A dessert with protein? Impossible.
Read on for "almost-home" exception to the empty-calorie dessert rule. (Shh! It really does have six grams of protein per serving).
Remember when mom would make bread or rice pudding for dessert and it tasted just wonderful? Bread pudding with raisins was my favorite, because we were less likely to have rice. This hearty pudding recipe uses leftover brown rice for more protein and fiber and suggests using six-ounce custard cups so that you have a bit of portion control. You can cover leftovers and refrigerate for a treat tomorrow. Try substituting semi-dried whole grain bread crumbs for the "back when" taste.
The whole grain advantage holds true for all your bread and cereals products (pastas too). We need the extra fiber so much to slow down blood sugar spikes, to temper cholesterol and for digestive health. Use your own combination of dried fruit: apricots, cranberries, cherries, raisins, blueberries -- just dice into small pieces.
Almost Home Rice Pudding (four servings)
* Cooking spray
* ½ cup cooked rice,
* ½ cup (two ounces) mixed, diced fruit bits,
* two eggs,
* three tablespoons sugar,
* ½ teaspoon vanilla,
* one cup skim or low-fat (1 percent) milk
Ground cinnamon sprinkled over, optional, but oh, so good.
Preheat oven to 350-degrees with oven rack in the middle. Lightly spray four (six-ounce) custard cups with cooking spray and place in a large baking pan. Leave some space around each custard cup.
Spoon two tablespoons of the rice and two tablespoons of the fruit bits into each cup.
In medium bowl, beat together eggs, sugar and vanilla until well blended. Stir in milk. Pour over rice and fruit in cups (a 2-cup liquid measure makes this easy). Sprinkle with cinnamon if desired.
Place pan on middle rack in preheated oven. Pour very hot (but not boiling) water into pan to within one-half inch of top of custards. Bake until a knife inserted near center comes out clean, about 35-45 minutes. (A thermometer inserted at the center reads 160-degrees when the custards are done).
Using a slotted spatula and spoon, remove promptly from hot water -- easier while pan is still in oven.
Cool 5-10 minutes. Serve warm or chilled.
(For a caramel flavor, use firmly packed brown sugar).
Nutrition information per serving of one-fourth recipe without cinnamon: Calories 164; protein 6 grams; carbohydrates 29 grams; total fat 3 grams; cholesterol 107 milligrams; sodium 67 milligrams.
Source: University of Nebraska Cooperative Extension: http://lancaster.unl.edu/food/. Recipe adapted slightly from an American Egg Board recipe, courtesy of Mary Torell, Public Information Officer, Nebraska Department of Agriculture -- Poultry and Egg Division: http://lancaster.unl.edu/food/.
You can contact the local Purdue Extension Office by calling 812-829-5022 in Owen County or 448-9041 in Clay County for more information or for comments regarding this column. There is an Indiana Extension Homemaker Club near you. Call the Extension Office for more information.