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Super Quick Red Beans and Rice

How quick? How about 15 minutes? That’s all it takes to create this very satisfying and heart-friendly family dinner. And, after work and the kids’ soccer practice, it just hits the spot. Serves 4.

Ingredients

  • Olive oil spray
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • ½ green pepper, chopped
  • ½ cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 14.5-ounce can no-salt chopped tomatoes with juice
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne
  • 2 cups cooked brown rice
  • 1 15-ounce can red beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 tablespoon green onion, sliced

Directions

  1. In a large pot, sauté onion and pepper until softened. Stir in broth, tomatoes, and spices.
  2. Add the rice and beans. Simmer about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Serve and garnish with sliced green onion.

Per serving: 277 calories, 12 gm protein, 52 gm carbohydrate, 3 gm fat, 1 gm sat fat, 1 gm mono fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 11 gm fiber, 32 gm sodium

THE SEASONED COOK Brown rice is the whole rice grain and is the only form of rice that contains vitamin E and dietary fiber. It has a wonderful nutty flavor and chewy texture.

Turkey Chili Verde

Everyone needs a basic chili recipe for big gatherings. Here’s ours. What’s fun about this one is that it’s heart healthy and guilt-free, so make extra for second helpings! Serves 4.

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • ½ 4-ounce can whole green chilies, seeded and chopped fine
  • 8 ounces ground turkey breast
  • 1½ 14.5-ounce cans white beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 12-ounce can whole tomatillos, seeded and chopped with juice
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 4 tablespoons fat-free sour cream
  • 2 green onions, chopped fine with green portion
  • ¼ cup cheddar cheese, low sodium, low-fat, shredded

Directions

  1. Heat olive oil in large sauce pan over medium heat.
  2. Add onions, garlic, bell pepper, chilies, and ground turkey. Sauté until turkey is lightly browned and vegetables are soft, about 8-10 minutes.
  3. Add white beans, tomatillos, and chili powder, cumin, and oregano. Bring to a boil, then turn heat down and simmer for 30 minutes.
  4. Serve and add sour cream. Garnish with cheddar cheese and green onions.

Per Serving: 408 calories, 31 gm protein, 56 gm carbohydrate, 6 gm fat, 1 gm sat fat, 3 gm mono fat, 38 mg cholesterol, 12 gm fiber, 136 mg sodium

Martha’s Creamy Spinach Soup

This soup is unexpectedly creamy, thanks to the potato. Just one portion is loaded with nutrition, including half the daily requirement for folate and iron, along with much more in vitamins K and A, plus B as well. Serve as a first course or as a complete meal with sandwiches, as pictured here. Serves 4.

Ingredients

  • 1 bunch of spinach, stems removed (8 ounces)
  • 1 medium potato, peeled and diced
  • 1 bunch of cilantro (approximately ¼ the size of the spinach bunch), stems removed
  • 1 cup of low-fat milk
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • Pepper to taste

Garnish:

  • ¼ cup of toasted shaved almonds
  • nutmeg

Directions

  1. In a small pot, bring water to boil and cook the potato until soft.
  2. In a medium pot with boiling water add the spinach and cook for 3 minutes. Drain the spinach and discard the water.
  3. In a blender add the spinach, potato, cilantro, and milk. Blend until smooth.
  4. Transfer soup to the pot where the spinach was boiled, season with salt and pepper, and reheat.
  5. Serve with a sprinkle of almonds and nutmeg.

Per serving: 175 calories, 9g protein, 20g carbohydrate, 8g fat, 1g sat fat, 5g mono fat, 3mg cholesterol, 5g fiber, 257mg sodium

THE SEASONED COOK If you don’t like cilantro, substitute parsley with a little green onion for some zip.

Root Vegetable and Potato Mash

Finally, parsnips—so naturally sweet and rich—find their place at the table. Vary the vegetables in this recipe if you like, but this is guaranteed to be a staple in your culinary repertoire. It simply goes with everything, from the Chicken Scaloppini shown here, to pork and beef. Serves 4.

Try this with: Chicken Scaloppini in Lemon Caper Sauce

Ingredients

  • 3 parsnips, peeled
  • 2 medium red potatoes
  • 3 carrots, peeled
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 teaspoon rosemary

Directions

  1. Chop parsnips, potatoes, carrots, and onion into ½ inch cubes.
  2. Cover vegetables with water, bring to a boil.
  3. Reduce heat and cover pan. Simmer until vegetables are barely tender, about 10 minutes.
  4. Drain, add the olive oil, garlic, and rosemary. Mash until lumpy. Serve immediately.

Per serving: 187 calories, 5 gm protein, 37 gm carbohydrate, 4 gm fat, .6 gm sat fat, 3 gm mono fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 7gm fiber, 35 mg sodium

THE SEASONED COOK Use an old-fashioned potato masher to create great texture for the vegetables.

Shrimp Tex-Mex Salad

This fast, easy, and heart-healthy dinner salad is why we urge you to keep your pantry stocked with such staples as black beans, corn, and black olives. Hold the shrimp for your vegetarian guests. Serves 4.

