I’ve been on a 50s and 60s kick lately – making “nostalgia food” like my grandmother used to make – honest to goodness comfort food like meat loaf, mashed potatoes and gravy. But the guilt that follows each trip down memory lane is excruciating.
Now I find a cookbook that takes these old favorites and makes them over. I ran across “Homestyle Cooking Made Healthy,” the other day. Authored by food editor Jeanne Jones, this is the roadmap I’d been looking for into the world of naughty comfort food without the guilt.
She said in order to accurately reproduce healthier versions of our old favorites, she first made the “full octane” version, then began adjusting ingredients to maintain the flavor, and nix (or at least reduce) the bad stuff. Sometimes it took her a dozen tries before she got it right.
Each recipe contains a chart telling how much fat and how many calories each serving contained before Jones’ makeover, and how much it contains in her revised recipe. There is also a breakdown of calories, fat, cholesterol, sodium, carbohydrates and protein at the bottom of each recipe.
Here’s her made-over macaroni and cheese
BEFORE each serving contained 409 calories and 23 grams of fat. AFTER it had been shaved to 318 calories and 9 grams of fat. Now, that’s comforting!
- 1/2 pound (2 cups) elbow macaroni, cooked and drained
- 1 1/2 tablespoons unbleached or all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper
- 2 tablespoons butter or margarine
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 1 clove garlic, pressed or minced
- 2 cups 2 percent milk
- 2 cups (8 ounces) shredded reduced-fat sharp cheddar cheese
- 8 ounces fat-free sour cream
- 1 large slice fresh rye bread, crumbled
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Coat a 2-quart baking dish with nonstick spray.
2. In a small bowl, combine the flour, salt, paprika, black pepper and red pepper. In a medium saucepan over low heat, melt the butter or margarine. Add the onion and garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 8 to 10 minutes, or until the onion is translucent. Add the flour mixture. Cook, stirring constantly, for 3 minutes. Gradually add the milk. Cook, stirring constantly, for 8 to 10 minutes, or until smooth and slightly thickened. Remove from the heat and add the cheddar. Stir until melted.
3. Place the pasta in a large bowl. Add the sour cream and mix well. Pour the cheese sauce over the macaroni and stir to mix. Spoon into the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle with the bread. Coat lightly with nonstick spray. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until bubbly.
Makes 8 servings.
9 g. fat
25 mg. cholesterol
525 mg. sodium
39 g. carbohydrates
18 g. protein