BHealthy Blog

3 Tasty Recipes for Your Valentine

On Valentine’s Day, we all like to treat ourselves to a box of chocolates or something sweet. However, there are great recipes that allow you to stay on track by eating healthy, delicious meals. This year, we recommend the following three-course, nutritious meal you can cook for your Valentine:

Salad Course: Holiday Quinoa Salad

This quinoa salad departs from the traditional iceberg-ranch combination, mixing fluffed quinoa with chopped apples, pomegranate seeds, and cilantro into a refreshing blend. Low in calories and high in protein and dietary fiber, this dish is an easy-to-make, nutritious first course. Makes 4 servings. Ingredients: 3/4 cup quinoa 3/4 teaspoon kosher or sea salt, divided 1/2 medium Fuji apple, cored and finely chopped 1/2 cup fresh pomegranate seeds 1/3 cup finely chopped cilantro 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh mint 1/4 cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley 1/3 cup finely chopped scallions, green and white parts 1/4 cup blood orange juice or orange juice plus 1 teaspoon lemon juice Freshly ground pepper 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil Directions
  1. Rinse quinoa in strainer; drain well; and place in heavy, medium saucepan.
  2. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring constantly with wooden spatula until grains stick to bottom of pot and then start to move freely and smell toasty, about 5 minutes.
  3. When grains of quinoa start to pop, move pot from heat and pour in 1 3/4 cups water, standing back as it will splatter. Immediately return pot to heat and reduce heat to medium.
  4. Add 1/4 teaspoon salt, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes or until quinoa is almost tender.
  5. Off heat, let grain sit covered for 10 minutes.
  6. Using fork, fluff quinoa and transfer it to mixing bowl. There will be about 2 1/4 cups cooked quinoa.
  7. Let quinoa sit until it is room temperature. Add apple, pomegranate seeds, cilantro, mint, parsley and scallions to grain, and, using a fork, mix to combine.
  8. In small bowl, whisk orange juice or two citrus juices with remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt until it dissolves. Add 4 to 5 grinds pepper; then whisk in oil.
  9. Pour dressing over salad, and toss with fork to distribute evenly.
  10. Serve within 2 hours. The quinoa and dressing parts of this salad can be made up to 8 hours ahead and then covered and refrigerated separately and combined shortly before serving.
Nutrition information Serving size: 1/4 of recipe. Amount per serving: 179 calories, 4g total fat (less than 1g saturated fat), 32g carbohydrates, 5g protein, 3g dietary fiber, 366mg sodium.

Entree Course: Oven-Baked Salmon with Snow Peas

Low in total fat while high in nutrients like protein, vitamin A and B, seafood makes a healthy and appetizing entree. The following salmon recipe, baked with finely chopped leeks, peeled carrots, snow peas and more, will provide a delicious meal you and your Valentine will love. Makes 4 servings. Ingredients: 3 leeks (white parts only), finely chopped 2 carrots, peeled and cut into thin matchsticks 1/2 pound snow peas (fresh or frozen) 4 salmon fillets (4 ounces each) 2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger 2 tablespoons rice vinegar 3 teaspoons sesame oil, divided 1 bag baby spinach leaves (6-ounce) 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice 1 lemon, cut into quarters (for garnish) Directions
  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Tear off 4 large sheets (18 by 12 inches) of heavy-duty aluminum foil, and lay each piece on your workspace.
  2. Divide the leeks, carrots and snow peas into 4 equal portions, and place a mixture of each onto each sheet of foil.
  3. Top each mound of vegetables with a piece of salmon.
  4. Sprinkle 1/2 teaspoon of ginger on each piece of fish, and drizzle each with 1/2 tablespoon of vinegar and 1/4 teaspoon of sesame oil.
  5. Fold the foil to form a packet around each piece of fish, leaving enough room for heat to circulate. Roll the edges to seal tightly.
  6. Place the packets on a cookie sheet and bake for 20 minutes or until the fish flakes easily with a fork.
  7. Meanwhile, place the spinach leaves in a microwave-safe bowl or platter.
  8. Drizzle the greens with fresh lemon juice and the remaining sesame oil.
  9. Heat the spinach in the microwave at high power for 3 minutes, checking every minute to make sure the spinach is tender but not overcooked.
  10. Divide the greens equally among 4 plates.
  11. When the salmon is cooked, open the packets carefully to allow the steam to escape.
  12. Empty each packet onto each of the beds of spinach.
  13. Garnish each plate with a lemon wedge and serve.
Each serving provides an excellent source of vitamin A, vitamin C, folate, magnesium and potassium and is a good source of calcium and dietary fiber. Nutrition information Serving size: 1/4 recipe. Amount per serving: 256 calories, 7.8g total fat (1.2g saturated fat), 59mg cholesterol, 20g carbohydrates, 27g protein, 5g dietary fiber, 145mg sodium.

Dessert Course: Very Berry Whole-Wheat Bread Pudding

We recommend taking a healthy approach to desserts this Valentine’s Day with a freshly baked, whole-wheat bread pudding. Full of cinnamon, cherries and blueberries, this course provides more dietary fiber than the traditional dish while having the same delicious taste. Makes 6 Servings. Ingredients: 1 cup frozen or fresh cherries (tart or sweet), pitted 1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries 1/4 cup sugar 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 5 ounces fresh whole-wheat bread, cubed (about 3 cups) 2 eggs 3/4 cup low-fat milk 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract 1/4 teaspoon salt Canola oil cooking spray Topping: 1 ounce sliced almonds 1 teaspoon powdered sugar, garnish Directions
  1. Combine cherries, berries, sugar and cinnamon in mixing bowl.
  2. Stir well to coat berries; add bread cubes.
  3. In another bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, vanilla and salt.
  4. Pour egg/milk mixture over berry/bread mixture and stir to coat bread thoroughly.
  5. Let mixture stand for 15 to 30 minutes to enable ingredients to combine and the bread to soak up the egg mixture.
  6. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  7. Spray a 9-inch baking dish.
  8. Pour pudding mixture into baking dish.
  9. Bake 20 minutes.
  10. Remove from oven and evenly distribute almonds over pudding.
  11. Return to oven and continue baking until pudding starts to set, about 25 to 30 minutes.
  12. Remove from oven and let rest for 10 minutes.
  13. Garnish with powdered sugar. Serve warm.
Optional fruit sauce topping Ingredients 1 pound (16-ounce) bag frozen unsweetened mixed berries 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch Directions
  1. Thaw berries; save drained juice and mix with cornstarch.
  2. Cook berries over medium-low heat for about 3 minutes.
  3. Add juice mixture to berries and heat until thickened.
  4. Serve over or alongside pudding.
Nutrition information Serving size: 1/6 of recipe. Amount per serving: 183 calories, 5g total fat (1g saturated fat), 27g carbohydrates, 8g protein, 3.5g dietary fiber, 248mg sodium.   This Valentine’s Day, stay on track and share a nutritious meal with your favorite person. Maintaining your healthy eating, especially through the holidays, can help you reduce risks of heart disease, obesity, and type 2 diabetes.  Find more healthy recipes.