I’m pretty excited to share this dreamy casserole. When I first served it to my family for dinner they flipped for it. It’s a modern-day, skinny version of a classic chicken and rice casserole normally made with creamy canned soup. To update it and make skinny, I’ve swapped the soup for a store-bought light Alfredo sauce, healthy wild rice instead of white rice, and fat-free cottage cheese to replace the regular cheese. Wild rice adds a wonderful nutty flavor and texture. Each serving has 303 calories, 8 grams of fat, and 5 Blue WW Freestyle SmartPoints, and 7 Green. Serve with a garden salad and you’re all set for dinner.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Bake Time: 40-45 minutes
1 (10 ounces) container Buitoni refrigerated light Alfredo pasta sauce, see shopping tips
½ cup fat-free cottage cheese
¾ cup wild rice, uncooked (2½ cups cooked)
2 cups chicken, cooked and diced
1 cup frozen peas, rinsed and drained
⅓ cup chopped bottled roasted red sweet peppers, see shopping tips
Fresh ground pepper
1 tablespoon Parmesan cheese, for topping
1. Prepare wild rice according to the package instructions.
2. While rice is cooking, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 9 x 9-inch baking dish with cooking spray.
3. In a large bowl, combine Alfredo sauce and cottage cheese. Stir in cooked rice, chicken, peas, roasted red peppers and season with ground pepper. Transfer to the baking dish. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese evenly over the top.
4. Bake, covered, 40-45 minutes until golden brown.
5. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.
Makes 5 (1 cup) servings
Wild rice is not actually rice, but rather a long-grain marsh grass seed. Many products marketed as “wild rice” are really mixtures of brown or white rice with wild rice. These mixtures will not be as nutritious as pure wild rice. Cooked wild rice has a rich nutty flavor, sometimes described as a smoky flavor, and a texture that is delightfully chewy.
Wild rice towers over other grains when it comes to amounts of protein, minerals, B vitamins, folic acid, and carbohydrates. While the protein content of ½ cup of cooked wild rice measures 3.3 grams, that same quantity of long-grain brown rice contains only 2 grams. The bonus is that the wild rice, though high in carbohydrates at 17.5 grams, has only 83 calories for ½ cup cooked.
Use Buitoni Light Alfredo Sauce, if possible. It comes in a 10-ounce container and can be found in most supermarkets in the refrigerator section where fresh pasta and sauces are displayed. If you can’t find it, there are several brands of jarred light Alfredo sauce in the pasta aisle. They come in a larger, 15-ounce jar, so you’ll have some leftovers.
Jarred roasted red peppers are sold in most supermarkets. They’re packed in water, not oil. I used Trader Joe’s fire-roasted red peppers.
Trader Joe’s sells wonderful packages of cooked chicken breasts or buy your favorite.
WW Freestyle SmartPoints 5-Blue
WW SmartPoints 7-Green
WW POINTS PLUS 8
|SKINNY FACTS: for 1 serving (1 cup)
303 calories, 8g fat, 0g sat. fat, 29g protein, 28g carbs, 3g fiber, 507mg sodium, 5g sugar
|FACTS: for Freestyle SmartPoints
194 calories, 0g sat. fat, 11g protein, 3g sugar