Gluten free and Healthy Baked Spinach Chickpea Fritters
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A few weeks ago I made some spinach chickpea fritters and froze the leftovers. I could have just gobbled them down even though I was no longer hungry, because they were delish, but I am so glad I chose to freeze them instead. I am a huge proponent of making things ahead of time and freezing them (you kinda have to when you work full time, have over an hour long commute and a ten month old), and my frozen foods have come to the rescue several times over the past month.

 

 

Spinach Chickpea Fritters with Dip

 

 

Anyways, I am super happy I froze some of my spinach chickpea fritters because we spent last week in the hospital (baby v had bronchiolitis and pneumonia but is doing great now) and came home very tired to a house with a limited food selection. I searched through the freezer looking for something easy to feed baby v (I did not want to have to run to the grocery store) and was ecstatic when I found a tupperware full of my spinach chickpea fritters. Now I know what your thinking….is she posting a recipe for babies? Yes and no. This is a recipe for everyone. It does work great for babies because the patties are easy to pick up, and they contain iron from the chickpeas and spinach, which growing babies need a lot of. However, they also make a healthy, delicious and good looking appetizer for adults. It’s a win-win for all!

 

Blended Chickpeas

 

These spinach chickpea fritters are incredibly easy. Basically you blend and mix everything together and then plop the batter down on a parchment paper lined pan, add a little olive oil, and pop them into the oven. And the only thing I really had to clean afterwards was my blender and a few measuring instruments. These fritters are also super customizable. You can use this recipe as a template and switch out different flavors and spices. I’m thinking next time maybe adding some cumin or curry, or maybe even experiment with adding some feta.

 

 

 

Gluten free and Healthy Baked Spinach Chickpea Fritters

 

 

Spinach Chickpea Fritters

Ingredients
1-16 oz Can Reduced Sodium Garbanzo Beans
1 Cup Raw Baby Spinach
4 Tablespoons Almond Flour
1/4 Teaspoon Baking powder
1 or 2 Cloves Chopped Fresh Garlic
1 Egg
Olive Oil

Directions
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Add beans and garlic to food processor or good blender and pulse until well blended. Add egg and spinach and continue to blend until you get a uniform green mixture. Remove blade from blender and stir in baking powder and flour. You should have a pasty green mixture that smells garlicky. The mixture should be too thin to roll into balls but thick enough to plop on a pan without running. Line baking pan with parchment paper and use a spoon to scoop out 12 large fritters in the baking sheet. Lightly brush or drizzle with olive oil and bake for 15-20 min. Turn on broil and broil for another minute or so until edges brown slightly.
 Gluten free and Healthy Baked Spinach Chickpea Fritters
*And if you need some dip just mix the ingredients below…
1/4 Cup Greek Yogurt
1 Tablespoon Lemon Juice
1 Teaspoon Parsley or Dill
Dash of Ground Black Pepper
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Gluten Free Butternut Squash Crostinis
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Butternut squash is a great fall and winter staple. There are so many things you can do with it, such as making a flavorful soup or just roasting it with your favorite spices. It is fairly low in calories and fat, full of potassium (great for blood pressure), vitamin a (good for vision) and fiber (can help get those sluggish bowels moving). Also, it does not spoil as quickly as some other veggies, so you don’t have to worry as much about it going bad before you have a chance to use it. The only thing that bothers me about butternut squash is cutting it up….I am not best with knives. However, I have found that poking some holes in it and putting it in the microwave a few minutes does help soften it up so it is easier to cut. You can then continue to cook however way you like after you have the squash slightly softened and cut up.

I love little mini breads topped with deliciousness, so a few weeks ago I decided to make an appetizer that was a seasonal take on bruschetta. Instead of a tomato basil topping, I decided to make a kale and butternut squash topping. And I also added some goat cheese because cheese is delicious and of course adds a little calcium that most of us don’t get enough of. For my recipe I used Udi’s gluten free french baguettes but if you don’t need to make it gluten free you can always just use any other baguette type bread…preferably one that contains some whole grains.

Gluten Free Butternut Squash Crostini

Butternut Squash Crostini

Ingredients
3 Udis Gluten Free French baguettes (freezer section)
1 T Olive Oil + extra for brushing on bread
1 Butternut squash peeled and diced ~6 cups
4 Cups Chopped Fresh Kale
1 Teaspoon Ground Sage
1/4 Teaspoon Salt
1/4 Teaspoon Pepper
1/4 Cup Apple Cider Vinegar
6 oz Goat Cheese

Directions
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Slice baguettes into 1/2 inch slices after bringing frozen baguettes to room temperature. Brush 1 side of each piece with olive oil, using a pastry or silicone brush. Put slices oil side down on a parchment lined baking sheet. Cook for about 5 min on top rack of oven or until bread appears lightly toasted around edges. You may have to make in batches. Remove from oven and turn oven down to 400 degrees.
Add butternut squash and kale to a large glass baking dish. Mix in apple cider vinegar, 1 tablespoon olive oil, salt, pepper and sage. The kale may look like an excessive amount but it will bake down. Stir until evenly coated. Bake in oven for 35 minutes in lower rack or until butternut squash is cooked through (if you bake on top rack, kale may burn a little). Top olive oil side of bread pieces with a thin layer of goat cheese and butternut squash mixture just prior to serving.
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Baked Brie with Pears and Pecans
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Baked Brie is such an easy and delicious classic holiday appetizer, but the way you prepare it can really make a difference for your waistline and overall health. I know a lot of people like to prepare it by topping it with jelly and wrapping it in puff pastry, however this adds quite a few calories and refined carbohydrates, which is not great for someone that is trying to at least eat semi-healthy over the holidays. I like to prepare my brie with real ingredients like nuts and fruit so at least the extra calories I will be adding to the brie will come with nutrients such as vitamins, fiber and “good for you” fatty acids. Plus, I think my brie tastes better, but I may be a little biased.

Healthier Baked Brie

Baked Brie with Pecans and Pears

Ingredients
1 Wheel of Brie ~7 oz
Cooking Spray
1/3 Cup Chopped Pecans
1 Pear – Cored and Diced (about 1 cup)
1/2 Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
1 Tablespoon Pure Maple Syrup

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray small sauté pan with cooking spray. Sauté pears and pecans in pan with cinnamon and maple syrup on medium heat, stirring continually for about 5 min, or until pears and pecans are warm and fragrant. Place Brie in a Brie baking dish (I love mine from Crate and Barrel:  http://www.crateandbarrel.com/brie-baking-dish/s672630), top with pear and pecan topping and cover with lid. Cook in oven for ~10-15 minutes.

Nutrient Analysis
7 Servings
Per Serving (1 oz cheese plus toppings)
152 Calories and 5.2 grams of Saturated Fat

For comparison, 1 serving of baked brie cooked with a Pepperidge Farm Puff Pastry Sheet has 232 calories and 9 grams of saturated fat per serving.

Baked Brie
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