Just because it’s summer doesn’t mean a girl can’t enjoy some of her favorite comfort foods. Does my stress level decrease just because it’s summer? No! Therefore, this Sometimes Healthy Girl declares the right to indulge in comfort foods, even during the
hot dog days of summer.
But as delicious as comfort foods are, there are two problems with most of these goodies:
- They are generally extremely UNhealthy
- They usually take a lot of time to make
If Paula Deen has taught us anything it would be that comfort foods generally imply no less than 5 sticks of butter and at the same time, the recipes are much more intricate than simply plopping said butter into a pan, piling on some cream and cheese and throwing it on a plate.
Never fear, Sometimes Healthy Girl is here. Sorry Paula – love your personality, love your recipes and love you. But eating/preparing your food would not help decrease my stress level.
2.5 Step Healthified Comfort Food
While I do like to indulge in the real deal comfort food, I usually head to a restaurant and let the professionals handle it. The way I see it, what they come up with will probably taste 5 times better than my version (is it weird that I’m admitting that to you?).
But if I’m really in the mood for comfort food without the hassle and pound of butter, I turn to my own 2.5 Step Healthified Comfort Foods (2.5 because some of them have a little extra half step). Below are a few of my faves, but before I present these to you, I must share a few disclaimers:
- Disclaimer #1: This food will taste better than it looks…Sorry, still haven’t mastered the whole food photography thing. Remember what you learned in 1st grade: Don’t judge a book by its cover.
- Disclaimer #2: These are not all my own original recipes. I’m creative in the kitchen, as you know from my Wacky Food Combos, but when I pick up good ideas from other brilliant “foodologists,” I’m going to use them.
- Disclaimer #3: These will not taste exactly like the original. I’m completely honest and transparent on the Sometimes Healthy Living blog. Therefore, I cannot lie and tell you spaghetti squash will taste like actual spaghetti. But, I can say it’s a damn good healthy substitute
- Disclaimer #4: I am not a registered dietician. Not that I really had to tell you that. What kind of dietician would consume Reddi Whip by the can and eat a food that admits it’s not “really butter?” Anyway, the point is that I consider these healthified versions, but you might just consider them straight wacky. And that’s okay
Frozen Hot Chocolate Bars
Description: For anyone that’s ever longed for a bite of that sinful Serendipity Frozen Hot Chocolate, this recipe is for you. All the fun of frozen hot chocolate in the oh-so-convenient popsicle form. In other words, glorified homemade fudgsicles.
Ingredients: Favorite instant hot chocolate, Reddi Whip and popsicle makers
1. Mix hot chocolate, per box directions and add Reddi Whip in to taste.
2. Pour hot chocolate into popsicle molds. Do not spill like this.
2.25 Allow to set overnight.
2.5 Remove from freezer, dethaw for 30 minutes (if you do not allow popsicles to dethaw, you will break the molds, especially if they are cheap $2 molds that you bought from Walgreens) and enjoy! (with Reddi Whip on top if you would like)
Suggested Uses:Enjoy while waiting for your boyfriend/”no label” boy “friend” to text/call or in place of the dangerous pint of Ben & Jerry’s after a break-up. You can also eat these healthified treats if you are simply craving something cold after a nice, long run. The possibilities are endless.
Spag-Men Noodles (Recipe from Carrot N’ Cake)
Description: For those of you craving your favorite food from the college dorm days, ramen noodles, without the guilt.
Ingredients: Spaghetti Squash, Chicken Flavor seasoning, oil/butter to taste (or I Can’t Believe it’s Not Butter Spray if you prefer processed foods in your comfort food…like this Sometimes Healthy Girl)
1. Prepare spaghetti squash as desired (I prefer Friday the 13th style – stab with large kitchen knife, microwave for 10-15 minutes, depending on squash size)
2. Sprinkle a large amount of chicken seasoning onto your spag-men noodles.
2.5 Top with butter (spray) to taste and dig in!
Suggested Uses: Indulge after skipping a long run to watch the Bachelorette. This way, you can congratulate yourself on the fact that you chose a healthy alternative to pasta and will feel less guilty for not running. If prepared ahead of time, you may reheat this dish after a long night at the bars in place of ramen noodles. Warning: Do not make this dish while intoxicated. There is no need to mix knives and alcohol
Healthified Lettuce Wraps
Description: For those of us who don’t have a PF Chang’s within city limits and feel deprived without the chain’s trademark lettuce wraps. Even if you live in a city full of 5 star restaurants, you’re allowed to admit you actually like chain restaurants’ food too.
Ingredients: Pre-Cooked chicken (You can make it yourself if you want to go all over-achiever on me), Broccoli slaw, Plum sauce and Soy sauce
1. Place chicken, broccoli slaw into skillet on medium high; add 3 tablespoons of plum sauce and a whole lot of soy sauce. Cook for 5 minutes until pre-cooked chicken is mucho tender.
2. Place on top of hearts of romaine lettuce and go wild!
Suggested Uses: Indulge in these healthified lettuce wraps after a long day at the office so you can pat yourself on the back for being able to put together a half-decent meal after a hard day’s work. Best paired with white wine and mindless reality television.
Pumped up Fudge (from Hungry Girl)
Description: This recipe is straight from the sometimes popular, always controversial Hungry Girl. Nevertheless, it’s the perfect medicine to make whenever your monthly friend drops by for a visit.
Ingredients: Brownie mix and pumpkin
1. Mix brownie batter with 2 cups of pumpkin while preheating oven to 350 degrees. Batter will be thick (No raw eggs in this recipe so go crazy and lick the bowl, just don’t eat the entire bowl of mix- you’ll feel really bad about yourself)
2. Place in 8X8 baking pan and wait 35-40 minutes for fudge to cook (watch the Notebook while you wait). Note: Fudge will look borderline “not cooked” – don’t stress (you already have enough stress!) – it just needs to settle a bit.
2.5. Allow to cool in fridge for 60 minutes or so (finish the Notebook) and slice into 36 bite-sized pieces of fudge
Suggested Uses: Best used to appease your monthly visitor. However, you may also use them to earn your coworkers love and affection.
So there you have it. Four Sometimes Healthy Comfort Foods that you can make in 2.5 steps or less? Better than the original? Maybe not. BUT, they’re easy to make, they taste good and they’re healthified.
I’m off to eat a frozen hot chocolate bar (with a bunch of whipped cream) and get a bit of that thing they call SLEEP. Goodnight y’all!
What’s your favorite comfort food? Do you make a healthy version or do you stick to the original always?