(Family Features) When cooking, keep in mind small changes that can make a big impact on heart health.
High cholesterol is one of the major controllable risk factors for heart disease and stroke, with about 38% of American adults diagnosed with high cholesterol, according to the American Heart Association. It can be managed by getting levels regularly tested and making lifestyle changes like eating a heart-healthy diet.
- Reduce saturated fat – Select lean cuts of meat or opt for plant protein, limit processed meats, broil or bake rather than pan-fry meats and remove skin from poultry before cooking.
- Eat more fish – Fish can be fatty or lean, but it’s still low in saturated fat. Choose oily fish like salmon or trout, which are high in omega-3 fatty acids.
- Use liquid oils in place of solid fats – For roasting, sauteing and more, use non-tropical liquid vegetable oils like canola, safflower, soybean or olive instead of butter, lard or shortening.
- Lower dairy fats – Low-fat, fat-free or non-dairy milk can be used in many recipes instead of whole milk or half-and-half.
- Increase fiber and whole grains – Add high-fiber vegetables to meals, serve fruit instead of juice and try brown rice instead of white.
These simple tips and better-for-you recipes like Chicken Tortilla Soup and Air Fryer Crispy (Un) Fried Chicken can help you eat healthy without sacrificing taste.
Find tips for managing cholesterol and other risk factors at heart.org/cholesterol.
Chicken Tortilla Soup
This recipe is reprinted with permission from "Healthy Slow Cooker Cookbook, 2nd Edition." Copyright 2018 by the American Heart Association. Published by Harmony Books, an imprint of Penguin Random House, LLC.
- 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, visible fat discarded, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- 2 cups frozen whole-kernel corn, thawed
- 2 cups fat-free, no-salt-added chicken broth
- 1 can (14 1/2 ounces) no-salt-added, diced tomatoes, undrained
- 1/4 cup finely chopped onion
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon ancho powder
- 2 medium garlic cloves, minced
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 corn tortillas (6 inches each), cut into 1/4-inch-wide strips
- 1 corn tortilla (6 inches), torn into pieces
- 2-4 tablespoons snipped fresh cilantro
- 1/4 cup finely chopped avocado
- 1/4 medium red bell pepper, cut into matchstick-size strips
- In slow cooker, stir chicken, corn, broth, tomatoes, onion, sugar, ancho powder, garlic and salt. Cook, covered, on low, 6-8 hours, or on high, 3-4 hours.
- Preheat oven to 350 F.
- On baking sheet, arrange tortilla strips in single layer. Bake 8-10 minutes, or until crisp. Transfer baking sheet to cooling rack. Let strips stand 15 minutes, or until cool. Transfer to airtight container and set aside.
- When soup is ready, transfer 1 cup to food processor or blender. Stir in tortilla pieces. Let mixture stand 1 minute. Process until smooth. Stir mixture into soup. Stir in cilantro.
- Ladle soup into bowls. Sprinkle with avocado, bell pepper and reserved tortilla strips.
Air Fryer Crispy (Un) Fried Chicken
Recipe courtesy of the American Heart Association
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
- 1/2 teaspoon ground oregano
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
- 1/2-1 cup low-fat buttermilk
- 1/2 tablespoon hot pepper sauce (optional)
- 1/3 cup whole-wheat panko breadcrumbs
- 1/3 cup shredded or grated Parmesan cheese
- 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 4 ounces each), visible fat discarded, flattened to 1/4-inch thickness, patted dry with paper towels
- nonstick cooking spray
- reheat air fryer to 390 F.
- In shallow dish or pie pan, whisk flour, parsley, oregano, pepper and cayenne.
- In separate shallow dish or pie pan, whisk buttermilk and hot sauce.
- In third shallow dish or pie pan, stir panko and Parmesan.
- Place dishes and large plate in row. Dip chicken in flour mixture then buttermilk mixture then panko mixture, turning to coat at each step and gently shaking off excess. Using fingertips, gently press panko mixture so it adheres. Place chicken on plate. Cover and refrigerate 30 minutes.
- Lightly spray chicken with nonstick cooking spray. Arrange chicken in single layer in air fryer basket, working in batches if needed. Cook 10-15 minutes, or until chicken is no longer pink in center and coating is golden brown, turning once halfway through and lightly spraying with nonstick cooking spray.
