Joy Bauer makes better-for-you baked ziti and chocolate cake

Your favorite comfort foods just got healthified.
/ Source: TODAY
By Joy Bauer

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We asked you (yes, you!) on Instagram to choose which indulgent "cheat meals" you'd like me to lighten up. After much anticipation, the people have spoken and the winning meals this week include chicken quesadillas, baked ziti and chocolate cake. As promised, check out these three scrumptious and better-for-you renditions.

P.S. I'm ready for your next challenge, so bring it on, folks!

Zesty Chipotle Chicken Quesadillas

Nathan Congleton / TODAY

These cheesy quesadillas deliver the classic crave-worthy taste but with a fraction of the calories, carbs and saturated fat typically found in takeout versions. They're a cinch to prepare and are extra delicious served with sour cream, spicy salsa and/or creamy guacamole. And while they're an excellent choice for lunch or dinner, they can easily transform into a tasty breakfast with a fried egg on top.

Get the recipe here.

Joy Bauer's Baked Ziti Casserole

Cheesy, saucy, noodle-y and satisfying, this lightened-up version will not disappoint. Just imagine: whole-grain penne tossed with ground meat, three different cheeses (mozzarella, ricotta and Parm) and flavorful tomato sauce, then baked to perfection in the oven. I also sneak in some spinach for added nutrition and fiber. It's baked-ziti bliss.

Chocolate Mug Cake

Nathan Congleton / TODAY

Craving a chocolaty slice of cake? You're in luck. This three-ingredient mug cake is ready in less than five minutes — in the microwave! It's delicious, perfectly portioned and most definitely hits the sweet spot. Plus, there are no tempting leftovers. You're about to be hooked.

Get the recipe here.

For delicious recipes, follow Joy on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook, and check out her new kid's book "Yummy Yoga."

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