6 Comforting (and Healthy) Reasons to Turn the Oven Back On

Now that the weather is cooling down, kick your oven into high gear for healthy, comforting recipe favorites.
Related To:
20090911_Food_Network_0078.tif

20090911_Food_Network_0078.tif

Food Stylist: Anne Disrude Prop Stylist: Pamela Duncan Silver

During the summer, your oven likely worked as more of a storage space than the kitchen appliance it really is. Why would you have turned it on when the temperature was so blistering hot? Nowadays, however, things are starting to cool down, so it's not crazy talk to consider preheating the oven. If you need that extra push, feast your eyes on healthy, comforting recipes that give you good reason to turn your oven back on.

Comfort food is always on the mind this time of year, and that's true even if you're eating healthy. Heat up your oven to make one of the heartiest casserole dishes of all: Chicken Pot Pie (pictured above). This better-for-you version comes with a buttery pie crust topping that's flaky yet low in calories, plus a chicken-and-veggie filling made creamy with low-fat milk and Greek yogurt.

20090609_Food_Network_0063.tif

20090609_Food_Network_0063.tif

Food stylist: Anne Disrude Prop Stylist: Alistair Turnbull

When you're in need of some serious comfort, macaroni and cheese is probably one of the first dishes to come to mind. Go even further by piling this cheesy favorite into a casserole dish and then baking it to give Three-Cheese Macaroni that golden, crispy top you'll want to enjoy all season long (and you can, because this recipe is surprisingly good for you).

FNK_SHEPHERDS_PIE_H.jpg

FNK_SHEPHERDS_PIE_H.jpg

Photo by: Matt Armendariz ©2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Matt Armendariz, 2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

As the weather grows colder and colder, you better bet meat and potatoes are in order. Use your oven to make a healthy version of the stick-to-your-ribs staple Shepherd's Pie. This recipe calls for lean ground beef and low-carb cauliflower mash; it achieves the same heartiness as the original, from the meaty filling to the oven-browned topping, without going overboard.

Ellie Krieger's Tuna Casserole as seen on Food Network

Photo by: Stephen Johnson ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Stephen Johnson, 2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Eating healthy doesn't mean you can't enjoy the notoriously creamy, breadcrumb-topped favorite Tuna Casserole. Baked in the oven with a creamy tuna base, whole-wheat noodles and a whole-wheat breadcrumb topping, it's a retro diner-style favorite that will disappear as soon as it leaves your oven.

oven-fried-chicken-recipe

oven-fried-chicken-recipe

Photo by: Marshall Troy ©2012,Cooking Channel,LLC

Marshall Troy, 2012,Cooking Channel,LLC

The secret to a chicken dinner with that addictive "fried chicken" taste lies in — you guessed it! — your oven. Now that the oven's secret powers are at your disposal, you can make a better-for-you version of fried chicken in your very own kitchen. Fix Ellie Krieger's Oven-Fried Chicken. which has a crunchy coating of crushed crackers and corn cereal crumbs that bakes together in the oven with a little olive oil spray for crispy, delicious results.

Ellie Krieger's Rustic Apple Pie with Dried Cherries As seen on Food Network

Photo by: Stephen Johnson ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Stephen Johnson, 2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

The days of sating you sweet tooth by chasing the ice cream truck are over. Make cold-weather creations, like this freeform  Rustic Apple and Dried Cherry Pie, in your oven using fall fruit and a whole-wheat crust.

Keep Reading

Next Up

14 Healthy Slow-Cooker Recipes

Toss healthy ingredients into your slow cooker, press a button, and enjoy a delicious meal a few hours later. Eating healthier couldn’t be any simpler!

10 Pasta Dishes You Need in Your Life This Winter – Comfort Food Feast

Celebrate pasta's long-awaited comeback with these healthy recipes, from tender bow ties to deliciously twirlable spaghetti.

5 Smarter Ways to Eat Pizza at Home — Comfort Food Feast

Why wait for delivery when you can have healthy homemade pizza on the table in well under an hour?

5 Lower-Fat Dips for Game Day — Comfort Food Feast

These wholesome, flavorful dips are worthy of your Big Game celebration.

Shockingly Healthy (and Easy) Lemon-Garlic Shrimp and Grits — Most Popular Pin of the Week

Yes, comfort food can be healthy. See how to transform traditionally indulgent shrimp and grits into a lighter pick.

Food News: Kids Who Help Cook More Likely to Make Healthy Choices

Kids who lend a hand in the kitchen are more likely to make healthy food choices, according to a recent University of Alberta study.

5 Reasons Trisha's Southern Comfort Potluck Menu Is the One to Make

Trisha Yearwood's Southern Comfort Potluck menu should be next-up on your roster no matter where you call home.

6 Newfangled Ways to Get Your Pizza Fix — Comfort Food Feast

Instead of taking pizza by the slice day in and day out, get your fix in alternative ways.

6 Classic Comfort Foods with a Cauliflower Twist — Fall Fest

Give your favorite comfort foods a healthy makeover with these clever cauliflower substitutions.