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Healthy Cooking for American Heart Month - MyHighPlains.com

6 min read

Slow Cooker Mexican Chicken Soup

This entrée soup has all the makings of traditional Mexican cuisine, highlighting the flavors of cilantro, lime, tomatoes, and chili powder. Enjoy with corn tortillas.

Nutrition Facts:

  • Calories 232 Per Serving
  • Protein 28g Per Serving
  • Fiber 4g Per Serving

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts (all visible fat discarded)
  • 1 lb baby carrots
  • 1 medium onion (chopped)
  • 1 medium potato, chopped into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 medium bell pepper (chopped)
  • 1 can no salt added, diced tomatoes (undrained)
  • 1 can no salt added tomato sauce
  • Juice from 1 medium lime
  • 1 Tbsp chopped, fresh cilantro
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 4 medium garlic cloves (minced)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 4 cups fat-free, low-sodium chicken broth

Directions:

In a large bowl, stir together all the ingredients except the broth. Transfer the mixture to a 1-gallon re-sealable plastic freezer bag. Place the bag flat in the freezer and freeze.

Directions for Cooking:

Slow Cooker - Thaw the bag overnight in the refrigerator. Pour the contents of the bag into a slow cooker. Pour in the broth, stirring to combine. Cook, covered, on low for 6 to 8 hours, or until the vegetables are tender and the chicken is no longer pink in the center. Just before serving, transfer the chicken to a cutting board. Using a fork shred the chicken. Stir the shredded chicken back into the soup.

Electric Pressure Cooker – You can either prep as above or place all ingredients in electric pressure cooker and cook at the chicken setting for 20 minutes and natural release steam.

While February is best known for Valentine’s Day, did you know that it is also American Heart Month? This February, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service recommends giving your heart love, too, by being aware of heart problems and the steps you can take to prevent them. Coronary Heart Disease (CHD) is the leading cause of death in the United States, accounting for 610,000 deaths each year, according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC). The root cause of heart disease is plaque formation and buildup that occurs when coronary arteries become clogged by cholesterol, fatty deposits, and calcium. Buildup causes arteries to become narrow, making it difficult for oxygen and blood to flow through the body and to the organs. Anyone is at risk for developing heart disease. However, people who have high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and smoke cigarettes are at higher risk. According to the CDC, about 47% of Americans have at least one of these risk factors.

Additional factors that contribute to the progression of the disease include:

• Diabetes

• Being overweight or obese

• Poor diet

• Physical inactivity

• Excessive alcohol use

• Having a family history of heart disease

Age, especially in women 55 and older

Extension recommends taking preventative measures by becoming aware of risk factors and consulting with a doctor on a regular basis. Developing a treatment plan with a physician can help stabilize blood pressure, blood sugar, and blood cholesterol levels.

Other preventative measures include:

• Eating a healthy diet that includes fruits and vegetables

• Being physically active

• Stopping the use of cigarettes

• Limiting alcohol intake

• Reducing sodium intake

When it comes to pursuing a healthy lifestyle, try incorporating heart-healthy foods into your diets such as green, leafy vegetables, avocados, whole grains, and seeds.

The Heart Healthy Cooking School will be on February 5th from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Annex in Dalhart, 400 Denver Ave. The cost is free and space is limited to 20 participants. For reservations call 806-244-4434.



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