Classic comfort foods made healthy

Canadian chef and cookbook author Jo Lusted shares her secrets to creating healthier, guilt-free versions of classic comfort foods

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Macaroni and Cheese

Mac ‘n cheese is quite possibly the most perfect dish on the planet. The original version uses full-fat cheese, cream and white pasta, so the whole thing is pretty much fat and carbs. My version uses creamy sweet potato to thicken the sauce (plus adds nutrients and flavour), non-fat evaporated milk so that the sauce doesn’t separate during baking, and brown-rice pasta.

Get the recipe: Macaroni and Cheese

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Spinach & Artichoke Dip

Normally this dish is made with a ton of mayo and cheese. By swapping in non-fat Greek yogurt and using low-fat versions of other creamy ingredients, I’ve created a version that will fool even the toughest critics. Serve with crudités, tortilla chips and crispbreads.

Get the recipe: Spinach & Artichoke Dip

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Double Chocolate Cake

It’s relatively easy to sneak some calorie-reducing ingredients-like applesauce, Greek yogurt and egg whites-into a gooey chocolate cake. I dare anyone to pick this cake out of a healthy-dessert lineup! Note that the icing must be prepared in advance so the layers don’t slide off each other.

Get the recipe: Double Chocolate Cake

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Sausage & Egg Muffins

Skip the drive-through! This simple breakfast is an on-the-fly staple in my house. I make the sausage patties and eggs ahead of time and assemble in the morning.

Get the recipe: Sausage & Egg Muffins

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Bacon Double-Cheeseburger Pizza

When a Steven and Chris viewer challenged me to create a healthy pizza, I wanted to make one that tasted like junk food but was actually good for you. Lots of pizza joints have bacon double-cheeseburger pizza, so that was the perfect choice! I cut some of the fat in the beef by swapping half of it for cremini mushrooms and using my mom’s burger-enhancing secret ingredient, Worcestershire sauce, along with steak spice to amp up the beefy goodness. The Greek yogurt-mustard sauce brings the whole dish together. The result? The S&C crew gobbling it up faster than I’ve ever seen, and everyone exclaiming that it tasted like a fast-food burger, but better! Mission accomplished.

Get the recipe: Bacon Double-Cheeseburger Pizza

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Butter Chicken

This popular Indian-restaurant favourite is a crowd-pleaser but full of fat and calories thanks to oil, butter and cream. Indian cuisine is all about building layers of flavour with fragrant spices. Don’t be put off by the number of ingredients in this recipe; it is really simple to make. Most of it can also be prepared in advance for a quick and easy weeknight dinner.

Get the recipe: Butter Chicken

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