Healthy Ingredient of the Week – Cinnamon

I always get a craving for cinnamon-flavored foods in the Fall, so now is the perfect time to try new recipes that contain the spice, for more than just taste reasons.  Cinnamon happens to be many people’s go-to spice when it comes to livening up sweet (and sometimes savory) dishes, but it may also have a number of health benefits that are often overlooked.  Some studies have indicated that as little as ½ teaspoon a day of cinnamon can help lower blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol, and inflammation.  Cassia, the dark-colored variety most often used in commercially-packaged ground cinnamon, is thought to have the greatest beneficial health effects.  Cinnamon, no matter the type, can – and should – be a regular part of almost any healthy diet, as it adds flavor (and a feeling of satiety, since strong-flavored foods are more likely to make you feel full than bland foods) without the calories of sugar. 

Cinnamon Oranges

Ingredients
4 navel oranges
2 tablespoons orange juice
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon sugar
¼  teaspoon ground cinnamon

Instructions
1.  With a sharp knife, remove rind and white pith from oranges.
2.  Cut each into 5 or 6 slices and arrange on 4 plates.
3.  Whisk together orange juice and lemon juice, sugar and cinnamon.
4.  Spoon over the orange slices.

Cider-Glazed Roots with Cinnamon Walnuts

Ingredients
3 pounds assorted root vegetables, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 cup apple cider
¼ cup dark brown sugar
½ teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
¼ teaspon freshly ground pepper
½ cup chopped walnuts
1 tablespoon butter
⅛ teaspoon ground cinnamon

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. If using parsnips, quarter lengthwise and remove the woody core before cutting into 1-inch pieces. Whisk cider, brown sugar, 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper in a 9-by-13-inch baking dish until the sugar is dissolved. Add root vegetables and toss to coat. Cover the baking dish with foil.
  3. Bake for 20 minutes. Uncover and stir the vegetables. Continue cooking, uncovered, stirring every 20 minutes or so, until the vegetables are glazed and tender, about 1 hour more.
  4. Meanwhile, place walnuts in a small skillet and cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until fragrant and lightly browned, 2 to 6 minutes. Remove from the heat and add butter, cinnamon and a pinch of salt. Stir until the butter melts and the nuts are coated. Spread out on a plate to cool slightly.
  5. Transfer the vegetables to a serving dish and sprinkle with the cinnamon walnuts.

Recipes from EatingWell

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