Healthy Ingredient of the Week – Raisins

Raisins are occasionally written off as “junk food” that’s high in sugar and low in nutritional value.  However, these tiny dried grapes are anything but – they’re a good source of fiber and potassium and contain iron, most B vitamins, and several antioxidant vitamins and minerals.  Most commercially-available raisins are unsweetened, meaning all of the sugar they contain is naturally-occurring.  However, like all dried fruit, this sugar is super-concentrated, so it’s best to limit yourself to a quarter-cup serving at a time.  Raisins are a great way to satisfy your sweet tooth and sneak in a serving of fruit; they’re an especially good snack for endurance athletes, as studies show that raisins are just as effective in providing a quick burst of energy as energy gels and chews.  Who wouldn’t want a natural (and inexpensive!) way to stay energized during a long run or bike ride?  Whether you choose to consume raisins as an energy supply, a snack, or an add-in to your favorite sweet or savory dish, consider them a healthy addition to your diet.

Chilaquiles with Raisins and Chicken Chorizo

Ingredients
6 dried New Mexican red chiles, stemmed and seeded
1 ancho chile, stemmed and seeded
Water, as needed
1 cup raisins, ground into a paste with a food processor
1 red onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
3 tablespoons corn oil, divided
3 fresh ripe Roma tomatoes, roasted and seeded
½ teaspoon ground cumin
1 pound ground chicken
1 teaspoon chili powder
2 teaspoons smoked ground paprika
1 teaspoon ground Mexican oregano
1 envelope Sazon Goya
1 cup low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
1 cup raisins
1 cup cooked low-sodium pinto beans
12, 6-inch corn tortillas
Pepper, to taste

 Instructions

  1. Arrange chiles in large bowl and add hot water to cover; let stand 15 minutes or until softened. Turn chiles into blender along with 1 cup of the liquid; add raisin paste and purée until smooth. Set aside.
  2. Heat 2 tablespoons corn oil in large, heavy skillet. Add chicken, tomatoes, onion, garlic, and seasonings; sauté over low heat until chicken is cooked, about 5 minutes.
  3. Stir in the puréed chile sauce, chicken broth, raisins and beans; simmer 10 minutes or until heated through.
  4. 4.  Meanwhile, brush tortillas with remaining 1 tablespoon oil and cut into strips. Spread in single layer on baking sheet and bake at 400°F for 10 to 15 minutes or just until chewy and almost crisp. Then, season chicken mixture to taste with pepper and stir in tortilla chips or divide and spoon sauce over tortilla chips for individual servings; garnish with low-fat shredded cheese, green onions, and cilantro.

Recipe adapted from the California Raisin Marketing Board

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