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13 Heart-Healthy Comfort Foods & Casseroles: SparkRecipes SlideShow

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13 Heart-Healthy Comfort Foods & Casseroles

By Melinda Hershey, Staff Writer

When you think of comfort food, you probably imagine cheesy, starchy, high-calorie meals that really stick to your ribs--and your arteries. But with just a few modifications, these slimmer dishes get a heart-healthy seal of approval*!

*Based on the heart-healthy guidelines from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and the American Heart Association

Slow Cooker Lasagna

Traditional lasagna gets a makeover with lean beef and plenty of veggies in this slow cooker version. Simply brown the meat, layer your ingredients, then set it and forget it!

Chicken & Veggie Casserole

Quick, cheap and filling, this chicken casserole is sure to become a go-to meal in your cold-weather recipe arsenal. As a bonus, it doesn't use any processed soups or sauces!

White Beans, Spinach and Tomatoes over Linguine

This vegetarian pasta takes just 30 minutes to cook from start to finish. Add cooked chicken or turkey meatballs for extra staying power.

Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese

Sweet butternut squash really boosts the nutrition of this slimmer macaroni and cheese dish. We think the leftovers are even better the next day (if you have any!).

Quinoa Black Bean Casserole

Want to feel fuller longer? The black beans, quinoa, eggs and sweet potatoes in this healthy casserole will stick with you for hours without weighing you down.

Low-Fat Cheeseburger Pie

Get the meaty, cheesy flavor you crave without all the grease with this cheeseburger casserole. Just a few small tweaks turn an old fattening favorite into a much lighter meal.

Whole-Wheat Pasta with Sesame Peanut Sauce

This Asian-inspired pasta lends itself well to any protein of your choice. We like to add chicken or tofu for a well-rounded meal that will keep you full for hours.

Traditional Green Bean Casserole

Green bean casserole is a holiday staple, but we like eating this comforting favorite all winter long! This 5-ingredient casserole comes together in just 30 minutes.

Easy Poached Eggs & Pasta

Warm and hearty pasta is topped with eggs for a filling meal full of fiber and protein. We love how the egg yolk lends thickness to the sauce!

Ground Beef and Potato Casserole

This twist on the classic meat and potatoes is always a hit at family dinners. Serve with a green side salad to round out the meal.

New Orleans Red Beans and Rice

Cajun-style red beans and rice will transport you to New Orleans for dinner! Serve with whole-grain bread to sop up the sauce.

Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese

Crush your craving for tangy, savory buffalo wings with a doctored-up macaroni casserole. There are so many fun flavors and textures in this dish! Serve with a side of fresh veggies or salad.

Cottage Beef Pie

This filling British meat pie is packed with veggies and topped with fluffy mashed potatoes. You can also make this a vegetarian-friendly recipe by substituting soy crumbles, cooked lentils and vegetable broth.