comfort food for hubby, new challenge for me

When we were in college, my roommate Jackie and I used to make a big “southern dinner” and invite a bunch of friends over to feast.  The meal consisted of:

  • breaded, fried chicken tenders
  • macaroni and cheese
  • mashed potatoes
  • collard greens w/ bacon
  • black eyed peas
  • fried okra

These six items are at the top of my list of favorite comfort foods, and those meals are some of my favorite memories from college.  After we started dating, they quickly became some of Brian’s favorites as well.  I already mentioned that my hubby was craving some good ol’ stick-to-your-ribs comfort food, and this was exactly the kind of meal he wanted.

So, tonight we cooked together and made chicken tenders, mac + cheese, garlic + dill mashed potatoes and steamed green beans (I had to have SOMETHING healthy!).  It was a wonderful, filling meal, and I didn’t even try to over-“healthify” anything (hubby may have divorced me…not really!).  I did load my plate with steamed green beans and took smaller-than-normal helpings of the other, not-so-healthy options though.

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The one thing I changed in my mom’s amazing mac + cheese recipe was that I used brown rice pasta instead of semolina…I LOVE this stuff!  Its texture is so similar to semolina, I don’t even notice a difference.

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I loved the meal, and I loved cooking with Brian, and I love that this kind of food brings back such great memories of friends and family, but I don’t love the guilty, nagging voice I have in my head that is telling me I should have tried to make a healthier dinner.  :(  Why does classic comfort food always involve frying, cheese and potatoes?  Now, I’m not saying that my healthy meals don’t evoke satisfying feelings, because they do, its just a different kind of satisfaction.  Think how heightened my enjoyment of the meal would have been if I had made healthy chicken fingers, mac + cheese and mashed potatoes that still tasted just as good as the originals?!?!  

So I’m setting a new challenge for myself and my hubby.  One night a week we are going to pick a classic comfort food from mine or Brian’s past and “healthify” it.  And we’re going to do it together, because part of what was so great about tonight (and last night’s home made pizza) was being in the kitchen cooking side-by-side.  

And, another even bigger challenge for myself is this:  On these very occasional nights when we decide to have a blast-from-the-past with a not-so-healthy meal I’m not going to feel guilty about it, because it doesn’t happen THAT often.  :)

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12 responses to “comfort food for hubby, new challenge for me

  1. I love your new challenge and your dinner from tonight. I try to do this a lot, and it usually works out. The one dish that always stumps me though is mac n cheese, it’s come out all right but not stellar. Promise me you’ll share yours? ;)

  2. Mac n cheese is one of my all time favorite foods. :) I can get down with the healthy versions, but there’s nothing like having it the old fashioned, full fat way. I don’t think you should feel guilty at all for enjoying the occasional comfort food!

  3. i understand how you feel about nostalgic food mixed with guilty feelings. its just something to work on! practice makes it easier. im doing the same :D

  4. What a good challenge. I have some brown rice pasta that I might try doing a cheesy bake with, which for some reason I’ve never considered before. And I think you could’ve done a LOT worse at healthify-ing the meal, so don’t be too hard on yourself! I look forward to seeing what else you create.

  5. your comfort food meal looks delicious – nothing better than homemade food :)

  6. Classic comfort food!! :-D

    Good luck with the challenge!!

  7. Hmmm, comfort food!
    The challenge sounds so much fun!

  8. Thanks for all of the great comments, ladies! I will definitely share my “healthified” mac + cheese recipe once I figure it out and perfect it! :)

  9. I like all of you new challenge. Don’t feel guilty about eating the good comfort foods. Eating them everyone once in a while is not bad, its when you load your plate with the southern goodies every other day when it becomes an issue :)

    My Dad was hunting for yout Blog address, he was really interested to have a peak into your world!

  10. Hi Meghann! Thanks for the good thoughts, I’m trying to keep a healthy perspective and not become too obsessed…! :) Did your dad find the address? Your mom sent me a message asking for it and I gave it to her on facebook…I haven’t even shared with my parents yet! :)

  11. That was actually my Dad requesting through my Mom’s Facebook. He’s too lazy to get his own so he just stalks through hers. I can always tell when hes the one talking by his wording. My Dad has a very distinct voice.

    It was hard to hid the blog from my parents, with all the picture taking, but now they love it and are always reading it. They also love the free stuff I get. My Dad is throughly enjoying the fre instant oatmeal and banana nut bars I got a couple of weeks back. :)

  12. Pingback: “healthified” meat loaf + macaroni and cheese « bella eats

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