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(Family Characteristics) Whatever your motivations, it’s never too late or too early to focus on your heart health, and taking steps now can make a big difference. Small changes, such as following a healthier eating plan, can set you on a path to better heart health.

One step you can take is to follow the DASH eating plan, a flexible and balanced way of eating that stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension and was developed by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. DASH requires no special foods and provides daily and weekly nutritional goals to help lower two major risk factors for heart disease: high blood pressure and high LDL (bad) cholesterol.

Being more physically active, managing stress, getting a good night’s sleep, and not smoking combined with DASH can put you on the path to a healthy heart for life.

Encouraging others to join you on your heart health journey can also be rewarding. Research shows that social support and personal networks make you more likely to stick to healthy habits like healthy eating.

Sharing heart-healthy recipes with family and friends is an added bonus, and these DASH-friendly meals can help you take the guesswork out of putting nutritious dinners on the table. Greek-style flank steaks with spicy yogurt sauce offer the bold flavors of the Mediterranean, while teriyaki-glazed salmon with stir-fried vegetables is as easy to make as it is colorful. For a complementary combination of pork and sweet fruit flavor, these baked pork chops with apple-cranberry sauce are perfect for serving alongside brown rice or steamed broccoli.

Learn more about heart health and find DASH-friendly recipes at nhlbi.nih.gov/DASH.

Greek style flank steak with spicy yogurt sauce

Recipe courtesy of the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute
Preparation time: 25 minutes
Preparation time: 25 minutes
Servings: 4

Marinade:

  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons fresh oregano, rinsed, dried and chopped
  • 1 tablespoon garlic, minced (2-3 cloves)
  • 1 beef steak (12 ounces)

yogurt sauce:

  • 1 cup cucumber, peeled, seeded and chopped
  • 1 cup low-fat yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons of lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon fresh dill, rinsed, dried and chopped
  • 1 tablespoon garlic, minced (2-3 cloves)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  1. Making marinade: In a large bowl, combine lemon juice, olive oil, oregano, and garlic.
  2. Place the steak in a flat sided container and pour the marinade over the steak. Marinate for at least 20 minutes, or up to 24 hours, turning several times.
  3. Making yogurt sauce: Combine cucumber, yogurt, lemon juice, dill, garlic and salt. Set the yogurt sauce aside for at least 15 minutes to blend the flavors. Sauce can be prepared up to 1 hour in advance and kept refrigerated.
  4. Preheat the broiler on high with a rack 3 inches from the heat source.
  5. Sear steaks about 10 minutes on each side to a minimum internal temperature of 145 F. Let cool 5 minutes before carving.
  6. Thinly slice across the grain into 12 slices.
  7. Serve three slices with 1/2 cup yogurt sauce.

Tip: Serve in a sandwich with pita bread, lettuce and tomato.

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Teriyaki-glazed salmon with stir-fried vegetables

Recipe courtesy of the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute
Preparation time: 20 minutes
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Servings: 4

Salmon:

  • 2 tablespoons light teriyaki sauce
  • 1/4 cup mirin or sweet rice wine
  • 2 tablespoons of rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons spring onions, rinsed and finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon ginger, finely chopped
  • 12 ounces salmon fillets, cut into four portions (3 ounces each)

Vegetables:

  • 1 bag (12 ounces) frozen vegetable stir-fry
  • 1/2 tablespoon peanut oil or vegetable oil
  • 1/2 tablespoon garlic, minced (about 1 clove)
  • 1 tablespoon ginger, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon spring onions, rinsed and finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon of light soy sauce
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F.
  2. To prepare salmon: Mix teriyaki sauce, mirin, rice vinegar, spring onion and ginger well. Pour over salmon and marinate for 10-15 minutes.
  3. Remove the salmon from the marinade.
  4. Place salmon on baking sheet. Bake for 10-15 minutes, or until the fish flakes easily with a fork in the thickest part and reaches a minimum internal temperature of 145 F.
  5. To prepare vegetables: Thaw frozen vegetables in the microwave or place the bag in a bowl of hot water for about 10 minutes. Heat oil in a large wok or skillet. Add garlic, ginger, and scallions; cook gently, but not brown, 30-60 seconds.
  6. Add vegetables and continue to stir-fry for 2-3 minutes or until heated through. Add soy sauce.
  7. Serve a piece of salmon with 1 cup of vegetables.

Baked pork chops with apple-cranberry sauce

Recipe courtesy of the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Preparation time: 30 minutes
Servings: 4

pork chops:

  • 4 boneless pork chops (about 3 ounces each)
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 medium orange, rinsed and grated
  • 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil

Sauce:

  • 1/4 cup low-sodium chicken stock
  • 1 medium apple, peeled and grated (about 1 cup)
  • 1/2 cinnamon stick
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup of 100% orange juice
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F.
  2. To prepare chops: Season the chops with pepper and orange zest.
  3. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add chops and cook until browned on one side, about 2 minutes. Turn and brown for 2 minutes. Remove the chops from the pan, place on a nonstick baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes to a minimum internal temperature of 160 F.
  4. Making sauce: Add chicken stock to saute pan and stir to loosen brown bits from pork chops. Put aside.
  5. In a small saucepan over medium heat, cook the grated apples, cinnamon stick, and bay leaf until the apples begin to soften.
  6. Add cranberries, orange juice, and reserved stock. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to a gentle simmer. Simmer for 10 minutes, or until cranberries are plump and apples are tender. Remove cinnamon stick.
  7. Peel the orange and cut into eight segments.
  8. Serve a pork chop with 1/4 cup sauce and two orange wedges.

Photos courtesy of Getty Images


SOURCE:
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute