We all have those days when all we can think about is going home, slipping into comfy clothes and relaxing for the rest of the day. Maybe work has been rough and you need some time to chill out, or maybe you just need a break from your constantly busy schedule. Eating can be a comforting activity for many reasons, but when we rely on it for therapeutic purposes, it's not uncommon to wallow in the guilt of consuming empty (but really yummy) calories. Here are 20 lightened up comfort food recipes to make on days that you just need it.
1. Skinny Chicken Parmesan Casserole: What’s super cheesy, addicting and only 326 calories? This recipe! Any chicken Parmesan fan will love this recipe, so try it out! Click here for the recipe.
2. Skinny Tomato, Rice & Corn Skillet Casserole: If you’ve never cooked a casserole in a skillet, this recipe will be sure to show you how amazing it is. All your favorite Mexican-inspired flavors and ingredients, cooked to a mouth-watering dish at only 316 calories? Yes! Click here to see the recipe.
3. Oven Baked Chicken and Waffles: The oh-so-tempting chicken and waffles offered at your local diner is likely to be loaded with calories, sodium and unhealthy fats. Our oven baked chicken and waffle recipe is only 265 calories, is perfect for family brunches and is super easy to make. Click here to see!
4. Stovetop Mac and Cheese: If you are peeking through your cabinet looking for something warm and cheesy to make, ditch the box of mac and cheese and make your own from scratch. Our stovetop mac and cheese recipe is only 368 calories per serving. Not only is that a healthier option, but you can make enough to share with the kids! Click here to see the recipe.
5. Skinny Cheeseburger Pie: Yep, you read that right — cheeseburger pie! This recipe is great to make for potlucks and family dinners, and can be enjoyed guilt-free! All that tasty goodness for just 335 calories per serving! Click here to check out our delicious recipe!
6. Cheesy Pumpkin Pasta Bake: Cheese and pumpkin is a surprisingly tasty combination. Perfect for chilly evenings or on a day you feel like experimenting. For only 338 calories per serving, it's worth a shot! Click here to see the recipe.
7. Supreme Pasta Pizza Casserole: Attention all pizza lovers: This 314-calorie pasta pizza casserole is fabulous and waiting for you to try! Careful: You’ll be tempted to eat a steaming hot portion right out of the oven with the cheese still attached to the spatula… remember to let it cool down! Click here to check it out.
8. Skinny Texas Cheese Fries: If you’ve ever tried Chili's Texas cheese fries, you know how scarily addicting they are. Try this lightened-up recipe that is only 259 calories, so you can feel less guilty about indulging! (via Skinnytaste)
9. Baked Spaghetti Squash and Cheese: Skinny, creamy, and mouthwatering — what more could you ask for?! This skinny spaghetti squash Alfredo is only 165 calories and is the perfect comfort food for any cheese lover. (via Skinnytaste)
10. Two-Ingredient Mozzarella Cheese Sticks: These two ingredient mozzarella cheese sticks are super easy to make and are perfect to serve as appetizers at a dinner party. Each serving only has 110 calories — that’s a steal! (via Averie Cooks)
11. Cauliflower Chowder: This cozy soup is perfect for chilly nights when you're craving something creamy and don't want to break the calorie bank. It's easy to make and is only 272 calories per serving. (via Damn Delicious)
12. Turkey and Quinoa Stuffed Peppers: Everything you love and crave about stuffed peppers comes together in this lightened and flavorful recipe. Each pepper half is less than 200 calories — you gotta try it out! (via Spache the Spatula)
13. Cauliflower Crust Grilled Cheese: This recipe by The Iron You is nothing short of a caloric miracle, considering this all-time favorite meal is only 347 calories! For all you adventurous eaters, toss some Tobasco sauce on top and let your mouth go to town.
14. Skinny Buffalo Chicken Chili: If you love to dip your buffalo chicken wings in a chilled blue cheese sauce, then this recipe is right up your alley. This chili combines all the wonderful flavors of buffalo chicken without the crazy amount of calories. Can you believe it's only 203.5 calories? (via The Skinny Fork)
15. Oven-Baked Mushroom Risotto: This recipe by Food Done Light is super easy to make and is great to cook for a family with vegetarians! It's creamy, filling, and only 191 calories per serving.
16. Skinny Broccoli Cheese Soup: Broccoli cheese soup is an indulging dish that is hard to control yourself around... Luckily, this food blogger found a way to reinvent this delicious meal to a healthier option. This recipe is only 110 calories per serving. Try it out! (via The Picky Eater)
17. Squash, Sweet Potato, Carrot and White Bean Soup: This seasonal favorite is filled with protein, fiber and lots of healthy nutrients. This 272 calorie dish by Popsugar is the perfect comfort food for fall, and can be enjoyed for several meals when made in large quantities.
18. Slow Cooker Vegan Chickpea Curry: This vegan recipe is a perfect comfort food for any health-conscious individual who is craving something warm, savory and decadent. The cauliflower pairs well with the sweet potato and coconut rice used in this recipe. (via Popsugar)
19. Loaded Turkey Chili Baked Potato: If your mouth is watering by just looking at the photo, wait till you try it out for yourself. This lightened loaded baked potato recipe by Skinnytaste is only 280 calories per serving and perfect for family dinners!
20. Skinny Mashed Potatoes: Can't wait until Thanksgiving to get your mashed potato fix? Not a problem. This healthier mashed potato recipe is only 123 calories — way less than what a traditional mashed potato recipe would amount to. You gotta try it! (via Skinny Kitchen)