Heart Healthy -Gorgonzola & Prune Stuffed Chicken

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Stuffing a chicken breast is relatively simple, but your guests need not know that. We use Gorgonzola and prunes here, but try it with any favorite combination of dried fruit and flavorful cheese. Serve over quick-cooking barley with broccolini or a steamed artichoke on the side.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup chopped prunes, divided
  • 1/3 cup crumbled Gorgonzola cheese
  • 1/4 cup coarse dry whole-wheat breadcrumbs, (see Note)
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme, divided
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, (1-1 1/4 pounds), trimmed (see Tip)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 1 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 4 teaspoons all-purpose flour

Preparation

  1. Combine 1/4 cup prunes, Gorgonzola, breadcrumbs and 1/2 teaspoon thyme in a small bowl. Cut a horizontal slit along the thin edge of each chicken breast, nearly through to the opposite side. Stuff each breast with about 2 1/2 tablespoons filling. Use a couple of toothpicks to seal the opening. Season with salt and pepper.
  2. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and cook until golden, about 4 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate.
  3. Add the remaining 1 teaspoon oil, shallot and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon thyme to the pan; cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add wine and the remaining 1/4 cup prunes. Reduce heat to medium; cook, scraping up any browned bits, until most of the wine evaporates, about 2 minutes. Whisk broth and flour in a small bowl until smooth; add to the pan and cook, stirring, until thickened, about 2 minutes.
  4. Reduce heat to low, return the chicken and any juices to the pan and turn to coat with sauce. Cover and cook until the chicken is cooked through, 3 to 5 minutes more. Remove toothpicks, slice the chicken and top with the sauce.

From EatingWell:  May/June 2007, EatingWell for a Healthy Heart Cookbook (2008)

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Heart Healthy -Pistachio-Crusted Grouper with Lavender Honey Sauce

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Eating healthy is so much fun.  Your guests will be amazed at the style and finish of this dish. The delicate, subtle flavors of roasted pistachios and lavender honey transform this baked grouper into an easy, yet refined meal that family and friends will remember. Serve with sautéed spinach.

Ingredients

5 tablespoons dry breadcrumbs
5 tablespoons finely chopped unsalted shelled dry-roasted pistachios
4 (6-ounce) grouper fillets
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 large egg whites, lightly beaten
Lavender Honey Sauce
Lemon wedges (optional)
Lavender sprigs (optional)

Preparation

1. Preheat oven to 450°.

2. Combine breadcrumbs and pistachios in a shallow dish. Sprinkle fillets evenly with salt and pepper. Dip fillets in egg whites; dredge in breadcrumb mixture.

3. Place fish on a jelly-roll pan lined with parchment paper; bake at 450° for 12 minutes or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork or until desired degree of doneness. Drizzle fillets evenly with Lavender Honey Sauce. Garnish with lemon wedges and lavender sprigs, if desired.

Heart Healthy – Feta and Green Onion Couscous Cakes over Tomato-Olive Salad

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The basics of eating healthy are quite simple actually: choosing a variety of fresh, natural (as opposed to processed) foods and enjoying them in moderation. But with the wealth of foods, supplements, and information on micronutrients, preparation methods, storage methods and numerous other topics that healthy eaters now have access to, the details can be overwhelming. For today’s Heart-Healthy selection this Middle Eastern dish adds interest and multiple flavors to our quest of eating healthy.

Ingredients

Cakes:

1/3 cup uncooked whole-wheat couscous
1/2 cup boiling water
1/4 cup (1 ounce) crumbled feta cheese
3 tablespoons egg substitute
2 tablespoons finely chopped green onions
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons olive oil
Cooking spray
Salad:
2/3 cup chopped seeded tomato
2 tablespoons chopped pitted kalamata olives
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon olive oil
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 cups Acadian salad greens

Preparation

1. To prepare cakes, place couscous in a medium bowl; stir in 1/2 cup boiling water. Cover and let stand 5 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. Fluff with a fork. Cool slightly. Add cheese and the next 3 ingredients (through pepper). Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a large nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat. Spoon about 1/3 cup couscous mixture into 4 mounds in pan. Lightly press with a spatula to flatten to 1/2 inch. Cook 2 minutes or until lightly browned. Coat tops of cakes with cooking spray. Carefully turn cakes over; cook 2 minutes or until heated.

2. To prepare salad, combine tomato and next 5 ingredients (through 1/8 teaspoon pepper). Arrange 1 1/2 cups greens on each of 2 plates. Top each serving with 1/2 cup tomato mixture; arrange 2 cakes over tomato mixture.

 

Heart Healthy -Chocolate Lava Cakes with Pistachio Cream

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Sweet and satisfying without the guilt—our desserts are both scrumptious and healthy. The key to enjoying your favorite sweet treat, while still following a healthy diet, is to consume in moderation.

These flourless chocolate cakes are as rich as a restaurant dessert, but they’re made with a fraction of the fat and no dairy butter. When these cakes bake, the gooey filling causes the center to sink in.

