February is American Heart Month

By: Jacqueline Gomes, RDN, MBA

February is American heart month! It’s a great time to support strides to end heart disease and advocate for early prevention, detection and treatment.

Optimal heart health starts with a healthy diet rich in fruits, vegetables, lean protein and whole grains.

  • Whole grains such as whole wheat, oats, quinoa, brown rice & corn provide B-vitamins and fiber.
  • The American Heart association reminds us to consume fish like Cod and Salmon at least twice a week.
  • For meats, choose lean and skinless cuts like turkey and chicken breast.
  • And don’t forget about healthier cooking methods like baking, broiling, roasting, grilling or sautéing.
  • Lycopene, an antioxidant found in tomato products like Red Pack Tomatoes is linked to a reduced risk of heart disease.


Chicken is the most consumed animal protein in the U.S. and for good reason, it’s a stellar source of lean protein and there’s no limit to the preparation methods.

Today we’re preparing a Mediterranean chicken dish that’s rich in heart healthy lycopene, monounsaturated fats and lean protein. So, let’s get started!


Mediterranean Chicken

Mediterranean chicken dish in a cast iron skillet

Prep: 15 minutes

Bake: 20 minutes

Makes: 6 servings



  • 2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breast
  • Salt & pepper
  • 1 small onion, minced about 1 cup
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 (28 ounce) can Red Pack® diced or crushed tomatoes
  • 2 cups broccoli florets
  • 1 cup pitted Kalamata olives, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped



  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Preheat a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Drizzle with olive and add chicken to hot pan, cook for about 6 minutes, turning over halfway through.
  3. Transfer chicken to a plate and set aside.
  4. To the pan add the bell pepper, cook for about 3 minutes then add onions and garlic, cook for until tender, about 5 to 8 minutes.  Add paprika, pepper flakes, Italian seasoning, bay leaves and stir to combine for about 30 seconds.
  5. Add in tomatoes and broccoli, bring to a boil. Add chicken to pan and place in preheated oven for about 20 minutes or chicken gets an internal temperature of 165 degrees F.
  6. Top with sliced olives and sprinkle with parsley. Serve with whole grain pasta, rice or crusty bread.


Nutrition Information: 374 calories; 28g carbohydrate; 6g fat; 49g protein; 4g fiber

Recipe: Jacqueline Gomes, RDN, MBA