Source: American Heart Association
(Family Features) Summer days are often spent with family and friends, soaking in the sun’s rays and enjoying outdoor living with warm-weather activities. Complement this year’s summertime excitement with food that matches your enthusiasm for the season.
Your menu can start with a fruity dip and a salad before diving into steak for the main course and a kid-friendly treat to top it all off. These recipes make the most of what summer has to offer with fresh fruits and veggies, bright and refreshing greens, tender cuts of meat and frozen treats that celebrate those memorable moments together.
Find more summer recipe inspiration at Culinary.net.
Dip Up a Good Time
Whether your summer days include planning extravagant meals or your on-the-go lifestyle calls for quick and easy recipes, simple snacks can fit a wide variety of menus. Dips are a perfect solution for afternoon pick-me-ups or evening appetizers when the whole family comes together.
This Apple Guacamole can be made in mere minutes, making it an ideal shareable among loved ones, by combining mashed avocados and seasonings with chopped Granny Smith apple pieces.
Visit Culinary.net for more snack ideas.
Recipe adapted from the Meredith Corporation
Prep time: 10 minutes
- 3 ripe avocados, halved and pitted
- 1/2 cup finely chopped Vidalia onion
- 1/2 cup snipped fresh cilantro
- 1 lime, juice only
- bottled hot pepper sauce, to taste
- 1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored and finely chopped
- kosher salt, to taste
- tortilla chips
- In bowl, use fork to mash avocados, onion, cilantro, lime juice and hot pepper sauce to desired consistency. Stir in apple and season with salt, to taste.
- Serve with tortilla chips.
Savor a Bite of Steak
A hearty flavor profile and perfectly prepared, high-quality meat can make a summer meal truly spectacular, especially when paired with fresh veggies in a protein-packed sandwich.
Inspired by Vietnamese tradition, this Steak Banh Mi recipe – which features tender grass-fed flat iron steak, pickled carrots, bright lettuce and crunchy cucumbers – is sure to be a crowd-pleaser at your next summer gathering. Take your taste buds to new heights with Silver Fern Farms natural cuts of 100% grass-fed beef from New Zealand, which is minimally processed with no added growth hormones or antibiotics. There, the animals roam and graze freely over lush green hills and pastures, resulting in lean, flavorful, nutritious meat that tastes just as nature intended.
Visit silverfernfarms.com for more inspiration.
Steak Banh Mi
Prep time: 2 hours
Cook time: 15 minutes
- 10 ounces Silver Fern Farms New Zealand grass-fed beef flat iron steak
- 2 teaspoons hoisin sauce
- 2 teaspoons soy sauce
- 2 teaspoons honey
- 1 teaspoon fish sauce
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon, plus 1/2 cup, rice vinegar, divided
- 1/8 teaspoon five-spice powder
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 pinch salt
- 1 small carrot, cut into matchsticks
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1/4 cup water
- 2 Vietnamese baguettes or dinner rolls
- 1/4 cup mayonnaise
- 4 Batavia lettuce leaves
- 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
- 1 Persian cucumber, sliced
- Remove steak from packaging and set aside 10 minutes. Once steak reaches room temperature, place steak in deep plate or storage container. In small bowl, combine hoisin sauce, soy sauce, honey, fish sauce, garlic, 1 teaspoon rice vinegar and five-spice powder; pour over steak. Cover and marinate in fridge at least 2 hours, or overnight.
- In small pot over medium heat, heat remaining rice vinegar, sugar and salt. Cook and stir until sugar and salt dissolve. Remove from heat and let cool.
- Place carrots in deep plate or storage container. Pour cooled pickling liquid over carrots. Set aside to marinate.
- Remove steak from marinade and pat dry. Reserve marinade.
- Heat oven to 325 F.
- Heat heavy-bottomed pan over high heat and add oil. Once oil begins to smoke, add steak. Sear both sides, about 1 minute per side. Lower heat to medium.
- Add reserved marinade and water to pan. Cook, covered, 3 minutes, removing lid to flip meat occasionally. Remove lid and let sauce reduce 1 minute, or until slightly thickened.
