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These are a few of my favorite Rosh Hashanah recipes from Norene’s Healthy Kitchen that were featured on Martha Stewart Living Radio when I was interviewed by Mario Bosquez on Sept 8, 2009. Norene’s Healthy Kitchen makes a wonderful hostess gift. Enjoy in good health!!!

CHICKEN MARVELOSA

This elegant chicken dish is marvelous for any special occasion, especially the Jewish High Holidays as it contains honey, wine, and dried fruit. This recipe is a triple blessing—it’s easy, can be doubled for a large crowd, and can be prepared in advance. It’s guaranteed to inspire rave reviews.

2 whole chickens (3 lb/1.4 kg each), cut into pieces
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 Tbsp Italian seasoning (or a mixture of basil, oregano, thyme, and rosemary)

6 to 8 cloves garlic (about 2 to 3 Tbsp minced)
3/4 to 1 cup chopped dried apricots
1/2 cup pitted black olives
1/2 cup dry-packed, sun-dried tomatoes, halved or coarsely chopped
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup honey
2 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup white wine
2 bay leaves
Chopped fresh parsley, for garnish

1. Rinse the chickens well and pat dry with paper towels. Trim the excess fat. Place the chickens in a large roasting pan sprayed with cooking spray. Season the chickens inside, outside, and under the skin with salt, pepper, Italian seasoning, and garlic. Add the apricots, olives, and sun-dried tomatoes to the pan. (The dried apricots and sun-dried tomatoes will plump up during marinating and cooking.)

2. In a measuring cup, combine the balsamic vinegar, honey, and olive oil. Drizzle evenly over the chicken mixture; mix well so that the chicken is thoroughly coated. Pour the wine around the chicken and add the bay leaves. Cover the pan and refrigerate for several hours or for as long as 2 days.

3. When the chicken is marinated, remove from the refrigerator, uncover, and bake in a 350°F oven for 11/4 to 11/2 hours, basting often. When done, the skin will be golden and the juices will run clear when pierced with a fork. Remove the bay leaves and discard.

4. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the chicken mixture to a serving platter. Drizzle with some of the pan juices and sprinkle with chopped fresh parsley. Place the remaining pan juices in a gravy bowl, skim off the fat, and serve alongside the chicken.

Yield: 10 to 12 servings. Keeps for up to 2 to 3 days in the refrigerator; reheats well. Freezes well for up to 4 months.

307 calories per serving (without skin), 17.4 g carbohydrate, 1.3 g fiber, 31 g protein, 11.7 g fat (2.6 g saturated), 93 mg cholesterol, 245 mg sodium, 477 mg potassium, 2 mg iron, 36 mg calcium

Chef’s Secrets

Cover Up? If you prefer to remove the skin, cover the skinless chicken while cooking so it won’t dry out.

Keep A-Breast of the Times: Use chicken breasts to lower the calorie, fat, and cholesterol content. Use 10 to 12 breasts; remove the skin either before or after cooking. Cooking time will be about an hour for chicken breasts on the bone. Boneless, skinless breasts will take about 35 to 45 minutes. Cook, covered, to prevent the chicken from drying out. One serving (without skin) contains 263 calories, 7.1 g fat (1.4 g saturated), and 73 mg cholesterol.

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GARLIC-ROASTED CARROTS

These are absolutely addictive! Roasting brings out the natural sweetness of carrots.

1 large onion, sliced
2 lb (1 kg) carrots, peeled and cut in 2-inch lengths
3 to 4 cloves garlic (about 3 to 4 tsp minced)
2 to 3 Tbsp olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Spray a 9- × 13-inch glass baking dish with cooking spray.

2. Place the onion, carrots, and garlic in the prepared baking dish. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste; mix well. For best results, the carrots should be in a single layer in the dish.

3. Roast, uncovered, for 45 to 60 minutes or until golden and tender, stirring the carrots occasionally. Serve hot or at room temperature.

Yield: 6 servings. Keeps for up to 2 days in the refrigerator; reheats well. Don’t freeze.

115 calories per serving, 17.5 g carbohydrate, 4.6 g fiber, 2 g protein, 4.9 g fat (0.7 g saturated), 0 mg cholesterol, 105 mg sodium, 526 mg potassium, 1 mg iron, 58 mg calcium

Garlic-Roasted Carrots and Potatoes
Use 1 lb carrots and 3 medium potatoes, peeled and sliced. Add 1/2 cup water and roast as directed. One serving contains 164 calories, 28.5 g carb, and 4.4 g fiber.

Garlic-Roasted Parsnips
Use 2 lb parsnips instead of carrots. One serving contains 165 calories, 29.8 g carbohydrates, and 6.2 g fiber. Parsnips (GI 52) are a terrific source of Vitamins C and E and folate.

Variations
For the Jewish High Holidays, add a drizzle of honey to the carrots in Step 2. How sweet it is!

Use half carrots and half parsnips. Add a drizzle of balsamic vinegar or freshly squeezed lemon juice. Add your favorite herbs (try cumin, minced basil, oregano, dillweed, thyme, or rosemary). If using fresh herbs, add them during the last 5 minutes of roasting.

 Lazy Day Carrots: Substitute with bagged baby carrots, which require no peeling or cutting.

Chef’s Secrets

What’s in Store: Choose carrots that are firm and smooth, without cracks. Hairy white fibers are a sign of age. If carrots still have the greens attached, twist them off and discard as soon as possible or the carrots will spoil quickly.

Size Counts: Small-to-medium carrots are best. Although large carrots take less time to peel, they usually have tough, tasteless, woody cores and are less sweet. One lb (500 g) contains 6 medium carrots and yields about 3 cups.

