Make Heart Healthy Recipes for Your Party

By Gwyn Seabrooke

We all know that party buffets have delicious temptations for the dieter, diabetic and heart patient. Wouldn’t it be nice if you attended a party that filled the table with heart healthy foods tasty enough to please a crowd? Is this possible? Yes! Here we’ve got some ideas for entrees, side dishes and desserts you’ll be proud to serve and happy to eat.

I’ve scanned the many heart healthy recipe books and magazines to get a sense of how they differ from ordinary cuisine. My impression was that, well, they didn’t sound too interesting and a little on the stingy side.

I decided to come up with some generic heart healthy recipes, where you might ‘mix and match’, swapping out a zucchini for broccoli, for example. Or, substituting wild rice for white and mushrooms for corn.

Most cooks have a good sense of color, texture and size, as well as intuitively knowing combinations of foods that taste good together. In terms of ingredients and a variety of food groups, what makes heart healthy recipes that are tasty and satisfying and even elegant?

Perhaps the first signature is that the dish is low in fat and sodium. Being low in fat or salt does not at all negate a resulting gourmet pleaser. Olive oil is the recommended healthy oil for cooking.

Next, use the freshest, top quality produce you can buy. Learn to use seasonings, both for salt and fat substitutes in the flavor arena. Use lean meats, fish, seafood and poultry.

When you shop for grains, pasta and breads, choose whole grain products, rich in fiber. Use 1% dairy products to keep the fat down.

For dessert, a fruit cup with sherbet and sprigs of mint make simple, heart healthy recipes that are just right after dinner. Following the basic shopping guidelines and with a little creative imagination, you can create the most amazing gourmet delights, ones your heart will love as well.

You’ll soon become a master of your own heart healthy recipes by just getting online and searching out sites with food and seasoning compatibility charts. For example, did you know that thyme makes a plain green bean taste like a whole new food?

Studying these charts can become fascinating when you begin to learn how these humble herbs and spices can enhance the taste of a particular food. You can also check the bookstores for books that match foods with seasonings.

You’ll benefit from purchasing (or checking out from the library) a good nutritional reference guide, a wealth of information on nutritive value of various foods. This helps you pair the right ingredients when creating heart healthy recipes on your own.

When you cook produce, steaming the veggies in a steam basket retains the maximum amount of nutrients, as well as delivering all of the fresh flavor with a good crunch.

There are several herbs which make perfect additions to heart healthy recipes:

1.Cayenne pepper may be used in its whole, fresh form or used in powdered form in a spicy blend to bring a little zip to a bland side of rice, or lightly sprinkled on a shrimp or crab Louie. Cayenne reduces both your blood pressure and pulse rate, as well as toning and strengthening the heart muscle. Good stuff!

2.Garlic is a powerfully valuable addition to any heart healthy recipes and is so versatile, it may be used in salads, to marinate meats or as a spread for breads. Garlic has some pretty impressive credentials: it reduces your blood pressure, LDLs and triglycerides, while increasing the HDLs. This superstar helps eliminate fats from your blood and promotes good circulation. Fresh slivers of garlic are best, but garlic packed in a jar may be more convenient. Use liberally to realize these many benefits.

3.Rosemary is a tonic for your heart, toning and strengthening the function of the heart, as well as helping to normalize blood pressure. Happily, it also makes a delicious garnish for poultry, beef and mild-flavored fish, such as snapper or tilapia. A sprig of fresh rosemary adds great flavor to roasted potatoes.

4.The common seasoning, celery seed, is one of the most effective ways to lower blood pressure, promoting good circulation and a healthy flow of blood to the heart. Celery seed is good in a rice stuffing for poultry. Cook the rice in chicken broth, adding celery seed, fresh parsley, sliced black olives and green onions. Not only is this good for your heart, but tastes wonderful with the poultry. Try adding celery seed to a potato salad, along with diced onions (which also reduce BP) and freshly snipped parsley.

5.Artichokes contain a substance known as cynarin, which helps control cholesterol levels, accomplished by suppressing the production of cholesterol in the liver. Cynarin works in much the same way as the statin drugs. In addition, cynarin flushes old deposits of cholesterol from the liver, ultimately resulting in the breakdown and flushing of fats. That’s not all: artichokes help reduce the LDLs and raise the HDLs. Steamed artichoke hearts make a great side dish, while marinated artichoke hearts dress up any salad or antipasto platter.

Now you know some of the foods which can be eaten separately or combined, in a myriad of ways, for tasty and heart healthy recipes.

