The Healthy Heart Cookbook
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Fitness

The Healthy Heart Cookbook

The easiest way to beat heart disease, the number-one killer of women? Eat better. FITNESS asked the Food Network's Ellie Krieger, RD, for 10 recipes that taste amazing, are easy to make, and will boost your heart health -- guaranteed!

Take This to Heart

Heart disease kills nearly 500,000 women in the United States each year -- more than all types of cancer combined --- but most of us underestimate our risk. When asked to name their greatest health threat, just 13 percent of women cited cardiovascular disease, according to a poll by the American Heart Association. Twenty- and 30-somethings were most likely to admit they didn't know their health could be in danger. So, in honor of American Heart Month, consider this your first lesson.

The best ways to protect your heart? Begin with a few simple moves: Get regular exercise, quit smoking, lose weight -- and eat right. "By choosing a diet that's lower in saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol, and salt, and richer in fruits, vegetables and whole grains -- and includes fish, low-fat dairy, and healthy oils -- you can reduce your risk by roughly 20 percent," says Lawrence J. Appel, MD, MPH, a professor of medicine and international health at Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions who has studied the link between diet and heart disease.

To help get you started, Ellie Krieger, RD, host of the popular show Healthy Appetite on the Food Network, created the recipes on these pages. "A powerful way to make your diet heart-friendly is to cook at home, where you can control what goes into your food," says Krieger. These delicious recipes, along with a list of healthy kitchen staples, are simple enough for every day, special enough for company, and super-heart-smart. That's good news for you, your doctor -- and your taste buds.

Salmon Cakes with Creamy Ginger-Sesame Sauce

Makes: 6 servings

Ingredients

  • 6 slices whole wheat sandwich bread
  • 2 15-ounce cans salmon, drained, skin and bones removed
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 5 scallions, divided
  • 1/2 cup canned water chestnuts, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 teaspoons olive oil, divided
  • Creamy Ginger-Sesame Sauce (recipe follows)

Instructions

  1. Remove crusts from bread, break into pieces, and process in a food processor until they become fine crumbs.
  2. In a large bowl, flake apart salmon with a fork. Add eggs and mix well. Finely chop 4 scallions and add to the bowl, followed by water chestnuts, cilantro, pepper, and bread crumbs. Mix well.
  3. Shape the mixture into 12 patties. In a large nonstick skillet, heat 1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil over medium heat. Add the patties in batches and cook for 5 minutes on each side.
  4. Chop remaining scallion. Serve salmon cakes with sauce and garnish with scallion.

Nutritional Information

Per serving: 372 calories, 26g protein, 23g carbohydrate, 19g fat (3g saturated), 3g fiber

Creamy Ginger-Sesame Sauce

Makes: 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup nonfat plain yogurt or 6 tablespoons nonfat Greek-style yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons freshly grated ginger
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon low-sodium soy sauce

Instructions

  1. If using regular yogurt, place it in a strainer lined with a paper towel. Put the strainer over a bowl and place it in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to let the yogurt drain and thicken.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the thickened or Greek-style yogurt with mayonnaise, ginger, sesame oil, and soy sauce. Whisk until smooth.

Succotash with Scallops

Makes: 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 1/2 cups frozen corn kernels, defrosted
  • 10-ounce package frozen lima beans
  • 1 medium zucchini (about 1/2 pound), quartered lengthwise and sliced
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1 1/4 pounds large sea scallops (about 16)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
  • Cooking spray
  • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil

Instructions

  1. To make succotash, heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and let cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 2 minutes. Add garlic and cook 1 minute more. Stir in corn, lima beans, zucchini, and tomatoes; cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are tender, about 7 minutes.
  2. In the meantime, pat scallops dry and season with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Spray a large nonstick skillet or grill pan with cooking spray and preheat over medium-high heat. Add scallops and cook until opaque, 5 to 6 minutes, turning once.
  3. Stir vinegar and basil into the succotash, season with salt and pepper, and serve topped with grilled scallops.

