Thursday, November 19, 2015

Throwback Thursday: Cheesy Greek Yogurt Potato Casserole

This Cheesy Greek Yogurt Potato Casserole is a lightened up version of one of my family's traditional holiday recipes.  
Cheesy Greek Yogurt Potato Casserole

It's Throw Back Thursday again at 360FamilyNutrition with this recipe for Cheesy Greek Yogurt Potato Casserole.  The original recipe was posted nearly two years ago and remains a favorite in my household.  As the holidays quickly approach I wanted to re-share this recipe with some updated photos to offer a healthier alternative for your holiday menu.

I created the recipe in efforts to lighten up one of my favorite family recipes, Cheesy Potato Casserole. Growing up, my mother always prepared some type of potato and cheese casserole for the holidays.  Keeping family traditions alive is important to me, especially when it comes to the holidays. However, as I strive to promote a healthier lifestyle for my family, some of our traditional family recipes are in need of a few modifications.

How did I give the recipe a makeover?
For this recipe, I decided to ditch the creamy sauce (made of heavy cream and butter) used to coat the potatoes.  As a healthier replacement, I used Greek yogurt + a light buttery spread. Greek yogurt is packed with protein and can save tremendous calories (when compared to a traditional cream sauce).  You will be pleasantly surprised by the subtle creamy flavor Greek yogurt can add to a potato dish.  I never tell my family about the substitution of Greek yogurt in recipes to test if they notice. The first time I served this recipe, no one had any clue of my secret substitution.

Most recipes instruct you to peel the potatoes, but you can see that I skipped that step.  When I make potato dishes - the skin of the potatoes is always left on. The skin can offer extra health benefits due to the higher fiber content.  Secondly it can save you a lot of time with not having to peel the potatoes.

Why are traditional family recipes so important to me?
First let's define a tradition. According to Wikipedia a tradition is "a belief or behavior passed down within a group or society with symbolic meaning or specifical significance with origins in the past."  Traditions can include foods, activities, or material items.

My extended family does have many traditions, including activities and food dishes.  While the activities certainly hold a special place in my heart, my love for food places a higher emphasis on the food traditions.  After putting more thought into my values of traditions, I came up with the following reasonings as to why they hold such high importance to me:
  • Connections with multiple generations.  While we live in a time with rapidly changing technology, this is one thing that can connect me to my ancestors.  My grandmother never used the internet or even a cell phone, but we share the commonality of both preparing green bean casserole.
  • Create a lasting memory.  Typically family traditions provide a positive memory from the past, especially childhood.  I associate certain foods and dishes with a fond memory of a holiday.  
  • Offer a security blanket. Living in an era of vast social media communication capabilities, new recipes surface by the minute.  Family traditional recipes are one aspect of your lifestyle that can remain constant from generation to generation. 
  • Strengthen family relationships.  Traditional recipes exclusive to our family provide a bond and opportunity to communicate about something unique and special. When I forget how to make my Grandmothers Spritz Cookies or Wassail drink, my mother is only a  phone call away.
With all that being said - I do plan on making new traditions with my immediate family.  Just like the nursery rhyme about friendships goes, I plan to "make new traditions, but keep the old".

Your Family's Dietitian,

Greek Yogurt Cheesy Potato Casserole

by Kristen Smith
Prep Time: 15-20 minutes
Cook Time: 40-55 minutes
Keywords: side yogurt
Ingredients (8 servings)
  • 5 medium potatoes, cut into 1/4-1/8 inch slices
  • 1 cup nonfat plain Greek Yogurt
  • 1/4 onion, chopped
  • 1 1/4 cup low fat cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 2 tablespoons light butter spread (ie. Smart Balance), melted
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • pepper to taste
  • non-stick cooking spray
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit; spray a small baking dish (circular or 9" x 9" square) with non-stick cooking spray
2. In a large mixing bowl add butter, buttery spread, cheese (except 1/4 cup), yogurt, salt; stir well
3. Add potatoes to mixture and combine well until all potatoes are well coated
4. Layer potatoes in baking dish
5. Bake at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for approximately 40-55 minutes or until potatoes are tender and soft ( top with remaining shredded cheese around last 15-20 minutes of baking
Tip: If cheese on top appears to be browning, cover baking dish with foil. Baking times will greatly vary depending on size of baking dish usedNutrition
Servings: 8 • Serving size: 1/8 (~3/4 cup) • Calories: 197.0 kcal • Protein: 9.6 g • Sodium: 487.4 mg • Carbs: 24.2 g • Fat: 7.2 g • Fiber: 2.5 • Sugars: 2.3 g
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