Today I'm joining a group of bloggers to help raise awareness of heart disease. The group was organized by Kim of Cravings of a Lunatic and Jen of Juanita's Cocina, both of whom have parents personally touched by the disease. Jen's stepfather suffered a heart attack and Kim lost her mother to the disease when she was only 15. In memory of Kim's mother, she and Jen asked that we share our own personal stories as well as a heart healthy recipe.
For the last 15 or so years of his life he took an increasing number of medications every morning. Meds to combat high blood pressure, high cholesterol, high blood sugar. He suffered a series of minor heart attacks and the doctor warned that a big one was coming. But he couldn't change his ways. He passed away of a massive coronary the day before I began my senior year of college.
Heart disease, of course, isn't solely governed by food but I do think it's an important component in controlling or at least, delaying, the onset. And I decided long ago that I wanted to get my medications from the produce aisle and not the pharmacy. My father believed that healthy food couldn't taste good but I've learned that it can and my love of cooking has helped me create many delicious, heart healthy recipes. I inherited my father's sense of humor, his thick hair and large eyes. I don't know if I also inherited his tendency towards heart disease but I plan to do my best to keep that at bay for many years to come and...so far, so good!
2 Tablespoons light butter
3 Tablespoons all purpose flour
1 Cup low fat milk
1 Cup low fat cheese, shredded (I used a Weight Watchers blend)
1/2 Cup quinoa
3/4 Cup water
4 Spears asparagus, washed and thinly sliced
2 Tablespoons seasoned panko breadcrumbs
1 Teaspoon olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
While the quinoa is cooking, melt the light butter in a large skillet and whisk in the flour. On medium low heat, whisk in the milk until the mixture has thickened and no lumps remain. Stir in the cheese and add the asparagus. Stir in the cooked quinoa and season to taste.
In a small bowl, add the breadcrumbs and olive oil and stir to combine. Pour the quinoa mixture into two individual oven-proof bowls (or one larger one) and top each with half the breadcrumb mixture. Bake in a pre-heated 400 degree oven for 20 minutes or until the breadcrumbs are golden brown. Makes 2 servings.
Please check out the other heart healthy offerings from our group:
Veggie Nachos by Dine & Dish
Sautéed Rataouille with Quinoa by Whipped