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Lightened-up comfort foods: Try healthy versions of baked ziti and banana bread

Armed with a few smart swaps, you can make healthy and still satisfying versions of these two classic dishes.
/ Source: TODAY

It doesn’t get any easier — or tastier — than these two recipes. My slow-cooker chocolate-banana bread is a breakfast dish that cooks while you’re sleeping (talk about easy!), so you can wake up to freshly baked bread (good morning, indeed!). You gotta love the slow cooker — it’s so versatile and in this case, it helps make the morning rush a little less rushed. And my baked ziti-spinach muffins are the perfect answer to “What’s for dinner?” They're kid-friendly, portion-controlled and freeze-able so you can make them ahead of time and simply warm them up for a speedy and scrumptious meal the whole family will love. Ready to dig in?

RELATED: Give Buffalo wings, mac and cheese and other comfort foods a healthy makeover

Slow-cooker chocolate-banana bread

Imagine rolling out of bed and waking up to freshly-baked banana bread. Well, it doesn’t have to be a dream. Simply “bake” your bread overnight in the slow cooker and enjoy a warm breakfast treat in the morning. It’s like a dream come true! Get the recipe here!

Baked ziti-spinach muffins

Craving baked ziti? Go ahead and give into the craving…with a few simple tweaks, of course. In my health-ified version, I add some good-for you greens and then I bake them in muffin tins for automatic portion control. My baked ziti muffins are perfectly packaged and loaded with nutrition so you can enjoy whenever you want.

Joy Bauer's Baked Ziti Casserole

Try more of Joy's recipes!

Double Chocolate Chip Pancakes
Banana Split on a Stick
Cheesecake-Stuffed Strawberries

Want Joy to make over your favorite dish? Challenge her via Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.