UNC Health Care

Recipes for a Heart-Healthy Date Night

What’s more romantic than dinner by candlelight? Cooking up a heart-healthy meal at home for you and your loved one is a great way to show you care. Or, why not cook it together? This roasted beet and citrus salad paired with pan-seared chicken in a creamy mushroom sauce is low in cholesterol and loaded with vitamins and minerals. Try this recipe for a healthy and delicious date night in.

Roasted Beet and Citrus Salad

Salad:

  • 3-4 small beets, peeled and diced into 1-inch chunks (2 cups)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 cup packed baby spinach leaves
  • 1/3 cup ruby red grapefruit segments in water or own juice, drained
  • 1/3 cup mandarin orange segments (in water, drained)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chopped red onion
  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley

Dressing:

  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 ½ teaspoons olive oil

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Farenheit.
  2. Trim and discard the ends of each beet. Remove the peel from each beet, and then dice each beet into half-inch chunks. Transfer beets to a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. If using two colors of beets, keep them separate on the sheet pan to avoid juice stains on the golden beets.
  3. Roast until softened (tender when a knife goes through it), about 30 to 35 minutes. Allow to cool before tossing into salad.
  4. When ready to serve salad, place spinach on the bottom of a bowl. Top with grapefruit segments, orange segments, chopped red onion, parsley and cooled beets.
  5. In a small bowl, whisk together vinegar and salt. Drizzle olive oil into bowl while whisking to emulsify dressing. Pour over the salad and gently toss with tongs.

Pan-Seared Chicken with Mushroom Sauce

Chicken:

  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, about 4 ounces each, all visible fat removed
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • pepper (to taste)
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 ½ teaspoons olive oil

Mushroom Sauce:

  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 6 ounces button mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 small shallot, minced
  • 1 medium garlic clove, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup fat-free, low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped, fresh parsley
  • 2 tablespoons fat-free sour cream

Instructions:

  1. Sprinkle both sides of chicken with the salt and pepper. Using your fingertips, gently press down on the chicken so that the seasonings stick to it.
  2. Put 1/4 cup flour in a shallow dish. Dip one piece of chicken at a time into the flour, turning to coat both sides. Shake off the excess flour.
  3. In a large nonstick skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat, swirling to coat the bottom. Cook the chicken for 4 to 6 minutes or until golden brown on the bottom. Turn over and cook for 2 to 6 minutes or until 165 degrees Fahrenheit in the center. Transfer to a separate plate. Cover to keep warm while you make the sauce.
  4. Reduce the heat to medium, and then pour olive oil into the hot skillet, swirling to coat the bottom. Add the mushrooms and shallot pieces to the pan, cooking for 5 minutes or until the mushrooms are golden brown, stirring frequently.
  5. Stir in the garlic and thyme, cooking for 1 minute. Sprinkle the flour over the mushroom mixture, and cook for another 2 minutes, stirring constantly to prevent lumps.
  6. Stir in the broth, making sure to scrape the browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Bring to a boil, and then reduce heat and simmer for 2 minutes or until the sauce is thickened, stirring frequently.
  7. Reduce the heat to low, and stir in the parsley and sour cream. Remove from the heat immediately.
  8. Cut the chicken diagonally. Divide the sauce in half and pour half over each chicken breast.