home News Be good to your heart – Beckley Register-Herald

Be good to your heart – Beckley Register-Herald

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States and in West Virginia ranks as the second leading cause of death, just behind cancer.

A number of factors can play into a person’s chances for developing the often fatal disease.

Genetics cannot be helped, but smoking and certainly weight and diet can.

Chef Jake Owen, head of dining services for Genesis Health Care in White Sulphur Springs, is charged each day with preparing heart-healthy menu items for residents.

Most people, however, are left on their own to make the right healthful choices in their day-to-day lives. Owen says he knows that is not always easy to do as favorite recipes are not always healthful recipes.

With that in mind, he encourages those looking to make positive changes in their diets to make ingredient swaps instead of complete recipe swaps.

“Almost every recipe, unless you’re deep-frying a hamburger, can be made healthier by changing out ingredients,” he said.

Changing slowly, rather than throwing everything away and starting over, he believes, will help with a successful diet change.

But Owen does encourage adding new recipes to the menu as well, using Omega 3s, and the freshest foods possible.

He offered up a few heart-healthy recipes – he says it’s important to pay attention to flavors, shapes and visual presentation as people eat with their eyes first and mouths second – for you to try at home.  

Every ingredient, he says, is available at Kroger.


Soft Shell Crab with Hinode Black Rice & Blood Orange & Herb Salad

Serves 1


1 soft shell crab (frozen or fresh)

1/2 c. blood orange

1 green onion

Lemon juice



Salt & pepper

Old Bay seasoning

Olive oil (extra virgin if possible)

Lime zest (for garnish)

Baby arugula (for garnish)


1. Season crab with 1/2 teaspoon of Old Bay and salt dredge in flour and yellow cornmeal and set aside. 

2. Peel and cut blood orange into segments. Finely chop green onions. 

3. In medium mixing bowl, combine orange, green onion and arugula. Season with salt and pepper and lemon juice just to taste and set aside for plating. 

4. In medium sauce pan add 1/2 cup black rice and 1/2 cup water and bring to a boil, leaving uncovered. Cook until tender.

5. In medium sauté pan, add 1 tablespoon olive oil and sauté crab over medium high heat until fully cooked (about 3 minutes per side). Remove and set aside to drain excess oil. 

6. Place rice in the center of plate and top with crab and salad. Drizzle olive oil around for presentation and enjoy!

Pan Seared Salmon

Serves 1


6 oz. salmon filet

1/2 ruby red grapefruit

4 stalks fresh asparagus

1 head cauliflower

1 shallot

Fresh baby dill

Extra virgin olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

1 tsp. granulated garlic


1. Peel and dice grapefruit, clean and rough chop baby dill, save shallot and combine in bowl. Season with salt and pepper and 1/2 teaspoon olive oil and set aside. 

2. In medium non-stick sauté pan over medium high heat, add olive oil, season salmon and place in pan, flesh side down and cook for three minutes. Flip and cook for addition two minutes or until desired cooking temperature. 

3. In large sauté pan, add olive oil over medium heat. Sauté asparagus raw until fully cooked, occasionally stirring until fully cooked but still crisp. 

4. In small sauce pan, add cauliflower and 1 teaspoon olive oil. Sauté over medium high heat until cauliflower starts to brown. Remove from pan and place into flood process and blend until smooth. (Natural moisture should be enough to fully puree, but a small amount of water may be added. Add seasoning if water is added.)

5. In center or edge of plate, spoon cauliflower puree and drag across with spoon to give unique look. Place asparagus in center top with salmon and finish with marinated shallot mix. Garnish with fresh dill around plate and enjoy!

Roasted Dry Spiced Pork Tenderloin

Serves 1


1 pork tenderloin

1/2 tsp. chili powder

1/2 tsp. brown sugar

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 pepper

1/4 tsp. granulated garlic

1/4 tsp. onion powder

8 oz. Shitake mushrooms or preferred mushroom blend

6 oz. cooked red lentils or preferred type

2 c. water

Extra virgin olive oil


1. Mix all dry spice in small bowl until well combined. Dust pork tenderloin up to 2 hours ahead of time and let stand. 

2. In small sauté pan over medium high heat, add olive oil and then mushroom mix. Season with salt and pepper and cook until tender. 

3. In medium sauce pan, add water and lentils and bring to a boil. Drop to simmer or medium and cook until tender (about 20 minutes). You may need to add more water if evaporation occurs. 

4. In large sauté pan over medium heat, add olive oil and allow oil to get hot. Slowly place pork tenderloin in pan, careful to avoid splashing hot oil in your direction. Sear on all sides until evenly brown and place in preheated oven until fully cooked or internal temperature reaches 140°. Remove from oven and set aside to rest. 

5. Slice pork loin and place atop lentils. Garnish with mushrooms and herbs and enjoy!

Oven Roasted Pear Granola

Serves 1


1 Bartlett pear split in half and cored

3 oz. favorite granola (or homemade)

2 tsp. sugar

1/4 tsp. cinnamon

1/4 c. dried cranberry

1/4 c. apple juice

Vanilla ice cream 


1. In square baking dish, add apple juice to bottom. Take pear half and top with cinnamon, sugar and granola mixed with cranberries and bake until slightly soft in center. 

2. Place pear in medium bowl with granola facing up. Add scoop of favorite ice cream and enjoy!


Food suggestions from the American Heart Association

• variety of fruits and vegetables

• whole grains

• low-fat dairy products

• skinless poultry and fish

• nuts and legumes

• non-tropical vegetable oils

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