Sometimes it just does a soul good to hunker down inside a toasty house with the family and your fave tummy-filling meal.
Trouble is, some of our favorite comfort foods are loaded with calories and not-so-healthy stuff. We asked, wouldn’t it be great if they could get a healthy makeover?
Chef and Registered Dietitian Renee Zonka, dean of the Kendall College School of Culinary Arts, was up to the challenge. Here’s what she came up with:
Preheat oven to 450.
1. Combine squash, potato, 1 cup chopped onion and oil in a roasting pan coated with cooking spray, tossing to coat vegetables. Bake at 450 for 30 minutes or until vegetables are tender, stirring once; set aside.
2. Combine remaining 1 cup onion, milk, nutmeg, cinnamon and bay leaf in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat; bring to a simmer. Remove from heat; let stand 15 minutes. Strain milk mixture through a fine sieve over a bowl; discard solids. Return milk mixture to pan. Add flour, salt, and pepper to milk mixture, stirring with a whisk. Cook over medium heat 10 minutes or until thick, stirring frequently with a whisk. Remove from heat; stir in Parmesan cheese.
3. Lower oven to 375.
4. Spread ½ cup milk mixture in bottom of a 13- x 9-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Arrange three noodles over milk mixture; top with ½ of squash mixture, ½ of the spinach, ½ cup mozzarella and 1 cup milk mixture. Repeat layers with noodles, squash mixture, spinach, mozzarella and milk mixture. Top with remaining three noodles. Spread remaining milk mixture over noodles and sprinkle with remaining ½ cup mozzarella.
5. Cover with foil coated with cooking spray. Bake for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake an additional 20 minutes. Let stand 10-15 minutes before cutting.
Cut into 12 pieces.
Nutrition per serving: 226 calories, 5 g fat, 14 mg cholesterol, 32 g carbohydrate, 439 mg sodium, 14 mg protein, 5 g fiber.
Ooey Gooey Brownies
Makes 16 squares
cup unsweetened cocoa powder
½ cup flour
¼ tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. salt
½ cup unsweetened applesauce
1½ Tbsp. olive oil
1 egg, room temperature
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350.
1. Spray an 8-inch square pan with cooking spray and set aside.
2. Microwave honey until runny (about one minute). Add cocoa and stir until combined; let cool to room temperature.
3. Meanwhile, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
4. In a large bowl, combine applesauce, oil, egg and vanilla. Add the honey-cocoa mixture and whisk until smooth. Add the flour mixture and stir until no traces of flour remain. Scrape batter into the prepared pan.
5. Bake 25 minutes. Let cool completely before slicing.
Nutrition per serving: 208 calories, 4 g fat, 30 mg cholesterol, 37 g carbohydrate, 466 mg sodium, 8 g protein, 4 g fiber
Makes 8 servings
6 slices whole-wheat bread
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 stalks celery, finely diced
1 (10 ounce) box white mushrooms, stemmed and chopped
¼ cup flour
3 cups 1% milk
1 cup low-sodium chicken or vegetable stock
1 tsp. salt
¼ tsp. ground black pepper
½ pound whole wheat egg noodles, cooked and drained
1 (10-ounce) box frozen chopped broccoli, thawed
1 (10-ounce) box frozen peas, thawed
4 (6-ounce) cans chunk light tuna in water, drained
Preheat oven to 425.
1. Place bread in food processor and pulse for 30 seconds into bread crumbs.
2. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onions and garlic and cook, stirring, until onions are soft and translucent, about 8 minutes. Add celery and cook, stirring, until just tender, about 6 minutes. Add mushrooms and cook, stirring, until mushrooms release their water, about 5 to 7 minutes.
3. Add flour all at once and stir immediately and vigorously with a wooden spoon until flour is completely incorporated into vegetable mixture and there are no flour lumps. Add milk and broth, stir to combine and bring mixture to a boil, stirring frequently.
4. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook, stirring, until liquid has thickened and reduced by about ½ cup, 7 to 8 minutes. Add salt and pepper and stir to combine.
5. Combine cooked pasta, vegetable-liquid mixture, broccoli, peas and tuna and toss to incorporate.
6. Pour into a 13- x9-inch casserole dish. Top with bread crumbs. Bake for 25 minutes, or until crumbs are golden brown.
Nutrition per serving: 335 calories, 7 g fat, 37 mg cholesterol, 54 g carborhydrate, 849 mg sodium, 15 g protein, 7 g fiber.
4 cups (½-inch) cubed peeled butternut squash (about 2½ pounds)
2 cups (½-inch) cubed peeled sweet potato (about 1 pound)
2 cups chopped onion, divided
1 Tbsp. olive oil
4 cups 1% low-fat milk
tsp. ground nutmeg
tsp. ground cinnamon
1 bay leaf
1½ ounces all-purpose flour (about cup)
½ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1¼ cups grated Parmesan cheese
4 cups fresh spinach, cooked and squeezed dry
9 whole wheat lasagna noodles, cooked and drained
1½ cups shredded