Valentine's Treats and Heart Healthy Recipes

Chocolate-Raspberry Hearts

25 minute prep time

40 minute total time

6 ingredients

8 servings



  • 1 can (8 oz) Pillsbury refrigerated Crescent Dough Sheet
  • 1/3 cup hazelnut spread with cocoa
  • 24 raspberries
  • 2 tablespoons dark chocolate chips
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 tablespoon powdered sugar


  1. Heat oven to 375 degrees F. Line large cookie sheet with cooking parchment paper
  2. Unroll dough sheet; cut into 8 squares. Place squares on cookie sheet.
  3. Spoon 2 teaspoons of the hazelnut spread onto 1 side of each square. Top each with 3 raspberries and 4 chocolate chips. Fold dough over filling; press edges to seal. Form each into heart shape as shown by pressing indention in center to form top of heart while rounding sides of heart with hands. Brush with egg.
  4. Bake 13 to 17 minutes or until hearts are golden brown.
  5. In small microwavable bowl, mix remaining 1 tablespoon hazelnut spread and remaining 1 tablespoon chocolate chips. Microwave uncovered on High 45 to 60 seconds or until mixture can be stirred smooth. Spoon into sealable food-storage plastic bag. Seal bag; cut off tiny corner of bag. Sprinkle hearts with powdered sugar. Squeeze bag to drizzle each with chocolate mixture.

Recipe from: Pillsbury


Healthy Apple-Walnut Muffins

Made with no added fat or sugar, these tasty muffins use fruit and buttermilk to keep them moist.

15 minutes preparation, 25 minutes baking, makes 12 muffins


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ¼  tsp ground cinnamon
  • ¼  tsp ground ginger (optional)
  • ¼ tsp ground allspice (optional)
  • ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
  • ¼ rounded tsp salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup plus 2 tbpns frozen, thawed apple juice concentrate
  • 2/3 cup buttermilk
  • 2 tbpns oat bran
  • 2 small Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and chopped
  • 1/3 cup chopped walnuts (about 1 1/3 ounces)

Garnish: 1 small Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored, and cut into 12 thin slices (optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Grease 12 standard size muffin-pan cups or line with paper liners.
  2. Mix together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, allspice, nutmeg, and salt.
  3. Mix together eggs, apple juice, and buttermilk.
  4. Stir flour mixture and oat bran into egg mixture until dry ingredients are just moistened. Do not overmix. Gently stir in chopped apples and nuts.
  5. Spoon batter into prepared pan, filling cups two-thirds full. Garnish each muffin with an apple slice (optional)
  6. Bake muffins until lightly golden and tops spring back when pressed, 25 minutes (check at 12 min, may be done). Transfer pan to a wire rack to cool slightly. Turn muffins out onto rack to cool completely.

Baking Tips: Instead of frozen apple juice concentrate, use other bottled fruit juice concentrates. Health food stores generally carry the best variety. Experiment with such interesting flavors as papaya, pineapple, and mango for a tropical taste. (I used 1 cup white flour, 1 cup whole wheat flour)

Recipe from: Great American Home Baking


Chocolate Hazelnut Truffle Tarts

30 minutes prep time

1 hr 30 minutes total time

5 ingredients

24 servings


  • 1 roll Pillsbury refrigerated chocolate chip cookie dough
  • ¾ cup Jiff Chocolate Flavored Hazelnut Spread
  • ½ cup Eagle Brand Sweetened Condensed Milk (from 14-oz can)
  • ¼ cup chopped hazelnuts (filberts)
  • 12 maraschino cherries, halved, well drained


  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray 24 mini muffin cups with Crisco Butter Flavor or Original No-Stick Cooking Spray.
  2. Shape dough into 24 (1 1/4–inch) balls. Place 1 ball in each muffin cup. Bake 8 to 16 minutes or until light golden brown. Do not overbake.
  3. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, mix hazelnut spread, condensed milk and hazelnuts until well blended. Shape into 25 (1-inch) balls.
  4. Remove cookie cups from oven; cool 1 minute. Place 1 hazelnut ball in each cookie cup; press lightly. Top each with 1 maraschino cherry half. Cool completely in pan 30 minutes. Loosen with tip of knife; gently remove from pan. Store covered.

