax paper. Prepare a medium bowl of ice water. Put popcorn in a large bowl.
Combine agave (or honey) and peanut butter (or almond butter) in a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring gently but constantly. As soon as the mixture starts to lightly bubble, cook, stirring constantly, for 15 seconds more.
Immediately pour the mixture evenly over the popcorn; gently mix with a wooden spoon or spatula until well coated. Gently stir in dark chocolate-covered pretzels and finely chopped dried cherries.
Dip both hands in the ice water. Working quickly, press small handfuls (heaping 1/4 cup each) of the popcorn mixture firmly into 2-inch balls. (Make sure each ball gets a little bit of the pretzels and dried cherries.) Place the balls on the prepared baking sheet. If they seem too fragile, rinse hands with cold water and press and squeeze each ball again to help keep it together.
Let cool completely before storing. To store, individually wrap in plastic wrap and store in an airtight container.
TIPS & NOTES
Make Ahead Tip: Wrap airtight for up to 2 days, but best the day they are made.
Note: Agave syrup or nectar is the naturally sweet juice extracted from the agave plant. It has a lower glycemic index and is lower in calories than table sugar, but is even sweeter. Use it in moderation when substituting for table sugar. Look for it near other sweeteners in health food stores and well-stocked supermarkets.
Per ball:89 calories; 3 g fat ( 1 g sat , 0 g mono ); 0 mg cholesterol; 13 g carbohydrates; 6 g added sugars;2 g protein; 1 g fiber; 34 mg sodium; 18 mg potassium.
1/3 cup bittersweet chocolate chips, melted (see Tip)
1 tablespoon finely chopped crystallized ginger
1 tablespoon finely chopped dried cranberries
Dip gingersnaps into melted chocolate. Let the excess drip off. Place on a wax paper-lined plate. Sprinkle with crystallized ginger and cranberries. Refrigerate until the chocolate is set, about 30 minutes.
TIPS & NOTES
Make Ahead Tip: Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
Tip: To melt chocolate: Microwave on Medium for 1 minute. Stir, then continue microwaving on Medium in 20-second intervals until melted, stirring after each interval. Or place in the top of a double boiler over hot, but not boiling, water. Stir until melted.
Per serving:157 calories; 6 g fat ( 3 g sat , 1 g mono ); 0 mg cholesterol; 28 g carbohydrates; 2 g protein; 1 g fiber; 97 mg sodium; 96 mg potassium.
In our homemade version of French onion dip, we simmer chopped onions in broth and use reduced-fat sour cream and yogurt for the familiar rich and creamy flavor. All told, our version has 12 grams less fat and nearly 50 percent less sodium per serving than the original.
About 2 1/2 cups
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
4 cups chopped onions
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 14-ounce can reduced-sodium beef broth, or 1 3/4 cups mushroom broth
2 teaspoons onion powder
2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
1 cup reduced-fat sour cream
1/3 cup nonfat plain yogurt
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions and salt; cook, stirring occasionally, until beginning to brown, 6 to 10 minutes. Add broth, scrape up any browned bits, and simmer until the liquid is almost evaporated, 10 to 20 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook until the onions are deep golden brown, 5 to 8 minutes more. Stir in onion powder, then stir in vinegar and cook until evaporated, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool for 20 minutes.
Combine sour cream and yogurt in a medium bowl. Stir in the onion mixture. Chill for at least 30 minutes to blend flavors.
TIPS & NOTES
Make Ahead Tip: Cover and refrigerate the onion mixture (Step 1) for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 2 months. Cover and refrigerate the dip for up to 3 days.
Per 1/4-cup serving:82 calories; 5 g fat ( 2 g sat , 2 g mono ); 10 mg cholesterol; 8 g carbohydrates; 3 gprotein; 1 g fiber; 203 mg sodium; 163 mg potassium.
You don't need a deep fryer to make crispy potato chips. We toss thinly sliced potatoes with just a touch of olive oil, pop them in the microwave and voilÃ ! Crispy, crunchy homemade potato chips with 8 grams less fat per serving than regular chips.
1 1/3 pounds Yukon Gold or red potatoes, unpeeled, scrubbed
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
Slice potatoes into thin (1/8-inch) rounds. Toss the slices in a medium bowl with oil and salt to coat evenly.
Coat a large microwave-proof plate with cooking spray. Arrange some potato slices in a single layer on the plate. Microwave, uncovered, on High until some slices start to brown, 2 to 3 minutes (depending on potato thickness and microwave power). Turn the slices over and continue microwaving until they start to crisp and brown around the edges, 2 to 4 minutes more. Check frequently and rearrange slices as needed to prevent scorching. Transfer the chips to another plate and allow to cool completely. (They will crisp more as they cool.) Repeat with the remaining potato slices.
TIPS & NOTES
Make Ahead Tip: Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
Per serving:141 calories; 2 g fat ( 0 g sat , 2 g mono ); 0 mg cholesterol; 26 g carbohydrates; 0 g added sugars; 3 g protein; 2 g fiber; 291 mg sodium; 807 mg potassium.
Traditional recipes for apple squares often use plenty of trans fat-laden shortening in the crust. We replaced it with a mixture of canola oil and butter and swapped out half the all-purpose flour for whole-wheat pastry flour for a little fiber. They are best enjoyed slightly warm. Gently reheat any leftovers in the oven or toaster oven to recrisp the crust.