- Transfer steak and sauce to large plate and let rest 10 minutes before slicing.
- Toast baguettes in oven 5 minutes. Let cool 5-10 minutes.
- Slice baguettes along middle without cutting through.
- Slice steak into thin pieces.
- Spread mayonnaise on baguettes and add 1-2 lettuce leaves to each. Layer steak on lettuce leaves followed by cilantro, cucumbers and pickled carrots. Slice baguette into two sandwiches.
Go for Satisfying Summer Greens
Many summer meals start with a simple yet satisfying appetizer: salad. This year, make sure you set the table with a bright, delightful bowl of greens that sets the tone for an enjoyable and festive meal with loved ones.
This Apple, Strawberry, Blueberry Salad calls for an array of fruits, including a homemade blueberry dressing, paired with Fresh Express 5-Lettuce Mix for a fresh and flavorful base with pecan halves to add crunch. The salads are thoroughly washed, rinsed and gently dried then sealed in Keep-Crisp bags to maintain freshness.
Find more salad inspiration at freshexpress.com.
Apple, Strawberry, Blueberry Salad
Total Time: 30 minutes
- 2 cups fresh blueberries
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- salt, to taste
- pepper, to taste
- 2 large apples
- 2 packages (6 ounces each) Fresh Express 5-Lettuce Mix
- 1 pint strawberries, cut in half
- 1 pint blueberries
- 1/2 cup pecan halves, toasted
- blueberry dressing
- To make blueberry dressing: In blender, process blueberries, balsamic vinegar, honey, lemon juice, olive oil and salt and pepper, to taste, until smooth. Set aside.
- To prepare salad: Cut apples into 1/4-inch thick slices. Using 1-1/2-inch diameter star-shaped cutter, cut apple slices into stars.
- Place lettuce mix in large bowl; add apples, strawberries and blueberries. Sprinkle with pecans. Before serving, drizzle each salad with blueberry dressing.
Sweet, Summery Treats
After some fun in the pool and time spent in the sun, a cooling treat is often the perfect way to cap off a summer day. Fresh fruits make those sweet eats even tastier and easier by making dessert in the morning and letting it freeze while you enjoy the warmth outdoors.
These Watermelon Berry Frozen Pops make dessert about as simple as possible by blending watermelon, blueberries, raspberries and honey before adding to ice pop molds and freezing throughout the day. With the addition of refreshing watermelon, you’re opting for a flavorful fruit that includes just 80 calories and no fat while providing an excellent source of vitamin C (25%) and higher levels of lycopene (12.7 milligrams per 2-cup serving) – an antioxidant being studied for its role in sun protection – than any other fresh fruit or vegetable.
To find more summertime snacks, meals and treats, visit watermelon.org.
Watermelon Berry Frozen Pops
- 6 cups watermelon
- 1 cup blueberries, divided
- 1 cup raspberries, divided
- 3 tablespoons honey
- In blender, blend watermelon, 1/2 cup blueberries, 1/2 cup raspberries and honey until smooth. Press through fine mesh strainer to remove pulp and seeds.
- Fill ice pop molds 3/4 full with liquid. Add remaining whole blueberries and raspberries to molds. Insert sticks and freeze at least 4 hours, or until completely frozen.
Photo courtesy of Getty Images (Apple Guacamole)
Dairy-inspired, plant-based dishes to serve from morning to night
(Family Features) From cereal and milk to yogurt and fruit to broccoli and cheese, combining dairy with plant-based foods creates a superfood power couple that can help ensure you and your family are getting the nutrients you need any time of day.
With the rise in popularity of plant-based diets, dairy can help optimize nutrient absorption from plant foods and provide additional nutrients like high-quality protein, calcium, vitamin D and vitamin B12. You can create delicious meals with the nutrition you need while enjoying the best of plants and dairy.
Combining dairy and plant-based foods can be easier with these dairy-powered recipes from Milk Means More. They are ideal for creating a nutritious and delicious plan for every meal throughout the day. Start with a Blueberry Apple Crisp Smoothie Bowl in the morning then build out your lunch or dinner plans around an appetizer like this traditional Middle Eastern Labneh Spread with grilled pita bread and assorted veggies. For the main course, try Lentil Tacos with Tangy Guacamole and a classic Moroccan staple, Creamy Couscous with Broccoli, Tomatoes and Cheese, on the side.
