Easy + Delicious Casserole with Country Crock Spread ® - Pretty Real

Easy + Delicious Casserole with Country Crock Spread ®

7:00 AM

I'm trying not to think of the fact that summer is...well over.  That those lazy days of playing in the back yard and eating watermelon are over. Instead, I'm getting excited about apple picking, crisp cool weather (and apple crisp for that matter), football, chunky knit sweaters, and yummy warm meals.  Mmmm.  Yes. I'm feeling better about summer winding down already! The thing is, fall is a busier season for many of us.  In my family it's Joe's professional activities picking up, more wedding photography (yay!), and Genevieve's dance. For many of you, September means the start of making time for homework and extra curricular activities. So how do you get a good meal on the table (you know--one that doesn't involve a take out menu) in a hurry? You want to provide good food for your family, or that new mama, or that potluck crowd right?  Well here are my tips and tricks for making a quick and easy crowd pleasing casserole + a recipe to die for.

1. Walk the line between indulgent and zero fat/zero taste.  Everything in moderation right?  Start with a yummy base and swap out butter for country crock, or whole fat ingredients for low fat ones. I'll be honest, I once thought that all spreads had trans fat in them.  But I was wrong: at least about one!  At the risk of sounding commercial-y, here are the real deets: Country Crock has 0g trans fat per serving and NO partially hydrogenated oils + 70% less fat than butter per serving.  A guilt free switch? Yes please. To save calories/fat I also swapped the whole milk for 2%, used 1/2 c less than the recipe calls for, and used less cheese and ham.

2. Take shortcuts. It's okay.  I won't tell.  Buy that bag of chopped veggies, the canned stock, or the rotisserie chicken.  One awesome tip I learned from the Nate Berkus show (It's really weird how much I miss him) is to use store bought rotisserie chicken as a base for your meal.  I always just added a bag of salad, some bread, and called it a day.  And while that's better than stopping by your nearest Mc-you-know-who, it's doesn't exactly scream home cooked.  So what did I do yesterday? I used refrigerated lemon juice instead of fresh and a store bought rotisserie chicken.

3. Get creative; make the meal work for you.  As mentioned I made some swaps to make this casserole a little less indulgent.  I also upped the temp to 400 and baked it for 30 minutes, saving 15 minutes cook time. While this isn't a 20 minute meal, it really only took that long to prep (I subtracted a few minutes for the toilet + stuffed animal catastrophe; I'll tell you about it later), including sides. I don't count oven time; use that time to prep school clothes for the next day, or start on homework!

And let me tell you something.  This. meal. was. amazing.  And you know what made it better?  It was good food that had a comfort food vibe but not an insane amount of calories.  By swapping the stick of butter for Country Crock, I saved 400 calories but still got that buttery flavor I crave. With the other swaps, we saved a total of just over 800 calories! That just afforded you a pumpkin spice latte. You're welcome.

Oh and in case you're wondering, the girls loved it.  See?

(subs include):
{click image to enlarge}*adapted from here.

Back to School via Pinterest
Check out my Back to School Pinterest Board. It's full of fun ideas for back to school season--including this recipe, teacher gifts, school lunch ideas, organization ideas, and of course party ideas!

Happy Cooking!

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

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  1. Sounds so good. It would be super easy to sub out the chicken and ham for vegetarian substitutes for our little family. Pinning this for next week's meal planning!

    1. If you try it, let me know how you sub'd and how it was! I'm trying to make more vegetarian meals and would love to try it! Thanks for stopping by friend! :)