1 1/4 cups whole-wheat pastry flour
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar, plus 3/4 cup, divided
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter
5 tablespoons canola oil
1/3 cup ice water
1 large egg, separated
4 cups thinly sliced firm tart apples, such as Granny Smith, Empire or Cortland, peeled if desired
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Whisk whole-wheat flour, all-purpose flour, 2 tablespoons sugar, salt and baking powder in a large bowl. Cut butter into small pieces and quickly rub them into the dry ingredients with your fingers until smaller but still visible. Add oil and toss with a fork to combine. Whisk water and egg yolk in a small bowl. Add to the flour mixture and stir until it begins to come together. Knead the dough with your hands in the bowl a few times until it forms a ball. Divide the dough in half and shape into 5-inch disks. Wrap each in plastic and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 400°F. Coat a 9-by-13-inch baking pan with cooking spray and line the bottom and sides with parchment paper.
Combine apples, the remaining 3/4 cup sugar and cinnamon in a large bowl.
Roll one portion of dough between sheets of parchment or wax paper into a 9-by-13-inch rectangle. Peel off the top sheet and invert the dough into the prepared pan. Peel off the remaining paper. Trim the dough so it covers just the bottom of the pan. Spread the apple filling evenly over the dough. Using the parchment or wax paper, roll out the remaining dough, invert it over the filling and trim the edges so it just covers the filling. Whisk the egg white in a bowl until frothy and evenly brush over the top crust. Lightly sprinkle the crust with additional sugar, if desired.
Bake until golden brown and bubbling, 40 to 45 minutes. Let cool for at least 1 hour before cutting into 12 squares.
TIPS & NOTES
Make Ahead Tip: Prepare the crust (Step 1), wrap tightly and refrigerate for up to 2 days or freeze for up to 6 months. | Equipment: Parchment paper
Per serving:253 calories; 10 g fat ( 3 g sat , 4 g mono ); 28 mg cholesterol; 37 g carbohydrates; 3 g protein;2 g fiber; 163 mg sodium; 49 mg potassium.
Deliciously addictive, these simple fruit candies have an intense cranberry-raspberry flavor and a consistency vaguely reminiscent of soft gumdrops. The individual candies are normally rolled in granulated sugar, but for a different, frosted look and smooth consistency, you can roll them in sifted powdered sugar instead.
2 cups thawed cranberry juice cocktail concentrate, divided
4 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin, (about 6 packets)
2 2/3 cups raspberries, fresh or frozen, thawed
2 cups cranberries, fresh or frozen, thawed
2 teaspoons freshly grated lemon zest
2 tablespoons lemon juice
3 cups granulated sugar, plus about 2/3 cup for dusting
Lightly coat an 8-inch-square baking pan with cooking spray. Line the pan with plastic wrap, allowing it to overhang by 2 inches on two sides. Lightly and evenly coat the plastic wrap all over with cooking spray (the candy will stick to any unsprayed areas).
Place 1/2 cup cranberry juice concentrate in a small bowl. Sprinkle gelatin over it and let stand, stirring once or twice.
Meanwhile, in a heavy, nonreactive (see Note) Dutch oven, stir together the remaining 1 1/2 cups cranberry juice concentrate, raspberries, cranberries, lemon zest, lemon juice and 3 cups sugar. Bring to a boil, stirring, over medium-high heat. Clip a candy thermometer to the pan, adjusting it so the tip is submerged but not touching the bottom. Boil briskly, stirring frequently, until the mixture cooks down slightly, 6 to 7 minutes. Lower the heat so the mixture boils gently and cook, stirring frequently, until it reaches 244°F, about 25 minutes.
Remove from heat. Add the gelatin mixture (it will be very firm by now), stirring until it completely dissolves. Immediately pour the jelly mixture into a fine sieve set over a nonreactive bowl. Force through as much juice and pulp as possible using a heatproof spatula or wooden spoon; work briskly, as the mixture will thicken as it cools. Transfer the jelly to the prepared pan. Let stand, uncovered, on a cooling rack until completely set, 3 to 4 hours. Refrigerate for 4 hours, or overnight, to reduce the stickiness before cutting.
Generously dust a large cutting board with granulated sugar. Holding the edges of the plastic, lift the jelly out of the pan. Lay the slab top-side down on the board. Peel off the plastic. Sprinkle the slab all over with some of the remaining 2/3 cup sugar. Using a lightly oiled large sharp knife, trim off and discard the slab edges all around, forming clean edges. Cut the piece lengthwise and crosswise into eighths or tenths, forming individual jelly squares, cleaning and re-oiling the knife as necessary. Roll each square in sugar until coated on all sides. Let the jellies stand, uncovered, to dry for 4 hours, or overnight. Once dry, dust with additional sugar, covering all surfaces. Store the jellies, not touching each other, in single layers separated by wax paper (or in paper candy cups), in a flat, wax paper-lined storage container in the refrigerator. Serve at room temperature.
TIPS & NOTES
Make Ahead Tip: Store the jellies in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 month. Bring to room temperature before serving. Equipment: Candy thermometer
Per jelly:71 calories; 0 g fat ( 0 g sat , 0 g mono ); 0 mg cholesterol; 18 g carbohydrates; 1 g protein; 1 gfiber; 1 mg sodium; 29 mg potassium.