A cheesy chicken casserole is revamped to meet a Texas reader’s health goals.
Credit: Becky Luigart-Stayner

THE READER: Anna Marie “Rie” Lotti, life insurance broker, Katy, Texas

THE STORY: “My son-in-law, Marc, is from a traditional Mexican family, and we’re Italian. This is a dish we all love because it’s cheesy and good,” Lotti says of this recipe that’s been in her family for two decades. Lotti notes their lifestyle has changed a lot since she started making the casserole: Both she and her husband, Tom, keep tabs on sodium, saturated fat, and calories since Tom was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes a few years ago. “I’m glad my daughter, Dawn, sent the recipe to Cooking Light for a makeover,” she says.

THE DILEMMA: Plenty of cheese and sour cream, as well as canned cream of chicken soup, contributed to the hefty 773 calories per serving of this filling entrée. Plus, the soup and abundant 2 pounds of cheese added to the dish’s sodium content.


Cheese: Using half the amount of cheese and opting for a reduced-fat Mexican blend in the filling cut 149 calories, 13.4 grams of fat (8.4 grams saturated), and 126 milligrams of sodium per serving.

Topping: We topped the casserole with one-fourth the original amount of cheese and employed a sharp reduced-fat cheddar to trim 97 calories, 8.3 grams of fat (5.2 grams saturated), and 134 milligrams of sodium per serving.

Sour cream: In place of 2 cups of the full-fat sour cream, we used a combination of 1 2/3 cups low-fat plain yogurt and 1/3 cup butter to shave 29 calories and about 4 grams of fat (2.4 grams saturated) per serving.

Canned soup: We substituted a reduced-fat, reduced-sodium version of canned cream of chicken soup for a savings of 1.5 grams of fat and 102 milligrams of sodium per serving.

Tortillas: Instead of frying the tortillas in oil, we brushed them with a prudent 1 tablespoon canola oil to keep fat and calories in check and pan-toasted them.

THE FEEDBACK: “The family thoroughly enjoyed the new version of the enchiladas,” says Lotti. “The tortillas were tender, and the filling was flavorful and creamy with extra onion and garlic and the combined yogurt and butter.”