When All You Can Cook Is a Casserole!

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For many years my Daddy always questioned,  “Is everything you cook in a casserole?”  There was a time when the answer might have been yes. What better way to cook than throwing a bunch of ingredients together and baking? Casseroles are the mainstay of the beginner cook as well as the base of yummy comfort foods. Often, however they are loaded with creams and cheese and high fat soups. Here are few new casserole recipes that are unique and made with health in mind. Give them a try, especially if you are a beginner!!

Swiss Enchiladas

Cooking spray

1 1/2 cups chopped onion

2 cups chopped roasted skinless, boneless chicken breast (about 2 breasts)

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 (4.5-ounce) cans diced green chiles, undrained

1 (14.5-ounce) can petite-diced tomatoes, undrained

2 cups 2% reduced-fat milk

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

6 (8-inch) fat-free flour tortillas

2 cups (8 ounces) shredded Swiss cheese, divided

Preheat oven to 350°.

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add onion; cook 5 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Stir in chicken, garlic, chiles, and tomatoes. Reduce heat, and simmer 7 minutes or until liquid evaporates. Set aside.

Combine milk and flour in a small saucepan over medium-high heat; cook 5 minutes or until mixture thickens, stirring constantly with a whisk. Stir in salt.

Warm tortillas according to package directions. Spoon about 1/2 cup chicken mixture and about 2 1/2 tablespoons cheese down center of each tortilla; roll up. Arrange filled tortillas in the bottom of a 13 x 9-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Pour milk mixture over tortillas, and top evenly with remaining 1 cup cheese. Bake at 350° for 25 minutes or until cheese is bubbly. Remove from oven.

Preheat broiler. Broil casserole for 3 minutes or until cheese begins to brown.

Serves 6, each serving contains:  Calories 419, Fat 13.2 g, Protein 33.2 g, Carbohydrate 41.8 g, Fiber 4.3 g, Cholesterol 79 mg, Sodium 726 mg.

Greek Vegetable and Feta Cheese Pie

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 cup chopped onion (1 large)

3/4 cup chopped red sweet pepper (1medium)

2 1/2 cups thinly sliced zucchini (2 medium)

1 10 ounce package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and well drained

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 cups evaporated low-fat milk

2 eggs, lightly beaten

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

10 sheets frozen phyllo dough (14×9-inch rectangles), thawed

Nonstick cooking spray

2 ounces reduced-fat feta cheese, crumbled

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. In a large nonstick skillet heat oil over medium-high heat. Add onion and sweet pepper; cook about 4 minutes or just until vegetables are tender. Add zucchini; cook about 4 minutes more or just until zucchini has begun to brown. Add spinach, garlic, and 1/4 teaspoon salt; cook for 2 minutes more.

In a small bowl combine evaporated milk, eggs, 1/4 teaspoon salt, the black pepper, and nutmeg.

Coat a 9-inch pie plate with cooking spray. Unfold phyllo dough; remove one sheet of the phyllo dough. (As you work, cover the remaining phyllo dough with plastic wrap to prevent it from drying out.) Place phyllo dough sheet in prepared pie plate; lightly coat with cooking spray, gently pressing into bottom and up sides of pie plate and letting ends of phyllo sheet hang over edges of pie plate. Repeat with the remaining nine phyllo sheets, placing sheets in a crisscross pattern. Spoon vegetable mixture evenly over phyllo; sprinkle with cheese. Pour egg mixture over all. Fold overlapping ends of phyllo toward center of pie plate. Coat the top of the phyllo with cooking spray; gently press to hold shape.

Bake about 40 minutes or until a knife inserted off center comes out clean. Cool for 15 minutes on a wire rack. Cut into wedges and serve warm.

Serves 6, each serving contains:  Calories 252, Fat 9 g, Cholesterol 83 mg, Sodium 576 mg, Carbohydrates 31 g, Fiber 4 g, Sugar 3 g, Protein 13 g.

Texas Ranch Chicken Casserole Recipe

1 large onion, finely chopped

2 celery ribs, finely chopped

1 medium green pepper, finely chopped

1 medium sweet red pepper, finely chopped

1 tablespoon canola oil

1 garlic clove, minced

3 cups cubed cooked chicken breast

1 can (10-3/4 ounces) reduced-fat reduced-sodium condensed cream of celery soup, undiluted

1 can (10-3/4 ounces) reduced-fat reduced-sodium condensed cream of chicken soup, undiluted

1 can (10 ounces) diced tomatoes and green chilies, undrained

1 tablespoon chili powder

12 corn tortillas (6 inches) cut into 1-inch strips

2 cups (8 ounces) shredded reduced-fat cheddar cheese, divided

In a large nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray, sauté the onion, celery and peppers in oil until crisp-tender. Add garlic; cook 1 minute longer. Stir in the chicken, soups, tomatoes and chili powder.

Line the bottom of a 3-qt. baking dish with half of the tortilla strips; top with half of the chicken mixture and 1 cup cheese. Repeat layers. Bake, uncovered, at 350° for 30-35 minutes or until bubbly.

Serves 8, each serving; Calories 329, Fat 12 g, Cholesterol 65 mg, Sodium 791 mg, Carbohydrates 31 g, Fiber 3 g, Protein 26 g.

Hot Chicken Salad Casserole

3 cups cubed cooked chicken breast (about 1 pound)

2 stalks celery, sliced (1 cup)

1 large yellow or red sweet pepper, chopped (1 cup)

3/4 cup shredded reduced-fat cheddar or mozzarella cheese (3 ounces)

1 10 3/4 ounce can reduced-fat and reduced-sodium condensed cream of chicken soup

1 6 ounce carton plain low-fat yogurt

2 green onions, sliced (1/4 cup)

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1/2 cup crushed cornflakes

1/4 cup sliced almonds

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. In a large bowl stir together chicken, celery, sweet pepper, cheese, soup, yogurt, green onions, lemon juice, and black pepper. Transfer to a 2-quart rectangular baking dish.

In a small bowl stir together cornflakes and almonds. Sprinkle evenly over chicken mixture.

Bake, uncovered, about 30 minutes or until heated through. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

Serves 6, each serving contains; Calories 251, Fat 9 g, Cholesterol 75 mg, Sodium 415 mg, Carbohydrates 13 g, Fiber 2 g, Protein 29 g, Sugar 5 g.