Comfort Foods for Winter Meals Month!

By: Jacqueline Gomes, MBA, RDN

Nothing says winter meals like cozy comfort foods! Turn your favorite comfort foods into deliciously healthy meals with just a few modifications, for instance add in more veggies or switch out a higher fat ingredient for a lower fat ingredient.


How do foods become comfort foods?

Reasons include the foods’ familiarity, simplicity, or pleasant associations. Think about your favorites — my comfort foods almost always have to do with potatoes! From Spanish Omelets to simply roasted potatoes I absolutely love them!

  • Add zucchini and spinach to a traditional potato omelet to increase nutrients.
  • Use 97% lean ground meats in place of higher fat 85% lean to reduce your intake of saturated fats.
  • Pasta has a healthy place in the diet, just be mindful of portions. DeCecco® pasta uses quality ingredients to produce a delicious pasta your whole family will enjoy!


Did you know? According to a recent study by Cornell University researchers, women and men seek out different comfort foods. Men crave mixtures of salt, protein, & fat like pizza and steak. Women seek out high fat & sugar foods like chocolate, ice cream, and cookies. What are you favorites?


Turkey Bolognese over Pasta

Turkey Bolognese pasta in a dish on the table

This lightened up version of Bolognese sauce will not have you missing the cream or butter that is typically added to a traditional sauce. My version is 100% family friendly, in fact this is what I prepare for my kids several times a month. Plus, my recipe makes plenty for leftovers and even some to store away in the freezer for another meal!  

Total time: 30 to 35 minutes

Makes: Approximately 12 cups



  • Cooking spray or olive oil
  • ½ large Spanish onion, finely chopped
  • 1 bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 3 to 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 carrots, peeled and finely chopped
  • 5 pound 97% to 99% Lean Ground Turkey
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 2 cups crushed tomatoes or tomato sauce
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • Bay leaf
  • ½ cup chopped parsley
  • Scallions (optional)
  • Grated parmesan cheese for serving



  1. Heat a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Spray with cooking spray or drizzle with olive oil. Add onion, pepper, garlic and carrot, add a pinch of salt. Cook until soft, about 3 to 4 minutes.
  2. Add in turkey, using a wooden spoon break up turkey, tossing frequently. Continue to cook for about 10 minutes. Season with 1 teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon pepper.
  3. Stir in broth, tomatoes, bay leaf, Italian seasoning. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring halfway through.
  4. Before serving remove bay leaf and stir in parsley. Serve over DeCecco® pasta and top with chopped scallions and grated parmesan cheese.

Tip: May be stored in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days. Freeze any remaining sauce.

Recipe & Photo: Jacqueline Gomes, RDN, MBA


Nutrition Information per 1 cup serving sauce:

150 Calories; 7g Carbohydrate; 24g Protein; 2.25g total fat; 2g Fiber; 264mg Sodium  

1 Cup DeCecco pasta adds additional:

267 Calories; 55g Carbohydrate; 9g Protein; 1g fat; 3g Fiber; 0g Sodium