When NPR recently published a story about Mormon funeral potatoes, it got me thinking about comfort foods. The writer described how this memorably-named dish came to be. It’s a casserole that’s served at funeral luncheons but also at other times casseroles are called for like holidays, potlucks and Sunday dinner — whenever there’s going to be a crowd.
This casserole falls squarely in the category of comfort food that can temporarily make you feel better, whether it’s during difficult times or even a celebration. New baby? Bring that family a casserole. New neighbors? Bring them a pie. Celebrating retirement? Bring out the trays of baked ziti.
These dishes are usually not the healthiest, but there are ways to cut some of the fat and calories while adding some more nutritious ingredients. These five recipes are for traditional comfort foods, but they’ve all been tweaked to be a little more nutritious.
Baked ziti: Easier to assemble and less expensive to make than a lasagna, this pasta casserole achieves the same purpose. It comforts with pasta, cheese and sauce (with optional meat) while feeding a crowd. This simple recipe uses whole wheat ziti and organic ingredients. It also has suggestions for adding veggies like spinach, broccoli rabe, mushrooms or peas.