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Hungry Girl Today: 12.07.11

Hi Hungry Girl,

I'm planning to eliminate meat from my diet for a while, and I'm looking for some great dinner options. It's tough to find meatless recipes that the entire family will enjoy. I make your Cheeseburger Mashed Potato Parfaits once a week and everyone really likes them! Got any more delicious ideas?

Veggin' Out

Hi Veggin' Out,

Aren't those parfaits fun and amazing?! It's all about the soy patties (Boca Original Vegan Meatless is my favorite kind!) -- ground-beef-style soy crumbles (like the kinds by Boca and Morningstar Farms) are great too. With the right ingredients, these taste just like real burgers and ground beef in recipes. Since the soy patties seem to be a hit with your family, click here for more recipes that use them. And here are tons of recipes that call for soy crumbles.

Portabella mushrooms also work great as a meat swap in meals. Use the caps like burger patties. Slice 'em into steak-like strips for stir-frys, fajitas, salads, and more. And chop 'em up to add meaty flavor to chili recipes, like my Dan Good Chili and Funkadelic Chili Mac. Love these!

When it comes to noodle-y dishes, the trick is to use lots of veggies and not too much of the pasta. Hungry Girlfredo White Lasagna and Too-EZ Mac 'n Cheese are great ones. And another one of my FAVORITE recipes is this Veggie-rific Noodle-Free Lasagna -- soy crumbles beef up the protein count. (Get it?! Sorry.)

Now you've got a whole lot of options to throw into your dinner rotation. Enjoy!

Hiya Lisa,

Every winter around the holidays, I make cookie platters for friends, family, coworkers, etc. Everyone's expecting them this year, but I'm trying to watch what I eat and it's hard to keep my hand out of the proverbial cookie jar. I need guilt-free cookie recipes... BADLY. Got any? Thanks a bunch!

Cookie Monster on a Diet

Hi Cookie Monster,

That's a tough one. I'll be totally honest -- there aren't a lot of Hungry Girl cookie recipes because, for the most part, cookies just don't work well without lots of butter and sugar. Although, HG's Thin-gerbread Men are a great exception! Our Softies are like a hybrid of soft cookies and muffin tops -- worth a try because they're delicious. The new Pumpkin Softies are really good, and there are also HG recipes for Peanut Butter Oatmeal, Oatmeal Raisin, and Chocolate Chip Softies!

If you want to stick to something more traditional, and you're baking for people who don't necessarily go for low-calorie treats, I've got a tip for you: Bake the kinds of cookies you don't like that much. This way, you won't be tempted to pick at them. Hate coconut? Make macaroons. Despise white chocolate? Make cookies studded with white chocolate chips. As someone who's not crazy about the chocolate-mint combo, I can tell you from experience that this totally works!

If you're willing to get a little crafty and surprise people with something new, I've got TONS of recipes for diet-friendly holiday treats. Our brand-spanking-new Peppermint Bark Fudge is festive and guilt-free. I've also got a recipe for chocolate peanut butter fudge that ROCKS. Pies and cakes are also great, especially since you can't get away with sneaking a slice before gifting them. Check out this Gooey-Good Fuji Apple Pie, this Chocolate-on-Chocolate Frosted Cake, and this Blueberry Bliss Cheesecake. Last but not least, Yum Yum Brownie Muffins -- make these into mini muffins for an easy, adorable, and budget-friendly platter of holiday treats.

Happy baking and happy holidays!

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December is Noodle Ring Month. Stock up on Tofu Shirataki, tie a noodle around your ring finger, and prepare to party!

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