Healthy Alternative Recipes For Your Favorite Comfort Foods
When your not feeling so great and want to chow down on something delicious and comforting, it can be a bit stressful because most comfort foods are full of fat and sugar. Luckily, there are some excellent healthy alternatives that will excite your taste buds and give you that yummy in your tummy. With these following healthy comfort food recipes, you can have your (chocolate-hazelnut) cake and eat it, too!
Healthy Comfort Food: Mac-N-Cheese
1 package whole-wheat or gluten free macaroni, cooked
1 1/2 cups butternut squash, cut into small cubes, boiled and pureed
1 cup low-fat organic milk
1 tablespoons organic butter or butter alternative
3 tablespoons non-fat Greek yogurt
1 cup grated or shredded part-skim Cheddar (preferably sharp)
1/2 cup grated or shredded part-skim jack cheese
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Small amount shredded Parmesan, for garnish
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
- Put butternut squash puree in a large pan over medium-high heat. Add the milk, butter, and yogurt and continue to stir until incorporated. When the puree begins to simmer, slowly start adding the cheeses, mixing the entire time. When all of the cheese is melted and the sauce begins to thicken, season with a little salt and pepper, to taste. Taste, and continue to add seasoning until desired flavor is achieved.
- When the flavor is spot-on, stir in 1/4 of the macaroni at a time, until all of the pasta is used. When all of the pasta is saturated with the cheese sauce, transfer the mixture to an oven-safe casserole dish. Sprinkle Parmesan on top and bake for 20 minutes. Remove the casserole from the oven and allow it to cool for at least 10 minutes.
- Serve hot!
For more info: www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/healthy-mac-n-cheese-recipe/index.html
Healthy Comfort Food: Fried Chicken
1/2 cup nonfat buttermilk *NOTE: Make Ahead Tip - Marinate the chicken for up to 8 hours. No buttermilk? You can use buttermilk powder prepared according to package directions. Or make “sour milk”: mix 1 tablespoon lemon juice or vinegar to 1 cup milk.
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon hot sauce
2 1/2-3 pounds whole chicken legs, skin removed, trimmed and cut into thighs and drumsticks
1/2 cup whole-wheat flour
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
1 1/2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground pepper, to taste
Olive oil cooking spray
- Whisk buttermilk, mustard, garlic and hot sauce in a shallow glass dish until well blended. Add chicken and turn to coat. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes or for up to 8 hours.
- Preheat oven to 425°F. Line a baking sheet with foil. Set a wire rack on the baking sheet and coat it with cooking spray.
- Whisk flour, sesame seeds, paprika, thyme, baking powder, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Place the flour mixture in a paper bag or large sealable plastic bag. Shaking off excess marinade, place one or two pieces of chicken at a time in the bag and shake to coat. Shake off excess flour and place the chicken on the prepared rack. (Discard any leftover flour mixture and marinade.) Spray the chicken pieces with cooking spray.
- Bake the chicken until golden brown and no longer pink in the center, 40 to 50 minutes.
For more info: http://www.eatingwell.com/recipes/oven_fried_chicken.html
Healthy Comfort Food: Lasagna
4 tablespoons canola oil
1/2 small onion, sliced
2 (28-ounce) cans San Marzano tomatoes
1 tablespoon salt
1/2 tablespoon black pepper
6 fresh basil leaves
3 cups flour
1 dozen eggs
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
3/4 cups grated Romano cheese
3 cups canola oil, for frying
6 zucchini, sliced lengthwise about 1/4-thick
2 pounds ricotta cheese (homemade or Calabro)
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black peeper
1/2 cup grated Romano cheese
2 1/2 cups grated fresh mozzarella (for layering)
8 zucchini flowers
1 egg, beaten
Canola oil, for frying
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
For the marinara sauce:
- Heat the canola oil in a large saucepan, add the onions, and cook until translucent.
- Blend the tomatoes in a food processor.
- With a slotted spoon, remove the onions from the oil. Add the blended tomato, salt, pepper, and basil to the pan. Stir with a wooden spoon.
- Bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer for 40 minutes.
For the zucchini:
- While the sauce is simmering, fry the zucchini.
- Place the flour on a flat dish. In a large bowl, mix the eggs, salt, pepper, and Romano cheese with a fork. In a large frying pan, heat the canola oil.
- Coat the zucchini slices in flour, then dip in the egg mixture. Fry until golden brown.
- Remove each piece, placing on a tray lined with paper towels.
For the ricotta filing: In a large bowl, mix the ricotta cheese, eggs, parsley, salt, pepper, and Romano cheese.
- In a 9 by 13 by 2-inch rectangular baking dish, spread 4 ounces of marinara sauce. Layer some of the fried zucchini to cover the bottom of the dish, slightly overlapping the pieces.
- Spread 8 ounces of marinara over the zucchini. With a plastic spatula, spread 1/3 of the ricotta mixture over the marinara, and sprinkle with 3/4 cups of mozzarella.
- Repeat layering the zucchini, sauce, ricotta filling, and mozzarella, ending with 1 cup of mozzarella.
- Cover the dish in foil and bake for 1 hour. Remove the foil and continue to cook until the top is slightly brown. Cool the lasagna for 15 minutes.
For the zucchini flowers:
- Rinse the zucchini flowers gently under running water. Pat dry.
- Dredge the zucchini flowers in the beaten egg, and then cover in breadcrumbs.
- Fry in canola oil until crispy. Sprinkle with salt, to taste.
