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40 Light-ish Recipes That Don’t Skimp on Cheese

If you're trying to eat healthier but you just can't bring yourself to give up your cheesy favorites, you're in luck. These better-for-you cheese recipes won't wreck your diet, while giving you all that gooey, creamy, cheesy goodness you just can't quit.

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Chili MacTaste of Home

Chili Mac

This chili mac has regularly appeared on my family menus for more than 40 years, and it's never failed to please at potlucks and bring-a-dish gatherings. Sometimes I turn it into soup by adding a can of beef broth. —Marie Posavec, Berwyn, Illinois

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Cream of Potato & Cheddar SoupTaste of Home

Cream of Potato & Cheddar Soup

The Yukon Gold potatoes my daughter shares from her garden make this soup incredible. Add some cheddar cheese and crisp croutons, and it’s just heavenly. Total comfort with the simplicity of good ingredients! —Cindi Bauer, Marshfield, Wisconsin

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Feta 'n' Chive MuffinsTaste of Home

Feta 'n' Chive Muffins

This is a “spring” variation on the savory muffins my husband has made for years. It has a light texture almost like a popover and tastes best eaten hot right from the oven. —Angela Buchanan, Boulder, Colorado

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Butternut Squash Mac and CheeseTaste of Home

Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese

I created this dish after my father had triple bypass surgery. He loves comfort food, and I wanted him to be able to enjoy a rich and tasty dish like mac & cheese without all the fat and butter. It's also a smart way to sneak in some veggies for children. —Megan Schwartz, New York, New York

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Parmesan Pork MedallionsTaste of Home

Parmesan Pork Medallions

Here's one of the best pork medallion recipes I've found. With my own special tweaks, I have served this tender pork countless times for family and friends. It takes very little prep time and adapts easily to serve any number. —Angela Ciocca, Saltsburg, Pennsylvania

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Corn and Broccoli in Cheese SauceTaste of Home

Corn and Broccoli in Cheese Sauce

Save room in the oven by making this savory side in your slow cooker. It is a standby in my house. My daughter likes to add leftover ham to create a hearty main course. —Joyce Johnson, Uniontown, Ohio

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Penne Beef BakeTaste of Home

Penne Beef Bake

I had ground beef and veggies on hand so I came up with this pizza-flavored casserole. I never expected my family to love it so much. It's a good way to sneak in some extra veggies for the kids. —Jennifer Wise, Selinsgrove, Pennsylvania

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Spinach, Shrimp and Ricotta TacosTaste of Home

Spinach, Shrimp and Ricotta Tacos

I was looking for a new recipe for tacos, and this version was a perfect solution. With shrimp, green chiles, spinach and ricotta, it's made up of ingredients I love that aren't normally associated with traditional tacos. —Priscilla Gilbert, Indian Harbour Beach, Florida

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White Balsamic Blueberry, Corn and Feta SaladTaste of Home

White Balsamic Blueberry, Corn and Feta Salad

I'm not typically a huge fan of summer corn, but when it comes to this sweet, salty, refreshing salad, I can't put my fork down. —Colleen Delawder, Herndon, Virginia

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Taco Stuffed Pasta ShellsTaste of Home

Taco Stuffed Pasta Shells

Here's a kid-friendly dish so flavorful and fun, nobody is likely to guess that it's also lower in fat. It's a great family supper for busy weeknights! —Anne Thomsen, Westchester, Ohio

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Southwest Vegetarian BakeTaste of Home

Southwest Vegetarian Bake

This veggie-packed casserole hits the spot on chilly nights. But it's equally good any time I have a taste for Mexican food with all the fixings, too. —Patricia Gale, Monticello, Illinois

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Spinach 'n' Broccoli EnchiladasTaste of Home

Spinach 'n' Broccoli Enchiladas

I like to top this wonderful meatless meal with lettuce and serve it with extra picante sauce. It's quick, easy, filled with fresh flavor and definitely satisfying! —Lesley Tragesser, Charleston, Missouri

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Spinach and Artichoke PizzaTaste of Home

Spinach and Artichoke Pizza

My from-scratch pizza has a whole wheat crust flavored with beer. Top it with spinach, artichoke hearts and tomatoes, then add chicken or ham and fresh basil if you want to include meat. —Raymonde Bourgeois, Swastika, Ontario

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Cheese Smashed PotatoesTaste of Home

