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A Heart Smiling Meal

As a teacher, I always try to praise my students. I have found that if you focus on the positive, the negative behaviors will correct themselves the majority of the time. Of course, teaching middle school, you have to deal with the students and their search for themselves, their place, and the infamous teenage case of the ‘tude. I always tell them that they make me smile in my heart when they have really done something well. It has actually become one of my infamous catch phrases around the school. Something else that makes me smile in my heart is when there is a beneficial cause that I believe in and can participate too. 


Jessica, author of the The Jey of Cooking, is sponsoring a round up of heart healthy recipes and will donate $1 to the American Heart Association for every recipe submitted. Matters of the heart are no stranger to my small family. Due to a genetic mutation, my husband has a heart attack if he does not get enough of certain vitamins. At the age of 29, he’s had four heart attacks. Albeit they were all before my time, but the effects are long term. Every phone call from a hospital puts me on the edge of my seat. We are very proactive and I try to adapt recipes to make them a bit healthier. But enough small talk, let me prove to you that keeping your heart healthy does not mean having to be hungry. 


For an appetizer, how about crispy potato skins. 

 

Ingredients

2 medium russet potatoes
Butter-flavored cooking spray
1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Directions

Preheat the oven to 375 F.
Wash the potatoes and pierce with a fork. Place in the oven and bake until the skins are crisp, about 1 hour.
Carefully — potatoes will be very hot — cut the potatoes in half and scoop out the pulp, leaving about 1/8 inch of the potato flesh attached to the skin. Save the pulp for another use.
Spray the inside of each potato skin with butter-flavored cooking spray. Press in the rosemary and pepper. Return the skins to the oven for 5 to 10 minutes. Serve immediately.

Ready for the entree yet? Beef and Vegetable Kabobs


 Ingredients

1/2 cup brown rice
2 cups water
4 ounces top sirloin (choice)
3 tablespoons fat-free Italian dressing
1 pepper, seeded and cut into 4 pieces
4 cherry tomatoes
1 small onion, cut into 4 wedges
2 wooden skewers, soaked in water for 30 minutes, or metal skewers
Directions

In a saucepan over high heat, combine the rice and water. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer until the water is absorbed and the rice is tender, about 30 to 45 minutes. Add more water if necessary to keep the rice from drying out. Transfer to a small bowl to keep warm.
Cut the meat into 4 equal portions. Put the meat in a small bowl and pour Italian dressing over the top. Put in the refrigerator for at least 20 minutes to marinate, turning as needed.
Prepare a hot fire in a charcoal grill or heat a gas grill or a broiler. Away from the heat source, lightly coat the grill rack or broiler pan with cooking spray. Position the cooking rack 4 to 6 inches from the heat source.
Thread 2 cubes of meat, 2 green pepper slices, 2 cherry tomatoes and 2 onion wedges onto each skewer. Place the kebabs on the grill rack or broiler pan. Grill or broil the kebabs for about 5 to 10 minutes, turning as needed.
Divide the rice onto individual plates. Top with 1 kebab and serve immediately.

Where are you taking that plate?  You think you’re done? Stay around for dessert.  
Poached Pears

 

Ingredients

1 cup orange juice
1/4 cup apple juice
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
4 whole pears
1/2 cup fresh raspberries  

Directions

In a small bowl, combine the juices and cinnamon. Stir to mix evenly.
Peel the pears and leave the stems. Remove the core from the bottom of the pear. Place in a shallow pan. Add the juice mixture to the pan and set over medium heat. Simmer for about 30 minutes, turning pears frequently. Don’t boil.
Transfer the pears to individual serving plates. Garnish with raspberries and serve immediately.

Yum! A full belly and a happy heart. What a wonderful way to show someone that you love them. Preparing them a multiple course meal that is good for them and their heart. Thank you so much for sponsoring this round up, Jey!

Source: All recipes used and slightly adapted (pears) from MayoClinic.


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