A Cut Above: Gooey, Cheesy and Still on Plan

Satisfy your craving for something cheesy and delicious with these easy-to-prepare meal ideas.
Gooey, Cheesy and Still on PlanA Cut Above

Busy or not, here we come. “A Cut Above” serves up new recipes, cooking tips and ideas for dishes that are elegant in taste and presentation, yet simple enough to prepare and enjoy in a snap.

When the days are colder and it gets dark early, we like to settle in with real comfort foods, the kinds we grew up with. Unfortunately, most of them aren’t exactly fit fare for our healthy lifestyles. In fact, many of them helped put us on the track to needing to make better choices in the first place.

Still, we needn’t blame mom’s cooking. Nor should we abandon her tried-and-true comfort-food dishes: those gooey casseroles and sandwiches, loaded with cheese and other goodies that tasted so good.

Rather, we’ve been on a quest to revamp them, to make them healthier. Here are three of our old-time favorites, rethought and reconceived—and not one bit too soon. Winter has set in, and this is what we want to eat.

About the Whole-Wheat Tuna-Noodle Casserole with Artichoke Hearts
Talk about comfort food! There’s nothing better—or easier—for lunch or dinner. We’ve updated the flavors a bit so that it’s fresher tasting, more flavorful. Make sure the baking dish is large enough to hold all the noodles and filling comfortably.

Whole-Wheat Tuna-Noodle Casserole

Makes 4 servings

PointsPlus™ value | 4 per serving


  • 1 cup fat-free milk
  • 1 Tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 7 oz artichokes canned in water, drained, rinsed and chopped
  • 6 oz white tuna in water, drained
  • 3 oz whole wheat pasta (elbow shapes work well), cooked and drained (approx. 1 3/4 cups)
  • 2 oz low-fat Cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 Tbsp minced parsley
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • Nonstick spray


  1. Preheat the oven to 400ºF.
  2. Whisk the milk and flour in a large saucepan over medium heat until thickened and barely simmering, about 4 minutes.
  3. Remove the pan from the heat; stir in the artichoke hearts, tuna, pasta, cheese, mustard, parsley, onion powder, salt and pepper.
  4. Spray a 1-quart round casserole or soufflé dish with nonstick spray. Pour the contents of the pan into the casserole dish. Pack gently.
  5. Bake until browned and bubbling, about 20 minutes. Cool 10 minutes before serving.
Serving size: 1 cup (one quarter of casserole)

About the Open-Faced Turkey Reuben
Here’s a deli favorite—an old-fashioned, cheesy, rib-sticker made much healthier by using light cheese and turkey breast. For the best-tasting sauerkraut, search out the prepared, refrigerated varieties in the deli case at your market. This recipe can be doubled, tripled, or multiplied at will.

Open-Faced Turkey Reuben

Makes 1 serving

PointsPlus™ value | 5 per serving


  • 2 slices light rye bread
  • 3/4 oz. light Swiss-style cheese (such as Jarlsberg Light or Alpine Lace)
  • 2 oz. deli-sliced turkey breast
  • 1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup packaged sauerkraut, squeezed of excess moisture
  • Nonstick cooking spray


  1. Place bread slices on work surface; spread 1/2 tablespoon mustard on each slice.
  2. On one slice, place cheese, turkey and sauerkraut. Top with second slice of bread, mustard side down. Press gently but firmly to adhere and close.
  3. Spray a large skillet with nonstick spray; set over medium heat. Add sandwich and press down on it lightly while it cooks (you can even rest a flat pot lid or a heat-safe plate on top of the sandwich). Cook, turning once, until toasted and cheese has melted, about 6 minutes.
Serving size: 1 sandwich

About the No-Tomato Mushroom Lasagna
Lasagna doesn’t need tomatoes. It’s really just a layered pasta casserole. And here our layers consist of creamy cheese, sheets of pasta and lots of sautéed mushrooms.

No-Tomato Mushroom Lasagna

Makes 8 servings

PointsPlus™ value | 5 per serving


  • 3 cups fat-free milk
  • 3 Tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded fat-free mozzarella cheese
  • 1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 4 cups sliced cremini mushrooms
  • 10 oz frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry*
  • 1/4 tsp grated nutmeg
  • 8 oz whole-wheat lasagna noodles, cooked and drained
  • Nonstick spray


  1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
  2. Whisk the milk and flour in a large saucepan over medium heat until thickened and lightly simmering, about 10 minutes. Stir in the cheese, Worcestershire sauce, thyme, onion powder, salt, pepper and garlic powder. Set aside.
  3. Spray a large skillet with nonstick spray and set over medium heat. Add the mushrooms; cook, stirring often, until they release their liquid and it evaporates to a glaze, about 5 minutes. Stir in the spinach and nutmeg.
  4. Spray a 9 x 13-inch baking dish with nonstick spray. Place a third of the noodles in the baking dish; ladle on and smooth out a third of the sauce. Top with half the mushroom mixture. Use half the remaining noodles to create another layer; spread with half the remaining sauce, smoothing it out evenly. Top with the remaining mushroom mixture, then the rest of the noodles and the rest of the sauce.
  5. Cover and bake for 20 minutes. Uncover and continue baking until bubbling and lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Cool 10 minutes before slicing into eight squares and serving.
   Servings size: one square (1/8 of lasagna).


  • Possible ways to thaw frozen spinach include:
  • 1) Place the unopened package in a bowl in the refrigerator for 24 hours.
  • 2) Place the unopened package in a bowl at room temperature for 2 hours.
  • To remove excess moisture, squeeze in small batches over the sink.
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