Heart Healthy Sweet Treat Recipes | Rocky Mountain Health Plans Blog

Heart Healthy Sweet Treat Recipes | Rocky Mountain Health Plans Blog

By RMHP

Treat Your Sweetheart’s Heart With These Healthy Recipes

It’s not very often that we cook with heart health in mind, but given that February is Heart Health Month, it’s good to keep the thought top of mind.

Luckily, heart-healthy recipes can be delicious, and we’ve got you covered from breakfast to dinner and everything in between. This month, indulge in a sweet treat and feel good about doing so with these curated favorite recipes from RMHP

Slow Cooker Nutty Blueberry Banana Oatmeal

Waking up just an extra bit early to cook a heart-healty breakfast each day isn’t always as easy especially when that the snooze button is so easily accessible. Instead,opt for something that’ll allow you to sleep in a bit longer. If you have a programmable crockpot even better.

Oats, flax seeds, walnuts, and almonds are high in omega-3 fatty acids, which can help control your cholesterol and are a key staple of this delciious recipe. Blueberries are also excellent for heart health due to their folate content, believed to help keep blood vessels open for business.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup toasted slivered almonds
  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
  • 2 tablespoons ground flax seed
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 tablespoon baking powder
  • 2 tablespoons coconut sugar
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 bananas, sliced
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries
  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted
  • Vanilla yogurt, for serving, optional

Recipe and image courtesy of SkinnyMs

Vietnamese-Style Lettuce Wraps with Grilled Shrimp, Avocados, and Mango

This recipe, from the American Heart Association (AMA), makes a great light lunch. Avocados are another fruit that your heart will love — they contain good, heart-healthy fats. Each 50-gram serving nets 5 grams of monounsaturated fat and 1 gram of polyunsaturated fat.

If you have the time, grilling the avocado and mango increases the flavor even more.

Ingredients:

For the Vietnamese-style sauce

  • 1/4 cup lime juice (from 2 to 3 limes)
  • 1 Tbsp honey
  • 1 Tbsp water
  • 2 teaspoons low-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons fish sauce

For the lettuce wraps

  • 25 to 30 (9- to 10-inch) skewers
  • 1 1/2 lb medium shrimp (peeled and deveined, tail removed)
  • 4 teaspoons canola oil
  • 2 heads Bibb lettuce
  • 1/2 cup chopped scallions
  • 1 cup thinly sliced radishes
  • 1 cup mint leaves
  • 2 jalapeño (thinly sliced)
  • 2 small avocados (quartered, pitted)
  • 2 mango (peeled)

Directions:

For the Vietnamese-style sauce

In a small bowl, add lime juice, honey, water, soy sauce, and fish sauce. Stir to combine. Let flavors mingle while preparing the rest of the meal.

For the wraps

If using wooden skewers, make sure to soak them in water for at least 30 minutes. Prepare grill for medium-high heat. Prepare the shrimp by threading 3 shrimp per skewer. Place onto a baking sheet and use a basting brush to lightly coat both sides of shrimp with oil. Remove leaves from the Bibb lettuce and place onto a large platter, along with chopped scallions, chopped radishes, mint, sliced jalapenos, and avocado. Peel the mango and cut 4 segments around the pit. Slice mango into chunks and add to the platter. Grill shrimp until pink and fully cooked, about 2 to 3 minutes per side. Remove from grill and transfer to a plate. Place the shrimp, the Bibb lettuce platter, and the Vietnamese sauce on the table. Let everyone serve themselves by making their own lettuce cups filled with shrimp, their choice of toppings, and a drizzle of sauce.

Recipe and image courtesy of American Heart Association

Poached Salmon with No-Fail Hollandaise

Fish are full of omega-3 fatty acids, which is why they’re so good for your heart. This easy salmon recipe tastes like it came from the kitchen of a fancy restaurant.

Ingredients:

For the Salmon

  • Six 6-ounce, center-cut, skinless salmon fillets
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1 rib of celery, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 medium onion, coarsely chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
  • Salt

For the Hollandaise

  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1  1/2 tablespoons water
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped tarragon, plus whole leaves for garnish
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, cubed, at room temperature
  • Salt

Directions:

Bring a pot of water to a boil. Arrange the salmon fillets in a deep skillet in a single layer. Add the wine, celery, onion, bay leaf and peppercorns, and enough of the boiling water to fully cover the salmon. Cook over moderate heat at a bare simmer until the salmon is just firm, about 10 minutes. Transfer the salmon to a platter and pat dry. Sprinkle lightly with salt.

