All Posts In Meal Makeovers

Lightened-Up Family Spaghetti and Meatball Night

by in Cooking for Kids, Healthy Recipes, Meal Makeovers, January 3, 2017

A classic crowd-pleasing meal, spaghetti and meatballs is all about family. Get the kids in the kitchen to help stir the sauce and roll the meatballs. Use these tips to make a meal the entire family will look forward to eating.

Meal Prep
Most of the components of spaghetti and meatballs can be made ahead. Be sure to make a big ol’ batch and freeze some for a busy night down the road, and tuck some in the fridge for school lunches the next day. Then all you’ll need is 10 minutes prior to dinner to boil the pasta and reheat the meatballs and sauce.

Pasta
Pasta has a bad reputation for being unhealthy. It’s true that processed wheat products are missing some key nutrients, but the real issue is inflated portions. One cup of cooked pasta contains 200 calories, an appropriate amount for most family members to enjoy as part of a meal. Fill the remainder of the plate with lean protein and vegetables for a well-balanced dinner.

Whole-grain pasta is also looked down upon for being bitter and unappetizing, but whole-wheat pasta options have come a long way. Or try a brand made with rice, beans, quinoa or egg whites for better texture and flavor, plus a higher protein content. Read more

How to Build a Better Chicken Pot Pie

by in Meal Makeovers, March 15, 2014

chicken pot pie

Order this classic dish at a restaurant, and you’re likely in for a 900-calorie meal. Opt for the frozen variety, and you won’t do much better, at around 700 calories a pop. (With both options, sodium could be double the recommended daily amount.) In other words: There are plenty of great reasons to make your own chicken pot pie!

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5 Crazy-Good Comfort Food Makeovers

by in Meal Makeovers, March 2, 2014

meatloaf

By making simple ingredient swaps, you can enjoy your favorite comfort foods any night of the week without an ounce of guilt. All of these dishes have fewer than 500 calories per serving.

Meatloaf (above)
Food Network Kitchens created a Cheesy Meatloaf with Green Quinoa for about half the calories of traditional meatloaf by using a combo of extra-lean ground turkey and beef along with spinach and cilantro. A sprinkle of full-fat cheese, melted on top, provides just the right amount of gooey goodness.
Calories per serving: 430
Bonus points for: quinoa on the side!

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Guilt-Free Casseroles

by in Healthy Recipes, Meal Makeovers, October 20, 2013

bean casserole
These one-dish wonders are a perfect meal any night of the week. But loads of creamy canned soup, butter and cheese tend to sabotage most casseroles. Here’s how to make the comfort-food favorites with healthier ingredients.

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10 Ways to Make a Healthier Pizza

by in Meal Makeovers, October 17, 2013

spinach ricotta pizza
Pizza can go either way: quintessential greasy junk food or healthy combo of fresh ingredients. Which one sounds better to you (and for you)? Here’s how to build a pie with a healthier profile.

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500 Calorie (or less) Comfort Foods

by in Healthy Recipes, Meal Makeovers, January 28, 2013

lasagna
As I was driving home yesterday, my car thermometer showed an outside temperature of 17 degrees F. In these frigid temperatures, comfort foods make you feel warm and cozy. But they don’t have to be over-the-top indulgent; here are 12 comfort food classics with fewer than 500 calories per serving.

Fried Chicken

Ellie’s super-simple spin on fried chicken uses crushed corn cereal flakes plus a blend of spices for a very crunchy dish. It’s a staple in my busy house with only about 10 minutes of prep time!
Recipe: Oven-Fried Chicken

Lasagna
A touch of sweet Italian turkey sausage makes this pasta dish hearty, yet sensible. The cheese layer’s filled with part-skim ricotta and low fat cottage cheese along with some part-skim mozzarella, which helps keep the calories in check at 350 per serving.

Recipe: Food Network Kitchen’s Sausage Lasagna

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Ribs, Lightened Up

by in Meal Makeovers, August 31, 2012

ribs
This backyard classic can be tricky to make, messy to eat and tough on the waistline. We can’t do much about the mess, but can help out with everything else. Grab your napkins!

Nutrition Facts
Order up a platter of baby backs at a restaurant and you’ll be downing over 1,000 calories and a staggering 70-plus grams of fat. Portion control must be emphasized no matter what and making your own is your best bet.

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Strawberry Daiquiris, Lightened Up

by in Meal Makeovers, June 12, 2012
strawberry daquiries
Ted Allen's Fresh Strawberry Balsamic Basil Daiquiris

Most daiquiris are cloyingly sweet and filled with booze, but make your own for a much lighter version of this classic summer cocktail.

Nutrition Facts
A 2-ounce portion of frozen daiquiri mix (no alcohol) has 120 calories and more than 5 teaspoons of added sugar. The quality of the ingredients is another sticky issue – most bottled mixers are filled with artificial colors and high fructose corn syrup. Pour in the rum and it’s another 100-plus calories per shot. There are better options….

Virgin
Replace rum with pineapple – save hundreds of calories per serving.
Recipe: Virgin Daiquiri

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Eggs Benedict, Lightened Up

by in Meal Makeovers, May 9, 2012
eggs benedict
Make breakfast for mom . . . or yourself.

Eggs Benedict is my all time favorite breakfast, but it can be a bit heavy. Here’s a traditional recipe with a few healthy twists.

Nutrition Facts
An order of Eggs Benedict at IHOP has 1020 calories and almost 60 grams of fat – and those aren’t even the most outrageous numbers I’ve seen. Large portions of meat and gobs of buttery sauces are mostly to blame.

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Make Your Own Girl Scout Cookies

by in Cookies & Other Desserts, Meal Makeovers, March 2, 2012
girl scout cookies
Homemade Girl Scout cookies, inspired by Thank U Berry Munch cookies.

It’s that time a year again! We covered homemade recipes for classics like Samoas, Thin Mints and Tagalongs, now it’s time for one of the newest Girl Scout cookie flavors.

Giving Thanks

Don’t get us wrong – our intention is not to thwart the fundraising efforts of deserving girl scouts. But let’s face it, all packaged cookies need preservatives to stay fresh. We’re offering a recipe with nothing but real ingredients. Besides, you can only get your hands on these cookies once a year so it’s nice to have a recipe on hand when girls scouts are on hiatus.
Thank U Berry Munch” cookies debuted in 2010. Made with sweet-tart cranberries and white chocolate, our version has all the flavor and none of the preservatives. Some online reviews noted that this cookies was overly sweet so we took that into account when creating this tasty version.

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