You can create these dishes on the fly.  Start with a whole grain pasta or rice, top the rice with a seasoned meat or fish and serve a leafy green salad with garlic bread. The possibilities are almost endless. BTW, your guests probably won’t know these are heart healthy recipes – they taste and look too good!

Easy Healthy Recipes You Can Make Quickly at Home

By Gwyn Seabrooke

Here we’ve got some suggestions on fast and easy healthy recipes you can whip up at home. Most take no more time than it takes to stop by the pizza place or fast food drive-through and keeps a little more gas money in your pocket.

You may have admired those super-Mom types in the past, who can feed a family of four on $400 a month. While you probably thought they spent all day baking homemade bread and clipping coupons, a reduced food budget is now a reality for the majority.

Let’s see how you can juggle that hectic schedule and save money without working yourself into a state of exhaustion.

At the core of a money saving food plan is organization. Menu planning, taking advantage of the weekly supermarket sales and clipping coupons give you a big edge. However, when you’re short on time as well, you also need a repertoire of easy healthy recipes to make the most of your food dollars.

Changing your shopping habits can stretch your budget significantly. This strategy goes hand in hand with menu planning. When you shop, don’t buy more than you’ll use in a week. You’ll avoid waste.

Serve foods that are on sale this week. Stock up on sale-priced canned goods, which don’t spoil and provide ready ingredients for a quick, impromptu meal based on your pantry contents.

Easy healthy recipes start with fresh or frozen, top quality foods. Shop your local farmer’s market, where you’ll typically find better prices, fresher produce and organically grown foods. If you don’t think you can live without a cookbook, think again. Easy healthy recipes can spring right from your imagination!

With whole-grain pastas, meat or fish and a few veggies, you can serve delicious, nutritious meals, made with the ingredients your family enjoys, on the cheap, in 30 minutes or less!

So what are the guidelines for producing such healthy recipes, without the help of a cook book? First, choose simple combinations. Rice and pasta are the basis of many a delectable entree. Add whatever type of meat, fowl or fish that sounds good.

You’ll use far less chicken in a pasta based dish than you will in a fried chicken dinner. Throw in a mix of colorful veggies and you’ve got dinner. For an extra filling meal, just add a can of low sodium cream of chicken or mushroom soup.

All-in-one dishes, such as casseroles, saving electricity and prep time without a ‘stingy’ result. A case in point is our modified meatloaf, truly a fast, easy healthy recipe without the cookbook.

Make your meatloaf as usual. Pack it in a 9 x 9 inch baking pan. A can of Spanish-style corn, drained and seasoned with taco spices, is layered on top. Top it off with a couple of cups of instant mashed potatoes and bake. Ten minutes before it’s done, sprinkle generously with grated pepper jack or cheddar. This easy healthy recipe hits all the nutritional requirements and serves up six generous portions.

This brings us to do-ahead meals. If you’re making one meatloaf, you might as well make two. One effort and one set of dishes to clean up. One less dinner prep. Freeze and save!

Homemade soups are great dinners for cold fall and winter nights. These easy healthy recipes practically cook themselves and grant a good deal of artistic license to the cook. Put a whole chicken in the stock pot and simmer slowly. Remove the meat and strip off fat and bones.

An onion, a few stalks of celery, carrots, corn or bell pepper and you’ve got an original, easy and healthy recipe. Put your chicken back in the pot just before serving. Salad and a loaf of bread as accompaniments makes an inexpensive, nutritious, but very tasty dinner.

The take-out subways are always family favorites. Create your own for big savings and family appeal. Subways made with whole grain breads, Kaiser rolls or pita bread are not only cheap, but nutritious. Pack these with a bunch of greens, sprouts, jalapenos, bell peppers – or whatever good looking produce is at the market today.

You don’t need a great deal of meat. Add some calcium with a couple of slices of cheese. Dress the sandwich with your favorite dressing and you’ve got happy campers at the dinner table, courtesy of an easy healthy recipe and your imagination.

Most of us eat far more protein than we need and far too few veggies. Switch this around with chef’s salads, composed of an abundance of greens and veggies your family likes, with a small mound of shrimp, chicken, tuna or whatever strikes your fancy. Another dozen easy recipes at your disposal!

It’s clear, we’re all going to have to sharpen our skills and imagination, with a strategy that produces nutritious, easy healthy recipes that leave our food budget breathing! You can still get kick-back time, perhaps more than afforded in the take-out scenario. You can enjoy restaurant quality meals on a shoestring, as you save time and money.

Enjoy Healthy Christmas Recipes and Avoid Holiday Weight Gain

By Gwyn Seabrooke

The Christmas season is certainly a time that most of us pull out all the stops, enjoying every little goodie that passes our way. ‘Tis the season and the very idea of healthy Christmas recipes seems to take all the fun away!

