When it comes to snacks, I’m a crunchy-salty kind of gal. Potato chips, cheese curls, tortilla chips all have graced my snack tray. There’s something so comforting and satisfying about the crunch on the palate, the salt on the lips, and the oily residue on the fingers that these snacks provide.
Sadly, these tasty treats have become a very occasional indulgence, but for my taste, there is still nothing like a salty crunchy snack. What’s a gal to do? Oh, nuts! Really, I mean nuts. In their natural state they are a healthy and satisfying snack. With a little imagination and some mostly healthy ingredients they can become the perfect cure for that salt with crunch craving.
There are many good for you nuts out there that provide healthy fat, fiber, and protein to your diet. They are nutrient dense and their rich taste lets a little go a long way. Right now, I’m sharing a recipe for almonds so lets see what this tasty little seed (it is the seed of the fruit of the almond tree) has to offer.
Twenty three almonds (about an ounce) provides about 160 calories, 3 grams of fiber, 6 grams of protein and 14 grams of healthy fats. There’s also a generous dose of vitamin E. It boasts many health benefits including aiding in lowering bad (LDL) cholesterol and blood sugar. Most of the almonds we eat are grown here so that means you are eating American. The U.S. is the number one producer and California is the epicenter.
Enough about the wonders of almonds, let’s talk about how to make them even tastier. To create the smokey flavor I use a generous dose of sweet smoked paprika. I use a touch of garlic powder and sugar, along with a little salt.The almonds get tossed with some olive oil before the savory ingredients are added.A slow roast in the oven and they’re read to eat.
You can make this as spicy or sweet as you want. I often add some rosemary and a little black pepper, but let your herb and spice preferences be your guide.
If you’ve checked out my post about the turkey that keeps on giving, you know that I’ve been using my gift turkey in all sorts of ways. Here is one more recipe that is perfect for cold wintry evenings. It uses two of my favorite Trader Joe’s items; A creamy Parmesan cheese called Toscano with Black Pepper and a bag of California goodness, Frozen Artichoke Hearts. Both of these items are available pretty much all of the time at Trader Joe’s. The cheese is wonderful in cooking and delightful on a cracker or as part of a decadent grilled cheese. The artichokes have a fresher taste than the ones in the can and are great in hundreds of recipes.
The sauce was “Alfredo like” with a hefty punch of garlic, but lighter in body because turkey stock made up most of the liquid with only a bit of fat-free half & half to add some creaminess.
I used a Montreal Reduced Sodium Chicken Seasoning along with Smoked Paprika for my seasoning, but you could use any seasoning you like and it would be wonderful with fresh herbs as well.
The pot pie that resulted was wonderful. I allowed it to rest the required 10 minutes. This was slightly longer than my husband could wait…hence the picture of the completed dish is missing a corner…it was that good.
The colors of the ingredients give this dish its name. It is a perfect fall dish, but the ingredients are all available year around. It is cheap to make and healthy to eat. It’s also easy to prepare and is the perfect Meatless Monday recipe.Queso Fresco cheese makes a wonderful garnish. The salty yet mild crumbles are a perfect compliment to the richness of the dish.