'heart health' posts

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.

Year-Round Gingersnap Pumpkin Custard

This simple, delicious dessert is what autumn tastes like. But it’s so good, you’ll want to enjoy it any time of the year (serves 8).


  • 1 cup broken pieces, low-fat gingersnap cookies (12 small cookies)
  • 1 15-ounce can pumpkin purée
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 egg
  • 4 egg whites
  • 1 cup fat-free evaporated milk
  • ¼ cup honey
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • ¼ cup chopped walnuts


  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. Spray 8 ramekins with canola oil and divide the cookie pieces evenly in the bottoms of the bowls.
  3. Place the remaining ingredients in a large bowl and mix with an electric mixer.
  4. Ladle the pumpkin mixture over the cookies, sprinkle with nuts, and place ramekins in a deep pan filled with water to about halfway up the ramekins. Bake for 20 minutes. Test for doneness.
  5. Let rest 10 minutes and serve.

Per serving: 168 calories, 7g protein, 42g carbohydrate, 3g fat, 0g sat fat, 0g mono fat, 32mg cholesterol, 2g fiber, 149mg sodium

THE SEASONED COOK If cooking as a pie, spray a 9" pie pan and proceed as above without the water-filled pan; cook for one hour. Leftovers keep well in the refrigerator for several days.

Traditional Hot and Sour Soup

Several Asian culinary traditions include hot and sour soups, so ingredients vary widely. One common feature, however, is red peppers or white pepper for heat, and vinegar for sour. Our simpler version (serves 4) is long on flavor and promises to become one of your own family’s traditions. (And expect guests to think you purchased it from a restaurant!)


  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • ½ small onion, cut lengthwise into ¼-inch-thick slices
  • 2 ounces shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and sliced ¼ inch thick
  • 4 cups low-sodium vegetable or chicken broth
  • 1 carrot, peeled and cut into matchsticks
  • 1 teaspoon grated ginger
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • Pinch cayenne pepper or chili garlic sauce
  • 1½ tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
  • ¼ cup unseasoned rice vinegar
  • 1 large whole egg, beaten
  • 2 large scallions, trimmed and cut crosswise into ¼ inch-thick slices
  • 6 ounces firm tofu, cut into ½ inch cubes


  1. In a large saucepan, heat oil over medium-low heat. Add garlic and onion, cover and stir occasionally, until translucent, about 4 minutes. Add mushrooms and sauté about 4 minutes.
  2. Add broth, carrots, ginger, black pepper and cayenne; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until carrots are tender, about 3 minutes.
  3. Place cornstarch in a small bowl and whisk in soy sauce and vinegar. Slowly whisk cornstarch mixture into soup. Simmer until soup has thickened and clear, 2 minutes. Turn off heat.
  4. While stirring in one direction, pour in beaten egg. Add tofu, cover soup, and let stand 1 minute. Remove the cover and add scallions. Serve hot.

Per serving: 152 calories, 12g protein, 14g carbohydrate, 7g fat, 1g sat fat, 4g mono fat, 53mg cholesterol, 2g fiber, 410mg sodium

The Seasoned Cook For some heft as well as extra protein, add 4 ounces of cooked chicken, shrimp or pork. Additional vinegar will increase sourness. To keep tofu fresh for a week, cover with water and refrigerate, changing water daily. Chili garlic sauce is found in the Asian foods aisle of most grocery stores.

Oven Fried Chicken

At the next picnic, you don’t have to give up your beloved fried chicken; just bake it instead using this recipe and enjoy! Serves 4.

Try this with: Green beans and mashed sweet potato.


  • 4 4-oz chicken breasts, boneless, skin removed
  • ⅔ cup low-fat buttermilk
  • ⅓ cup bread crumbs
  • ½ teaspoon marjoram
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon thyme


  1. Preheat oven to 350º.
  2. Pour buttermilk into bowl.
  3. Mix together crumbs and spices in a second bowl.
  4. Dip chicken in buttermilk, dredge in mixture and place on lightly oil sprayed cookie sheet.
  5. Bake for 20-25 minutes.

