There’s something about cold weather that makes us want to eat! Whether it’s our animal instinct to fuel up and survive the winter, or because the holidays and food are so inextricably linked, ‘tis the season for feasting. Avoid packing on the pounds this winter with these three healthy twists on classic comfort foods.
Chicken Pot Pie
Like unwrapping a generous gift, there’s nothing quite like sticking your fork into the crust of a luscious chicken pot pie. By cutting back on the cream and going heavy on the veggies, there is no reason a pot pie can’t be a healthy winter treat for you and your loved ones.
For the Crust:
- 1 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
- 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon fine salt
- 4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
- 1 large egg
- 2 tablespoons 2% milk
For the Filling:
- 2 small russet potatoes
- 4 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
- 5 medium carrots, cut into large chunks
- 1 to 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 large onion, finely diced
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1/3 cup 2% milk
- 3 stalks celery, sliced
- 3 cups shredded rotisserie chicken, skin removed
- 1/2 cup fat-free plain Greek yogurt
- 1 cup frozen peas
- 1/2 cup minced fresh parsley
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
Prepare the crust: Pulse the flour, baking powder and salt in a food processor until combined. Add the butter, one piece at a time, pulsing until the mixture looks like coarse meal. Separate the egg; refrigerate the egg white. Beat the egg yolk and milk in a bowl, then add to the food processor, pulsing until the dough comes together. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and gather into a ball. Flatten into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap and chill at least 1 hour.
Meanwhile, make the filling: Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Prick the potatoes with a fork and bake directly on the oven rack until tender, about 45 minutes. Cool slightly, then peel and break into small pieces.
Bring the chicken broth, carrots and thyme to a simmer in a small saucepan over medium heat and cook 2 minutes; cover and keep warm. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until soft, about 8 minutes. Sprinkle in the flour and stir until lightly toasted, about 3 minutes. Add the milk, celery, potato pieces and the warm broth mixture and simmer until thickened, about 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the chicken, yogurt, peas and parsley. Season with salt and pepper.
Transfer the filling to a 2-quart casserole dish. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface until about 1/2 inch thick and slightly larger than the dish. Beat the reserved egg white in a bowl; brush over the dough and season with salt and pepper. Press the dough against the sides of the dish. Place on a baking sheet and bake until the crust is golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes.
Tuna casserole is an American classic and classically unhealthy. A few changes to mom’s old recipe can up the health quotient without sacrificing comfort or deliciousness.
- 6 oz “no yolk” noodles
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 medium onion, minced fine
- 3 tablespoons flour
- 1 3/4 cups fat-free chicken broth
- 1 cup 1% milk
- 10 oz sliced crimini mushrooms
- 1 cup frozen petite peas (thawed)
- 1 cup frozen chopped broccoli (thawed)
- 2 (5 oz) cans albacore tuna in water, drained
- 4 oz 50% reduced fat sharp cheddar
- Butter flavored cooking spray
- 2 tablespoons parmesan cheese
- 2 tablespoons whole wheat seasoned breadcrumbs
Cook noodles in salted water until al dente (slightly undercooked). Set aside.
Preheat oven to 375°. Lightly spray 9 x 12 casserole with butter flavored cooking spray.
Melt the butter in a large deep skillet. Add onions and cook on medium heat until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the flour and a pinch of salt and stir well, cooking an additional 2-3 minutes on medium-low heat. Slowly whisk in the chicken broth until well combined, increasing heat to medium and whisking well for 30 seconds, then add the milk and bring to a boil. When boiling, add mushrooms, peas and broccoli, adjust salt and pepper to taste and simmer on medium, mixing occasionally until it thickens (about 6-7 minutes). Add drained tuna, stirring another minute.
Remove from heat and add 1 cup reduced fat sharp cheddar and mix well until it melts. Add the noodles to the sauce and mix well until evenly coated. Pour into casserole and top with parmesan cheese and breadcrumbs. Spray a little more cooking spray and top and bake for about 20 - 25 minutes. Place under the broiler a few minutes to get the crumbs crisp (careful not to burn).
Like meatballs in Italy or cassoulet in the south of France, almost every American household has their own “best-ever” meatloaf recipe. Try this turkey meatloaf for a leaner version of the childhood favorite. Add a steamed vegetable for a comforting and healthy winter feast. And, this meatloaf makes great sandwiches for the next day’s lunch!
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 large onion, chopped (1 1/2 cups)
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper, divided
- 1 1/2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 1/3 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
- 3 tablespoons ketchup, divided
- 1 3/4 pounds ground turkey, 97% lean
- 3/4 cup dry breadcrumbs
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- 1 large egg white, lightly beaten
Preheat oven to 375°. Heat oil in medium skillet over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring frequently, until soft, about 5 minutes. Add garlic, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper; cook, stirring, 1 minute. Stir in Worcestershire sauce, broth, and 1 tablespoon ketchup; transfer mixture to a large bowl, and cool.
Add turkey, bread crumbs, egg, egg white, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper to mixture in bowl, and mix well. Mixture will be very moist.
Cover a baking sheet with aluminum foil, and coat lightly with cooking spray. Form the turkey mixture into a loaf, and place on the pan. Brush meatloaf evenly with remaining 2 tablespoons ketchup. Bake 1 hour or until thermometer inserted into center registers 170°. Let meatloaf stand 5 minutes before serving.
Remember, a few healthy tweaks to any recipe can go a long way. All that winter noshing doesn’t have to lead to an embarrassing spring swimsuit season.