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 -Cranberry and Pistachio Brownie Bites

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Heart Healthy Dessert?  Really?

Oui Mon Cher, even dessert.  For our fifth heart healthy installment these bite-size chocolate brownies are packed with dried cranberries and chopped pistachios for tangy sweetness and the perfect amount of crunch.

Ingredients

1/2 cup unsalted butter
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 teaspoon instant coffee granules
2 large eggs
2/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup dry-roasted, unsalted pistachios
1/3 cup dried cranberries

 

Preparation

1. Line an 8-inch square baking pan with nonstick aluminum foil.

2. Pour water to a depth of 1 inch into bottom of a double boiler over medium heat; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer; place butter, chocolate, and coffee in top of double boiler over simmering water. Cook, stirring occasionally, until melted. Remove from heat, and let cool.

3. In a large mixing bowl, beat eggs on low speed. Add next 4 ingredients; beat until blended. Stir in chocolate mixture; fold in flour. Stir in pistachios and cranberries. Pour into prepared baking pan, spreading batter evenly.

4. Bake at 350° for 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out with only a few moist crumbs. Cool in pan on wire rack. Cover with plastic wrap, and chill 8 hours or overnight. Cut brownies into 36 (1 1/4-inch) squares.

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.

Heart Healthy -Cavatappi with Arugula Pesto and Cherry Tomatoes

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In my third installment, Peppery arugula complements the sweetness of ripe tomatoes. Use heirloom tomatoes, if available, for even better flavor. Substitute fusilli for cavatappi, if desired. Serve immediately.

Ingredients

PESTO:

5 cups trimmed arugula
1/2 cup (2 ounces) grated fresh Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
1 tablespoon lemon juice
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 garlic clove, minced
1/3 cup water
2 tablespoons extravirgin olive oil
Remaining ingredients:
1 pound uncooked cavatappi
2 cups red and yellow cherry tomatoes, halved (about 3/4 pound)
2 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted

Preparation

To prepare pesto, combine first 7 ingredients in a food processor; process until finely minced. With processor on, slowly pour 1/3 cup water and oil through food chute; process until well blended.

Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain. Combine pesto, pasta, and tomatoes in a large bowl; toss well. Sprinkle pine nuts over pasta. Serve immediately.

Heart Healthy -Slow Cooked Beef Pot Roast

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Our second installment is this home style favorite with mashed potatoes to soak up the sauce. Leftover meat makes great hot roast beef sandwiches the next day.

Ingredients

1 (8-ounce) package presliced mushrooms
1 (8-ounce) container refrigerated prechopped green bell pepper
Cooking spray
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons ketchup
1/4 cup water
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 pounds boneless shoulder pot roast

Preparation

1. Place mushrooms and bell pepper in a 3 1/2- to 4-quart electric slow cooker coated with cooking spray.

2. Combine ketchup and next 4 ingredients in a small bowl, stirring until blended.

3. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan and roast with cooking spray. Cook 3 minutes on each side or until browned. Place roast over vegetables in cooker; pour ketchup mixture over roast. Cover and cook on HIGH for 1 hour. Reduce heat to LOW; cook 6 to 7 hours or until roast is very tender. Serve vegetables and sauce over roast.

Heart Healthy – Filet Mignon with Arugula Salad

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First up is my Filet Mignon with Arugula Salad. Arugula, a peppery salad green, makes a tasty bed for pan-seared steak. Asiago garlic bread is a fitting accompaniment. Combine 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1 minced garlic clove; brush evenly over 4 (1-inch-thick) French bread slices. Top each bread slice with 1 tablespoon grated Asiago cheese. Broil 2 minutes or until cheese melts and bread is toasted.

Ingredients

Cooking spray
4 (4-ounce) beef tenderloin steaks, trimmed
1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
1/4 teaspoon black pepper, divided
2 teaspoons butter
1/2 cup prechopped red onion
1 (8-ounce) package presliced cremini mushrooms
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 (5-ounce) bag baby arugula

Preparation

1. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Sprinkle beef with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Add beef to pan; cook 4 minutes on each side or until desired degree of doneness. Remove beef from pan; keep warm.

2. Melt butter in pan; coat pan with cooking spray. Add remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, remaining 1/8 teaspoon pepper, red onion, and mushrooms to pan; sauté 4 minutes or until mushrooms release their liquid. Combine juice and arugula in a large bowl. Add mushroom mixture to arugula mixture; toss gently to combine. Arrange 1 1/2 cups salad mixture on each of 4 plates; top each serving with 1 steak.