So it’s January. I swore I was going to eat better in January. But it is OH SO HARD!!! It’s cold outside. And it’s been rainy. And let’s just face it. All of those elements together spell comfort food. Needless to say, that food is rarely good for anything other than your soul. So I made a concerted effort to make a healthy meal with comfort food overtones.
What is homier than roasted meats? A yummy pot roast with gravy, a tender pork roast or a whole chicken… I opted for the lowest fat option I could think of. Turkey. I found boneless, skinless turkey breast tenderloins and roasted them with persimmons, lemon and fresh thyme in a bath of fresh orange juice for moisture.
Not to be overlooked is any baked gratin with lots of pasta and cheese. For my healthy version, I replaced the pasta with root veggies. Butternut squash, sweet potatoes and just a handful of tri-colored fingerling potatoes. I also made the sauce with half and half instead of cream and used low fat cream cheese to make it silky. It was hearty and satisfying.
I finished the meal off with a salad made from fresh spinach and a fat-free balsamic vinaigrette.
I know it wasn’t a perfect attempt at low-fat, but it was at least a start. I think I succeeded in making a warm, filling, comfort food type meal using better options with higher food values. I mean, we all need a place to start, right?! Here is the recipe for my gorgonzola gratin. Maybe it will be a good place for you to start… But don’t worry. I am definitely not judging if you choose to throw a roast in the crock pot and mash up some Yukon golds!
2 cups cubed butternut squash
1 sweet potato cubed
2 cups cubed potatoes (I used tri color fingerling potatoes)
½ Cup flour
2 ½ Cups half and half (you can substitute skim milk)
5 oz crumbled gorgonzola cheese
8 oz cream cheese (you can use low or non-fat)
Juice of 1 lemon
Salt and pepper
1 Cup seasoned bread crumbs
½ Cup shredded parmesan cheese
- Cube the root veggies into about a ½ inch dice. Drizzle with olive oil (about 1 T), season them with salt and pepper and toss them well to mix them up and to coat all of the veggies with oil. Pour them into a baking dish
- Roast the veggies at 425 degrees, stirring them every 10 minutes.
- During the first 30 minutes of roasting time, start the gorgonzola sauce. Melt the 2T of butter in a medium saucepan.
- Add the flour and mix constantly until the flour/butter becomes “pasty.” Quickly and steadily add the half and half, whisking constantly.
- As the white sauce begins to thicken, add the gorgonzola and cream cheese. Continue whisking until everything is melted and smooth. Add the lemon juice and salt and pepper.
- Once the veggies have roasted for 30 minutes, pour the warm gorgonzola sauce over the top. Put them back into the oven at 375 degrees for another 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in a small bowl, stir together the breadcrumbs and parmesan cheese
- After the second 30 minutes, sprinkle the parmesan cheese mix over the top of the veggies and put back into the oven for 10-15 minutes until the sauce is bubbly and the topping is golden brown.