Heart Healthy

Here’s some terrific news: What’s good for your heart is great for your taste buds. As the recipes that follow show, you don’t have to lose flavor to gain health. Heart healthy cooking simply means making dishes that are low in saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol, and moderate in total fat. As an added bonus, these dishes have fewer calories than those higher in fat.

The recipes that follow will even tempt children. That’s important, because good eating habits need to start early. So, cook up some “Classic Macaroni and Cheese” and “1–2–3 Peach Cobbler” and teach your kids or grandkids how delicious good health can taste. Chances are, they’ll want another lesson.

These recipes were specially developed by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI). If this collection whets your appetite for more information on healthy eating or other heart health topics, visit the NHLBI online at www.nhlbi.nih.gov. Enjoy!
Keeping the “Heart” in Your Favorite Recipes


Zucchini Lasagna
Say “Cheese,” because this healthy version of a favorite comfort food will leave you smiling.
½ lb lasagna noodles, cooked in unsalted water
¾ c mozzarella cheese, part-skim, grated
1½ c cottage cheese*, fat free
¼ c Parmesan cheese, grated
1½ c zucchini, raw, sliced
2½ c tomato sauce, no salt added
2 tsp basil, dried
2 tsp oregano, dried
¼ c onion, chopped
1 clove garlic
1/8 tsp black pepper
Preheat oven to 350° F. Lightly spray 9- x 13-inch baking dish with vegetable oil spray.
In small bowl, combine 1/8 cup mozzarella and 1 Tbsp Parmesan cheese. Set aside.
In medium bowl, combine remaining mozzarella and Parmesan cheese with all of the cottage cheese. Mix well and set aside.
Combine tomato sauce with remaining ingredients. Spread thin layer of tomato sauce in bottom of baking dish. Add third of noodles in single layer. Spread half of cottage cheese mixture on top. Add layer of zucchini.
Repeat layering.
Add thin coating of sauce. Top with noodles, sauce, and reserved cheese mixture. Cover with aluminum foil.
Bake for 30–40 minutes. Cool for 10 to 15 minutes. Cut into 6 portions.
Yield: 6 servings Serving size: 1 piece
Each serving provides:
Calories: 276 Total fat: 5 g
Saturated fat: 2 g Cholesterol: 11 mg
Sodium: 380 mg Total fiber: 5 g
Protein: 19 g Carbohydrates: 41 g
Potassium: 561 mg

*Use unsalted cottage cheese to reduce the sodium content to 196 mg per serving.

Baked Salmon Dijon
This salmon entree is easy to make and a delicious treat for family and friends.
1 c fat free sour cream
2 tsp dried dill
3 Tbsp scallions, finely chopped
2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
2 Tbsp lemon juice
1 ½ lbs salmon fillet with skin, cut in center
½ tsp garlic powder
½ tsp black pepper
As needed, fat free cooking spray
Whisk sour cream, dill, onion, mustard and lemon juice in small bowl to blend.
Preheat oven to 400° F. Lightly oil baking sheet with cooking spray.
Place salmon, skin side down, on prepared sheet. Sprinkle with garlic powder and pepper. Spread with the sauce.
Bake salmon until just opaque in center, about 20 minutes.
Yield: 6 servings Serving size: 1 piece (4 oz)
Each serving provides:
Calories: 196 Total fat: 7 g
Saturated fat: 2 g Cholesterol: 76 mg
Sodium: 229 mg Total fiber: less than 1 g
Protein: 27 g Carbohydrates: 5 g
Potassium: 703 mg

Barbecued Chicken
Fall under the spell of this Southern-style, sweet barbecue sauce.
5 Tbsp (3 oz) tomato paste
1 tsp ketchup
2 tsp honey
1 tsp molasses
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
4 tsp white vinegar
¾ tsp cayenne pepper
1/8 tsp black pepper
¼ tsp onion powder
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/8 tsp ginger, grated
1 ½ lbs chicken (breasts, drumsticks), skinless
Combine all ingredients except chicken in saucepan. Simmer for 15 minutes.
Wash chicken and pat dry. Place on large platter and brush with ½ of sauce mixture.
Cover with plastic wrap and marinate in refrigerator for 1 hour.
Place chicken on baking sheet lined with aluminum foil and broil for 10 minutes on each side to seal in juices.
Turn down oven to 350° F and add remaining sauce to chicken. Cover chicken with aluminum foil and continue baking for 30 minutes.
Yield: 6 servings Serving size: ½ breast or 2 small drumsticks
Each serving provides:
Calories: 176 Total fat: 4 g
Saturated fat: less than 1 g Cholesterol: 81 mg
Sodium: 199 mg Total fiber: 1 g
Protein: 27 g Carbohydrates: 7 g
Potassium: 392 g

