Heart-Smart Summer Recipes from the Garden

Jul 24, 2018
notebook w ith "yum" written on it surrounded by fresh vegetables

One of the best things about summer is fresh food from gardens and farms. Even if you’re not a gardener, you can get home-grown fruits and veggies from farmers markets and roadside stands, enjoying different kinds of produce as they ripen and become available. There are few foods that can beat fresh fruits and vegetables for flavor, nutrition, and versatility, so here are some wonderful “heart smart” recipes from the National Institutes of Health to make a garden-fresh summer meal for your family and friends.

Zucchini Lasagna

Zucchini is one of summer’s most abundant gifts, so this recipe helps make the most of the harvest.

Servings: 6

1/2 pound lasagna noodles, cooked in unsalted water

3/4 cup mozzarella cheese, part-skim, grated

1 1/2 cups cottage cheese*, fat free

1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated

1 1/2 cups raw zucchini, sliced

2 1/2 cups tomato sauce, no salt added

2 teaspoons basil, dried

2 teaspoons oregano, dried

1/4 cup onion, chopped

1 clove garlic

1/8 teaspoon black pepper

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Lightly spray a 9 x 13-inch baking dish with vegetable oil spray.

In a small bowl, combine 1/8 cup mozzarella and 1 tablespoon Parmesan cheese. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine the remaining mozzarella and Parmesan cheese with the cottage cheese. Mix well and set aside.

Combine tomato sauce with remaining ingredients.

In the baking dish, spread a thin layer of tomato sauce. In a single layer, add one third of the noodles. Over the noodles, spread half of the cottage cheese mixture. Add a layer of zucchini. Repeat layering.

Add a thin coating of sauce. Top with noodles, sauce, and reserved cheese mixture. Cover with aluminum foil.

Bake for 30-40 minutes. Cool for 10 to 15 minutes. Cut into 6 portions.

Nutrition information per serving: 276 calories; 5 g fat (2 g saturated); 11 mg cholesterol; 380 mg sodium; 5 g fiber; 19 g protein; 41 g carbohydrates; 561 mg potassium.

*Use unsalted cottage cheese to reduce the sodium content to 196 mg per serving.

Parmesan Green Beans

These green beans are so tasty you will make them again and again.

Servings: 4 (1 cup each)

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 teaspoon garlic, minced (about 1 clove or 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder)

1 small onion, thinly sliced (about 1/2 cup)

2 cups (16 ounces) fresh or frozen green beans

1 cup low-sodium chicken broth

1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

In a large saucepan, combine olive oil and garlic. Cook over medium heat until garlic is soft, but not browned (about 30 seconds).

Add onion and continue to cook for about 5 minutes over medium heat.

Add green beans and chicken broth and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer for 2 minutes until the beans are heated through.

Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and pepper. Serve hot.

Nutrition information per serving: 95 calories (1 gm saturated); 4 mg cholesterol; 117 mg sodium; 3 g fiber; 5 g protein; 9 g carbohydrates.

1-2-3 Peach Cobbler

Try this healthier, mouth-watering take on a classic favorite.

Servings: 8

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

2 tablespoons cornstarch

1 cup peach nectar

1 3/4 pounds fresh peaches, sliced or two 16-ounce cans peaches, packed in juice, drained

1/4 cup pineapple or peach juice (can use juice from canned peaches)

1 tablespoon margarine

1 cup dry pancake mix

2/3 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup sugar

2/3 cup evaporated skim milk

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1 tablespoon brown sugar

Nonstick cooking spray, as needed

Heat the oven to 400 F. Lightly spray an 8 x 8-inch glass dish with cooking spray.

Combine cinnamon, vanilla, cornstarch, peach nectar, and pineapple or peach juice in saucepan over medium heat. Stir constantly until mixture thickens and bubbles.

Add sliced peaches to mixture. Reduce heat and simmer for 5-10 minutes.

In another saucepan, melt margarine and set aside.

In a glass baking dish, pour peach mixture.

In another bowl, combine pancake mix, flour, sugar, and melted margarine. Stir in the milk. Quickly spoon this mixture over the peach mixture.

Combine nutmeg and brown sugar. Sprinkle on top of batter.

Bake at 400 F for 15-20 minutes, or until golden brown. Cool and cut into 8 squares.

Nutritional information per serving: 271 calories; 4 g fat (less than 1 g saturated fat); less than 1 mg cholesterol; 263 mg sodium; 54 g carbohydrates; 2 g fiber; 4 g protein; 284 mg potassium.

These are just three of the dozens of heart-smart recipes available from the NIH. Check out more and cook up a heart-healthy summer!

For information about Countryside, please call Margaret Nagel at (517) 206-5000 or download our brochure to learn about our care levels, cost, and amenities.

assisted living near me

Subscribe to our blog.

Recent Posts

5 Things to Look for in an Independent Living Community

An independent living community can be the perfect retirement solution when you choose the right senior living community. That’s why it is so important to thoroughly vet your options before making your choice. One of the best ways to do that is by touring independent...

Four Wonderful Things to Expect in an Independent Living Community

Retirement is the time of life to really make every day one to remember, whether it’s traveling, revisiting an old hobby, relaxing at home with friends and family, writing a book, or taking classes just to learn something new. All those things you never had time for...

What Is Independent Living?

Retirement brings with it many decisions, not the least of which is where to live. For many older adults, independent living is the perfect choice because it has all the benefits of a home without all the costs and hassles of home ownership. But others may not...

Do You Have Caregiver Burnout? 6 Ways Assisted Living Helps

Being a caregiver can be a fulfilling way to honor an aging parent or loved one, but it can also become an overwhelming job as time goes on. The daily tasks, worries, and responsibilities of caregiving can ultimately result in caregiver burnout, a real and very...

Michigan Senior Living: The Complete Guide for 2022

Ready to find your forever home in Michigan? You’re in luck! Few states come close to the natural beauty, affordability and high quality of life found in Pure Michigan. No matter what type of retirement community you’re looking for, you can find it here — if you know...

What the Best Michigan Memory Care Residences Have to Offer

For seniors with Alzheimer’s and dementia, memory loss can be jarring, lonely and even anger-inducing. They may be unable to remember basic facts, like what year it is, their location or a loved one’s name, all of which can contribute to feelings of a lost identity....

Top Qualities of the Best Retirement Communities in Michigan

Entering your golden years can be an exhilarating adventure, or it can be a stressful, uncertain transition. For most people, the difference comes down to whether or not they feel secure and supported in their new phase of life. Finding a retirement community that...

Assisted Living in Michigan: Everything You Need to Know

What happens when seniors can no longer live comfortably at home? Some people think that being unable to live alone means that a senior should enter nursing care, but that’s not necessarily true. The reality is that there are several living options in between total...

Share This