Getting a healthful start

The Baltimore Sun

Compared to a bowl of oatmeal, pancakes seem like a lightweight breakfast option. But this recipe for Whole-Wheat Pancakes With Dried-Fruit Conserve adds several layers of good nutrition to start the day.

Combine rolled oat flour with whole-wheat flour for the health benefits of whole grains. Add chopped walnuts, which contain heart-healthy omega-3, and chopped apple bits for added vitamins and fiber. Then make a batter using low-fat buttermilk, fat-free milk and unsweetened applesauce to cut down on saturated fat.

Finally, skip dribbling syrup on the stack. Instead, add a tasty fruit-and-nut conserve. A conserve is a simple combination of dried fruit and nuts, which adds still more vitamins and fiber.

Cooking tips: For dried fruit, chop and combine your favorite dried fruit, including dried apples, apricots, peaches and cherries, or use packaged, chopped, mixed dried fruit. To keep the fruit from sticking to your knife, spray the blade with vegetable cooking spray.

To toast walnuts, spread nuts in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees 5 to 7 minutes or until golden.

Whole-Wheat Pancakes With Dried-Fruit Conserve

Makes 8 servings

1 1/4 cups apple juice (divided use)

1 cup chopped dried mixed fruit

1/4 cup raisins

1 teaspoon sugar

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

3/4 cup old-fashioned rolled oats

3 tablespoons chopped walnuts, toasted (divided use)

3/4 cup whole-wheat flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

dash salt

3/4 cup low-fat buttermilk

1/4 cup fat-free milk

1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce

2 egg whites

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1/3 cup chopped, peeled Jonathan or other tart apple

Combine 1 cup apple juice, dried fruit, raisins, sugar and cinnamon in a small saucepan. Cover and heat to a boil; reduce heat to low and simmer 10 minutes. Uncover and cook 2 to 3 minutes to thicken slightly.

Meanwhile, place oats in food processor and process until fine. Add 2 tablespoons toasted walnuts and pulse to combine, coarsely chopping walnuts. Combine oat mixture, whole-wheat flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt in mixing bowl.

In another bowl, combine buttermilk, remaining 1/4 cup apple juice, fat-free milk, applesauce, egg whites and oil; stir to combine well. Pour liquid ingredients into flour mixture and stir just until moistened. Stir in chopped apples.

Heat a nonstick-coated griddle or large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Spray griddle generously with nonstick cooking spray. Pour 1/3 cup batter onto hot griddle for each pancake; cook about 2 minutes or until surface bubbles. Turn pancake and cook on second side until golden.

Remove dried-fruit mixture from heat and stir in remaining 1 tablespoon toasted walnuts.

To serve, spoon about 2 tablespoons warm fruit mixture on top of each pancake.

Per serving: 196 calories, 4 grams fat, 1 gram saturated fat, 1 milligram cholesterol, 34 grams carbohydrate, 6 grams protein, 267 milligrams sodium, 4 grams fiber

Recipe analysis provided by The Kansas City Star.

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