Cozy Comfort Foods

Beef Stew

Winter is an especially popular time for comfort food; with the cold weather and shorter days you may be looking for something to lift your spirits! Comfort foods come in all shapes, sizes and flavors, for instance; some may find sweets like chocolate chip cookies to be comforting while someone else might prefer the heartiness and savoriness of beef stew.

What ever your special food it may bring back memories of your childhood or simply be associated with a pleasant event. Think about it…what is your favorite comfort food? Is there a way to turn your comfort food into a deliciously healthy meal? With just a few modifications like adding more veggies or swapping out a higher fat ingredient for a lower fat ingredient can help you indulge without extra fat and calories.

Here are a few of my favorite recipe swaps:

Instead of…. Choose…
Sour cream Low fat Greek Yogurt or low fat sour cream
Butter Olive oil for savory dishes, applesauce in baked dishes
Refined grains such as white flour or white rice Whole grains like whole wheat, brown rice, quinoa, barley
High fat meats Skinless poultry, lean beef, 93% lean ground turkey, tofu
Mashed potatoes Prepare using half mashed cauliflower with half potatoes
Spaghetti Spaghetti Squash (recipe below)


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?

Spaghetti Squash & Meatballs

Spaghetti Squash & Meatballs

Spaghetti & meatballs – who can resist such a comforting dish? Here’s a twist on the classic dish that won’t disappoint. You can reduce the carbohydrates and increase the vegetables servings by skipping pasta and serving the Italian-seasoned turkey meatballs and quick, homemade marinara sauce over thin strands of cooked spaghetti squash instead!


Make: 4 Servings (3/4 cup squash, 3/4 cup sauce & 3 meatballs each)

Total Time: 45 minutes


  • 1 3-pound spaghetti squash
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley, divided
  • 1/2 cup finely shredded Parmesan cheese, divided
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons Italian seasoning, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1 pound 93%-lean ground turkey
  • 4 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 28-ounce can no-salt-added crushed tomatoes
  • 1/4-1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper


  1. Halve squash lengthwise and scoop out the seeds. Place facedown in a microwave-safe dish; add water. Microwave, uncovered, on High until the flesh can be easily scraped with a fork, 10 to 15 minutes.
  2. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Scrape the squash flesh into the skillet and cook, stirring occasionally, until the moisture is evaporated and the squash is beginning to brown, 5 to 10 minutes. Stir in 1/4 cup parsley. Remove from heat, cover and let stand.
  3. Meanwhile, combine the remaining 1/4 cup parsley, 1/4 cup Parmesan, 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning, onion powder, 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper in a medium bowl. Add turkey; gently mix to combine (do not overmix). Using about 2 tablespoons each, form into 12 meatballs.
  4. Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the meatballs, reduce heat to medium and cook, turning occasionally, until browned all over, 4 to 6 minutes. Push the meatballs to the side of the pan, add garlic and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add tomatoes, crushed red pepper to taste, the remaining 3/4 teaspoon Italian seasoning and 1/4 teaspoon salt; stir to coat the meatballs. Bring to a simmer, cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the meatballs are cooked through, 10 to 12 minutes more.
  5. Serve the sauce and meatballs over the squash, sprinkled with the remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan.

Nutrition Information:

409 Calories; 18 g Fat; 5 g Sat; 6 g Mono; 74 mg Cholesterol; 31 g Carbohydrates; 32 g Protein; 8 g Fiber; 581 mg Sodium; 1233 mg Potassium

2 Carbohydrate Serving