Thursday, August 27, 2009

A Recipe Make-Over

The challenge this week for Operation Fat Blaster was to take a recipe from one of my favorite comfort foods and make it over into a healthier version.

I was excited about this challenge because I love to take recipes and tweak them. The only problem I had was deciding which recipe to do. I could have taken the easy way out and just posted one I had done in the past, but that would have taken all the fun out of the project. So, I narrowed it down between two casserole dishes I really enjoy - Chicken Tetrazini and Tuna Casserole. I laid both recipes out side-by-side on the kitchen table and stared at them. Then I asked myself, "Which one of these is truly a comfort food for me?" The answer to that question made my choice very easy. Chicken Tetrazini is not a dish that I make often. It is a bit time consuming, so I tend to make it when we have company or for a special occasion. Tuna casserole, on the other hand, is fast and easy to make, plus it totally satisfies me. In fact, I usually have trouble stopping at just one serving. And, isn't that the definition of a comfort food? A dish that you just have to have and can't get enough of.

Here are the changes I made to the original recipe:
*I halved the pasta and changed it to whole wheat.
*I also halved the mozzarella and changed it to 2%.
*I added 2 wedges of Laughing Cow cheese.
*I halved the mayo and changed it to low fat.
*I added mushrooms and celery which weren't in the original recipe.
*I sauteed the veggies in olive oil.
*I switched the cream of chicken soup to 98% fat free cream of celery soup.
*I changed the tuna from 9 oz to 12 oz.
*I omitted the salt and bread crumbs.

Original Tuna Casserole

12 oz. macaroni, cooked & drained

9 oz. can tuna, drained

1 can cream of chicken soup

1/2 cup 2 % milk

1/2 cup real mayonnaise

1/3 cup chopped onions

8 oz. shredded mozzarella cheese

1 oz. bread crumbs

salt & pepper to taste

Mix soup, milk, mayo, onions, tuna, and cheese together in a large bowl. Stir in macaroni. Pour in to a casserole dish sprayed with Pam. Sprinkle bread crumbs on top. Bake in a preheated oven at 425 degrees for 20 minutes or until bubbly.

Makes 6 servings.

Tuna Casserole Redone

6 oz. Ronzoni Healthy Harvest Penne Rigate, cooked & drained

98% Campbell's Fat Free Cream of Celery soup
2 wedges Laughing Cow Light Original Swiss

1/4 cup Best Foods Low Fat Mayonnaise

1/2 cup fat free milk

4 oz. sliced fresh mushrooms

4 oz. chopped celery
4 oz. chopped onion

1 TBS olive oil

2 - 6 oz. cans light tuna, drained

1 cup 2% shredded mozzarella

fresh ground pepper

Saute veggies in olive oil till crisp tender. In a large bowl mix soup, mayo, milk, and tuna. Add cheeses, veggies, then pasta; stir. Add fresh ground pepper to taste. Pour into a casserole dish sprayed with Pam. Bake in a preheated oven at 425 degrees for 20 minutes or until bubbly.

Makes 6 - 1 cup servings

Nutritional Values:
Calories: 566/265
Total Fat: 28 g/9 g
Cholesterol: 57 mg/33 mg
Sodium: 836 mg/749 mg
Carbohydrates: 54 g/31 g
Fiber: 3 g/1 g
Sugars: 3 g/ 4 g
Protein: 29 g/18 g

The verdict is in. Tuna Casserole Redone is a keeper! Dare I say that I even liked the taste of it better than the original. Hubby even said that it was good, and he isn't a fan of pasta dishes.


  1. I LOVE Tuna Casserole and THAT looks delicious! Plus you saved a TON of fat and calories! Great job!

  2. Wonderful job! That's a lot of calories saved.

    One thing I changed when I was losing all my weight, was I sauteed veggies in either broth or just plain water! No one could ever tell the difference, and it did save even more calories.

    You are doing great. Keep up the good work.

  3. I am not a huge TUNA casserole fan, but your healthified version sounds pretty good. Hubby has been craving some lately so I may just have to try this out for him next week. Great Job!

  4. Wow that looks yummy and you really slashed the fat and calories! I am going to have to try this one, for sure!

  5. Sounds wonderful!

    - Lisa


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