Stir-Fried Beef And Vegetables
Stir-frying uses very little oil, as this tasty dish shows.
2 Tbsp dry red wine
1 Tbsp soy sauce
½ tsp sugar
1 ½ tsp ginger root, peeled, grated
1 lb boneless round steak, fat-trimmed and cut across grain into 1½-inch strips
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
2 medium onions, each cut into 8 wedges
½ lb fresh mushrooms, rinsed, trimmed, and sliced
2 stalks celery, bias-cut into ¼-inch slices
2 small green peppers cut into thin lengthwise strips
1 c water chestnuts, drained, sliced
2 Tbsp cornstarch
¼ c water
Prepare marinade by mixing together wine, soy sauce, sugar, and ginger.
Marinate meat in mixture while preparing vegetables.
Heat 1 Tbsp oil in large skillet or wok. Stir-fry onions and mushrooms for 3 minutes over medium-high heat.
Add celery and cook for 1 minute. Add remaining vegetables and cook for 2 minutes or until green pepper is tender but crisp. Transfer vegetables to warm bowl.
Add remaining 1 Tbsp oil to skillet. Stir-fry meat in oil for about 2 minutes, or until meat loses its pink color.
Blend cornstarch and water. Stir into meat. Cook and stir until thickened.
Return vegetables to skillet. Stir gently and serve.
Yield: 6 servings Serving size: 6 oz
Each serving provides:
Calories: 179 Total fat: 7 g
Saturated fat: 1 g Cholesterol: 40 mg
Sodium: 201 mg Total fiber: 3 g
Protein: 17 g Carbohydrates: 12 g
Potassium: 552 mg

Classic Macaroni and Cheese
Here’s a scrumptious, lower-fat version of a favorite dish.
2 c macaroni
½ c onions, chopped
½ c evaporated skim milk
1 medium egg, beaten
¼ tsp black pepper
1 ¼ c (4 oz) lowfat sharp cheddar cheese, finely shredded
As needed, nonstick cooking spray
Cook macaroni according to directions, but do not add salt to the cooking water. Drain and set aside.
Spray casserole dish with nonstick cooking spray. Preheat oven to 350° F.
Lightly spray saucepan with nonstick cooking spray. Add onions and sauté for about 3 minutes.
In another bowl, combine macaroni, onions, and rest of ingredients and mix.
Transfer mixture into casserole dish.
Bake for 25 minutes, or until bubbly. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.
Yield: 8 servings Serving size: ½ cup
Each serving provides:
Calories: 200 Total fat: 4 g
Saturated fat: 2 g Cholesterol: 34 mg
Sodium: 120 mg Total fiber: 1 g
Protein: 11 g Carbohydrates: 29 g
Potassium: 119 mg

Sweet Potato Custard
Sweet potatoes and bananas combine to make this flavorful, lowfat custard.
1 c sweet potato, cooked, mashed
½ c banana (about 2 small), mashed
1 c evaporated skim milk
2 Tbsp packed brown sugar
2 egg yolks (or 1/3 cup egg substitute), beaten
½ tsp salt
¼ c raisins
1 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
As needed, nonstick cooking spray
In medium bowl, stir together sweet potato and banana. Add milk, blending well.
Add brown sugar, egg yolks, and salt, mixing thoroughly.
Spray 1-quart casserole with nonstick cooking spray. Transfer sweet potato mixture to casserole dish.
Combine raisins, sugar, and cinnamon. Sprinkle over top of sweet potato mixture.
Bake in preheated 325° F oven for 40–45 minutes, or until knife inserted near center comes out clean.
Yield: 6 servings Serving size: ½ cup
Each serving provides:
Calories: 160 Total fat: 2 g
Saturated fat: 1 g Cholesterol: 72 mg*
Sodium: 255 mg Total fiber: 2 g
Protein: 5 g Carbohydrates: 32 g
Potassium: 488 mg

*If using egg substitute, cholesterol will be lower.

