Unique Healthy Takes on Comfort Food

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March is National Nutrition Month – the perfect time to think about healthier eating, and to do it in the easiest way possible. Tracy Witmer, R.D. with the Dairy Council & GOT MILK shows Paul Robins some quick and easy recipes.

Light & Easy Breakfast Mac + Cheese Cups
Serves 6-8

Ingredients:
2 cups whole wheat pasta
1 cup reduced sodium chicken broth
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper
1 cup 1% milk
1/2 cups nonfat shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup of chopped broccoli, blanched
1 cup grape or diced tomatoes
1/2 cup of asparagus, cut into 1/2 inch strips, blanched
1 cup of cooked turkey breast, cut into 1 inch cubes
1 cup of dried bread crumbs
Vegetable cooking spray
Olive oil, for drizzling
Directions:
Preheat the oven to 375*F. Spray 12 small ramekins or a 12-cup muffin pan with vegetable cooking spray. Using a spoon, sprinkle some bread crumbs inside of each cup and shake off any excess.
In a large pot, bring salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain and place in a large bowl. Add broth, milk, cheese, turkey, salt and pepper and stir well until all pasta is well coated.
Spoon prepared pasta mixture into the muffin cups until about 2/3 full. Place a few pieces of tomato, broccoli and asparagus on top of each cup. Top with a thin layer of breadcrumbs and drizzle with a little bit of olive oil.
Bake 20 minutes or until golden brown on top. Let cool for a few minutes before carefully unmolding with a fork.
Per serving: 179 calories, 7 g fat, 14 g protein

Savory Spinach Squares
Serves 24

Ingredients:
10 oz. fresh spinach (rinsed and chopped)
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking powder
2 eggs
1 cup 1% milk
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 medium onion, finely chopped
8 oz. part-skim shredded mozzarella cheese
Garnish: 1 tomato, sliced thin (optional)

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 375*F. Lightly grease or spray a 9×13 inch baking dish.
Place spinach in a medium saucepan with enough water to cover. Bring to a boil. Lower heat to simmer and cook until spinach is limp, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
In a large bowl, mix flour, salt and baking powder. Stir in eggs, milk and butter. Mix in spinach, onion and mozzarella cheese.
Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking dish. Bake in the preheated oven 30 to 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool before serving and garnish each square with a fresh tomato slice, if desired.
Per serving: 79 calories, 5 g fat, 3 g protein, 62.3 mg calcium

Thin Cauliflower Pizza Crust with Veggies & Bianco Sauce
Serves 8

Ingredients:
Crust –
1 head cauliflower, grated to make about 2 cups
1 tsp. garlic, minced
1 cup part-skim shredded mozzarella cheese
1 egg, beaten
1 tsp. dried basil
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. kosher salt

Bianco Sauce
4 cups 1% milk
2 cups cauliflower florets
1 tbsp. salt
1 tsp. ground black pepper
1 cup finely grated Parmesan

Toppings
Array of fresh vegetables, cut in strips, rounds or diced
1 cup part-skim shredded mozzarella cheese
Directions:
Pre-heat oven to 400*F. Prepare pizza stone or cookie sheet with silicone baking sheet or topped with parchment paper).

Remove the stems and leaves from cauliflower and chop the florets into chunks. Add to a food processor and pulse just until the texture is similar to rice or finely grate with a cheese grater. Microwave grated cauliflower in an uncovered microwave-safe bowl for 7 to 8 minutes until translucent.

In a bowl combine the cooked cauliflower with all remaining ingredients. Spread mixture out evenly to 1/2 of an inch thickness and 10-inch diameter over pizza stone or cookie sheet. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until the crust is golden, crispy on the edges and cooked through in the middle. Remove from the oven.

For the Bianco sauce, over medium heat in a thick saucepan, bring the milk, cauliflower florets, salt and black pepper to a simmer. Reduce the heat and cook for 8 minutes more. Remove from the heat and puree until smooth. After pureeing, add the Parmesan cheese and puree again.

To assemble pizza, top crust with Bianco sauce, desired veggies and cheese. Be careful not to add too many heavy toppings as you don’t want to weigh down the thin cauliflower crust. Broil the pizza for about 5 minutes, or until the toppings are hot and the cheese is melted. Allow the pizza to cool for 2 to 3 minutes then cut and serve immediately.
Per serving: 163 calories, 6 g fat, 14 g protein

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