Meanwhile, make the hollandaise. In a heatproof bowl set over a pot of simmering water, whisk the egg yolks with the water, lemon juice, mustard, chopped tarragon and cayenne until slightly thickened, about 2 minutes. Gradually add the butter, whisking constantly until fully incorporated, about 5 minutes. If the sauce is too thick, whisk in warm water, 1 teaspoon at a time, until the sauce is just pourable. Season with salt.

Spoon the hollandaise over the salmon fillets, garnish with tarragon leaves and serve.

Recipe and image courtesy of Andrew Zimmern

One-Pot Pasta e Fagioli (Italian Pasta and Bean Stew)

This creamy, hearty soup makes for a perfect heartwarming dinner on a chilly February night in the Grand Valley.

Beans have lots of fiber and minerals, but without the saturated fat that some animal proteins contain. Experts think that beans can play a big role in improving cholesterol, and they’ll also keep you feeling full for longer.

Ingredients:

For the beans

  • 8 cups water
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons salt, divided
  • 1 pound dried cannellini beans

For the soup

  • 5 to 6 pieces bacon preferably a healthy version like turkey or vegetarian bacon, or omit entirely
  • 2 large yellow onions, diced
  • 3 celery stalks, diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup white wine or water
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 pound pasta
  • 5 thyme sprigs
  • 10 ounces baby spinach
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • Pepper to taste

Directions:

Combine the water and 1 1/2 tablespoons salt in a large mixing bowl and stir to dissolve the salt. Add the beans, cover the bowl, and let stand at least 6 hours or overnight. Preheat the oven to 325°F. In a heavy stock pot or Dutch oven over medium heat, cook the bacon. Once all the fat has rendered, remove the bacon with a slotted spoon and drain on a paper towel-lined plate. Pour off all put one tablespoon of bacon fat. Cook the onions slowly with 1/2 teaspoon of salt start to caramelize and turn golden brown, 15 to 20 minutes. Add the celery and cook just until the celery is softened, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Remove half of the onion mixture and reserve with the bacon.

Deglaze the pan with one cup of wine or water, scraping up any brown residue that has formed on the bottom of the pan. Drain and rinse the beans and pour them into the pot with the remaining onions. Add the bay leaf, 1 teaspoon of salt, and enough water to cover the beans and onions by 1 inch. Cover the pot and transfer to the oven. Cook for 1 hour, then begin checking the beans for doneness. Check the beans every 15 minutes until they are completely soft and creamy. (This can take up to 2 1/2 hours depending on the age and exact variety of your beans.)

Recipe and image courtesy ofThe Kitchen

Guiltless Chocolate Bliss Cupcakes

These decadent cupcakes use fiber-rich canned pumpkin in place of butter and oil, and you’ll barley taste the difference. Other swaps include low-fat cottage cheese, egg whites, and light Cool Whip. You won’t feel guilty about indulging in a few of these delicious cupcakes, especially after a full day of satisfying heart-healthy meals.

Ingredients:

For cupcakes

  • 1 box chocolate cake mix (I prefer the organic mixes like Arrowhead mills)
  • 1 15oz can organic pumpkin
  • 1/4 cup egg whites
  • 1/4 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips

For frosting

  • 1 cup low-fat cottage cheese
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 8 packets stevia in the raw or truvia (or a little more to taste)
  • 2 tbsp instant chocolate pudding mix
  • 1 small tub light cool whip (or truwhip for a healthier option)

Directions:

Mix all ingredients together. Batter will be thick. Pour into paper lined cupcake tins sprayed with cooking spray. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes.   Makes 12 large cupcakes.

Next, put cottage cheese, stevia and cocoa powder into a food processor or Vitamix. Blend ingredients until smooth and creamy for 2-3 minutes (you must do it this long to achieve a smooth and creamy texture). Stir in pudding mix until blended and fold in cool whip.  Pipe or spread onto cooled cupcakes and serve.  Store in the refrigerator.

Recipe and image courtesy of Amee’s Savory Dish

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