Disclosure: I am a member of the Collective Bias® Social Fabric® Community. This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias and their client.
It’s the second week of my participation in Mariano’s Live Heart Smart program designed to help customers lead a healthy lifestyle. During each phase of the program, I’ll learn how to make small changes that will help manage my blood pressure and put me on the right track to heart health. In week one, I took a store tour with a Mariano’s dietician and learned tips and tricks for ways to shop healthy by bringing the appropriate kind of products in to my home in the first place. You can find all of those tips in THIS post.
I was excited for this week because it was a COOKING CLASS! If you’ve seen some of my recent recipe posts, you will understand that I am a little kitchen-challenged when it comes to preparing dinners for my family. In this class, students would be taking last week’s product recommendations and actually put together a few different options for heart healthy dinners.
Heart health is a very important topic for me – I have a family history of heart disease and cardiac issues (my father had 13 years of cardiac problems before I lost him to his 4th heart attack at 62 years old), and I am a single parent. I want to be around for my daughters as long as possible, and taking care of my heart is a key component in that. While I don’t currently have blood pressure issues, I don’t know what “eating heart healthy” really means, and I am excited to learn.
Just so we all understand what we are talking about, blood pressure refers to the amount of force that is applied to your heart as blood circulates throughout your body. The systolic pressure (the first number) measures force when the heart contracts. The diastolic pressure (the second number) measures force when the heart is relaxed. According to Mariano’s literature, 67 million American adults have high blood pressure – that’s 1 of every 3! Yikes!
The class was led by one of the Mariano’s dietitians, and you can check out the entire experience here in my Google + album. There were 3 different dishes that were made, and I loved the Biscuit Chicken Pot Pie so much that I wanted to make it for my kids for dinner – that night!
You can see the ingredients in the picture above. My personalizations were:
- I used Gluten Free Bisquick because the sugar content was lower
- Replaced the peas and onions with a peas, carrots, corn and beans mixed veggies because those are my kids favorites.
- Used grapeseed oil instead of olive oil (has the same heart healthy fats but less sugar)
- We use almond milk instead of skim milk
- And instead of leftover chicken, I cooked 3 pounds of boneless, skinless chicken thighs and cut it in to one-inch pieces
This was the first time that I had ever made a sauce from scratch and I was a little apprehensive about the whole thing. I was also concerned that I didn’t have a pot to cook everything in that would then be able to go straight in to the oven. After a disastrous attempt at sauce in a too-large pan, I realized that I was going to need to make the sauce in a smaller pan and then transfer everything in to a larger pan farther in to the process. I’d also never made biscuits from scratch. I’m not sure if replacing the shortening with low salt butter (as the dietician recommended) or using the gluten-free mixture made a difference, but the texture looked very different from what I had seen in class earlier in the morning. Fingers crossed!! The handy recipe cards from Mariano’s were great, and I was able to follow the step-by-step instructions to put my dish together. Once everything was in my oven safe dish, I added my drop biscuits to the top and placed it in the oven.
While it didn’t exactly turn out the way the one that the Mariano’s dietician cooked, it still looked pretty good and it tasted AWESOME! My girls thought so as well!
Next week is my last week in the program, and I’ll get a one-on-one consultation with a dietician to go over strategies for maintaining a heart healthy lifestyle. I’m having a great time, utilizing this resource from Mariano’s and I continue to feel that they are a partner in my overall health goals.
Thank you to Colette Hansen, a Registered Dietician for the Mariano’s in Elmhurst, IL for teaching me (and a group of others) how to cook this super yummy, heart healthy dish for my family.
What are some of your favorite heart healthy dishes? Leave a comment and let’s share!
For more information on Mariano’s including recipes and food inspirations, check out their website at www.marianos.com
Mariano’s isn’t your average grocery store. Have you seen the recent Opera Flash Mob that they pulled off in the West Loop store. Amazing!