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Butter, Cream, and Cheese—Oh My!

Eating Saturated Fats for Maintenance of a Healthy Heart

Article by Nichole Jackson-Lind, APRN, FNP-C & Samantha Koepp, LRD

Originally published in Fargo Lifestyle

Since the early 1980s we have been told fat is bad for us, fat is going to make us fat, fat is going to raise your cholesterol, but does it? Today the American public consumes the least amount of fat, specifically saturated fat found in meat and dairy, in nutrition’s history. Yet, overweight and obesity rates continue to rise at an alarming pace. According to the CDC, heart disease is the leading cause of death in men and women, with approximately 647,000 Americans dying from the disease each year. Further, the United States spends roughly $219 billion on heart disease-related health care and medications annually. We aren’t eating saturated fat, so what gives?

What if I were to tell you that it has never been saturated fat’s fault? It has everything to do with refined grains, sugar, and highly processed foods that are full of polyunsaturated fats like vegetable oils and seed oils (sunflower, soybean, etc.) that increase our insulin levels and leave us feeling tired, fat, and heartbroken. While these foods are staples in a low-fat diet, they are destroying America’s health. It’s time to develop a new way of thinking about the quality of food we eat, not only to trim our waists but to save our hearts.

Eating a heart-healthy meal doesn’t have to be a hardship. There are plenty of ways to create a healthy meal that is a treat for our taste buds. For example, this delicious recipe includes nutrient-dense, low starch vegetables topped with your choice of protein and drizzled with a creamy sauce made from garlic, butter, cream, and cheese. That’s right, butter, cream, and cheese—oh my! This meal will make your heart happy and not weigh you down so you can enjoy life the way you have always wanted to.

Zucchini & Chicken Sausage Alfredo

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 20-30 minutes

Total: 30-40 minutes

Serves 4

  • 2 medium zucchinis, fresh, spiralized

  • 2 cups mushrooms, sliced

  • 1 lb chicken sausage links, cooked, sliced

  • 4 tbsp butter, divided 

  • 4oz cream cheese, cubed

  • 1 ½ cups fresh grated (not powdered) parmesan cheese

  • ¾ cup chicken broth

  • ¼ tsp nutmeg

  • Black pepper, to taste

  • Red pepper flakes, to taste (optional)

Directions: 

  1. Cut up 3 tbsp butter into cubes and dice cream cheese into approximately 1-inch chunks. Add to medium saucepan and heat on medium-low, stirring constantly until melted. Continue to whisk together until completely combined. This takes some time and constant whisking. Continue to whisk until mixture resembles a smooth, frosting consistency—if butter and cream cheese are still separating, continue mixing until they are not.

  2. Slowly whisk in chicken broth. 

  3. Slowly add parmesan cheese and mix continually until completely melted. Add spices and bring to a simmer, then turn the heat off.

  4. Melt the remaining 1 tbsp butter in a large sauté pan. Add sliced mushrooms and sauté until cooked and slightly browned. Add spiralized zucchini and cook with mushrooms until al dente.

  5. Transfer to a bowl, add sliced sausage to a hot pan, & sauté until thoroughly heated and browned a bit. 

  6. Add zucchini & mushroom mixture to the bowl, top with sausage & alfredo sauce. Enjoy!

Tip: Use fresh spiralized zucchini and undercook it slightly for an al dente texture.

Recipe by Samantha Koepp, LRD
Wellness District

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