Quick and Easy, Make it Cheesy
March 21st, 2011

Processed cheese adds golden touch to flavorful casseroles

cheesy2Family dinners around the table, sharing their days at dinnertime can be a struggle in the busy spring. Between tighter budgets and busy schedules, that scene sometimes feels more daydream than reality.

Making mealtime manageable for the average American family is what casseroles bring to the table. Velveeta is drawing well-deserved attention to the entree that offers as much variety as it does value.

Casseroles fold everything your family loves—chicken, ground turkey, vegetables, rice, pasta, etc.—together with creamy, melted cheese. Providing a hot dish to the family, jump starting the next day’s meals with delicious leftovers and doing it all cheesy1while costing less, the casserole is a family favorite, setting the standard for dinner!

Cheese, Food or Spread, What Does it All Mean?
The name on that package of cheese is not something a marketing expert dreamed up. There are legal definitions that describe each kind of cheese in your dairy case. Knowing the definitions can help you be a wise consumer as you look for the heathiest and best tasting options for your family.

Here are some common process cheese types and how they are defined:

  • Pasteurized process cheese is made from one or more cheeses—excluding certain cheeses, such as cream cheese and cottage cheese, but including American cheese. It may contain one or more specified “optional ingredients,” including both dairy and nondairy items. Moisture and fat content percentage requirements vary according to standards for constituent cheeses, but in most cases fat content must be more than 47 percent.
  • Pasteurized process cheese food is made from not less than 51 percent by final weight of one or more “optional cheese ingredients”—similar to the cheeses available for Pasteurized process cheese—and mixed with one or more “optional dairy ingredients,” such as milk or whey. They may contain one or more specified “optional ingredients” (nondairy). Moisture must be less than 44 percent, and fat content more than 23 percent.
  • Pasteurized process cheese spread is made similarly to Pasteurized process cheese food, but must be spreadable at 70 degrees. Moisture must be between 44 percent and 60 percent, and fat content more than 20 percent.

Cheesy Chicken & Broccoli Bake

Ingredients:

1 6-ounce package stuffing mix for chicken
11/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
16 ounce package frozen broccoli florets, thawed and drained

1 10¾-ounce can reduced-sodium condensed cream of chicken soup
8 ounces Velveeta, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

Directions:

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Prepare stuffing mix as directed on package; set aside. Combine remaining ingredients; spoon into a 13×9-inch baking dish. Top with stuffing.

Bake 40 minutes, or until chicken is done.

Preparation time: 10 minutes.

Serves 6, 11/3 cups each.

Nutrition information per serving: 460 calories, 20g total fat, 7g saturated fat, 100mg cholesterol, 1,340mg sodium, 33g carbohydrate, 3g dietary fiber, 7g sugars, 37g protein, 35 percent DV vitamin A, 70 percent DV vitamin C, 40 percent DV calcium, 15 percent DV iron.


Cheesy Pasta Casserole

Ingredients:

11/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
4 cups cooked rotini pasta
1 package (1 pound) frozen Italian-style vegetable combination, thawed

1 10-ounce can diced tomatoes and green chilies, undrained
12 ounces Velveeta, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

Directions:

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Combine ingredients in a 13×9-inch baking dish; cover with foil. Bake 40 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes; stir.

Preparation time: 15 minutes.

Serves 8, 1½ cups each.

Nutrition information per serving: 340 calories, 11g total fat, 6g saturated fat, 0.5g trans fat, 80mg cholesterol, 840mg sodium, 29g carbohydrate, 2g dietary fiber, 7g sugars, 30g protein, 15 percent DV vitamin A, 15 percent DV vitamin C, 35 percent DV calcium, 10 percent DV iron.


Easy Cheesy Chicken Casserole

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons Italian dressing
1 cup chopped onions
¼ cup chopped pickled jalapeño slices

2 cups chopped cooked chicken
1 14.75-ounce can cream-style corn
4 ounces Velveeta, cut up

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Heat dressing in a skillet on medium-high heat. Add onions and jalapeño slices. Cook 10 minutes, or until tender, stirring occasionally. Add chicken and corn; mix well.

Spoon into a lightly greased 1-quart baking dish; top with the cheese. Bake 20 minutes, or until heated through (160°F).

Preparation time: 10 minutes.

Serves 4, ¾ cup each.

Nutrition information per serving: 300 Calories, 9g total fat, 3.5g saturated fat, 75mg cholesterol, 990mg sodium, 29g carbohydrate, 2g dietary fiber, 15g sugars, 28g protein, 10 percent DV vitamin A, 6 percent DV vitamin C, 20 percent DV calcium, 8 percent DV iron.