An apple a day really might be the way to go: Chicken with Apples

October 28, 2016

By Kay MacInnis, Registered Dietitian

Fall is apple season, and that can be good on a number of levels.

Apples are a great source of fiber, both soluble and insoluble. The soluble fiber found right under the apple's skin helps lower cholesterol levels. The insoluble fiber is responsible for moving food through the gut, thereby helping avoid cancer.

Apples are a good source of vitamin C and are also rich in quercetin, which may reduce the risk of gout and improve lung function.

The one problem is that every time I grab an apple from the fruit bowl I think about the "Dirty Dozen," a list published by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) singling out produce with the highest pesticide levels. Yes, they also publish a "Clean Fifteen" which includes avocados, sweet corn, pineapples, cabbage, frozen sweet peas, onion, asparagus, mangoes, papayas, kiwis, eggplant, honeydew, grapefruit, cantaloupe and cauliflower.

You might want to purchase organic apples, but they are expensive. And perhaps unnecessary: "There is some evidence that exposure to pesticides on produce from the ‘Dirty Dozen’ list poses negligible risks and that substituting organic for conventional produce doesn't necessary result in any appreciable risk reduction," wrote Jessica Fishman Levinson (MS, RDN, CDN), in a recent article.

The Alliance for Food and Farming, a nonprofit organization consisting of both organic and conventional farmers, found that a woman could consume 850 servings of conventional apples in one day without any adverse effect, even if the apples had the highest pesticide residue recorded for apples by the USDA.

So maybe eating an apple a day really can keep the doctor away!

Chicken with Apples

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 Granny Smith apple, cored and sliced
  • 1 tbsp. packed dark brown sugar
  • 4 4-oz. chicken breasts, skinless, boneless
  • 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced and separated into rings
  • 1/2 cup apple cider
  • 1/2 cup red apple balsamic vinegar
  • 2 cup hot cooked wide noodles

Preparation:

  • In a large nonstick skillet over medium heat, heat 1 tbsp. olive oil.
  • Sauté the apples until lightly browned, about 5 minutes.
  • Sprinkle with the brown sugar; cook, stirring frequently, until tender.
  • Transfer to plate.
  • On a sheet of wax paper, sprinkle the chicken with cinnamon, salt and pepper.
  • In the skillet, heat the remaining olive oil.
  • Sauté the chicken until browned, 4-5 minutes on each side.
  • Transfer to another plate.
  • In the skillet, cook the onions, covered until tender, stir in the cider and vinegar.
  • Reduce the heat and simmer 2 minutes.
  • Return the chicken to the skillet and simmer, spooning the sauce over the chicken until chicken is cooked through and liquid is reduced by half.
  • Return apples to the skillet and cook until heated through, about 2 minutes.
  • Arrange the noodles on a platter and top with chicken and apple mixture.

Nutrition information: 352 Calories, 11 grams fat, 89 mg. cholesterol, 36 grams carbohydrate, 27 grams protein, 273 mg. sodium.

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This is another in a weekly series of healthy recipes from Kay MacInnis, registered dietitian at Providence Health in Columbia, S.C.

Kay promotes health and wellness, helping cardiac and diabetes patients eat their way to healthier lives. She works in consultation with the trained chefs at Providence, combining her nutrition knowledge with their food prep know-how to create delicious, healthy dishes for patients and the public. She also conducts a number of health and wellness events for the public, including the monthly Providence Cooks! classes.

"She doesn't just give you the fish, she teaches you how to cook it."

 – a Kay MacInnis fan and Providence Cooks! regular.