Low-Cost, Heart-Healthy Recipes

September 16, 2013

September 29th is recognized by the World Heart Federation as World Heart Day. And, with World Heart Day just around the corner, we thought a fun way to get into the spirit would be to offer some delicious, heart-healthy recipes from the American Heart Association (AHA). These heart-healthy meals are not only great for you, but they’re also great for your wallet –many of the ingredients are inexpensive, and some recipes include ingredients you may already have in your pantry. Here are just a few ideas—you can get more here at the AHA Nutrition Center.  Get cooking today!


Main Dishes:

Lime-Jalapeno Chicken

What you’ll need:

  • 1/4 cup lime juice (about 2 limes)
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 jalapeno, sliced
  • 1 to 1 1/4 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed of fat, tendons removed

Cooking Instructions:

  • Combine lime juice, oil, vinegar, cumin and salt in a small bowl.
  • Stir in jalapeno.
  • Place chicken in a baking dish and pour the marinade you just made over it, turning to coat both sides.
  • Preheat grill to high heat.
  • Oil the grill rack.
  • Grill the chicken until cooked through and no longer pink in the middle, 3 to 4 minutes per side.
  • Let cool slightly; thinly slice crosswise. Serve warm or chilled.

Chef’s Tip: Serve with black beans and salsa!


Black Bean-Smothered Sweet Potatoes

What you’ll need:

  • 2 medium sweet potatoes
  • 1 15-ounce can black beans, rinsed
  • 1 medium tomato, diced
  • 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons reduced-fat sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

Cooking Instructions:

  • Prick sweet potatoes with a fork in several places. Microwave on High until tender all the way to the center, 12 to 15 minutes. (Alternatively, place in a baking dish and bake at 425ºF until tender all the way to the center, about 1 hour.)
  • Meanwhile, combine beans, tomato, oil, cumin, coriander and salt in a medium microwave-safe bowl; microwave on High until just heated through, 2 to 3 minutes. (Alternatively, heat in a small saucepan over medium heat.)
  • When just cool enough to handle, slash each sweet potato lengthwise, press open to make a well in the center, and spoon the bean mixture into the well. Top each with a dollop of sour cream and a sprinkle of cilantro.

Chef’s Tip: Great for vegetarians!


Sides and Snacks:

Green Bean Salad with Corn, Basil & Black Olives

What you’ll need:

  • 2 pounds green beans, trimmed
  • 3 ears corn, husked
  • 1/2 small red bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 small red onion, finely chopped
  • 2/3 cup black olives, halved and pitted
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Hot sauce, such as Tabasco, to taste
  • Salt & freshly ground pepper to taste

Cooking Instructions:

  • Put a large pot of water on to boil.
  • Fill another large pot half full with ice water. Blanch about half the green beans in the boiling water just until tender, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and plunge into the ice water. Transfer to a large bowl. Repeat with the remaining beans.
  • Return the water to a boil. Add corn and blanch until tender but still crisp, about 3 minutes. Drain and immediately plunge into the ice water. Cut the kernels off the cobs.
  • Add the corn to the beans in the bowl. Add bell pepper, onion, olives, basil, oil, vinegar, lemon juice and garlic; toss to mix well.
  • Season with hot sauce, salt and pepper.

Chef’s Tip: This dish can be made days in advance and will last a few days if refrigerated properly.


Red and Green Bell Pepper Bites

What you’ll need:

  • 1 medium green bell pepper
  • 1 medium red bell pepper
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds
  • 4 ounces fat-free or reduced-fat cream cheese, softened
  • 1 teaspoon no-salt lemon pepper seasoning blend
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

Cooking Instructions:

  • Cut each bell pepper in half lengthwise; discard the stems, ribs and seeds. Cut each half into six pieces. Arrange the pieces with the skin side down on a decorative serving platter. Set aside.
  • In a medium skillet, dry-roast the almonds over medium heat for 3 to 4 minutes, or until golden brown, stirring occasionally.
  • Transfer 1 tablespoon of the almonds to a small plate and reserve for garnishing. Process the remaining almonds in a food processor or blender for 15 to 20 seconds, or until finely ground.
  • In a medium mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese, lemon pepper seasoning blend, and lemon juice with an electric mixer for 1 to 2 minutes, or until creamy. Add the ground almonds and beat for 10 seconds, or until combined.
  • Spoon the mixture into a piping bag fitted with a wide star or round tip. Or snip the corner off a resalable plastic bag (a plastic freezer bag works well) and spoon in the mixture. Pipe about 1 teaspoon of the mixture onto each bell pepper piece.
  • Garnish with the sliced almonds.

