Chocolates and NECCOs and sweets – oh, my! When it comes to sugar, your kids will have no shortage on Feb. 14. So why not offset that with something a bit, y'know, better-for-you? Now, don't be fooled. These recipes are deliriously delicious. Not to mention, they're truly "sweet" for your family's heart health.
Crumbs turned to Chef Frank Turner – the savvy cook who's director of food and nutrition and executive chef of Henry Ford West Bloomfield Hospital. He knows a thing or two about serving up kid-enticing dishes without the additives and junk. After all, he also spent years creating exquisite dishes in some of Michigan's best restaurants (and he's a dad, to boot)!
"Flavor-compliant is first," says Turner, using the lingo of "the guys with the stethoscopes." His recipes for saffron risotto with arugula salad and vegan granola – shared here – will have you swooning!
"This is 'healthified' already," says Chef Turner. "It's not out of a box!" Besides its bright yellow color, the star seasoning is subtle enough to tempt your kids' taste buds – and, he adds, "Saffron is the spice of love." Try this tantalizing dinner.
- 4 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1 cup onions, minced
- 1 cup leeks, sliced thin
- 1 1/2 cup arborio rice
- 2 tsp. garlic, minced
- 1 tsp. Spanish saffron
- 1/2 cup white wine
- 6 1/2 cups chicken stock (hot)
- 1/2 cup Parmesan, grated
- 4 Tbsp. butter, unsalted
- 3 Tbsp. fresh chopped parsley
- 3 Tbsp. fresh chopped chives
- 2 Tbsp. fresh basil
- Fresh milled pepper and kosher salt, to taste
- Saute onions and leeks in olive oil until translucent. Do not brown. Add rice, garlic and saffron and saute 2-3 minutes.
- Add wine and 1/2 cup of hot stock, stirring constantly until absorbed. Slowly add stock, 1/2 cup at a time, until rice is creamy but still firm.
- Add butter, Parmesan, herbs and salt and pepper.
- Enjoy warm or pour into a lightly oiled 6-by-11 baking pan and cool. Cut to heart shape (or anything your heart desires), lightly flour and saute 2 to 3 minutes on either side.
- 2 1/2 oz. coconut vinegar
- 1 tsp. fresh shallots, minced
- 1 tsp. fresh rosemary
- 1 tsp. fresh thyme leaves
- 1/2 tsp. fresh ground black pepper
- 5 oz. Spanish olive oil
- Add all ingredients (except olive oil) to the vinegar and let set for 2 to 3 minutes.
- Slowly add olive oil in a slow steady stream.
- Serve fresh wild arugula tossed with the dressing, some shiitake mushrooms and walnuts over the warm risotto cake for a great dinner salad.
- Or – the risotto alone makes a satisfying meal!
Whether you start the day with this treat, toss a bit in a baggie for a lunchbox surprise (just add a love note) or top off that dinner with a sweet heart-shaped granola briquette, this chocolate-free delight "is a killer recipe," Chef Turner says.
- 1 cup applesauce (unsweetened by added ascorbic acid)
- 4 cups carob candies chips or crushed bars (unsweetened)
- 4 cups cereal (steel-cut oats, old-fashioned oats, rice based, corn, etc.)
- 1 cup vegetable oil (low erucic acid grape seed oil)
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 cup golden flaxseed, ground
- 4 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
- 1 cup maple syrup
- 4 tsp. vanilla extract
- 2 cups whole-wheat flour
- 2 cups wheat germ, crude
- Fresh strawberries (optional)
- Combine the rolled oats, ground flax seed, whole-wheat flour, wheat germ, cinnamon, salt and nutmeg in the mixing bowl. Mix on low speed just until it's combined (about 1 minute).
- Slowly add in the applesauce, oil, maple syrup and vanilla and mix until combined (about 1 minute). Add in carob candies until barely incorporated. Do not over-mix the batter.
- Mixture should be moist but not too wet. If the granola dough seems a little dry, add a little more applesauce (1 tablespoon at a time).
- Place in a sprayed 13-by-9 baking pan and press down the granola dough. You want the granola dough to be 1 1/2-inch thick in the pan.
- Bake at 300 degrees F for 25 minutes.
- Let cool and cut into heart shapes. Serve with fresh strawberries.