Nutritional Information

Per serving: 362 calories, 34g protein, 49g carbohydrate, 5g fat (1g saturated), 9g fiber

Orange-Pistachio Wild-Rice Salad

Makes: 6 servings

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup chopped pistachios
  • 1/2 cup brown rice
  • 3/4 cup wild rice
  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 orange, peel and pith removed, segmented and sliced (about 2/3 cup)
  • 10 large basil leaves, sliced into ribbons(about 1/3 cup)
  • 1/4 cup minced red onion
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest

Dressing

  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon orange juice
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Instructions

  1. Toast nuts in a dry skillet over medium-high heat until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Set aside to cool.
  2. Combine brown rice, wild rice, and chicken broth in a saucepan; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer until all liquid is evaporated and rice is fully cooked, 45 to 55 minutes. Remove from heat and cool completely.
  3. Transfer rice to a medium bowl. Add orange, basil, red onion, pistachios, and orange zest; mix.
  4. In a small bowl, whisk together red wine vinegar, olive oil, orange juice, mustard, honey, and salt. Pour dressing over the rice mixture and toss.

Nutritional Information

Per serving: 250 calories, 7g protein, 33g carbohydrate, 10g fat (2g saturated), 3g fiber

Spiced Red Wine-Poached Pears

Makes: 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 cups dry red wine, such as Cabernet or Merlot
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
  • Juice of 1 orange (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1-inch-by-3-inch strip orange zest
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 cloves
  • 4 firm, ripe pears

Instructions

  1. In a 4-quart saucepan, combine wine, sugar, orange juice, zest, cinnamon stick, and cloves. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 5 minutes.
  2. While liquid is simmering, peel pears, leaving stems intact. Slice 1/2 inch off the base of pears to create a flat bottom. Gently place pears in liquid, cover, and simmer, turning every 5 minutes, until pears are cooked but still firm, 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from saucepan and set aside.
  3. Turn the heat up to medium-high and cook the liquid until it is thickened and slightly syrupy, about 15 minutes. Pour sauce over pears and chill at least 3 hours before serving.

Nutritional Information

Per serving: 185 calories, 1g protein, 45g carbohydrate, 1g fat (0g saturated), 4g fiber

Curried Butternut Squash Soup

Makes: 5 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped (2 cups)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2-1/2-pound butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 6 cups low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 3 tablespoons plain nonfat yogurt

Instructions

  1. Heat oil over medium heat in a 6-quart stockpot. Add onions and saute until they begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and saute for 2 minutes more. Add squash, broth, curry powder, and salt and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered until squash is tender, 12 to 15 minutes.
  2. Remove from heat, stir in honey, and puree with a mixer or in batches in a blender until smooth
  3. Ladle into serving bowls and drizzle yogurt over each.

Nutritional Information

Per serving: 221 calories, 8g protein, 39g carbohydrate, 6g fat (2g saturated), 5g fiber

Pasta with Escarole, White Beans, and Sausage

Makes: 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 3/4 pound whole wheat bow tie (or other shape) pasta
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1/2 medium onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 6 ounces low-fat Italian-style chicken sausage, casings removed, crumbled
  • 1 medium-size head escarole, rinsed, drained and chopped (about 8 cups)
  • 14-ounce can low-sodium great northern beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 tablespoon sage leaves, crumbled
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 ounce grated Parmesan cheese

Instructions

  1. Cook pasta according to package directions.
  2. Heat oil over medium heat in a large, deep skillet or an 8-quart stockpot. Saute onion until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes; add garlic and cook 1 minute. Stir in sausage and cook until heated through and browned, about 4 minutes. Add escarole and cook until wilted, 3 to 4 minutes. Add beans, 1 cup chicken broth, red pepper flakes and sage; simmer until mixture is heated through and liquid is slightly reduced.
  3. Pour over pasta and toss; add remaining chicken broth if needed. Season with freshly ground black pepper and top with Parmesan cheese.

Nutritional Information

Per serving: 571 calories, 33g protein, 89g carbohydrate, 13g fat (4g saturated), 16g fiber

Confetti Chili

Makes: 8 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small onion, diced (about 1 cup)
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced (1 cup)
  • 2 carrots, diced (1/2 cup)
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried coriander
  • 1 pound extra-lean ground beef (90 percent lean)
  • 28-ounce can no-salt-added crushed tomatoes
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 chipotle chili (canned in adobo sauce), seeded and minced
  • 2 teaspoons adobo sauce, from the can of chipotles
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 15-1/2-ounce can no-salt-added black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 15-1/2-ounce can no-salt-added kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen corn kernels

Instructions

  1. Heat oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over moderate heat. Add onion, bell pepper, and carrots. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are soft, about 10 minutes. Add cumin and coriander and cook, stirring, for 1 minute more.
  2. Add ground beef; raise the heat to high and cook, breaking up the meat with a spoon, until no longer pink. Stir in tomatoes, water, chipotle, adobo sauce, oregano, ground coriander, salt, and pepper.
  3. Turn down the heat and simmer, partially covered, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes.
  4. Add the beans and cook 20 minutes more. Stir in corn and cook until heated through. Season with salt and pepper.

