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Skip the crowded, over-priced restaurants this Valentine’s Day and create a romantic heart-healthy meal right in your own home. Fennel and white bean purée makes a creamy bed for seared trout that is topped with a brilliant winter citrus salad. Follow dinner with a decadent chocolate pot containing a secret ingredient that is good for your heart. This Instagram-worthy meal will get you extra points for cooking like a pro – it will be our little secret how easy it was.

While cooking together can be an excellent date night activity, not everyone wants to be in the kitchen on Valentine’s Day. An easy solution: Make the fennel purée, winter citrus salad and chocolate pots a day ahead of time and refrigerate until ready to reheat or serve. Only the quick-cooking fish needs to be prepared right before serving.

Seared Trout with Fennel Purée and Winter Citrus Salad

Dessert

Fennel Purée

Fennel purée’s creaminess comes from heart-healthy canned beans. Make sure to look for beans that have no salt added. Refrigerate any leftover beans and add them to your next salad or soup.

Ingredients

1 small fennel bulb, about 1 cup chopped, with stems and fronds
½ small onion
1 clove of garlic
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 can white beans, no salt added

Directions

  1. Slice the bottom off the fennel bulb and remove stems and fronds, reserving for the Winter Citrus Salad. Add fennel bulb, onion and garlic to the bowl of a food processor and pulse until finely minced.

  1. Heat oil in a medium-sized pot over medium low heat. Add minced fennel mixture and sweat (cook without browning) until very soft, 12-15 minutes. If the mixture starts to brown before everything is soft, turn down the heat or add a couple splashes of water rather than more oil. Allow cooked mixture to cool slightly.
  2. Drain can of beans, reserving the liquid. Wipe out the food processor bowl and add the fennel mixture. Measure 1 cup of drained beans and 4 tablespoons reserved bean liquid and add to the food processor. Purée mixture, stopping to scrape down the sides, until completely smooth. If you prefer a thinner purée, add more bean liquid until you reach the desired consistency. Refrigerate remaining beans for another use.
  3. If eating right away, add purée to a clean pot and gently heat, stirring occasionally so the bottom does not burn. Season to taste with freshly ground pepper and salt. Alternatively, add purée to a covered microwave safe bowl and refrigerate until ready to use. Microwave in short intervals to reheat, stirring in between. Serve hot.

Serves: 2
Serving Size: about ½ cup.

Nutrition

Calories 163 Total Fat 6 g
Saturated Fat 1 g Monounsaturated Fat 3 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0 g Trans Fat 0 g
Cholesterol 0 mg Sodium 63 mg
Potassium 461 mg Total Carbohydrate 22 g
Dietary Fiber 7 g Sugars 2 g
Protein 7 g

Winter Citrus Salad

Jewel-like citrus segments create a flavorful salad that makes a bright contrast to rich ingredients.

Tip: Save the citrus membranes and squeeze any remaining juice into seltzer for a refreshing drink.

Ingredients

1 cup citrus segments from grapefruit, navel or blood oranges
Stems and fronds of one fennel bulb
½ teaspoon white balsamic vinegar
½ teaspoon honey
2 teaspoons red onion, finely minced

Directions

  1. To supreme (segment) your citrus, begin by cutting the rind off the top and bottom of your fruit, creating a flat, stable surface. Using a thin knife, cut off the rest of the rind and any white pith. Cut out the individual segments, leaving behind the membrane.
  2. Select thinnest fennel stems and slice into 2 tablespoons of very thin rounds.
  3. Add citrus segments, sliced fennel stems, vinegar, honey and red onion to a small bowl. Stir to combine, cover and refrigerate until ready to use. When serving use a slotted spoon to leave any accumulated juice behind. Garnish with reserved fennel fronds.

Serves: 2
Serving Size: about ½ cup.

Nutrition

Calories 56 Total Fat 0 g
Saturated Fat 0 g Monounsaturated Fat 0 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0 g Trans Fat 0 g
Cholesterol 0 mg Sodium 0 mg
Potassium 161 mg Total Carbohydrate 14 g
Dietary Fiber 2 g Sugars 10 g
Protein 1 g

Seared Trout

Steelhead trout is nutritious, delicious and looks surprisingly similar to salmon. If you can’t find it or prefer a different fish, feel free to make a substitution.

Ingredients

1 teaspoon olive oil
2 4 ounce steelhead trout fillets, skin on
Optional: cracked black pepper and kosher salt

Directions

  1. Heat oil in a non-stick or well-seasoned cast iron pan over medium heat. Pat fish fillets completely dry and if desired, season with freshly ground pepper and a pinch of kosher salt.
  2. Carefully add fillets, skin side down, to the hot pan. Use a spatula to firmly press down on the fillets to keep the skin from curling and help the skin brown evenly. Cook for 5-6 minutes or until skin is well browned. Adjust heat as necessary to make sure it is browning or to keep from burning. Flip fish over and cook for an additional 2-4 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fillets, or until cooked through. Serve immediately.

Serves: 2
Serving Size: 1 fillet.

Nutrition

Calories 180 Total Fat 9 g
Saturated Fat 0 g Monounsaturated Fat 2 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0 g Trans Fat 0 g
Cholesterol 67 mg Sodium 58 mg
Potassium 428 mg Total Carbohydrate 0 g
Dietary Fiber 0 g Sugars 0 g
Protein 23 g

Creamy Chocolate Pots

Ready for the secret ingredient? Nutrient packed avocado! Puréed avocado creates an outrageously creamy mousse-like texture without the extra work.

Ingredients

1 medium avocado, very ripe
3 tablespoons low fat milk or milk substitute
2-3 tablespoons honey, alternatively use maple syrup
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons cocoa powder, unsweetened
⅛ teaspoon cinnamon powder
1 tiny pinch of salt
Optional: fresh berries and reduced fat whipped cream for serving

Directions

  1. Scrape avocado flesh into the bowl of a food processor. Add milk, honey, vanilla, cocoa powder, cinnamon and salt. Process until completely smooth, pausing to scrape down the sides as needed. Scrape purée into 2 serving dishes, cover and refrigerate until completely cold, several hours or overnight. Serve cold, topped with berries and whipped cream if desired.

Serves: 2
Serving Size: about ½ cup.

Nutrition

Calories 206 Total Fat 12 g
Saturated Fat 2 g Monounsaturated Fat 7 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1 g Trans Fat 0 g
Cholesterol 1 mg Sodium 53 mg
Potassium 376 mg Total Carbohydrate 28 g
Dietary Fiber 6 g Sugars 19 g
Protein 2 g
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