SPEAKING OF FOOD: Cookbook lightens 433 comfort foods

By Ginna Parsons/NEMS Daily Journal

The new year has begun and with it comes my resolve to make better food choices daily and to keep exercising on a regular basis.
A few more pounds than I’d like crept up on me in 2009. Part of the reason is because I back-slid a bit and frequented some favorite fast-food restaurants more than I’d like to admit.
And while I still made it to the gym five days a week, some of those visits lasted only 20 minutes, rather than an hour.
And, let’s face it: I’m not getting any younger, so my metabolism is slowing with each passing year.
Last week, I found myself at the library checking out four books: “The Ultimate Weight Solution,” by Dr. Phil McGraw; “The Beck Diet Solution,” by Judith S. Beck; “Joy’s Life Diet” by Joy Bauer; and “Losing It,” by Valerie Bertinelli.
I need inspiration and motivation and new recipes to shake things up a bit.
And then, like a gift from heaven, a new cookbook arrived on my desk Friday: “Taste of Home Comfort Food Diet Cookbook.”
It’s filled with lightened versions of 433 comfort foods, like macaroni and cheese, sloppy Joes, chicken pot pie, lasagna and double chocolate cupcakes.
I spent the weekend looking at its recipes and lovely color photos and have already marked two dozen dishes I want to try – and soon. I think variety is what keeps me going … one can only eat grilled chicken for so long.
I made this tilapia dish to rave reviews a few nights ago. My whole family likes tilapia and even if you’re not a fish fan, you might want to give it a try because it’s the non-fishiest of fish. I served it over pasta with sautéed spinach and a green salad.
Each serving has 214 calories, 8g fat, 327mg sodium, 7g carbs and 29g protein.

Dijon-Crusted Fish
3 tablespoons reduced-fat mayonnaise
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese, divided
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon horseradish
4 tilapia fillets
14 cup dry bread crumbs
2 teaspoons butter, melted

In a small bowl, combine the mayonnaise, 1 tablespoon Parmesan cheese, lemon juice, mustard and horseradish. Place fillets on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Spread mayonnaise mixture evenly over fillets.
In a small bowl, combine bread crumbs, butter and remaining Parmesan cheese; sprinkle over fillets. Bake at 425 degrees for 13 to 18 minutes or until the fish flakes easily with a fork.
Serves 4.

Ginna Parsons is the Daily Journal’s food/home/garden editor.