A Healthy Take on Comforting Favorites

Feb 14, 2021

Comfort food, you know those deliciously satisfying familiar foods we crave when, well, we need comfort? Whether it’s a rough day at work, winter doldrums, or simply the need for something that reminds us of what mom served up, we seek out these psychologically satisfying dishes. We often think of comfort food as high in calories and carbo loaded.  But just a couple small changes can get you closer to the healthier eating habits you pledged. If you have a hankering for comfort food, and want to stay on track with your eating plan, give our Meatloaf Made Over and Guilt-free Scalloped potatoes at try!   

Comforting Favorites

Meatloaf Made Over

Serves 8

Meatloaf has been on the list of comfort foods since, well, forever. It’s that iconic dish most everyone has an opinion on. Gourmet chefs offer their interpretation on fine dining menus and local diners make it a blue-plate staple. Here’s a version that swaps some of the ground beef with turkey and adds a flavorful mix of veggies to up its nutritional value.


½ cup ketchup
1 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 ½ tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
½ cup finely chopped carrot
½ cup finely chopped green pepper
1 clove garlic, minced
½ teaspoon dried thyme
½ cup tomato sauce
½ cup reduced fat milk
2 eggs
2 teaspoons Worcestershire
1 ½ cups fresh whole wheat bread crumbs*
1/3 cups minced fresh parsley
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 pound lean ground beef,
1 pound ground turkey

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. In a small bowl whisk together ketchup, mustard, and brown sugar. Set aside.  Heat oil over medium heat in a non-stick skillet.  Add onions, carrot, and green pepper and cook until soft, about 5 minutes.  Stir in the garlic and thyme until fragrant.  Remove from heat, stir in tomato sauce and let cool slightly.
  2. In a large bowl whisk the milk, eggs, Worcestershire, bread crumbs, parsley, salt, and pepper together, then add the beef and turkey and blend until evenly mixed. On a jelly roll pan that has been lined with foil and coated with cooking spray, shape mixture into a 9 x 5–inch loaf.  (You can press the mixture into a 9-inch loaf pan, then unmold on to the prepared pan.)   Spread half of the ketchup mixture evenly over top and down sides of meat loaf; bake at 350° for 50 minutes.  Brush with remaining ketchup mixture and continue to cook until instant read thermometer registers 160°, about 10 or 15 more minutes.   Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.
*Quick Tip

A great use for those leftovers heals of bread is to break into smaller pieces and give a quick whirl in a spice or coffee grinder to make fresh bread crumbs. 

Scalloped Potatoes

Guilt-free Scalloped Potatoes

Serves 6

We swapped out the heavy cream with reduced fat milk, and cut the amount of butter and cheese by half. No need to peel the potatoes. Just scrub and slice to take advantage of the extra fiber and nutrients the potato skins provide. These small changes keep the delicious comfort but cut the guilt!


1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion sliced thin
1 clove garlic minced
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
2 cups reduced fat milk
½ cup chicken broth
1 bay leaf
5 medium russet potatoes, sliced 1/8 inch thin, about 8 cups (no need to peel)
½ cup shredded gruyere cheese (Parmesan can be substituted if preferred.)

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. In a Dutch oven, over medium heat, add oil and melt butter.  Add the onion and cook until just beginning to soften, about 5 minutes.  Add garlic, thyme, salt, and pepper and stir until fragrant, about 30 seconds.  Add milk, and bay leaf and bring mixture to low simmer.  Add potatoes and cook until potatoes are just tender, about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  2. Discard the bay leaf and pour the potato mixture into a 9 x 13 baking dish coated with non-stick spray.  Arrange potatoes in an even layer and sprinkle with cheese.  Bake until bubbly and cheese is melted and golden. 15 to 20 minutes.  Let cool 5 to 8 minutes before serving, mixture will thicken as it cools.

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