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40 Favorite Comfort Foods, Lightened Up

Healthy comfort food does exist! We've rounded our most delicious sweet and savory dishes to satisfy your cravings (without ruining your diet).

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Makeover Beef Stroganoff

I trimmed the calories, fat and sodium in a classic stroganoff, and my comfy, cozy version still tastes like a Russian masterpiece. —Candace Clark, Connell, Washington
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Enchilada Casser-Ole!

My husband loves this casserole, but it never lasts too long. Packed with black beans, cheese, tomatoes and plenty of Southwest flavor, it's an impressive entree that's as simple as it is simply delicious. —Marsha Wills, Homosassa, Florida
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Makeover Beef & Potato Soup

Slow-cooker easy, this soup is a Christmas Eve tradition after church services at our house. —Sheila Holderman, Berthold, North Dakota
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Makeover Slow-Cooked Mac 'n' Cheese

This recipe is a clear example of comfort food at its finest; it's rich, hearty and extra cheesy. And because it's made in the slow cooker, it's also extremely easy. —Shelby Molina, Whitewater, Wisconsin
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Rustic Italian Tortellini Soup

This is my favorite tortellini soup recipe. It's one of those types of soup that are quick to fix on a busy night and full of healthy, tasty ingredients. It originally called for spicy sausage links, but I've found that turkey sausage, or even ground turkey breast, is just as good. —Tracy Fasnacht, Irwin, Pennsylvania
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Apple Pancakes with Cider Syrup

Tender pancakes are filled with minced apple and raisin, and drizzled with apple cider syrup. They're wonderful in the summer or on a cool fall morning. —April Harmon, Greeneville, Tennessee
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Makeover Li'l Cheddar Meat Loaves

My husband loves my mini meat loaves, but this family-favorite recipe wasn’t very healthy when I first received it. The Taste of Home Test Kitchen experts slashed the calories and fat while keeping the original’s tender and delicious qualities. —Jodie Mitchell, Denver, Pennsylvania
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Makeover Biscuits & Gravy

We lightened up biscuits and gravy to curb our guilt for eating them the day after having pancakes. Here’s a terrific homemade recipe for brunch guests. —Ian Cliffe, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
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Chicken Chili with Black Beans

Because it looks different than traditional chili, my family was a little hesitant to try this dish at first. Thanks to the full, hearty flavor, it's become a real favorite around our house. I like to serve it with warm cornbread. —Jeanette Urbom, Louisburg, Kansas
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Light & Lemony Scampi

A touch more lemon helped me trim the calories in our favorite shrimp scampi recipe. For those who want to indulge, pass around the Parmesan. —Ann Sheehy, Lawrence, Massachusetts
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Chocolate Peanut Butter Bombes

Kids of all ages are sure to love these creamy frozen bombes with the peanut butter “surprise” inside! The creative combo comes from our Test Kitchen.
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Makeover Meatless Lasagna

If you've never tried tofu before, this is the best recipe to give it a try. It blends in with all the other ingredients, adding protein without the fat and calories of ground beef. —Mary Lou Moeller, Wooster, Ohio
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Makeover Turkey Burgers with Peach Mayo

The unique fruit and mayo combination puts this burger over the top. You can also substitute nectarines for the peaches. They're both delicious! —Charlene Chambers, Ormond Beach, Florida
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Makeover Brie and Sausage Brunch Bake

The aroma of this lower-fat egg bake with all the flavor of the original will have mouths watering! —Becky Hicks, Forest Lake, Minnesota
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Makeover Peach Upside-Down Cake

Makeover Peach Upside-Down Cake

This peachy delight has charmed folks for years. Our lightened version is even better with less fat and calories than other similar recipes.—Taste of Home Test Kitchen, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
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Multigrain Cinnamon Rolls

This simple and easy-to-work with recipe is sure to become a family favorite. And the wholesome cinnamon rolls will fill your kitchen with a wonderful, warm aroma. —Judy Eddy, Baldwin City, Kansas
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Makeover Cheesy Ham 'N' Potato Soup

This better-for-you version uses lean ham, canola oil, fat-free milk and reduced-fat cheddar cheese. Additional potatoes, whirred in the food processor, plus dry milk powder help keep the soup's thick creamy texture. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen
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Whole Wheat Snickerdoodles

These soft, chewy cookies make a super snack any time of year. Their light cinnamon-sugar flavor is the perfect complement to a cold glass of milk. —Jana Horsfall, Garden City, Kansas
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Makeover Sausage-Stuffed Peppers

I started preparing stuffed peppers only because my husband loves them so much. I was surprised to discover how much I enjoyed them, too. I prefer yellow or red bell peppers for mine, since they have a sweeter, milder flavor than green. —Tami Kuehl, Loup City, Nebraska
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Chocolate-Topped Strawberry Cheesecake

Creamy and airy, this gorgeous dessert is the perfect special something for a summer dinner party. I love the mix of smooth strawberry cheesecake and crumbly chocolate crust—and how elegant it looks on the table. —Kathy Berger, Dry Ridge, Kentucky
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Fresh Corn and Tomato Fettuccine

