Delicious and Healthy, Fresh, Local Pecans

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Fall is the season for everything pecans! Hopefully, the blustery hurricane winds did not take away too many of these special nuts. Pecans are packed with protein, fiber, heart-healthy fats, and 19 vitamins and minerals. Did you know that?

Here are just a few of the health benefits:

  • One ounce of pecans (about 20 halves) contains more than 19 vitamins and minerals.
  • Pecans rank highest among all nuts; they are among the top category of foods to contain the highest antioxidant capacity.
  • Recent research shows that pecans can help with weight control efforts.
  • Eating just a handful of pecans each day may protect your nervous system against neurological diseases such as ALS.
  • Pecans provide 10 percent of the recommended daily value for dietary fiber with 2.7 grams in a 1-ounce serving.
  • Yes, pecans contain fats – but it’s good, heart-healthy fats like oleic acid that help prevent heart disease.

Make pecans a part of your diet with these tasty recipes.

Lightened Up Pecan Pie

Ingredients
1 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup coconut oil
3 eggs
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon 2% milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup chopped pecans

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2. In a large bowl, beat eggs until foamy, and stir in coconut oil. Stir in the brown sugar, white sugar, and the flour; mix well. Last, add the milk, vanilla, and nuts.
  3. Pour into an unbaked 9-inch pie shell. Bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes at 400 degrees, then reduce temperature to 350 degrees and bake for 30 to 40 minutes, or until done.

Serves 10, each serving contains; Calories 342, Fat 21 g, Carbohydrates 45 g, Protein 4 g.

Easy Homemade Pecan Popcorn

Ingredients
2-3 cups popcorn, popped
2 tablespoons 100 percent pure maple syrup
¼ cup pecans, chopped
Date sugar, to taste (about half a teaspoon)

Instructions

  1. Evenly distribute maple syrup over the popcorn. Mix in the pecans and sprinkle with date sugar to taste.

Serves 1, this serving contains; Calories 380, Fat 21 g, Cholesterol 10mg, Carbohydrates 48 g, Protein 5 g, Fiber 1 g.

Sweet Potato Casserole (with no added sugar)

Ingredients
7 cups cubed peeled sweet potatoes (2 pounds)
½ cup reduced-fat milk
5 tablespoons butter, melted, divided
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground pepper
½ cup chopped pecans
¼ cup pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
¼ cup chopped dried fruit, such as cherries, dates, raisins or currants

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Bring an inch or two of water to a boil in a large pot fitted with a steamer basket. Add sweet potatoes, cover and steam until very soft, 18 to 20 minutes. Remove basket and discard water.
  3. Return sweet potatoes to the pot. Add milk, 4 tablespoons butter, salt, vanilla, ginger, cinnamon, and pepper; mash until desired consistency. Transfer to a 1½-quart baking dish.
  4. Stir pecans, pepitas, dried fruit, and the remaining 1 tablespoon butter together in a small bowl. Sprinkle over the top of the sweet potatoes.
  5. Bake casserole until hot and the nuts are lightly toasted, 20 to 30 minutes.

Serves 8, each serving contains; Calories 217, Fat 15 g, Cholesterol 20 mg, Carbohydrates 20 g, Protein 4 g, Fiber 4 g, Sodium 324 mg, Potassium 455 mg.

Pecan Pie Bars

Ingredients
1¼ cups flour
½ cup powdered sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup butter
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1 cup chopped pecans
½ cup packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. For crust, combine flour, powdered sugar, and salt in a bowl. Using a pastry blender cut in ½ cup butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Pat crumb mixture into an ungreased 11x7x1- ½-inch baking pan. Bake for 20 minutes or until lightly browned.
  2. Meanwhile, for filling, stir together eggs, pecans, brown sugar, corn syrup, melted butter, and vanilla in another bowl. Spread evenly over baked crust.
  3. Bake about 20 minutes more or until filling is set. Cool completely in pan on a wire rack. Cut into 24 bars. Cover and store in the refrigerator.

Serves 24, each serving contains; Calories 152, Fat 9 g, Cholesterol 28 mg, Carbohydrates 18 g, Protein 2 g, Fiber 1 g, Sodium 74 mg, Potassium395 mg.

Yummy Yogurt with Nuts and Berries

Ingredients
4 cups Plain Greek yogurt
2 cups berries, blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, or raspberries
4 Tbsp. Raw Honey
1 cup Pecans or walnuts

Instructions

  1. Arrange this simple dessert by layering yogurt and berries and pecans, repeat, and drizzle some honey on top.

Serves 4, each serving contains; Calories 392, Fat 19 g, Cholesterol 10 mg, Carbohydrates 37 g, Protein 23 g, Fiber 4 g, Sodium 73 mg.

Italian Inspired Pecan Biscotti

Ingredients
1½ cups yellow cornmeal
1½ cups all-purpose flour
½ cup whole wheat flour
1½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup packed brown sugar
3 eggs
3 tablespoons canola oil
½ cup chopped pecans, toasted
1 ounce white chocolate (with cocoa butter), chopped
⅛ teaspoon shortening

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 325°F. Line a large cookie sheet with parchment paper; set aside. In a large bowl, combine cornmeal, flours, baking powder, and salt; set aside. In another large bowl, combine brown sugar, eggs, and oil; beat with an electric mixer on medium to high speed until well mixed. Beat in as much of the flour mixture as you can with the mixer. Stir in any remaining flour mixture. Stir in pecans. If necessary, use your hands to knead the dough until it comes together.
  2. Divide dough in half. On a lightly floured surface, form dough into two 12-inch-long logs. Flatten each log to a 2-inch width. Place logs on prepared cookie sheet.
  3. Bake about 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near centers comes out clean. Cool on cookie sheet for 40 minutes.
  4. Using a serrated knife, diagonally cut logs into ¾-inch slices. Place slices; cut sides down, on cookie sheet. Bake for 20 minutes more, turning slices over once halfway through baking. Transfer to wire racks; cool completely.
  5. In a very small saucepan, combine white chocolate and shortening; heat over low heat until melted, stirring constantly. Drizzle over cookie slices.
  6. Tips: If using a sugar substitute, choose Splenda® Brown Sugar Baking Blend. Follow package directions to use product amount equivalent to 1 cup packed brown sugar. Nutrition per Serving with Substitute: same as below, except 102 calories, 62 mg sodium, 15 g carbohydrate (4 g sugar).
  7. To toast nuts, spread in a shallow baking pan lined with parchment paper. Bake in a 350-degree F oven for 5 to 10 minutes or until golden, shaking pan once or twice. Watch carefully, I always am overcooking these!!

Serves 32, each serving contains; Calories 113, Fat 3 g, Cholesterol 20 mg, Carbohydrates 19 g, Protein 2 g, Fiber 1 g, Sodium 63 mg.