Find more recipes that combine the goodness of dairy and plant-based foods at milkmeansmore.org.
Creamy Couscous with Broccoli, Tomatoes and Cheese
Recipe courtesy of culinary dietitian Marcia Stanley, MS, RDN
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 5 minutes
- 1/2 cup chopped onion
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 3 cups broccoli florets
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 3 cups fat-free, 2% or whole milk
- 1 1/2 cups plain couscous (wheat pasta)
- 1 cup finely shredded Parmesan cheese
- 1 cup (4 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese
- 1 1/2 cups seeded and chopped tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons slivered fresh basil leaves
- In large nonstick skillet over medium heat, cook onion in butter 2 minutes. Add broccoli, garlic and pepper. Cook and stir 2 minutes.
- Stir milk into broccoli mixture. Bring to boil. Stir in couscous. Remove from heat. Cover and let stand 5 minutes.
- Gently stir Parmesan cheese into couscous mixture. Spread on serving platter. Sprinkle with cheddar cheese. Top with tomatoes and fresh basil leaves.
Lentil Tacos with Tangy Guacamole
Recipe courtesy of culinary dietitian Marcia Stanley, MS, RDN
Prep time: 40 minutes
- 1 medium ripe avocado, pitted, peeled and chopped
- 1 tablespoon orange, lime or lemon juice
- 1/4 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1/2 cup plain, fat-free Greek yogurt
- 2 1/3 cups water
- 1 cup dry brown lentils, rinsed and drained
- 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
- 2 teaspoons chili powder
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 cups seeded and chopped tomatoes, divided
- 1 1/4 cups (5 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese, divided
- 12 yellow corn taco shells
- To make Tangy Guacamole: In small bowl, mash avocado, juice, hot pepper sauce and garlic. Stir in yogurt. Cover and refrigerate until serving time.
- To make Lentil Tacos: Heat oven to 400 F.
- In medium saucepan over medium-high heat, combine water, lentils, onion, chili powder, garlic and salt. Bring to boil. Reduce heat. Cover and gently boil 12-15 minutes, or until lentils are just tender. Uncover and boil 5-15 minutes, or until most liquid evaporates.
- Remove lentils from heat. Stir in 1 cup tomatoes and 3/4 cup cheese. Spoon into taco shells. Stand filled tacos in 13-by-9-by-2-inch baking dish. Sprinkle tacos with remaining tomatoes and cheese. Loosely cover dish with foil. Bake 3-5 minutes, or until cheese melts.
- Stir guacamole. Serve with warm tacos.
Recipe courtesy of Jenn Fillenworth, MS, RDN of Jenny with the Good Eats
Prep time: 5 minutes
- 12 ounces whole milk Greek yogurt
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 pinch sea salt, for garnish
- fresh herbs, for garnish
- pita bread, grilled
- assorted seasonal vegetables
- In bowl, mix Greek yogurt, salt and lemon juice.
- Transfer mixture to fine mesh strainer lined with cheesecloth.
- Wrap mixture in cheesecloth and strain over bowl in refrigerator 24-48 hours. Strain longer to make thicker.
- Once thickened as desired, remove from cheesecloth and top spread with olive oil, sea salt and fresh herbs.
- Serve with grilled pita bread and assorted seasonal vegetables.
Blueberry Apple Crisp Smoothie Bowl
Recipe courtesy of Rachel Gurk of Rachel Cooks
Prep time: 5 minutes
- 1 cup frozen blueberries
- 2 cups apples, roughly chopped, reserving 2 tablespoons for topping
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 cup plain, non-fat Greek yogurt
- 1 cup spinach
- pure maple syrup, to taste
- ice cubes (optional)
- 2 tablespoons oats
- 1 teaspoon pure maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon pecans, chopped
- 2 tablespoons reserved chopped apple
- fresh blueberries
- In blender, blend blueberries, apples, cinnamon, yogurt and spinach until smooth. Taste and add maple syrup, to taste. If thicker mixture is desired, add ice cubes.
- Pour into bowl. Mix oats with maple syrup. Top smoothie mixture with oats, pecans, apples and blueberries.
