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Super Simple Low Sodium Cooking with Culinary Expert Cindy Kleckner

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May is almost here and it will be High Blood Pressure Education Month. I was thrilled to spend some time with culinary expert Cindy Kleckner, registered dietitian nutritionist, and co-author with Rosanne Rust of Hypertension Cookbook For Dummies.

One in three people suffer from high blood pressure (hypertension) and can greatly benefit from reducing sodium in the diet. The average American consumes almost 3,400 mg of sodium per day. The recommendation is 1,500 mg and the upper limit is 2,300 mg per day.

Interestingly the majority of sodium does NOT come from added salt at the table or in cooking but from processed packaged foods and food consumed away from home in restaurants and fast food places.

Years ago I learned that fish is “nature’s fast food” because as you will see it IS fast. Watch as you see my good friend Cindy whip up a fabulous dish! Sea Scallops with Pistachio Sauce placed on top of Sweet Potato Mash. Recipes are below.

Seared Scallops with Pistachio Sauce

 Ingredients:

1½ pounds large sea scallops

1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, divided

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

¼ cup chopped unsalted pistachios

1 Tbsp unsalted butter

Instructions:

  1. Dry the scallops well with paper towels, removing as much water as possible.   Heat ½ Tbsp of the olive oil on high in a large nonstick skillet.
  2. Add half of the scallops and sauté without turning them until they’re well browned, about 2 minutes.  Turn the scallops and cook until the sides are firm and the centers are opaque.
  3. Transfer the scallops to a plate and place a piece of aluminum foil loosely covering the plate.  Repeat with the remaining oil and scallops.  Transfer to the plate.
  4. Add the chopped pistachios and butter to the skillet and cook until the butter in lightly browned.  Pour the sauce over the scallops and serve.

Yield:  4 servings

Each serving:  289 calories  41g Pro  12g fat  3g sat fat  98mg cholesterol  1g fiber  451mg sodium (sea scallops are naturally higher in sodium accounting for the majority of sodium in the recipe)

Sweet Potato Mash

Ingredients:

4 medium sweet potatoes

Dash cinnamon, to taste

Dash ground cloves, to taste

Dash ground ginger, to taste

Instructions:

  1. Heat oven to 400 degrees.  Pierce each sweet potato with a fork to allow steam to escape during baking and place directly on oven rack.  Bake 45 minutes or until tender.
  2. Take the potatoes out of the oven and cut a slit in the top of each one.  Scoop out the potatoes into a bowl using a large spoon. The potatoes will be hot, so you may prefer to allow them to sit for 5 minutes or use a oven mitt to hold the potato.
  3. Mash the potatoes with a fork to your desired consistency.  A perfectly naked potato will mash almost instantly with a fork.
  4. Blend in a dash of cinnamon, cloves and ginger, to your desired taste.

Yield:  4 servings

Each serving:  112 calories  2g protein  0g fat  0g sat fat  72mg sodium  4g dietary fiber

Source:  Hypertension Cookbook For Dummies

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