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Lunch With Chef Maira:

2023 Comfort Classics!

Ever since they were recently announced, I’ve been excited to try the new homestyle specials. But when Chef Maira told me her favorite dish on the 2023 Comfort Classics menu was a Cleveland Clinic-approved pasta dish, I didn’t believe her. How could a pasta dish be considered a healthy option? Were the noodles made of veggies? Did it taste good? Why did she pick this as her favorite dish? I had so many questions! To answer them, she invited me to the Culinary Center for lunch!

First Impressions

There is an old saying: you eat with your eyes first; and this dish is definitely a feast for the eyes! It’s a larger portion than I expected, and the meatballs looked just like the ones my mom made for dinner when I was a kid! The sauce was deep red with chunks of tomatoes and herbs. Most importantly, the noodles were real—not veggie noodles!

Then I took a bite. It didn’t disappoint! It’s a classic spaghetti and meatball dish packed with flavor, topped with fresh parsley and parmesan cheese! How could it?

How Could Pasta Be a Healthy Option?

That was the question I asked her, and she said, “when I approach a new dish, I start by focusing on how I can bring big, bold flavors to the dish. How can I ensure our guests find it satisfying? Our healthy Cleveland Clinic-approved dishes are no exception to this approach!”

She continued to tell me about ingredient selection and portions. For instance, 8 ounces of whole wheat pasta is used as the base of this dish and provides plenty of nutritional value and whole grains to support a healthy diet. I know what you’re thinking—whole wheat pasta isn’t as good as the pasta you grew up eating. I thought the same thing until I took my first bite! But I was delighted the whole wheat spaghetti was so tasty.

Then there is the star of the show: meatballs! The meatballs on top of our spaghetti are packed with flavor while staying lean. Chef accomplished this by using a blend of turkey and beef—75% turkey and 25% beef to be exact. The turkey keeps them lean, while beef provides a more traditional meatball flavor!

Try Chef’s Favorite Dish Today!

It’s not surprising that Chef chose this dish as her favorite dish on the 2023 Comfort Classics menu. Next time you’re on the road, be sure to stop by a Country Pride, Iron Skillet, or Fork & Compass to give it a try before they’re gone!

Comfort Classics menu items are available now for a limited time only!

About the author

James Smith