- Place the flowers on top of the lasagna and serve.
For more info: www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/zucchini-lasagna-recipe/index.html
Healthy Comfort Food: Tuna Casserole
4 cups dry whole wheat fusilli (can use penne pasta or similar)
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 (6 ounce) cans solid white tuna, water packed, well drained (can use 3 cans)
2 (10 ounce) cans fat free cream of celery soup or 2 (10 ounce) cans cream of mushroom soup, undiluted
1/2 cup low-fat mayonnaise
1 cup skim milk or 1 cup 1% low-fat milk
1 (10 ounce) can sliced mushrooms, well drained
1 tablespoon Mrs. Dash seasoning mix
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon coarse black pepper (or to taste)
1 cup grated reduced-fat cheddar cheese (or to taste)
*Optional: 10 ounces of peas
- Set oven to 350 degrees F.
- Grease an 11 x 7 or 13 x 9-inch baking dish with cooking spray (or use a casserole dish large enough to hold the mixture).
- Boil the pasta in a large pot of boiling water until al dente; drain then transfer to a large bowl.
- Add in onion and tuna; toss to combine.
- In a saucepan heat soup with milk until smooth.
- Stir in mushrooms mayonnaise, Mrs Dash seasoning, garlic powder and black pepper until combined; pour into the bowl and toss to combine.
- Transfer mixture to prepared baking dish.
- Bake for about 30 minutes.
- Remove from oven then sprinkle with cheddar cheese, return to oven for 2-4 minutes to melt the cheese.
For more info: www.food.com/recipe/healthy-tuna-casserole-low-fat-280078
Healthy Comfort Food: Chocolate-Hazelnut Cake
1/2 cup chopped pitted dates
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, “natural” or Dutch-process
1 teaspoon instant coffee granules
1/2 cup boiling water
1/2 cup chopped hazelnuts, plus 2 tablespoons for garnish
2 slices firm white sandwich bread, crusts trimmed
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup sugar, divided
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg
3 large egg whites, or 2 tablespoons dried egg whites, reconstituted according to package directions
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 ounces bittersweet (not unsweetened) chocolate, finely chopped (1/3 cup)
1 tablespoon corn syrup
1 teaspoon instant coffee granules
1/4 cup boiling water
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup confectioners' sugar
To prepare cake:
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat a 9-inch round cake pan with cooking spray. Line the bottom with parchment or wax paper.
- Combine dates, cocoa and instant coffee in a small bowl. Add boiling water and stir until the cocoa has dissolved. Cover and let stand until the dates have softened and the mixture has cooled to room temperature, about 20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, spread hazelnuts in a shallow baking dish and bake until fragrant and lightly toasted, 5 to 10 minutes. Transfer to a plate and let cool.
- Grind bread into fine crumbs in a food processor. Measure to make sure you have 1/2 cup. Transfer to a large bowl. (No need to wash the workbowl between steps.)
- Place 1/2 cup of the hazelnuts in the food processor. Add flour and salt; process until the nuts are finely ground. Transfer to the bowl with the breadcrumbs.
- Scrape the cooled date mixture into the food processor. Add 1/3 cup sugar, oil, vanilla and whole egg; process until smooth, stopping several times to scrape down the sides of the workbowl. Scrape the mixture into the bowl with the breadcrumbs and nuts. Mix gently with a rubber spatula.
- Beat egg whites with an electric mixer in a clean large mixing bowl until soft peaks form.
- Gradually add remaining 1/3 cup sugar, beating until stiff, glossy peaks form. Add one-fourth of the beaten whites to the batter and whisk until blended. Fold in the remaining whites with a rubber spatula just until blended. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan, spreading evenly.
- Bake the cake until the top springs back when touched lightly, 25 to 35 minutes. Let cool in the pan on a wire rack for 5 minutes. Coat the rack with cooking spray and invert the cake onto it to cool completely.
To prepare glaze:
- Combine cocoa, chocolate, corn syrup and instant coffee in a medium bowl. Add boiling water and stir with a wooden spoon until the chocolate has melted and the mixture is smooth. Stir in vanilla.
- Gradually add confectioners’ sugar (to the chocolate mixture), beating with an electric mixer, slowly at first, then gradually increasing speed, until the glaze is smooth and thickened. (The mixture may seem lumpy at first, but it will smooth out.) Cover with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature until the mixture is set, about 30 minutes.
- To finish the cake, place it bottom-side up on a serving plate. Place several strips of wax paper under the bottom edge to protect the plate from drips. Spoon on glaze and spread it evenly over the top and sides of the cake with an icing spatula or knife. Arrange the remaining 2 tablespoons hazelnuts around the top outside edge. Discard the wax paper before serving.
Per serving: 234 calories; 9 g fat ( 2 g sat , 5 g mono ); 18 mg cholesterol; 38 g carbohydrates; 5 g protein; 4 g fiber; 86 mg sodium; 212 mg potassium.
For more info: www.eatingwell.com/recipes/chocolate_hazelnut_cake.html
Eating healthy does not require you solely eat dishes reminiscent of cardboard and mash. No need to substitute flavor for nutrients. There is a vast range of readily available delicious and nutritious recipes. In this past decade there has been a noticeable general shift towards healthy eating and a drastic change has come over the way we view food. Programs teaching children to make smarter snack choices, the increase of GMOs and even the media making more of a point inform the public about the benefits of healthier living has made it easier to realistically dedicate time and effort to eating better.