'heart health' posts

Red Pepper Hummus

Forget about spending a lot of money on grocery store hummus. Making your own is just too easy. And the red pepper gives it a different flavor than your usual variety. Serves 8 as an appetizer.


  • 1 15-ounce can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 large roasted red pepper, skin and seeds removed
  • 1 head roasted garlic, husks removed (about 10 cloves) – see Roasted Garlic recipe
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper


  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. Wrap red pepper in foil. Bake for 1 hour. Let cool.
  3. Remove skin and seeds from pepper. Squeeze cooked garlic cloves from bottom to remove from head.
  4. Place all ingredients in blender and puree until smooth.
  5. Serve with raw colorful vegetables.

Per serving with vegetables: 100 calories, 5 gm protein, 18 gm carbohydrate, 2 gm fat, 1 gm sat fat, 1 gm mono fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 9 gm fiber, 24 mg sodium

THE SEASONED COOK Roast red pepper and garlic at the same time. In a taste test, the flavor of roasted garlic proved more subtle than raw.

Savory Squash with Smoky Pork Chops

So many of us have a problem with making pork chops that come out over done. Finally, we have a recipe that gives us juicy perfection every time – along with simplicity, robust flavor, and colorful presentation. Did we mention it’s also good for you? Serves 4.



  • 1½ pounds butternut squash, peeled, seeded, cut into ½ inch slices
  • olive oil cooking spray
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped
  • 1½ teaspoons each rosemary and sage, chopped


  • 4 pork chops (bone in about 1¾ pounds; boneless 1¼ pounds)
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon total finely chopped fresh herbs (i.e. thyme, sage, rosemary)
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil


  1. Preheat oven to 425°F.
  2. Mix together paprika, black pepper, spices and herbs and rub onto pork chops evenly. Set aside.
  3. Place squash and herbs in a mixing bowl, spray liberally with cooking spray and toss until squash is well coated. Spread in a single layer onto a baking sheet and place in the oven for 8 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil and heat. Add the coated chops, searing on each side until golden brown. Place pork chops on top of squash in the oven and bake another 12-15 minutes or until pork internal temperature is 150-155°F and squash is fork tender.

Per serving: 505 calories, 32g protein, 22g carbohydrate, 12g fat, 2g sat fat, 7g mono fat, 75mg cholesterol, 4g fiber, 72mg sodium

The Seasoned Cook Green beans make a great complement to this dish. Season and put them in the oven at the same time as the pork chops, so they finish together. Out of the oven, the chops will need to rest for 5 minutes to be their juicy and tender best.

Spiced Turkey Breast with Balsamic Grilled Peaches

Sweet, tangy grilled peaches are the perfect accompaniment to a turkey breast that turns our tastebuds moist and mouthwatering. This perfectly balanced meal is high in protein and under 300 calories per serving. You’ll gobble it up! Serves 4, with leftovers.


  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 bay leaf, crumbled
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice, cinnamon or cloves
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ¼ cup low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1½ pounds boneless, skinless turkey breast (about half of a whole turkey breast)
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 4 peach halves (preferably fresh) or pineapple spears


  1. Combine first 7 ingredients and set aside 3 tablespoons of the mixture.
  2. Add onions and turkey breast to remaining mixture, place in a shallow bowl or zip lock bag, and marinate 1 to 4 hours, turning several times.

To grill:

  1. Remove turkey breast from marinade and grill over medium high heat 12 to 15 minutes per side or until internal temperature reaches 165°F.
  2. Add balsamic vinegar to reserved marinade and place 1 tablespoon in the hollow of each peach half. Grill over medium heat for last 10 minutes.

To roast:

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. Place turkey on broiler pan in center of oven and roast for 20 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 165°F.
  3. Add balsamic vinegar to reserved marinade and place 1 tablespoon in the hollow of each peach half. Put in oven with turkey the last 10 minutes.


  • Remove turkey breast from heat and let rest 5 minutes before slicing.

Per 4-oz. Serving: 224 calories, 30 gm protein, 14 carbohydrate, 6 gm fat, 1 gm sat fat, 4 gm mono fat, 70 mg cholesterol, 2 gm fiber, 457 mg sodium.

Perfect Salmon Bundles

From prep to clean up, this dish is goof-proof! There’s no easier way to get more protein-rich salmon in your diet – and that means more of those valuable Omega-3 fatty acids we all need! The entire meal – from salmon to spinach to brown rice is all wrapped up and ready-to-go. So easy to make in advance, and at dinner time, just heat and eat! Serves 4.


  • 4 sheets of foil or parchment paper (approx. 12" x 12" each)
  • 2 cups cooked brown rice*
  • 4 cups coarsely chopped spinach
  • 1 14.5-ounce can low-sodium stewed tomato slices
  • 1 pound salmon filet, cut into 4 pieces
  • 4 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon dried dill
  • 2 teaspoons orange zest (or lemon)
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • *May substitute any cooked whole grain, lentils, or beans, or omit this ingredient.


  1. Preheat oven to 450°.
  2. Arrange 4 sheets of foil on a work surface. Layer the ingredients beginning with ¼ of the following: rice, followed by the spinach, topped with the drained tomato slices.
  3. Place salmon on top and drizzle with one teaspoon of the olive oil, ¼ teaspoon dill, ½ teaspoon zest, and a dash of pepper. Seal tightly by folding edges and crimping. Place on baking sheet.
  4. Bake for 15-20 minutes, depending on thickness, until fish flakes easily with a fork. Rest 5 minutes. Remove from foil and transfer to plates.