Be Prepared to Help Others: Learn CPR!

June 7, 2013

Anyone can learn CPR. CPR, which stands for cardiopulmonary resuscitation, is a life-saving emergency procedure used when an individual’s heart stops beating due to sudden cardiac arrest. The Mayo Clinic defines sudden cardiac arrest as “the unexpected loss of heart function, breathing and consciousness…[that] usually results from an electrical disturbance in your heart that disrupts its pumping action, stopping blood flow to the rest of your body.”

CPR can be used to keep the blood circulating and preserve brain function until medical help arrives.  Sudden cardiac arrests are more common than you may think. According to the American Heart Association (http://www.heart.org), nearly 383,000 out-of-hospital sudden cardiac arrests occur yearly, with 88 percent occurring at home. This alarming statistic hits “close to home,” and the life you save with CPR could very well be that of someone you love.

Most people feel helpless to act during a cardiac emergency because they do not know what to do.  In honor of National CPR Week (June1-June 7), consider becoming CPR certified so that you know what to do should an emergency arise.  Here’s where you can find free or discounted CPR classes and other helpful CPR-related resources:

Your workplace.  Knowing CPR is an important part of learning first aid in the workplace, so many employers offer free CPR classes to their employees or pay for employees to attend CPR classes taught by other groups. Contact your company’s HR department for information about available CPR classes.

Nonprofit organizations. Nonprofit organizations like the American Heart Association (AHA) or the Red Cross teach CPR classes. Check out the websites http://www.heart.org  or http://redcross.org to find out when and where classes are being held in your area.

Also, in honor of National CPR Week, this year the American Heart Association is calling on all Americans to learn how to perform hands-only CPR. They use a one-minute video to teach the use of hands-only CPR (also known as compression-only CPR) to the beat of the classic disco song “Stayin’ Alive.” The video can help you learn how to take quick action if you see a cardiac arrest emergency happening, which can more than double a victim’s chance of survival.  View the video here: http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/CPRAndECC/HandsOnlyCPR/Hands-Only_CPR_UCM_440559_SubHomePage.jsp

Local community centers.  Hospitals, school districts, fire departments, and community colleges often offer CPR classes as a public service to the community.  Contact your local groups directly or check community bulletin boards or websites to find out the times, costs, and locations of the classes.

CPR apps. There are inexpensive apps available for Apple iPhone and Google Android smartphones that can provide concise and clear first aid and CPR instructions. Although using apps does not get you CPR certified, they can at least give you very helpful information that may even help save a life.

Looking for more ways to be heart-healthy, or help your loved ones be heart-healthy? Consider making an appointment with your doctor or a registered dietitian to help you eat healthier and learn ways, such as modifying your diet or starting an exercise regimen, to keep your heart healthy. Don’t currently have a doctor or dietitian?  If you are a Health Advocate member, you can reach out to one of our Personal Health Advocates to help you find a local, in-network medical provider who can help you meet your healthy goals.

Wellness Events – June

June 7, 2011

As a part of our ongoing effort to help you find the best care at the lowest cost, we bring to you this month’s list of free & low-cost wellness events.

Take a look for an event near you, and be sure to check previous entries for any recurring events (which are indicated by a *).

Detroit, MI – Diabetes Education (6/8, Free); Men’s Health Month Seminar (6/9, Free); The New Healthcare Law – What it Means for You (6/9, Free); Sleep Apnea/Treatment Options (6/9, Free)

Cross River, NY – Free Community Wellness Day – Topics include holistic health, stress reduction, Homeopathic Medicine for Chronic Conditions, Meditations, Diabetes, ADD/ADHD, Nutrition (6/11, Free)

Houston, TX – Free AHA Wellness Conference for African American Women. Includes sessions on heart health, cooking healthy foods, physical activity (6/11, Free)

Mount Shasta, CA – Caregiver Class (6/8, Free)

Topeka, KS Cost is unspecified. Health & Wellness Fair: more than 30 area health and wellness groups, educational resources, screenings (6/15)

Memphis, TN – ACS Look Good, Feel Better Program (6/13, 23, Free); Stroke Survivor Group (6/7, Free); Crohn’s/Colitis Support Group (6/7, Cost Unspecified); Weight Loss Seminar (6/7, Free); Men’s Health Summit (6/11, Cost Unspecified)

We will continue to update this list over the course of the month, so check back regularly! If you come across any events we missed, please let us know in the comments section below!

To stay up-to-date on health news, wellness tips, and cost-saving healthcare advice, you can follow us @HealthSurvival and “like” our Facebook page here.