There’s no time like winter to make us crave… Comfort Foods.

By admin
January 10, 2013

By Holly Clegg

We are pleased to welcome cookbook author and spokesperson Holly Clegg, to Well-Being as an editorial contributor. This issue she brings her trim&TERRIFIC® recipes and meal planning strategies to help us satisfy our cravings for hearty winter meals without sacrificing great taste and healthy nutrition.

There is something so soothing about a hot comforting meal on a crisp day, but just because it is a “comfort food” doesn’t mean it can’t also be good for us! I am not willing to give up my favorite foods so I certainly don’t recommend it for others. The solution can be simple. We don’t need to turn meal planning into a science project by selecting the “super food of the week” or the “diet of the day” as an immediate solution to good health. Our focus should be on what we can eat, not what we can’t. Healthy eating doesn’t have to be about narrowing our menu choices. It should be about enhancing the foods we like with more of the “good stuff,” like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. I like to say that I trim up my recipes while keeping terrific flavor, and giving you the easiest of the easy, full-flavored homemade meals that are hearty and healthy.

Holly’s Hearty and Healthy Winter Recipes

On the following pages I share some of my family’s winter favorites. Sweet Potato Chili over Couscous tops my list of super-satisfying, full-flavored meals. Who says chili has to have meat? This vegetarian entrée has so much flavor – no one will miss the meat! For the ultimate in comfort food, Chicken and Dumplings hits the spot! And talk about easy – This satisfying dish from the Rotisserie Chicken Chapter of KITCHEN 101 is as simple as it is delicious. And finally, I just couldn’t wait to share my family’s newest all-time favorite dish with you, Simple Southwestern Casserole, from the Fix It Fast Chapter. It’s a flavorful blend of Tex-Mex ingredients combined with mouth-watering biscuits and sirloin, the leanest cut of meat – what more can you ask for in a recipe!

Sweet Potato Chili over Couscous

The spicy chipotle chili powder, smoky tomatoes, and naturally sweet yams over unassuming couscous are fantastic.

Makes 6 (1-cup) servings with 1/2 cup couscous

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 onion, chopped

1 red bell pepper, cored and chopped

1 teaspoon minced garlic

1 tablespoon chili powder

1 teaspoon chipotle chili powder

1-1/2 pounds Louisiana yams (sweet potatoes), peeled and cut into 1/2-inch chunks (4 cups)

1 (14 1/2-ounce) can fire-roasted diced tomatoes

1 (15-ounce) can dark red kidney beans, rinsed and drained

1 1/2 cups vegetable broth

3 cups cooked couscous

1. In large nonstick pot, heat oil and sauté onion, bell pepper and garlic over medium heat until tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in chili and chipotle powder for 30 seconds. Add sweet potatoes, tomatoes, beans and broth.

2. Bring to boil, reduce heat, and cook about 20-30 minutes or until sweet potatoes are tender. Serve over couscous.

Nutritional information per serving: Calories 312 Calories from fat 10% Fat 3g Saturated Fat 0g Cholesterol 0mg Sodium 626mg Carbohydrate 61g Dietary Fiber 11g Sugars 12g Protein 11g Dietary Exchanges: 3 1/2 starch, 2 vegetable

Spicy Advice: Chipotle chili powder has a smoky spicy flavor found in the spice section of your grocery store. Fire-roasted tomatoes, which have a smoky fiery flavor, can also be found in the can goods section. FYI – Chili powder and diced tomatoes may be substituted to save a trip to the store.

Chicken and Dumplings

With rotisserie chicken, canned broth and drop dumplings, this favorite comfort food becomes an effortless one-dish meal.

Makes 8 (1-cup) servings

1 onion, chopped

1 1/2 cups baby carrots

1/2 teaspoon minced garlic

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

6 cups fat-free chicken broth, divided

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves

2 cups chopped skinless rotisserie chicken breast

2 cups biscuit baking mix

2/3 cup skim milk

Salt and pepper to taste

1. In large nonstick pot coated with nonstick cooking spray, sauté onion, carrots, and garlic over medium heat until tender.

2. In small cup, stir flour and 1/3 cup chicken broth, mixing until smooth. Gradually add flour mixture and remaining broth to pot; bring to boil. Add thyme and chicken.

3. In bowl, stir together biscuit baking mix and milk. Drop the mixture by spoonfuls into boiling broth.

4. Return to boil, reduce heat, and cook, covered, carefully stirring occasionally, 15-20 minutes or until dumplings are done. Season to taste. If soup is too thick, add more chicken broth.

Nutritional info per serving: Calories 218, Calories from Fat 23%, Fat 6g, Saturated Fat 1g, Cholesterol 32mg, Sodium 1207mg, Carbohydrates 28g, Dietary Fiber 2g, Total Sugars 4g, Protein 15g, Dietary Exchanges: 1 1/2 starch, 1 vegetable, 1 1/2 lean meat

Terrific Tip: A short-cut for dumplings: cut flaky biscuits into fourths and drop into boiling broth or you can even use flour tortillas cut into fourths. You can slice carrots – but I find baby carrots a time-saver.

Simple Southwestern Casserole

Zesty, meaty casserole with a biscuit surprise – you will be amazed at how extraordinarily tasty this simple combination is. This recipe has become so popular in my family.

Makes 9 (1-cup) servings

1 pound ground sirloin

1 onion, chopped

1 (10-ounce) can enchilada sauce

1 (8-ounce) can tomato sauce

1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained

1 cup frozen corn

1 (8-10 count) can reduced-fat refrigerator biscuits

1 cup shredded reduced-fat Mexican blend cheese

1/3 cup chopped green onions

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat 13x9x2-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.

2. In large nonstick skillet, cook meat and onion until meat is done; drain excess fat. Add enchilada sauce, tomato sauce, black beans and corn, stirring well. Cut biscuits into fourths and stir into meat mixture.

3. Transfer to prepared pan. Bake 25 minutes. Remove from oven, sprinkle with cheese and green onions. Return to oven and bake 5-7 minutes more or until cheese is melted.

Nutritional information per serving: Calories 257 Calories from Fat 28% Fat 8g Saturated Fat 4g Cholesterol 36mg Sodium 815mg Carbohydrates 27g Dietary Fiber 4g Total Sugars 5g Protein 20g, Dietary Exchanges: 1 1/2 starch, 1 vegetable, 2 lean meat

Terrific Tip: Use kitchen scissors to make cutting biscuits easy. If you have trouble finding enchilada sauce, you can substitute salsa.

With over 1 million cookbooks sold, Holly Clegg, helps today’s busy person create everyday meals that are fast, and fit into an overall healthier lifestyle through her best-selling trim&TERRIFIC® cookbook series. Her specialized publications include trim&TERRIFIC® Diabetic Cooking with the ADA and Eating Well Through Cancer. Holly has appeared on Fox & Friends, NBC Weekend Today, QVC, The 700 Club, USA Today and The Huffington Post. She offers an iPhone, Blackberry and any smart phone application, Mobile Rush-Hour Recipes, bringing her signature trim&TERRIFIC® recipes to the user’s fingertips to help solve the dinner dilemma. For more information, visit www.hollyclegg.com and thehealthycookblog.com.

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