April Recipes: Pecans, Please

Courtesy of Family Features

ncorporating nutritious ingredients is an easy way to step up your mealtime. American Pecans can super-fy nearly any recipe by adding flavor and nutrition. American Pecans and their unique mix of unsaturated fats, plant sterols, fiber and flavonoids add up to help promote a healthy heart. In fact, according to the Food and Drug Administration, research suggests but does not prove that eating 1 1/2 ounces of most nuts, such as pecans, each day as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol may help reduce your risk of heart disease. One serving of pecans (28 grams) contains 18 grams unsaturated fat and only 2 grams saturated fat.

Banana Pecan Cherry Oatmeal

1 cup old-fashioned oats 2 cups water
1/2 cup pecan milk
1 banana, sliced
1/4 cup pecan halves
1/4 cup dried tart cherries 1/4 cup honey

In a large, microwave-safe bowl, combine oats and water. Microwave on high 3-4 minutes, or until oats are cooked through. Watch carefully to avoid boiling over.

Remove from microwave, stir and divide between two bowls. Pour 1/4 cup pecan milk over each bowl.

Divide sliced banana, pecan halves and dried tart cherries between each bowl and drizzle with 2 tablespoons honey. Serve immediately.

Cherry Pecan Energy Bites

Makes 10-12 energy bites

1 cup toasted pecan halves or pieces
1 cup dried cherries
4 medjool dates, pitted
4 cup old fashioned oats
1 tablespoon cacao powder, plus additional, for coating (optional)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a food processor, combine toasted pecans, dried cherries, dates, oats, cacao powder and vanilla extract.

Pulse until ingredients begin to bind and form loose, dough-like ball.

Roll into 1-inch balls. Roll balls in additional cacao powder, if desired, and transfer to airtight container. Refrigerate until ready to serve, up to seven days.

Note: To make gluten-free, substitute 1/4 cup of certified gluten-free old-fashioned oats.

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