I very much grew up in a meat and potatoes household. Our dinner menus were as predictable as the negotiating was to get out of doing dishes. Every night there was a meat entree — ground beef made into burgers, meatloaf, sloppy joes — with some form of potato — be it baked, mashed, or frozen fries. A side of canned green beans or corn would round out our plates. And for dessert we never received more than two small sandwich cookies.
This is my comfort food. This is what I fall back to when I’m homesick, too exhausted to think through a meal plan, or just want to keep things really simple.
So many of my recipes are fresh takes on old favorites, and that’s exactly what I’m serving up here. There’s nothing new with this recipe, it’s been served out of casserole dishes for decades. What is new is the realization that you can make it a little more wholesome, but just as savory, familiar, and comforting. (more…)
Okay, I lied a bit. None of these recipes won Oscars. But, hey, all hail from right here on DietsInReview and pair perfectly for the award show.
The 86th Academy Awards air on ABC this Sunday, March 2, so you better rush to the grocery store and stockpile for the party you may or may not (but should) be having! And before you think the recipes will all be super-fattening macaroni and cheese casseroles (I mean it is gold), I am offering up some healthier alternatives for your Oscar night. After all, what would the stars do? (Hint: They would not chow down on high-cal comfort foods; at least not before.)
Let us start off right, like any good party should: with a few beverages.
A Blackberry & Basil Martini is the perfect option for the 86th Academy Awards. Fancy cocktails were prevalent in at least two of the most prominently nominated movies this year: The Wolf of Wall Street and American Hustle. Besides that, what better way to feel like you are schmoozing with the rich and famous than with a drink that looks this fabulous? (And isn’t all that bad for you!) Easy to recreate a non-alcoholic version—simply substitute the vodka with some sparkling soda and use grenadine. Yum!
Another great drink option is our Talenti Frozen Sangria, which tips a hat to the Southern representation among many of the nominated movies this year. Can’t you just imagine Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts sipping on this icy sangria to escape the 90-degree heat? I sure can. (more…)
Most of us have heard of comfort food. Sticky, gooey, chocolate chip cookies straight out of the oven, a plate of warm mashed potatoes and rich gravy, or a bowl full of creamy chicken and dumpling soup are just a few items that come to mind when the need for some self-pampering arises. The problem is, the food we reach for when we need comfort is usually far from comforting. Indigestion and bloating, heartburn, or pure guilt are just a few of the nagging side effects that can actually worsen our mood as a result of our epicurean indulgence.
If you’re going to sink in to comfort food and eat feelings of happiness, sadness, or just overall feel good, try these three foods that you wouldn’t think of as typical comfort foods. These actually have the ability to lift your spirits and get rid of the blahs without the bloat.
This cooling fruit not only tastes great and has a pleasurable texture, but it conjures up memories or images of picnics, family gatherings, and summer vacation, too. When you eat a slice of watermelon, listen for the crunch, feel your mouth water, and have some fun spitting the seeds onto the ground. Turn an ordinary eating experience into an adventure, and before you know it, you will feel like a kid again, tickled by a childlike zest for life. (more…)
Julie and Charles Mayfield have united their passions for Southern food and the paleo lifestyle in a new cookbook, Paleo Comfort Foods. The book features recipes like shrimp and grits, fried green tomatoes, pulled pork and even desserts like strawberry shortcakes and chocolate coconut pudding. The dishes reach beyond the South, and include a range of classic American flavors, all modified to fit a paleo diet. “Originally we were thinking about having Southern food, but more and more the idea of comfort food became something we wanted to focus on,” says Julie.
The paleo diet is largely based upon foods that were available before the agricultural revolution and excludes grain, added sugars and processed foods. Some people on a paleo diet also exclude legumes, honey and most fruits.
The Mayfields aren’t professional chefs, in fact both had full-time jobs while creating the book. They hope it will show people how going paleo can fit into a busy lifestyle. They agree that the biggest challenge of creating the cookbook was not finding paleo substitutes for ingredients like flour and sugar, but “breaking down the recipes and measuring them out,” says Julie.
Fall weather typically means cooler temperatures and heartier meals. However, eating heartier doesn’t have to mean you are eating foods that are unhealthy. You can easily use seasonal vegetables that are available this fall to add flavor and nutrition to your traditional fall recipes.
Vegetables that are available during the fall season include Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, squash, pumpkin, sweet potatoes, broccoli, potatoes and turnips. For fruits, be on the look out for apples, dates, pears, kiwi and tangerines. Simply putting some of these items on your grocery list can help inspire you to infuse them into your meals. Since these items are at their peak during the fall season, you can get them at a good price and while they are at their freshest.
Below are a few ideas that incorporate seasonal produce with your everyday fall favorites.
