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Making recipes healthier

Saturday, January 22, 2011

So I'm not the greatest cook, but I do love food, and do love baking (especially cookies!). I love my favorite foods from growing up, but they're not always so healthy or low-cal. So I've been testing out making healthier versions of these recipes. I think I've come up with some really good ones.


Today I decided to make over one of my favorites from growing up, a casserole made with boxed mac & cheese, canned tuna, and cream of mushroom soup. Boxed mac & cheese? I don't think so. So I used whole wheat macaroni and made my own cheese sauce with olive oil instead of butter and whole wheat flour. I also used reduced fat cheddar cheese. I used canned tuna (white albacore tuna) that was canned with water instead of oil. And instead of sodium-filled cream of mushroom soup, I used fresh mushrooms. I think this recipe turned out even better than the original - although I did miss the potato chips on top a little. Maybe next time I will add some whole wheat bread crumbs on top.


I love crepes and enjoy making them as well. Our family favorite has always been crepes filled with fresh fruit (like strawberries) and whipped cream. But crepes are usually made with butter and white flour. I changed the recipe around a little and used water instead of milk to thin the batter. It takes some experience with making the batter the right consistency, but the results are amazing! Each whole wheat crepe I made had only 20 calories! Instead of whipped cream, I used Dannon Light & Fit vanilla yogurt and of course stayed with the fresh fruit. You can eat quite a few of these (I ate 10 the first time I made them) without going overboard on calories. Our whole family enjoyed these crepes for Christmas breakfast (instead of our traditional fruit fondue) with fresh strawberries, raspberries, pineapple, and honeydew melon. Yummy!


Another favorite is one that many people also have as their favorite cookie, the Nestle Toll House original recipe for Chocolate Chip cookies. These are fabulous right out of the oven or reheated for a few minutes in the toaster oven after being frozen (so you can enjoy those cookies for a long time). I decided to try the extremely challenging task of making these healthier. I try not to mess much with cookie recipes because substitutions can often totally ruin a cookie. I decided to replace some of the fat with applesauce (next I want to experiment with replacing the shortening with something without trans fat), reducing the amount of chocolate chips and also making half the chips butterscotch (I love butterscotch), and reducing the size of the cookies so you can better decide how many calories you want. In the future I not only want to experiment with the shortening, but also replace some of the white flour with whole wheat flour. But this version of the recipe has only about 50 calories per cookie!


The last recipe I manipulated that I will share here is a yummy breakfast choice. My mom and I used to make these muffins during dear hunting. The original recipe made a HUGE amount of muffins and the batter could be saved in the refrigerator to bake later on. I replaced the fat with half olive oil and half applesauce. I replaced one egg with flaxseed. I reduced the amount of sugar, replaced the buttermilk with nonfat milk, and replaced the white flour with whole wheat flour. I couldn't find 100% Bran cereal, so I used Raisin Bran instead, which also added a little dried fruit (raisins). Even though I don't like raisins, I thoroughly enjoyed the muffin, and didn't even notice the raisins. I keep these muffins in the freezer and reheat a couple in the toaster oven in the morning (you can set them out the night before to thaw). Then just spread them with some healthy jam/jelly/preserves and enjoy! The original recipe was over 110 calories each, the healthier version is only 80. This means you can enjoy more muffins! :)
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    Nice! Thanks for sharing.
    2551 days ago
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