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Busy holiday season no time to skimp on good, healthy meals

Wednesday, December 18, 2013
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Mushroom bolognese with whole wheat penne pasta makes for a healthy holiday meal. (Detroit Free Press)
Mushroom bolognese with whole wheat penne pasta makes for a healthy holiday meal. (Detroit Free Press)

With the hustle and bustle of the holiday season upon us, it’s easy to forget about healthy eating. But we are here to help with sample recipes from the “Heart Smart Cookbook Third Edition” by the Detroit Free Press and Henry Ford Health System.

All are quickly made, so you can keep serving and eating healthy food, even when you’re busy.

The cookbook was a collaborative effort by the Free Press and Henry Ford Health System’s Edith and Benson Ford Heart and Vascular Institute. The new spiral-bound edition of this popular cookbook series features 200 new recipes and includes a color photo section.

You can order a copy ($19.95 plus $5 shipping) at freepressbookstore.stores.yahoo.net or 800-245-5082.

The recipes below were all created by Darlene Zimmerman, MS, RD, for Heart Smart and tested by Susan Selasky for the Free Press Test Kitchen.

MUSHROOM BOLOGNESE WITH WHOLE WHEAT PENNE

Serves: 6. Prep time: 15 minutes. Total time: 1 hour

This dish is also an excellent source of fiber.

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 medium red onion, finely chopped

3 carrots, finely chopped

2 celery ribs, finely chopped

3 garlic cloves, minced

8 ounces mushrooms, coarsely chopped

3⁄4 cup dry red wine

1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste

1 (14.5-ounce) can fat-free, reduced-sodium chicken broth

1⁄2 cup fat-free half and half

1⁄2 teaspoon salt

1⁄2 cup plus 1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese

6 cups cooked whole wheat penne pasta

In a large, heavy pot, heat olive oil over medium heat and saute the onion, carrots, celery and garlic, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the mushrooms and red wine and cook until the wine has almost evaporated, 12 to 15 minutes. Add the tomato paste, stirring occasionally until the mixture is lightly browned, 8 to 10 minutes.

Add the chicken broth to loosen pan renderings. Add the half-and-half and salt and allow the sauce to simmer until it is thick and creamy, 10 to 15 minutes. While sauce is cooking, prepare pasta according to package directions, omitting the fat and salt. To serve, top 1 cup cooked pasta with 3⁄4 cup Bolognese and sprinkle with 11⁄2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese.

Nutrition info: 355 calories (20 percent from fat), 8 grams fat (2 grams sat. fat. 0 grams trans fat), 54 grams carbohydrates, 16 grams protein, 510 mg sodium, 7 mg cholesterol, 157 mg calcium, 7 grams fiber. Food exchanges: 2 starch, 4 vegetables, 2 fat.

ONE POT BEEF STEW

Serves: 6. Prep. time: 15 minutes. Total time: 2 hours, 30 minutes

Place the flat iron steak in the freezer for 20 minutes to make it easier to cut into even cubes. Patting the meat dry with paper towel before browning helps develop a nice sear on the beef cubes, sealing in the juices.

1 pound flat iron steak or lean beef stew meat, cut into 1⁄2-inch cubes

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon canola oil

1⁄4 cup sherry

1 cup fat-free, reduced-sodium beef broth

2 cups onion, cut into 1⁄2-inch chunks

2 cloves minced garlic

5 carrots, peeled and sliced

4 celery ribs, sliced

8 ounces package mushrooms, quartered

1 (14.5-ounce) can no-salted-added diced tomatoes, undrained

2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

1⁄2 teaspoon dried thyme

1 teaspoon paprika

2 bay leaves

1⁄2 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 tablespoon cornstarch

2 tablespoons cold water

1⁄2 teaspoon salt

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Coat beef with flour, shaking off excess. In a large Dutch oven or other stovetop and oven-safe pot, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the beef and saute until browned on all sides, about 5 minutes. Remove beef from pot.

Add the sherry and broth to the pot, loosening the bits from the bottom of the pan. Add the onion, garlic, carrots, celery, mushrooms, tomatoes, Worcestershire sauce, thyme, paprika, bay leaves and black pepper. Add browned beef.

Stir to combine, cover and place in the oven for about 2 hours or until meat and vegetables are tender. Remove from the oven and place on stovetop.

In a small bowl or measuring cup, combine the cornstarch and water until dissolved. If you want to thicken the stew, mix the cornstarch mixture into the stew and allow to thicken, stirring constantly, over medium heat. Stir in the salt and remove bay leaves. Each serving yields about 1 cup.

You can serve this stew on its own or with a crusty multigrain baguette, yolk-free egg noodles or brown rice.

Nutrition info: 237 calories (29 percent from fat), 7 grams fat (2 grams sat. fat, 0 grams trans fat), 22 grams carbohydrates, 19 grams protein, 412 mg sodium, 37 mg cholesterol, 61 mg calcium, 4 grams fiber.

Food exchanges: 1 starch, 2 vegetable, 2 lean meat.

CHICKEN WITH CHERRY BALSAMIC GLAZE

Serves: 4. Prep. time: 5 minutes. Total time: 30 minutes

1 tablespoon trans fat-free margarine

1 tablespoon olive oil

1⁄4 cup all-purpose flour

1⁄2 teaspoon salt, divided

1⁄4 teaspoon ground black pepper, divided

4 (4 ounces each) boneless, skinless chicken breasts, pounded to 1⁄4-inch thickness

1⁄2 cup cherry preserves

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

2 tablespoons slivered almonds, toasted

In a large nonstick skillet, heat the margarine and the oil over medium heat until margarine melts.

In a shallow dish or pie plate, combine the flour, 1⁄4 teaspoon salt and 1⁄8 teaspoon black pepper. Dredge the chicken breasts in flour and saute until golden brown on each side and cooked through, about 5 minutes on each side.

Remove the chicken to a serving platter and keep warm. In a small saucepan, heat the cherry preserves and balsamic vinegar until warm. Season chicken breasts with remaining salt and pepper, top with cherry sauce and sprinkle with toasted almonds.

Nutrition info: 354 calories (25 percent from fat), 10 grams fat (1 gram sat. fat, 0 grams trans fat), 36 grams carbohydrates, 28 grams protein, 337 mg sodium, 72 mg cholesterol, 32 mg calcium, 1 gram fiber. Food exchanges: 3 lean meat, 2 starch.

 
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