Every morning I wake up at (what seems like) the crack of dawn and will myself to put on my gym clothes and get out the door for a run. Somehow, after summoning the strength to speed through several miles, I feel like a million bucks! I bounce out the door to work, ready for whatever the day has in store and determined to make smart decisions when it comes to what I’m eating. But when dinnertime rolls around, I’m pretty worn out and just want to cuddle up with a takeout menu and call it a night. By the time I’ve decided what to order and waited around for someone else to cook my food and bring it to my door, I could already be eating something just as comforting but much better for my healthy eating goals. These six recipes are just that: hearty, simple to make and Healthy Living.
Mexican Beef & Rice Casserole: Beef, cheese AND rice? Yes, you can have it all—just as long as your beef is extra lean and you add some veggies to the mix. Taco seasoning and salsa add so much flavor, you won’t even notice this is a better-for-you option.
Pork Chops with Cabbage and Apples: This is classic comfort food: crunchy breaded pork chops, sweet roasted apples and tender cabbage. But believe it or not, this dish is actually low in fat and calories. The secret is to bake it all instead of frying, and to use light salad dressing instead of loads of oil.
Kung Pao Chicken: Step away from the takeout menu. On those nights when you’re hankering for some Chinese, there’s no need to say no. Just opt for this DIY version featuring the garlic-ginger-soy-peanut flavor you’ve been salivating over along with a generous serving of tender broccoli. In 30 minutes, dinner’s on the table—no tip necessary.
Baked Ziti with Squash and Mushrooms: A steamy casserole dish full of creamy, cheesy baked ziti is my definition of cozy. Neufchatel and shredded cheese provide the creamy and cheesy here. Skipping the meat in favor of cubed butternut squash, fresh spinach and mushrooms adds some heft to this low-calorie pasta bake.
Bacon, Cheese & Potato Chowder: I know you’re thinking that anything starring potatoes, cheese and bacon can’t possibly be a smarter choice. But stick with me here. Fat-free milk, reduced-fat cheese and a light hand with the bacon means you can have your loaded potato soup and eat it too.
“Spinach Pesto”-Stuffed Chicken & Smashed Potatoes: Eating a plain chicken breast at dinnertime may feel a bit austere, but this recipe with an easy spinach-almond pesto and smashed potatoes tastes anything but. If you’re not into fall grilling, just use a grill pan like I do. Voilà! A low-calorie party for your taste buds.