Comfort Food Makeover!

CHICOPEE, Mass. (Mass Appeal) – Winter is a time where we tend to overeat starchy, refined carbohydrates and miss out on our veggies – we all know it, love it — it’s called comfort food! Registered Dietitian Dr. Laura Christoph, showed us how to makeover classic comfort foods!

Spaghetti Squash Pasta: With only 50 Calories per serving, spaghetti squash pasta makes a great alternative to enriched pasta.  My favorite way to make it is with a tomato sauce packed with veggies and ground turkey or bison.  It is an awesome makeover to traditional spaghetti with meat sauce.

Cauliflower Rice: I love using cauliflower rice in stir frys. It is quite simple: boil a head of cauliflower and mash it with a fork to create a “rice-like” texture.  Cauliflower has some great antioxidants, is low in calories, and quite high in insoluble fiber.

Zucchini Lasagna: Lasagna’s flavors really make it taste so good, but the white flour rich noodles take away from the nutrient density of this traditional Italian dish.  Try slicing zucchini very thin and layering it with low fat ricotta or cottage cheese and tomato sauce, and sprinkle with a little mozzarella.  This dish has a lasagna-like texture and flavor, but empty calories are eliminated!

Zucchini Lasagna:

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 cups zucchini, sliced lengthwise 1/4 inch thick (about 2 medium)
  • 1/2 lb lean ground beef (I use 1 lb.)
  • 1/4 cup onion, chopped
  • 2 small tomatoes, cut up
  • 1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup low fat cottage cheese (or low fat or fat free ricotta)
  • 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded (I use 8 oz. divided)
  • 1 teaspoon flour

Directions:

  1. Cook zucchini until tender, drain and set aside.
  2. Fry meat and onions until meat is brown and onions are tender; drain fat. Add next 8 ingredients and bring to a boil.
  3. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered 10 minutes or until reduced to 2 cups.In small bowl slightly beat egg.Add cottage cheese, half of shredded cheese and flour.
  4. In (1 1/2-qt.) baking-roasting pan arrange half of the meat mixture. Top with half of the zucchini and all the cottage cheese mixture. Top with remaining meat and zucchini.
  5. Bake uncovered at 375 degrees F for 30 minutes. Sprinkle with remaining cheese. Bake 10 minutes longer.
  6. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.
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