The fall is one of my favorite times of the year, with the change of colors and the bountiful harvest of apples. I love going apple picking in the autumn and enjoying the sweet/sour juicy taste of ruby red apples-right off the tree. Eating apples are also a great way to stay healthy and trim down for adults and children, alike. With no saturated fat and scoring only 65 calories per piece, apples are the perfect snack or lunchtime sidekick. They pack a fiber-filled punch, too, with 3 grams of dietary fiber, apples hit the spot. Consuming dietary fiber offers many health benefits and helps lower the risk for developing diseases, such as coronary heart disease, stroke, hypertension, diabetes, obesity, and certain gastrointestinal diseases, and lowers blood pressure and serum cholesterol levels. However, the average fiber intake for US children and adults are less than half of the recommended levels. The recommended daily dietary fiber intakes for children and adults are 14 grams.

This recipe is one of my all-time favorites from growing up. After a busy day picking (fiber-rich) apples, my mom would make this hearty and delicious baked chicken recipe, so naturally, it found a spot in my new book, Real Moms Love to Eat: How to Conduct a Love Affair with Food, Lose Weight and Look Fabulous (New American Library-Penguin Books, January, 2012). Now you can enjoy it too, reaping the nutritional benefits of the apples and the high quality protein in the chicken!

Baked Chicken with Honey and Apples

Serves 6.

Ingredients

  • 6 organic or pasture-raised boneless, skinless chicken breast halves

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ sweet onion, sliced (like Vidalia)
  • 2 organic Granny Smith apples, cored and sliced

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil, divided

  • 1½ cups organic apple juice

  • 2 tablespoons honey

  • 1 teaspoon salt

Directions

  • Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Put the chicken in a shallow baking pan.
  • Heat half the olive oil in a large, deep skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 4 minutes. Add the apples and cook for about a minute. Pour over the chicken.
  • Warm the remaining olive oil in the same pan over medium heat. Stir in the apple juice, honey, and salt. Cook, scraping the bottom of the pan, for 2 minutes. Pour over the apples.
  • Bake until bubbly and the chicken is no longer pink in the center, about 45 minutes. Serve with any sauce remaining in the baking pan.