instructor takeover: jenna’s favorite healthy dessert

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I don’t know about you, but I’ve got the biggest sweet tooth!  I’ll take sweet over salty any day.  I strive to eat as healthy and clean as I can to keep myself strong and energized to get through Paula’s killer thigh series, but I also know that I should treat myself in moderation.  I came across a healthy dessert blogger a year or two ago who goes by Chocolate Covered Katie.  I tried out a few of her recipes and I fell in love!  She has so many yummy, modified sweets recipes that won’t cost you a quarter of your daily calories like so many desserts do.

One of my favorites that I find myself making over and over is her oatmeal chocolate chip cookies.  These cookies don’t have any butter in them, so they will have a consistency more like a soft granola bar.  Bonus: They also have walnuts and coconut in them, adding in omega-3s & potassium!  Healthier dessert with benefits — who says you can’t have the best of both worlds?!

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 cup of spelt or whole wheat flour
  • 3/4 cup rolled oats
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 3 tbsp chopped walnuts
  • 3 tbsp shredded coconut
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup + 1 tbsp vegetable oil (coconut oil can be substituted)
  • 1/4 cup + 1 tbsp pure maple syrup
  • pinch of stevia, or 1 extra tbsp pure maple syrup
  • if using stevia option, add 1tbsp milk of choice

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees & grease a muffin pan or cookie tray.  I find the muffin pan works best so the cookies don’t roll around.  Since there is no butter in the recipe, they won’t melt like a normal cookie.

In a mixing bowl, combine all the dry ingredients.  In a separate bowl, stir together the wet ingredients.  Combine the two bowls to form a dough.  Chill for at least an hour in the fridge.  After the dough has chilled, roll the dough into cookie-sized balls and place in the muffin pan or on the cookie tray.  Place in the oven and bake for 7 minutes.  Once you remove these yummy bites from the oven, let sit in pan for about ten minutes to cool before moving to the cooling rack or plate.  Dig in!  I know you’ll love them as much as I do!

xoxo,  Jenna C.

Avocado Fries

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Be sure to choose firm but ripe avocados. To determine if the fruit is ripe, hold it in the palm of your hand and very gently squeeze–the avocado should give slightly under gentle pressure. Color does not indicate ripeness and can range from light to dark green depending on the variety. To ripen hard avocados, place in a brown paper bag and store at room temperature for up to two days. Store soft fruit in the refrigerator to extend its life for two or three more days.

Ingredients
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup plain breadcrumbs
2 large egg whites
2 firm, ripe avocados
Cooking spray
1 lemon, cut into 6 wedges

Preparation

1. Preheat broiler. Place a baking sheet in oven while broiler preheats.

2. Combine flour, salt, and pepper in a shallow dish. Place breadcrumbs in a shallow dish. Place egg whites in a small bowl, and whisk until foamy.

3. Halve avocados, remove pits, and cut each half into 6 wedges. Pull off peels.

4. Dredge avocado wedges in flour, dip in egg white, and then dredge in breadcrumbs. Remove baking sheet from oven; coat with cooking spray. Place avocado slices on baking sheet; coat avocados with cooking spray.

5. Broil 5 minutes or until brown on top. Turn and broil 2 more minutes. Remove and serve with lemon wedges.

Nutritional Information
Calories 144
Fat 10.1 g
Satfat 1.5 g
Monofat 6.6 g
Polyfat 1.2 g
Protein 4 g
Carbohydrate 12 g
Fiber 5 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Iron 1 mg
Sodium 153 mg
Calcium 13 mg

Bread Salad with Cranberries, Spinach, and Chicken

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Ingredients

CHICKEN:
1 teaspoon ground fennel
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper
4 (6-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
4 teaspoons olive oil
VINAIGRETTE:
2 tablespoons thinly sliced shallots
5 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon grated orange rind
2 tablespoons orange juice
2 tablespoons cranberry juice
2 tablespoons honey
1/2 teaspoon ground fennel
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
SALAD:
6 cups loosely packed spinach (about 6 ounces)
2 1/2 cups (1/2-inch) cubed French bread, toasted (about 4 ounces)
1/2 cup dried sweetened cranberries
2 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted
2 tablespoons thinly sliced shallots
2 tablespoons sliced pitted kalamata olives

Preparation

To prepare chicken, combine first 4 ingredients; rub evenly over chicken. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add chicken to pan; cook 5 minutes on each side or until done. Remove chicken from pan.

To prepare vinaigrette, add 2 tablespoons shallots and garlic to pan; cook for 3 minutes or until shallots and garlic begin to brown, stirring occasionally. Stir in red wine vinegar, orange rind, juices, honey, 1/2 teaspoon fennel, black pepper, and 1/4 teaspoon salt; cook over medium-high heat until reduced to 1/2 cup (about 1 minute). Remove vinaigrette from pan, and cool completely.

To prepare salad, chop chicken into bite-sized pieces. Combine chicken, spinach, and remaining ingredients in a large bowl. Add vinaigrette; toss gently to coat. Serve immediately.

