In our October issue, we wrote about the health benefits of some of fall’s most popular pick-your-own fruits—and the pitfalls of using them in sugary desserts like pies. Westchester’s Missy Chase Lapine, author of New York Times bestseller The Sneaky Chef—a cookbook for “hiding” nutrient-rich veggies in the foods kids love (find her Sneaky Chef Pasta Sauces and No-Nut Butter at Whole Foods and Mrs. Greens)—shares a couple of seasonal recipes that don’t counteract all of the fruits’ nutrients with unhealthy ingredients.
Hot Apple Pie Parfait
Makes 2 parfaits
2 tsp unsalted butter
1 large unpeeled apple, cored and thinly sliced
2 tsp brown sugar
Pinch of cinnamon or apple pie spice
½ cup low-fat granola
2 Tbsp ground flaxseed and/or wheat germ
½ cup vanilla yogurt
Add butter to saucepan and melt over medium heat. Mix in the apple slices, brown sugar, and cinnamon or spice, sautéing for about 5 minutes. Add a tablespoon of water to pan if apple mixture gets too dry. In parfait or serving glasses, layer granola/flax/wheat germ, yogurt, and apples as desired, and serve.
Pumpkin Pie Hot Cereal
Makes 2 servings
“If you’re a fan of pumpkin pie, this could become your new breakfast staple,” says Lapine. “It’s so delicious, you’ll have a hard time convincing yourself how healthy it really is. Combining whole-grain hot cereal with canned pure pumpkin purée is a huge upgrade, plus, the pumpkin-pie spice and graham crackers lend an authentic, comforting flavor.”
1 cup rolled oats or any hot cereal mix
6 tablespoons canned 100% pure pumpkin
2 cups low fat milk
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice or cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 graham cracker sheets
Add all ingredients except the graham crackers into a pot, stir, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, stir, cover, and cook for about 5 minutes until cereal has thickened. Place graham crackers in a plastic bag and using a rolling pin or your hands, gently crush crackers into coarse crumbs. Pour hot cereal mixture into bowls and top each with graham cracker crumbs, spreading evenly over the top.
A note about canned pumpkin: One of the unsung heroes in the ready-made food world is 100% canned pumpkin. Most of us only think about pumpkin around Thanksgiving, but it’s available all-year round, and is an inexpensive, nutrient-dense pantry staple. On its own, pumpkin doesn’t have much flavor, which makes it ideal for hiding. It’s also an excellent source of the vitally important antioxidant beta-carotene.