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Cooking a'la Heart

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Cooking a'la Heart
Betsy Eykyn
Linda Hachfeld, MPH, RDN

 Benjamin Franklin Award Winner! 

Recipient of two MBA Awards ~

                                      ♥ Best Health Book of the Year

     ♥ Best Cookbook of the Year!


Forward by Jane Brody, The NYT personal health columnist

 Recipes reinforce the Mediterranean eating pattern and DASH diet.

                                         ♥ Cooking ala Heart is written for people wishing to eat well ~ 

                                         ♥ Prevent heart disease ~

                                         ♥ Lower inflammation ~

                                         ♥ Recover from a heart attack or stroke ~

                                         ♥ Manage congestive heart failure ~

                                         ♥ Reduce high blood pressure ~

                                         ♥ Control T1 or T2 diabetes ~ 

                                         ♥ Manage their weight w/ portion-calorie-carb-controlled recipes.


Recipes (from Appetizers ~ Breads ~ Vegetables ~ Soups & Salads ~ Legumes ~ Eggs ~ Chicken ~ Fish ~ Beef/Pork ~ Pizza ~ Seasoning Blends ~ through Desserts) emphasize good nutrition, high quality protein, healthy fats, and are controlled for calories, carbohydrates, and fat. Carb choices and diabetic exchanges also included.

Life is about choices...
  ~ Allow Cooking Ala Heart to help you enjoy a healthy lifestyle ~

The newly revised and updated edition reinforces the new science that—a heart healthy lifestyle is an all healthy lifestyle. Put another way, what's good for your heart is also good for your brain, joints, muscles, eyes, and the list goes on.

"Not only can the recommendations found in Cooking Ala Heart help your heart stay fit, the recipes can also help you live longer and enjoy those added years in good health," states Linda Hachfeld, principal author and Registered Dietitian/Nutritionist.

"If you're determined to make more than a half-hearted attempt this year to be kind to your health, this should be your first resolution: Get a copy of Cooking Ala Heart."                   

-Eleanor Ostman, longtime Food Editor, St. Paul Pioneer Press Dispatch

Packed with tips to avoid calorie creep, reduce sodium and curb your sweet tooth, this book features 450 recipes. Each rich in fiber, Omega 3s, phytonutrients, healthy fats, and anti-inflammatory ingredients that use fresh wholesome foods and spices. Recipe categories range from appetizers and salads with homemade dressings to vegetarian, seafood and poultry entrees with side dishes of legumes, pastas and vegetables. Eating plans include Mediterranean-style and the DASH Diet with a week's worth of breakfast, lunch and dinner menus. All to help you adopt lifestyle habits to protect your heart, and learn how to downsize your meals, yet feel satisfied.

Find irrestible recipes such as Thai-style Grilled Fish, Chicken Tandoori, Tabbouleh Salad, Oriental Hot Pot, and Homemade Seasoning Blends like Shake & Make for coating fish, poultry, meats and vegetables. Nutrient-rich desserts range from cakes, crisps and tortes to puddings and pies. A full nutrient profile with diabetic exchanges and carb choices are included.

Cooking Ala Heart has received high praise from both the culinary and publishing industries. Recipient of the Benjamin Franklin Award as Best Cookbook and two MBA (Midwest Book Awards); one as Best Cookbook and another as Best Health Book, this book caught the eye of Hollywood. Cooking Ala Heart has a scene of it's own in the romantic comedy, Once Around, from Universal Studios that stars Holly Hunter, Richard Dreyfuss, Gena Rowlands and Danny Aiello.

Softcover, 446 pages. © 2013/14


Benjamin Franklin Award recipient!  Winner of two MBA Awards--one for Best Health Book of the Year and another for Best Cookbook of the Year!

