Cooking is not something that comes naturally - it's a skill that's developed over time…
Instead of doing a “My Top Posts for 2013″ like so many other bloggers, I decided to recap the year by making a collection on Foodie.com of a cross-section of recipes that represent how delicious and varied a heart healthy, low sodium diet can be because I literally have never done a year-end recap. Another reason why I often think of myself as an anti-blogger – I’m just not like all the rest. Can’t help it – I’ve always been a rebel at heart.
I’m calling the collection “Stay Healthy All Year – Heart Healthy, Low Sodium Recipes”. The title probably doesn’t have your mouth watering, but it’s very straightforward and definitely reflects what you’ll find here at She’s Cookin’. I tried to pick a few dishes for each season, a couple were among my most popular posts and some were recipes I felt didn’t get near the love they should have. I hope you enjoy them and that the recipes come in handy at some point in your kitchen cooking capers in 2014. See one you like? Click on the name for the recipe
Let’s start off with the recipes that were not in my top 10 most popular for the year, but are so darn good they deserve another go:
Zesty grilled shrimp combines with stir-fried vegetables and wheat-free noodles tossed with a bright, fresh Lime Sauce with a dash coconut aminos for a quick, nutritious gluten-free, kid-friendly dinner. Even low sodium soy sauce is very high in sodium, so Coconut Aminos are my go-to substitute for soy sauce – tamari works if you are looking for simply gluten free, but it is also very high in sodium. Shiritake noodles are made from yam which makes this a paleo friendly dish as well.
This recipe was created for an Olympic Tapas Party and with the winter Olympics coming up, I think it deserves the spotlight again. Elegant and party-worthy grilled eggplant wrapped around a savory, yogurt cheese stuffing showcases culinary influences from Greece, Italy in the arrabbiata-style sauce, and North Africa in the nuts and dried fruits of the creamy stuffing.
The meals you have while traveling can be some of your most memorable; the good, the bad, and the divine (did you think I was going to say ugly – I lump that in with bad!). Memorable meals in an exotic or foreign land spark a vivid awakening of the senses and I love trying to recreate them in my own kitchen once we’re settled back in our home routine. It’s an excellent way to relive those special times, too. This is one of those meals. After a harrowing journey and missing one whole day in Cannes, the gracious concierge at the Carlton made reservations for us at the popular seafood restaurant Gaston Gastounette where we both ordered the Sea Bream (a mild white fish characterized by it’s flat shape) on a bed of polenta with Provencal vegetables. Sublime. And then strolling along La Croisette, moonlight sparkling on the indigo expanse of the Bay of Cannes. Have a minute? Gaze at these beautiful scenes from Cannes.
Growing up in the South – cornbread is King! And even though I live in fast-paced southern Cali now, it’s a favorite in my house. It’s not too sweet and is light and fluffy even though I use sodium-free baking powder. (Regular baking powder has loads of sodium – read the label, it is a tad misleading because the serving size given is for 1/8 of a teaspoon – what recipe calls for 1/8 of a teaspoon of baking powder!) Easy to make – delicious warm out of the oven, toasted, with jelly or butter or just plain with a glass of milk. Especially when College Girl is home, you’ll find us eating cornbread for breakfast, lunch, dinner or a snack.
Kale is so ubiquitous now that’s its on the menu of nearly every restaurant that has salad offerings – even tiny seafood “shacks” like Fishing With Dynamite in Manhattan Beach where I had a killer seafood lunch today. Here, the super green food receives somewhat of a wilted salad treatment when topped with caramelized onion and butternut squash. You’ll feel more virile and energized with every mouthful! This recipe has enjoyed popularity on Pinterest which I’m super happy about ‘cuz it really is better than your average kale salad.
A delicious vegan dish that celebrates the glory of Spring with fresh, crisp asparagus and sugar snap peas. Also excellent with green beans when summer’s bounty arrives. This is one of six recipes I created for the Idaho Potato Commission and I was thrilled with the results. It is a twist on a popular coastal Ligurian (northwestern Italy) dish where the pairing of pasta and potatoes, usually with green beans, is a traditional favorite.
A nod to the ham and beans with cornbread that I grew up with in the South; here pork shank replaces ham for a low sodium alternative while still offering warm, satisfying comfort on a wintry day. This stew wins double bonus points for being economical and nutritious. It also ranked #5 in my stats for most clicks this year.
Overflowing with the vibrant colors, flavors and textures of leeks, gai lan, red pepper, and roasted cauliflower, this nutritious loaded potato makes a perfect Meatless Monday or busy weeknight meal. A testament to America’s love affair with the potato, this easy recipe puts to rest the idea that a potato is fattening. It’s not the potato, folks – it’s what you put on it! The Fully-Loaded Baked Potato was #4 on the list of most popular posts in 2013.
Wild salmon is paired with blueberries in this quick and easy dish dressed in a silken blueberry balsamic sauce for a delicious combination of sweet & savory. Salmon is also an excellent source of vitamin D (more than a cup of milk) and omega 3 fatty acids which have been shown to lower the chance of sudden cardiac death and the risk of a first heart attack. I’m a seafood lover through and through and I crave salmon, particularly wild Alaskan Copper River salmon which has a very short season, but there is absolutely nothing wrong with buying previously frozen salmon from a reputable fish market – look for King, Coho, and Sockeye salmon.
Last but certainly not least, Ina Garten’s Lemon Chicken Breast has been my #2 post for two years running. Second only to Strawberry Jello Shots! Loved by low carb, low fat, gluten free, and paleo diet enthusiasts alike, it’s no-fuss main that’s perfect for entertaining or a weeknight dinner – no wonder it’s Ina’s favorite dish from her book Barefoot Contessa “how easy is that”.
Considering that simple+ seasonal, heart healthy, low sodium recipes are my specialty, I have many more where these came from and will continue to add them to this collection. You can join Foodie.com and create your own collections and save delectable recipes from all the amazing contributors. Check it out! And good luck with your health, weight and fitness goals for 2014
And, for your cheat day, I’ll share THE most popular post on She’s Cookin’ for the past two years: Strawberry Lime Margarita Jello Shots.
Disclosure: This healthy post was sponsored by Glam Media. Any opinions expressed are my own.