When it’s cold outside, it feels like even your soul needs something warm. The comfort foods you love are just the thing to warm you up, inside and out. But while classic comfort foods like macaroni and cheese and chicken pot pie can deliver maximum coziness, they’re not known for being healthy.
Good news! You don’t have to abandon your quest for wholesome food the next time you want to warm up with something hot, hearty and delicious. Warm up AND fuel up with these healthier comfort food favorites from Aramark chefs.
TURKEY MEATLOAF WITH TOMATO GINGER CHUTNEY
Ground turkey pairs with veggies, herbs, and spices to amp up the flavor, and bring a healthier twist on this comfort food classic. The chutney is a definite wow—add it to sandwiches, burgers, and other dishes any time of the year!
Makes 6 servings
- 1 pound lean ground turkey
- 1/2 cup frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
- 1/4 cup rolled oats
- 1/4 cup liquid egg substitute (OR two egg whites)
- 1/4 cup yellow onions, minced
- 1/4 cup carrots, peeled and shredded
- 1/4 cup fresh red pepper, seeded and diced
- 1 ½ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 3/4 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
- 3/4 teaspoon dry mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon dried rubbed sage
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- Tomato Ginger Chutney (recipe follows)
- Preheat oven to 325o
- In large bowl, combine all ingredients except chutney; mix until well blended (do not overmix). Shape into an oblong loaf.
- Lightly coat a roasting pan with cooking spray (one with low sides is best). Put loaf in pan.
- Bake until internal temperature reaches 165oF (about 45 minutes to 1 hour). Let rest in pan 15 minutes. Remove from pan.
- Cut meatloaf into 6 slices. Top each portion with 2 tablespoons tomato ginger chutney to serve.
TOMATO GINGER CHUTNEY (Makes about 1 ½ cups)
- 1 ¼ pound fresh tomatoes, cored and diced (about 2-3 medium tomatoes)
- 3/4 cup fresh red pepper, seeded and diced
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup cider vinegar
- 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
- 2 ½ tablespoons fresh ginger, peeled and grated
- 2 ¼ teaspoons whole mustard seed
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red (hot) pepper
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
- In stockpot over medium-high heat, combine all ingredients. Cook, stirring often, until mixture comes to a boil. Reduce heat.
- Simmer, stirring often, until mixture is reduced by 70% and coats the back of a spoon, 2 to 2 1/2 hours. Cool.
- Keep chilled until ready to use.
EGGPLANT BEAN CASSEROLE
Nothing hits the spot like a casserole. Our Eggplant Bean Casserole is a great way to try something new with eggplant, which offers fiber to fill you up, as do the white beans. And who can resist a crispy, crunchy bread-crumb topping?
Makes 6 servings
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/4 cup yellow onion, peeled and diced
- 1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
- 1/2 tablespoon dried rubbed sage
- 1/2 tablespoon dried thyme
- 3/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 large or 2 small bay leaves
- 1 ½ pounds fresh eggplant, trimmed and diced (don’t peel)
- 24 ounces canned diced tomatoes with juice
- 24 ounces canned great northern beans (or other white beans), rinsed and drained
- 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
- Preheat oven to 375o
- In stockpot over medium-high heat, heat oil. Add onion, garlic, sage, thyme, pepper, and bay leaves. Cook until onion is tender, 5 to 7 minutes.
- Add eggplant. Stir. Cover. Reduce heat to medium. Cook 10 minutes.
- Add tomatoes. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat. Cook until eggplant is tender, 4 to 5 minutes. Discard bay leaves.
- Add beans. Mix well.
- Coat casserole (baking dish) with cooking spray; add eggplant bean mixture.
- Sprinkle panko bread crumbs over the top.
- Bake uncovered until hot and bubbly, 20 to 25 minutes.
Fifteen minutes to total comfort! This Italian-inspired pasta dish features diced tomatoes and fresh spinach, which boasts vitamins A and C. And hearty whole grain pasta is one of our favorite food swaps for better nutrition.
Makes 6 servings
- 1 can Italian-style diced tomatoes
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 2 cups multigrain penne pasta, uncooked
- 1 cup water
- 9-ounce package baby spinach leaves
- 1 cup shredded 2% milk Italian three-cheese blend
- In a large saucepan, bring tomatoes, red pepper flakes, pasta, and water to a boil. Cover and simmer on medium-low heat for 10 minutes or until pasta reaches desired tenderness.
- Add half of the package of spinach; cover and simmer for 2 minutes or until the spinach has wilted. Stir the pasta and repeat with remaining spinach.
- Serve topped with cheese.
Note: Since everyone’s health history and nutritional needs are so different, please make sure that you talk with your doctor and a registered dietitian to get advice about the diet and exercise plan that‘s right for you.