Monday, March 11, 2013

Made for friends who love yoga

So, I had two yoga-loving friends over for dinner this past weekend and wanted to make something new that was yummy, flavorful and would allow us to "splurge" on dessert. I'd been wanting to make the "meatballs" for a few months and took this opportunity to test drive them.  They have the consistency of falafel, but with a fennel-y taste.  The couscous and roasted veggies came about because it was what I had in the house that needed to be used! This turns out to be a really filling and healthy meal.

Lentil "Meatballs"* with Roasted Veggies & Israeli Couscous Pilaf
(serves 4-6, prep/cook time approx 60-90 minutes)

You will need:

  • 2 cups cooked lentils
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced (1 heaping tsp)
  • 1 medium or large onion (depending on your preference, finely chopped
  • 2 large eggs or 6 TBSP egg whites
  • 1 1/2 cup home made whole wheat bread crumbs
  • ½ cup plain fat free greek yogurt
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 3-4 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1/4 tsp each: dried fennel seed, dried thyme, dried rosemary

For the Topping:

  • 2 TBSP sundried tomatoes, finely chopped
  • 3 cubes frozen DOROT chopped basil
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • freshly ground pepper
Pre-heat oven to 375F. Cook lentils according to package instructions.
Drizzle a pan with olive oil, place over medium high heat and add onion. Sauté for about a minute until translucent. Add the garlic and dried herbs and a pinch of salt and pepper, sautéing for about another minute or two until soft and fragrant. Turn off heat and set aside to cool.  
Place lentils in a food processor with tomato paste and a drizzle of olive oil and pulse until smooth.
Beat the eggs in a large mixing bowl. Add yogurt and mix with beaten eggs until combined. Add lentils and mix together until smooth. Add onion/garlic/herb mixture from the frying pan, parmesan and breadcrumbs. Season to taste. Mush together until combined. If the mixture is still feeling wet, add more breadcrumbs until the mixture is dry enough to stick together and roll into balls.

Roll lentil mixture into small balls and place on baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and bake for about 8-10 minutes. Turn balls, and bake for another 5 minutes, until slightly browned.

Place olive oil in small sauce pan with basil cubes and sundried tomatoes on low heat. Heat through until cubes have melted and mixtures begins to bubble.  Remove from heat and drizzle over meatballs. Makes approx. 24 large meatballs, so you'll have some leftover to freeze!

*Adapted from recipe found on Gwyneth Paltrow's GOOP blog post called 
Superfoods released January 2013.

For the sides:
  •  1 cup uncooked pearl/Israeli couscous
  • 1 small onion chopped
  • 1/2 shredded carrot
  • 1/4 white wine
  • 1 1/2 water
  • leaves from 4-6 sprigs of thyme
  • kosher salt & pepper to taste
  • 2 cups brussel sprouts, cleaned and cut in half
  • 1 bell pepper sliced
  • 2 cups frozen cauliflower florets 
  • Flavored Olive Oil
  • Salt and Pepper to taste 
Saute onion and carrot on medium heat until soft; Add couscous and cook 1 minute, stirring frequently. Add wine, water, and thyme; cover and simmer on low heat until liquid is absorbed, 12-18 minutes. Season with a pinch (1/8 tsp) of salt and pepper.
Set broiler to low. Lay veggies out on a cookie sheet and drizzle with flavored oil (I used a chili oil). Sprinkle with favorite seasoning - you can use a bit of salt and pepper but both Penzey's Spices and Mrs. Dash make yummy salt-free options. Place under broiler and roast until edges begin to brown (time varies depending on broiler heat) - keep an eye on them!
To reheat leftovers (couscous or veggies), place in a pan with 1/4 veggie or chicken broth; bring to a simmer and allow liquid to absorb.

*Shown with yummy not-so-healthy Proscuitto wrapped Tilapia*

Thursday, March 7, 2013

For Taco Tuesday (or Thursday!)

These are a hit in my house and even my crabby friend Jim loves them.  There's so much flavor going on that you don't really miss the meat..... however, see the end of the recipe for the ground turkey substitution.

Black Bean & Tofu Tacos
(serves 4, prep/cook time approx 30 minutes)

You will need:
  • 1 small onion, chopped (approx 1/2 cup)
  • 2 tsp. cumin
  • 2 tsp coriander
  • 1tsp chili powder OR Penzey Spices Arizona Heat (Salt Free)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced or more depending on your preference 
  • 1 can Rotel original, drained (and if you want, rinsed to reduce sodium)
  • 1 can reduced sodium black beans, rinsed & drained
  • 3/4 pkg extra firm tofu, cubed
  • 4 wheat tortillas or 16 corn tortillas
Optional (extra ways to get your veggies!):
  • 1/2 cup fresh or frozen diced green pepper
  • 1/2 cup canned or frozen corn
Toppings, also optional:
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1 Tbsp low-fat or fat free sour cream (or plain fat free greek yogurt)
  • 1 Tbsp low sodium salsa
  • 1 Tbsp shredded cheese (Mexican or Taco Blend will work, also consider low fat Mozzarella) 
Set stove to medium heat; Spray large pan lightly with olive oil cooking spray. Saute chopped onion until translucent and brown at edges.  Add cumin, coriander and chili powder, cook for 1-2 minutes or fragrant.  Add garlic and cook another minute.  Add Rotel and black beans, simmer for 3-4 minutes.

