Folks, I never thought I would be doing this. Honestly. When I started this blog I pledged (in the back of my mind) to only make good-tasting and (for the most part) completely unhealthy recipes. There was a time when I would take healthy recipes and make them unhealthy. (Recipe calls for low-fat milk? I’ll substitute with half and half! Use olive oil to sauté some vegetables? Why do that when I can use butter.)
Alas, as this blog grows old so do I. And so does my metabolism. And thus the need for change. I have tried doing high fat and low carb. And it worked. For a while anyway. But I just don’t see high fat/low carb as something many people can sustain for life. Not to mention my cholesterol levels sky-rocketed after starting a high fat diet. So I went back to the drawing board at the suggestion of my friend who swears by a balanced low-fat diet and (strange concept these days, right?!) and one “free” day of eating each week.
The concept behind this eating style is that you eat six small meals/snacks a day, every two to three hours. Your meals are low fat and have balanced carbohydrates and protein. Because you’re eating so often, you never get overly hungry. And the constant eating is supposed to rev up your metabolism. (Crossing my fingers for that one.) So I present to you (drumroll please!) a low-fat version of my mom’s classic cheesy tuna casserole made in the spirit of the Body for Life concept.
- 16 oz whole wheat pasta, bite sized, such as penne
- 12 oz canned albacore tuna, drained
- 8 oz white mushrooms, sliced
- 1 T. minced dry onions (you could also do fresh onion, minced)
- 2 14.5-oz can reduced fat cream of mushroom soup
- 1 c. low-fat or nonfat milk
- 3 hard boiled eggs, sliced
- 8 oz reduced fat cheddar cheese, shredded
- salt and pepper, to taste
- Cook pasta according to package directions.
- Heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Meanwhile, spray an extra large sauté pan with cooking spray and cook mushrooms and minced onions over medium-low heat until mushrooms are cooked through.
- Add the condensed soup, milk and tuna and mix to combine. When the noodles are done cooking, drain and add to the tuna mixture.
- Pour mixture into a 15×11 glass pan prepared by coating with cooking spray. Top with sliced hardboiled eggs and shredded cheese. Season with salt and pepper.
- Cook for 20 to 25 minutes, uncovered, or until cheese has melted and sauce is bubbling up at the edges.
I was practically salivating as I was trying to portion out this dish prior to digging in. It looked good with all that melty cheese on top but still I was afraid that removing the fat from the dish would remove the taste. My biggest fear with cooking “low fat” has always been that the food will not be palatable. To me fat=flavor. Today I proved myself wrong.
This dish may have been missing the fat but it was missing none of the flavor. And on top of that, I barely noticed the whole wheat taste of the noodles (which I normally find very pronounced). I didn’t really notice much of a difference when using reduced fat cheese or low-fat milk. I’m assuming that if you didn’t advertise this dish as “low-fat” to your dinner guests, none would be the wiser. I would definitely recommend this dish to any of the calorie or fat conscious folks who may be looking for something that tastes indulgent but isn’t won’t ruin your waistline.
I got 10 portions of this pasta most of which I packaged up for reheating for another lunch or dinner. Each portion weighs in at approximately 315 calories, 9 g fat, 4 g saturated fat, 40 g carbs, 6 g fiber, 4 g sugar and 23 g protein! (Note: I used low-fat 1% milk.)