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When cooking, keep in mind small changes that can make a big impact on heart health.

Recipes of the Week: Healthier Eating for the New Year

High cholesterol is one of the major controllable risk factors for heart disease and stroke, with about 38% of American adults diagnosed with high cholesterol, according to the American Heart Association. It can be managed by getting levels regularly tested and making lifestyle changes like eating a heart-healthy diet.

Reduce saturated fat: Select lean cuts of meat or opt for plant protein, limit processed meats, broil or bake rather than pan-fry meats and remove skin from poultry before cooking.
Eat more fish: Fish can be fatty or lean, but it’s still low in saturated fat. Choose oily fish like salmon or trout, which are high in omega-3 fatty acids.
Use liquid oils in place of solid fats: For roasting, sautéing and more, use non-tropical liquid vegetable oils like canola, safflower, soybean or olive instead of butter, lard or shortening.
Lower dairy fats: Low-fat, fat-free or non-dairy milk can be used in many recipes instead of whole milk or half-and-half.
Increase fiber and whole grains: Add high-fiber vegetables to meals, serve fruit instead of juice and try brown rice instead of white.

These simple tips and better-for-you recipes like Chicken Tortilla Soup and Air Fryer Crispy Un-Fried Chicken can help you eat healthy without sacrificing taste.

Find tips for managing cholesterol and other risk factors at heart.org/cholesterol.

Image of Chicken Tortilla Soup.

Chicken Tortilla Soup.

Chicken Tortilla Soup
Servings: 4

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, visible fat discarded, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 cups frozen whole-kernel corn, thawed
2 cups fat-free, no-salt-added chicken broth
1 can (14 1/2 ounces) no-salt-added, diced tomatoes, undrained
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon ancho powder
2 medium garlic cloves, minced
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 corn tortillas (6 inches each), cut into 1/4-inch-wide strips
1 corn tortilla (6 inches), torn into pieces
2-4 tablespoons snipped fresh cilantro
1/4 cup finely chopped avocado
1/4 medium red bell pepper, cut into matchstick-size strips

In slow cooker, stir chicken, corn, broth, tomatoes, onion, sugar, ancho powder, garlic and salt. Cook, covered, on low, 6-8 hours, or on high, 3-4 hours.

Preheat oven to 350 F.

On baking sheet, arrange tortilla strips in single layer. Bake 8-10 minutes, or until crisp. Transfer baking sheet to cooling rack. Let strips stand 15 minutes, or until cool. Transfer to airtight container and set aside.

When soup is ready, transfer 1 cup to food processor or blender. Stir in tortilla pieces. Let mixture stand 1 minute. Process until smooth. Stir mixture into soup. Stir in cilantro.

Ladle soup into bowls. Sprinkle with avocado, bell pepper and reserved tortilla strips.

Air Fryer Crispy Un-Fried Chicken
Servings: 4

1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
1/2 teaspoon ground oregano
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
1/2-1 cup low-fat buttermilk
1/2 tablespoon hot pepper sauce (optional)
1/3 cup whole-wheat panko breadcrumbs
1/3 cup shredded or grated Parmesan cheese
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 4 ounces each), visible fat discarded, flattened to 1/4-inch thickness, patted dry with paper towels
nonstick cooking spray

Preheat air fryer to 390 F.

In shallow dish or pie pan, whisk flour, parsley, oregano, pepper and cayenne.

In separate shallow dish or pie pan, whisk buttermilk and hot sauce.

In third shallow dish or pie pan, stir panko and Parmesan.

Place dishes and large plate in row. Dip chicken in flour mixture then buttermilk mixture then panko mixture, turning to coat at each step and gently shaking off excess. Using fingertips, gently press panko mixture so it adheres. Place chicken on plate. Cover and refrigerate 30 minutes.

Lightly spray chicken with nonstick cooking spray. Arrange chicken in single layer in air fryer basket, working in batches if needed. Cook 10-15 minutes, or until chicken is no longer pink in center and coating is golden brown, turning once halfway through and lightly spraying with nonstick cooking spray.

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