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Simply Nutritious, Quick and Delicious

Canned fruit counts

Chicken and vegetable recipe in gray bowl, set on table with fork and spooon.

As my household has been stocking up on canned foods like never before, I had to laugh when my husband brought home a can of fruit cocktail. It’s been years since I had fruit cocktail, and it immediately made me think of my dad and his fruit cocktail cookies that he used to make. While I would always be disappointed that the cookies weren’t chocolate chip, I still ate them!  

When the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) says that we need between 1 and 2 cups of fruit each day, they are not just talking about fresh fruit. Canned fruit counts, including fruit cocktail! Fresh fruit doesn’t last forever, so having canned or frozen fruit as a back-up is always a good choice. When buying canned fruit, choose fruit that’s canned in water or its own juice. If the fruit is packed in syrup, choose light syrup, and drain and rinse to decrease added sugars. 

Canned fruit can be a simple snack or side dish, but it can also be transformed into something more. Use it to sweeten oatmeal or to make a yogurt parfait. Turn it into a fruit salad by whisking a couple tablespoons of instant vanilla pudding into the canned fruit juice and adding canned, frozen or fresh fruit. While canned fruit can be turned into cakes and cookies, try the savory side and serve it on top of fish, chicken, pork or beef.


Sweet and Sour Chicken (Printable PDF)

1 ½ lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 1-inch pieces

1 red or yellow pepper, chopped             

1 green pepper, chopped

1 onion, chopped

1 can (15.25 oz.) fruit cocktail in juice or light syrup

¼ cup cider vinegar

¼ cup lite soy sauce

3 Tablespoons chili sauce

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 cups cooked rice to serve

Place chicken in a 4-quart slow cooker. Wash hands with soap and water. Top chicken with peppers and onion. Drain fruit cocktail, reserving the juice or syrup. Place the fruit in the refrigerator for later. In a small bowl, whisk reserved juice or syrup, vinegar, soy sauce, chili sauce and garlic. Pour over chicken and vegetables in the slow cooker. Cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours or on high for 4-4 ½ hours. Stir in fruit cocktail. Serve over warm rice.

Yield: 6 servings


Nutrition Facts (per serving): 310 calories, 4 grams fat, 670 milligrams sodium, 38 grams carbohydrate, 3 grams fiber, 29 grams protein


This blog post first appeared in The Pantagraph on May 13, 2020.