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Heart Shaped Fruit Kabobs

Yield 12 kabobs

Ingredients:

1 cantaloupe

1 honeydew melon

1 watermelon

wooden skewers

Preparation:

1. Cut fruit into 1" slices, using a small heart shaped cookie cutter, cut hearts from fruit slices and thread fruit on to wooden skewers

This recipe is a healthy addition that can be a hands-on activity in the classroom. One cup of watermelon is less than 50 calories and provides 18% of your Daily Value (DV) for Vitamin A and 21% Vitamin C. It also has a very low glycemic load, meaning that when you eat watermelon by itself, your blood sugar is less apt to spike and then fall making you hungry despite having just eaten.

Chocolate Dipped Strawberries

Ingredients:

1 pint strawberries

½ lb. dark chocolate, chopped fine

1 Tbsp. coconut or canola oil

Preparation:

1. Fill a small saucepan with 1" of water and place over medium-low heat. Fit a metal or glass bowl over the saucepan and add in chocolate and coconut oil. Stir until chocolate has melted.

2. Wash and pat dry strawberries, working one at a time dip dried strawberry into the chocolate mixture and place on a parchment paper lined baking tray.

3. Place tray into the refrigerator to allow chocolate to harden, about 20 minutes. Serve and enjoy

Flavonols are a type of antioxidant found in cocoa solids. Dark chocolate has the highest percentage of cocoa solids and therefore the most flavonols. Antioxidants like those found in dark chocolate have been found to potentially reduce blood pressure, improve blood flow, make blood less sticky, and preventing the bad, LDL cholesterol from oxidizing on blood vessel walls causing plaque build-up. It's important to note that much of the research suggests a "moderate" 1 ounce serving a couple times per week. This is the equivalent of 6 Hershey kisses or 3 Ghirardelli squares.

Dark Chocolate Drizzled Rice Cakes

Yield 6 servings

Ingredients:

1 package bite sized rice cakes

4oz. dark chocolate

Preparation:

1. Lay out rice cakes on a parchment lined baking tray.

2. Place chocolate into a microwave safe bowl, heat in microwave for 30 seconds, stir and if needed heat at 15 second intervals until chocolate is melted, stirring after each heating.

3. When chocolate has melted, place into a small resealable plastic bag or into a disposable piping bag. Cut a small tip off of the corner and drizzle chocolate over rice cakes. Allow chocolate to set before serving.

Many people have decorated Rice Krispie Treats (100 calories/treat) and Pretzel rods (120 calories/3 sticks) before. Rice cakes average 35 calories per serving; they're gluten free and contain 5-10 grams of whole grain per serving. You can swap out the variety between the traditional plain rice cake to the Chocolate Crunch or Caramel for a more gourmet version.

Chocolate Mousse

Yield 8 servings

Ingredients:

1 tsp. unflavored gelatin

2 Tbsp. strong brewed coffee

¾ cup skim milk

1 large egg

1 cup packed light brown sugar

2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

2 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped

2 tsp. vanilla extract

4 large egg whites

½ tsp. cream of tartar

3 Tbsp. water

Preparation:

1. Sprinkle gelatin over coffee in a small bowl; allow to stand for 1 minute.

2. Whisk together milk, egg, ¼ cup brown sugar and cocoa in a medium sized saucepan until smooth.

3. Cook over low heat whisking constantly, until mixture thickens, about 5 minutes.

4. Remove from heat and add the gelatin and coffee mixture, stir until dissolved.

5. Add chocolate and vanilla, stir until the chocolate has melted, and allow to sit for 30 minutes.

6. Bring 1" of water to a simmer in a small sauce pan. Combine egg whites, cream of tartar, remaining brown sugar and water in a metal bowl. Place bowl over saucepan and beat mixture with an electric mixer at low speed, moving beaters through mixture constantly until the mixture has reached a temperature of 140°F (about 5 minutes)

7. Increase mixer to high and continue to beat for a 3 minutes. Remove the bowl and continue to beat the meringue on high until cool for 5 minutes.

8. Whisk ¼ of the meringue mixture into the chocolate mixture until smooth. Fold the chocolate mixture back into the meringue using a rubber spatula until completely incorporated.

9. Spoon the mousse into 6 dessert cups and allow to chill for 3 hours.

Nutrition Information:

Calories 175; Fat 3 gm (sat 2 gm); Protein 5 gm; Cholesterol 25 mg; Sodium 60 mg; Fiber 3 gm; Carbohydrate 46 gm

A traditional chocolate mousse contains 355 calories, 25 gm of fat, 15 grams of saturated fat and 235 mg of cholesterol so you can easily see how this slimmed down version is much better for both your arteries and your waistline!

Orange Marmalade Chicken

Yield 2 servings

Ingredients:

½ cup low sodium chicken stock

1 Tbsp. red wine vinegar

2 Tbsp. orange marmalade

½ tsp. Dijon mustard

½ tsp. cornstarch

2 each (4oz) chicken breasts

1/8 tsp. kosher salt

1/8 tsp. fresh ground pepper

1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

1 large shallot, minced

½ tsp. orange zest

Preparation:

1. In a small bowl whisk together, vinegar, marmalade, Dijon mustard and cornstarch

2. Season chicken with salt and pepper. In a large non-stick sauté pan heat 2 tsp. of extra virgin olive oil over medium heat. Sear chicken on both sides until golden brown, about 2 minutes per side. Remove chicken from pan and transfer to a plate, cover with foil and keep warm.