  • Makes: 12" pizza; 8 slices

    1  6-ounce can sodium-reduced tomato paste
    ¼ cup water
    ½ teaspoon dried basil, crushed
    ½  teaspoon dried oregano, crushed
    ½  teaspoon garlic powder
    ½  teaspoon dried crushed red peppers
    ¾  cup chopped green pepper
    ¾ cup sliced fresh mushrooms
    ½ cup chopped or sliced onions
    Other vegetables in season as desired
    8 ounces shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese

    In a bowl, mix thoroughly tomato paste, water, basil, oregano, garlic powder and red peppers.  Spread evenly over an unbaked 12" pizza crust.   Layer green pepper, mushrooms, onions and other vegetables in season as desired, evenly over sauce.  Cover with shredded cheese.  Bake. Oven: 400oF. Time: 20 minutes or until cheese is melted and crust lightly browned.

    Nutrient analysis: 1 slice (topping only); 70 Calories, 3.6 g Fat, 13 mg Cholesterol, 69 mg Sodium, 0.3 g Dietary Fiber, 92 mg Calcium. Exchanges: 1 lean meat, 1 vegetable

  • No-Fail Vegetable Egg Bake         

    This all-in-one breakfast is supereasy and is beautiful as well as tasty!         Egg Bake with tomato on top

    Makes 13x9x2-inch baking dish; Serves 12                                      



    1 1/3   cups dry instant brown rice, cooked

    1         egg, beaten (or 1⁄4 cup egg substitute)

    1         cup shredded Colby jack cheese


    1         medium onion

    8         ounces sliced fresh mushrooms**

    1-2      Tbsp olive oil

    1        cup shredded Colby jack cheese

    4        Tbsp fresh chopped basil or (2 tsp dried, crushed)

    10      fresh eggs (or 1 3/4 cups egg substitute)

    1        (12-ounce) can evaporated skim milk

    1⁄2     tsp black pepper

    2        large tomatoes, sliced thin, 12 slices

    ** Note: add whatever vegetables you’d like—such as fresh spinach, bell pepper, or asparagus



    Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 13x9x2-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.

    For Crust: Prepare rice according to package directions. While rice is hot, add beaten egg and shredded cheese. Fold together until well blended. Pour rice mixture into baking pan, pressing hot rice evenly against sides and bottom. Place pan in refrigerator while you prepare the filling. 

    For Filling: In a large skillet, sauté onion and mushrooms in oil until onions are translucent and mushrooms are softened. Spread cooked vegetables over rice crust. Sprinkle shredded cheese over vegetables. Add fresh chopped basil evenly over the cheese. (note: this is a good place to pause and refrigerate overnight, if you choose. Then finish in the morning.)

    Beat eggs (or egg substitute), milk, and pepper until well blended. Pour slowly over vegetable-cheese layer. Gently place tomato slices on top. Sprinkle with fresh or dried basil if desired. Bake.

    Oven:     350o F.             Time: 60 minutes
    Egg Bake is done when a knife inserted near the center comes out clean. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.


    Nutrition Facts (made with whole eggs): One serving provides 210 calories; 13 g Pro; 16 g Carb; 11 g Fat; 5 g Sat Fat; 210 mg Cholesterol; 190 mg Sodium; 205 mg Calcium; 1 g Fiber (Good protein source that provides 15% of Vit A; 10% of Vit C; 20% Calcium; and 6% Iron.) Count as 1 Carb Choice.

    Nutrition Facts (made with egg substitute-recommended for those following a low-cholesterol mealplan or have Type 2 diabetes): One serving provides 160 calories; 11 g Pro; 16 g Carb; 6 g Fat; 3 g Sat Fat; 15 mg Cholesterol; 210 mg Sodium; 205 mg Calcium; 1 g Fiber (Good protein source that provides 15% of Vit A; 10% of Vit C; 20% Calcium; and 6% Iron.) Count as 1 Carb Choice.

  • Sprinkle this aromatic blend on grilled meats.

    Makes:   ½ cup seasoning mix

    2 tablespoons garlic powder
    1 tablespoon ground basil
    1 tablespoon ground anise seed
    1 tablespoon ground oregano
    1 tablespoon powdered lemon rind

    Blend thoroughly.  Store in tightly covered glass container.

