As I said in my last post, I’ve been craving wicked amounts of comfort food lately. I think part of it is my body trying to figure its way through the jungle that is Weight Loss Lane, and the other part is primarily the changing seasons. Fall always tends to inspire heavenly dishes that can unfortunately be loaded with too many bad things. And I think part of that urge for most people is just simple science: Our bodies feel warmer when we have a decent amount of fat on them, and we needed that fat as insulation for the winter.
I kind of don’t want to be fat anymore, though, hence the reason I’m finding my way down Weight Loss Lane.
Despite this urge for comfort food, I’ve managed to find ways to get that comforting sort of food without necessarily breaking the diet bank to do it. It’s comforting to step on the scale in the morning and see it a good pound down from the previous day, and I attribute that to two things:
- Eating cleaner and healthier (and tracking things I eat religiously), and
- Hopping back into exercise
Now, my body is basically killing me because I’m out of shape as hell, but I know from previous experience that the extreme soreness will eventually pass. I’ve got my handy-dandy step/calorie burn tracker and its online tracking system to help me make sure that I’m eating at or under my limit for the day to ensure I meet my weight loss goals (and it gives me my limit, making it easier for me to make sure I’m not overeating).
So lately, we’ve had stuff like chicken tetrazzini to make me feel like I’m getting that comfort food that I want, and I have cookbooks that help put me make these recipes healthier.
The turkey/chicken tetrazzini recipe I grew up with uses not only full-fat condensed soups, it also uses a large amount of butter, sour cream, and cream cheese. All of those are a recipe for diet disaster, and it’s unfortunately a favorite of my brother, who wants to make it when we visit him in Indiana. Like my husband, he can eat anything and just not gain weight from it. He also knows my own weight struggles, so I know he only wants the best for me.
The next time I visit my family in Indiana, I want to bring this recipe with me. It’s super easy, and it has the same taste as that tetrazzini that my family makes without all of the fat and calories that come with it. It’s just as filling, too.
It’s modified from a recipe I found in Weight Watchers’ 50th Anniversary cookbook. It’s listed in the book as “turkey tetrazzini casserole,” and while it looks good on its own, I modified it a bit:
- More pasta
- Chicken instead of turkey
- Unsweetened flax milk instead of 1%
- Parmesan cheese instead of Romano
- No butter
Want to know how to make this recipe? Of course you do.
Hearty, comforting chicken tetrazzini for a fraction of the calories of the original.
- 16 oz spaghetti
- 1 tablespoon canola oil
- 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 2 cans reduced-fat condensed cream of mushroom soup
- 1 cup milk of choice
- 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup dried bread crumbs
- Preheat oven to 375F. Spray a 9x13 baking dish with nonstick spray.
- Cook spaghetti according to package directions, then drain and set aside.
- While spaghetti is cooking, add oil to a medium-sized skillet. Turn burner to medium-high heat and heat oil until it starts to shimmer, then add chicken to pan and season with salt and pepper. Cook chicken, stirring periodically, until chicken is no longer pink.
- In a large bowl, add the soup, milk, cheese, spices, cooked chicken, and spaghetti. Stir thoroughly to combine. Pour the mixture into your prepared baking dish, then top with the bread crumbs.
- Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the top is golden. Serve hot. Enjoy!