However, as we all know, ’tis also the season where we put on ten pounds and have to make that inevitable New Year’s resolution.

Another problem arises when you’ve got health conditions that will only get worse if you overindulge. Here we’ve got some ideas for some healthy Christmas recipes and strategies to enable you to celebrate, scarf up some delicious, albeit healthy food, have plenty of fun and perhaps only gain three pounds.

Let’s start with some general strategies that help you avoid general overindulgence.

When you consider the number of occasions put before you, it’s amazing we don’t all gain twenty pounds! Office parties, neighborhood gatherings, brunches, the church bake sale, cocktail parties and the Christmas dinner are filled with temptations.

An hour or so before you leave for a party, eat a small meal of healthy snacks to quell your appetite a tad.

For example, a healthy Christmas recipe made of an attractive platter of dipping veggies and a spinach and Greek yogurt dip. This gets you in the spirit of the festivities to come, while filling you up just enough to take the edge off your appetite. When you arrive at the party, you’ll be satisfied with smaller portions of the goodies spread out before you.

Alcoholic beverages are plentiful during the round of parties and can really help pack on the pounds. For every glass of wine or cocktail you have, have two beverages that are non-alcoholic, yet festive. Fruit punches and spiced ciders are good substitutes.

Cookies and sweets are a traditional part of the Christmas festivities. For some of us, not spending a couple of weeks baking up fudge, cookies and sweets is unthinkable. The kids would never be the same!

Try making half as many sweets, using the other half of your time making salt dough ornaments and decorations to hang on the tree and to give as gifts.

The kids will love these activities and everyone will eat less of the stuff that’s bad for us. Take a walk around the neighborhood to check out the Christmas lights. You’ll have a good time, in keeping with the spirit of the season and burn off a few calories too.

Now, on to the nuts and bolts of healthy Christmas recipes that are so tempting, you won’t even know they’re good for you.

Let’s start with the Christmas bird…

Some people live for the skin on the turkey. If that’s not your thing, consider roasting a skinless turkey, much as you would a skinless chicken breast. This single modification saves about 3 grams of fat per serving, a healthy Christmas recipe indeed.

How about the stuffing? Try using less bread cubes and more veggies. Whatever your favorite veggie addition to your stuffing may be, double it and reduce the bread accordingly.

Chop up some onions, slice up a good quantity of mushrooms, celery or water chestnuts and moisten with a low sodium, low fat chicken broth and your favorite spices and fresh herbs. Voila! You’ve transformed a starchy, high calorie stuffing into a healthy recipe!

Use herbs and spices, rather than sugar or excessive amounts of salt, to spark the flavor of your dishes. If you’re unfamiliar with seasonings, you’ll find plenty of guidance online, at the library or bookstore.

Sweet spices, such as cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and ginger can stand in for sugar in many a recipe.

For example, carrots in an orange and ginger sauce is a dish even a kid can love. Pearl onions, spiced with a dash of nutmeg, in a low fat cream sauce are heavenly. Both are healthy Christmas recipes that have your diners asking for seconds!

A diverse assortment of brightly colored, well-seasoned foods produces the festive look and feel of the Christmas party, not the number of pounds of fat, salt and sugar!

Healthy Christmas recipes are not an oxymoron. You just need to put on your thinking cap. Merry Christmas! Here’s to one less New Year’s resolution.

Delicious Healthy Salmon Recipes

By Gwyn Seabrooke

It may surprise you how simple healthy salmon recipes are to learn to cook and how little time it takes to prepare them. Broiling the fish can be a great way to retain its nutritional value. Not to mention, broiling can help you cook with very little fat or other additives that could make your meal less healthy.

Not every fish is suited to grilling or broiling. The intense heat of the grill can really dry a fish out if it doesn’t have a lot of oiliness within.

Salmon though luckily, does have a good degree of oiliness natively, and this makes it makes an excellent choice for all healthy salmon recipes involving broiling.

There is something pure and fresh about the taste of salmon. While some people like their broiled salmon heavily seasoned with sauces – tartar sauce or butter sauce are favorites, you could conceivably try the fish with minimal seasoning to help keep its native taste.

To cook your broiled salmon, start off with a salmon fillet that’s about an inch thick. Before you cook it, you’ll need to get the broiler ready. Turn on the preheating in your oven, and make sure that the rack in the oven is at least a little distance from the broiling element. Get it too close, and you could risk burning the salmon by drying it out.

Wash your salmon fillet nice and clean under the tap and dry it on a clean cloth. Place a couple of sprigs of rosemary on a foil-lined broiling pan, spread a little olive oil on the foil, and place your salmon in it. You can season the salmon a little bit with salt and pepper.

