Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Apple chicken & Carrot muffins


We celebrated a couple of birthdays at work today, which means that Bon Apetit brought desserts to our conference room, and I indulged in many innocent-looking little plates, because friends don't let friends devour such goodies alone (and especially not on their birthdays!) 

It's OK, I countered the decadent afternoon with wholesome dinner foods!  That's right, I flavored my protein with fruit (apples) and after-dinner dessert with vegetables (carrots).

Apple Chicken + Sweet Potato Mash Ingredients (for 2 servings):
-1 apple, sliced very thin
-1/4 onion, diced
-1 garlic clove, minced
-2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
-1/2 cup apple cider (if you don't have cider, you can just use regular apple juice)
-Sprinkle of salt, pepper & fresh thyme
-2 sweet potatoes, peeled
-2 tbsp skim milk

Start by pre-heating your oven to 350 degrees, and get a pot of water boiling for the potatoes.  Then get some cooking spray on a sautee pan and toss the apple slices, minced garlic, and onion in there. 
Sautee on medium for a few minutes, then pour in the apple cider and vinegar and let it all reduce on medium/low heat. I used the below apple cider vinegar which I found at Olive & Thyme, and it's so delicious it could be consumed on its own!
Add your peeled sweet potatoes to the pot of boiling water. (Note that I cut my sweet potatoes into thirds so they'd soften up and be ready to mash in 20 minutes as opposed to the typical 40 minutes).
While all that's going, sautee two thin-sliced chicken breasts with salt & pepper on either side for a few minutes on medium heat (you'll cook the chicken the rest of the way in the oven).  Put the chicken with apple/onion/garlic mix covering it in a small pan so it can bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes and soak up the apple juices. (Yes, there are really 2 chicken breasts underneath that apple topping)!
When this is done baking, drain the water from the potato pot and mash those potatoes with the skim milk and some salt and pepper (if you're feeling crazy, you could also consider adding maple syrup, honey, cinnamon, ginger, and/or nutmeg). Today I was just craving plain sweet pot, so I went with the basics. I'm sorry I forgot to photograph the mashing of the potatoes (it's my favorite part of cooking this meal and I was so absorbed in the mashing that I failed to document the process... next time)!  I did remember to photograph my plate (I served the chicken & potato mash alongside mixed greens with grated carrots and vinaigrette on top). I also sprinkled a bit of thyme on top of the chicken.
For dessert, I made some healthy carrot cake muffins by special request.  Liz- here's the recipe I promised you!
Ingredients (for about 8 mini muffins):
-1 cup flour
-1/4 tsp baking soda
-1/2 tsp baking powder
-1/2 cup grated carrot
-1/3 cup sugar (I used baking Splenda)
-1/2 tsp cinnamon (I also added 1/4 tsp nutmeg and 1/4 tsp ginger for some extra zing)
-1/4 cup skim milk
-1 egg
-1/2 tsp vanilla extract
-1/4 cup no-sugar added applesauce (replaces oil/butter... note that baked goods with the applesauce replacement are usually best eaten straight out of the oven, hence the mini-batch here!)
Start by whisking all the wet ingredients in a bowl with the grated carrot, then add the dry ingredients and mix well.
Spray a cupcake tin and add batter like so.
Bake it in the oven at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes (Monitor the pan as it bakes). And they really puff up!
If you want to make the frosting drizzle, you'll need to whisk together the following:

-1/4 cup powdered sugar (add more depending on how thick you want it to be)
-1 tsp lemon juice
-1 tsp skim milk
I was pleasantly surprised by these, as was Justin (he popped a couple of them before getting to his apple chicken plate). You could make these muffins 100% fat free if you used egg beaters instead of a whole egg... It doesn't get more guilt-free than that!  


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