Recipe Spotlight: Avocado Takes Dinner, Dessert From Drab to Delicious

by CAROL CORLEY

Avocados are versatile and delicious when eaten alone or added to foods like hamburgers, salads, smoothies, and even desserts.

Better yet, they are a superfood known to contain 20 healthy vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients, including C, E, K, B6, riboflavin, niacin, folate, magnesium, and potassium. Even the fat is considered good for you. Avocados help lower LDL (bad) cholesterol and reduce inflammation.

So how can you include avocados in your meals? Add it to scrambled eggs, put it on toast, use it in soups and salads, and try it as a substitute for mayonnaise or sour cream, and in smoothies.

To really appreciate avocados, you can start by using them as the star of the show.

Crab Salad Avocado Boats
(Adapted from parade.com)

Ingredients:
Avocados, 4, halved lengthwise and pitted
Crabmeat, 8 oz lump
Tomatoes and peaches, 1 cup each, peeled and chopped
Lemon juice, 1-1/2 tablespoon fresh
Honey, 3 teaspoons raw
Salt to taste
JalapeƱo pepper, minced, 1tablespoon, if desired
Chives, 4 tablespoons minced, for decoration

Directions:
Take the halved/pitted avocados and scoop the flesh out of the skins, carefully. Set skins aside, and chop the avocado flesh. Gently toss the avocado meat with the crab, peaches, tomatoes, and flavorings of choice. Add lemon juice, and honey, and stir all together. Finally, scoop the crab salad into the avocado skins, sprinkle with chives, and chill until time to serve.

Chicken Stuffed Baked Avocados
(Adapted from allrecipes.com)

Ingredients:
Avocados, 4, halved and pitted
Chicken breasts, 2 medium, cooked and shredded
Tomatoes, 1/3 cup chopped
Cream cheese, 4 oz softened
Parmesan cheese, 2/3 cup shredded or to taste
Salt and pepper to taste
Cayenne pepper, 1 pinch if desired

Directions:
Remove some of the flesh from each avocado and mix with shredded chicken, cream cheese, tomatoes, and flavorings. Scoop a generous amount into each empty avocado half then top with Parmesan cheese. Now take each avocado half and place face-up in a pan, stabilized so they will not tip over. Some people use muffin cups. Bake in an oven preheated to 400F until the cheese is melted, about 8-10 minutes.

Easy Guacamole
(Adapted from foodnetwork.com)

Ingredients:
Avocados, 4 ripe halved and pitted
Lemon juice, 3 tablespoons fresh squeezed
Red onion, 1/2 cup diced small
Garlic, 1 clove minced
Salt and pepper to taste
Hot pepper sauce to taste

Directions:
Mix the flesh of the avocados in a bowl with other ingredients, use a sharp knife to finely dice the avocados, and toss well.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Avocado Pudding
(Adapted from minimalistbaker.com)

Ingredients:
Avocados, 2 ripe
Banana, 1 large
Cocoa powder, 2/3 cup unsweetened
Peanut butter, 1/2 cup
Maple syrup (or sweetener of choice), 1/2 cup or more if desired
Almond or oat milk, 1/4 cup or more if needed
Whipping cream, optional (can use coconut whipping cream to remain gluten-free)

Directions:
Place all ingredients except the whipping cream of choice into a food processor and blend until smooth. Place in a medium bowl and cover with plastic wrap pressed tightly to prevent a skin from forming. Chill overnight. To serve, divide among 6 small glasses, top with whipped coconut cream, or of choice, drizzle with salted peanut butter and a tiny dusting of cocoa powder.

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