(Family Features) From casual gatherings with friends to outdoor athletic activities and leisurely time at home, all of the best summer pastimes have one thing in common: tasty snacks make them more enjoyable.
Light, airy and fresh popcorn is a perfect summer snack. It’s naturally low in fat and calories, non-GMO and gluten free – all the makings of an ideal guilt-free treat. Whether you enjoy it one delicious handful at a time, sprinkled with seasonings or as an ingredient in fun summertime recipes, popcorn offers plenty of versatility for every occasion.
You can kick up the heat with a zesty popcorn mix or take a sweeter route with a blend of toasted coconut and bananas. No summer sporting event is complete without some good old toffee-style popcorn and nuts, and even a favorite like ice cream sandwiches can only get better with the addition of sweet, crunchy popcorn and candy.
Spice Up Summer Snacks
Freshly popped popcorn is a light snack perfect for summer, and you can add just about any flavor to satisfy whatever you may be craving. Start by sampling these topping favorites then taste your way to other creative combinations.
- Garlic salt
- Parmesan cheese
- Dry taco seasoning mix
- Dry ranch-style seasoning mix
- Lemon pepper
- Italian herbs: oregano, basil, marjoram, thyme and crushed rosemary
- French herbs: marjoram, thyme, summer savory, basil, rosemary, sage and fennel
- Brown sugar
Find more popcorn recipes perfect for summer at popcorn.org.
Coconut Monkey Mix
Yield: 7 cups
- 1 cup flaked coconut (unsweetened or sweetened)
- 6 cups popped popcorn
- 1 tablespoon butter or margarine, melted
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- dash of nutmeg
- 1 cup dried banana chips
- Heat oven to 325° F.
- Spread coconut in 13-by-9-inch baking pan, breaking up any clumps as needed. Bake 10 minutes, or until edges of coconut begin to brown.
- Spread popcorn over coconut and sprinkle with butter; toss. Sprinkle popcorn mixture with sugar, salt and nutmeg; toss.
- Bake 5 minutes longer, remove from heat and toss with banana chips. Serve immediately or cool and store in airtight container.
- 2 1/2 quarts popped popcorn
- 1 1/2 cups light brown sugar
- 3/4 cup dark corn syrup
- 1/2 cup butter
- 1 tablespoon vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 package (6 ounces) chocolate pieces
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
- 2 pints brick-style vanilla ice cream
- Keep popcorn warm.
- In 3-quart saucepan, combine brown sugar, corn syrup, butter, vinegar and salt. Cook and stir until sugar dissolves. Continue to cook until hard ball stage (250 F on candy thermometer).
- Pour syrup over popcorn; stir to coat. Add chocolate pieces and nuts; stir just until mixed.
- Pour into two 13-by-9-by-2-inch pans, spreading and packing firmly. Cool.
- In each pan, cut 12 rectangles. Cut each pint of ice cream into six slices. Sandwich each ice cream slice between two popcorn rectangles.
Ballpark Popcorn Crunch
Yield: 3 quarts
- 1/2 cup butter
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 3 quarts unsalted popped popcorn
- 1 cup chopped walnuts
- Heat oven to 350° F.
- Cream together butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy.
- In separate bowl, toss popcorn and walnuts. Add creamed mixture to popcorn and nuts. Combine until coated.
- Spread on large baking sheet in single layer.
- Bake 10 minutes, or until crisp.
Beach Party Popcorn
Yield: 2 1/2 quarts
- 1 teaspoon soy sauce
- 1-2 drops hot pepper sauce
- 1/3 cup melted butter
- 2 quarts popped popcorn
- 2 cups assorted seasoned snacks (crackers, pretzels, etc.)
- 1/2 package (0.56 ounces) bacon-onion dip mix
- Heat oven to 350° F.
- Add soy sauce and hot pepper sauce to melted butter.
- Put popcorn and seasoned snacks in large bowl. Pour butter mixture over popcorn and snacks; toss. Sprinkle with bacon-onion dip mix; toss again.
- Spread mixture in 15 1/2-by-10 1/2-by-1-inch jelly roll pan and bake 8-10 minutes, stirring once.
Source: The Popcorn Board