    Exchanges:  free

Cooking a`la Heart has hearts staying a bit healthier every day through its heart healthy dietary guidance and recipes low in saturated fat, no trans fat, and reduced sodium.  Its popularity is evident in the 100,000 copies sold.

The 400+ recipes in this book were triple taste tested in order that eating heart healthy dishes be just as tasty, if not more, than the typical meat and potato meal.  These recipes were designed to help you...

  • Follow a proven healthy eating plan that can reduce your risk of heart disease. The DASH Diet can lower LDL cholesterol, prevent or lower blood pressure and promotes weight loss.
  • Learn what foods to eat every day to improve your brain and heart health.
  • Use the chart to select fish with the most Omega 3 fats, lowest levels of mercury and are the best select ecologically.
  • Know your Body Mass Index (BMI) number.
  • Take the (at home) test to determine if you are at risk of Metabolic Syndrome.
  • Identify the one thing you can do everyday to lose visceral (belly) fat, improve your circulation, lower blood pressure, look and feel more alert, leave you better able to cope with stress and depression, and improve your outward appearance. And, here’s the best part—it doesn’t cost a thing.

All recipes have full nutrient analysis, carb counts, and exchanges. Recipes use common ingredients, rely on whole grains and unprocessed foods, and reinforce the use of monounsaturated fats (and Omega-3 fats). They are controlled for calories, sodium, sat fat, cholesterol, and contain NO trans fat.

Twelve chapters of recipes include appetizers, dips, beverages, breads, salads, dressings & sauces, grains, pastas & legumes, vegetables, fish & seafood, poultry, meat, soups, sandwiches & pizza, seasonings and fruit desserts and more. Also included are seven days worth of breakfast, lunch and dinner menus.
Research shows that we can lower our heart disease risk by as much as 82 percent by adopting sensible health habits.

Cooking Ala Heart includes:

  • What habits to adopt to protect your heart.
  • Tips to downsize meals and still feel satisfied.
  • How to distinguish good fats from bad.
  • How to reduce sodium, with many homemade salt-free blends to put into your saltshaker.
  • Where to begin to successfully plan meals.
  • Provides  "themes" on which to build a meal such as around a Salad, Casserole, Grain, Legume, or Soup and provides a full week's worth of menus (meals and snacks) for the family.
  • Additional menus for a Summer or Winter Buffet, Picnics, Super Bowl Sunday Supper, a Summer Porch Lunch and Casseroles for Potluck Suppers are just a few.

Let Cooking Ala Heart give you a variety of delicious foods to satisfy your appetite while you help your heart stay fit. Hands down, this book is a winner for its stand-alone heart smart content, scope, ease and practicality. 




Heart disease remains the #1 killer of both women and men, affecting an estimated one in three adults. It affects many of us at midlife as well as in old age. Consider these facts:

  • Each year 500,000 Americans die of heart disease; half are women.

  • As early as age 45, a man’s risk of heart disease begins to rise; for a woman, risk starts to increase at age 55.

  • One in eight women between the ages of 45 and 64 has some form of heart disease and this increases to one in four women over age 65.
  • Research shows that we can lower our heart disease risk by as much as 82 percent by adopting sensible health habits.

As Henry Blackburn, M.D, concluded in the Introduction of Cooking a'la Heart, "The innovative volunteers of the Mankato Heart Health Program have found an American way to make our eating pattern more healthy, while at the same time, attractive and convenient."


Cardiovascular diseases are diseases of the heart and blood vessel system, such as coronary heart disease, stroke, heart attack, high blood pressure, rheumatic heart disease and angina (chest pain).  A heart attack happens when an artery becomes blocked, preventing oxygen and nutrients from getting to the heart.  A stroke results from lack of blood flowing into the brain or bleeding within the brain.

Factors that put you more at risk of getting heart disease are: cigarette smoking, high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, diabetes, physical inactivity and being overweight.  There are other factors that cannot be changed, such as age and race.  Black women are 24 percent more likely to die of coronary heart disease than white women and their death rate for stroke is 83 percent higher.

