By Lydia Bolen

January 2016 has arrived! Each year at this time I begin making my New Year’s resolutions. My top priority is always cutting daily calories. I love to cook, so I scour the blogs and cookbooks searching for recipes that use lighter ingredients—since not one of us wants to compromise on taste!

Bolognese Sauce is a perfect Italian meal. You can actually enjoy this sauce with any pasta with just a few tweaks of the heavier recipe. It is somewhat time-consuming, but it is well worth a try and can be enjoyed heartily on cold winter nights. A bonus is that it freezes well.

Who doesn’t love French Fries? Baked Garlic Fries are delicious and will complement many dishes.

I love to bake! I found a wonderful recipe for almond cake that has healthy lighter ingredients. Top this cake with fresh raspberries and blueberries and you have a winner!


Bolognese SauceFood-for-Thought-Bolognese

  • 4 ounces pancetta, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup celery, minced
  • 1/2 cup carrots, minced
  • 1 pound 95% lean ground beef
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 2 cans (28 oz.) crushed tomatoes
  • 1 bay leaf
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1/2 cup half and half

In a deep sauté pan, sauté pancetta until fat melts. Add butter, onions, celery, and carrots. Cook on medium-low heat until soft, about 5 minutes.

Increase heat to medium-high, add meat seasoned with salt and pepper and sauté until browned. Add wine. Cook until it reduces down, about 4 minutes.

Add tomatoes and bay leaf. Simmer covered on low, at least 2 hours, stirring occasionally. Add half & half and parsley, cook 2 minutes longer.

Serve over any cooked pasta. Makes about 8 cups of sauce.

(Adapted from

Baked Garlic FriesFood-for-Thought-Fries

  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 3 large baking potatoes
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, finely chopped

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Heat the garlic and oil in a small saucepan over medium heat for 2 minutes. Strain the garlic from the oil with a small mesh strainer. Set both garlic and oil aside.

Cut the potatoes into 1/4-inch sticks. In a large bowl, toss the oil, potatoes and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray and spread the potatoes onto it in a single layer. Bake until golden and crisp, about 30 minutes. Remove potatoes from the tray. Toss with parsley, reserved garlic, and additional salt, to taste. Serve immediately.


Almond CakeFood-for-Thought-Almond-Cake

  • 3 large eggs, separated, at room temperature
  • 3 large egg whites, at room temperature
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 cups almond flour
  • 1 cup mixed berries
  • Powdered sugar, for dusting (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9-inch springform pan with Baker’s joy. Line pan with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, and sugar.  Whisk until eggs become thick. Whisk in the vanilla and set aside.

Beat the egg whites on medium speed about 1 minute, until they hold peaks. (Yes, 6 of them!)

Gently fold egg whites, yolks, and flour together. Pour batter into prepared pan.

Bake for about 35 minutes, until the top is golden brown. Let the hot cake cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes.

Invert the cake onto the rack, remove the sides and bottom. Peel away the parchment paper. Turn the cake right side up and allow to cool completely.

Dust with powdered sugar. Cut into 12 slices and serve with fresh berries on top.

(Adapted from

Pro-Life Mississippi