Fall 2005 -- Potluck Party? Carry a Casserole.
by Glenda Fauntleroy
Opening a party invitation and seeing the words "please bring a dish" can cause anyone an anxious moment. "What to bring?!" But, there's no need to panic. With the cold winter months approaching, a guaranteed crowd-pleaser at any affair is a warm plate of comfort food. And trust us, nothing says comfort like a casserole that combines some favorite ingredients into one savory dish. These recipes take only a few minutes to prepare. And what’s more, your host will love you for bringing a fabulous main entrée!
Thanks to the creation of no-cook lasagna noodles, preparing this family favorite is a snap. And, cooking with spinach instead of meat makes for a delicious way to eat your veggies!
1/2 pound fresh spinach
1 pound low-fat ricotta cheese
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon minced chives, fresh or frozen
1 egg white
3 cups tomato sauce (to reduce your salt intake, use the low-salt variety)
9 no-cook lasagna noodles
1 1/2 cups shredded reduced-fat mozzarella cheese
2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
- Preheat oven to 350˚.
- Thoroughly wash spinach, then microwave or briefly steam until wilted. Squeeze out all the moisture and chop coarsely.
- Combine spinach, ricotta, salt, pepper, chives, and egg white.
- Spread half the tomato sauce in a 9" x 13" rectangular pan. Lay down three noodles, top with half the ricotta mixture, lay down three more noodles, and top with the remaining ricotta. Lay remaining noodles, top with remaining tomato sauce, and layer with combined mozzarella and parmesan cheeses.
- Bake for 45 minutes. Let rest 5 minutes before serving.
Per serving: 190 calories, 13 g fat, 630 mg sodium.
Creamy Chicken and Rice Bake
Using fat-free milk in this casserole makes for a healthy version of an old standard. This hearty meal goes great with a tossed green salad.
4 medium skinless boneless chicken breasts (about 1 pound)
1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup chopped red sweet pepper
1 10-ounce can reduced-fat condensed cream of celery soup
1 cup fat-free milk
2/3 cup long grain rice (not minute rice)
1/2 cup shredded carrot
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 cup frozen peas
Salt to taste
- In a large skillet cook chicken in hot oil until browned, turning to brown evenly. Remove chicken and set aside.
- Add mushrooms, onion, and sweet pepper to skillet; cook until vegetables are tender. Stir in condensed soup, milk, uncooked rice, carrot, and pepper. Bring to boil and remove from heat. Stir in peas.
- Coat a 2-quart rectangular baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Spoon rice mixture into prepared dish. Arrange browned chicken breasts on top. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cover with foil.
- Bake at 375˚ for about 50 minutes or until chicken and rice are tender.
Per serving: 364 calories, 7 g fat, 62 mg cholesterol, 358 mg sodium.
Turkey with Mushroom Casserole
Whether it's before or after Thanksgiving, no one will complain about eating turkey again once they have a bite of this dish. With only 10 minutes of preparation, it's an easy, tasty choice.
3/4 cup orzo or other small variety of pasta
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 cups defatted chicken stock
1 3/4 cups buttermilk
1/2 teaspoon dried sage
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 cups chopped cooked turkey breast
2 cups frozen pearl onions
1/2 cup minced fresh parsley
2 cups small mushrooms, quartered
2 tablespoons water
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1 tablespoon olive oil
- Cook pasta in boiling water for 10 minutes or until tender. Drain and set aside.
- Place cornstarch in a three-quart saucepan. Add a little chicken stock and mix until cornstarch is dissolved. Stir in the remaining stock. Add buttermilk, sage, and pepper.
- Place over medium heat and bring to a boil, whisking constantly. Reduce heat and simmer, whisking occasionally for 5 minutes or until slightly thickened. Stir in cooked orzo, turkey, onions, and parsley. Set aside.
- In a large nonstick frying pan over medium heat, cook mushrooms and water for 5 minutes, or until the mushrooms are tender. Add to turkey mixture. Transfer mixture to a 2-quart baking dish.
- In a small bowl, mix bread crumbs and olive oil. Sprinkle over turkey mixture. Broil until crumbs are lightly browned. Serve when ready.
Per serving: 371 calories, 8 g fat, 53 mg cholesterol, 202 mg sodium.
Recipes adapted from Great Recipes Collection: Chicken and www.applesforhealth.com.