Nutritional Information

Calories 307
Caloriesfromfat 24 %
Fat 8.2 g
Satfat 1.1 g
Monofat 4 g
Polyfat 1.7 g
Protein 29.5 g
Carbohydrate 28.9 g
Fiber 2.2 g
Cholesterol 66 mg
Iron 2.7 mg
Sodium 511 mg
Calcium 70 mg

Sausage, Fennel, and Ricotta Pizza

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Ingredients

12 ounces refrigerated fresh pizza dough
1 (4-ounce) link Italian turkey sausage
1 cup thinly sliced fennel bulb
1 tablespoon cornmeal
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/3 cup part-skim ricotta
1 teaspoon minced fresh garlic
1/3 cup thinly sliced red onion
2 teaspoons fennel seeds
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

Preparation

1. Place a pizza stone or heavy baking sheet in oven. Preheat oven to 500° (keep pizza stone or baking sheet in oven as it preheats). Let pizza dough stand at room temperature, covered, while oven preheats.

2. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Remove casing from sausage. Add sausage to pan; cook 4 minutes or until lightly browned, stirring to crumble. Add fennel bulb; cook 4 minutes or until tender.

3. Roll pizza dough into a 16-inch oval on a lightly floured surface. Carefully remove pizza stone from oven. Sprinkle cornmeal over pizza stone; place dough on pizza stone. Brush dough evenly with oil. Sprinkle sausage mixture evenly over dough, leaving a 1-inch border. Combine ricotta and garlic in a small bowl; top pizza with teaspoonfuls of ricotta mixture. Sprinkle red onion and remaining ingredients evenly over pizza. Bake at 500° for 11 minutes or until golden. Cut into 8 slices.

Nutritional Information

Calories 344
Fat 9.9 g
Satfat 2.1 g
Monofat 4.7 g
Polyfat 1.5 g
Protein 15.5 g
Carbohydrate 46.4 g
Fiber 7.6 g
Cholesterol 23 mg
Iron 2.2 mg
Sodium 646 mg
Calcium 84 mg

Apricot Streusel Bars

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Ingredients

1 1/2 cups rolled oats (not instant)
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 sticks (1/2 lb.) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup milk
1 1/2 cups apricot preserves
3/4 cup sliced almonds

Preparation

Preheat oven to 375°F. Butter and lightly flour a 9-by-13-inch baking pan.

Pulse oats, flour, sugar, cinnamon, baking soda and salt in a food processor to combine. Add butter and vanilla extract, pulsing until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add milk; pulse until mixture clumps and looks slightly damp. (Add another tablespoon of milk if mixture is too dry.)

Set aside 1 cup dough; press remaining dough into an even layer in pan. Bake until golden, 20 minutes.

Spread preserves evenly over hot dough; top with remaining dough and almonds. Bake until golden and bubbly, 35 minutes. Cool on a wire rack and cut into bars.

Nutritional Information

Calories 218
Fat 10 g
Satfat 5 g
Protein 3 g
Carbohydrate 32 g
Fiber 1 g
Cholesterol 20 mg
Sodium 89 mg

Tomato Tart

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Ingredients

1/2 (14.1-ounce) package refrigerated pie dough
Cooking spray
2.5 ounces fontina cheese, shredded (about 2/3 cup)
1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives, chopped
1/3 cup sliced shallots
3 heirloom tomatoes, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon cornmeal
1 tablespoon thyme
1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 1/4 cups 2% reduced-fat milk
1 1/2 tablespoons grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
3 large eggs
2 tablespoons fresh basil leaves
1 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered

Preparation

1. Preheat oven to 350°.

2. Roll dough to a 12-inch circle; press into a 9-inch deep-dish tart or springform pan coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle with fontina, olives, and shallots. Arrange half of tomato slices over shallots Combine flour, cornmeal, and thyme; sprinkle over tomatoes. Top with remaining tomato slices; sprinkle with 3/4 teaspoon salt and pepper.

3. Combine milk, Parmigiano-Reggiano, and eggs; pour into pan. Bake at 350° for 40 minutes or until set; let stand 10 minutes. Top with basil.

4. Combine 1/4 teaspoon salt and cherry tomatoes. Slice tart; serve with cherry tomatoes.

Nutritional Information

Calories 244
Fat 13.9 g
Satfat 6 g
Monofat 5.1 g
Polyfat 2.4 g
Protein 8.9 g
Carbohydrate 22.7 g
Fiber 1.6 g
Cholesterol 96 mg
Iron 1.1 mg
Sodium 596 mg
Calcium 134 mg

Chicken Breasts Stuffed with Goat Cheese and Sun-Dried Tomatoes

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Ingredients

1 cup boiling water
1/3 cup sun-dried tomatoes, packed without oil
2 teaspoons olive oil, divided
1/2 cup chopped shallots, divided
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 1/2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, divided
1/2 cup (2 ounces) crumbled goat cheese
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
4 (6-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
2 teaspoons cornstarch
2 teaspoons water

Preparation

Combine boiling water and tomatoes in a bowl; cover and let stand 30 minutes or until soft. Drain and finely chop.

