With the cold weather settling in, many folks turn to their favorite comfort foods. But the truth is, most classics like macaroni and cheese, chili, and chicken fingers are laden with calories. I had the opportunity to speak with Ellie Krieger, a registered dietitian, cookbook author and host of Food Network’s hit show Healthy Appetite, about her new book Comfort Food Fix. She tells us how we can eat these favorites without worry.
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You can only heat up a plate of gravy-drenched turkey dinner leftovers so many times! Go a little lighter with your Thanksgiving memories by making any of these 3 easy and tasty soups. They all start out with a fresh pot of stock made with stuff you’ve got lying around the kitchen.
Don’t toss out the remnants of your turkey! Go the extra mile and turn it into an amazingly delicious stock. A large pot, some water and vegetable scraps (you’ve definitely got those around) and you’re set. Let it simmer away while the family settles into a cozy food coma.
Basic Turkey Stock
Makes 2 quarts
1 roasted turkey carcass (from a 10-pound turkey)
2 pounds raw vegetable scraps (carrots, celery, onions, leeks and garlic recommended)
1 tablespoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons black peppercorns
2 bay leaves
Combine ingredients in a large stockpot and add enough cold water to cover. Bring to a slow boil, reduce to a simmer and cook uncovered for 2 to 3 hours. Strain and transfer to quart containers. Store in the refrigerator for up to 1 week or in the freezer for up to 6 months.
Store-bought biscuit dough is full of hydrogenated oils (a.k.a. trans fats) but homemade biscuit recipes call for large servings of shortening or butter. We aren’t revolutionizing the biscuit, just making them in a more portion-conscious way.
Most recipe yields are for 8 to 10 pieces, which means a 300-plus calorie bread to go along with your meal. Below is a traditional biscuit recipe portioned out to keep the calories in check.
Even when attending a virtual Thanksgiving, where presumably, the calories, fat and additives aren’t actually real, we want to bring something healthy to the table. So when we were asked to contribute a dish to Food Network’s virtual Thanksgiving, the choice was easy — we signed up right away to “bring” Ellie Krieger’s Green Bean Casserole With Crispy Shallots. No proper Thanksgiving meal is complete without this traditional casserole. So don’t leave it off of your table, but do skip the canned soup and canned crunchy onions. Both the creamy sauce and crunchy onions (which make the dish) are as easy to make as it is to open a can, but the difference in taste from the original is enormous. The homemade version is so much more fresh and flavorful than the one made with canned stuff, plus it’s not heavy and loaded with sodium from the soup.
Sweet potato casserole is one of the quintessential Thanksgiving foods. It makes an appearance alongside the turkey on everyone’s holiday table. In my family, we have it again on Christmas, too. The version everyone expects is the one that’s covered in marshmallows. This year, I’m taking a stand against this marshmallow-topped calorie bomb. Not only does the traditional sweet potato dish deliver tons of extra sugar, fat and calories, it doesn’t even taste good. Not in my opinion, anyway. Sweet potatoes are naturally sweet; they don’t need the help of marshmallows. They’re perfectly delicious on their own — baked, mashed, or turned into fries — or in a casserole, spiced with cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger and topped with pecans.
Little fingers will love scooping up these tiny cupcakes. They’re portion controlled for the adults, too.
Recipe: Mini Carrot Cupcakes
Whether you’re gluten-free or not, everyone appreciates getting in and out of the kitchen fast on a weeknight. This time, I took a hint for my low-maintenance basic recipe from a seasonal fruit that kept staring at me in the market: apples. In less than 20 minutes, I had my fast fridge fix—warm, homemade Apple Cider Applesauce.
Warning: If you’ve never made apple sauce yourself, I caution you that you may never go back to the jarred stuff. My kids and I ate most of the applesauce straight from the pot for that night’s dessert.
Then, throughout the week, I was ready to get dinner done fast with my easy mix-in mains, like Pork ’n’ Applesauce Hash Brown Waffles or Caramelized Butternut Squash-Apple Soup With Bacon Croutons.
Apple Cider Applesauce
If you can’t find Honey Crisp apples, McIntosh or Granny Smith works great, too.
Makes: about 4 cups
3 pounds apples, preferably Honey Crisp (about 6 apples)—peeled, quartered and cored
1½ cups apple cider, pear cider or water
½ teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (about 1 lemon)
In a medium saucepan, combine the apples, cider, cinnamon, vanilla, brown sugar, lemon juice and salt; bring to a boil. Cover and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the apples are tender, about 18 minutes. Using a wooden spoon, break up the apples until chunky.
Fall is in full swing and Thanksgiving is around the corner. Fun mash ingredients like potatoes, parsnips, acorn squash, carrots, turnips are all in season. Now’s the time to practice your mashes!
A mash is usually made from vegetables, a touch of liquid like milk or butter, and seasonings. Once you get the hang of it, you can mix and match your favorite veggies and flavors.
The first step is to choose the veggie or veggies to mash. Once you do so, wash, peel, and trim them. Cut into uniform sized pieces so they’re evenly cooked. Be sure the pieces aren’t too small, or they end up absorbing too much water resulting in a runny mash.
“Flour” is basically the ground meal of any grain. While wheat is most common, oats, corn and rice (among others) are also available. Wheat flours are the classic choice for most baked goods and also tend to have the greatest variation. Types will differ by the coarseness of the grain, amount of gluten (a protein with elastic “chewy” properties), and the presence of any additional ingredients.