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Chocolate-Raspberry Buttermilk Cupcakes

Raspberries and chocolate have a natural affinity, but cherry jam or orange marmalade would work equally well here.

Brussels Sprouts with Chestnuts

Brussels sprouts, in addition to looking like mini heads of cabbage, are in the cabbage family, making them cruciferous vegetables. The earthy, cabbage-y flavor of sprouts is nicely complemented by chestnuts. If you’re not up for cooking and peeling chestnuts, look for cans of whole cooked chestnuts. Thyme is a sweet yet savory herbal underscore for the dish.

Spicy Clams in White Wine

When buying clams, be sure that the shells are tightly closed. Serve the clams in bowls with crusty bread for sopping up the sauce. Or, if you like, remove the clams from their shells and toss with a bowl of spaghetti or linguine.

Tex-Mex Cracked Wheat Salad

Bulgur (which is cracked wheat that’s been precooked with steam) is usually used to make a Middle Eastern salad called tabbouleh. Here, it’s the basis of a salad that includes corn, black beans, and smoky chipotle pepper sauce, giving it a distinctly New World slant. This hearty side dish could easily be converted to a main dish with the addition of 2 cups shredded cooked chicken or cooked shrimp, or 8 ounces of shredded fat-free mozzarella.

Super Heart-Smart Müesli Mix

A Swiss doctor (named Bircher-Benner) who ran a diet clinic in Switzerland in the late 19th century, invented a breakfast dish that included oats, chopped apples, and soured cream. A packaged version of the original Bircher-müesli mix has been marketed for years (and is still a tradition in Switzerland), and usually contains dried fruit instead of the fresh fruit in the original. For our müesli, we’ve chosen high-fiber figs and dates, as well as heart-smart sunflower seeds.

Carrot-Orange Dressing

The teensy bit of fat in this fat-free salad dressing is coming, of all things, from the cayenne pepper.

Hot & Spicy Cocktail Sauce

This sauce gets its heat from a smoky chipotle pepper and a healthy amount of cayenne. Chipotle peppers packed in adobo can be found at Mexican markets and many supermarkets. If you can’t find chipotles, substitute a canned or bottled jalapeño and increase the chili powder to 2-1/2 teaspoons.

Asparagus with Confetti Dressing

Most salad dressings have very little in the way of nutrients (and usually quite a bit of fat). In this asparagus side salad we take the opportunity to boost the fiber and nutrient content of the tomato-lemon vinaigrette by adding bell peppers, carrot, cucumber, and onion. Serving suggestion: In addition to serving this as a side salad, this would make a very nice starter for a multicourse meal.

Dried Plum & Toasted Oat Muffins

Dried plums (prunes) are always available, but in fresh plum season, you can make these with diced firm-ripe plums. The best type of fresh plum to use would be a so-called prune plum, because its flesh is quite dense and not too wet.

Toasted-Oat Banana Bread

Toasting heart-healthy oats brings out their nutty flavor, underscoring the flavor of the walnuts.