Carolyn Bryant

Pictured is Carolyn Bryant.

 Healthy casseroles uses extra-lean ground beef, reduced-sodium, and other low-fat ingredients.  These casseroles can be frozen or refrigerated to prepare at a later date.  These casseroles serves eight or six.  If you need more, prepare two to three casseroles.  They won’t go to waste.

Easy Layered Cabbage Casserole

8 cups shredded cabbage (about 1 large head)

2 onions, chopped

1/4 cup Kraft Zesty Italian Dressing

1 pound extra-lean ground beef

2 cups instant brown rice, uncooked

2 cans (10-3/4 ounces each) reduced-          sodium condensed tomato soup

2 2/3 cups water

  Heat oven to 350 degrees. Cook and stir cabbage and onions in dressing in large skillet on medium heat five to ten minutes or until tender. Remove from skillet.  Brown meat in same skillet. Stir in rice, soup and water until blended. Layer 1/3 of the cabbage mixture and half the meat mixture in 13x9-inch baking dish sprayed with cooking spray. Repeat layers; top with remaining cabbage mixture. Cover. Bake one hour. Tips:  How to Easily Shred the Cabbage:  Quarter a head of cabbage, then cut away the core. Stack the leaves and cut crosswise into thin strips. A one pound head of cabbage should yield 3-1/2 to 4 cups of shredded cabbage.  Substitute: two cups frozen Boca Ground Crumbles for the browned ground beef. Variation:  Prepare using instant white rice. Serves eight.

Mexican Beef & Rice Casserole

1 pound extra-lean ground beef

1 1/2 cups Kraft Mexican Style Shredded Four Cheese with a Touch of Philadelphia divided

1 package (1 ounce)  Taco Bell Taco               Seasoning Mix

1 cup long-grain white rice, uncooked

1 cup frozen mixed vegetables (carrots, corn, peas)

1 can (14.5 ounces) no-salt-added diced     tomatoes, undrained

1 cup Taco Bell Thick & Chunky Medium   Salsa

1 cup fat-free reduced-sodium chicken broth

  Heat oven to 375 degrees.  Brown meat in large nonstick skillet; drain. Return meat to skillet. Reserve one cup cheese for later use. Add remaining cheese and all remaining ingredients to meat; mix well. Spoon into 13x9-inch baking dish sprayed with cooking spray; cover. Bake 40 to 50 minutes or until rice is tender. Top with reserved cheese; bake, uncovered, five minutes or until melted. Special Extra: Garnish this hearty casserole with chopped fresh tomatoes and cilantro before serving. Substitute: Prepare using Kraft Mexican Style 2% Milk Finely Shredded Four Cheese.  Make this Casserole tonight: a tasty way to make a pound of ground beef serve eight. It also freezes well!

Tater-Topped Sharp Cheddar Velveeta Casserole

1 1/2 pound ground beef

1 onion, chopped

1 can (14.5 ounces) diced tomatoes, well drained

6 ounce Sharp Cheddar Velveeta, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

4 slices Oscar Mayer Bacon, cooked,       crumbled

2 cups Ore-Ida Tater Tots

  Heat oven to 400 degrees. Brown meat with onions in large skillet; drain. Stir in tomatoes; spoon into 9-inch square baking dish sprayed with cooking spray. Top with remaining ingredients. Bake 30 to 35 min. or until casserole is heated through and potatoes are golden brown. Kitchen Tips:  Substitute:  Prepare using extra-lean ground beef.  Make Ahead:  Prepare casserole as directed, except do not top with bacon or potato nuggets. Refrigerate up to 24 hours. When ready to serve, top with bacon and potatoes, then bake in 400 degree oven 40 to 45 minutes or until casserole is heated through and potato nuggets are golden brown.  Serves six.

Contact Carolyn Bryant at ncjbryant@yahoo.com.

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