Comfort Food Made Healthy

No one can resist the hearty goodness of comfort food. Whether your favourite is a creamy mac ‘n cheese or a juicy pie, comfort food truly does what the name suggests.

The only drawback with comfort food is that it usually isn’t the healthiest option.

Luckily, there are ways to turn your favourite comfort foods into healthy alternatives, without losing any of the flavour or richness.

We’ve put together three traditional comfort food recipes that have been given a healthy makeover.

Lean & Light Chicken Pie

Chicken pie is a classic, and this recipe makes sure to pay homage to the original, but without all the calories.

Ingredients:

Store-bought puff pastry
4 cups cooked, diced sweet potatoes
3 cups diced baby carrots
5 cups shredded rotisserie chicken (skin removed, preferably breast meat)
3 celery stalks, diced
½ cup frozen peas
1 onion, diced
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
½ cup of low-sodium chicken broth
½ cup of low-fat milk
½ cup fat free, plain Greek yoghurt
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
2 teaspoons chopped fresh parsley
Olive oil
Salt
Pepper

Method:

In a saucepan over a medium heat, cook the onion, celery, peas and carrots together in olive oil. Add a pinch of salt and pepper for taste.

Once the carrots and celery have softened slightly, add the flour to the mixture and stir.

Add the sweet potato chunks and sprinkle with the thyme and parsley. Add the chicken broth and mix well.

Once the mixture has thickened slightly, remove the mixture from the heat and mix in the chicken, yoghurt and milk.

Pour the mixture into a large baking tray and cover with the puff pastry.

Bake for approximately 25 minutes at 180 degrees Celsius until the pastry is golden brown.

Magic Mac & Cheese

We call this magic mac ‘n cheese because it is just as creamy and delicious as traditional mac ‘n cheese, but without the added calories.

Ingredients:

1 cauliflower head, cut into chunks
4 cups medium pasta shells
½ cup mature white cheddar
½ cup low-fat mozzarella
1 cup feta
1 large egg
1 cup low-fat milk
Pinch of Cayenne pepper
Salt
Pepper

Method:

Whisk the egg, milk, cayenne pepper, salt and pepper together in a bowl. In a separate bowl, mix the three cheeses together.

Steam the cauliflower until soft and the pasta until al dente.

In a saucepan, mix the cheese with the egg and milk mixture over a medium heat until the cheese has melted. Once the cheese has melted, add the cauliflower and mix well until the cauliflower becomes immersed in the sauce.

Toss the sauce with the pasta and pour into a baking tray. Bake at 180 degrees Celsius for about 10 minutes until the top is golden brown.

Care-Free Chocolate Pudding

All the deliciousness of a classic chocolate pudding without the added sugar or fats.

Ingredients:

2 cups fat-free milk
1 ½ tablespoons vanilla essence
2 tablespoons cornstarch
½ cup light brown sugar
2 large egg whites, lightly beaten
½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tablespoons dark chocolate chips
2 tablespoons unsweetened milk chocolate chips
Pinch of salt

Method:

Mix the cornstarch, salt and sugar together in a pot. Whisk in the egg whites and the milk and mix well.

Cook over a low heat, while whisking constantly until the mixture starts to bubble and thicken. Then add the vanilla.

In a separate bowl, mix the mixture with the chocolate chips until the chocolate melts. Add the cocoa powder and mix well.

Pour the mixture into ramekins and cover with cling wrap. Set in the refrigerator for about two hours.