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Comfort Foods: Healthy Recipes for Your Favorite Comfort Foods

  • Frances Janisch

    Macaroni and Cheese

    2 1/2 cups dried radiatore, rotelle, or elbow macaroni (8 ounces)

    2 cups reduced-fat (2 percent) milk

    2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

    1/2 teaspoon dry mustard

    1/4 teaspoon salt

    1/8 teaspoon black pepper

    1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese

    1/2 cup American cheese, cubed

    1/2 cup coarsely crushed seasoned croutons

    2 tablespoons finely shredded parmesan cheese

    Make it: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Cook pasta according to package directions; drain and return to pot.

    Meanwhile, in a large screw-top jar, combine 1 cup of the milk, flour, mustard, salt, and pepper; cover and shake until combined. Pour into a medium saucepan. Stir in remaining 1 cup milk. Cook and stir over medium heat just until bubbly. Reduce heat to low. Add cheddar cheese and American cheese, stirring until melted. Pour sauce over pasta, stirring until combined. Spoon into a 1-1/2-quart casserole.

    Bake, covered, for 15 minutes. In a small bowl, stir together croutons and Parmesan cheese; sprinkle over casserole. Bake, uncovered, about 5 minutes more, or until heated through. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

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  • Joseph De Leo

    Baked Potato with Chili and Cheese

    1 medium potato

    1 cup frozen broccoli florets

    1 cup canned vegetarian chili or turkey chili with beans

    1/4 cup shredded low-fat cheddar cheese

    Make it: Wash potato, prick it two or three times with a knife, and microwave for 10 minutes, turning once. Heat broccoli and chili in a microwave or on stovetop. Top cooked potato with warm chili and broccoli. Sprinkle with cheese.

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  • Joseph Deleo

    Spinach and Goat Cheese Pizza

    2 whole-grain flatbreads

    1/2 cup pizza sauce

    2 tablespoons dried oregano

    1 cup baby spinach

    1/4 cup goat cheese

    2 tablespoons pine nuts

    Make it: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Bake flatbread for 7 minutes. Spread pizza sauce on flatbread and top with oregano, spinach, goat cheese, and pine nuts. Bake an additional 12 to 15 minutes.

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  • Joseph De Leo

    BBQ Chicken Sandwich

    2 tablespoons barbecue sauce

    3-ounce chicken breast (or use rotisserie chicken, skin removed)

    2 cups baby spinach

    1/2 cup shredded carrots

    2 tablespoons slivered walnuts

    2 tablespoons balsamic vinaigrette

    1 whole-grain hamburger bun, toasted

    Make it: Brush barbecue sauce on chicken and bake or grill until it reaches 165 degrees F. (To save time, use rotisserie chicken, skin removed.) Toss spinach, carrots, and walnuts with dressing. Put chicken on toasted bun; serve with salad.

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  • Evan Sklar

    Hearty Beef Chili

    28-ounce can diced tomatoes, undrained

    10-ounce can chopped tomatoes and green chili peppers, undrained

    2 cups vegetable juice or tomato juice

    1-2 tablespoons chili powder

    1 teaspoon ground cumin

    1 teaspoon dried oregano, crushed

    3 cloves garlic, minced

    1 1/2 pounds beef or pork stew meat, cut into 1-inch cubes

    2 cups chopped onion

    1 1/2 cups chopped celery

    1 cup chopped green bell pepper

    2 15-ounce cans black beans, kidney beans, or chickpeas, rinsed and drained

    Reduced-fat cheddar, low-fat sour cream, and cilantro (optional)

    Make it: In a 6-quart cooker, combine both cans of tomatoes, vegetable juice, chili powder, cumin, oregano, and garlic. Mix in the meat, onion, celery, and pepper. Cover and cook on low-heat setting for 8 to 10 hours or on high-heat setting for 4 to 5 hours. Stir in the drained beans, then cover and cook for 15 minutes more (if using low-heat setting, turn to high-heat setting). Ladle chili into bowls. Garnish with cheese, sour cream, and cilantro, if desired.

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  • Frozen Pizza from Kashi

    Craving pizza? Having this frozen pie from Kashi on hand has saved us many times from the call of the delivery menu. That's why it won top honors in the frozen foods category of our 2008 Healthy Food Awards!

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  • Evan Sklar

    Big Fudgy Bittersweet Brownies

    1 large egg

    1 egg white

    3 tablespoons plain nonfat yogurt

    1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

    1 1/2 cups sugar

    1/3 cup canola oil

    1/2 teaspoon sea salt

    1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

    3 ounces high-quality unsweetened baking chocolate, chopped

    1/3 cup unbleached all-purpose flour

    1/3 cup buckwheat or presifted whole wheat flour

    Make it: Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly coat an 8-inch-square nonstick baking pan with cooking spray. In a small bowl, whisk together egg, egg white, yogurt, and vanilla extract; set aside.

    In a small saucepan, combine sugar, oil, salt, and 3 tablespoons water, stirring constantly for 3 minutes on medium-high heat. Remove from heat; stir in cocoa and chocolate until chocolate melts, then add egg mixture. Add all flour, stirring until batter is smooth.

    Pour batter into baking pan. Bake 25 minutes, or until top is firm. Cool completely in pan on rack. Cut into squares.

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  • Evan Sklar

    Caramel Popcorn

    1/2 cup unpopped popcorn kernels

    5 tablespoons peanut oil

    1 3/4 cups light brown sugar

    5 tablespoons unsalted butter

    1/3 cup honey

    1/2 teaspoon sea salt

    1 teaspoon baking soda

    Make it: In a stockpot or an extra-large saucepan, heat popcorn kernels in 3 tablespoons of oil. Stir to coat all kernels. Cover and cook over medium heat, 5 to 7 minutes, or until kernels are fully popped (shaking pot after 3 minutes).

    Lightly coat two large baking pans with cooking spray. Pour popcorn into pans and preheat oven to 200 degrees F.

    In a medium saucepan, combine brown sugar, butter, honey, remaining oil, and salt. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring constantly with a wooden or silicone spoon, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in baking soda until smooth.

    Evenly drizzle over popcorn; stir to coat. Bake for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes.

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  • Root Beer Float

    12 ounces diet root beer

    1/2 cup light vanilla ice cream

    Make it: Combine, and enjoy!

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  • Evan Sklar

    Chocolate Chip Cookies

    2 1/4 cups flour

    1 teaspoon baking soda

    1 teaspoon salt

    1 1/2 cups canola oil

    3/4 cup brown sugar

    3/4 cup granulated sugar

    1 tsp. vanilla extract

    2 eggs, beaten

    2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

    1 cup chopped pecans

    Make it: Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. In a bowl, combine flour, baking soda, and salt. In another bowl, beat together oil, sugars, and vanilla until creamy. Beat in eggs. Gradually add flour mixture. Stir in chocolate chips and nuts. Roll into small balls; flatten slightly onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 9 to 11 minutes, or until edges are golden brown. Freeze the extras.

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