*Meanwhile, warm tortillas in microwave or in oven; wrap in a dishtowel or place in warmer to maintain heat. If you want a crispy tortilla, warm them in another pan or skillet until they brown slightly.*

Add tofu to your bean mixture and use a slotted spoon to crumble; Simmer until moisture cooks off and mixture sticks together.  Remove from heat.

For wheat tortillas - spread with 1/2 cup mixture and top as desired (making sure to use only a tablespoon of each topping). Wheat tortillas can be high in sodium, so check the label while you're at the grocery store.

For corn tortillas - these crumble easily, so I suggest browning them in a skillet and using two per taco.  Spread with 1/4 cup mixture (you can have two of these because they are smaller!)

*If you wish, you can use 1/2 lb lean ground turkey in the place of tofu; In this case, you would
 season the turkey with spices and brown first (until no traces of pink remain) , then add onion, garlic, etc.

Monday, March 4, 2013

The Italian Job

So, this is a healthier and easy version of a hearty italian meal. Buon appetito!

Lobster Ravioli in "Mockda" Sauce with Bruschetta 
(about 35 minutes prep/cook time; Serves 2)

For the Pasta:
  • 1 pkg Trader Joe's Lobster Ravioli
For the Sauce*:
  • cooking spray or 1 tsp. olive oil
  • small onion, chopped
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 cup white wine (I used pinot grigio)
  • 1/4 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth OR no salt chicken stock
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can no-salt-added diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1/4 skim milk
  • 2 frozen cubes Dorot Basil OR 3 tablespoons thinly sliced fresh basil
Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion to pan; sauté 4 minutes or until tender. Add 1/4 teaspoon salt, pepper, and garlic; sauté 1 minute. Add wine; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 3 minutes or until liquid is reduced by about half. Stir in broth and tomatoes; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 8 minutes. 

 Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to the package directions. Drain and keep warm.

Place tomato mixture in a blender. Remove center piece of blender lid (to allow steam to escape); secure blender lid on blender. Place a clean towel over opening in blender lid (to avoid splatters). Process until smooth. Return tomato mixture to pan; stir in milk. Cook 2 minutes over medium heat, stirring constantly. Add frozen basil cubes and let dissolve. Remove from heat. Spoon over lobster ravs. Serve immediately.

You should have enough sauce leftover to freeze and use again :)
For the Bruschetta:
  •  4 slices bread (100% whole wheat is preferable but Brian likes Italian bread from The Hill)
  • Olive Oil cooking spray
  • 2 frozen cubes Dorot Basil (unless you have fresh, then use that!)
  • 1 tsp chopped garlic
  • 12 cherry tomatoes, sliced thinly (or whatever tomatoes you have)
  • 1 Tbsp shredded or grated reduced fat parmesan cheese
Set broiler to low; Spray bread with cooking spray. Microwave basil cubes for about 30 seconds and spread on bread.  Sprinkle with garlic. Cover with tomato slices.  Spray lightly with cooking spray. Sprinkle with cheese.  Place under broiler until edges brown, about 5 minutes.

*Sauce adapted from Maureen Callahan's "Pasta with Vodka Cream Sauce", 

Sunday, March 3, 2013


Helllooooooo!  I'm thrilled that you're here and reading HHH.  Perhaps you've followed my journey on reBIRTH or maybe you're stumbling upon my writing for the first time. Whatever the reason, I hope you'll continue to visit.

I decided to create Happy Healthy Heart after I noticed a trend during my speaking engagements as a Go Red for Women National Spokesperson. Women would say to me, "I know you say you're living a heart-healthy lifestyle, but what exactly are you eating? And how do you even have time to cook?" After my heart attack, embracing a heart healthy diet felt like a death sentence (ironic, right?) for me  as I'm an "emotional eater."  Please do not mistake that with overeating - really, I am a person who celebrates with, stresses out with, cries with, laughs with, overthinks with and falls in love with food. So the idea that my diet would be limited scared the hell out of me.  Over the last few years, I've figured out how to be my "old self" in my "new normal."

Let's be clear about a few things:
  • I'm not a chef and have had no professional culinary training whatsoever.
  • I'm not a nutritionist or a dietician and probably have no business deciding what "healthy" means as far as food goes.
  • I am a married, full-time working mom and at the age of 28, I survived a post-partum heart attack.  I have a great prognosis and plan to take advantage of this second chance at life.  For me, that means sticking to a heart healthy lifestyle. 
  • This blog will be about food - what I eat, how I cook at home, what I order on restaurant menus and how I create tasty meals that my house full of boys will eat. It will have recipes and pictures and thoughts about food. 
 I hope you take away some good ideas for the happy hearts in your life!

 (Cameron snuggling with Heart, our stuffed, anatomically correct little friend)

"One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well." -Virginia Woolf