Recipe from: Pillsbury


Crunchy-Top Mac-and-Cheese

Serves 4



  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1/3 cup panko (Japanese bread crumbs)
  • 1 (20 ounce) package peeled and cut-up butternut squash
  • ¾ cup vegetable broth
  • 1 cup shredded reduced-fat sharp Cheddar
  • 2 tablespoons light cream cheese
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1 ¼ cups (4 ounces) mini pasta shells
  • 2 cups small cauliflower florets


  1. Preheat oven to 400 F. Spray 8-inch square baking dish with nonstick spray.  Bring large saucepan of salted water to boil
  2. Meanwhile, heat oil in medium skillet over medium heat. Add panko and cook, stirring occasionally, until toasted, about 4 minutes; set aside.
  3. Add squash to boiling water; cover and return to boil.  Cook, uncovered, until squash is very tender, about 10 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, combine broth, cheddar, pecorino, cream cheese, mustard, salt, and cayenne in blender. With slotted spoon, transfer cooked squash to blender and puree. (Leave water in pan)
  5. Bring water back to boil. Cook pasta half the time directed on package; add cauliflower during last minute of cooking time. Drain; return to pot.  Stir in puree and toss to coat. Spread pasta mixture in prepared baking dish; top with crumb mixture and spray with nonstick spray.  Bake until top is golden and casserole is bubbling, about 25 minutes.


Recipe from: ?


Energy Bites

30 Servings

Prep time: 35 minutes

Cook time: 0 minutes

Nutritional Info:


Calories: 12

Fiber: 2 g

Protein: 3 g

Fat: 7 g

Saturated Fat: 15 g

Carbohydrates: 13 g

Cholesterol: 0 mg

Sodium: 30 mg



  • ¾ cup walnuts
  • ½ cup flaxseed, ground
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 4 tablespoons Wildtree Hearty Oatmeal Mix-In: Coconut
  • ½ cup almond butter
  • 2 ½ cups old fashioned oats
  • 1 tablespoon Wildtree Organic Coconut Oil
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup mini dark chocolate morsels
  • ¼ teaspoon salt


  • In a food processor, grind walnuts to medium-fine grind.  Add flaxseed and process for 30 seconds.  Add cinnamon, Hearty Oatmeal Mix-In: Coconut, almond butter, oats, Organic Coconut Oil, honey, and vanilla extract.  Process for 20 seconds. Place mixture into a covered storage container and refrigerate for 30 minutes.  When ready to roll, remove refrigerated mix and add mini dark chocolate morsels and salt; mix gently to incorporate all ingredients.  Hand roll into 1-inch balls and serve arranged on a cookie sheet or serving platter.

Recipe from:


Creamy Pastel Mints

These mints are so simple to put together and fun to share.  I make them for all sorts of occasions, from baby showers to birthdays –Janice Brady (Seattle, WA)

Prep: 40 minutes

Makes: About 5 Dozen


  • 3 ounces (6 tablespoons) cream cheese
  • ¼ to ½ teaspoon peppermint extract
  • Red food coloring
  • 3 cups confectioners’ sugar, divided


  1. Place cream cheese in a bowl, let stand at room temperature to soften slightly Stir in extract until blended. Tint mixture pink or red as desired.  Gradually mix in half of the confectioners’ sugar.
  2. On a work surface, knead in remaining confectioners’ sugar until smooth.  Divide mixture into three portions; roll each portion to ¼-inch thickness. (Flour or additional confectioners’ sugar is not necessary for rolling)
  3. Cut out candies with a 1-inch heart shaped cookie cutter, rerolling scraps.  Store mints between layers of waxed paper in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Per Piece:

  • 28 calories
  • 1 g fat
  • 2 mg cholesterol
  • 4 mg sodium
  • 6 g carbohydrates
  • 0 fiber

Recipe from: Taste of Home Feb/Mar 2014


Quick and Easy Gumdrops (photo above, gumdrops shown with mints)

It’s hard to resist a classic gumdrop, and these are softer than store-bought –Leah Rekau (Taste of Home Food Stylist)

Prep: 25 minutes + chilling

Makes: 1 lb. (64 pieces)


  • 3 envelopes unflavored gelatin
  • 1 ¼ cups water, divided
  • 1 ½ cups sugar
  • ¼ to ½ teaspoon raspberry extract
  • Red food coloring
  • Additional sugar


  1. In a small bowl, sprinkle gelatin over ½ cup water; let stand for 5 minutes.  In a small saucepan, bring sugar and remaining ¾ cup water to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly.  Add gelatin; reduce heat.  Simmer 5 minutes, stirring frequently.  Remove from heat; stir in extract and food coloring as desired.
  2. Pour into greased 8-in. square pan.  Refrigerate, covered, 3 hours/until firm.
  3. Loosen candy edges from pan with a knife; turn onto a sugared work surface.  Cut into 1-inch squares; roll in sugar.  Let stand, uncovered, at room temperature 3-4 hours or until sides are dry, turning ever hour.  Store between layers of waxed paper in a airtight container in the refrigerator.

Note: For lemon gumdrops, use lemon extract and yellow food coloring.  For orange, sue orange extract, yellow food coloring, and a drop of red food coloring.

Per Piece:

  • 19 calories
  • 0 g fat
  • 0 mg cholesterol
  • 1 mg sodium
  • 5 g carbohydrates
  • 0 fiber

Recipe from Taste of Home Feb/Mar 2014