Archive for the ‘Heart Healthy Recipes’ Category

5 Minute Oatmeal

Oatmeal is one of the healthiest foods you can make for breakfast. Studies have shown that it can help reduce cholesterol. It is loaded with fiber and high quality complex carbohydrate. Make sure when you buy oatmeal that you buy whole oats – not instant oats. Instant oats are pre-cooked and much of the fiber and nutrients are lost in the process. Also I prefer rolled oats, not steel cut oats. Besides the fact that I prefer the flavor of rolled oats over steel cut oats, it’s been my experience that steel cut oats takes 20 – 30 minutes to cook, while it only takes 5 minutes to cook rolled oats.

You can add toppings to your oatmeal to make a more delicious meal. I try to keep a supply of frozen fruit and berries, plus some fresh fruit like apples or bananas. Blueberries are great because they are loaded with antioxidants. Other good toppings are all natural apple butter (made without sugar), unsweetened shredded coconut and raw nuts (raw almonds, pecans or walnuts – halves or chopped). Remember to always use raw, uncooked nuts and natural products made without sugar. Roasting nuts introduces trans fats which are bad for you. Raw nuts contain good, healthy fats.

5 Minute Oatmeal

  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup old fashioned oats (not quick oats)
  • Dash salt
  • Sweeten with Stevia Extract, Raw Honey or Blue Agave Syrup

Optional, but very beneficial:

  • 1 tbsp Rice Bran
  • 1 tbsp Milled Flaxseed

Add water to saucepan. Add salt to water, then stir briefly and add oats. Bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer for about 5 minutes stirring occasionally. Oatmeal will be cooked when starch has formed around edges and oatmeal has thickened. Add dry goods – rice bran, milled flaxseed and dry sweetener to a dry bowl, mix together then add cooked oatmeal. Add toppings and enjoy!

Toppings / Combinations:

  • Apple butter with a dash of cinnamon plus chopped raw almonds, pecans or walnuts
  • Apple slices with a dash of cinnamon
  • Peach slices with ground nutmeg / cloves
  • Banana slices with unsweetened shredded coconut
  • Blueberries, blackberries, strawberries – fresh or frozen

Start by adding water to a saucepan, then add a dash of salt.

Stir to dissolve the salt, then add the oats, stirring them as you add them. Turn on a high flame after adding the oats.

Note: You can measure the oats according to the recipe, but, to me, making oatmeal is a little bit like making plaster. When making plaster you gradually add plaster to an amount of water until the plaster just comes up to the level of the water. When I make oatmeal I will add oats until they are just below the level of the water by a certain margin that I have gotten used to.


Stir, then bring the mixture to a boil. Turn down the flame and keep stirring to keep the bottom part from sticking to the pan. The oatmeal will be cooked when it has thickened and starch has formed. You can see the starch forming when the fiberous part of the oats break down.

I like to add a tablespoon of rice bran and a tablespoon of milled flaxseed plus a little Stevia extract for sweetening. Stevia is more healthy than sugar. Instead of adding the rice bran and flaxseed to the bowl, sometimes I will just add it to the cooked oatmeal in the pan.

After adding the cooked oatmeal to the bowl I will add toppings. One of my favorite topping combinations is shredded coconut and banana.

Another great topping combination is all natural apple butter (made without sugar) and ground cinnamon. I use about a tablespoon of apple butter. You can also sprinkle some chopped raw almonds or pecans or walnuts for a crunchy texture.

You can always serve it plain – without toppings…

Or you can simply add some fresh or frozen berries … here it is with some bluberries – one of my favorite toppings.

Turkey Soup

This is a great recipe for turkey soup that you can make when roasting a turkey. Instead of throwing away the carcass, you can easily make this delicious and healthy soup. You can vary the amounts of the ingredients to make it brothy and light or more concentrated with more vegetables. It takes about 2 to 3 hours to make, so plan on a long day when roasting a turkey. You can either make this soup with the carcass alone, or you can completely de-bone the entire turkey and dice the meat for sandwiches and use all the bones.

Turkey Soup Ingredients:

  • 1 carcass from a roasted turkey
  • 1 – 2 lb carrots
  • 1/2 – 1 lb celery
  • 1 – 2 large onions
  • 2 – 4 bay leaves
  • 1 1/2 – 3 tsp thyme
  • 2 – 4 cloves garlic – chopped
  • 1 – 2 1/2 gallons water
  • 1/4 – 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 2 – 3 tsp salt


When roasting a turkey, plan for making the soup with the carcass to avoid wasting it. When you begin carving the turkey, add water to a 1 to 3 gallon pot and place on stove and turn up flame to get water boiling. Note the range of ingredients and that you can vary the soup somewhere between a light, brothy style or a hardier style with more vegetables. You can make it to your liking. Simply add more or less ingredients according to the ranges in the ingredients list. Use the larger amounts of ingredients when using the larger amount of water (and a larger pot), or use fewer carrots, celery and onions with the larger amount of water for a brothier soup. Use the smaller amounts when a more concentrated variety is desired. Either way, it will be good.

