Everyday Food Blog

Weighty Topics: Lighter Comfort Food

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As the temperatures start to drop, vinaigrette-drizzled salads and gazpacho just don't cut it. And once the comfort food cravings begin, it's like trying to turn an 18 wheeler around on a dirt road. The good news is with a few secret ingredients, you can still keep all that stick-to-your-ribs taste without making a new notch in your belt.

Try swapping in these items for more wholesome comfort food.

Panko

How it works: These coarse Japanese breadcrumbs are crisp and airy, so you can put away the oil—they lend a crunch typically found in fried food.

How to use it: Coat chicken tenders before baking for unfried chicken fingers. We also use panko to make a healthier take on chicken cordon bleu.

Try these recipes: Tuna Noodle Casserole, Baked Chicken Nuggets, and Lighter Chicken Cordon Bleu.

Low-Fat Yogurt

How it works: Calcium- and protein- packed yogurt adds creaminess without the calories and fat of cream, whole milk, or sour cream.

How to use it: Regular plain yogurt can replace some oil in muffin batter. Try Greek yogurt instead of sour cream in dips, on chili, or alongside fish tacos.

Try these recipes: Salmon Burgers with Yogurt-Dill Sauce, Loaded Slow-Cooker Baked Potatoes, and Blueberry-Orange Cornmeal Muffins.

Zucchini

How it works: Zucchini’s subtle flavor and versatility make the vegetable a top contender to incorporate some green into dishes.

How to use it: Shred and mix with part-skim ricotta for a lighter pasta filling. Or, layer thin slices in lasagna to cut back on pasta and cheese layers—and fat.

Try these recipes: Zucchini-Almond Cake, Zucchini Lasagna, and Zucchini-Parmesan Pancakes.

Canadian Bacon

How it works: Because Canadian bacon comes from a leaner cut than regular bacon does, it has one-third the calories and a fraction of the fat.

How to use it: To trim fat first thing in the morning, use Canadian bacon slices in egg sandwiches or serve with a veggie scramble.

Try these recipes: Better Bacon-Egg-and-Cheese Sandwich and Canadian Bacon Strata.

Mushrooms

How it works: Mushrooms are a source of the same savory umami flavor that beef and pork have. They also contribute a meaty texture, so they’re ideal in vegetarian dishes.

How to use it: Use them to make a vegetarian soup more satisfying, or saute? them for a baked potato topper or a side to any meatless meal.

Try these recipes: Roasted Beef, Mushroom and Barley Soup, Mushroom and Black Bean Tortilla Casserole, and Mushroom Turnovers with Sour Cream

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