Beef Casseroles Low Calorie Main Dish Poultry


September 23, 2010

Yep, it’s another one of my healthy food finds. I’ve been making this version of Chilaquiles for a few years now. It’s one of my go-to dishes when I need a lower-calorie option and want to have enough leftovers for work. You’d have a hard time guessing this version is better for you with two kinds of cheeses! The leftovers are just as good as when it’s fresh out of the oven.


So, how’s it taste?

I still surprise myself every time I take that first bite. The ingredients are so simple, but it’s a ton of flavor bursting in your mouth. The beauty of this dish is that you can use any lean ground meat. I’ve made this with beef, turkey, and pork. All three worked great. The best part for me is getting a dollop of the cream cheese in my bite. Smooth and silky, it goes really well with the meat and tortillas. Lots of textures going on with all the layers. This dish is easy to prepare and the leftovers freeze very well.


Adapted from the Calorie Countdown Cookbook by Juan-Carlos Cruz
serves 8
per serving: 290 calories, 11g fat, 21g carbs, 25g protein, 4g fiber


2 tbsp. canola oil
1 lb. lean ground meat (beef, turkey, pork, chicken)
1 red onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. cumin
2 (15 oz.) cans tomatoes with green chiles, drain juice from one can
8 to 10 corn tortillas
8 oz. cream cheese block, cut into cubes (regular or low-fat)
2 cups shredded Cheddar (regular or low-fat)
1 bunch green onions, sliced


1. Heat a large pan over medium-high heat and add 1 tbsp. of the oil. Add the ground meat. Brown the meat, breaking it up as it cooks. Drain off the liquid and transfer the meat to a bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

2. Add remaining 1 tbsp. of oil to the pan and turn heat to medium. Add the onion, cook stirring often, about 3 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic, chili powder, and cumin and stir together 30 seconds or until fragrant. Return the meat to the pan and stir with the onion and spices until well coated. Add the tomatoes and simmer for 15 minutes.

3. Preheat the oven to 350. Spray a 2-quart casserole dish with cooking spray and line with half of the tortillas. Tear tortillas to fit dish. Top with half the meat sauce. Add half the cream cheese over the sauce, then sprinkle with half the Cheddar and half the green onions. Repeat the layers.

4. Bake 30 minutes, until bubbling.

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  • Jen March 12, 2013 at 4:45 pm

    This sounds delicious — tacos, cream cheese, and green onions are all favorites in my house — but the nutrition info doesn’t seem right to me. Using low-fat cream cheese, 8 tortillas, and 93% lean ground turkey, I get more like 400 calories per serving when serving 8 (with 26 grams of fat, 26g protein, and 18g carbs).

    • Leah March 13, 2013 at 7:40 am

      The calories will vary based on the brands and ingredients you use (types of cheese, type of meat, how many tortillas, etc). The calculations I list are based on what I use and may vary from recipe to recipe.

  • Jen March 12, 2013 at 8:08 pm

    Mmmm, I think I’ll be making this again! I didn’t use any oil, halved the cheeses, and used only 7 tortillas (they fit better in my dish with 3 1/2 per layer), and got it down to less than 300 calories per serving. Yum!

    My daughter thought it was too spicy, though, even with only 1 can with chilis (and one regular), so maybe next time I’ll make a double batch with 3 cans plain and one can of tomatoes w/chilis, and try freezing half. Oh, and I may add the cream cheese in with the tomatoes to melt it and then get it more evenly distributed… but then it might be spread too thin to notice so I might have to use the full amount… decisions, decisions… 🙂

    • Leah March 13, 2013 at 7:40 am

      Glad you enjoyed it!