Delicious and healthy pecans, fresh and local — Neuse News

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Fall is the season of all pecans!! The pecan is the “original” supernut, especially in the south. Pecan trees are abundant throughout eastern North Carolina and will soon fall in abundance. The highly sought-after nut is a complex whole food, rich in nutrients and health-promoting bioactive compounds. Each delicious pecan is a nutritional powerhouse.

Raw pecans are packed with protein, healthy fats, and fiber that help keep you energized and satisfied. Pecans are a good source of calcium, magnesium, and potassium, which help lower blood pressure. Most of the fat found in pecans is a healthy type called monosaturated fat.

Although pecan pie is a favorite for many, including me, the mighty nut can also feature in main course recipes. Give some of these sweet and savory recipes featuring pecans.

Incorporate pecans into your diet with these tasty recipes.

Light pecan pie

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

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

In a large bowl, beat the eggs until frothy and stir in the coconut oil. Stir in brown sugar, white sugar and flour; mix well. Add the milk, vanilla and walnuts last.

Pour into an unbaked 9-inch pie crust. Bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes at 400 degrees, then reduce temperature to 350 degrees and bake for 30-40 minutes, or until cooked through.

For 10 people, each serving contains: Calories 342, Fat 21g, Carbohydrates 45g, Protein 4g.

Easy Homemade Pecan Popcorn

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

Spread the maple syrup evenly over the popcorn. Stir in pecans and sprinkle with date sugar to taste.

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

Sweet potato casserole (no added sugar)

7 cups cubed peeled sweet potatoes (2 pounds)

½ cup low fat milk

5 tablespoons butter, melted, divided

1 teaspoon of salt

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

½ teaspoon ground ginger

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

¼ teaspoon ground pepper

½ cup chopped pecans

¼ cup pumpkin seeds (pumpkin seeds)

¼ cup chopped dried fruit, such as cherries, dates, raisins or currants

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Bring an inch or two of water to a boil in a large saucepan fitted with a steamer basket. Add the sweet potatoes, cover and steam until very tender, 18 to 20 minutes. Remove the basket and discard the water.

Return the sweet potatoes to the pan. Add the milk, 4 tablespoons of butter, salt, vanilla, ginger, cinnamon and pepper; mash to desired consistency. Transfer to a 1½-quart baking dish.

Combine pecans, pumpkin seeds, dried fruit and remaining tablespoon of butter in a small bowl. Sprinkle the tops of the sweet potatoes.

Bake casserole until warmed through and nuts are lightly toasted, 20 to 30 minutes.

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

Pecan Bites

1¼ cup flour

½ cup powdered sugar

¼ tsp salt

½ cup of butter

2 eggs, lightly beaten

1 cup chopped pecans

½ cup packed brown sugar

½ cup light colored corn syrup

2 tablespoons butter, melted

1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat the oven to 350°F. For the crust, combine the flour, powdered sugar and salt in a bowl. Using a pastry blender, cut in ½ cup butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Pat the crumb mixture into an ungreased 11 x 7 x 1 ½ inch pan. Bake for 20 minutes or until lightly browned.

Meanwhile, for the filling, combine the eggs, pecans, brown sugar, corn syrup, melted butter and vanilla in another bowl. Spread evenly over baked crust.

Bake about 20 minutes more or until filling is set. Cool completely in pan on 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, Potassium 395 mg.

Delicious yogurt with nuts and berries

4 cups plain Greek yogurt

2 cups berries, blueberries, blackberries, strawberries or raspberries

4 tbsp. raw honey

1 cup pecans or walnuts

Arrange this simple dessert by layering yogurt, 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.

Stuffed Apple Crumble

2 medium apples

4 teaspoons light brown sugar

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

2 pinches of salt

¼ cup all-purpose flour (you can use almond flour)

¼ cup rolled oats

2 tablespoons chopped pecans

2 tablespoons cold butter, cut into small pieces

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Coat an 8-inch square metal pan with cooking spray.

Cut the apples in half horizontally. Use a melon baller or small spoon to scoop out the flesh from each apple half, leaving about 1/8 inch thick. Remove and discard seeds and pit; reserve the flesh. Place apple halves in prepared pan.

Finely chop the apple flesh; transfer to a medium bowl. Add 2 teaspoons of brown sugar, vanilla, 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon and 1 pinch of salt. Mix well. Divide between apple halves (about 1/4 cup each).

Combine the flour, rolled oats, pecans, remaining 2 tsp brown sugar, remaining 1/4 tsp cinnamon and remaining pinch of salt in a medium bowl. Using your fingers or a pastry blender, cut the butter into the dry mixture until it looks like small pebbles. Mount about 1/4 cup of filling on each apple. Bake until apples are tender and top is golden brown, 20 to 30 minutes. Let cool at least 10 minutes before serving.

Serving Size, 1 Apple, Each Serving Contains; Calories 186, Fat 8g, Cholesterol 15mg, Carbohydrates 27g, Protein 2g, Fiber 4g, Sodium 119mg.

Keto Pecan Cracker

(For an adventure)

1 1/4 cup raw or toasted pecans

1/2 cup granulated erythritol (I believe you can substitute monk fruit)

1/4 cup salted butter

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

In a saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Once the butter has melted, gradually incorporate the granulated erythritol. Cook 8 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla and pecans. Transfer the mixture to the baking sheet and use a rubber spatula to spread the mixture into an even layer.

Let cool to room temperature then transfer to the refrigerator for 1 hour before cutting into pieces and serving.

For 12 people, each serving contains, Calories 166, Fat 11 g, Cholesterol 10 mg, Carbohydrates 1 g, Sodium 33 mg.

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