Ingredients

1 cup shelled dry-roasted pistachios

1 3/4 cups sugar, divided
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
2 large eggs
5 large egg whites
2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Cooking spray
1 cup 2% reduced-fat milk
Dash of salt

Powdered sugar (optional)

Preparation

Place pistachios in a food processor; process until a crumbly paste forms (about 3 1/2 minutes), scraping sides of bowl once.

Place 1/4 cup pistachio butter, 1 1/4 cups sugar, cocoa, eggs, and egg whites in top of a double boiler; stir well with a whisk. Add chocolate; cook over simmering water until chocolate melts and sugar dissolves (about 3 minutes). Remove from heat; add baking powder and vanilla. Stir with a whisk until smooth. Spoon batter into 12 muffin cups coated with cooking spray. Chill 2 hours.

Place remaining 1/4 cup pistachio butter and 1/2 cup sugar in food processor; pulse 4 times or until combined. Add milk and salt; process until smooth. Strain mixture through a sieve into a small saucepan; discard solids. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer 4 minutes or until thick. Remove from heat; pour into a bowl. Cover and chill.

Preheat oven to 450°.

Bake cakes at 450° for 9 minutes or until almost set (centers will not be firm). Let cool in pan 5 minutes. Invert each cake onto a dessert plate; drizzle with sauce. Garnish with powdered sugar, if desired.

 

Heart Healthy – Pork Chops with Mustard Cream Sauce

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We hear a lot today about comfort food; but is it possible to have Heart-Healthy Comfort Food?  Yes It Is!  We begin the second half of my series on heart-healthy food with today’s selection.

Using fat-free half-and-half gives this dish a creamy, rich flavor that fat-free milk can’t. Sprinkle the finished dish with chopped fresh parsley, if desired.

Ingredients

4 (4-ounce) boneless center-cut loin pork chops (1/2 inch thick)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Cooking spray
1/2 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
2/3 cup fat-free half-and-half
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons lemon juice
Chopped fresh parsley (optional)

Preparation

1. Sprinkle both sides of pork with salt and pepper.

2. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add pork, and cook 4 to 5 minutes on each side or until lightly browned and done. Transfer pork to a serving plate, and keep warm.

3. Add broth to pan, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Stir in half-and-half, mustard, and lemon juice. Reduce heat, and simmer, uncovered, 6 minutes or until sauce is slightly thick. Spoon sauce over pork; sprinkle with parsley, if desired.

Serve with: Roasted Potato Wedges

Heart Healthy – Grilled Tuna with Chipotle Ponzu and Avocado Salsa

Tuna

Here is a great example of how bold Asian and Latin flavors work well together for our seventh Heart-Healthy Entre’. Orange and lime juice substitute for rice vinegar, the acidic ingredient typically used in a Japanese ponzu dipping sauce. It gets a kick from the hot, smoky chipotle chiles.

Ingredients

Ponzu:
1/2 cup orange juice
1/2 cup lime juice
1/4 cup grated onion
1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon chopped peeled fresh ginger
1 1/2 chipotle chiles in adobo sauce
Salsa:
3/4 cup diced English cucumber
1/2 cup diced plum tomato
1/2 cup diced peeled avocado
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
Remaining ingredients:
4 (6-ounce) tuna steaks
1/4 teaspoon salt
Cooking spray
2 cups hot cooked medium-grain rice

Preparation

To prepare ponzu, place 1/2 cup orange juice and the next 5 ingredients (through 1 1/2 chipotle chiles) in a blender, and process until smooth.

To prepare salsa, combine diced cucumber, tomato, avocado, and cilantro in a small bowl.

Sprinkle fish with salt. Heat a large nonstick grill pan over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add fish; cook 3 minutes on each side or until desired degree of doneness. Cut each tuna steak diagonally across the grain into thin slices. Arrange sliced tuna over rice; top with salsa, and drizzle with ponzu.

Heart Healthy -Grilled Orange-and-Bourbon Salmon

This easy grilled salmon recipe gets its sweet, mellow flavor from the marinade of bourbon, orange juice, brown sugar and soy sauce and is our sixth installment in our series about how to  cooking Heart Healthy. To make a complete meal, serve the salmon over a bed of brown rice, with green beans and a salad on the side. Save some orange-and-bourbon marinade and drizzle over the salmon and rice to impart complementing flavors of bourbon and citrus throughout.

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Ingredients

1/4 cup bourbon
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup chopped green onions
3 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 garlic cloves, chopped
4 (6-ounce) salmon fillets (about 1 inch thick)
Cooking spray

Preparation

Combine first 8 ingredients in a large zip-top plastic bag, and add salmon to bag. Seal and marinate in refrigerator 1 1/2 hours, turning bag occasionally.

Prepare grill or broiler.

Remove salmon from bag, reserving marinade. Place salmon on a grill rack or broiler pan coated with cooking spray. Cook 6 minutes on each side or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork, basting frequently with reserved marinade.