Comfort Food Alternatives

Cutting out the calories and fat without sacrificing flavor

When it's pouring outside and the wind is howling through the eaves, it's tempting to call in sick, curl up on the couch in front of the TV, wrapped up in a warm blanket with a big, steaming bowl of chili or mac and cheese in hand, and just indulge a little.

Click here to see the Comfort Food Alternatives Slideshow

But let's face it — once the weather starts to turn warmer again and it's time to get ready for swimsuit season, we certainly don't want to look like we've been indulging in comfort food all fall and winter. That's why The Daily Meal has come up with slimmed-down versions of a few favorites, as well as some alternatives to the usual calorie- and fat-laden dishes.[slideshow:

Love chicken pot pie, but can't face yourself in the mirror after stuffing your face with it? Then don't miss out on this Slow Cooker Chicken Pot Pie Soup, which dispenses with the most fattening elements — the crust, the butter, and the milk — but retains that familiar, comforting flavor.

Or perhaps the mention of that big, steaming bowl of chili caught your attention. In which case, do try the Vegetarian Chili from Tosca Reno, author of the Eat-Clean Diet series of cookbooks. Four different types of beans; toasted, smoky cumin; and a secret ingredient might make you forget all about the calorie- and fat-laden meat versions.

Last, but not least, Recipe Rehab, a healthy cooking show on ABC aimed at helping families transform their eating habits with healthier versions of down-home favorites, tackled fried chicken their first week, and we are happy to share a recipe for Baked Southern Fried Chicken with Barbecue Sauce from one of the chefs.

Will Budiaman is the Recipe Editor at The Daily Meal. Follow him on Twitter @WillBudiaman

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