Comfort Food Alternatives Slideshow
1. Slow Cooker Lemon Chicken and Orzo Soup
Forget about opening that can of soup from the store, laden with sodium, mushy vegetables, and limp noodles. Instead, fire up that slow cooker that's been gathering dust since last year and enjoy a freshly made soup with ease. And it will taste like it's been cooking all day — because it has. With just 164 calories and 1.3 grams fat per 1 ½ cup serving, it's easy on the waist, too.
2. Baked Southern Fried Chicken with Barbecue Sauce
These will definitely be a hit with the kids. This recipe comes from Recipe Rehab, a television show on ABC where two chef teams face off to create healthier versions of a family's favorite dish. The first step to cutting out the fat with fried chicken? Making sure it doesn't hit the fryer in the first place. A tangy barbecue sauce made with Dijon mustard and Tabasco is the perfect accompaniment to the chicken.
3. BBQ Chicken Mac and Cheese
Missy Chase Lapine, author of The Speedy Sneaky Chef, cuts down on calories in this comfort food favorite by using low-fat dairy and a vegetable purée instead of heavy cream or whole milk as a thickener. At just 255 calories and 3.2 grams of fat per serving, it's a dream come true.
4. Baked Sweet Potato Fries with Parmesan and Cinnamon
Take a break from buttery, fattening mashed potatoes and gravy and try these baked sweet potato fries instead. Taking the fryer out of the equation means that these fries are as healthy as can be, and sweet potatoes are loaded with vitamins A and C, as well as fiber.
5. Braised Turnips and Carrots
Take advantage of the season's bounty with this hearty, nutritious side dish that goes well with just about anything.
6. Roasted Butternut Squash and Leek Soup
While some versions of butternut squash soup pile on the calories and fat with butter, milk, and heavy cream, this lighter version uses chicken stock to keep all the flavor while dropping the calorie count. At just 116 calories per 1-cup serving, it's a featherweight.
7. Skinny Broccoli and Cheese Casseroles
Try these on for size. At just 118 calories and 1.8 grams of fat per serving, these mini casseroles aren't the usual calorie bomb. With just five ingredients, they're also incredibly easy to make.
8. Cumin-Crusted Oven Fries
Not a huge fan of sweet potato, but don't want to give up the health benefit of oven-baking fries? Then try this fantastic recipe from Viviane Bauquet Farre, author of the award-winning blog Food and Style.
9. Slow Cooker Chicken Pot Pie Soup
Jennifer Drummond, author of the blog Peanut Butter and Peppers and creator of this soup, says, "It's thick, creamy, and does taste like chicken pot pie without the crust!" The best part? Just 147 calories and 1.9 grams fat per serving.
10. Vegetarian Chili
No roundup of comfort foods would be complete without chili. Tosca Reno, author of the Eat-Clean Diet series of cookbooks, has come up with a vegetarian chili that's healthier than the traditional meat-based versions and sure to satisfy meat lovers at the same time with its smoky, toasted cumin flavor, four different types of beans, and a secret ingredient.