Fall is here and it’s getting chilly outside. Gone are the summer BBQs, out-door dining at the new, exotic bistro in the city and after-work rooftop cocktails as some of us begin three months of hibernation. There’s something to be said about being tucked snuggly in the comforts of our homes, sipping hot tottie and trying to figure out how to eat all the comfort food without packing on an extra 10-15 pounds during winter. To ensure your comfort and waistline, try these low-fat comfort meals. Happy munching!
1. Mac & cheese – 576 calories, 22g
Mac n Cheese is probably the most comforting and definitely fattening winter treats , this of fat healthy recipe update can still warm up those gloomy, cold days. Try creamy low-fat cottage cheese and add a layer of spinach into the middle for your veggies intake. Also use whole wheat pasta instead of white.
3 tablespoons plain dry breadcrumbs, 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil, 1/4 teaspoon paprika; 1 16-ounce or 10-ounce package frozen spinach, thawed; 1 3/4 cups low-fat milk; 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour; 2 cups shredded extra-sharp Cheddar cheese; 1 cup low-fat cottage cheese; 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg; 1/4 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground pepper, to taste; 8 ounces (2 cups) whole-wheat elbow macaroni, or penne
Learn how to make it:
Put a large pot of water on to boil. Preheat oven to 450°F and coat an 8-inch-square (2-quart) baking dish with cooking spray. Mix breadcrumbs, oil and paprika in a small bowl. Place spinach in a fine-mesh strainer and press out excess moisture. Heat 1 1/2 cups of milk in a large saucepan over medium-high heat until steaming. Whisk remaining 1/4 cup milk and flour in a small bowl until smooth; add to the hot milk and cook, whisking constantly, until the sauce simmers and thickens, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in Cheddar until melted. Stir in cottage cheese, nutmeg, salt and pepper. Cook pasta for 4 minutes. Drain and add to the cheese sauce; mix well. Spread half the pasta mixture in the prepared baking dish. Spoon the spinach on top. Top with the remaining pasta; sprinkle with the breadcrumb mixture. Bake the casserole until bubbly and golden, 25 to 30 minutes.
2. Lentil Soup with Cilantro- Only 264 calories and 10g of fat!!
From the pages of Chef Mark Bittman’s, new cookbook Kitchen Express
Ingredients: 2 tablespoon(s) olive oil; 1 1/2 cup(s) chopped onion; 1 cup(s) red lentils;
4 cup(s) chicken broth; 1 cup(s) packed cilantro leaves; 1/4 cup(s) olive oil;
1/8 teaspoon(s) salt; 5 teaspoon(s) fresh lemon juice
In a medium saucepan, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat.
Cook onion until soft, about 4 minutes. Add red lentils and chicken broth and bring to a boil; reduce to a simmer and cook until the lentils are soft, about 25 minutes.
In a mini-chop, purée cilantro leaves, 1/4 cup olive oil, and salt; set aside. In a food processor, puree half the lentil mixture until almost smooth; return to the pan and add fresh lemon juice. Drizzle each serving with some of the cilantro purée.
Fried Chicken- Calories 256; Fat 5 g
There’s nothing like some fried chicken, even if it’s low fat? Yes there is such a thing as low fat fried chicken that’s still crispy and flavorful. How? Oven baked!
1/2 cup skim milk or buttermilk; 1 tsp poultry seasoning; 1 cup corn flakes, crushed;
1 1/2 Tbsps onion powder; 1 1/2 Tbsps garlic powder; 2 tsps black pepper; 2 tsps dried hot pepper, crushed; 1 tsp ginger, ground; 8 skinless pieces chicken (4 breasts, 4 drumsticks); 1 tsp vegetable oil; paprika to taste
Preheat oven to 350° F, add 1/2 teaspoon of poultry seasoning to milk. Combine all other spices with cornflake crumbs and place in a plastic bag. Wash chicken and pat dry. Dip chicken into milk, shake to remove excess, and then quickly shake in bag with seasoning and crumbs. Refrigerate for 1 hour. Remove from refrigerator and sprinkle lightly with paprika for color. Evenly space chicken on greased baking pan. Cover with aluminum foil and bake 40 minutes. Remove foil and continue baking for an additional 30 to 40 minutes or until the meat can be easily pulled away from the bone with a fork. The drumsticks may require less baking time than the breasts. Crumbs will form a crispy “skin.” (Do not turn chicken during baking.)