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)

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 – 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

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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.

 

Heart Healthy -Red Lentil Rice Cakes with Tomato Salsa

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Vegetarians can easily meet daily protein needs by eating an array of plant-based foods. Fill out your meals with beans, lentils, nuts, rice, and soy products like tofu and tempeh, and avoid relying on a hefty portion of cheese to fill the protein gap.

Crisp on the outside and creamy on the inside, these salsa-topped, red-lentil rice cakes make a lovely vegetarian entrée. They offer a great way to use leftover basmati rice; if you’re starting with cooked rice, use about 1 1/2 cups. Add mixed greens to the plate for even more color.

Ingredients

SALSA:
3 cups finely chopped plum tomato (about 6 tomatoes)
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons capers
1/4 teaspoon salt
CAKES:
5 cups water, divided
1 cup dried small red lentils
1/2 cup uncooked basmati rice
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1/2 cup finely chopped red bell pepper
1/2 cup finely chopped red onion
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds, crushed
2 garlic cloves, minced
3/4 cup (3 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup dry breadcrumbs
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 large egg whites, lightly beaten

Preparation

1. To prepare salsa, combine first 5 ingredients; set aside at room temperature.

2. To prepare cakes, bring 4 cups water and lentils to a boil in a medium saucepan. Reduce heat, and simmer for 20 minutes or until tender. Drain and rinse with cold water; drain. Place lentils in a large bowl.

3. Combine remaining 1 cup water and rice in pan; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 18 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. Cool 10 minutes. Add rice to lentils.

4. Heat 1 teaspoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add bell pepper, onion, fennel seeds, and garlic to pan; saute 2 minutes or until tender. Cool 10 minutes. Add to rice mixture. Add mozzarella cheese and remaining ingredients, stirring until well combined. Let stand for 10 minutes.

5. Wipe skillet clean with paper towels. Heat 2 teaspoons olive oil in skillet over medium heat. Spoon half of rice mixture by 1/3-cupfuls into pan, spreading to form 6 (3-inch) circles; cook 5 minutes or until lightly browned. Carefully turn cakes over; cook 5 minutes on other side. Remove cakes from pan. Repeat procedure with remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil and remaining rice mixture. Serve with salsa.

Heart Healthy – Seared Scallops with Warm Fruit Salsa

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My fourth installment to my series of Heart Healthy recipes comes from The American Heart Association. They recommend eating salmon or other fatty fish such as mackerel or tuna twice each week for the heart-protective benefits associated with omega-3 fatty acids found in their fish oils. Our collection of seafood recipes offers a variety of preparation and cooking options to optimize your fish and shellfish based meals.
First up is our Seared Scallops with Warm Fruit Salsa. A hot skillet is key to a deep golden sear on the scallops. Prepare the fruit salsa in the same skillet as the scallops for an easy one-pan cleanup. Jasmine rice rounds out the meal.

Ingredients

12 large sea scallops (about 1 1/4 pounds)
Cooking spray
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon salt

Warm Fruit Salsa

4 teaspoons sliced green onions

Preparation

1. Pat scallops dry with paper towels. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Sprinkle scallops evenly with pepper and salt. Add scallops to pan; cook 3 minutes on each side or until done. Remove scallops from pan; keep warm.

2. Prepare Warm Fruit Salsa.

3. Discard any accumulated juices from scallops; top evenly with Warm Fruit Salsa and onions. Serve immediately.