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Recipes

4 Heart-Healthy Recipes You and Your Ticker Will Love

When we love something, we love it with all of our heart—but when your ticker isn’t working properly, it makes it kind of hard to use. What won’t be hard is whipping up a homemade, four-course Valentine’s Day feast for your hunny this year — and, BONUS, it’s American Heart Month! So, since every recipe we’ve put together is made with heart-healthy benefits, you’ll know that the lucky partner on the receiving end of this meal will have a whole, happy, healthy heart capable of loving every last bite.

Strawberry Spinach Salad

What Makes This Heart-Healthy?

Spinach: This leafy green is high in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, all of which are known to reduce the risk of heart disease. It’s full of vitamin C, beta-carotene which work together to prevent oxidized cholesterol from building up in the blood vessels. The folate in spinach is also known to lower homocysteine levels—high levels of homocysteine are an emerging risk factor for developing cardiovascular diseases.

Strawberries: Ranking number 2 of top 10 most antioxidant-rich fruits, strawberries have tons of heart-healthy benefits. Full of fiber, potassium, and antioxidants, as well as being naturally free of fat, sodium, and cholesterol, this fruit helps control the risk factors associated with heart disease: high cholesterol, high blood pressure and high homocysteine levels.

Servings: 4
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 1 hour, 10 minutes
Serves: 4

Ingredients:

Instructions:

  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the sesame seeds, poppy seeds, sugar, olive oil, vinegar, paprika, Worcestershire sauce and onion. Cover, and chill for one hour.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the spinach, strawberries and almonds. Pour dressing over salad, and toss.
  3. Refrigerate 10 to 15 minutes before serving.

 

Crescent Wrapped Asparagus

What Makes This Heart-Healthy?

Asparagus: These are great for your ticker for multiple reasons. They’re high in vitamin K, which helps blood clot, and high in vitamin B, which regulates homocysteine levels. Its high fiber content, antioxidant levels, and anti-inflammatory effects also reduce the risk of heart disease.

Serves: 8-16 (If this is just for you and your honey, you’ll have leftovers—but you won’t be mad about it)
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 13 minutes

Ingredients*:

*Note: the package of crescent rolls and the whole package of Boursin cheese are enough to make twice as many asparagus strips as this recipes calls for.

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F and place rack in middle upper third of oven.
  2. Line baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil and spray with cooking spray.
  3. Wash and dry asparagus and snap off thick end (or cut off 2” from thick end).
  4. Salt and pepper asparagus.
  5. Unroll crescent dough sheet and use a rolling pin to roll out dough into a thinner rectangle, approximately ¼” thick.
  6. Spread Boursin cheese oven crescent dough.
  7. Use a pizza cutter to cut dough into ⅛” strips.
  8. Wrap dough strip around asparagus, but leave the tip-end exposed.
  9. Gently roll wrapped asparagus in grated Parmesan cheese.
  10. Place wrapped asparagus on the parchment or foil-lined baking sheet (leave 1 inch between stalks).
  11. Sprinkle asparagus with more grated Parmesan and ground black pepper.
  12. Bake 13-15 minutes or until dough is golden brown.
  13. Serve as a side, appetizer or snack.

 

Chicken Orzo

What Makes This Heart-Healthy?

Tomatoes: This little red fruit is high in heart-healthy nutrients like vitamin A & C, folic acid, and beta-carotene. Their vitamin B, potassium, and lycopene levels make them very effective in reducing cholesterol levels, clogged arteries, body inflammation, and blood pressure levels, which can otherwise cause heart attacks and strokes. Bonus: their high antioxidant levels aren’t affected by heat/cooking, so you can reap the fruit’s benefits both raw and cooked.

Servings: 2
Prep time: 30 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes

Ingredients:

Instructions:

  1. Cook orzo in a large saucepan of boiling water until just tender, 8 to 10 minutes or according to package directions. Drain and rinse.
  2. Meanwhile, place 1 cup water, ¼ cup sun-dried tomatoes, plum tomato, garlic, 2 tsps marjoram, vinegar and 2 tsp oil in a blender. Blend until just a few chunks remain.
  3. Season chicken with salt and pepper on both sides. Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and cook, adjusting the heat as necessary to prevent burning, until golden outside and no longer pink in the middle, 3 to 5 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate; tent with foil to keep warm.
  4. Pour the tomato sauce into the pan and bring to a boil. Measure out ½ cup sauce to a small bowl. Add the remaining ¼ cup sun-dried tomatoes to the pan along with the orzo, artichoke hearts and 6 Tbsp cheese. Cook, stirring, until heated through, 1 to 2 minutes. Divide among 4 plates.
  5. Slice the chicken. Top each portion of pasta with sliced chicken, 2 Tbsp of the reserved tomato sauce and a sprinkling of the remaining cheese and marjoram.

 

Chocolate Ricotta Mousse

What Makes This Heart-Healthy?

Dark chocolate: When it comes to dark chocolate’s health benefits, the higher the cacao percentage the better (upwards of 70%). Studies show that this mineral-rich sweet treat can reduce cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of stroke. It’s also rich in the antioxidant flavonoid, which helps repair cell damage and protects us from toxins. Flavanols are known to lower blood pressure, improve blood flow to the brain and heart, and lower the risk of blood clots.

Raspberries: These little guys have a lot to offer. Just one cup of raspberries contains a whopping 8 grams of fiber in a mere 64 calories—a high fiber diet means lower cholesterol levels. They are also low in total fat and have no saturated fat or added cholesterol. They are an excellent source of antioxidants and vitamin C, and contain a number of phytonutrients, which can decrease your risk of heart disease.

Servings: 10
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 8 minutes

Ingredients:

Instructions:

  1. Place chopped chocolate in a 2-cup glass measure or small microwave-safe bowl. Microwave, uncovered, on 70% power (medium-high) for 1 minute; stir. Microwave on 70% power for 1 to 2 minutes more, or until chocolate is melted, stirring every 15 seconds.
  2. In a food processor bowl combine cheese, half-and-half, and vanilla. Cover and process until combined. Add melted chocolate while food processor is running. Process until well combined. Spoon into demitasse cups or small bowls. Serve immediately, or cover and chill for up to 24 hours. If desired, garnish with fresh berries and mint leaves.

Now, get that apron on, set the mood with some of your favorite tunes, and get ready to whip up a meal your S.O. won’t forget!

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Cat Canada is the Content Manager at Perfect Bar.

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