As someone who loves comfort food, trying to steer-clear of all my favorite warm, carb-filled treats during the winter months can be a challenge. That’s why I’m always searching for healthier alternatives to some of these cold-weather favorites. If you’re also a victim of wintertime comfort food cravings, don’t fret, because I’ve complied 6 delicious recipes that will give you all the comfort you crave while cutting some of thse unwanted calories. Check them out below.
Mashed Cauliflower with Garlic and Herbs
- 1 head of cauliflower
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1-2 tsp finely chopped herbs (thyme, rosemary, sage, parsley, chives, etc)
- Trim the leaves off the cauliflower and cut off the florets. Rinse the florets under water.
- Heat 1-inch of water in a pot on medium heat and bring to a boil. Place a steamer insert in the pot and add the cauliflower florets. Steam for 6-8 minutes.
- While the cauliflower is steaming, heat the olive oil in a small pan on medium heat. Add the minced garlic and cook for 30 seconds, then remove from the heat.
- Remove the steamed cauliflower from the pot, drain the water from the pot, then add the cauliflower back in. Add the olive oil, garlic, chopped herbs and any optional ingredients.
- Use a potato masher or handheld stick blender to mash the cauliflower. Serve immediately.
Be careful not to overcook the cauliflower, or else your cauliflower mash might end up more of a cauliflower puree.
The same can be said if you use a food processor instead of using a potato masher or handheld stick blender. The goal is to gently mash, not to puree.
Rosemary Bacon Butternut Squash Fries
- 1 medium butternut squash bulb chopped off (save for another use) and long part peeled
- 6 slices nitrate free sugar free bacon (for Whole30 this is my favorite!), cut into pieces
- 2 Tbsp fresh rosemary finely chopped
- 2 tsp fresh thyme chopped
- 1 Tbsp cooking fat of choice*
- 1/4 sea salt or to taste
- black pepper
Preheat your oven to 425 degrees and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
Using a large sharp knife (this one is my favorite for cutting squash!) cut the long, peeled part of the squash into 1/2″ fries. Butternut shrinks quite a bit when roasted so make sure you don’t cut the fries too thin.
Toss the squash with your cooking fat to completely coat, then sprinkle with sea salt and pepper and toss again. Arrange the fries on the the parchment lined baking sheet in a single layer, not touching one another (this makes them crispy!)
Put fries in the oven, then heat a heavy skillet over med-hi heat to cook the bacon*. Add the bacon pieces to the skillet and cook until browned but not too crispy – they will cook with the fries for the final part of roasting. Once about 3/4 done, remove with slotted spoon and drain on paper towel.
After 20-25 minutes of roasting the fries should be beginning to brown. Remove from oven and sprinkle with the bacon and chopped herbs, then return to oven. Continue roasting for another 15-20 minutes or until browned and crisp. Remove from oven and serve hot. Enjoy!
You can use rendered bacon fat if you cook the bacon prior to roasting the fries, otherwise, melted coconut oil or olive oil are fine.
Sneaky Zucchini Mac and Cheese with Everything Bagel Chip Crumbs
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 everything bagels thinly sliced
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 3 cups whole milk
- 1 pound short cut pasta
- 2 medium zucchini, grated
- 3 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- 1 cup shredded Havarti cheese
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- kosher salt + pepper
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Toss together the bagel pieces, olive oil, and a pinch of salt. Transfer to the oven and bake for 10-15 minutes, stirring halfway through cooking until the bagels are golden and crisp. Remove from the oven.
2. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat. Whisk in the flour. Reduce the heat to medium-low and let cook/bubble for 1 minute. Gradually whisk in the milk, 2 cups water and the pasta. Raise the heat up to medium-high and bring the mixture to a low boil, stir frequently until the pasta is al dente, about 15 minutes, adding in 1/4 cup more water as needed until the pasta is al dente. It is important to stir the sauce often to insure the pasta is being evenly cooked.
