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Breathe New Life Into Home-Cooked Dinners

Written by Alyssa Belanger, editorial intern

The AHA wants to help you avoid kitchen mishaps. (Photo by Peter Ardito)

Truth: How often do you really cook in your kitchen?

About 17 percent of American children ate meals outside of their home in 1970, but today at least half of all U.S. food expenditures are accounted for in away-from-home eating, the American Heart Association reports. While it is possible to eat out and lose weight, it’s much easier to control the ingredients and cooking methods when you whip up a dish in your own home. That’s why the AHA launched Simple Cooking with Heart, which aims to “equip American families with basic culinary skills along with nutrition knowledge so they can know how to cook and eat at home,” says American Heart Association spokeswoman Rachel K. Johnson, Ph.D., R.D. The program, funded by the Walmart Foundation, offers a number of resources on their website to inspire nutritious and fun home-cooked meals. You can find video cooking demonstrations, recipes, tips and a downloadable “Host Kit” with everything you need to host a dinner party (think invitation templates, party games and shopping lists). One of the ideas we're planning to try first? "Traveling" with friends to the Far East through a heart-healthy meal of Asian Cole Slaw and Asian-Style Noodles. Paper lanterns, chop sticks and other fun and inexpensive items from a party store can make a simple meal festive!

This veggie-filled side comes together in minutes. (Photo courtesy of the AHA)

Asian Cole Slaw Recipe Serves 6 Vegetables:

  • 1 12-ounce bag shredded cabbage (green or purple)
  • 1 medium cucumber, peeled and seeded, sliced in to thin sticks
  • 1 medium red or green bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 5 medium green onions, sliced
  • 12 leaves washed fresh basil or 1 teaspoon dried basil


  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic minced from jar or 1 clove minced
  • 3 tablespoons white or cider vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoons white sugar, granulated
  • 1 tablespoon and 1 teaspoon low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
  1. Combine all vegetables in a bowl, toss.
  2. Combine all dressing ingredients in a small bowl and whisk well.
  3. Pour over vegetable mixture and toss to coat.

Nutrition facts per serving: 42 calories, 1 g fat For more recipe ideas, cooking tips and heart health facts visit the American Heart Association website.