Heat 1 teaspoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add 1/3 cup shallots, sugar, and garlic; cook 4 minutes or until lightly browned, stirring frequently. Spoon into a bowl; stir in 1 1/2 teaspoons vinegar.

Combine chopped tomatoes, shallot mixture, cheese, basil, and 1/4 teaspoon salt, stirring well.

Cut a horizontal slit through thickest portion of each chicken breast half to form a pocket. Stuff about 2 tablespoons cheese mixture into each pocket. Sprinkle chicken evenly with 1/2 teaspoon salt and black pepper.

Heat 1 teaspoon oil in pan over medium-high heat. Add chicken; cook 6 minutes on each side or until done. Remove chicken from pan; cover and keep warm. Add broth, remaining shallots, 2 tablespoons vinegar, and thyme; bring to a boil. Combine cornstarch and water, stirring with a whisk. Add cornstarch mixture to pan; bring to a boil. Cook 1 minute or until sauce is slightly thick, stirring constantly. Serve sauce over chicken.

Nutritional Information

Calories 296
Caloriesfromfat 23%
Fat 7.6 g
Satfat 3g
Monofat 2.9g
Polyfat 0.8 g
Protein 43.8 g
Carbohydrate 11.3g
Fiber 0.9g
Cholesterol 105 mg
Iron 2.4 mg
Sodium 787 mg
Calcium 62 mg

Stone Fruit Chicken-Rice Salad

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Ingredients

3 (6-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, trimmed
1 teaspoon salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon black pepper, divided
Cooking spray
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 1/2 cups pitted, coarsely chopped nectarines
1 cup cooked brown rice, cooled
1 cup coarsely chopped pitted cherries
1/2 cup sliced green onions
1/4 cup dry-roasted almonds, chopped
3 tablespoons torn mint

Preparation

1. Preheat grill to medium-high heat.

2. Sprinkle both sides of chicken evenly with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Place chicken on a grill rack coated with cooking spray; grill 5 minutes on each side or until done. Let stand 5 minutes. Chop chicken.

3. Combine oil, rind, juice, and mustard in a large bowl, stirring well with a whisk. Add chopped, cooked chicken, nectarines, and remaining ingredients; toss well.

Nutritional Information

Calories 299
Fat 11.4 g
Satfat 1.6 g
Monofat 7.2 g
Polyfat 1.9 g
Protein 23.2 g
Carbohydrate 26.9 g
Fiber 4.1 g
Cholesterol 49 mg
Iron 1.7 mg
Sodium 705 mg
Calcium 53 mg

Kale Caesar Quinoa Salad with Roasted Chicken

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Ingredients

2 tablespoons hot water
2 tablespoons canola mayonnaise
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon anchovy paste
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 garlic clove, grated
1.5 ounces shaved Parmesan cheese, divided (about 6 tablespoons)
5 cups thinly sliced stemmed Lacinato kale
1 1/2 cups cooked quinoa
1 1/2 cups chopped skinless, boneless rotisserie chicken breast
2 tablespoons chopped toasted walnuts

Preparation

Combine first 7 ingredients in a bowl, stirring well with a whisk. Stir in 3 tablespoons Parmesan cheese. Add kale, quinoa, and chicken; toss to coat. Top with remaining 3 tablespoons Parmesan cheese and walnuts.

Nutritional Information

Calories 344
Fat 16.3 g
Satfat 3.3 g
Monofat 6.9 g
Polyfat 3.6 g
Protein 27 g
Carbohydrate 25 g
Fiber 4 g
Cholesterol 61 mg
Iron 3 mg
Sodium 487 mg
Calcium 256 mg

Almond Butter Snickerdoodles

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Ingredients

1 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup (about 3 ounces) 1/3-less-fat cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 tablespoons smooth almond butter
1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large egg yolks, lightly beaten
4.75 ounces white whole-wheat flour (about 1 cup)
1.5 ounces whole-wheat flour (about 1/3 cup)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, divided
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons granulated sugar

Preparation

1. Preheat oven to 350°.

2. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

3. Place the first 4 ingredients in a medium bowl, and beat with a mixer at high speed until well combined (about 2 minutes). Add 1 teaspoon lemon rind, vanilla extract, and egg yolks; beat until well blended.

4. Weigh or lightly spoon flours into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flours, baking soda, 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, and 1/2 teaspoon salt; stir with a whisk. Add flour mixture to butter mixture; beat at low speed until well combined. Drop half of the dough by rounded tablespoons onto prepared baking sheet. Combine the remaining 1 teaspoon cinnamon and granulated sugar in a small bowl; sprinkle half of the cinnamon-sugar mixture evenly over cookies. Bake at 350° for 6 minutes; flatten cookies with the back of a spatula. Bake an additional 6 minutes. Cool on pans 1 minute. Remove from pans, and cool on wire racks. Repeat procedure with remaining dough and sugar mixture.

Nutritional Information

Calories 104
Fat 3.8 g
Satfat 1.9 g
Monofat 1.2 g
Polyfat 0.3 g
Protein 1.6 g
Carbohydrate 16.2 g
Fiber 0.5 g
Cholesterol 25 mg
Iron 0.7 mg
Sodium 127 mg
Calcium 19 mg