The term “heart-healthy” has a lot of meaning to me. When a menu item – or a boxed ingredient, or a recipe for that matter – declares itself “heart-healthy,” I’m going to pay reaaaal close attention.
Heart-healthy food research is prevalent. Lucky for me (and for you, and for the entire population,) there is no shortage of information regarding the best foods to keep your heart beating strong and in rhythym for an entire lifetime. Heart-healthy foods that are high on the list include: fish, brightly colored fruits and vegetables, whole grains, beans/nuts, tea, dark chocolate, and red wine.
The recipe below, served with brown rice and steamed broccoli, would get an A- on the heart-healthy scale. Brown rice is less refined than white, and loaded with fiber, B vitamins, and magnesium (anti-arrythmatic.) And – it has more flavor!!! Steamed broccoli is completely free of fat and falls into the “brightly colored vegetable” category – any “greens” do. To give this recipe an A+, the chicken would need to be replaced with some sort of fish – salmon is high on the list. The chicken is drenched in an apricot marinade which is also “brightly colored” and thus holds loads of vitamins and minerals. One downside to this recipe is that the marinade does contain quite a bit of processed corn syrup. A more healthy and delicious option would be for my mama to send me some homemade apricot preserves…hint hint, Mom…..
Baked Apricot Chicken – adapted from Baked Apricot Chicken on Allrecipes.com
3-4 chicken breasts, pounded evenly to 3/4-inch thickness
1.5 C apricot preserves
0.5 C french or catalina dressing
1 small onion, chopped
On the side: cooked brown rice and steamed broccoli
1. Mix apricot preserves and french dressing in small bowl. Spritz a small baking pan with olive oil. Place chicken in pan and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
2. Pour marinade and chopped onion over chicken. Bake at 350 for 35 minutes or until cooked through.