Spring will be here in just three days.
Hopefully, that means warmer weather. Which means lighter clothing. Which means less covering. Which means if you’ve spent too much time inside on the couch this winter, the fast approach of bathing suit season is reason enough to want to lighten up.
The best way to do that is to start with what you are eating.
To help with that effort, America’s Test Kitchen is out with its newest book, Comfort Food Makeovers: All Your Favorites Made Lighter ($26.95, softcover).
The book offers more than 175 recipes in healthier versions, which are perfect for when you want something satisfying without all the fat, like this recipe for Loaded Baked Potato Soup. It has just 270 calories and 13 grams of fat per serving, compared to its 560-calorie, 40-grams-of-fat counterpart.
LOADED BAKED POTATO SOUP
3 slices bacon, chopped
1½ lbs. russet potatoes, peeled, and cut into ¾-inch cubes, with peels reserved from 2 potatoes and coarsely chopped
1 large onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp. all-purpose flour
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
¼ tsp. mustard powder
1 sprig fresh thyme
1 cup half-and-half
½ cup non-fat plain Greek yogurt
2 oz. 50 percent fat light cheddar cheese, shredded (½ cup)
Salt and pepper
2 scallions, sliced thin
Cook bacon in Dutch oven over medium heat until rendered and crisp, about 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer bacon to paper towel-lined plate. Add reserved potato skins to fat left in pot and cook until browned and crisp, about 8 minutes. Transfer to plate with bacon.
Add onion to fat left in pot and cook over medium heat until softened, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in flour and cook for 1 minute. Gradually whisk in broth, scraping up any browned bits, until smooth. Stir in potatoes, mustard, and thyme and bring to simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and cook until potatoes are tender, about 7 minutes.
Remove thyme. Process half the soup in blender until smooth, about 2 minutes, then return to pot. Whisk in half-and-half. Stir ½ cup hot soup into yogurt in small bowl to temper, then whisk yogurt mixture into the soup. Stir in cheddar and season with salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle individual portions with scallions and bacon/potato skin mixture. Serve.
Makes 6 servings.