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We’re lightening things up this Valentine’s Day with a simple but elegant dessert for two featuring strawberries. Strawberries, sometimes referred to as the inside-out fruit because their seeds are on their surface, are the country’s most popular berry.

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It’s no surprise that fruit plays an important role in our health, and strawberries are attracting attention for their potential role in preventing chronic diseases. They’re packed with vitamin C and fiber, and also provide phytonutrients. These naturally occurring substances in plants may protect our bodies from damage that could lead to cancer and heart disease.

One such phytonutrient in strawberries is anthocyanin (an-tho-SY-a-nin), which may help dilate arteries, counter the buildup of plaque and reduce inflammation. Anthocyanins give strawberries and other produce their red and blue color.

Today’s recipe calls for liqueur. Sometimes referred to as cordials, liqueurs are sweetened liquors flavored with fruit, nuts, spices, herbs or seeds. Although it’s not an essential ingredient for our strawberry dessert, a splash of liqueur elevates it into the elegant category.

If you’d like to use a citrus-flavored liqueur, there are several options. Triple Sec, Curacao, Cointreau and Grand Marnier provide orange flavor. Limoncello is an Italian lemon liqueur. Fruit-flavored liqueurs include Chambord (raspberry), Cherry Heering (cherry), Midori (honeydew melon) and Crème de Cassis (blackberry). Other liqueurs that would work well in today’s dessert include Amaretto (almond), Frangelico (hazelnut) and Crème de Cacao (chocolate).

It just wouldn’t be Valentine’s Day without chocolate, so don’t forget to top this dessert with a little sprinkle of chocolate shavings.

Darlene Zimmerman is a registered dietitian in Henry Ford Hospital’s Heart & Vascular Institute. For questions about today’s recipe, call 313-972-1920.

Sliced Strawberries with Yogurt Cream

Serves:  2  / Prep time: 10 minutes  / Total time: 15 minutes

1 tablespoon strawberry jam

1 tablespoon fruit liqueur (such as Chambord, Grand Marnier, Cherry Heering)

2 cups sliced fresh strawberries

3 tablespoons low-fat vanilla Greek yogurt

1 tablespoon reduced-fat cream cheese, softened

2 tablespoons powdered sugar

2 teaspoons grated chocolate

Place jam in a microwave-safe cup or small bowl and heat until just melted enough to stir. Add liqueur to jam, stir, pour over sliced strawberries and gently toss to coat. In a separate small bowl, whisk together yogurt, cream cheese and powdered sugar until smooth. When ready to serve, divide strawberries into 2 serving dishes, top each with half of the yogurt cream and sprinkle each serving with 1 teaspoon grated chocolate.

Created by Darlene Zimmerman, MS, RD for Heart Smart®, Henry Ford Health System

177 calories (15% from fat), 3 grams fat (1 gram sat. fat, 0 grams trans fat), 33 grams carbohydrates, 3 grams protein, 37 mg sodium, 6 mg cholesterol, 46 mg calcium, 3 grams fiber. Food exchanges:  1 starch, 1 fruit, 1/2 fat.

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