As the weather grows cooler, it’s easy to fall into the temptation of hearty, stick-to-your ribs comfort foods. When you think of comfort food, you probably think about tucking into a rich bowl of beef stew or a cheese-laden pasta bake, but hearty doesn’t have to mean unhealthy this year.
Comfort foods tend to be rich and decadent, which holds especially true for vegetarians who have to rely on cheese and often fattening dairy products to give their favorite hearty dishes the textures and flavors they crave.
Next time you’re looking for a healthy, hearty dish to warm you up, think meatless with one of our favorite meat-free recipes.
Check-out Rocco’s much-anticipated follow-up, in our review of the Now Eat This! Diet, released March 22, 2023.
If you ask me what my favorite foods are, all the healthy living aside, I will tell you without hesitation they are fried chicken and baked macaroni and cheese. For dessert, I would likely choose a fat brownie. Now a meal like that would set me back well beyond a day’s worth of 2,000 calories, and double the 65g of recommended total fat per day. That’s why I never eat these foods.
So when I opened “Now Eat This,” the newest cookbook from Chef Rocco Dispirito, and found that I could have fried chicken, mac ‘n cheese and a brownie for less than 500 calories and less than 20g of fat, I was very interested. And I think you will be, too!
A few years ago, Rocco realized he’d put on about 30 pounds. That’s what happens when you work around food for more than 25 years; in Rocco’s case, really good food. So he set-out to change that, calling himself “a latecomer to the diet/exercise weight loss experience.” He says his body protested, carrying 20 percent body fat, but he pushed through with the help of a trainer and a dedicated fitness plan. He followed a modified Atkins diet, gave up alcohol and carbs and stuck to high-protein eats. That, plus double-cardio sessions six days a week, helped him get back in shape, and take on a triathlon and an iron man. (more…)
It’s no secret that the economy stinks these days. According to a survey by a Chicago-based research firm, people are passing on the healthier options offered at fast food and casual dining restaurants in favor of a super-sized serving of comfort. Eighty-two percent of respondents say their better-for-you items are selling ‘lousy.” Customers are citing economic factors for their preferences.
More than half of consumers say they are more concerned about their eating habits than they were a year ago… yet:
- 70% say that healthful foods are harder to afford
- 53% say they buy less-healthful items because those items are cheaper (not necessarily, as I wrote about the price of salmon vs. hotdogs)
- 44% say their budget prevents them from eating healthful foods
- 34% of respondents say that they are choosing cheaper fast food over more-healthful options
- 9% are skipping breakfast and 3% are skipping lunch
To that, I say, this is totally unnecessary. People may think they are saving, but trust me, they are paying for it in their health. They’ll pay even more later whether it’s in some combination of weight gain, lower energy levels or poorer quality of life.
Instead, here are some tips to maximize your comfort with minimal strain on your pocketbook. (more…)
By day, guest blogger Maris Callahan is a publicist in New York City. In her spare time, she is a freelance writer and food blogger at In Good Taste, a blog about cooking and eating good healthy food when you’re busy or on-the-go (with a few indulgences, because everyone needs those!) When she isn’t cooking or writing she enjoys running, knitting, photography and a good latte.
We all know to put honey in our tea when we have sore throats, but most of us don’t stop to ask why. For centuries, honey has been used as a topical application to help prevent infection, due to naturally occurring antiseptic and antibacterial qualities. With the invention of antibiotics, this practice became less frequent, but consuming honey is still said to have health benefits and might even reduce sensitivity to certain environmental allergens. (more…)
The idea of comfort food, foods that evoke a psychologically pleasurable response when ingested by an individual, is not new. Your idea of which foods are comforting is somewhat individual and based on a variety of factors. The pairing of sustenance with comfort has been said to start as early as the womb. This pairing continues with the bonding created by infant feeding, both physical and emotional needs are met at the same time, and rewarding toddlers and children with food for good behavior.
Many families use food to distract one from or heal negative emotions such as sadness, loneliness, hurt, and even boredom. Many of my family members admit to using food to love and care for each other, trying to meet both physical and emotional needs. How often do we express gratitude and caring during holidays with gifts of food? Is it any wonder that we use food as a drug to effect both our physical and emotional states? (more…)
One of the things that makes Jillian Michaels such a popular trainer on The Biggest Loser is that she really cares about her contestants and recognizes that weight gain/loss can be more complex than calories in-calories out. There are a lot of other factors that affect our bodies and metabolisms. It took Brittany Aberle nearly her entire time on the show to discover a hormone imbalance (PCOS) that was slowing down her weight loss.
Another important aspect that Jillian seems to get is the connection between physical health and mental health, possibly because her mother is a psychologist. Every season, as her contestants start to lose weight, Jillian recognizes and helps her contestants to address the emotional issues that are rising to the surface, revealed by the process. This season she’s worked closely with Coleen and Michelle. (more…)