Comfort Food: Healthy Makeovers

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With winter upon us, we could all use some good ol’ comfort food every once in awhile. You know, the kind of meal that sticks to your ribs and warms you up when the temperature drops. But sometimes, it’s nice to change things up a bit and try new recipes. Why not have both?

So, if you want all the comfort of your traditional favorites, but still want to venture out of the box and get deliciously creative, then these four comfort food makeovers will not disappoint:

Mac and Cheese Stuffed Peppers

Ingredients:

12 ounces dry elbow macaroni

1 cup heavy cream

1 ½ cup white cheddar cheese, shredded

1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded

1 ¼ cups gruyere cheese, shredded

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon black pepper

4 bell peppers (any color)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400. In large pot, cook macaroni until al dente, and then drain. Pour macaroni back into pot, and stir in heavy cream and cheeses, except for ½ cup of white cheddar that will be used later. Cook over medium heat until all cheese is melted, then add salt and pepper. Next, cut tops of peppers off, and remove seeds and centers. Fill peppers with mac and cheese mixture. Sprinkle remaining white cheddar cheese on top and bake for 15 minutes.

Chicken Pot Pie Turnovers

Ingredients:

⅓ cup butter

1 small yellow onion, diced

1 stalk celery, diced

1 carrot, peeled and diced

⅓ cup all-purpose flour

¾ cup chicken broth

1 cup cream

2 ounces cream cheese, softened and separated into small cubes

½ teaspoon garlic powder

¼ teaspoon dried thyme

½ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon black pepper

2 cups chicken, cooked and cut into small cubes

¾ cup frozen peas

2 refrigerated piecrusts

1 egg white

1 tablespoon milk

Directions:

In large pan, melt butter over medium heat. Stir in onion, celery, and carrot, and cook for 5 minutes. Gradually add flour and cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring constantly. Slowly stir in chicken broth, cream, and cream cheese, until well blended. Continue to cook for about 2 minutes, until thick and bubbly. Mix in chicken and peas, and then remove from heat. Preheat oven to 400. Unroll pie crusts and roll them out so they’re a bit thinner, using a rolling pin. Find bowl that is roughly 6 inches in diameter and use it to cut circles out of piecrusts. You should be able to get 9-10 circles out of both pie crusts, but you will have to re-roll the dough scraps one or two times. Spoon chicken mixture onto one side of each circle. Be sure to leave enough room to fold other side over and seal turnovers. Once sealed, you can use fork to crimp edges. In small bowl, whisk egg white and milk together, and then brush over turnovers. Place on lightly greased baking sheet and bake for about 15 minutes.

Onion Cheesy Bread

Ingredients:

1 ½ tablespoons butter

1 ½ yellow onions, thinly sliced

1 clove garlic, chopped

1 sprig fresh thyme, leaves only

½ tablespoon sugar

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon black pepper

½ tablespoon white balsamic vinegar

2 loaves French bread, cut in half lengthwise

1 cup gruyere cheese, shredded

Directions:

In large saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Stir in onion, garlic, and thyme leaves. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to medium low, cover, and let simmer for about 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Stir in sugar, salt, and pepper, and cook for 10 minutes. Preheat oven to 400. Add balsamic vinegar to onion mixture and cook for 10 more minutes, until onions are caramelized. Put bread halves on baking sheet and top with cheese. Spoon onion mixture on top of cheese and bake for 12 minutes, or until cheese is melted.

Healthy Oven-Fried Chicken

Ingredients:

4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves, excess fat removed

2 ½ cups cornflakes

1 teaspoon dried thyme

¾ teaspoon paprika

½ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon black pepper

2 egg whites

Directions:

Preheat oven to 425. Start by rinsing chicken and patting dry. In a freezer bag, or large sandwich bag, pour cornflakes. Use your hands to crush cornflakes until crumbly. Add in thyme, paprika, salt, and pepper, and give it a good shake. In a small bowl, beat egg whites with a fork until frothy. Dip each chicken piece, one at a time, in egg whites, and then add to bag with crumb mixture. Make sure chicken is coated evenly with crumbs. In a nonstick baking dish, place chicken pieces and lightly coat with cooking oil spray. Bake chicken for 30 minutes, or until cooked through.

 

Image Source: BigStock