In all healthy salmon recipes, overcooking is typically not recommended, even if it could add a little extra flavor.

Once the fillet has been broiling for about seven or eight minutes, baste it with a bit of lemon juice and flip it over. You can serve it after garnishing it with parsley flakes. To get decorate the salmon, you could try cut lemon slices next to it and a bed of roasted potatoes and rice.

Of course, what’s a recipe without a little experimenting. Try the following dressing.

Mix together: a half cup of mayonnaise, a tablespoon of milk, some parsley and a pinch of dill. A little Worcestershire sauce and a little butter would taste great too taste too. Blend it all together, and you should have a great tangy and buttery dressing for your salmon. Just because you’re trying healthy salmon recipes, doesn’t mean you can’t have a little indulgence.

 

2 Tasty Healthy Fish Recipes Anyone Can Cook

By Anouk Brandt


Fish is brain food. Certainly, it’s one of the healthiest foods you can eat and with a few healthy fish recipes, you will be eating more of it.

Fresh Fish For Healthy Cooking RecipesThere are lots of people who stay clear of bringing fish into the kitchen; no matter how hard they try, they feel fish either turns into a strip of cardboard or into a formless mess. But it doesn’t have to be this way.

Almost anyone can learn to flip, poach, sauté, braise or grill a great fish. Let’s look at two great healthy fish recipes, and start from scratch.

From scratch would mean doing everything from buying great fish, to cleaning them and finally to cooking and eating them. The best fish that you can buy is usually something you’ll find in a Japanese or Chinese market in your town.

The Japanese markets especially have punishingly high standards for the fish they sell; if your city has a Chinatown, they’ll usually have lots of stalls with live fish fillets; try to establish a relationship with your fishmonger to try to understand which picks should suit your recipe best.

Our first healthy fish recipe is Honey Soy Broiled Salmon
.

This is something that you can usually make in about 20 minutes. You could eat it by itself as a healthy snack, or you could make a meal of it serving it with brown rice and red peppers that you could sauté. It makes for a side dish that’s sweet and tangy at the same time; the sesame seeds you toast to garnish it with in the end, accent the whole meal with a kind of nutty flavor.

Pick up couple of tablespoons of soy sauce, a tablespoon of rice vinegar, a minced scallion, a teaspoon of minced fresh minced ginger, and a tablespoon of honey; you’ll need a medium-sized bowl to place all of this in; whisk briskly until all the honey mixes in well.

The fish you’ll use in this recipe will be four pieces of skinned and center-cut salmon fillet, all amounting to one pound. Cover the salmon in 4 tablespoons of the sauce you just made, place the pieces in a plastic bag, and let the sauce soak in for about 20 minutes.

Prepare a baking pan, lining it with foil, and spreading out a bit of cooking spray. Take out the salmon from the fridge, and place the pieces on the cooking pan with the skinless parts facing down. You’ll need to broil them on a high flame for about 10 minutes.

Make sure that the pan is about 5 inches off the flame though. Check to make sure that it’s done, sprinkle on the remaining sauce you have, and garnish with sesame.

Healthy fish recipes like this will fulfill your daily quota of Omega-3’s, and you’ll get practically all the protein and potassium you need.

Up next is the  Orata All’ Acqua Pazza

This is an impressive and  strong-tasting recipe, and you can use it with bass, grouper or snapper. The typical ingredients we’ll need will be as follows: a cup of water, a 1/2 cup of extra virgin olive oil, a 1/4 cup chopped Italian parsley, a pound of diced tomatoes, 2 pounds of the fish you choose, whole, two cloves of garlic and red pepper flakes, salt, and black pepper.

You need to start out by preheating the oven to about 350°F. Prepare an ovenproof roasting pan by pouring in half of the olive oil you set out, and throw in the garlic and a teaspoon of the red pepper flakes. Sauté these for as long as it takes to brown them; add in the tomatoes and sauté them as well.

Shake a little sea salt and black pepper on the fish, and place it in the oven pan with the mixture you just cooked. Pour in the water you set out, and bake for 25 minutes. You’ll know that it’s done when you stick a thermometer in the center of the fish, and it reads 140°F.

You’ll need to cook the sauce now with the flame turned all the way up until you’ve reduced it to about just a cup. Add in the parsley and the olive oil and you are done. A little salt and pepper should be appropriate, you can fillet the fish, add on the remaining sauce, and serve right away. It should make a great dinner for four, and bring you some well-deserved appreciation.

So there you have 2 healthy fish recipes to try. Add more fish to your diet and reap the benefits!