Cheese, glorious cheese! I’m ashamed of how much I love cheese! Well sort of – – ok, I’m not ashamed at all. After all, cheese is actually good for us….eaten in moderation. But, meh, moderation in moderation. At least some of the time, anyways. 😉
But seriously, cheese does have it’s good points! Lots of them actually. And I’m not speaking of “singles”, “strings”, and “kiddie cheese” if you get my drift.
Good cheeses contain quite a lot of calcium which means healthy teeth and bones, and prevents osteoporosis. Calcium also aids in stimulating contractions at the end of pregnancies and helps the body to produce proper milk production for the new baby.
Think that full-fat cheese is bad for you? Uhm, not so fast! Full-fat cheeses are extremely filling and rich, so small amounts are normally eaten and can keep you from feeling hungry, snacking on more things, and fill you up at suppertime preventing you from over-eating. A few crackers and pieces of cheese can actually aid in dieting. Just don’t go crazy on it is all.
And if that isn’t a good reason enough already, here’s the “short list” of a lot of the vitamins and minerals cheese contains! Besides high-quality proteins, vitamins A, B, C, B-6, B-12, D, E, K, riboflavin, phosphorus, potassium, iron, thiamin, niacin and zinc all do the body good, too. It also contains Conjugated Linoleic Acid and Sphingolipids which have been linked to preventing cancers. Cheese also strengthens the liver and helps to increase blood formation.
So if you’re in need of gaining weight, a higher fat cheese can really help and still be good for you. If trying to lose weight, stick to lower fat cheeses, sharp aged cheeses that require much less due to their intense flavor, and low-fat milk cottage cheeses. Or enjoy a few pieces of higher fat cheese with a few crackers to satisfy your hunger pains, your taste buds, fill you up and prevent you from over-snacking.
So, it’s pretty simple, really. Cheese is not that bad for you at all. And most aged hard cheeses don’t contain lactose and are safe for lactose-intolerant people. If you’re severely LA, check with your doctor first, of course.
And always, always, always, read the labels! Some cheese may be high in salt, so if you’re on a low-sodium diet, check for the salt content and stick to low-sodium cheeses. Simple. Just use your head. 😉
I’ve provided several exchanges for this recipe, but it’s also very good as is. A small portion with a nice salad won’t kill you. It’s filling and fairly rich, so a small amount is more than satiable.
If the holidays haven’t been evilly cruel to your waistline, I do hope you give this a try! It really rocked and is packed with flavor, white albacore tuna, and healthy veggies including mushrooms and kale! And kale makes everything ok. 😉 So enjoy all! 😀
GROWN-UP TUNA CASSEROLE ALFREDO with ASIAGO, KALE & CREMINI MUSHROOMS
2 Tbl. butter or EVOO
8 oz. sliced fresh cremini mushrooms
1/2 large onion, chopped
1/2 tsp. fresh minced garlic
1/2 tsp. garlic salt
1/2 tsp. coarse ground black pepper
15 oz. jar Bertolli Alfredo Sauce, or your own favorite brand (Ragu’s Reduced-Fat Alfredo Sauce also works well for this)
2 cups torn bite-sized pieces fresh kale leaves, no stems
1 rounded tsp. anchovy paste (from the tube)
1/2 Tbl. basil pesto
1/2 cup fresh finely grated parmesan cheese
1/8 cup fresh finely grated asiago cheese
1/4 cup heavy cream (can sub half and half or low-fat milk even such as 1%)
1 (12 oz.) can solid white albacore tuna, drained well
1 tsp. kosher salt
2 1/2 cups whole grain medium shell pasta, I used Bertolli
1 1/2 – 2 cups shredded low-fat mozzarella
1/4 cup finely grated asiago
1/2 tsp garlic salt
1/2 tsp. dried basil, finely crushed between your fingers
1/2 tsp. dried oregano, finely crushed between your fingers
In large deep frying pan, melt butter and sauté next 5 ingredients until onion is tender. Stir in next 9 ingredients until well combined. Cover and set aside.
In large pot, bring water to a boil. Add salt and pasta and cook until al dente according to package directions. Drain, fold into pan of tuna-cheese mixture.
Pour into a sprayed 2 1/2 quart baking dish with lid.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
While oven is preheating, top casserole evenly with topping ingredients in order as listed. Cover.
When oven is heated to 350 degrees, bake, covered, for 30 minutes. *If a more done cheese top is desired, remove lid and bake for 5 minutes longer.
Serve hot with salad and french bread.