Nutritional Information

Per serving: 270 calories, 22g protein, 32g carbohydrate, 7g fat (2g saturated), 9g fiber

Waldorf Chicken Wraps

Makes: 5 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 cup nonfat plain yogurt or 3/4 cup nonfat Greek-style yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon minced thyme
  • 1 pound cooked skinless chicken breast, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1/2 cup seedless grapes, sliced in half
  • 1/4 cup toasted, coarsely chopped walnuts
  • 1 medium apple, cored and diced (about 3/4 cup)
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 5 large leaves romaine lettuce, rinsed and patted dry
  • 5 whole wheat wraps, about 8 inches in diameter

Instructions

  1. If using regular yogurt, place in a strainer lined with a paper towel. Put strainer over a bowl and place in the refrigerator to drain and thicken for 30 minutes.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the thickened or Greek-style yogurt, mayonnaise, lemon juice, mustard, salt, and thyme; mix until smooth. Fold in chicken, grapes, walnuts, and apples. Season with pepper.
  3. Place one lettuce leaf on a wrap. Spoon about 3/4 cup of the chicken filling onto wrap and roll wrap around filling.

Nutritional Information

Per serving: 369 calories, 36g protein, 29g carbohydrate, 12g fat (2g saturated), 14g fiber

Asian-Style Three Bean Salad

Makes: 8 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 pound string beans, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 10-ounce bag frozen, shelled edamame
  • 3 tablespoons canola oil
  • 3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup 100-percent-fruit apricot preserves
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
  • 15-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 scallions, sliced
  • Salt, to taste

Instructions

  1. Put the green beans and frozen edamame into a steamer basket and steam for 4 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl and refrigerate for at least 15 minutes.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together oil, vinegar, apricot preserves, sugar, and ginger. Add black beans and scallions to green bean mixture and drizzle with dressing; toss to coat and season with salt.

Nutritional Information

Per serving: 164 calories, 8g protein, 20g carbohydrate, 8g fat (1g saturated), 6g fiber

Broccoli with Toasted Garlic

Makes: 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 pound broccoli, washed and cut into florets
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Instructions

  1. Place broccoli in a large, microwave-safe bowl. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and microwave for 5 minutes.
  2. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat and add garlic. Cook, stirring frequently, until garlic is golden brown, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a small dish.
  3. Remove broccoli from microwave; carefully uncover. Pat dry, add to skillet, and saute over medium heat for 3 minutes. Sprinkle with toasted garlic; season with salt and pepper.

Nutritional Information

Per serving: 65 calories, 4g protein, 7g carbohydrate, 4g fat (1g saturated), 3 g fiber

Ellie's 5 Key Ingredients for Heart-Healthy Meals

1. Nonfat plain yogurt

It's a great stand-in for sour cream in dips and for mayo in dressings. Because yogurt is slightly acidic, it's also a good meat tenderizer.

2. Fresh herbs

Sprinkle cilantro, basil, parsley, or mint over dishes to make them burst with flavor. Or puree herbs with a little olive oil, lemon juice, and garlic for a sandwich spread, sauce, or dressing.

3. Vegetable and fruit purees

Use vegetable purees to thicken soups; use canned pumpkin, mashed banana, or applesauce in pastries to replace some of the fat.

4. Spice rubs

A no-fat way to make flavorful main dishes. Just rub a mixture of dried spices (try chili powder, garlic powder, oregano, cumin, and a touch of salt) on lean meat, chicken, or fish, then grill or broil.

5. Healthy oils and vinegars

I cook with olive and canola oils, and I use walnut oil in salads. Cider, balsamic, and sherry vinegars brighten a dish and add tanginess with little sodium and few calories.

Do even more for your heart everyday!

Originally published in FITNESS magazine, February 2007.

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