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Baked French Toast with Cinnamon-Maple Applesauce

My friend Marcel got a promotion at work so I invited him over for brunch on the holiday Monday. He’s a little more health conscious then me, but still loves anything sweet and cinnamon-y. I searched through a ridiculous number of cool, books and decided about creating a hybrid recipe using  the ingredients from this Cooking Light recipe but baking the toast in the oven instead. Bad news – I forgot to spray the cookie sheet. Good news – it was still darn good! The real star was the apple sauce. Although it’s springtime, the apple and cinnamon combined with the real maple syrup screamed autumn. I am going to make this a go to recipe come September/October, but its great any time of the year.

To bake, preheat the oven to 350F degrees and bake for about 7-8 minutes until the egg mixture has set.

I forgot to take a pic of course, so please enjoy this photo from Cooking Light – probably my favourite cooking publication 🙂

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Maple French Toast

Ingredients

3/4 cup 2% reduced-fat milk
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
Cooking spray
12 (1-ounce) slices day-old white bread (such as Pepperidge Farm sandwich bread)
1 tablespoon powdered sugar
Cinnamon-Maple Applesauce (recipe below)

Preparation

1. Combine first 5 ingredients in a shallow dish.

2. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Working with 4 bread slices at a time, place bread slices into milk mixture, quickly turning to coat both sides. Remove bread slices from milk mixture. Add bread slices to pan; cook 2 minutes on each side or until lightly browned. Remove toast from pan. Repeat procedure with cooking spray, remaining 8 bread slices, and remaining milk mixture. Sprinkle powdered sugar evenly over toast.

Cinnamon-Maple Applesauce

I used prepared applesauce instead of making it from apples, about 2 cups, and simmered for 20 minutes

Ingredients

1 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup water
8 cups chopped peeled apple (about 8 medium apples)
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Preparation

1. Combine syrup and 1/2 cup water in a Dutch oven; bring to a boil. Add apple, cinnamon, and nutmeg; cover and cook over medium-low heat 25 minutes or until tender. Mash apples with a potato masher. Cook, uncovered, 20 minutes or until most of liquid evaporates. Serve warm or chilled.

Pork Tenderloin with Maple Pan Juices

Well you’ve probably heard me say this more than once, but I am trying even harder to eat better, not just for my weight but for my health. I have to get my blood work done again soon and I realized I kind of fell of the healthy cooking bandwagon again so I have to get back on with hopes of making a difference in my cholesterol numbers. I’ve been checking labels and recipes for saturated fat and sodium levels, and dipping into my Cooking Light Magazine recipe stash. I found this dish in the “Cooking Light Complete Cookbook”. It’s huge and has hundreds of recipes which I really need to tap into more often.We only marinaded it for 30 minutes and it still turned out great. In another review someone mentioned they had a hard time getting the sauce to thicken and so did I, so I took their recommendation and added a tsp or so of cornstarch which did the trick. Despite the hiccup, this one is a definite keeper. Sweet, savory, and so satisfying!

On the side was a recipe from Fine Cooking Magazine for Mustard and Rosemary Roasted Potatoes. I cut the Dijon in half and the potatoes were still crisp and flavourful. They also cooked a lot faster than 50 minutes – more like 40. Highly recommend them!

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Pork Tenderloin with Maple Pan Juices

1/3 cup diced onion
1/4 cup fresh orange juice, divided
1/4 cup maple syrup, divided
2 tablespoons sake (rice wine) – I used white wine because that’s what I had on hand
2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
1/8 teaspoon pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 (1-pound) pork tenderloin
Cooking spray
1/3 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth

Combine onion, 2 tablespoons juice, 2 tablespoons syrup, sake, soy sauce, pepper and garlic in a large zip-top plasitc bag. Trim fat from pork. Add pork to bag; seal and marinate in refrigerator for 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Heat a 9-inch heavy ovenproof skillet coated with a little cooking spray over medium-high heat. (I used a cast iron skillet because I think they work the best when browning and roasting meats, and I did use a little olive oil instead of the cooking spray, which I know added a some fat). Remove pork from bag, reserving marinade. Add pork to pan; cook 5 minutes, browning on all sides. Place pan in oven; bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes or until meat thermometer registers 160 degrees (slightly pink). Remove pork from pan. Set aside, and keep warm.

