How to Lighten Up Family Favorites

By: Jodie Shield, RD

Cheesy Potato Casserole – Original Recipe

(Makes 8 servings)

One of my dearest friends, Marianne Oswald from Tinley Park, IL, brought this cheesy-easy side dish to my house for a family get-together.  Needless to say, my kids went wild over it! So much so, it’s become a popular request at our house.  But the dietitian in me had to find a way to lighten it up.  This potato casserole is so versatile – you can serve it with a holiday ham or back yard barbecue.


1 (2 lb) package frozen hash browns, thawed

1 stick butter, melted

1 can cream of chicken soup

1 (8 oz) bag shredded cheddar cheese

½ pint sour cream

½ teaspoon salt

½ onion, chopped

2 cups crushed cornflakes


Combine ¼ cup melted butter and cornflakes. Set aside.  Mix potatoes remaining butter, soup, cheese, sour cream, salt and onion; pour into 9 X 13” pan.  Sprinkle with cornflake mixture over the top. Bake uncovered 1 ½ hours at 325 degrees.

Calories 493 Dietary Fiber 2 g Fat 37 g
Protein 11.5 g Sodium 765 mg Saturated Fat 20 g
Carbohydrate 32 g Cholesterol 76 mg


Tips to Lighten up Marianne’s Family Recipe:

  1. Reduce the butter and use an unsalted brand.
  2. Use reduced-fat cream of chicken soup such as Campbell’s Healthy Request.
  3. Try low-fat shredded cheddar cheese  (Kraft offers a tasty option)
  4. Use fat-free sour cream
  5. Omit the salt – you get plenty from the hash browns.

These small changes make a big nutrition difference!  The recipe still tastes fantastic but has one-third fewer calories and half the fat, saturated fat, and sodium.

Calories 346 Dietary Fiber 2 g Fat 19 g
Protein 11 g Sodium 370 mg Saturated Fat 10 g
Carbohydrate 35.5 g Cholesterol 30 mg


If you have a family favorite recipe you would like analyzed and revised, please send it to

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