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Eating Light: Comfort Food

Martha Stewart Living, January 2003

When it's cold outside, who can resist a generous helping of Mom's meatloaf with creamy mashed potatoes and gravy or a steaming bowl of hearty chili? These rich dishes, with a charm that's part nostalgia, part indulgence, are typically laden with fat and calories. As a result, they tend to be reserved for moments when pampering is in order. We've updated some of our favorites so that they can be enjoyed a bit more often, and without an ounce of guilt.

Besides relying on familiar substitutions -- nonfat yogurt in place of sour cream in twice-baked potatoes, chicken instead of beef in a spicy chili -- our recipes incorporate a range of healthful ingredients to preserve the familiar tastes and textures that make these foods so appealing. Macaroni and cheese, a comfort classic, is lightened (though you wouldn't know it) yet retains its creamy texture and its crisp topping. And in a surprisingly lean meatloaf, ground turkey replaces the usual combination of beef, pork, and veal. Paired with garlic-infused mashed potatoes and smothered in our fat-free gravy, it makes a gratifying meal that can be served, and appreciated, anytime. Mom would surely approve.

Macaroni and Cheese with Butternut Squash
Twice-Baked Potatoes with Green Onions
Chili With Chicken and Beans
Turkey Meatloaf