October 7, 2011 at 11:49 am , by Cassie Tucker
I never cook. I’m a busy college student—between classes and commuting to New York City for my internship here at LHJ, I just don’t have time. But this week, LHJ sent me into the kitchen. I got to go to the American Heart Association’s launch event for the Simple Cooking with Heart campaign. The AHA partnered with celebrity chef Marc Anthony Bynum (that’s him in the middle, with me on the left and editorial assistant Amelia Harnish on the right), a winner on the Food Network’s Chopped, to give a group of journalists a cooking class. After a quick lesson in knife skills, we made two of the easy, tasty and healthy recipes from the campaign to get families back into the kitchen.
On the menu was Asian-style noodles paired with Asian coleslaw. We started with the dressing for the coleslaw: low-sodium soy sauce, red pepper flakes, sugar, olive oil and vinegar. Then I learned how to seed a cucumber and the easiest way to chop a red pepper: just slice the sides off and throw away the rest. I felt like a real chef!
After that, we moved on to the noodles, which just took mixing ramen, chicken broth, a little bit of garlic, mixed vegetables (a bag of frozen is fine) and a lean cut of pork in a skillet. Bring to a boil. You can substitute any protein you want—chicken, beef, shrimp—and it’s still heart healthy. The whole thing took a little over 30 minutes.
Easy! After the cooking fun, I was able to bask, as well as feast, in my accomplishments. I wolfed down the meal I created and I realized I should definitely be cooking more. It felt good knowing that I had made something myself. If I can do it, you can, too. It’s fun, and a good way to slim down.
“Just getting back to home cooking can lead to healthier diets because restaurant foods are always higher in fat and sodium,” says Rachel K. Johnson, Ph.D., professor of nutrition at the University of Vermont and an AHA spokesperson.
Here are Dr. Johnson’s tips for getting back into the kitchen:
- Try new things to find good, simple recipes that the whole family enjoys.
- Make a shopping list to save time.
- Get your kids involved. They’re more likely to eat healthy food if they’ve participated in the kitchen.
You can find lots of quick, good-for-you recipes at the Simple Cooking with Heart website to get started (Click here and here for the recipes we made at the event). Head to their website, and commit to cooking more. It’s the first step to a healthier heart!