Firecracker Casserole

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Ok.  Now most of you have made this type of recipe.  Ground beef with a couple of cans of condensed soup.  This is very convenient, especially for busy people.  I’ve made many myself when I was younger.  However, if you are watching your health, it can be a nutritional nightmare.  Condensed soup contains a lot of sodium and other unhealthy ingredients.  I will admit they taste good.  I found a recipe at Taste of Home by Terressa Eastman called Firecracker Casserole.  This is the type of recipe I just described.  The reason why I picked this recipe for a makeover is I believe I can make this WAY healthier and make it just as simply.  I don’t think we should give up this type of recipe that is comfort food at its finest, just to protect our health.  It just means we have to get creative.  Another note on really creative, I can’t use cream or any dairy.  Tony found out he was lactose intolerant.  When there’s a will, there’s a way.

Here are the original stats:

  • 411 Calories
  • 20g Fat
  • 88mg Cholesterol
  • 985mg Sodium
  • 322mg Potassium
  • 27g Carbohydrate
  • 33g Protein
  • 16% Vitamin A
  • 6% Vitamin C
  • 18% Calcium
  • 28% Iron

I thought these would look worse than they do.  Besides the low A and C, the calories are a little high and the sodium is a bit high.  With a few adjustments, I think this recipe will be a nutritional winner.  Here’s what I changed.

  • I deleted the added salt to lower the sodium
  • I replaced the black beans with a low sodium variety
  • I replaced the flour tortilla with corn tortilla to make this gluten free
  • I deleted the canned tomatoes and green chilies to lower the sodium.
  • I added a fresh jalapeno to add back in some heat.
  • I deleted the cream of mushroom soup and adding in fresh mushrooms
  • I replaced the ground beef with ground turkey to reduce the calories.
  • I added red bell pepper to add vitamin C and replace the tomato
  • I lowered the amount of cheese by half to reduce the calories
  • I replaced the cream in the soup with silken tofu because it is more readily available than dairy free cream products.
  • I added one cup of brown lentils to bulk out the protein.
  • I added carrots to increase the vitamin A.
  • I increased the servings to 11 from 8 to lower the calories.

You’re probably thinking two things: that’s a lot of swaps and tofu is nothing like cream of mushroom soup.  For the first thing, yes I made a lot of swaps.  However, I kept them very simple so you could find the ingredients anywhere.  Nothing exotic here.  For the second, yes silken tofu will help to replace the cream of mushroom soup.  Condensed soup is very thick and creamy.  If you can’t make a typical white sauce which contains both dairy and gluten, silken tofu provides the body you need for a sauce.  Before you say “Yuck!” to tofu, remember, you will not be taking a spoon and eating the stuff straight.  Tofu takes on the flavors of the dish.  It is a component that helps make the sauce thick and silky instead of runny.  Keep an open mind.  I promise, it won’t suck.

Here are the final stats:

  • 286 Calories
  • 5g Fat
  • 51mg Cholesterol
  • 212mg Sodium
  • 599mg Potassium
  • 30g Carbohydrate
  • 33g Protein
  • 117% Vitamin A
  • 160% Vitamin C
  • 10% Calcium
  • 25% Iron

Here is the final recipe:

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Firecracker Casserole – Your Level Best Style

Serves 10

  • 2 pounds ground turkey
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno, minced
  • 12 ounces red bell pepper, chopped
  • 4 large carrots, chopped
  • 8 ounces fresh mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 can (15 ounces) low sodium black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 to 3 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 cup brown lentils
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 container of silken tofu
  • 4 corn tortillas (6 inches), chopped
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  1. Preheat the oven to 350F.
  2. In a large oven safe dutch oven, cook turkey, onion, jalapeno, carrot, red bell pepper and mushrooms until the meat is no longer pink and the moisture from the mushrooms has cooked off. Add the beans, lentils, chili powder and cumin.
  3. Combine tofu and water in a blender.  Set on liquify and blend for 1 minute.  Pour into the dutch oven and bring to a simmer
  4. Cover and bake for 20 minutes.
  5. Take the dutch oven out and uncover.  Arrange tortillas over the top. Sprinkle with cheese.
  6. Bake, uncovered, at 350° for 15 minutes or until heated through and the cheese is melted.

 

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