Apple Coffee Cake
Apples and raisins keep this cake delectably moist—which means less oil and more heart health.
5 c tart apples, cored, peeled, chopped
1 c sugar
1 c dark raisins
½ c pecans, chopped
¼ c vegetable oil
2 tsp vanilla
1 egg, beaten
2 c all-purpose flour, sifted
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp ground cinnamon
Preheat oven to 350° F. Lightly oil 13- x 9- x 2-inch pan.
In large mixing bowl, combine apples with sugar, raisins, and pecans. Mix well and let stand for 30 minutes.
Stir in oil, vanilla, and egg.
Sift together flour, soda, and cinnamon, and stir into apple mixture about 1/3 at a time—just enough to moisten dry ingredients.
Turn batter into pan. Bake for 35–40 minutes. Cool cake slightly before serving.
Yield: 20 servings Serving size: 3 ½-inch x 2 ½-inch piece
Each serving provides:
Calories: 196 Total fat: 8 g
Saturated fat: 1 g Cholesterol: 11 mg
Sodium: 67 mg Total fiber: 2 g
Protein: 3 g Carbohydrates: 31 g
Potassium: 136 mg

1–2–3 Peach Cobbler
Try this healthier, mouth-watering take on a classic favorite.
½ tsp ground cinnamon
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
2 Tbsp cornstarch
1 c peach nectar
¼ c pineapple or peach juice (can use juice from canned peaches)
2 cans (16 oz each) peaches, packed in juice, drained, (or 1 ¾ lb fresh), sliced
1 Tbsp tub margarine
1 c dry pancake mix
2/3 c all-purpose flour
½ c sugar
2/3 c evaporated skim milk
As needed, nonstick cooking spray
½ tsp nutmeg
1 Tbsp brown sugar
Combine cinnamon, vanilla, cornstarch, peach nectar, and pineapple or peach juice in saucepan over medium heat. Stir constantly until mixture thickens and bubbles.
Add sliced peaches to mixture. Reduce heat and simmer for 5–10 minutes.
In another saucepan, melt margarine and set aside.
Lightly spray 8-inch square glass dish with cooking spray. Pour in peach mixture.
In another bowl, combine pancake mix, flour, sugar, and melted margarine. Stir in milk. Quickly spoon this mixture over peach mixture.
Combine nutmeg and brown sugar. Sprinkle mixture on top of batter.
Bake at 400° F for 15–20 minutes, or until golden brown. Cool and cut into 8 squares.
Yield: 8 servings Serving size: 1 square
Each serving provides:
Calories: 271 Total fat: 4 g
Saturated fat: less than 1 g Cholesterol: less than 1 mg
Sodium: 263 mg Total fiber: 2 g
Protein: 4 g Carbohydrates: 54 g
Potassium: 284 mg

With a few changes, you can keep the heart in family favorites and add the health. Here’s how:

Dairy Products
Cook with lowfat, fat free, nonfat dry, or evaporated fat free milk.
Bake or cook with 3 egg whites and 1 egg yolk, instead of 2 whole eggs. Or use 2 egg whites or ¼ cup of egg substitute, instead of 1 whole egg.
Spices and Flavorings
Use a variety of herbs and spices in place of salt, and choose low-sodium bouillon and broths.
Oils and Butter
Use cooking oil spray to lower fat and calories.
Use a small amount of vegetable oil, instead of lard, butter, or other fats that are hard at room temperature.
Meats and Poultry
Choose lean cuts of meat and remove any visible fat.
Remove skin from chicken and other poultry before cooking.
Sandwiches and Salads
Use fat free or lowfat dressing, yogurt, or mayonnaise.
For salad dressing, use equal parts water and vinegar, and half the oil.
Soups and Stews
Remove fat from homemade broths, soups, and stews by preparing them ahead and chilling them. Before reheating, lift the hardened fat off the surface.
Make muffins, quick breads, and biscuits by using no more than 1–2 Tbsp of fat for each cup of flour.
For muffins or quick breads, use 3 ripe, well-mashed bananas, instead of ½ cup butter or oil. Or, substitute a cup of applesauce for a cup of butter, margarine, oil, or shortening.
Make a pie crust with only ½ cup margarine for every 2 cups flour. Use soft margarines (liquid or tub types).
For chocolate desserts, use 3 Tbsp of cocoa for every ounce of baking chocolate. If you need to replace the fat in chocolate, add up to 1 Tbsp of vegetable oil.
Make cakes and soft-drop cookies by using no more than 2 Tbsp of fat for each cup of flour.
NIH Publication No. 05-5227
Originally Printed February 2003
Revised January 2005

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