When the water starts to boil, add the turkey carcass and all the bones to the heating water. Next, add the bay leaves. In the meantime, chop the carrots, celery and onion, then add the chopped vegetables to the water. Then add the thyme, pepper and salt. Cover and return to a boil, then lower the flame and keep it at a low boil for about 2 hours.

After a couple of hours, check the water level and add more water as needed to replace any that gets boiled off. Also check the meat on the bones. Somewhere between 2 1/2 and 3 hours, all the meat should be falling off the bones.

When the soup has finished cooking, use a pair of kitchen tongs to separate all the bones and place them into a strainer over a plate. After the bones have drained, pour the strained soup back into the pot, then separate all the meat from the bones and add it to the soup.

Shown below is a shot of all the ingredients: carrots, celery and onions, garlic cloves, bay leaves, thyme, salt and pepper.

Add water to a pot, then turn on the flame to bring water to a boil. While the water is heating, chop the vegetables. I am using a food processor to speed things up.

Shown below is a shot of the pot with the water before boiling.

When the water begins to boil, add the carcass and all the turkey bones to the water. I added a little meat from the neck in this example…

Add all the vegetables, the chopped garlic and bay leaves to the water, then add the thyme, salt and pepper. Bring everything to a boil, then lower the flame to a low boil and cover and allow to cook for a couple of hours.

After a couple of hours, check the soup and see how the meat is softening on the bones. Add more water if necessary to replace any that gets boiled away. I usually have to continue cooking for another hour.

After an hour or so, check the soup again. It will be done when the meat is falling off the bones.

Turn off the heat and pull the bones out of the soup with some kitchen tongs. Place them into a strainer over a plate. Pour the strained soup back into the pot, then separate all the meat from the bones and add it to the soup. At this point you can also skim off the fat that floats to the top of the soup.

Use a soup ladle and serve hot. Store excess in 2 qt Mason jars in the refrigerator for later.

Roast Turkey

Making a roast turkey is very easy to do. We cook a lot of turkey in our household because it is a good source of protein and it can be used in a variety of dishes. Most of the time is spent cooking. It is not as hard as it looks.

Start by obtaining a whole bird and make sure it is completely thawed, first. Note its weight and plan for a cooking time according to the table below:

Net Weight Unstuffed (Hrs.) Stuffed (Hrs.)
14 – 16 Lbs. 3 – 3 ½ Hrs. 3 ½ – 3 ¾ Hrs.
16 – 18 Lbs. 3 ½ – 3 ¾ Hrs. 3 ¾ – 4 Hrs.
18 – 20 Lbs. 3 ¾ – 4 Hrs. 4 – 4 ½ Hrs.
20 – 22 Lbs. 4 – 4 ½ Hrs. 4 ½ – 5 Hrs.
22 – 24 Lbs. 4 ½ – 5 Hrs. 5 – 5 ½ Hrs.


Note: the actual cooking time may vary from this chart. The turkey will be done when the temperature in the deepest part of the thigh reaches 180° and when the juices are clear when the thigh muscle is carved (not reddish pink).

Shown below is a shot of the ingredients that I use to prepare the turkey before roasting: olive oil, sage, thyme, a brush and a cooking thermometer.

I will add about 1/4 cup of olive oil to a small dish (shown above), then I will add about 2 – 3 tsp of thyme and about 1 to 1 1/2 tsp of sage to the dish.

Rinse the cavities of the bird with fresh water and clean them out. Remove the neck and giblet pack. Place the turkey in a roasting pan breast side up and arrange the neck and giblets in a free space in the pan.

Preheat the oven to 325°.

Brush the skin with the oil and spice mix. This will prevent drying of the skin and will add flavor. Optionally, lightly salt the skin after brushing the oil and spice mix.

Insert the thermometer in the deepest part of the thigh without touching the bone.

Shown below is a shot of the prepared turkey, ready to cook. By now, the oven should be ready.

Place the roasting pan and turkey in the oven so the thermometer is visible, close the door and set a timer for about 2/3rds of the amount of cooking time. In this case I am cooking an 18 lb. unstuffed bird, so I will set the timer for about 2 hours and 45 minutes.

After the turkey has been cooking for about 2/3rds of the cooking time, cover the breast with a piece of aluminum foil to keep from overcooking the breast.

Close the door and set the timer for about 30 minutes less than the remaining cooking time. Check it at that time to make sure you don’t overcook. Continue cooking until it is done, checking it every 10 or 15 minutes. When the thermometer reaches 180°, the bird is done.

Shown below is a shot of the finished turkey. It is ready to carve.

After carving the turkey, you can make a delicious soup from the carcass. That way you don’t waste anything.