This recipe combines delicious whole wheat pasta with the best of fresh garden produce. It's tossed with heart-healthy olive oil, and a little feta cheese gives it bite. —Angela Spengler, Tampa, Florida
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Almond Fudge Cake

People are amazed that this luscious, moist and tender cake is a light dessert. I love the rich chocolate flavor and fruity sauce. —Mike Pickerel, Columbia, Missouri
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Makeover Sloppy Joe Mac and Cheese

Decreasing the butter and replacing the half-and-half with milk helped cut a whopping 658 calories and more than half the fat from this casserole. Even though the cholesterol was reduced by 75% and the sodium by 40%, it offers all the heart-warming comfort of the original. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen
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Buttermilk Pumpkin Waffles

Buttermilk Pumpkin Waffles

My girlfriend loves pumpkin, so I enjoy making these for her on cool Sunday mornings. —Charles Insler, Silver Spring, Maryland
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Makeover Shrimp Rice Casserole

Makeover Shrimp Rice Casserole

The cooks at Taste of Home made a lightened-up version of my shrimp casserole, and I love it. The makeover has only half the calories and sodium of my original recipe, and less fat, too. —Marie Roberts, Lake Charles, Louisiana
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Poached Pears with Orange Cream

Poached Pears with Orange Cream

End the meal with a flourish with this easy and elegant dessert. A hint of orange lends just enough sweetness to temper the wine's bold taste. —Julianne Schnuck, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
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Blackberry Frozen Yogurt

You could also use boysenberries, raspberries or strawberries for this delicious dessert. — Rebecca Baird, Salt Lake City, Utah
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Ribbon Pudding Pie

Cool, smooth and creamy, this pretty pie is a slice of heaven for people with diabetes and anyone who likes an easy yet impressive dessert. The lovely pudding layers feature a yummy combination of vanilla, chocolate and butterscotch. —Doris Morgan, Verona, Mississippi
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Strawberry Sorbet Sensation

On hot days in Colorado, we chill out with slices of this berries-and-cream dessert. The layered effect is so much fun. Use any flavor of sorbet you like. —Kendra Doss, Colorado Springs, Colorado
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Light Linguine Carbonara

When we have to rush off at night, I make this speedy pasta with veggies and bacon. Serve with breadsticks or garlic toast, and dinner's done. —Mary Jo Miller, Mansfield, Ohio
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Makeover Hash Brown Casserole

I wanted a hash brown casserole I could feel good about eating. This light version keeps the cozy flavor while nixing a lot of the fat. —Kelly Kirby, Westville, Nova Scotia
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Makeover Overnight French Toast

We tried this lighter version recently and the whole family really loved it! You can bet this dish is going to be made more than once. —Sonya Labbe, West Hollywood, California
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Warm Chocolate Melting Cups

These little cakes have become a favorite of our guests. They are always surprised that such a chocolaty dessert is so light­—less than 200 calories apiece! —Kissa Vaughn, Troy, Texas
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Skinny Turkey-Vegetable Soup

The blend of flavors and colors in this hearty soup will bring everyone at the table back for more. —Charlotte Welch, Utica, New York
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Light Strawberry Pie

People rave about this luscious strawberry pie. Best of all, it’s a low-sugar sensation that you won’t feel guilty eating. —Lou Wright, Rockford, Illinois
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Makeover Swiss Chicken Supreme

Stephanie Bell asked our test kitchen to lighten her family-favorite recipe. Even though this makeover recipe is slimmed down, it is still supreme. It has 560 fewer calories, 81 percent less fat and nearly 75 percent less sodium. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen
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Makeover Loaded Pizza

Now everyone can enjoy family pizza night. We lightened up a classic recipe and shaved off half the calories, three-fourths of the saturated fat, two-thirds of the sodium and cholesterol, and ALL of the guilt. We swear that the kids won't even notice the difference! —Taste of Home Test Kitchen
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Chocolate Angel Cake

When I was married in 1944, I could barely boil water. My dear mother-in-law taught me her specialty—making the lightest angel food cakes ever. This chocolate version is an easy, impressive treat. —Joyce Shiffler, Colorado Springs, Colorado
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Brown Sugar Oatmeal Pancakes

My family absolutely loves these oat pancakes. I make them every Saturday and Sunday. If I don't, they don't believe it's the weekend! My son's friends often spend the night, and I think it's because they like these oatmeal pancakes so much. They are especially delicious served with molasses and syrup. —Sharon W. Bickett, Chester, South Carolina
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Cold-Day Chicken Noodle Soup

When I was sick, my mom would make me this heartwarming chicken noodle soup. It was soothing when I had a cold, but this soup is a bowlful of comfort on any chilly day. —Anthony Graham, Ottawa, lllinois

Nicole Doster
Nicole is a writer, editor and lover of Italian food. In her spare time, you’ll find her thumbing through vintage cookbooks or testing out recipes in her tiny kitchen.
Grace Mannon
Grace is a full-time mom with a Master's degree in Food Science. She loves to experiment in the kitchen and writes about her hits (and misses) on her blog, A Southern Grace.

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