Black Bean Brownies

My brother is coming into town from California and I wanted to make something special to satisfy his sweet-tooth. He loves having a treat every once in a while, but he also likes having a healthy lifestyle, like I do. These brownies will definitely fuel his next 10-mile run, they are packed with protein! Should I tell him the brownies have beans in them? Or will he freak out?

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Original recipe developed by Meal Makeover Moms for the Bean Institute, published in Food & Nutrition Magazine September 20014 issue, adapted by Meaghan Mikulas

Yields: 16- 2 inch squares

Ingredients:

  • 1 15-oz. can of low sodium black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 tablespoons walnut oil
  • 3/4 sugar
  • 1/2 unsweetened cocoa powder ( I used Special Dark b/c bitter is a preferred taste of mine)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 2 T mini white chocolate chips

Special equipment: a food processor with a sharp blade

How to:

1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Spray down an 8×8 or 7×11 baking pan with nonstick spray.

2. Place black beans in the bowl of a food processor and process until smooth. Scrape sides down with a spatula if necessary. Stream in oil with processor on. Then, add eggs, sugar, cocoa, vanilla extract, baking powder and salt. Process all until smooth.

3. Add 1/4 of semi-sweet chocolate chips into the food processor and pulse a couple times, until incorporated but still chunky.

4. Carefully remove blade from food processor and pour batter into pan, using spatula. Smooth top so its relatively even and sprinkle the remaining semi-sweet and white chocolate chips on top.

5. Bake for 30 minutes on middle rack. Cool the pan completely before slicing into squares.

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Caprese Sandwich with Avocado

We are almost ready to give up our hearty stews and soups as Winter is leaving us until next year. For lighter fare, I turn to this sandwich, which makes for the perfect transition into Spring. Its great alone, as the sourdough speaks for itself. Or a great companion to that soup we were talking about relinquishing. Or maybe not just yet 😉

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Yields: 1 big sandwich

What you’ll need:

  • 2 big slices of sourdough bread
  • 1 medium tomato, sliced
  • 3 fresh mozzarella cheese slices (I used 3 oz)
  • 1/4 avocado, sliced
  • handful of fresh basil leaves
  • drizzle of Italian olive oil
  • Optional: pinch of salt for your tomatoes

How to:

Start by slicing your sourdough bread with a serrated knife. Believe it or not, the order in which the filling is placed on the sandwich makes a difference on how well your sandwich stays together. I place the tomatoes on the bottom, that way they create the most stable “base”. Next, layer mozzarella, avocado, then basil. Drizzle with olive oil and top with the other piece of sourdough. Presto!

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Spinach-stuffed Portobellos

Filling. Delicious. Easy. Can it get any better than that? Oh, and its healthy too!

Pop these guys in the oven for an easy dinner tonight!

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What you’ll need:

  • 5 Portobello mushrooms
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese, part skim
  • 1 cup Mozzarella part skim 2% shredded cheese, divided
  • 1/4 cup Panko crumbs
  • 1/2 cup brown rice, cooked
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 packages of frozen spinach, drained and squeezed
  • dash of salt and pepper

How to:

1) Preheat oven to 375 F and line one cookie tray with parchment paper or aluminum foil.

2) Sautee onion and garlic in frying pan on stove top.

3) Snap cap off of each portobello and using a spoon, gently scrape the underside, or gills, of it out. Discard. Place portobellos on lined cookie sheet.

4) In a large bowl, place spinach, ricotta, egg, 1/2 cup of mozzarella, panko crumbs, rice, tomatoes, sautéed onions, garlic and lastly salt and pepper. Stir.

5) Fill each portobello with spinach mixture. Top with remaining 1/2 cup of mozzarella cheese.

6) Place in oven and cook for 15-20 minutes until cheese starts to bubble.

Enjoy!

I served the stuffed mushrooms with a tomato & hearts of palm salad.

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