Freshen up family dinners by adding new ingredients like pecans, with natural richness and subtle sweetness coupled with irresistible crunch.
Kitchen staples are being used to add twists to traditional dishes, so finding an item you can use to mix up classic family recipes is key. Pecans pack flavor, texture and nutrition all in one bite, and they have a long shelf life. Shelled pecans can be kept in airtight containers in the refrigerator for about nine months and for up to two years in sealed plastic bags in the freezer.
While pecans are beloved in classic desserts, like pecan pie, they also offer a variety of nutrition benefits that can be added to nearly any meal. They are among the highest in “good” monounsaturated fats, contain 3 grams of plant protein per serving and are a source of fiber, flavonoids and minerals like manganese, which is essential for metabolism and bone health.
Nearly two decades of research document the heart-health benefits of pecans. In fact, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, scientific evidence suggests but does not prove that eating 1 1/2 ounces per day of most nuts, such as pecans, as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol, may reduce the risk of heart disease. One serving of pecans (28 grams) has 18 grams of unsaturated fat and only 2 grams of saturated fat.
Add crunch to this Chinese Chicken Salad with Pecans by swapping out croutons, use chopped pecans as a flavorful and nutrient-dense coating for Pecan Chicken Meatballs and bake this Pecan Banana Bread as a nutritious and kid-friendly breakfast or snack to fill your home with a delicious scent.
Discover more nutritious recipes at AmericanPecan.com.
Pecan Chicken Meatballs
Prep time: 10 minutes Cook time: 30 minutes Yield: 9 meatballs
1 pound ground chicken
1/4 cup spinach, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
1 cup finely chopped fresh pecan pieces, divided Heat oven to 400 F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.
In large bowl, mix ground chicken, spinach, lemon juice, egg, garlic, onion powder, paprika, salt, pepper, cayenne (if desired) and 1/2 cup pecans until well combined.
Roll chicken mixture into 1 tablespoon-sized meatballs.
Place reserved pecans in bowl. Roll meatballs in pecans to coat then place on prepared baking sheet.
Bake 20-30 minutes until meatballs are cooked through.
Serve warm with sauces for dipping or over pasta.
Chinese Chicken Salad with Pecans
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes
1/4 cup pecan butter
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1 1/2 teaspoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons warm water,
plus additional as needed
4 ounces dried thin
4 cups chopped romaine lettuce
4 cups chopped iceberg lettuce
1/4 cup toasted and chopped
2 scallions, finely chopped
1 cup bean sprouts
1/2 cup crispy wontons
1 cup mandarin oranges
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
2 cups rotisserie chicken
To make dressing: In medium bowl, whisk pecan butter, rice vinegar, honey, sesame oil and soy sauce until smooth.
Add 2 tablespoons warm water and whisk until incorporated. Add additional water, 1 teaspoon at a time, if desired, until dressing reaches pourable consistency.
To make salad: Cook rice noodles according to package instructions. Once cooked, drain and transfer to bowl with cold water to keep from sticking.
In large bowl, toss romaine and iceberg lettuces, pecans, scallions, bean sprouts, crispy wontons, mandarin oranges and sesame seeds.
Divide salad among four plates; top each with 1/2 cup chicken and serve with dressing.
Pecan Banana Bread
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 60 minutes
10 ounces gluten-free baking
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
2 flax eggs
1 cup organic brown or
1/2 cup coconut oil
1/2 vanilla bean
1/2 cup vegan yogurt
3/4 cup mashed bananas, ripe
1 cup raw pecan pieces,
chopped, plus additional
Heat oven to 350 F. Prepare 9-by-5-inch banana bread pan.
In medium bowl, sift flour mix, baking powder, baking soda and sea salt; whisk to combine.
In mixer bowl, mix eggs, sugar and coconut oil 2 minutes on medium-low speed.
Scrape vanilla bean and add to mixture. Add vegan yogurt and mashed bananas; mix 2 minutes on medium-low speed.
Remove bowl from mixer and fold 1 cup raw pecan pieces into batter until evenly distributed.
Add batter to banana bread pan and use spatula to smooth down top. Sprinkle additional pecan pieces on top.
Bake banana bread on top rack 60 minutes until toothpick comes out with few crumbs but not completely clean.
Remove from oven and allow to cool 10 minutes in pan. Hold sides of pan and flip onto wire rack.
Allow bread to cool completely. Slice as desired.
By ANGELA SHELF MEDEARIS
If you don’t have all the vegetables, seafood or spices on hand, omit or substitute the ingredient with what you do have. This chowder will still be delicious without it!
SEAFOOD AND SWEET CORN CHOWDER
3 tablespoons butter or vegetable oil
1/2 cup (about l large stalk) chopped celery
1/2 medium onion, chopped
1/2 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced or 1/2 tablespoon granulated garlic powder
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
3/4 teaspoon dried dill or tarragon, or 1 tablespoon dill pickle juice
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper or red pepper flakes
2 cups chicken broth, seafood stock, clam juice, bouillon fish base or water
1 to 2 large Russet potatoes, or 3 red skin or Yukon Gold potatoes cut into 2-inch cubes, about 2 to 3 cups
2 large carrots, chopped
2 cups frozen corn, thawed, or 1 (15-ounce) can whole kernel or cream-style corn, or 6 ears sweet corn, husk and silk removed, or frozen corn on the cob, thawed with kernels cut from the cobb
2 cups heavy cream, half and half, whole milk or 2 (14-ounce) cans evaporated milk
1 3/4 to 2 cups fully cooked, skinless salmon chunks, or 1 can (14 3/4 ounces) salmon, drained, flaked, bones and skin removed, or 1 to 2 cups fresh or frozen peeled and deveined shrimp, cooked peeled and deveined shrimp, or cooked crab meat (checked for pieces of shell) or a combination of the seafood equaling 1 3/4 to 2 cups.
1. Place the butter or oil into a large saucepan or Dutch oven placed over medium heat. Add in the celery, onion, green bell pepper, garlic or garlic powder, and 1/2 teaspoon of the salt and pepper, dill, tarragon or dill pickle juice, and the cayenne pepper or red pepper flakes. Saute, stirring occasionally until the vegetables are tender, about 4 to 5 minutes.
2. Stir in the broth, stock, juice or water, potatoes, carrots and the remaining teaspoon of the salt and pepper. Cover and bring the chowder to a boil.
3. Reduce heat to low; stir the mixture, cover and simmer for 40 minutes or until the vegetables are nearly tender. Stir in the corn, cream or milk, and the salmon, shrimp or cooked crab meat (or a combination of seafood). Simmer on low heat for 10 to 15 minutes or until heated through.
4. Garnish with lemon wedges, chopped parsley or green onions. Serve with toasted French bread or crackers. Serves 6.
Angela Shelf Medearis is an award-winning children’s author, culinary historian and the author of seven cookbooks. Her website is www.divapro.com.
©2020 King Features Synd.