Fall Comfort Foods

tree-99852Fall is the season when the leaves change colors, the air gets a little colder and crisper, and football is religion. It’s also a great time to check out the seasonal produce at your local farmers market and supermarket. Gone are the sweet jewels of summer – berries, peaches, and plums. Now we have an abundance of apples, pears, and citrus just starting to make its way to your shelves. Also, make sure to check out the winter squashes, like butternut squash, spaghetti squash, and pumpkins, as well as beautiful sweet potatoes and cute little brussel sprouts (don’t turn your nose up at them – these are good). I’ve pulled together some of these seasonal beauties to create a delicious fall comfort food menu.

PARMESAN CHICKEN

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  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts or 8 chicken tenders
  • ½ cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tbs. canola oil
  1.  Place the chicken between 2 sheets of wax paper and pound thin (about ¼-1/2 inch thickness). Use a food mallet or the flat side of a pan to pound the chicken.
  2. Place the Parmesan cheese onto a plate. Press each piece of chicken into the cheese (both sides).
  3. Place a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Add 1 tbs. canola oil. When oil is hot, add the chicken to the pan. Cook 2 minutes per side (or until it starts to turn golden brown). Flip and cook another 2 minutes. Remove and serve. You can serve it with marinara sauce or eat it just as it is.

4 servings: Per serving: 160 calories; 8.5 (g) fat; 0 (g) carbs; 22 (g) protein

RUSTIC SWEET POTATOES

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  • 4 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into large chunks
  • 4 carrots, peeled and cut into rounds
  • 1 sweet onion, chopped
  • 1 15 oz can crushed pineapple (in juice)
  • 10 pitted prunes, halved
  • 1 tbs. cornstarch, mixed with 1 tbs. cold water
  1.  Place all ingredients (except cornstarch mixture) into a large nonstick skillet over HIGH heat.  Bring to a boil; reduce heat to LOW, cover with aluminum foil and let simmer until vegetables are fork tender, about 30 minutes.
  2. When tender, remove the foil, increase heat to medium-high and add the cornstarch mixture.  Stir to coat the vegetables.  Cook for about 1 minute, or until the mixture thickens. Remove from heat and serve.

5 servings: Per serving: 191 calories; 0 (g) fat; 46.9 (g) carbs; 3 (g) protein

PAN-ROASTED BRUSSEL SPROUTS AND SHALLOTS

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  • 1 pound brussel sprouts
  • 3 shallots
  • 1 tsp. olive oil
  • sea salt and black pepper
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  1. Wash and dry the brussel sprouts. Cut in half and then slice each half thinly to form a “slaw”-like look. Slice the shallots thinly.
  2. Heat a medium nonstick pan over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil and swirl to coat. When hot, add the brussel sprouts and shallots and season with salt and pepper. Allow the vegetables to sit in the pan for 2 minutes and then stir. Let them sit another 2 minutes and stir again. The goal is to get the vegetables to become lightly golden. The whole process should take 6-10 minutes, depending on the size of the vegetables and how fast they turn color. When golden, remove from pan and squeeze some fresh lemon juice over the top. Serve.

4 servings: Per serving: 67 calories;1.6 (g) fat; 11.3 (g) carbs; 3.9 (g) protein

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