Raisins are more than a snack food

Raisins are good for you, but don’t hold that against them. Not only do raisins get an A for nutrition, they also get high marks for flavor. They’re low in fat and are a favorite of athletes looking for high energy snacks.
But that doesn’t mean that they should only appear in trail mix.
The recipes featured this week utilize raisins in stuffing, baked beans, cake and ham sauce. We hope you’ll give them a try.

Apple Sauce Raisin Cake
Icing Ingredients:
8 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2-1/2 c. confectioners’ sugar
1 tbsp. fresh lime juice (or lemon)
Milk or cream, as needed

Cake Ingredients:
2 c. all-purpose flour
1-1/2 c. sugar
1-1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tbsp. cocoa
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. allspice
1/2 c. vegetable oil
1 c. applesauce
2 large eggs, at room temperature, lightly beaten
1-1/2 c. raisins

Pour hot water over raisins to cover. Let steep until plump, about 15 minutes, then drain thoroughly.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9 x 13-inch pan with non-stick foil.
In large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking soda, cocoa, cinnamon, salt, nutmeg, and allspice. Make a well in the center. Add oil, applesauce and beaten eggs. Mix well. Fold in plumped raisins. Pour into pan and bake for 30 to 35 minutes. Cool to room temperature.
In small bowl, beat cream cheese until smooth. Add vanilla extract and confectioners’ sugar. Blend in lime juice. If the frosting is too thick, add just enough milk or cream, a few drops at a time, to make frosting smooth and easy to spread. Smooth frosting on top of cooled cake. Refrigerate cake for at least one hour to set the frosting.

Baked Ham with Rum Raisin Sauce
1 3/4 c. water, divided
1 c. regular or golden raisins
1/2 c. brown sugar
2 tbsp. flour
2 tbsp. butter
2-3 tbsp. rum

Heat oven to 325°F. Place ham and 3/4 cup water in shallow baking pan. Bake uncovered 1 1/4 hours or until internal temperature reaches 140°F.
Combine 1 cup water and raisins in small saucepan; bring mixture to boil. Mix together brown sugar and flour in separate container. Add to raisin mixture; stirring constantly until thickened. Add butter and rum; stir to blend. Remove from heat.
Slice ham and place on serving platter. Serve sauce with ham.

Apple Raisin Stuffing
1/2 tsp. poultry seasoning
1/2 tsp. ground allspice
1 tsp. salt
6 c. soft bread crumbs
2 c. diced, peeled Golden Delicious apples
1/2 c. golden raisins
1/2 c. chopped walnuts
1 (8 oz.) can mandarin orange slices, drained, each slice cut in half
1/2 c. fresh orange juice
4 tbsp. (1/4 c.) butter, melted and slightly cooled

In a small bowl, whisk together poultry seasoning, allspice, and salt. Place bread crumbs, apples, raisins, walnuts, and spices in a large bowl. Toss gently to combine.
Add mandarin oranges, orange juice, and melted butter. Toss again to combine. Do not pre-stuff poultry. Stuff just before you put the bird in the oven.
Use as a stuffing for all types of poultry, including chicken, Cornish hens, duckling, and goose. You may also bake this stuffing as a separate side dish.

Baked Beans with Raisins and Apple Butter
1 28-oz. can nonfat baked beans
2 tbsp. prepared mustard

1/2 c. apple butter
1/3 c. raisins
Fresh ground black pepper to taste

Combine baked beans, mustard, apple butter, raisins, and pepper in a small nonreactive saucepan.
Set pan over medium heat. Cook for about six minutes, stirring occasionally, until heated through.
To heat in a microwave oven, place all ingredients in a microwave-safe casserole. Stir, then cover. Cook on high (100 percent power) for 3-4 minutes.