Monday, January 21, 2013

Mini Pecan Phyllo Tarts

This is a phenomenal recipe, and all the credit goes to the blog, Gina's Skinny Recipes. I followed the recipe almost exactly. These are absolutely delicious, low-calorie and easy. They are not merely a good healthy dessert; they are just a good dessert, period.

I'm not one to make healthy desserts. The normal food I eat is super-healthy, so when I have dessert, I don't go for a low-cal, low-fat workarounds. Fruit is not dessert; sorbet is not dessert, etcetera. When I read over the recipe for these tartlets, I felt confident that they'd be great, and that the low calorie count would be a happy coincidence. The best possible outcome happened: They proved to be even more yummy and satisfying than I'd hoped.

There's a savory version with brie, walnuts and Craisins on Gina's Skinny Recipes that I want to try soon. But honestly, I can't wait to make the pecan version again.

Do you have any healthier desserts that are just as awesome as a "normal" (for lack of a better term) dessert?

Mini Pecan Phyllo Tarts
Adapted from Gina's Skinny Recipes
You can find mini phyllo shells in the freezer section at large supermarkets. They come in packs of 15, but you can easily double or triple this recipe. I used raw honey because it's what I had, and it worked well. According to the original source, 1 tart contains 68 calories and 4.5 grams of fat.

Makes 15 tarts

1 large egg
4 teaspoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons honey
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
Pinch salt (scant 1/8 teaspoon), or to taste
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup pecans (2 ounces), toasted and chopped
15 mini phyllo shells

Preheat oven to 350 F. In a medium bowl, whisk the egg. Add sugar, honey, vanilla, salt and butter; stir to combine. Stir in pecans.

Arrange phyllo shells on a baking sheet. Fill evenly with pecan mixture (about 1 heaping teaspoon per shell). Bake until shells are golden brown and crisp, 10 to 15 minutes. Transfer to a rack and cool. Serve slightly warm or at room temperature.

Friday, January 04, 2013

Healthy Creamed Mustard Greens

These are healthy creamed greens! I've made the recipe a couple of times since I chose it for Thanksgiving because it's so tasty and satisfying. I tend to do really simple vegetable side dishes--just roasting or grilling, or microwaving a bag of frozen veg when I want something really easy.

For me these qualify as a more "special" or "indulgent" side, but that's just relative to my usual picks. This dish does require a couple of steps, but it's not difficult. Just steam or boil the greens and make a quick bechamel sauce. There's no cream at all, so you can eat a huge pile and feel healthy as ever.

Creamed Mustard Greens
Adapted from the recipe for creamed spinach at A Veggie Venture.

Kale or collard greens would work just as well; I've subbed scallions for the onion. My supermarket sells pre-cut 1-pound bags of fresh greens, so that's what I use. If you're buying them by the bunch, you'll need to trim off the stems, so get a larger quantity, maybe 1 1/4 pounds. In other words, you want about 1 pound of chopped fresh greens.

Serves 4

1 pound chopped mustard greens (leaves and ribs; discard stems)
1/2 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 to 3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup milk
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg, or to taste
1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper, or to taste
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese (1 ounce), optional

Steam or boil the greens until tender. Drain in a colander and press out as much water as you can. Set aside.

Heat the butter and olive oil in a large saucepan, on medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally until tender and lightly browned. Add garlic and cook 1 minute. Add flour and stir constantly until absorbed. Cook, stirring often, until toasted, about 1 minute.

Slowly whisk in the milk. Bring to a simmer, whisking often. Add the nutmeg and cayenne. Simmer until thickened, still whisking, about 2 minutes. Reduce heat to low and add Parmesan if using. Stir in the well-drained greens until heated through. If sauce gets too thick, thin with more milk. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve immediately. Or, cover and set aside up to 30 minutes. Reheat, covered, on low, stirring often.