3. Add 1 tsp. of the extra-virgin olive oil to the pan and sauté the shallots until they are golden, about 1 minute.

4. Whisk in the broth mixture and cook for 1 minute, until sauce is thickened and reduced slightly.

5. Add chicken to pan and turn to coat. Cook chicken until internal temperature of 165°F

6. Just before serving add orange zest.

Nutrition per Serving:

255 Calories ; Fat 10 g (sat 2 g); Protein 26 g; Cholesterol 70 mg; Sodium 285 mg; Fiber 0 g; Carbohydrate 14 g

This dish has tons of flavor for very few calories which is why many of the frozen healthy option TV dinners have their own variation on this very recipe.

Pomegranate Salmon

Yield 2 servings

Ingredients:

2 each 4oz. salmon fillets

1/8 tsp. kosher salt

1/8 tsp. black pepper

1 tsp. extra virgin olive oil

1 small shallot, thinly sliced

1 ¼ cup pomegranate juice

1 tsp. cornstarch

2 tsp. fresh chopped parsley

2 Tbsp. pomegranate seeds

Preparation:

1. Preheat oven to 425°F

2. In a large non-stick sauté pan heat olive oil over medium heat. Season salmon with salt and pepper and place fillets into pan. Sear on both sides until golden brown, about 2 minutes per side, turning salmon only once.

3. Remove salmon from pan and place onto a baking tray that has been coated with non-stick cooking spray. Roast salmon in the oven until an internal temperature of 145°F is reached about 15 minutes.

4. In the sauté pan, add shallots and cook until they are golden brown, about 1 minute. Stir together the pomegranate juice and cornstarch, add juice to pan, bring to a boil and simmer for 3-5 minutes, until it has reduced and thickened.

5. Remove salmon from oven, and place on a warm plate. Spoon over some of the pomegranate sauce, sprinkle with parsley and pomegranate seeds.

Nutrition per Serving:

Calories 290; Fat 10 g (sat 1.5 g); Protein 23 g; Cholesterol 63 mg; Sodium 195 mg; Fiber 0.5 g; Carbohydrate 27 g

Pomegranate juice is an antioxidant, phenol rich beverage that may reduce LDL (bad cholesterol) from oxidizing that leads to heart disease. It may also speed muscle recovery in athletes. POM juice contains 40% more antioxidants than red wine, Concord grape juice, Acia and even green tea.

Salmon, halibut, rainbow trout, and albacore tuna are just a few examples of omega-3 rich fish. The American Heart Association recommends that we consume 2 servings of these types of fatty fish per week as they may reduce the risk of heart disease. Omega-3 oils have been shown to reduce the tendency for arteries to become blocked by lowering the "bad" LDL cholesterol.

Farm raised salmon are given antibiotics due to their close proximity. They also have less exercise than their up stream swimming counterparts. Captivity, combined with their farm fed diet gives them a pinker color, a higher fat content and a lower omega-3 content. We suggest you stock up on the wild caught salmon when it's on sale.

Maple Roasted Mashed Acorn Squash

Yield 4 servings

Ingredients:

1 acorn squash, halved and seeded

2 Tbsp. maple syrup

1 tsp. unsalted butter

¼ tsp. ground cinnamon

1/8 tsp. kosher salt

Preparation:

1. Preheat oven to 400°F coat a 9"x13" baking pan with non-stick cooking spray

2. Place halved squash, cut side down, in the bottom of the baking pan

3. Baked until soft about 50 minutes, remove from oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes.

4. Scrape out pulp from squash into a medium sized bowl, add in syrup, butter, cinnamon and salt. Mash together with a fork or potato masher until smooth

5. Serve immediately.

Nutrition per Serving:

Calories 172; Fat 4 g (sat 2.5 g); Protein 2 g; Cholesterol 10 mg; Sodium 154 mg; Fiber 3 g; Carbohydrate 36 g

Squash is a nutrition powerhouse. It contains just about everything including a DV of 18% Vitamin A, 37% Vitamin C, well over 10% of many B vitamins, 9% calcium, 11% iron, 22% magnesium, and since we have to stop somewhere 26% potassium. The nutritional benefits of this vegetable are well worth experimenting in the kitchen to find a recipe that your whole family enjoys.

Herbed Couscous

Yield 2 servings

Ingredients:

¾ cup low-sodium vegetable broth

2 green onions, sliced

2 Tbsp. fresh parsley

½ cup whole-wheat couscous

Preparation:

1. Bring broth to a boil in a small saucepan over high heat. Add couscous to pan, bring to a simmer, cover and remove from heat. Allow to stand for 5 minutes, until couscous has absorbed stock.

2. Stir in in green onions and parsley.

Nutrition per Serving:

Calories 161; Fat 0 g (sat 0 g); Protein 5 g; Cholesterol 0 mg; Sodium 59 mg; Fiber 3 g;

Carbohydrate 33 g

Quinoa is on many "Top 10" healthy ingredient lists this year. It is the most nutritious of all grains. In addition to 3 grams of fiber, 1 serving of this recipe contains 10% DV for iron and all 8 essential amino acids making it a healthy alternative to the traditional side dishes of rice or potatoes.

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