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Heart-healthy recipes for American Heart Month, 5-ingredient dinners that are nutritious, delicious

February is American Heart Month and registered dietitian and chef Michelle Dudash joined us today to share her favorite new recipes that help support a heart-healthy lifestyle.

1. American Heart Month is a good time to refocus efforts and awareness to living a heart-healthy lifestyle. Foods that support heart health are low in saturated fat, contain the good unsaturated fats, are high in fiber, and contain phytonutrients found naturally in plants. Keeping an eye on sodium may also help with managing blood pressure.

2. For nutritious noshing, use nut butters for dipping.

Michelle loves using nut butters at snack time. A new recipe to try is her homemade pistachio butter.

Wonderful Pistachios Lightly Salted No Shells are easy to add to your favorite recipes and make the perfect healthy snack. They are convenient, portable, and an easy way to get in a source of complete plant protein (12% of the Daily Value) at any time of day.

You can add different spices and sweeteners to your pistachio butter, too, like cinnamon and honey. A touch of coconut oil adds creaminess.

Use this as a spread on toast, as a dip for apple slices, on crackers, and anywhere else you’d use a nut butter.

3. 30-minute Lemon Baked Cod with Pistachio Crust

This 30-minute recipe is light and satisfying, offering a nice crunch from the pistachios, and so easy to make! This flavor profile would also work great on other seafood available, like salmon, trout, and tilapia.

The goodness of cod, pistachios, and olive oil in this dish offer heart-healthy fats, including mono- and poly-unsaturated fats.

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Homemade Pistachio Butter


  • 4 cups Wonderful Pistachios Lightly Salted No Shells
  • Optional additions:
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon coconut oil for a creamier consistency
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon


Place pistachios into a good blender* and secure the lid. Start blending at a low speed and slowly increase to the highest speed. Use the tamper that came with the blender to press ingredients toward the blades. After about 1 minute, when the blender makes a chugging sound, reduce speed to medium. Blend for 30 seconds more.

Lemon Baked Cod with Pistachio Crust

All you do is add no-shell pistachios to a good blender (for smoothest consistency) or use a food processor. Michelle works with Wonderful Pistachios to help educate about the nutrition and versatility of these tasty nuts.

This 30-minute recipe is light and satisfying, offering a nice crunch from the pistachios. This flavor profile would also work great on other seafoods available, like salmon, trout, and tilapia.


  • 3 tablespoons (45 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 lemon, zest finely grated, then fruit cut into wedges
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound (455 g) cod or pollock fillet, cut into 4 pieces
  • 1⁄3 cup (37 g) roasted and salted shelled pistachios, finely chopped


Preheat the oven to 350ºF (180ºC, or gas mark 4). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.

In a small bowl, combine the olive oil, lemon zest, Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper. Place the cod on the prepared baking sheet and spoon the seasoned oil on the fillet, rubbing it onto all sides. Dip the tops of the cod into the pistachios and press gently, forming a top crust, and place back on the pan. Bake until the fish is sizzling around the edges and opaque and nearly firm in the middle, about 15 minutes. Serve with lemon wedges.

Suggestions and Variations

My husband’s must-have accompaniment with most seafood dishes is tartar sauce. And his is the best! He makes it quickly with just a handful of ingredients: mayonnaise, chopped dill pickles, lemon juice, Cajun seasoning, Dijon mustard, salt, and pepper. While it isn’t required to make this dish, it is a nice addition if tartar sauce is a must for you, too.

Make It for the Whole Family

Your kids may be more inclined to try simple fish fingers. Cut up one of the fillets into strips and season with salt and pepper. You can bake them on the same pan, but they may cook a little faster than the other portions.



By Michelle Dudash, RDN, from the book Clean Eating Kitchen: The Low-Carb Mediterranean Cookbook: Quick and Easy High-Protein, Low-Sugar, Healthy-Fat Recipes for Lifelong Health

5-Ingredient Dinners that are Nutrish and Delish

5-Ingredient Pasta Puttanesca

This classic Southern Italian pasta dish is mostly made with ingredients you already have on hand. And here is one more tasty use for Michelle’s Spicekick Tuna Salad Spice Kit that will surprise you.

In addition, you simply need spaghetti, kalamata olives, cherry tomatoes (or canned tomatoes), and anchovies (don’t worry, they get chopped up finely).

Save a big splash of the pasta cooking water, since it adds clinginess to the sauce.

2. Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas

Pork carnitas are so easy to make in your slow cooker in the comfort of your own home.

To make this melt-in-your-mouth taco filling, all you need is pork, an orange, onion, bay leaves, and one of Michelle’s Spicekick Taco Spice Kits.

Michelle recommends using a small pork butt or pork shoulder since it becomes really tender as it simmers low and slow in your slow cooker. While using pork tenderloin is a leaner option, that cut is better suited for quick cooking in a sauté pan or oven.

Sear the pork in oil after slow cooking so you get a crispy finish.

Michelle’s Spicekick Taco contains Mexican oregano, which has notes of citrus and licorice.

Serve in tortillas, over salad or nachos, or in lettuce wraps.

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Pasta Puttanesca for One

  • 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil3 anchovies*, rinsed, patted dry
  • 5 kalamata olives,* pits removed
  • 1 handful cherry tomatoes*
  • 1 portion cooked thin spaghetti, reserving 1/4 cup cooking water
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Spicekick Tuna Salad Spice Kit
  • Optional add on: 1 teaspoon chopped capers 


Heat a skillet, or the pot you cooked the pasta in, on medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add the anchovies and break up with a wooden spoon. Add the olives and break up with spoon. Add cherry tomatoes and smash open with a spoon. Reduce heat to medium-low as needed. Add the spaghetti and 1 1/2 teaspoon Spicekick Tuna Salad Spice Kit. Toss with tongs. Drizzle with more olive oil. Buon appetito! 

*If you are increasing this recipe to serving more than one person, mince the anchovies, slice the olives, and halve the tomatoes before adding to the pot.

Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas


  • 3 pound pork butt or pork shoulder, trimmed, cut into 3-inch pieces
  • 1 Spicekick Taco Spice Kit
  • 1 onion, quartered
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 orange, zest peeled off with a vegetable peeler, and juice the fruit
  • 1 tablespoon cooking oil


Combine the pork and spice kit in the slow cooker. Top with the onion, bay leaves, orange juice, and zest. Add 1 cup water (or chicken broth if you have some). Cover and cook on low for 6 hours, until tender.

Pull the pork from the slow cooker, leaving the liquid behind. Heat a large skillet on medium-high heat*. Add the oil. When the oil is shimmering, add the pork in a single layer. Once browned on one side, turn the pieces, browning on all sides. Chop or shred the pork.

Serve the pork with corn tortillas, cilantro, lime wedges, and salsa.

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