Comfort Food Makeovers: All Your Favorites Made Lighter by America's Test Kitchen Editors

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Notes about Recipes in this book

  • Meatloaf

    • jumali on May 05, 2013

      We really enjoyed this, and I'll probably be making it my regular meatloaf recipe. Flavor was good, and the portion size was substantial. My only complaint was that the texture was a bit fine, almost pasty. I may have over-processed the beef. The preparation is about as fussy as ATK gets what with measuring a precise square of foil, poking holes in it, and then trying to pat the mixture into exactly that area. It took some patience.

  • Everyday macaroni and cheese

    • jumali on May 05, 2013

      This was a big bust. There was so much sauce it seemed like pasta soup. Although the sauce was nice and creamy, it was bland. We didn't like it nearly as much as the baked macaroni and cheese on p. 108.

    • IvyManning on March 15, 2015

      This was awful. Watery, flavorless, and needlessly complicated. One way ticket to compost bin.

  • Twice-baked potatoes

    • jumali on May 05, 2013

      Nothing really special here. These were just ok--will probably make them again only if I'm trying to save some fat and calories.

  • Pasta with chicken and broccoli

    • IvyManning on January 14, 2014

      This was terribly bland. Should have known, it's ATK.

  • Tuna noodle casserole

    • IvyManning on May 29, 2015

      Bland as the day is long. Why oh why do I still own this book??

  • Baked macaroni and cheese

    • IvyManning on April 28, 2013

      Bland. If I were 6, and I was having potluck dinner in the basement of a church in Minnesota, I might like this. It's needlessly bland and stodgy. You could add so much more flavor without adding fat. I can't believe this is the recipe on the cover! It's the first, and probably the last thing I'll make from this's just so so far off from delicious.

  • Shepherd's pie

    • cjannace on November 01, 2015

      This was our first recipe out of our new cookbook, but J & I absolutely loved it. We agree that we would definitely add the carrots in earlier, they did not cook down quite as much as we would have liked. But this had a lot of great flavor & was really enjoyable.

  • Mexican lasagna

    • wodtke on May 31, 2014

      This was very tasty indeed, and low in both calories and saturated fat!

  • Oven-fried chicken

    • mharriman on December 02, 2020

      This is one of the better oven-fried chicken recipes I’ve tried. I wanted to see how skinless, boneless chicken breasts would work with this recipe (which calls for bone in). I thought it could work well, mainly because ATK has you put the chicken on a rack over a jelly roll pan, which helps keep the underside dry. I decided to disregard coating just one side with liquid and corn flakes and coated both. The rack method kept everything uniformly crunchy and dry. Served with mashed potatoes from the same cookbook. Will repeat.

  • Fish meunière

    • mharriman on August 06, 2019

      The sauce was on the the thin side; I prefer a heartier sauce, but I have to remind myself it IS a lower fat and calorie makeover meal! Instead of the butter standing out, the capers stood out. This was very good for a lightened up French recipe. I used flounder and served it with steamed asparagus sprinkled with fresh lemon juice and roasted red potatoes. The fish sauce was easy to prepare and the pan cooked fish fillets were a snap.

  • Pasta with sautéed mushrooms

    • mharriman on March 04, 2021

      I was looking for a fairly bland recipe to serve after my husband got his second covid vaccine (bland-type diet just in case of reaction symptoms) and this fIt the bill. The three different mushroom types stand out in this dish. The dried porcini gives a bit of earthiness to overall flavor. The reduced fat cream cheese barely makes a dent as a sauce because of the amount of chicken broth, so if you’re looking for a creamy sauce, this recipe doesn’t do it. This is a good meal when you just want a pIan pasta and mushroom entree and nothing spicy.

  • Pasta primavera

    • mharriman on July 28, 2021

      I Think a higher quality pasta helps elevate this recipe. I used Seggiano Toscanini pasta made in Italy. There were more steps, more pots, and more pans than is typical for this kind of pasta dish but the results did produce a creamy sauce without using heavy cream or any dairy. We liked the all green vegetables in this version, but because it took an hour from start to finish, I’m not sure I’ll rush to make it again for just a ‘pretty good’ outcome.

  • Macaroni salad

    • mharriman on August 13, 2021

      A good, traditional recipe that I thought needed some extra helpers so I added more celery, minced green pepper, and a jar of pimentos. Also used a larger macaroni which we thought helped the flavor because the shells trapped the vegetables inside. Served as an accompaniment to oven fried chicken as suggested by cookbook author. Worked well for dinner on a very hot and humid day/ evening.

  • Mashed potatoes

    • mharriman on December 02, 2020

      Not much different from a Cooking Light recipe I use, but This one is convenient when making something else from the same cookbook. Results are nice!

  • Stir-fried shrimp and snow peas with coconut curry sauce

    • tlight on January 20, 2020

      A simple, yet tasty curry.

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  • ISBN 10 193649342X
  • ISBN 13 9781936493425
  • Published Mar 01 2013
  • Format Paperback
  • Language English
  • Countries United States
  • Publisher America's Test Kitchen
  • Imprint America's Test Kitchen

Publishers Text

You can find lightened versions of feel-good favorites like mac and cheese, fried chicken, and fudgy brownies anywhere you can find recipes: books, magazines, and all over the Internet. But be honest: Have you ever made one of these so-called makeovers more than once? At America's Test Kitchen, we test recipes over and over long after the other guys have thrown in the towel. Simply put, good enough doesn't cut it with us. In Comfort Food Makeovers, we redesigned the dishes you crave from the ground up, so you can enjoy them again and again. Popular restaurant dishes like loaded nachos and velvety cheesecake from the Factory (you know which one) have been re-engineered, too. Fat has been cut in half or more and calories have been reduced by at least one-third in almost every recipe. But just because we trimmed the fat and calories doesn't mean we sacrificed good taste or resorted to teeny portions. How did we do it?

We started with the worst offender of high-fat cooking techniques: deep frying. To revamp mozzarella sticks, eggplant Parmesan, and fried shrimp, we nixed the fryer and turned to the oven instead. Dunking these foods in egg whites and coating them with panko and a thin sheen of vegetable oil spray before baking gave us the same golden, ultra-crisp exterior. Steaming egg rolls, then uncovering the pan so moisture could evaporate, made them light and crispy not heavy and greasy like takeout.

We also ramped up the flavor of our lightened dishes by turning to some well-chosen powerhouse ingredients. Trading ground turkey for the ground beef in our Bolognese sauce was an easy way to cut fat, but to boost its savory richness, we added dried porcini mushrooms, an anchovy, and a bit of pancetta. Rather than loading up our shrimp scampi with lots of butter like so many restaurants do, we reached for light cream cheese, which imparted a rich, silky texture but with far fewer calories. Most light desserts are worth skipping. Not ours. Just a spoonful of chocolate syrup made our brownies super-fudgy but added surprisingly few calories and no fat. Honey Nut Cheerios (who knew?!) stood in for a portion of the nuts in our lighter, yet ultra-nutty, pecan bars. And special occasion desserts like tiramisù are no longer off-limits. Feel free to dig into our luscious lightened version we swapped out high-fat mascarpone for a lightly sweetened mix of light cottage cheese, yogurt, and cream cheese whipped together in a food processor.

With Comfort Food Makeovers, you'll be able to enjoy the dishes you love more often. We guarantee it.

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