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Brentwood Chef Spoons Up Healthy Food:

Brentwood resident Devin Alexander’s recipes are everywhere. Maybe you’ve seen her on television, maybe you’ve read one of her cookbooks, maybe you’ve seen one of her recipes in a magazine.

Alexander was four years old when she began helping her grandmother in the kitchen. Less than a decade later, she was cooking for her family, her brother and sister being her guinea pigs. By 15, Alexander was cooking healthy food, and in college she was cooking spaghetti and meatballs on a hot plate for over a dozen friends. Alexander’s punishment as a child if she didn’t clean up well enough? She was not allowed to cook.

Today she is allowed to cook, and is sharing two recipes with Mirror readers: Modern Day Mac and Cheese and Double Chocolate Brownies that truly are as delicious as they are healthy.

Modern Day Mac and Cheese

You save: 197 calories, 23 g fat, 14 g saturated fat

1-1/2 cups (uncooked) elbow macaroni

Butter-flavored cooking spray

1 slice whole wheat bread (not dense)

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup fat free milk

4 ounces shredded Cabot’s 75% light cheddar cheese

3 ounces shredded light Swiss cheese

1 tablespoon light butter

2 tablespoons reduced-fat parmesan cheese

Cook the macaroni according to package directions.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Lightly mist an 8-inch diameter (1-1/2 quart) casserole dish with spray.

Using a cheese grater or food processor fitted with a chopping blade, grate the bread into fine crumbs.

Add the flour and salt to a medium bowl. Slowly whisk in enough milk to form a paste. Then continue adding the remaining milk, whisking as you do, making sure to remove any lumps.

Transfer the milk mixture to a medium, non-stick saucepan and place the pan over medium heat. When the milk is warm, add the cheese and stir the mixture with a wooden spoon until the cheese is completely melted and incorporated and the mixture thickens slightly. Stir in the macaroni, then transfer the mixture to the prepared dish.

Place the butter in a medium, microwave-safe bowl. Microwave it for 15-30 seconds or until the butter is melted. Stir in the parmesan and breadcrumbs until they are well combined and most of the crumbs are moist. Sprinkle the crumb mixture evenly over the top of the macaroni. Bake the macaroni for 15-18 minutes or until the topping is lightly browned. Remove it from the oven and let it stand for 5 minutes. Serve immediately.

Makes 3-1/2 cups; 6 servings.

Each (slightly heaping 1/2 cup) serving has: 215 calories, 16 g protein, 28 g carbohydrates, 5 g fat, 2 g saturated fat, 15 mg cholesterol, 1 g fiber, 366 mg sodium.

Traditional Mac and Cheese: 412 calories, 15 g protein, 25 g carbohydrates, 28 g fat, 16 g saturated fat, 65 mg cholesterol, 2 g fiber, 891 mg sodium.

Double Chocolate Brownies

1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

4 egg whites

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup unbleached, all-purpose flour

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1/2 teaspoon instant espresso powder

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup mini chocolate chips (semi-sweet)

Butter-flavored cooking spray

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray an 8×8 inch non-stick cake pan with spray.

In a medium mixing bowl, using a sturdy whisk or spatula, mix the applesauce, vanilla, egg whites and sugar until they are well combined. Add the flour, cocoa powder, espresso powder, baking powder and salt. Stir the mixture until it is just combined and no lumps remain. Pour it into the prepared pan. Sprinkle the chips evenly over the top. Bake the brownies for 20-22 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out dry (a few crumbs are okay).

Transfer the pan to a cooling rack and allow them to cool 5 minutes. Cut into 12 equal brownies.

Makes 12 (1 brownie) servings.

Each brownie has: 88 calories, 2 g protein, 19 g carbohydrates, 1 g fat, <1 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 1 g fiber, 133 mg sodium.

Traditional Double Chocolate Brownies have: 260 calories, 3 g protein, 37 g carbohydrates, 12 g fat, 3 g saturated fat, 15 mg cholesterol, 1 g fiber, 165 mg sodium.

According to Alexander, the addition of the espresso powder makes these brownies richer and more chocolaty tasting without adding calories. Be sure to use instant espresso powder.

Healthy Decadence with Devin Alexander airs Thursday nights at 10:30 p.m. on Discovery Health. Alexander is also the author of The Biggest Loser Cookbook and Fast Food Fix.

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