The weather’s warm, the shorts are out and school’s almost over. That means it’s party season. Here in Vermont, we love to throw potlucks, where everyone comes and brings a dish. I’ve been attending an annual potluck here in Charlotte for about 30 of my last 35 summers that usually gets about 200 people. It’s a blast and everyone shares in the cooking. The funny thing is there are certain things that always appear on these potluck spreads. (Check out this collection of potluck recipes for a sampling.
) They’re things like potato salad or pasta salad, carrot cake and Waldorf salad. And then there are the casseroles. This happens to be my personal favorite category. I love them because they’re homey and comforting and so often topped with cheese. What’s not to love?
So last summer I was at a smaller potluck, only about 35 people were there, and on the table I saw two different rice and zucchini casseroles and three mac and cheeses. And by the end of the party they were completely demolished! I knew I’d found perfect candidates for our EatingWell makeover treatment. So we have created healthier versions of those two recipes.
To update the mac and cheese
we used whole-grain macaroni and breadcrumbs. Low-fat cottage cheese replaces some of the Cheddar, reducing saturated fat and contributing a rich dairy flavor. Get the recipe: Baked Mac & Cheese
To fix up the cheesy baked zucchini rice casserole
we pack in extra vegetables. Plus we substitute brown rice for white, reduce the cheese by half and swap turkey sausage for pork sausage. The results are delicious. Try it for yourself. Get the recipe: Zucchini Rice Casserole
Here are recipes for four more of my favorite healthier casseroles: