Casseroles may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think about eating healthy and meal prepping. However, most of us will agree that meal time can be tough for busy families. After a long day, it can be challenging to whip up a healthy dinner with all the fixings.
This fall (and in any season), take some stress off your plate by adding a few casserole recipes to your meal rotation. You won’t be disappointed!
Benefits of Casseroles & Preparation Tips
A quick casserole can be a great time saver on a busy night. Most casseroles contain a combination of protein, grains and vegetables. Reduce your time spent cooking multiple dishes by serving a one-dish meal. The cleanup is also easier! Instead of rushing home or hitting the drive-thru, prepare a casserole ahead of time to pop in the oven when you arrive home. You can even use the leftovers for lunch the next day.
Pack a Nutritious Punch
Choose a casserole recipe that maximizes nutrition. Look for lots of veggies, protein and whole grains. If you find a recipe that seems to fall short on these nutrients, don’t be afraid to modify the recipe and add your own ingredients.
When looking for new recipes, watch for creamy sauces, lots of cheese and fried protein options. These recipes can easily be modified by using low-fat ingredients, limiting higher fat ingredients such as cheese, and opting for grilled meat instead of fried.
Add a Side if Needed
A nutritious casserole can serve as a standalone dinner, but it’s easy to add a healthy side dish if needed. Consider fresh fruit, a chopped salad, or a whole grain dinner roll if you want to balance out the nutritional value of your meal a little more.
Think Beyond Dinner
Many people struggle with preparing breakfast for their family. An easy casserole can ensure your loved ones get a nutritious start to their day with minimal work involved. Make the casserole the night before, warm it up in the morning, and eat it for the whole week!
Southwest Chicken Casserole
- 1 1/2 cups minute brown rice, uncooked (white or brown minute rice will work)
- 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
- 1/2 medium yellow onion, finely diced
- 1 (15 oz.) can sweet corn, drained and rinsed
- 1 (15 oz.) can black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into 1-inch chunks (raw)
- 1 (16 oz.) jar salsa — any spice level will work!
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
- 1/2 tsp. smoked paprika
- 1 tsp. chili powder
- 1 tsp. ground cumin
- 2 tsp. garlic powder
- 1/2 cup shredded Colby Jack cheese
- Optional toppings: Shredded Colby Jack cheese, Greek yogurt, salsa, green onions
Preheat oven to 375°F and spray a large casserole dish with nonstick cooking spray.
Add all of the ingredients (minus the shredded cheese) into the casserole dish and mix together with a wooden spoon, making sure everything is well-mixed and submerged in liquid.
Cover the casserole dish with aluminum foil and bake at 375ºF for about 50 minutes.
Uncover and top with shredded cheese. Bake, uncovered, for an additional 10 minutes.
Once fully cooked, let rest for 10 minutes before serving. Top with Greek yogurt, more shredded cheese, salsa, and green onions.
Healthy Breakfast Casserole
- 1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 medium red bell peppers, chopped (about 2 cups)
- 3/4 cup thinly sliced green onion (about 1 small bunch)
- 5 oz. roughly chopped spinach (about 5 cups)
- 12 eggs
- 3 Tbsp. full-fat dairy (heavy cream, half-and-half, whole milk, sour cream or yogurt)
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 10 twists of freshly ground black pepper
- Several dashes of your favorite hot sauce
- 4 oz. (1 cup) crumpled feta or goat cheese
Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a 9 by 13-inch pan with butter (don’t be tempted to use cooking spray; it doesn’t work nearly as well).
In a large skillet, warm the olive oil over medium heat until shimmering. Add the bell pepper and green onion and cook until the pepper is tender and cooked through, about 8 to 10 minutes.
Add the spinach to the skillet and cook, while stirring, until wilted, about 2 minutes. Set the pan aside to cool for a bit while you prepare the egg mixture.
Crack the eggs into a medium mixing bowl. Add your dairy of choice, several dashes of hot sauce, plus the salt and pepper. Whisk just until the egg yolks and whites are blended.
Stir in half of the cheese (reserve the other half for topping the frittata before baking). Transfer the lightly cooled veggies into the bowl and stir to combine.
Pour the mixture into the prepared pan. Evenly disperse the remaining cheese on top.
Bake for 25 to 35 minutes (keep an eye on it) until the eggs are puffed and appear cooked, and the center of the frittata just barely jiggles when you give it a gentle shimmy. For good measure, insert a fork about ¼-inch into the center of the eggs and make sure the fork comes out clean.
Place the frittata on a cooling rack until you’re ready to serve. Slice with a sharp knife and serve. Leftovers will keep well for about four days in the refrigerator. Enjoy leftovers chilled, at room temperature, or gently reheated in the microwave or oven.