Try this with: Easy Baked Tortilla Chips

Topping

Ingredients

  • 1 cup plain nonfat yogurt
  • 4 tablespoons nonfat sour cream
  • 1½ tablespoons lemon juice
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon each optional to taste,
  • cumin and chili powder
  • Optional for more heat: Tabasco sauce to taste

Directions

  1. In medium bowl whisk together all ingredients. Pour in small pitcher and serve with salad.

Per serving: 51 calories, 4 gm protein, 8 gm carbohydrate, 0 gm fat, 0 gm sat fat, 0 gm mono fat, 3 mg cholesterol, 0 gm fiber, 58 mg sodium

Salad

ingredients

  • 4 cups chopped mixed greens to include lettuce and red cabbage
  • 2 medium tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 15-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 14-ounce can corn, drained
  • ½ cup red pepper, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons pitted black olives, sliced
  • ½ cup green onions, chopped
  • 20 medium cooked and peeled shrimp
  • 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro

Directions

  1. Layer ingredients, beginning with the greens on the bottom and finishing with the cilantro on top.

Per serving: 287 calories, 20 gm protein, 52 gm carbohydrate, 2 gm fat, 1 gm sat fat, 1 gm mono fat, 50 mg cholesterol, 14 gm fiber, 100 gm sodium

THE SEASONED COOK This meal takes no time to put together. The freshly baked tortilla chips make it special. If you omit the shrimp, you’ve got a well-balanced vegetarian entrée, because high-fiber black beans are also high in protein.

Stuffed Acorn Squash

This is a fun vegetarian “one dish meal” that is combined with lentils. The maple syrup adds a hint of sweetness. Serves 4.

Ingredients

  • ½ cup dry lentils
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 acorn squash, halved and seeded
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1½ cup onions, chopped
  • ¾ cup mushrooms, sliced ¼ inch thick
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • ¼ cup golden raisins
  • ½ cup chopped walnuts

Directions

  1. Put lentils in pot and pour water over them until an inch above the lentils. Bring to boil and then let simmer with the lid on, about 20-25 minutes. The lentils should be tender but not mushy. Add more water if needed. Drain and add salt.
  2. Meanwhile, bake squash halves, cut side down, on a spray-oiled cookie sheet at 375° for 30 minutes or until flesh is soft.
  3. Heat olive oil and sauté onions and mushrooms until onions are transparent, about 8-10 minutes.
  4. Transfer cooked lentils and onion mixture to a large bowl. Use a spoon to scrape flesh from squash leaving skin intact and add to lentils and onions. Add remaining ingredients and mix thoroughly.
  5. Spoon mixture into squash shells and reheat just before serving.

Per Serving: 343 calories, 10 gm protein, 52 gm carbohydrate, 14 gm fat, 2 gm sat fat, 4 gm mono fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 10 gm fiber, 310 mg sodium

Market-Fresh Noodle Stir-Fry

Vary a couple of ingredients to this basic stir fry recipe for a new dish each time. The possibilities are endless! One of our favorite secret ingredients—chili garlic paste—adds a burst of flavor to this and so many other recipes. Available in your grocer’s Asian foods aisle, this ingredient packs a punch. Serves 6.

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces ⅜ inch thick rice noodles
  • Optional lean protein: 2 ounces per serving of cooked shrimp, seared scallops, thinly sliced beef, chicken, tofu or pork

Sauce

  • 2 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • ½ teaspoon chili garlic sauce

Vegetables

  • 4 teaspoons peanut oil, divided
  • 2 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 1 small onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 carrots, thin sliced diagonally
  • 1 cup English cucumbers, cut length-wise, seeded, thinly sliced
  • ½ pound (4 cups) napa cabbage, shredded
  • 1 small red bell pepper, sliced in thin matchsticks
  • 1 cup bean sprouts
  • ½ cup cilantro

Directions

  1. Rehydrate rice noodles in warm water until soft, about 15 to 30 minutes. Drain well just before cooking.
  2. Combine sauce ingredients and prepare vegetables, keeping in separate piles.
  3. Heat a large skillet or wok over medium-high heat. Add 2 teaspoons oil, and heat until a drop of water sizzles in the pan. Add garlic and onion; stir-fry.
  4. Add vegetables with the longest cooking first, e.g. carrots, cucumber, cabbage, bell peppers, and bean sprouts. Stir occasionally only to keep vegetables from burning, about 5 minutes. Remove vegetables from pan when 90% cooked.
  5. In same pan, heat remaining 2 teaspoons oil. Add rice noodles and press them down into the pan for about 30 seconds or until slightly crispy and translucent. Turn noodles over for another 30 seconds. Add the sauce mixture to the pan and toss. Return vegetables to pan and mix lightly. Garnish with cilantro and serve.

Per serving: 233 calories, 5g protein, 47g carbohydrate, 4g fat, 1g sat fat, 1g mono fat, 0mg cholesterol, 5g fiber, 263mg sodium

The Seasoned Cook Unlike its waxy-skinned American cousin, the English cucumber needs no peeling, making us grateful for the time-saving step. When serving this recipe as a warm noodle salad, after rehydrating them, cook in boiling water just until soft (about 2 minutes—don’t overcook!) Drain well and place noodles in serving bowl, adding stir-fry vegetables on top, then sauce.

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