This time of year, I start to long for those comfort foods that I know I should be avoiding. I watch TV commercials and say, "I remember when I used to be able to eat fried chicken, biscuits, and mashed potatoes with gravy. Those were the days." Then I go back to my salad, and cry a little tear.
But no more! I can still follow my New Year's Resolution to get svelte and have fun food at the same time. It just has to be tweaked a bit. This week I'm going to try healthy conversions of Mac& Cheese and Onion Rings...obviously not together. I figure that Roasted Chicken Breast will sound like a much more exciting dinner if I pair it up with one of these puppies! I'll let you know how it goes. --a
Real Simple's Mac & Cheese with Cauliflower
12 ounces multigrain elbow macaroni
1 head cauliflower, roughly chopped
4 slices multigrain bread, torn
1/2 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
3 tablespoons olive oil
Kosher salt and pepper
1 onion, finely chopped
1 1/2 cups grated extra-sharp Cheddar (6 ounces)
1 1/2 cups reduced-fat sour cream
1/2 cup 1 percent milk
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
Heat oven to 400° F. Cook the pasta according to the package directions, adding the cauliflower during the last 3 minutes of cooking time; drain.
Meanwhile, pulse the bread in a food processor until coarse crumbs form. Add the parsley, 2 tablespoons of the oil, and 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper and pulse to combine; set aside.
Return the pasta pot to medium heat and add the remaining tablespoon of oil. Add the onion, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, just until soft, 5 to 7 minutes. Mix in the pasta, cauliflower, cheese, sour cream, milk, and mustard.
Transfer to a shallow 3-quart baking dish, sprinkle with the bread crumbs, and bake until golden brown, 12 to 15 minutes.
Hungry Girl's Lord of the Onion Rings
1 Spanish Onion
1/2 cup Fiber One original bran cereal
1/4 cup egg substitute (or egg whites)
dash of salt
Optional: pepper, oregano, garlic powder, onion powder, etc.
Heat oven to 375°F. Cut the ends off of the onion and remove outer layer. Cut onion into 1/2 inch slices and separate into rings.
Using a blender or food processor, grind Fiber One cereal to breadcrumb-like consistency. Pour Fiber One crumbs into small dish and mix in salt and any optional spices you like.
Next, fill a small bowl (slightly larger than rings) with egg mixture. One by one, coat each ring first with egg, and then in Fiber One crumbs.
Evenly place rings on baking dish sprayed with non-stick spray or lined with parchment paper. Bake 20 - 25 minutes, flipping rings halfway through.