Diner food comforts us, but the fat and calories not so much. So we took the greasy out of the greasy-spoon grub and came up with these good-for-you, heart-healthy recipes, all 500 calories or less per serving.
A favorite at the Tick Tock Diner in Clifton, New Jersey, these potatoes are smothered in brown gravy and cheese. We slashed calories and fat by roasting cut-up potatoes at high heat instead of frying them, and by adding veggies for texture. Also, we swapped out mild American cheese for intense sharp cheddar -- the more flavor, the less you need.
The owner of Sonny's Blue Benn Diner, in Bennington, Vermont, created the recipe for these pancakes himself. We added more berries for a moist, natural sweetness and an antioxidant boost, and used just a smattering of low-fat granola for crunch. Then we cut back the sugar by skipping the syrup and sprinkling on powdered sugar instead.
When the owner of Connelly's Goody Goody Diner in St. Louis wanted breakfast and lunch in one dish, this rustic comfort-food concoction of eggs, hash browns and sausage gravy was born. We replaced the pork sausage with lean turkey sausage to cut back on saturated fat, and cut cholesterol by using egg whites for yolks.
CURRIED CHICKEN POTPIES
Perfect for a foggy day, this favorite from the Fog City Diner in San Francisco gets a makeover by including more fiber-rich veggies like cauliflower, green beans and sweet potatoes. We also made the gravy base from heart-healthy chicken broth instead of milk, and cut carbs and fat by scaling back on the pastry dough, using just enough as a topper.
WHITE CHOCOLATE BANANA CREAM PIE
A gourmet version of the Southern dessert classic banana pudding, this pie from the Buckhead Diner in Atlanta won the Country's Best Dessert award in 1994 by the James Beard Foundation. We fluffed up the pastry cream with egg whites instead of whipped cream, and thickened the custards with cornstarch or gelatin instead of whole milk.