Comfort food makeovers

Enjoy slimmed-down versions of 17 classic dishes.

Lasagna with Sausage Ragù Redux
The original: 44 g fat
Today: 12 g fat
The makeover: Turkey sausage subs for fattier pork, puréed cottage cheese mimics béchamel, and a splash of olive oil replaces nearly half a cup of butter.


• About 2 tbsp. olive oil, divided
• 1/2 cup chopped onion
• 1/2 cup chopped celery
• 1/2 cup chopped carrot
• 1 pound turkey Italian sausage, casings removed
• 1 teaspoon salt, divided
• 1 cup low-fat (1%) milk
• 1/2 cup dry white wine, such as Chardonnay
• 1 can (28 oz.) whole tomatoes, including juices, finely chopped or crushed with your hands
• 1 cup tomato juice
• 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
• 2 1/2 cups low-fat (1%) cottage cheese
• 1 large egg
• 1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese, divided
• 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
• 12 ounces lasagna noodles

1. In a large, heavy saucepan, heat 1 tbsp. oil over medium heat. Add onion; sauté until golden, 5 minutes. Stir in celery and carrot; cook 5 more minutes. Add sausage and 1/2 tsp. salt, breaking up meat with a spoon, and cook until it loses its raw color.
2. Add milk and cook over medium heat, stirring, until completely evaporated, 10 to 12 minutes. (The mixture will appear quite curdled at this point.) Add wine and cook until reduced by half, about 3 minutes. Add tomatoes and juice, bring to a boil, lower heat, and gently simmer, uncovered. Cook ragù until liquid reduces by a third, about 30 minutes. Season with 1/4 tsp. pepper and remaining 1/2 tsp. salt.
3. In a food processor, whirl cottage cheese, egg, 1/4 cup parmesan, remaining 1/4 tsp. pepper, and the nutmeg until smooth.
4. Preheat oven to 375°. Cook lasagna noodles according to package directions; don't overcook. Drain noodles and lay flat on kitchen towels without overlapping. Oil a 9- by 13-in. baking dish and spread with about 1/2 cup ragù. Add a single layer of noodles (for most brands this is 3 sheets per layer). Spread with a third of ragu, then top with another layer of noodles, half the cheese mixture, and another layer of noodles. Repeat layering, giving you 2 alternating layers of sauce and cheese. Cover with remaining third of ragù and sprinkle evenly with remaining parmesan.
5. Cover lasagna with oiled foil and bake until hot, 30 minutes. Let stand 15 minutes before serving.

Time: 2 hours
Yield: Serves 6 to 8

Oven-fried Chicken
Oven-frying in a cornflake-and-herb crust keeps chicken and fries crisp with much less fat.
> Recipe: Oven-fried Chicken

Stacked Red Chile Enchiladas

"Every Friday night we had stacked cheese enchiladas made with red chile sauce and blue corn tortillas," says Sunset reader Sam Baca of Santa Fe, NM. "People would dry red chiles, grind them, and come around door-to-door with three, four, five kinds in the back of a pickup. To this day, those enchiladas are my favorite food."This quick and light version still gets its kick from ground New Mexico chiles.
> Recipe: Stacked Red Chile Enchiladas

Browny's Clam Chowder Revisited

The original: 50 g fat
Today: 6.9 g fat
The makeover: The original recipe, from a now-defunct Seattle restaurant, called for a quart of heavy whipping cream--we used milk thickened with flour.
> Recipe: Browny's Clam Chowder Revisited
> Related: More chowder recipes

Lebanese Meat Loaf

Cumin, peppercorns, parsley, bulgar, yogurt, and a touch of cinnamon flavor lean ground beef or lamb.
> Recipe: Lebanese Meat Loaf

Luscious But Low-Fat Cheesecake

The original: 36 g fat
Today: 10 g fat
The makeover: Egg whites replace half the original whole eggs; a graham cracker crust stands in for pie dough, low-fat cottage cheese for cream cheese, and Greek yogurt for sour cream.
> Recipe: Luscious But Low-Fat Cheesecake
> Related: More low-fat cheesecake recipes