Per serving: 363 calories, 30 gm protein, 22 gm carbohydrate, 16 gm fat, 1 gm saturated fat, 58 mg cholesterol, 1 gm fiber, 633 mg sodium

THE SEASONED COOK For kids, try cutting the chicken into bite-size pieces and serving as nuggets. Prepare separate low-fat dipping sauces for a fun party idea.

Nouvelle Salad Nicoise

À votre santé! It means “to your health”, and that’s what this French-inspired salad is all about. We’ve improved it by using a lighter dressing and substituting sweet potatoes, an excellent source of phytochemicals and beta carotene. Try salmon or sardines for extra Omega-3 fatty acids. Serves 4.

Salad dressing


  • ½ teaspoon Dijon or favorite mustard
  • 1 tablespoon nonfat yogurt
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons buttermilk
  • 1 squeeze fresh lemon juice
  • ⅛ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce


  1. Mix all ingredients in small jar.



  • 1 sweet potato (½ pound) cooked but still firm, skinned and cubed into bite size pieces
  • 2 hard boiled eggs
  • 1½ cups green beans
  • ½ red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 red or yellow sweet pepper, halved, seeded and thinly sliced
  • 1 cucumber, peeled, halved lengthwise, seeded and sliced into bite size pieces
  • 6 ounce can tuna in water
  • 2 tomatoes, halved, and each half cut into at least 3 wedges each
  • 3 artichoke hearts, quartered (canned, packed in water)
  • Salad greens, assorted and washed
  • Black olives, pitted and seeded


  1. Peel eggs, remove yolks from eggs, and slice whites
  2. In olive oil spray, sauté green beans, red onions, and peppers. Refrigerate for 15 minutes

Options for assembly

  • Place greens on each plate, and arrange ingredients in pinwheel fashion around the plate. Sprinkle olives randomly and offer dressing on the side.
  • Offer a salad bar with people assembling their own plates.

Per serving with dressing: 265 calories, 22 gm protein, 33 gm carbohydrate, 7 gm fat, 2 gm sat, 3 gm mono, 121 mg cholesterol, 9gm fiber, 225 mg sodium

THE SEASONED COOK Feel free to substitute sardines or canned salmon for tuna. Or, instead of tuna, grill a piece of fresh fish or chicken and serve on the side.

Moroccan Chicken

If you relish an explosion of flavors, you’ll love this savory blend of spices, olives, and chicken. And it’s as heart-healthy as it is delicious. Spices offer a wealth of antioxidants, which contribute to healthy arteries. Ginger and turmeric are known to help circulation, similar to aspirin. Serves 4.

Try this with: Festive Bulgur Salad


  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric
  • ½ teaspoon ginger
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 pound boneless skinless fryer chicken breast, cut into bite-size chunks
  • 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • 12 pitted large green olives, halved
  • 1 lemon, sliced into rounds
  • ½ cup cilantro, chopped (optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 375°.
  2. Combine paprika, cumin, turmeric, ginger, garlic, and flour. Toss with chicken pieces.
  3. Place chicken and mixture in small baking dish. Combine broth and lemon juice and pour over chicken. Add olives and lemon slices.
  4. Cover dish and bake for 20 minutes. Remove cover and bake for an additional 10 minutes.
  5. Garnish with cilantro if desired and serve.

Per serving: 243 calories, 37 gm protein, 11 gm carbohydrates, 6 gm fat, 1 gm sat fat, 2 gm mono fat, 96 mg cholesterol, 3 gm fiber, 286 mg sodium

THE SEASONED COOK Turmeric gives food a beautiful golden color and cumin adds a spicy note that you’ll recognize from your favorite Mexican dishes.

Results 71-77 of 100