All Posts In Healthy Recipes

5 Chocolatey Reasons to Stay in This Valentine’s Day — Comfort Food Feast

by in Healthy Recipes, Valentine's Day, February 11, 2016

Between pricey prix fixe menus and absurdly long wait times, dining out on Valentine’s Day is never what it’s cracked up to be. If you haven’t yet scored a reservation at that new brasserie people have been raving about, don’t sweat it. Instead, use the night as an opportunity to kick back with your date (or your best friend!) and toast Cupid’s handiwork with some homemade eats and a whole lot of chocolate. It might sound cliche, but this is the one day that we get a pass to indulge in all things sweet and chocolatey — so why wouldn’t we? Maybe you’re trying to avoid a post-meal sugar crash. We get that. But there are clever ways to tailor chocolate cheesecake, mousse and more for a romantic night at home.

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Bread Pudding with Dates and Orange Whiskey Sauce

by in Healthy Recipes, February 10, 2016

Imagine velvety whisky sauce drizzling down the sides of rich bread pudding. What could be more indulgent? Don’t worry, it’s a healthy indulgence!

In this month for lovers, we are happy to smother our loved ones with the sweetest of sweets. Plus, it’s chilly outside. So this is a good time to turn on the oven and bake something (super easy) to share. Whether you serve this creamy bread pudding on a fancy tray for breakfast in bed or put it on the menu for a cozy brunch with friends, please share this sweet treat that’s made with simple, healthy ingredients.

First on the ingredients list is whole-grain bread. The benefit of using this as the base is twofold: It contains whole grains, which we all need to eat a bit more often, and darker breads actually caramelize better in the oven. And that means the top of this pudding gets a nice caramel crust.

A second healthful ingredient is dates. A 1/4-cup serving of dates (about two large Medjool dates) contains:

•  16 vitamins and minerals, including potassium, magnesium, iron, calcium, copper and vitamin B6
•  3 grams of fiber
•  About 130 calories, mostly carbohydrate/sugar, which can be used to naturally sweeten recipes and decrease the amount of added sugar

Rounding out the simple list of ingredients in this “bressert” (breakfast and dessert!) are cardamom and orange. Both are used in Scandinavian cooking — and our Nordic friends are experts in keeping warm during their long, beautiful winters. If you’ve never tried cardamom, you’re in for a treat; it’s peppery and warm and sweet all at the same time. It’s a complement to the tart, sweet orange flavors (as is cinnamon, if you can’t find cardamom).

But don’t skip the Orange Whiskey Sauce — it’s the crowning glory. Plus, it comes together in only about 10 minutes. The recipe calls for whole milk, but we also tested it with reduced-fat (1 percent) milk and found it was still creamy and delicious. And with that splash of whiskey that’s added at the end, it will warm your insides almost as much as snuggling up with tons of blankets.

So turn on the oven — right now. Someone special would surely like to share a piece or two of healthy indulgence with you.

Bread Pudding with Dates and Orange Whiskey Sauce
Yield: About 8 servings

4 cups whole-grain bread cubes (from about 4 to 5 pieces of sandwich bread)
4 large eggs, beaten
2 1/4 cups reduced-fat (1 percent) milk
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon finely grated orange peel
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom or cinnamon
1/3 cup chopped dates

Orange Whiskey Sauce
1 1/4 cup whole milk
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
5 tablespoons whiskey or bourbon, divided
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
Pinch of salt

To dry bread cubes, place on a large baking sheet and bake in a 350 degree F oven for 10 minutes, stirring twice. Cool.

In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, sugar, orange peel and cardamom. Add dry bread cubes and dates; toss to coat bread with egg mixture.

Pour egg mixture into a greased 2-quart square baking dish and let set for 10 minutes (for bread to soak up egg mixture). Using a flat spatula, press bread down into egg mixture and place in a heated 350 degree F oven. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean.

For Orange Whiskey Sauce, in a medium saucepan, combine milk and brown sugar. In a small bowl, combine cornstarch, orange juice and 3 tablespoons whiskey; whisk together with a fork until combined. Pour into milk mixture in pan, scraping bowl to get all of the cornstarch. Over medium-high heat, bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Turn down to medium-low and cook until thickened, about 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in butter, salt and remaining 2 tablespoons of whiskey. Serve over warm bread pudding.

