Robin's Healthy Take: Quick Weeknight Desserts
It’s no secret I have a major sweet tooth. No lie: I have something sweet EVERY day, especially after dinner. If you’re like me, you just can’t sleep without dessert! But dessert and diet destruction don’t go hand in hand when you create these easy weeknight winners. Check out my simple recipes after the jump – they rely heavily on fruit with a little added deliciousness from things like almonds, vanilla, honey, lemon and lime zest and fresh mint. And there’s even a cobbler…
This cobbler is great because you can use ANY fruit – fresh or frozen. That’s why I call it "fruit of the day." My favorites are apples, pears, peaches, blueberries, strawberries and raspberries (or a combination of berries).
6 cups fresh or frozen fruit pieces or berries (cut whole fruits into 1-inch pieces; thaw frozen fruit)
16.3-ounce can refrigerated reduced-fat buttermilk biscuits (makes 8 biscuits)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Combine fruit and sugar in a large bowl and mix well to combine. Transfer mixture to a shallow baking dish (the dish should be big enough to arrange 8 biscuits on top.) Place biscuits on top of fruit. Brush biscuits with egg and sprinkle with almonds. Bake 12-15 minutes, until biscuits are golden brown.
Nutrition info per serving: Calories: 148, Total Fat: 4 g, Sat. Fat: <1 g, Carbs: 25 g, Fiber: 3 g, Sugars: 12 g, Protein: 4 g, Sodium: 297 mg, Cholesterol: 23 mg
This dessert is sweet, light and nutritious (there's lots of protein and calcium from the ricotta) and you can substitute strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, or a puree of mango, papaya or bananas for the raspberries.
Combine raspberries and sugar in a small saucepan and set pan over medium heat. Bring to a simmer and cook 3-5 minutes, until raspberries break down and sauce thickens and reduces (you can also cook the raspberries in a microwave-safe bowl in the microwave for 1 minute on HIGH, stirring halfway through cooking.)
Combine ricotta cheese, vanilla and lemon zest in a medium bowl; mix well to combine. Spoon ricotta mixture into individual serving bowls and top with raspberry mixture. Gently stir raspberry mixture into ricotta, creating colorful swirls (I use a wooden skewer to swirl).
Nutrition info per serving: Calories: 205, Total Fat: 10 g, Sat. Fat: 6 g, Carbs: 14 g, Fiber: 2 g, Sugars: 6 g, Protein: 15 g, Sodium: 156 mg, Cholesterol: 38 mg
I chose to spoon this cinnamon-spiked pineapple-mango fusion over vanilla ice cream, but the sauce is equally awesome atop butter pecan and butter-almond.
Combine mangos, pineapple, vanilla, and cinnamon in a blender or food processor and puree until smooth. Spoon sauce over ice cream just before serving.
Nutrition info per serving: Calories: 197, Total Fat: 2 g, Sat. Fat: 1 g, Carbs: 41 g, Fiber: 3 g, Sugars: 38 g, Protein: 4 g, Sodium: 47 mg, Cholesterol: 5 mg
This is a snap to prepare, because angel food cakes are readily available at your grocery store (either in the bakery or by the berries in the produce department). Also, you can make the berry mixture up to 24 hours in advance (keep it refrigerated.)
4 thick slices prepared angel food cake (about 4 inches thick from a 12-inch cake)
Combine blackberries, honey, 1 tablespoon of lime juice and 1/2 teaspoon of finely grated lime zest in a medium bowl and toss to combine. Arrange angel food cake on dessert dishes and top with berry mixture.
Nutrition info per serving: Calories: 140, Total Fat: 1 g, Sat. Fat: 0 g, Carbs: 33 g, Fiber: 4 g, Sugars: 12 g, Protein: 3 g, Sodium: 214 mg, Cholesterol: 0 mg
Mandarin oranges and mint have a wonderful affinity and the sweetness of mirin ties the distinctly Asian flavors together.
Combine mandarin oranges, mint and mirin in a small bowl and toss to combine. Spoon frozen yogurt into bowls and top with mandarin mixture.
Nutrition info per serving: Calories: 234, Total Fat: 5 g, Sat. Fat: 2.5 g, Carbs: 38 g, Fiber: 1 g, Sugars: 27 g, Protein: 10 g, Sodium: 59 mg, Cholesterol: 65 mg
Robin Miller is a nutritionist, host of Quick Fix Meals, author of “Robin Rescues Dinner” and the busy mom of two active little boys. Her boys and great food are her passion. Check her out at www.robinrescuesdinner.com.