Recipe Makeovers: Comfort Foods, Part 1

By , SparkPeople Blogger
I subscribe to several email newsletters, including one that delivers recipes to my inbox just after lunch each day. The recipes are always mouth-watering and tempting, but they're not always healthy.

Yesterday's email offered five recipes for affordable comfort food: Variations on meatloaf and mashed potatoes, chili, sloppy joes, meatballs and burgers and fries.

While the recipes made me hungry (I hadn't had lunch yet), I knew I wouldn't be expending that many calories on one meal.

The typical cheeseburger with the works has 630 calories and 41 g of fat (and that's one made at home, not one from a restaurant)! Add on some fries and you're looking at another 340 calories and 17 g fat!

Wowza! How about meatloaf and mashed potatoes? They sound awfully comforting. Together, they can top 800 calories and 40 grams of fat. That doesn't seem very comforting to me. In fact, that calorie count makes me want to run the other way!

I do love comfort food, so I sought out some slimmed-down comfort foods.
My favorite: Oven fries!

They're seriously easy, and pretty light, too. For half a large baking potato, you'll rack up only 162 calories and 2.4 g fat (click the recipe above for more nutrition info). With numbers like those, you won't feel guilty no matter what you dip them in.

3 large baking potatoes
1 Tablespoon olive oil
Salt and pepper (optional)

Preheat oven to 475 degrees. Peel the potatoes and cut them into long strips. Toss in a bowl with oil, and when strips are coated with oil, spread them on a single layer cookie sheet. Cook for 35 minutes. Turn strips periodically to make sure all sides are browned. If you prefer crispier fries, put them under broiler for a minute. Sprinkle with salt and pepper as desired.

Makes six servings.

(Dress up your oven fries with chili powder, chopped rosemary, grill seasoning or your favorite salt-free seasoning blend. I sometimes make oven "fries" with butternut squash, sweet potatoes (peel them) or even zucchini.)

If you're in the mood for something creamy tonight, check out these recipes: Mashed potatoes and meatloaf for under 150 calories each! And if you're trying to stretch your meat a bit farther these days, we'll tell you how.

What comfort food would you like us to make over? Do you have a favorite comfort food that you've made healthier?