Friday, February 11, 2011

Valentine's Day is all About Heart...

In honor of Valentine's Day I am sharing some of my favorite heart healthy clean recipes you can share with your Valentine, take care of your heat, and take it easy on your wallet.  I have never been a fan of going out to eat on Valentine's Day.  I'd much rather stay home, open a bottle of Cabernet, and take a couple hours making a meal, enjoying the process, and hopefully, the company!  Not only does it bring you closer, but you'll never have to wait for a table or call months in advance for reservations.  With more and more people re-evaluating how they spend their money, these recipes will also make your bank account love you.  Each dish comes in at under $3 a serving.  You can't beat that...

Wine tip: Opt for a red wine on Valentine's Day to do your heart some good.   Many studies investigating the benefits of red wine suggest that moderate amount of red wine (one drink a day for women and two drinks a day for men) lowers the risk of heart attack for people in middle age by ~ 30 to 50 percent. It is also suggested that alcohol such as red wine may prevent additional heart attacks if you have already suffered from one.  Just take it easy... after one or two glasses the benefit of the wine is no more. 

Just Desserts...
What is Valentine's Day without a little chocolate?  Skip on the milk chocolate version and opt for an antioxidant rich dark chocolate alternative with this rich, tangy, crunchy, and delicious confection:

Nutty Orange Dark Chocolate Bars

INGREDIENTS:

12 oz dark chocolate (70% cocoa or greater), chopped
1 cup unsalted macademia nuts, toasted
1 cup unsweetened dried oranges (any dried fruit would work here) chopped into bite size pieces
Pinch sea salt

INSTRUCTIONS:
1.Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil. Set aside.

2.In a medium bowl melt chocolate, stirring frequently, until smooth and melted, about 5 minutes in the microwave. Pour melted chocolate onto prepared baking sheet, spreading with an offset spatula to about 1/4-inch thickness. Sprinkle evenly with nuts, oranges, and salt. Chill until chocolate is firm, about 30 minutes. Peel off foil and break chocolate into pieces. Store in refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 1 month. Best served slightly chilled.

Nutrients per 1-oz serving: Calories: 190, Total Fat: 10 g, Sat. Fat: 4.5 g, Carbs: 25 g, Fiber: 5 g, Sugars: 12 g, Protein: 2 g, Sodium 12 mg, Cholesterol: 0 mg

Who says that Valentine's Day needs to break the bank?  This main dish is delicous, heart-healthy, and a lean, mean $1.38 per serving.  Make dining in this Valentine's Day intimate, healthy, delcious, and inexpensive.


Grilled Fish Tacos


Makes: 6 servings
Prep: 15 minutes
Chill: 15 minutes
Grill: 4 minutes

Ingredients

1 poundfresh or frozen skinless cod, sole, or flounder fillets, 1/2 inch thick
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoonground cumin
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
12 7- to 8-inch corn tortillas* Corn tortillas are far less processed than flour and have a lower glycemic index!
1 bag or spinach or romaine lettuce

Directions

1. Thaw fish, if frozen. Arrange fish in a 2-quart square baking dish; set aside. In a small bowl whisk together lemon juice, oil, chili powder, cumin, salt, and pepper. Pour over fish. Turn fish to coat with marinade. Cover and chill for 15 minutes. Drain fish, discarding any marinade. Stack tortillas and wrap in foil.

2. For a charcoal grill, grill fish and tortillas on the greased rack of an uncovered grill directly over medium coals for 4 to 6 minutes or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork and tortillas are warmed, turning tortilla stack once. (For a gas grill, preheat grill. Reduce heat to medium. Place fish and tortilla stack on greased grill rack over heat. Cover and grill as above.)

3. Transfer fish to a cutting board. Cut or flake fish into 1-inch pieces. Serve in warmed tortillas with the lettuce topped with Pineapple Salsa and/or Chipotle Coleslaw.

Valentine's Day isn't just about time with your mate, your family has to eat too!  This delicious recipe comes in at $1.88 for four servings even less if you make it six!  Now that's good for the heart!

Admittedly, this is my kind of food.  One of my favorites actually.  This recipe is a warm, hearty, savory meal on a cold evening and for anyone who loves to cook, it's one you can make with a lot of love and with an hour and half to roast, you can spend some quality time with the ones you love.

Garlic Chicken with Sweet Potatoes

Makes: 4 to 6 servings
Prep: 25 minutes
Roast: 1 1/2 hours

Ingredients
3 heads garlic
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons snipped fresh rosemary
1 teaspoonground black pepper
1/2 teaspoonsalt
1 3- to 3 1/2-pound whole roasting chicken
3 medium sweet potatoes (1 1/2 to 1 3/4 pounds), peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 large sweet onion (such as Vidalia, Maui, or Walla Walla), cut into wedges

Directions
Preheat oven to 375° F. Separate the cloves of garlic (you should have about 30 cloves) and peel. Mince four of the cloves. Set aside remaining garlic cloves.

In a small bowl, combine minced garlic with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, 1 tablespoon of the rosemary, the ground black pepper, and 1/4 teaspoon of the salt. Rub minced garlic mixture over chicken.

Place six of the garlic cloves into the cavity of the chicken. Tie legs to tail. Twist wing tips under back. Place on a rack in a shallow roasting pan. Insert oven-going meat thermometer into center of an inside thigh muscle. Do not allow thermometer tip to touch bone. Roast, uncovered, for 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 hours or until drumsticks move easily in their sockets and meat thermometer registers 180°F.

Meanwhile, place sweet potatoes, onion wedges, remaining garlic cloves, 1/2 tablespoon of the rosemary, and 1/4 teaspoon of the salt in a 1392-inch baking pan. Drizzle vegetable mixture with remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil; toss to coat. Place in oven on a separate rack and roast, uncovered, for 50 to 60 minutes or until tender, stirring every 15 minutes.

Remove chicken from oven. Cover loosely with foil and let stand 15 minutes before carving. Serve chicken with vegetables. Carve chicken,discarding skin before serving.