How A-Peeling: Here’s an easy way to peel carrots, which I learned from a chef after I finished peeling 50 pounds of carrots in his kitchen! Holding the end in one hand, place the point of the carrot on a cutting surface. With a vegetable peeler, use long strokes, rotating the carrot until all the peel is removed; trim the ends. Get the point?

Nutrition Notes

 Myth-Information: Many people who are on a low-carb diet are afraid to eat carrots because they think they have a high glycemic index value, but their GI is 41, which makes them a low GI food. It’s important to note that the glycemic index is based on eating 50 grams of carbohydrate—that’s about 9 carrots or 1 1/2 pounds! One medium carrot contains 5.8 g carbohydrate, 1.7 g fiber, and 25 calories—how’s that for a “root awakening”? Munching on a crunchy carrot will have minimal effect on blood sugar, so munch without guilt. For more information,visit www.glycemicindex.com.

 What’s Up, Doc? Carrots are loaded with fiber, vitamin A, some vitamin C, plus beta carotene, which helps promote eye health. Look at the whole picture and don’t just choose foods based on their glycemic index value. Hopefully, now everyone will see eye to eye on this point!

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COUSCOUS, MOROCCAN-STYLE

This delicious one-pot dish, with its blend of exotic Moroccan flavors, is a favorite of Shayla Goldstein of Toronto. It’s great for busy families.

1 1/2 cups chicken broth (or a mixture of half orange juice and half water)
1/8 tsp ground cumin
1/8 tsp ground coriander
1/8 tsp ground ginger (optional)
1 cup couscous (whole wheat or regular)
2 green onions, finely chopped
1/3 cup dried cranberries or chopped dried apricots
1/4 cup shelled pistachios or pine nuts

1. In a small saucepan over high heat, bring the broth, cumin, coriander, and ginger, if using, to a boil. Stir in the couscous, green onions, cranberries, and pistachios.

2. Remove the pan from the heat; cover and let stand for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork and serve.

Yield: 4 servings. Recipe doubles or triples easily. Keeps for up to 3 days in the refrigerator; reheats well. Freezes well for up to 2 months.

190 calories per serving, 34.1 g carbohydrate, 5.2 g fiber, 6 g protein, 4.3 g fat (0.4 g saturated), 0 mg cholesterol, 187 mg sodium, 137 mg potassium, 2 mg iron, 30 mg calcium

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APPLE PEAR STRUDEL

The aroma of apples, pears, and cinnamon will warm both your heart and your home. This delicious combination contains two of my favorite fruits, but you can substitute your own favorites. Easy, yet elegant!

4 large baking apples, peeled, cored, and sliced
2 firm ripe pears, peeled, cored, and sliced
1 Tbsp lemon juice (preferably fresh)
1/4 cup brown sugar or granular Splenda
2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 Tbsp whole wheat or all-purpose flour
8 sheets phyllo dough
2 to 3 Tbsp canola oil or melted tub margarine
1 cup Special K cereal, finely crushed
1 Tbsp granulated sugar or granular Splenda mixed with 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon, for sprinkling

1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. 

2. In a large bowl, combine the apples, pears, lemon juice, brown sugar, cinnamon, and flour; toss to combine.

3. Place one sheet of phyllo dough on a dry work surface, with the longer side facing you. (Keep the remaining phyllo covered with plastic wrap to prevent it from drying out.) Brush the top side lightly with oil, and then sprinkle lightly with the crushed cereal. Place another sheet of phyllo on top of the first one; brush with oil and sprinkle with crushed cereal. Repeat until you have 3 layers, then top with a fourth layer of phyllo. Don’t brush the top layer with oil or add the crumbs. Spoon half of the filling in a line along the bottom edge of the phyllo layers, leaving a 11/2-inch border at the bottom and on the sides. Fold both of the shorter sides inwards and, starting with the bottom, carefully roll up the phyllo. Place the roll, seam-side down, on the prepared baking sheet.

4. Repeat Step 3 with the remaining phyllo dough and filling to make a second strudel. Brush the tops of the strudels lightly with oil and sprinkle with the cinnamon-sugar mixture. Use a sharp knife to cut partially through the top of the dough, but not through the filling, marking 6 slices per strudel.

5. Bake for 30 minutes or until the pastry is golden. Fruit should be tender when strudel is pierced with a knife. At serving time, use a serrated knife to slice completely through.

Yield: 12 servings. Will keep in the refrigerator for up to 2 days; reheats well. It can be frozen for up 2 months: it will be delicious, but the dough won’t be as crisp.

142 calories per serving, 27.9 g carbohydrate, 3.2 g fiber, 2 g protein, 3.3. g fat (0.4 g saturated), 0 mg cholesterol, 82 mg sodium, 142 mg potassium, 2 mg iron, 17 mg calcium

Chef’s Secrets

 Heat and Eat: To reheat the strudel, bake it uncovered at 350°F for 10 to 12 minutes. Don’t microwave the strudel or the dough will be soggy. It’s delicious topped with low-fat ice cream or frozen yogurt.

 Mix It Up! Instead of pears, experiment with other fruits such as plums, pears, peaches, nectarines, blueberries, and pitted cherries.

 Go Nuts! Instead of crushed cereal, substitute 1/2 cup ground almonds and sprinkle lightly between the phyllo layers.

Nutrition Note

 Sweet Choice: With Splenda, one serving contains 129 calories and 24.5 g carbohydrate.

All images and recipes © Norene Gilletz, 2011
(www.gourmania.com)

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