Per serving: 359 calories, 30g protein, 33g carbohydrate, 12g fat, 2g sat fat, 6g mono fat, 51mg cholesterol, 5g fiber, 371mg sodium

THE SEASONED COOK The orange zest gives this dish an unexpected and delightful zing.

Party Paella

Our heart-healthy and well-balanced paella sacrifices none of the flavor. We’ve used sausage, chicken and shrimp, but in moderation. Coriander and turmeric contribute beautiful color and flavor for an impressive but simple dish that looks like you spent hours preparing. Toss a salad, and ring the dinner bell. Serves 6.


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 red bell peppers, chopped
  • 6 ounces low sodium turkey or chicken sausage, cubed
  • ½ pound boneless, skinless chicken breast, cubed
  • 3 cups cooked brown rice, moist
  • 1½ cups frozen peas, thawed
  • 3 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 teaspoon each coriander and turmeric
  • 12 ounces small frozen shrimp, thawed and peeled


  1. In a medium nonstick skillet, heat olive oil. Sauté onion, sausage, chicken breast, and red pepper until sausage is cooked all the way through, about 5 minutes.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the cooked rice, peas, lemon juice, garlic, coriander, and turmeric.
  3. Add rice mixture to the skillet and stir until combined. Place shrimp on top, reduce heat to low, and simmer until shrimp are pink, about 3 minutes. If rice mixture is drying out, add a few tablespoons of water to keep it moist.

Per serving: 371 calories, 35 gm protein, 33 gm carbohydrate, 10 gm fat, 2 gm sat fat, 5 gm mono fat, 146 mg cholesterol, 5 gm fiber, 633 mg sodium

THE SEASONED COOK This is a great recipe for festive occasions. It's fast and easy but looks like you took a long time in the kitchen. Shrimp is high in protein and low in calories and fat. Read the label carefully for fat content in sausage.

Pasta Puttanesca

Sardines give this dish a subtle flavor but don’t overwhelm it. Our advice is to try it and listen to the rave reviews. Then you can decide if you want to reveal your secret ingredient. This pasta also makes for great leftovers. Serves 4.


  1. 1 tablespoon olive oil
  2. 6 cloves garlic, minced
  3. 1 3.75-ounce can sardines, packed in water, drained
  4. 1 28-ounce can diced or crushed tomatoes
  5. 3 tablespoons capers
  6. ½ cup olives, green or black, pitted and chopped
  7. ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  8. ½ teaspoon black pepper
  9. 2 teaspoons oregano, fresh chopped or 1 teaspoon dried
  10. 2 teaspoons basil, fresh or 1 teaspoon dried
  11. 8 ounces dried whole wheat pasta, rotelle or seashell
  12. 2 tablespoons parsley, chopped
  13. 2 tablespoons parmesan cheese


  1. Heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic and sardines and stir together to form a paste, about 3 minutes.
  2. Add tomatoes, capers, olives, red and black pepper, oregano, and basil. Simmer for 15 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, cook pasta in 4 cups water until al dente and drain.
  4. Combine pasta and sauce and toss to coat.
  5. Divide onto 4 plates, garnish with parsley and parmesan cheese, and serve.

Per Serving: 340 calories, 17g protein, 52g carbohydrate, 10g fat, 2g sat fat, 5g mono fat, 19mg cholesterol, 2g fiber, 608mg sodium.

THE SEASONED COOK You don't have to debone the sardines before cooking. And, they provide a good source of calcium.

Pan-Asian Salmon with Caramelized Bok Choy and Shiitakes over Lentils

Everyone should have this salmon recipe if only for the delicious glaze! By adding the caramelized bok choy and shiitakes or some other green vegetable, you create a new combination for your menu file. And, starting with the lentils as the base ingredient adds a fullness and texture that’s really good. In fact, whenever given the opportunity, make extra lentils because they are so easy to use as leftovers. Serves 4.

Simple lentils


  • 1¼ cups water
  • 1 cup low-sodium chicken stock
  • ¾ cup lentils
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed


  1. Pour water and stock in pot and bring to a boil.
  2. Add lentils and garlic, cover pot and reduce to simmer for 15-20 minutes, or until lentils are just tender.

Caramelized bok choy and shiitakes


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 8 large shiitake mushrooms cut into ¼" slices, about ¼ pound or use 32 slices dried reconstituted shiitakes, available in Asian markets
  • 6 baby bok choy bulbs, cut in half lengthwise, about ½ pound
  • 1 tablespoon low-sodium chicken stock


  1. Heat oil at medium in large skillet.
  2. Sauté mushroom slices until slightly browned both sides, add chicken stock and remove from heat. Continue stirring until stock is fully absorbed and place aside.
  3. Return skillet to medium-high heat. When hot, add baby bok choy, cut side down. Cook until slightly brown but not charred (leaves will get darker than the bulb which becomes golden brown).
  4. Serve 3 bok choy halves and 8 shiitake slices per serving. Place salmon on top.

Broiled salmon


  • 1 pound salmon fillet, skinned and cut into 4 equal portions
  • 2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • ¼ teaspoon dry ground ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon dry ground mustard


  1. Preheat broiler to highest setting.
  2. Combine all ingredients and brush on salmon top and bottom sides.
  3. Place salmon on foil then cook under hot broiler for 4 minutes.
  4. Serve over caramelized bok choy and shiitake mushrooms, spoon liquid left in foil on top.

Serve with cooked lentils.

Per serving: 392 calories, 42 gm protein, 33 gm carbohydrate, 12 gm fat, 2 gm sat fat, 5 gm mono fat, 52 mg cholesterol, 12 gm fiber, 363 mg sodium

THE SEASONED COOK If baby bok choy or shiitakes are not available, substitute pea pods and crimini mushrooms, and simply sauté them.

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