Our Favorite Comfort Foods from Mom
If you can’t be with your mom on Mother’s Day—or you’re giving her a break and not requesting family favorites on her special day—why not try recreating that love with cherished comfort foods of your own? With fond memories and a little ingenuity, you can even make those time-honored dishes from Mom’s kitchen a little healthier for you.
Nothing says comfort like meatloaf, especially with a side of buttery mashed potatoes. While meatloaf may seem like an inescapably decadent diet buster, it’s actually an easy meal to lighten up and even bolster nutrient levels.
Our moms typically mixed ground chuck with ground pork and even veal to create a super moist loaf. Today’s cooks reduce calories and fat with lean ground beef or turkey mixed with a small amount of ground pork and increase the liquid to keep it moist. Cooking Light offers these and more tips for slimming down your meatloaf. We boost nutrition by replacing the bread crumbs with Kretschmer Wheat Germ in our own version, which you can find in our Usage and Substitution Chart.
As for those mashed potatoes? Use chicken broth in place of the cream and most of the butter, and you’ll still have a tasty side dish to scoop up with your meatloaf.
Macaroni and cheese
Macaroni and cheese has been an American favorite since Thomas Jefferson served “macaroni pie” at a state dinner in 1802, bringing tastes of Paris and Italy home to the United States. Over a century later, when Kraft came out with its mac ’n’ cheese in 1937, penny-pinched moms suffering through the Great Depression flocked to the easy, inexpensive meal in box.
But our fondest mac ’n’ cheese memories revolve around the casserole mixture of shredded cheese, milk or cream, elbow macaroni and a golden crust topping, piping hot out of the oven. Special occasions aside (can you say favorite birthday request?), in recent years moms have attempted to boost nutrition in this dish by subbing low-fat cheese or milk in place of their full-fat recipe ingredients and swapping out white elbow macaroni in favor of whole grain. We took another route, adding nutrition by incorporating wheat germ as the main crust ingredient in our mac ’n’ cheese recipe.
Spaghetti and meatballs
If you were lucky enough to have a mom (or a friend’s mom) who spent days in the kitchen creating the perfect tomato sauce and meatballs to go with it, you know the mouthwatering anticipation of Sunday night spaghetti and meatballs. Fortunately, making lower-fat meatballs won’t hurt the meal’s flavor, and with added wheat germ, like in our Usage and Substitution Chart recipe, you’ll get a boost of fiber and vitamin E.