For readers requesting recipes that are easy to prepare and have just a handful of ingredients, this one’s for you. Today’s quick and easy Baked Apples recipe offers a guilt-free sweet treat that’s perfect this time of year.
Apples provide pectin, a heart-healthy soluble fiber that can help lower levels of LDL or bad cholesterol in the blood. Beyond the heart benefits, the American Institute for Cancer Research highlights some potential cancer-reducing effects of apples. Interestingly, that same LDL cholesterol-lowering pectin helps bacteria naturally found in the gut produce compounds that protect colon cells from cancer.
The most time-consuming aspect of making this recipe is coring the apples. Using an apple corer is the easiest way to get the job done. The best apple corers have a long handle and serrated edge to make cutting through the top of the apple a bit easier.
If you don’t have an apple corer, a simple paring knife will do the trick. No matter the instrument you use, try to leave enough of the core at the base of the apple to hold in the filling.
For the best baked apples, use an apple that can stand up to baking without turning to mush. Granny Smith, Gala, Fuji, Jonagold, Honeycrisp, Mutsu (also known as Crispin), Pink Lady (also known as Cripps Pink), Jazz, Paula Red and Sweet Tango work well for today’s recipe.
If you’d like to make fewer portions, this recipe is easy to pare down. To serve four, use 4 apples, ¼ cup old-fashioned rolled oats, 2 tablespoons packed brown sugar, 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1 tablespoon tub margarine, 2 tablespoons raisins and 1 ½ tablespoons chopped pecans. Pour enough water into the bottom of the baking dish so that it’s a ¼-inch deep. The baking time would remain the same, about 30 to 40 minutes.
Darlene Zimmerman is a registered dietitian in Henry Ford Hospital’s Heart & Vascular Institute. For questions about today’s recipe, call 313-972-1920.
Serves: 8 / Prep time: 10 minutes / Total time: 45 minutes
8 medium apples (Gala, Granny Smith, Paula Red work well)
½ cup old-fashioned rolled oats
¼ cup packed brown sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons tub margarine
¼ cup raisins
3 tablespoons chopped pecans
1 cup water
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Core each apple, leaving the bottom intact if possible, to hold the filling.
In a bowl, mix oats, brown sugar and cinnamon, cut in margarine until combined and stir in raisins and pecans. Stuff each apple with oatmeal filling and place each apple in baking dish containing 1 cup water. Bake 30 to 40 minutes or until apples are tender.
Adapted from Allrecipes.com and tested by Darlene Zimmerman, MS, RD, for Heart Smart®.
181 calories (20% from fat), 4 grams fat (1 gram sat. fat, 0 grams trans fat), 35 grams carbohydrates, 2 grams protein, 25 mg sodium, 0 mg…