Combine 2 tablespoons juice, 2 tablespoons syrup, reserved marinade, and broth in a small bowl. Add syrup mixture to pan, and place over medium-high heat, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer 5 minutes or until slightly thick. (I could not get it to thicken; so, mixed a little cornstarch with cold water, and added to the mixture to thicken.) Serve sauce with pork. Yields 4 servings.

Serving size: 3 ounces pork and 2 tablespoons of sauce. Per serving: calories 204 (13% from fat); fat 3 g (sat 1g, mono 1.3g, poly 0.4g); protein 24.4g; carb 16.9g; fiber 0.3g; chol 74 mg; iron 1.8mg; sodium 293mg; calc 29mg. These stats are without any of my changes to the recipe.

Mustard and Rosemary Roasted Potatoes

These potatoes start out looking very wet, but the mixture cooks down to leave the potatoes crisp, crusty, and tangy.

1/3 cup plus 1 Tbs. Dijon mustard
1/4 cup olive oil
1 Tbs. dry vermouth or other dry white wine
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbs. chopped fresh rosemary
1 tsp. coarse salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 lb. red-skinned potatoes, cut into 3/4- to 1-inch dice

Heat the oven to 400°F. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the mustard, olive oil, vermouth, garlic, rosemary, salt, and pepper. Add the potatoes and toss to coat. Dump the potatoes onto a large rimmed baking sheet and spread them in a single layer. Roast, tossing with a spatula a few times, until the potatoes are crusty on the outside and tender throughout, 50 to 55 minutes. Serve hot.

nutrition information (per serving):
Size : based on six servings; Calories (kcal): 220; Fat (g): fat g 11; Fat Calories (kcal): 100; Saturated Fat (g): sat fat g 1; Protein (g): protein g 4; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 7; Carbohydrates (g): carbs g 30; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 1; Sodium (mg): sodium mg 730; Cholesterol (mg): cholesterol mg 0; Fiber (g): fiber g 3;

Maple-Walnut Apple Crisp

OMG! *Drool drool drool* You wouldn’t expect something so simple  – and something from Cooking Light – to be so drool worthy! It’s seriously the best apple crisp I’ve ever made. I left out the walnuts actually, used Gala apples for the filling which ended up freshly sweet and lovely, and the crisp was no dry or soggy or bland, it was sweet, lightly spiced and well…crisp. Perfect dessert, especially when topped with vanilla ice cream. My buddy Mr. M and I inhaled two oversized servings each and I sent him home with a bunch. I didn’t want it in the house tempting me but now I’m regretting it. It would have made a decadent breakfast.

I also packed some into a Tupperware to give to my Mom tonight who happens to be in town for a couple of days. Apple desserts are her favourite so I have a feeling she’s going to love this. So I forgot to take a pretty pic, and now all I have is some cold crisp crammed into a Tupperware container so I’ll spare you the visual details and just include the image from the magazine. I just noticed this photo features a plate of crisp with two forks, presumably for a couple of people to share this serving. That’s just plain ridiculous. Not gonna happen  people. I guarantee you will want one than one serving. To be realistic, they should show someone scarfing down half the pan! lol

apple crisp

Image: Cooking Light Magazine

Maple-Walnut Apple Crisp

1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/3 cup regular oats
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup chilled butter or stick margarine, cut into small pieces
3 tablespoons chopped walnuts
7 cups sliced peeled Rome apple (about 3 pounds)
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Preparation:
Preheat oven to 375°.

Lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Combine flour, sugar, oats, and 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon in a medium bowl; cut in butter with a pastry blender or 2 knives until mixture is crumbly. Stir in walnuts.

Combine apple and remaining ingredients in a large bowl; toss well. Spoon apple mixture into an 8-inch square baking dish or 1 1/2-quart casserole. Sprinkle with crumb mixture. Bake at 375° for 45 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm.