Per serving (1/8th of recipe): Calories 282; Fat 7 g (Saturated 3 g); Sodium 219 mg; Carbohydrate 41 g; Fiber 2 g; Sugars 34 g; Protein 9 g

Serena Ball, M.S., R.D., is a registered dietitian nutritionist. She blogs at, sharing tips and tricks to help readers find cooking shortcuts for making healthy, homemade meals. Her recipes are created with families in mind.

6 Kitchen Hacks for Unsweetened Cocoa Powder

by in Healthy Recipes, February 10, 2016

Calling all chocoholics! Discover why there’s way more to antioxidant-rich unsweetened cocoa powder than candy with these kitchen hacks.

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The Healthy Breakfast You Can Make from Leftovers

by in Healthy Recipes, February 9, 2016

Oatmeal is a great way to get heart-healthy whole grains into your breakfast, but it’s not the only way. With a little prep work, you can turn lots of whole grains into a morning meal — from quinoa and brown rice to millet and polenta. Try this easy, versatile, DIY recipe to make a healthy, hot breakfast in minutes.

This recipe uses leftover cooked grains from your fridge. If you don’t have any… get on that! Keeping a big batch of cooked whole grains in the fridge is a timesaving step for lots of healthy meals.

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5 Lower-Fat Dips for Game Day — Comfort Food Feast

by in Healthy Recipes, February 4, 2016

If there’s any day of the year to indulge your most-hedonistic dip fantasies, it’s Game Day — a national event so synonymous with chips and dip that there are actually NFL-brand serving trays made to enhance the ubiquitous snack food’s visual appeal and ease of consumption, all in the name of football. But why choose an oil-laden dip when you can dig into creamy, comforting creations for less than 10 grams of fat per serving? If you’re hosting a viewing party this year, you’ll definitely want to skip the sad jarred nacho cheese in favor of these homemade recipes.

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Lentil-and-Couscous-Stuffed Peppers

by in Healthy Recipes, February 4, 2016

When I think of stuffed peppers, I’m reminded of the cheesy, tomato-and-beef-filled versions my mom made when I was a child. I didn’t fall in love with bell peppers until much later in life, so I used to dread those dinners. I would sprinkle on extra cheese and eat only the filling, leaving as much baked pepper behind as possible. Thankfully, my taste buds have matured and I now love bell peppers, especially the slightly smoky taste of roasted ones.

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Throw a Gluten-Free Game-Day Party

by in Healthy Recipes, January 31, 2016

Game-day party planning is no easy task — especially for starving football fans. Add gluten intolerance to the mix and you may just feel like throwing in the towel. But, really, there’s no need to stress. You’re just minutes away from party prowess with these good-for-you game-day snacks.

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Stovetop White Cheddar Mac

by in Healthy Recipes, January 30, 2016

I grew up on macaroni and cheese. In my Italian family, my mom showed her love through pasta, homemade sauce and plenty of cheese. She knew that comfort was achieved through chewy pasta and a creamy cheese sauce, whether you had a tough day at school or a sore throat. So it’s no surprise that I’ve followed a similar comfort food path as an adult. Long days, arguments and dreary weather are all solved with bowls of piping-hot, luscious macaroni. It’s “I love you” without having to utter a single word.

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Slow-Cooker Sorghum Bowls for Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

by in Healthy Recipes, January 29, 2016

Move over, quinoa. There’s a “hot” new whole grain in town — sorghum! And, with its nutty taste and slightly chewy texture, antioxidant-rich sorghum has quickly become one of my favorite healthy and nourishing gluten-free grains to experiment with in the kitchen.

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5 Reasons to Put Down That Box of Mac and Cheese — Comfort Food Feast

by in Healthy Recipes, January 28, 2016

No one should be expected to forgo mac and cheese in the dead of winter. This, the creamiest of all comfort foods, is our only solace when an apocalyptic blizzard is headed our way. Without a doubt, box mixes are convenient — but those cheesy orange powders and squeezable pouches of “Cheddar” contain hidden preservatives and not-so-hidden synthetic dyes that our bodies could do without. Steer clear of undesirable (and unpronounceable) ingredients while still getting your coze on with these wholesome homemade macs from Food Network.

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