Treat your loved ones to these veggie recipes for healthier hearts


Healthy hearts is our theme for this week’s Kitchen Kapers. It’s all about veggie recipes for healthier hearts, rather than our usual annual Valentine’s Day columns’ sweet treats.

Focusing on foods for healthier hearts is not a totally unrealistic goal, not really as impossible as it might at first seem, despite our currently being so surrounded by irresistibly luscious heart-shaped cookies and other traditional Valentine’s Day sugary concoctions this time every year.

We could start out on Saturday, February 14, with a nutritionally balanced big breakfast and then close out that Valentine’s Day evening with an equally healthful supper.

Somewhere in between those mega-healthful meals, as some famous historical figure a long time ago ruled with her now historically famous quote, “Let them eat cake!” or maybe it will be our Valentine’s Day pie or heart-shaped sweetly iced colorful red-and-white-frosted cookies or other holiday-inspired sweet treats which strike our fancy as our preferred Valentine’s Day Specials.

To make that plan work, all this week’s Kitchen Kapers recipes are good healthful foods we might want to fill our plates and ourselves with, health-sustaining foods before enjoying all our delicious distractions like the usual red heart-shaped boxes of Valentine’s Day chocolates and our own other home-cooked celebrative sweet holiday desserts and sweet snacks.

Enjoy the all-healthful veggie recipes below and have a very happy Valentine’s Day 2015!



Recipe from Habitat For Humanity’s Simple Decent Cooking

1 pound fresh asparagus, trimmed

1-1/2 tablespoons pine nuts

2 tablespoons melted butter

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

Salt and pepper, amounts to your taste

Rinse asparagus and discard tough ends. Steam or cook the asparagus, covered, in a small amount of boiling water in a steamer or saucepan
for 3-6 minutes or until tender crisp. Drain.

Spread pine nuts in single layer on baking sheet. Toast at 350 degrees for 5 minutes. Whisk butter and balsamic vinegar in bowl until blended. Arrange asparagus on serving platter. Drizzle with butter mixture. Sprinkle with pine nuts. Serve immediately with salt and pepper.



Recipe from Episcopal Church of the Holy Spirit’s 

Let’s See What’s Cookin’

6 cups cooked carrots, mashed

1-1/2 cups butter

9 eggs, beaten well

3 teaspoons baking powder

Pinch of salt

3 cups sugar

9 tablespoons flour

Dash of cinnamon

Mix together the mashed carrots, salt, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, flour and sugar. Add well-beaten eggs. Mix well. Place mixture in 9- by 13-inch baking dish. Bake for 45 minutes at 400 degrees and then reduce heat to 350 degrees and cook for an additional 30 minutes. Test with a knife for doneness. Recipe serves 8-10.



Recipe from 

New Vision Community Church’s Feeding The Flock

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 cups low-sodium tomato sauce

20 large pasta shells

1 large head broccoli, cut into small pieces

1 cup reduced-fat ricotta cheese

2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil or 1 teaspoon dried basil

1/2 cup grated low-fat mozzarella cheese

Salt and ground pepper, amounts to your taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease 9- by 13-inch baking pan with olive oil. Coat bottom of pan with about 1/4-inch of tomato sauce.

In large pot of salted water, boil pasta shells according to directions on package, until almost tender. Drain off that water and then add cold water to the pot. Let shells sit in cold water until ready to stuff them.

For the stuffing, steam the broccoli until tender, for about 5-8 minutes, then plunge it into cold water; then drain. Place cooked broccoli in food processor along with the ricotta, basil, salt and pepper. Puree until smooth.

Remove each shell from pot, then gently drain off any remaining water and spoon in generous portion of filling.

Place stuffed shells in baking pan and pour remaining tomato sauce over them. Sprinkle with grated Mozzarella and bake, uncovered, for about 30 minutes. Recipe yields four to six servings.




Recipe from Episcopal Church of the Holy Spirit’s 

Favorites for all Seasons

2 teaspoons olive oil

2 medium yellow onions, chopped

5 cloves garlic, pressed

1 red and 1 yellow bell pepper, chopped

12 ounces lentils

16 ounces frozen black-eyed peas

3 tablespoons chili powder

2 teaspoons oregano

1/2 teaspoon cumin

1/4 teaspoon white pepper

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

28 ounces crushed tomatoes

84 ounces water

1 (16-ounce) can black beans, drained

1 (16-ounces) can garbanzo beans, drained

1 (16-ounces) can dark red kidney beans, drained

1/2 teaspoon salt

In large kettle, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add onions,
garlic and red and yellow peppers. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 8-10 minutes, until vegetables are soft and fragrant.

While the vegetables are cooking, pour the dry lentils into a colander
and rinse thoroughly. Add lentils and black-eyed peas to the kettle. Add all remaining ingredients. Bring to a
boil and reduce heat to a simmer.
Cook for 30-40 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Flavor improves if made a day in advance. Recipe makes 16 servings.



Recipe from 

Calvary Church of the Nazarene’s 

A Harvest of Recipes

10 ounces frozen peas

1 cup diced celery

1 cup cauliflower, chopped into florets

1/4 cup diced green onion

2 tablespoons chopped pimentos

1/4 cup crisp bacon, crumbled

1/2 cup sour cream

1 cup buttermilk ranch dressing

1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1 small clove garlic, minced

Rinse peas in hot water. Combine vegetables, bacon and sour cream. Mix dressing, mustard and garlic together. Pour mixture over salad. Toss gently, then chill the salad.




Recipe from 

The Seventh Day Diet

1 bunch of fresh spinach, washed and stemmed, freshly chopped

1/2 cup chopped black olives

1/2 cucumber (peeled only if waxed), chopped

1/2 green bell pepper, cored, seeded and chopped

1 bunch green onions, chopped

1/2 cup chopped fresh mushrooms

1/2 cup cooked garbanzo beans

2 cups chopped tomatoes

1 cup chopped avocado


Salt (amount to your taste)

Whole wheat pita breads

Alfalfa sprouts for garnish

Lightly mix together all ingredients except pita bread and sprouts, using enough Cashonnaise to moisten. Stuff mixture into pita pockets and garnish with alfalfa sprouts. (Recipe fills four to six pita pockets.)

*Cashonnaise is a healthful mayonnaise substitute sold at health food stores.

Kitchen Kapers can be found every Friday in The Apopka Chief and every Thursday in The Planter