It’s been a warm fall so far, but the chill in the air each morning reminds us that fall weather is, indeed, fast approaching. Consider trying one of these autumn recipes below. Using fall fruits and vegetables packed with antioxidants will give you an extra nutritional boost to beat the chilly weather.
Autumn Harvest Salad
Pumpkin seeds used in this salad add heart-healthy fat and fiber. (If you don’t have time to carve a pumpkin and toast the seeds, you can usually find them in your grocery store with other packaged nuts and seeds). The dried cranberries give you a serving of cancer-fighting antioxidants and the agave nectar is a nice alternative to other types of sugar.
5 ounces of salad greens
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/2 red onion, sliced very thin (optional)
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
1/2 cup apple cider
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons agave nectar
1 teaspoon pure maple syrup
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
freshly ground pepper, to taste
Assemble salad ingredients. Prepare vinaigrette in separate bowl and toss with salad greens right before serving.
Maple Baked Apple Chicken
This simple recipe is a quick, easy, low-fat meal that can also be prepared in a slow-cooker.
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
½ medium onion, sliced
2 medium apples, peeled and sliced
½ cup maple syrup
1/3 cup fat-free Italian dressing
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Brown chicken in skillet over medium high heat (about three minutes per side). Add onion and sautÃ© until tender. Place chicken, onion, and apples in a baking dish. Top with syrup and dressing. Bake for 20-25 minutes.
Butternut Squash, Rice, and Sausage Casserole
The antioxidant-rich butternut squash used in this recipe is also high in fiber. Using low-fat chicken sausage provides added protein without the extra calories and saturated fat.This casserole can also be prepared in a slow-cooker; cook on low for up to 8 hours and you will have a delicious dinner waiting for you at home
1 butternut squash
3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 cup water
1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage
2 teaspoons olive oil, divided
1 pound low-fat chicken apple sausage
1 cup onion, diced
1 apple, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup brown rice
¼ cup dry white wine
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
¼ cup grated fresh parmesan cheese
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place squash on baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes or until tender. Cut squash lengthwise; peel and seed it, and chop into cubes. Increase oven temperature to 400 degrees. In a medium saucepan over low heat, bring broth, water, and sage to a simmer without allowing it to come to a boil. In a large nonstick skillet or wok, heat 1 teaspoon of the olive oil over medium-high heat and brown the sausage; set aside. In the same skillet, sautÃ© onion in remaining olive oil over medium-high heat until tender. Add the apple and garlic, and sautÃ© for two minutes. Add the rice, and sautÃ© for an additional minute. Stir in the sausage, squash, broth mixture, wine, chopped thyme, salt, and pepper, and cook for five minutes, stirring occasionally. Place the casserole mixture in a 13 x 9-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes.
Remove casserole from oven, stir mixture gently, and sprinkle with cheese. Return to oven and bake for an additional five minutes, or until cheese is melted and bubbly.
Carmen Roberts, M.S., R.D., L.D.N., is a registered dietitian, receiving her undergraduate degree in dietetics from James Madison University and her master’s degree in health education and administration from Towson University. She is a certified specialist in adult weight management and teaches cooking classes. Carmen enjoys educating her clients about how nutrition affects the body and its role in overall health and wellness. She also loves volunteering, including as a Girl Scout troop leader.