Friday, August 7, 2009
How to Eat Your Feelings without Getting Cellulite on Your Buttcheeks
Dear Tricia, When I go through a breakup, comfort food is often my new best friend. Although these foods comfort my broken heart, they also comfort my ass and thighs. So what are some comfort foods that won't add numbers to my jeans size? Please help broken hearts everywhere fill the void in our hearts and not our asses.
Oh my sweet, sweet friend... I feel your pain. What's your poison? Mine is an entire wheel of brie eaten cold, and a half a box of wine. Once I even thought about drinking Ranch dressing straight from the bottle, but thankfully, my roommate interrupted that idea. First of all, I'm sorry about your heartbreak, but I know you don't want to hear me spout off all the usual cliches. What you want is comfort food, and that's what I'm going to help you out with, cliche-free. (But I'm going to call him an asshole anyway.)
My idea of comfort food usually involves cheese, and that's where fat-free cheese comes into the picture. Seriously, if you want a big ol' plate of nachos, go rock it out, but use the fat-free cheese to dump some of the guilt. Kraft makes a really good one that melts like regular cheese. I have a recipe that I came up with a few years ago that is a healthy, casserole version of enchiladas, and if Mexican food is comfort food for you, then you're going to love it. It has layers of fat free cheese, refried black beans, and tons and tons of veggies.
Head to the grocery store and buy a few things. And yes, its okay if you're wearing sweat pants that you haven't washed in 6 days. I've totally been there and I'm not going to judge. Here's what's on your grocery list:
1 package of corn tortillas
1 can of enchilada sauce
1 can of fat-free refried black beans
1 red bell pepper
1 bag of baby spinach
1 package of Kraft fat-free shredded cheese
Feel free to take some liberties on what vegetables you want to buy. If you prefer something other than what I've listed, then by all means buy other veggies. Be mindful that carrots and potatoes take a lot longer to cook than squash and onions do, so you may want to avoid those two.
When you get home, pour yourself a glass of wine and start putting together your casserole. Get a casserole dish that is ideally 3" or deeper and no wider than 8" by 11". Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Then chop up your vegetables. Don't worry about making the vegetables look nice, just try to make them close to the same size. You'll also only need about half of the bag of spinach, which you don't need to chop. When the rest of the vegetables are chopped, mix them all together in a bowl. Go ahead and pour a second glass of wine... I'll wait. Ok, ready?
Next you're going to start making layers in the dish. Put 2 tortillas in to cover the bottom. On top of that, spread a layer of refried beans using half the can. Then put half of vegetables over that. On top of the vegetables, pour a third of the can of enchilada sauce. Then put a healthy layer of shredded cheese on top. Repeat this one more time using 2 more tortillas, the other half of the beans, the other half of the vegetables, another third of the enchilada sauce, and cheese. Top it off with 2 more tortillas, the last third of the enchilada sauce, and the rest of the cheese on top. Feel free to pour another glass of wine because if you're like me, you may have "accidentally" chugged it.
Bake the casserole for about 25-30 minutes. Depending on how old your oven is, it may take longer to cook the casserole through, but its done when the cheese on top is fully melted and starting to brown.
So here's what you've got in your Comfort Enchilada Casserole (Enchi-role?): more than a full day's serving of vegetables, an easily digestible protein, plenty of fiber, very little fat content, and LOTS of comfort. The only unhealthy part of this comfort food is the sodium content, but its not going to kill you and it has much less sodium than say... a bucket of fried chicken or an entire pizza. (Hey, I'm just stating the facts. I have eaten an entire pizza. It was ugly.) It also reheats really well in the microwave for when you want leftovers at 2 in the morning. When combined with watching a Sex and the City marathon and plenty of wine, you'll be back to normal in no time, with the waistband of your jeans still leaving you free of muffin tops.