Cardiovascular disease is the top killer in America, but there are things you can do to decrease your risk of the disease.

Heart Healthy actions include:
Exercise:  this helps to control blood pressure, take off extra pounds, lessens a diabetic's need for insulin and boosts the level of "good" HDL-cholesterol.  Other benefits are improved physical appearance, increased alertness, more energy and agility.
Quit smoking: the first year after stopping smoking, the risk of coronary heart disease drops sharply.
Eating a`la heart: Recipes low in fat, simple carbs, and calories such as the ones found in Cooking a`la Heart help take off extra pounds and reduce high blood cholesterol levels.  Cooking a`la Heart encourages you to eat a variety of foods to receive the 50 nutrients recommended by nutritionists to stay healthy. It is recognized that good nutrition is the result of long-term eating patterns.

"Eating healthfully is neither difficult nor boring.  Nor is it a life of deprivation and self-denial.  Rather as diners who follow the guidelines, recipes and menu plans of Cooking a`la Heart are destined to discover, healthful eating is a stimulating trip into new and familiar taste sensations that can help to keep you enjoying good food for many more years than you otherwise might."

Jane Brody, Personal Health Columnist
The New York Times


"Cooking a`la Heart offers recipes your heart will love!"

Joyce Nettleton, D.Sc., RD
Former Nutrition Consultant and Lecturer
Tufts University

"This new and updated edition of Cooking a`la Heart includes the most recent national recommendations for healthy nutrition.  It is an excellent resource for all Americans who want to learn and use healthy ways of preparing and serving food."

Russell V. Luepker, M.D., Professor
Head of Division of Epidemiology,
University of Minnesota

"One of the top twenty heart-healthy cookbooks in the country based on Originality, Up-to-Dateness and Scope!  We think this book is one of the best cooking light books we've seen."

Food & Wine Magazine

"Practical and on Target!"

Runners World Magazine

"This is a terrific book!  It has everything you want from a cookbook for your patients, including nutrient analysis, fiber content and good background information."

Nadine Braunstein, R.D.

"This may become the 'bible' for heart healthy eating.  It has lots of practical advice with a wide array of community tested recipes."

Jane Andrews, R.D.

"Eating good food does make a difference to health and quality of life!  This book teaches preventive nutrition- not just for heart disease.  I highly recommend it!"

Kathy King Helm, R.D.

"Cooking a`la Heart offers a practical, hands-on guide to healthy eating.  Up-to-date nutrition information and a wide variety of recipes with nutrient breakdown will surely help the reader translate scientific information into day-to-day menus for the family."

Liz Weiss, M.S., R.D., Former Producer
CNN Nutrition News

"If you're determined to make more than a half-hearted attempt this year to be kind to your health, this should be your first resolution: Get a copy of Cooking a`la Heart."

Eleanor Ostman, Food & Nutrition Editor
St. Paul Pioneer Press Dispatch

"Cooking a`la Heart is a wonderful investment for heart-healthy eating and cooking.  The first chapter is terrific!  It explains healthy dietary recommendations and shows how to make substitutes for rich foods without compromising flavor.  This book is very complete!"

Angela Allen, Health Editor
The Columbian Newspaper

Cooking a'la Heart has been honored by many notable organizations:

  • Selected for special promotion by the editors of the Harvard Medical School health newsletters, 1994-95 and by the Mayo Health Bookclub, 1995-96
  • Awarded Best Book in Health Fitness and Wellness category and Merit Award Winner in Best Cookbook category at the Midwest Book Achievement Awards, 1993
  • Selected for promotion by the American Diabetes Association, by the Army & Air Force Exchange System (1994) and in the Universal Studios' motion picture Once Around (1991).

Cooking a`la Heart has shared its proceeds with notable organizations such as Women and Heart Disease Research, the American Heart Association and provided the endowment for the establishment of the Council of Health Promotion which serves southern Minnesota.