Nutritional Information:

Calories: 208
Calories from fat: 31%
Fat: 7.1g
Saturated fat: 3.4g
Monounsaturated fat: 1.9g
Polyunsaturated fat: 1.3g
Protein: 1.8g
Carbohydrate: 36.5g
Fiber: 2.3g
Cholesterol: 14mg
Iron: 0.9mg
Sodium: 58mg
Calcium: 27mg

Baked Sweet Potatoes with Maple-Pecan-Shallot Butter

I made these as a side to my Canadian Thanksgiving dinner and it was absolutely amazing. I didn’t have shallots so I sprinkled in some onion powder instead. I have a feeling it would be out of this world with the fresh shallots. I inhaled this so quickly you’d swear I hadn’t eaten in a month! lol Needless to say, this is now my go-to sweet potato dish for special occasions!

To toast the nuts you can use three methods. Fine Cooking shows you how in this link:

http://www.finecooking.com/item/30492/3-ways-to-toast-pine-nuts

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Baked Sweet Potatoes with Maple-Pecan-Shallot Butter

For the butter:

3-1/2 oz. (7 Tbs.) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 medium shallots, peeled, halved, and thinly sliced crosswise
1/4 cup chopped pecans, toasted and cooled
1 Tbs. maple syrup
1 tsp. chopped fresh thyme leaves
Kosher salt

For the potatoes

4 medium sweet potatoes of similar size (10 to 12 oz. each), scrubbed and patted dry

Make the butter:
Melt 1 Tbs. of the butter in a medium nonstick skillet over medium-low heat. Add the shallots and cook until well browned and slightly crisp, about 6 minutes. Set them aside to cool.

In a small bowl, combine the remaining 6 Tbs. butter with the shallots, pecans, maple syrup, thyme, and 1/8 tsp. salt. Blend together with a spoon or fork until the ingredients are evenly incorporated. Set aside for at least 1 hour at room temperature. (If not using within a few hours, cover and refrigerate. Bring the butter to room temperature before using.)

Bake the potatoes:
Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 425ÂşF. Lay the potatoes on a foil-lined rimmed baking sheet and bake until the flesh is very tender when pierced with a fork, 50 minutes to 1 hour.

To serve, make a cut along the top of each potato, push on the ends to pry it partially open, and fluff the flesh with a fork. Place a dollop of the maple-pecan-shallot butter inside each potato and pass extra butter at the table, if desired.

Make Ahead Tips
The butter can be refrigerated for up to 1 week or frozen for up to 2 months.

nutrition information (per serving):
Size : based on four servings; Calories (kcal): 350; Fat (g): 8; Fat Calories (kcal): 70; Saturated Fat (g): 4; Protein (g): 5; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 2.5; Carbohydrates (g): 66; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 1; Sodium (mg): 40; Cholesterol (mg): 15; Fiber (g): 9;

Mustard-Maple Pork Tenderloin

My friend Mr. M. discovered that pork here in Canada is actually not pumped full of growth hormones so its one of the only meats he can eat in good conscience. At Metro grocery they offer “traditionally raised” meats and meat products, including pork so I decided to pick some up and find a way to prepare it. I love pan sauces so when I stumbled upon this recipe I knew it was the one.  I modified it a little by using pork tenderloin steaks which I pan fried, then used the other ingredients to make the pan sauce. Oh man it was good! The perfect balance of sweet and hot. And it only took maybe 10 minutes to cook. (I like my meat cooked medium well) It’s a great choice for a busy weeknight meal.

Each autumn, when corn is finally in season, I celebrate with a huge pot of corn on the cob, but I always forget from one year to the next, how to prepare it.  I did a little research on the internet and found these tips. Never boil the corn in salted water because your corn will become tough. Instead, bring the water to boil with 2 tablespoons of  sugar and 2 tablespoons of vinegar. Put corn in the boiling water and bring back up to a boil, then remove the pot from heat. Remove the corn and serve. You can keep it in the water for up to 10 minutes before it starts to get tough. I tried this method last night and the corn did turn out sweet and tender!

