A healthy sweetheart meal

You don’t have to give up on the new, healthier you just to celebrate the holiday.

Celebrating Valentine’s Day often includes chocolate, cookies, candy and decadent meals. It can be tough for couples and families to enjoy the holiday while trying to watch their waistlines or keep their New Year’s resolutions to make healthier choices. You don’t have to give up on the new, healthier you just to celebrate the holiday. Try this delicious, healthy meal at home to share with your friends, family and sweetheart.

Bacon, lettuce and tomato bruschetta

8 to 10 slices turkey bacon, cooked crispy and crumbled
3 to 4 plump Roma tomatoes, seeded and chopped (about 1½ cups)
1 cup chopped leafy green lettuce
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil leaves
1 clove garlic, minced
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground pepper
About 1/3 cup olive oil
1 loaf French bread, cut in ¼-inch slices
1/3 cup crumbled cheese, such as blue cheese or feta (optional)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a medium bowl, stir together all ingredients except the olive oil and bread. Set aside. Brush oil on both sides of the bread slices and place them on a baking sheet. Bake the bread slices, turning once, for 7 minutes per side or until crisp and golden brown. Let cool. Spoon about 1 tablespoon of topping on each piece of toasted bread. Or you can serve the topping in a small bowl surrounded by the toasted bread.

Cashew Asparagus

1 pound fresh asparagus
1½ cups fresh button mushrooms (optional)
1 medium onion, cut into thin wedges
¼ cup red bell pepper, chopped
1 teaspoon butter
1 teaspoon corn starch
¼ teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons teriyaki sauce
1 tablespoon water
2 tablespoons cashew halves

Snap off and discard the bases of the asparagus spears. Cut each spear crosswise into one-inch spears. Use a steamer basket in a pan to steam the asparagus for two minutes. Add mushrooms, onion and pepper to the basket; cover and steam for 2 to 5 minutes more. Remove vegetables from the basket and discard the liquid. Melt butter in a saucepan, then stir in corn starch and black pepper. Add the teriyaki sauce and water. Cook, stirring frequently, until the sauce is thickened and bubbly. Add the vegetables to the sauce in the pan and toss to coat. Top with cashews.

Chicken breast with tarragon

4 4-ounce chicken breasts
1/3 cup flour
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon paprika
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 to 3 shallots, sliced
8 ounces sliced mushrooms
1 to 2 cloves garlic, minced
½ cup white wine or vegetable or chicken broth
Tarragon, thyme, parsley or your favorite herbs

In a small bowl, mix flour with salt, pepper and paprika. Coat the chicken breasts in the flour mixture. Heat olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Sauté the chicken until golden brown, about two minutes on each side. Remove chicken from the  pan, place it on a platter and keep it warm. Add butter, shallots and mushrooms to the sauté pan. Cook until the vegetables are softened. Add the white wine or broth and cook until the liquid has reduced by half. Add the garlic. Scrape the browned bits from the bottom of the pan with a whisk, smoothing the sauce while stirring. Add the chopped fresh herbs. Return the chicken to the pan and heat thoroughly, about 3 or 4 minutes. Garnish with additional fresh herbs and serve.

Guilt-Free Peanut Butter Pie

1 chocolate cookie pie crust
1 package instant French vanilla sugar-free pudding mix
1¾ cups skim milk
1 tablespoons peanut butter
Low-fat whipped topping

Combine the milk and pudding mix with an electric mixer or whisk. Stir in the peanut butter (mixture will be thick). Spread the mixture in the pie crust. Spread whipped topping over the top. Refrigerate for 2 hours before serving.

Nutrition information per serving

Bacon, lettuce and tomato bruschetta (10 servings)
68 calories; 5 g total fat; 6 g carbohydrates; 2 g protein

Cashew asparagus (4 servings)
105 calories; 6 g total fat; 11 g carbohydrates; 5 g protein

Chicken breast with tarragon (4 servings)
265 calories; 11 g total fat; 5 g carbohydrates; 29 g protein

Peanut Butter Pie (6 servings)
195 calories; 11 g total fat; 19 g carbohydrates; 6 g protein


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