3. Once the pasta is al dente, stir in the zucchini, all of the cheeses, garlic powder, cayenne, salt and pepper. Stir until the cheese is fully melted and coats the pasta, about 5-10 minutes.
4. Divide the mac and cheese among bowls and top (generously) with crushed bagel chips. ENJOY!
Spinach Artichoke Grilled Cheese
via Slender Kitchen
2 slices reduced calorie wheat bread
2 oz deli turkey breast
1 tbsp light cream cheese
1/4 cup canned artichoke hearts, chopped
1/2 cup fresh spinach
3 tbsp shredded mozzarella cheese, part skim
Salt and pepper
- Microwave the cream cheese for about 30 seconds until soft.
- Mix in the spinach, artichoke hearts, cheese, salt, and pepper.
- Spread the mixture into between the two slices of bread. Layer in the turkey if you are using it.
- Grill in a skillet coated with non-stick cooking spray until warm and toasty.
Easy Skinny Skillet Lasagna
- 1/2 – 1 lb extra-lean ground turkey (or protein of your choice)
- 2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 scant cups (8 ounces) dried farfalle (bow-tie) pasta (white, gluten-free or whole wheat)
- 1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes (I recommend San Marzano or fire-roasted tomatoes)
- 1 (8-ounce) can tomato sauce
- 2 cups water or low sodium chicken broth
- 1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, optional
- Salt and ground black pepper, to taste
- 2 1/2 tablespoons of fresh chopped basil, divided
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
- 1 cup part-skim mozzarella cheese, shredded
- 2/3 cup fat-free cottage cheese
- 1/3 cup low-fat ricotta cheese for garnish, optional
- sprinkle of parmesan cheese for garnish, optional
- Optional add-ins
- 1 1/2 – 2 cups spinach, chopped
- 2 medium zucchini, peeled and chopped
- Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and saute for 30 seconds to a minute or until fragrant.
- Add in the ground meat and cook until browned, about 3-4 minutes, making sure to crumble and break down into small pieces as it cooks; drain excess fat.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add zucchini if using. Add diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, oregano, red pepper flakes and 1 tablespoon of basil.
- Stir in pasta and water or chicken broth. Bring to a boil and cover pan with lid and reduce heat.
- Remove cover and stir pasta every 3-4 minutes so pasta does not stick to the pan. Add more water or broth as needed if liquid is evaporating too much.
- Cook until pasta is tender (around 14-15 minutes). If adding spinach, stir in after 10 minutes and cover.
- Remove from heat and stir in mozzarella and cottage cheese. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.
- Top with dollops of ricotta cheese and cover pan for an additional 2 minutes until cheese is melted.
- Sprinkle with chopped parsley, basil and parmesan cheese if desired.
If using gluten free or whole wheat pasta, the cooking times may vary depending on the brand you use. br]
You may need to add more water as needed each time you stir the pasta.
Butternut Squash Noodles with Creamy Garlic Mushrooms & Lentils
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 medium butternut squashpeeled & spiralized (or 1 pack of prepared butternut noodles)
- Approx 10 white cup mushrooms peeled and sliced
- 90 g / 1/2 cup cooked puy lentils*
- Few fresh sage leaves roughly chopped
For the Creamy Sauce:
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder or 2 garlic cloves minced
- 120 ml / 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
- 1 tbsp arrowroot powder or tapioca flour
- 4 tbsp nutritional yeast flakes
In a large saucepan or wok, heat the olive oil and cook the butternut noodles on medium heat for a couple of minutes until they begin to soften.
Add the mushrooms, lentils and sage and cook for 5 minutes.
Make a quick sauce by mixing the almond milk and arrowroot together in a small bowl, then add the mixture and the garlic to the frying pan and stir into the noodles. As it heats, it will begin to thicken. Once thick and creamy, remove from the heat and stir in the nutritional flakes.
Season with salt and pepper and enjoy!