Rich, delicious comfort foods go hand in hand with winter. Unfortunately, they also go hand in hand with sluggishness and weight gain. But do they have to? Gina Homolka, author and recipe developer at Skinnytaste.com, begs to differ.
Check out a couple of Homolka’s favorite low-fat comfort food recipes sure to warm you up this winter. (Who knew comfort food could be so good for you?)
Butternut squash lasagna rolls
This lasagna upgrade is a lighter alternative to traditionally heavy pasta dishes.
“Rather than making it as a large tray, I prefer to make them into rolls—which I load up with vegetables—for better portion control,” says Homolka. “And here I swap tomato sauce for a wonderfully savory Butternut squash sauce with shallots, garlic, and Parmesan cheese.”
Kosher salt and freshly
Ground black pepper
1 pound peeled butternut squash, diced
1 teaspoon olive oil
1⁄4 cup minced shallots
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 1⁄2 tablespoons fresh grated parmesan cheese
10 ounces frozen chopped spinach, cooked according to package directions, cooled,and squeezed dry
1 3⁄4 cups (15 ounces) fat-free ricotta cheese
1⁄2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 large egg
1⁄2 teaspoon kosher salt
Freshly cracked black pepper
9 lasagna noodles, wheat or gluten-free, cooked
9 tablespoons shredded part skim mozzarella cheese (about 3 ounces)
Serving size 1 lasagna roll
Recipe (serves nine)
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Place squash in a large pot with enough water to cover the squash by 2 inches. Add 1 teaspoon salt and bring to a boil.
Cover and cook over medium-low heat until soft, about 12 to 14 minutes. Remove butternut squash with a slotted spoon and place in a blender with 1⁄4 cup of the liquid it was cooked in.
Reserve an additional 1 cup of liquid and set aside.
In a medium nonstick skillet, add the oil and sauté the shallots and garlic over medium-low heat until soft and golden, about 4 to 5 minutes. Add pureed butternut squash, season with 1⁄4 teaspoon salt and a pinch of fresh cracked pepper adding about 1⁄2 cup to 3⁄4 cup of the reserved liquid to thin out the sauce until smooth. Stir in the parmesan cheese and set aside.
In a medium bowl, combine the spinach, ricotta, Parmesan, egg, 1⁄4 teaspoon salt, and 1⁄8 teaspoon pepper. Ladle about 1⁄2 cup of the butternut sauce into the bottom of a 9 × 13-inch baking dish.
Put a piece of wax paper on a work surface and lay the cooked lasagna noodles out on it. Make sure the noodles are dry. Spread 1⁄3 cup of the ricotta mixture over each noodle.
Carefully roll them up and put them seam side down in the baking dish. Ladle the remaining sauce over the lasagna rolls and top each with 1 tablespoon mozzarella. Tightly cover the dish with foil.
Bake until the inside is heated through and the cheese is melted, about 40 minutes.
Winter kale and sausage frittata
A versatile dish you can put on the table at breakfast, lunch or dinner, this frittata is loaded with the warm winter flavors we love.
“This dish starts out on the stovetop and finishes in the oven, so you’ll need to use an ovenproof skillet,” says Homolka. “If you don’t own one, you can also slide the half-cooked frittata onto a large plate, then carefully flip it back into the skillet and finish cooking the other side over low heat on the stovetop.”
5 large eggs
3 large egg whites
2 tablespoons grated Pecorino
Freshly cracked black pepper
2 teaspoons olive oil
6 ounces fresh sweet Italian chicken or turkey sausage,* casings removed
1 small onion, chopped
12 ounces (2 medium) peeled Yukon Gold potatoes, diced into 1⁄2-inch pieces
1⁄8 teaspoon garlic powder
1⁄8 teaspoon paprika
1 cup chopped kale, stems and ribs removed
*Read the label to be sure this product is gluten-free.
Recipe (serves six)
Preheat the oven to 400°F.
Crack the eggs and egg whites into a large bowl. Add grated Pecorino Romano, 1⁄8 teaspoon of the salt, and a pinch of black pepper and beat until blended.
Heat a 10-inch nonstick oven-safe skillet over medium heat. Add 1 teaspoon of the oil, the sausage meat, and the onions to the pan and cook, breaking the meat up with a wooden spoon until it’s cooked through and the onions are golden, 5 to 6 minutes. Transfer the sausage and onions to a plate.
Add the remaining 1 teaspoon of oil to the pan, then add the potatoes. Season with 1⁄2 teaspoon salt, garlic powder, paprika, and a pinch of black pepper. Cover and cook the potatoes over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally until crisp and tender, 10 to 12 minutes. Add the kale, cover, and cook until wilted, 2 to 3 minutes.
Add the cooked sausage and onions to the skillet and stir to combine. Pour the egg mixture into the skillet. Reduce the heat to low and cook until the edges are set, 6 to 8 minutes.
Transfer the skillet to the oven and bake until the frittata is completely set and cooked through, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from the oven, place a plate over the pan, and turn the frittata out onto the plate. Cut into six wedges and serve.
*These recipes and more are available in The Skinnytaste Cookbook: Light on Calories, Big on Flavor.