When you’re not feeling one hundred percent, meal planning or cooking from scratch can feel like a bigger effort than it has to be. There’s nothing wrong with reaching for the takeaway menu or convenient, shop-bought ready meals from time to time, but it’s always worth remembering that the best feel good recipes can come out of your kitchen.
From sweet treats to lower-calorie, indulgent dinners, we’ve got plenty of homemade comfort food ideas that’ll cheer you right up, without taking you off track.
Sometimes you just need that chocolatey brownie or that super gooey cheese-topped pasta, and that’s okay…especially with our slimming-friendly recipe ideas to help you along!
Sweet treats that’ll brighten up your day
How you start your day can have a big impact on what’s to come. Simple yet delicious breakfasts like our Banana and Chocolate Pancakes are just the ticket for your morning plate, with an irresistible drizzle of melted chocolate on top.
They’re perfect when you don’t have much energy for cooking, but you’re fancying something on the sweeter side. To cut down on effort and make them all the more light and airy, we’ve skipped traditional flour for the fine fluffiness of Ready Brek.
Sliced bananas are our go-to, but there’s nothing to stop you personalising this one with your favourite fruits or pancake toppings. Just be sure to take note of the added calories, if you’re counting.
If it’s a quick pick-me-up you’re in need of, look no further than our gloriously crispy Biscoff Swirls. You only need 3 ingredients to put these spiral-shaped wonders together – scrumptious Lotus Biscoff spread filling included!
There’s no need to worry about preparing your own pastry; we’ve used ready-rolled light puff pastry sheets to save on time and calories.
Try them with a cup of tea and you’ll be transported to Biscoff heaven…
On rainy days, nothing brightens things up quite like our wibbly-wobbly Rainbow Jellies. We’re talking about colourful layers of fruity jelly, including strawberry, orange and blackcurrant, all topped off with a delicate swirl of reduced-fat aerosol cream.
This one takes a little bit of patience, as each liquid jelly layer needs to cool down before you can pour on the next flavour. They’re well worth the effort at just 14 calories per rainbow-inspired pot.
You know the fun has arrived when our FABulous Lollies are on the menu. A retro-nostalgic recipe, it’s hard to resist their strawberry and creamy almond milk layers, milk chocolate coating and brightly-coloured sprinkles.
Rustle them up in a technicolour batch and you’ll always have them on standby for when you’ve got a sweet craving. They’re far better for you and your budget than shop-bought versions too!
Sometimes you need a hug in a mug, and that’s exactly what you’ll get from our Hot Chocolate Microwave Mug Cakes. With mini marshmallows and reduced-fat aerosol cream on top of a gooey-in-the-middle pud, it’s all the best bits of a decadent hot chocolate, and you can tuck into it with a spoon!
For the full recipe, turn to pages 184-185 in your copy of Pinch of Nom: Budget.
Savoury bites that’ll brighten up your day
On days where you’re not feeling your best, it can be tempting to skip meals or reach for quick-fix options. With low-fuss savoury recipe ideas like our Viking Toast, giving yourself a boost with a nourishing lunch or snack doesn’t have to feel like a chore.
Inspired by the bold flavours from our Viking Pork recipe, we’ve created the ultimate golden tangy toast-topper. You need to try it with a glug of Hendo’s or Worcestershire sauce!
To work this one into your routine, place your bookmark at pages 34-35 of Pinch of Nom: Enjoy.
Breakfast Bakes is one of the most popular recipes in our website’s Gallery, and it’s not hard to understand why. Easy, wholesome comfort food, it’s one of those dishes you can make time and again without breaking the bank (or a sweat!).
Bake your chopped bacon bits, baked beans and mushrooms together, and serve them up with a layer of melty, reduced-fat cheddar cheese on top. What’s not to love?
Another delicious excuse to switch your oven on, our Marmite Mushroom Bakes are surprisingly simple to make, considering they’re jam-packed with banging flavours.
Inspired by the popularity of our Marmite Mushrooms on Toast, we’ve put together an oh-so-creamy filling that screams ‘comfort food’. By using Warburtons sandwich thins as our crispy, golden brown ‘pastry’, we’ve cut the calories right down too.
For when you’re in the mood to indulge
Sometimes the only thing to do is lay on a mega spread of tasty favourites! With our crowd-pleasing Tuscan Chicken Macaroni on offer, there’s bound to be smiles all round.
One of the most popular recipes on our website, this Tuscan-inspired dish is hearty, satisfying and ultra cheesy, and your oven will do most of the hard work for you.
You’ll want to make sure you use a reduced-fat cream cheese rather than a fat-free one; that way your leftover portions will stay rich when they’re reheated to enjoy again.
Put our Chilli Cheesy Nachos at the centre of any table and you’ve got an instant mood lift.
Made for sharing, it has the added benefit of looking just as good as it tastes. With gooey cheese and crispy potato wedges on a bed of chilli con carne, there’s something new to come back for in every bite.
If you’ve got chilli leftovers, there’s plenty of ways to turn those into comfort-loaded dishes on other days too.
Our Loaded Fries with Katsu Curry Sauce might not look or taste slimming friendly, but it’s lighter than you’d expect at less than 500 calories per tortilla chip topped portion.
It’s no secret that we love retreating to Katsu-inspired flavours when we’re feeling indulgent, and this fakeaway will never let you down if you’re the same way.
When you can recreate KFC’s Rice Box at home, there’s no need to pay a visit to the drive-through. To make ours just as finger lickin’ good as the original, we’ve dipped our chicken breast pieces in panko breadcrumbs and a home-mixed blend of spices.
For the full American-inspired restaurant experience, why not tuck into a Biscoff Cookie Milkshake too? You can have it ready in less than 5 minutes and it’s like dessert in a glass…for only 225 calories!
For when you’re in the mood to get creative
When you’re in a bit of a funk, it can help to take your mind off things by getting creative. Fun and flexible recipes like our Fruity Flapjack Pizza let your imagination run wild, without compromising on tastiness.
We usually top our flapjack base with sliced mango, strawberries and blueberries, but there’s nothing to stop you decorating yours with totally different fruits. If you’re cooking with friends or family, challenge everyone to make their own – anyone can get involved!
To fill our Sweet Tacos, we’ve whipped up two batches of lower-calorie, banana-based ice cream, and added two scoops to each cinnamony shell. If that sounds like a bit too much effort, don’t worry – you can use low-sugar, shop-bought ice cream too.
Once the tacos are baked until golden and crunchy, that’s your cue to decorate them as you see fit and get the party on your plate started.
You can’t beat a mood-boosting batch of squidgy-in-the-middle Chocolate Orange Brownies. A sweet treat you can rustle up in less than half an hour, they’re perfect when you’ve got a hankering for a nibble with your cup of tea at only 72 calories per square.
We’ve used Chocolate Orange Choc Shot to keep things slimming friendly without losing out on gooey, lip-smacking zestiness.
Don’t be afraid to skip the chocolate orange and experiment with different flavour combos; salted caramel, mint or even chilli chocolate brownies are all happiness in a cake tin.
We hope you’ve found just the thing you were looking for!
If you’ve cooked up something you’re proud of and you’d like to shout about it, or even if you just fancy a chinwag, our lovely Facebook group is a safe space that’s ready and waiting to welcome you. We have a community of almost 1 million members who are always happy to support you on your slimming journey.
Scrolling through our Gallery never fails to cheer us up, and seeing all of your submissions is a dream come true. To take part, sign up to a free website account to upload and share your photos (it’s easy-peasy, and we’ve got a step-by-step guide you can follow to do it).
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