4 Heart-Healthy Recipes

Treat your family to these heart-healthy recipes at your next get-together.

By providing your family members with a well-balanced diet, you can encourage nutritious habits that can improve their heart health. Consider making one – or all – of these delicious and dishes for your loved ones.

1. Filet Mignon with Arugula Salad

This protein-packed recipe from Cooking Light magazine helps maintain a balanced diet. Lean beef improves the function of “good” cholesterol, making it a hearty-healthy food.

Ingredients:
Non-stick cooking spray
4 4-ounce beef tenderloin steaks – trimmed
1/2 tsp. salt – divided
1/4 tsp. pepper – divided
2 Tbsp. butter
1/2 cup red onion – chopped
1 8-ounce cremini mushrooms – sliced
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 5-ounce bag baby arugula

Directions:
First, coat a large skillet with non-stick cooking spray and place it over medium-high heat. Season beef with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper, and then place on the hot pan. Cook each side until steaks reach desired degree of doneness. Remove beef from pan and cover with tinfoil to keep warm. Set aside.

Place butter in the same pan and melt over low heat. Add remaining salt, pepper, red onion and mushrooms, sauteing for about 4 minutes. Place mushroom and onion mixture in a small bowl, leaving juices behind. Then, take your arugula and soak it in the pan liquid. Arrange 1 1/2 cups greens on each plate, then top with mushroom mixture. Finish by placing one serving of steak on each bed of arugula. Enjoy!

2. Lentil Fritter Pitas with Red Cabbage Slaw

For a heart-healthy, vegetarian option, try this recipe from Real Simple magazine. Lentils are rich in potassium and can help maintain healthy blood pressure.

Ingredients:
2 15-ounce cans lentils – rinsed
1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves – plus more for serving
1/2 cup fresh parsley leaves
1 clove garlic – finely chopped
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/2 cup bread crumbs
Salt and pepper to taste
1 1/2 cups shredded red cabbage
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
3 Tbsp. olive oil
1/2 cup low-fat Greek yogurt
1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper
1/4 cup water
4 pitas – warmed

Directions:
First, place 1 can of lentils, cilantro, parsley, garlic and cumin in a food processor and blend until smooth. Transfer combination to a large bowl and mix in bread crumbs, remaining can of lentils, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Using your hands, form 15 1/2-inch-thick patties.

In a large bowl, mix the cabbage, lemon juice, 1 tablespoon of oil and 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper. Cover with plastic and place in the refrigerator to let flavors infuse.

In a small bowl, mix the yogurt, crushed red pepper and 1/4 cup water. Set aside.

Use a large nonstick skillet to heat the remaining oil over medium-high setting. Place half the patties in the pan and cook for 3 to 4 minutes on each side. Repeat with second batch.

Top each pita evenly with patties, cabbage mixture, yogurt and more crushed red pepper and cilantro if desired.

3. Chicken & Spinach Soup with Fresh Pesto

Loaded with beans, chicken and veggies, this recipe from Eating Well magazine is packed with protein and vitamins your family needs for healthy hearts.

Ingredients:
1/2 cup carrot – diced
1/2 cup red bell pepper – diced
1 large boneless, skinless chicken breast – cut into quarters
1 large clove garlic – minced
5 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 1/2 tsp. dried marjoram
6 ounces spinach – chopped coarsely
1 15-ounce can great northern beans – rinsed
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves
Pepper to taste
3/4 cups croutons for garnish

Directions:
First, heat 2 teaspoons of oil in a large saucepan over medium-high setting. Add carrot, red bell pepper and chicken, stirring frequently. When chicken begins to brown – this should take about 4 minutes – add garlic and cook for an additional minute. Stir in broth and marjoram, then turn up the heat and bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat and let simmer until the chicken is fully cooked.

Using a slotted spoon, move chicken from the pan to a cutting board to let cool. Add spinach and beans to the pot and bring mixture back to a boil for 5 minutes.

Mix remaining oil, Parmesan and basil in a small food processor to make your pesto. Combine until it reaches a coarse, paste-like consistency.

When the chicken has cooled, cut it up into bite-size pieces and add it back to the pot. Then, stir in the pesto. Pour soup into bowls and garnish with croutons if desired. Enjoy!

4. Chewy Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

Eating well doesn’t mean cutting out dessert. You can still be good to your heart and eat sweets, just choose wisely! This recipe from Food Network is packed with heart-healthy rolled oats and is low in saturated fat.

Ingredients:
1 1/4 cups rolled oats
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 stick unsalted butter – softened
3/4 cup sugar
2 Tbsp. molasses
1 large egg
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup raisins

Directions:
First, heat the oven to 350 degrees and prepare 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

Using a large bowl, combine oats, flour, cinnamon, baking powder and salt.

In a separate bowl, beat the butter, sugar and molasses with an electric mixer until fluffy. Gradually beat in the egg and vanilla until smooth. Reduce mixing speed to low, and then add the flour mixture until combined. Then, gently fold in the raisins.

Form 2-inch dough balls with the batter and arrange cookies 2 inches apart on the baking sheets. Place in the oven, then bake for 15 to 17 minutes. Transfer to racks to cool completely.

Source: www.sunriseseniorliving.com

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