Fall is the perfect season for warm desserts, but who wants to put on any extra pounds right before the holiday season? To keep desserts healthier, use brown rice and try quick and nutritious recipes like the ones below.Rice is fat-free, gluten-free and sodium-free. It is loaded with all eight essential amino acids, which can only be obtained through your diet. Essential amino acids help vita-mins and minerals do their job, so eating brown rice is a simple way to stay healthy. Also, rice contains important B-complex vitamins (thiamine, riboflavin, niacin), as well as phosphorus, iron and potassium. Plus, brown rice is a whole grain food and whole grains have been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease, some cancers and type 2 diabetes.

With instant brown rice, like Minute Rice, you don't have to wait 45 minutes and can prepare brown rice in 10 minutes. Follow these recipes for nutty warm desserts that you can enjoy without the guilt.

Whole Grain Rice Pudding

1 cup Minute Brown Rice, uncooked

1 1/2 cups milk 1/3 cup maple syrup or honey 1 Tbsp. butter 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon, nutmeg or allspice

Fresh mint leaves (optional)

Prepare rice according to package directions. Combine rice, milk and maple syrup in medium saucepan. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from heat, and stir in butter and cinnamon. Garnish with additional cinnamon and mint leaves, if desired. Makes four servings.

Apple Cinnamon Crisp

1 cup Minute Brown Rice, uncooked

1 can (20 ounces) apple pie filling

1 cup packed brown sugar, divided

1 tsp. ground cinnamon 1/2 cup raisins 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped 1 1/2 cups uncooked rolled oats

4 tbsp margarine Vanilla ice cream (optional)

Nonstick cooking spray

Prepare rice according to package directions. Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray 2-quart baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Combine rice, pie filling, 1/2 cup brown sugar, cinnamon, raisins and walnuts in medium bowl. Pour into prepared dish. In same bowl, combine remaining 1/2 brown sugar and rolled oats. Cut in margarine with pastry blender or fork, mixing well until mixture is moist. Sprinkle over rice mixture. Bake 20 minutes. Serve with ice cream, if desired. Makes 8 servings.

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