I grew up in a southern kitchen where even our desserts were fried! We kept a jar of bacon grease on the stove and a tub of lard in the pantry. I was in my twenties before I realized not all people ate that way. I still enjoy those cozy fall comfort foods of my childhood, but with some simple modifications that make them healthier. They're just as satisfying, but with less fat, calories, carbohydrates and salt.
Fried Chicken - I've made two changes to my mom's fried chicken. I use boneless, skinless chicken and a non-stick frying pan with just a touch of olive oil. Using skinless chicken saves hundreds of calories. Taking out the bones keeps the chicken flat in the pan, allowing it to brown well on both sides, even with just a tiny bit of olive oil.
Pot Roast - Our pot roast dinners consisted of a beef roast cooked with onions, carrots and potatoes. It was served smothered in gravy alongside homemade biscuits. Today, I add more vegetables and cut back on the portion size of the roast. Rather than making gravy, I make an au jus by removing the fat from the drippings and adding low sodium beef consommé. Lastly, I nix the biscuits altogether.
Chili - The healthier version I make today tastes even better than what I enjoyed as a kid. I substitute ground turkey for half the beef and rinse the meat after I brown it. I also cut back on the amount of meat altogether and use more beans. Adding a generous amount of onions, peppers and spices makes up for any flavor lost from the lower fat content.
You don't have to give up all your favorite fall comfort foods to eat healthy. Just cook with a lighter hand and eat with an open mind.
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