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Mustard-Maple Pork Tenderloin

4 servings | Active Time: 30 minutes | Total Time: 45 minutes

Ingredients

3 tablespoons Dijon mustard, divided
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 pound pork tenderloin, trimmed
2 teaspoons canola oil
1/4 cup cider vinegar
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh sage
Preparation

Preheat oven to 425°F.
Combine 1 tablespoon mustard, salt and pepper in a small bowl; rub all over pork. Heat oil in a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Add pork and brown on all sides, 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer the pan to the oven and roast until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the center registers 145°F, about 15 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board and let rest for 5 minutes.
Place the skillet over medium-high heat (take care, the handle will still be hot), add vinegar, and boil, scraping up any browned bits with a wooden spoon, about 30 seconds. Whisk in maple syrup and the remaining 2 tablespoons mustard; bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer and cook until the sauce is thickened, about 5 minutes.
Slice the pork. Add any accumulated juices to the sauce along with sage. Serve the pork topped with the sauce.

Per serving : 225 Calories; 7 g Fat; 2 g Sat; 3 g Mono; 78 mg Cholesterol; 9 g Carbohydrates; 28 g Protein; 0 g Fiber; 479 mg Sodium; 489 mg Potassium, 1/2 Carbohydrate Serving, Exchanges: 1/2 other carbohydrate, 4 lean meat

From EatingWell: February/March 2006, EatingWell for a Healthy Heart Cookbook (2008)

5 Ingredient Fix Recipe Reviews

I haven’t posted anything in a little while, mostly because I’ve been doing a lot of running around and not much cooking, plus I’ve been making some dinner favs instead of trying out new recipes. I thought I’d share a few recipe reviews with you this week instead. The first three are from the food network show “5 Ingredient Fix”. These were dishes I made before I started the blog. The first is for Buttermilk Pecan Chicken. It was a little tricky for me when I first started cooking because the coating didn’t stick very well, but it tasted delicious!

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/claire-robinson/buttermilk-pecan-chicken-recipe/index.html

On the side I included Brussel Sprouts with Bacon, Walnuts and Apple. It was a little different for me because of the apple but again the dish was pretty good and simple to make.  http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/claire-robinson/crispy-brussels-sprouts-recipe/index.html

The recipe I was most impressed with was the Maple Sweet Potato Puree with Caramelized onions. It was the first time I tried cooking sweet potato at home and I loved it. I’ve been adding maple syrup to my mashed sweet potato ever since.

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/claire-robinson/maple-sweet-potato-puree-with-caramelized-onions-recipe/index.html

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For dessert I made these Chocolate Dulce De Leche bars from http://www.epicurious.com . They are sweet and yummy but you can’t really tell they have dulce de leche in them so I haven’t bothered to make them again. The shortbread crust is a great idea though. This could be inspiration some some other creation. http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Chocolate-Dulce-de-Leche-Bars-242874

*Again I must apologize for the not so lovely photos but I figured they’d do in a pinch, just to help you visualize the final product.

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Maple Balsamic Brussels Sprouts

I know what you’re thinking…ewwww brussels sprouts!! But don’t be too hasty here. I didn’t think I liked them very much either, but prepared properly they can actually be quite tasty. Veggies like cabbage and brussels sprouts can turn soggy and bland when overcooked but these are sweet and tender. I served them as a side to simple  pan fried pork chops cooked in olive oil and some of my homemade butter. The dish was very filling but I didn’t feel overstuffed. I highly recommend you give the  sprouts a try 🙂

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Maple Balsamic Brussels Sprouts

Makes 2 servings

2 cups brussels sprouts
1 Tbs. grape seed oil
2 Tbs. pure maple syrup
1 Tbs. minced shallot
2 Tbs. slivered almonds
2 Tbs. balsamic vinegar

Cut off the ends of the brussels sprouts and cut in half lengthwise. Steam brussels sprouts for 5-8 minutes (until tender) Toss brussels sprouts in a pan with oil, shallots and almonds. Add balsamic vinegar 4 minutes in. Sauté brussels sprouts on medium heat for 5-6 minutes. Add in syrup right after removing the pan from heat. Serve & enjoy!

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