Cheeseburger Casserole

So I mentioned last week that I started a new workout program. While I knew it would be a challenge to get back into shape, holy cow I did not realize how much of a challenge it would be physically and mentally!

I blame myself of course. I mean, what did I expect – I haven’t exactly done anything along the lines of “fitness” since I had to fit into a wedding dress…and that was a year and a half ago!

Well, I’ve learned a few things with my new schedule, aside from the fact that sports bras are my friend. During the week, the two things I learned the hard way were A – eating dinner before working out isn’t ideal for me and B – cooking dinner after working out isn’t ideal for me. Quite the conundrum, right?

So how do I eat dinner after working out (so that I don’t feel it coming back up on high cardio days) without having to make dinner after working out (so I don’t writhe in pain when I lift a saucepan after doing a zillion push ups)?

Enter the wonderful world of casseroles. I’ve had a few written down and decided week 1 would be the perfect time to try them out. Thanks to one of my food blogs, Skinny Taste (also a big proponent of Weight Watchers!), this casserole suited all of my needs! Quick, easy, delicious and healthy – I made everything ahead of time and popped it in the oven after my workout while I cried in fetal position showered! You should definitely try this one…it was great for a meal paired with some Alexia House Cut Fries with Sea Salt.

Cheeseburger Casserole (Serves 6 / 6 WW points per serving)

Very slightly modified from original recipe here.

Ingredients

8 oz. lean ground beef (I used 93% lean)

1 tsp. olive oil

1/2 cup chopped yellow onion

1/2 Tbsp. minced garlic

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. black pepper

1 Tbsp. tomato paste

1 (14 oz.) can diced tomatoes (I’d get petite if possible, lesson learned!)

2 Tbsp. Dijon mustard

3 oz. Ronzoni Healthy Harvest Whole Wheat Rotini Pasta

1 cup fat-free shredded cheddar cheese

1/4 cup dill pickles, chopped

Heat your oven to 350. Lightly grease a small casserole dish.

In a medium saucepan, bring water to a boil and cook pasta according to directions.

In a medium skillet, heat oil and cook onions for 3-5 minutes until softened. Add garlic and ground beef and cook through. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in tomato pasta, tomatoes and mustard. Let the mixture simmer slightly. Then add pasta and toss to coat.

StepbyStep

Add mixture to the casserole dish, spreading into an even layer. Top with shredded cheddar and bake 15-20 minutes. Let sit 5 minutes, add chopped pickles (only to one side if you have a family member who is a freak and doesn’t eat them) and serve.

Plated Casserole

Fries were great with this, but you could toast up a hamburger bun as a “roll” to eat on the side too! Gotta stick with the theme…

Cheeseburger Casserole

Hope y’all have a great weekend!

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Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole

Yes, you read that correctly. Chickenfriggincordonbleu – in. A. Casserole!

To be quite honest, I’d never had chicken cordon bleu until I made a skinny version a few months back. However, the whole pounding the chicken thin, rolling it and securing it usually puts me into a fit of rage and kills a bunch of toothpicks. Sometimes it’s worth it – as you saw with my Jalapeno Popper Chicken!

However, sometimes – life just calls for a casserole. And with the chill in the air, you’ll love this layered comfort food – but you know I have your back, so it’s lightened up as to not add layers to YOU!

Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole(serves 4 – 8ww pts/serving)

2 cups cooked chicken, shredded

4 oz. lean sliced deli honey ham

2 oz. reduced-fat Swiss cheese

2 Tbsp. reduced-calorie margarine

2 Tbsp. white whole-wheat flour

1 3/4 cups skim milk

1 Tbsp. lemon juice

1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard

3/4 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. smoked paprika

1/8 tsp. white pepper

3/4 cup panko breadcrumbs

2 tsp. dried parsley

1/4 tsp. Seasoned salt

“I Can’t Believe It’s Not Buttter” spray

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray medium casserole dish with nonstick spray.

In a medium saucepan, add butter and milk over medium heat and whisk until melted. Add flour and whisk until smooth. Bring to a light simmer and stir until thickened.

Then add lemon juice, mustard, salt, white pepper and paprika. Bring back to light simmer and remove from heat.

Now, take your shredded chicken and spread in the bottom of your casserole dish.

Chop your ham and shred your cheese. Spread ham over the top of the chicken, then spread cheese evenly over the top.

Pour sauce over the cheese and spread, ensuring it reaches the edges.

Sprinkle panko crumbs evenly over the top of the casserole, dusting with parsley and seasoned salt. Spray with butter spray.

Now bake uncovered for 45 minutes until browned and bubbly. Remove from oven and let rest 5 minutes before serving.

This dish is so low in points, you can serve with a delicious crisp salad and a slice of whole wheat bread to soak up the goodness.

Hope y’all enjoy…I know we sure did!