Cheese Smashed Potatoes

Who doesn't like mashed potatoes? Try this slimmed-down dish with any entree. —Janet Homes, Surprise, Arizona

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Favorite Skillet LasagnaTaste of Home

Favorite Skillet Lasagna

Whole wheat noodles and zucchini pump up nutrition in this delicious, family-friendly dinner. Topped with dollops of ricotta cheese, it has an extra touch of decadence. No one will believe this one’s lighter. —Lorie Miner, Kamas, Utah

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Makeover Hash Brown CasseroleTaste of Home

Makeover Hash Brown Casserole

I wanted a hash brown casserole I could feel good about eating. This light version keeps the cozy flavor while nixing a lot of the fat. —Kelly Kirby, Westville, Nova Scotia

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Chili Tortilla BakeTaste of Home

Chili Tortilla Bake

A homestyle Tex-Mex casserole is all it takes to gather the whole family around the dinner table. With its popular flavors and bubbly cheese topping, there is never a need to worry about leftovers. —Celine Weldy, Cave Creek, Arizona

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Weeknight Ravioli LasagnaTaste of Home

Weeknight Ravioli Lasagna

My husband and I love lasagna, but it's time-consuming to build and we always end up with too much. Using frozen ravioli solves everything. —Pamela Nicholson, Festus, Missouri

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Colorful Broccoli Cheddar CasseroleTaste of Home

Colorful Broccoli Cheddar Casserole

When we have houseguests, we make broccoli and cheese strata the night before so in the morning we can relax and visit while it bubbles in the oven. —Gale Lalmond, Deering, New Hampshire

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Feta Shrimp SkilletTaste of Home

Feta Shrimp Skillet

On our honeymoon in Greece, my husband and I had a dish like this one. I tried to re-create the flavors in this recipe when we got home. When I make it now, it brings back such wonderful memories. —Sonali Ruder, New York, New York

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Quick Chicken ParmesanTaste of Home

Quick Chicken Parmesan

My mother inspired me to develop my first pasta sauce. It's tangy, simple and really satisfying. The longer it simmers, the better it gets, so keep that in mind if you have time to spare. —Danielle Grochowski, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

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Cheesy Chicken & Broccoli OrzoTaste of Home

Cheesy Chicken & Broccoli Orzo

Broccoli and rice casserole tops my family's comfort food list, but when we need something fast, this is the stuff. Chicken and veggie orzo cooked on the stovetop speeds everything up. —Mary Shivers, Ada, Oklahoma

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Italian Sausage-Stuffed ZucchiniTaste of Home

Italian Sausage-Stuffed Zucchini

I've always had to be creative when getting my family to eat vegetables, so I decided to make stuffed zucchini using the pizza flavors that everyone loves. It worked! We like to include sausage for a main dish but it could be a meatless side dish, too. —Donna Marie Ryan, Topsfield, Massachusetts

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Frittata FlorentineTaste of Home

Frittata Florentine

My family is all about brunchy meals like this gorgeous Italian omelet. Lucky for us, it’s loaded with ingredients we tend to have at the ready. —Jenny Flake, Newport Beach, California

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Sausage Pizza PastaTaste of Home

Sausage Pizza Pasta

It's pizza in a bowl! Here's a terrific (and tasty) way to make sure your kids get the whole grains and vegetables they need to grow up big and strong. —Danna Holt, Shoals, Indiana

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Spinach-Basil LasagnaTaste of Home

Spinach-Basil Lasagna

In the kitchen, my husband and I like to use classic ingredients in new ways. I came up with this lasagna one day and haven't made another type since. We love it! —Charlotte Gehle, Brownstown, Michigan

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Grilled Chicken, Mango & Blue Cheese TortillasTaste of Home

Grilled Chicken, Mango & Blue Cheese Tortillas

Here's a fantastic outdoor appetizer to kick-start your summer get-togethers. We double or triple the ingredients when we host parties. —Josee Lanzi, New Port Richey, Florida

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Open-Face Chicken Parmesan BurgersTaste of Home

Open-Face Chicken Parmesan Burgers

We love chicken Parmesan and thought, "Why not make it a burger?" I like to use fresh mozzarella on these. I've also made the patties with ground turkey. —Charlotte Gehle, Brownstown, Michigan

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Cheese ManicottiTaste of Home

Cheese Manicotti

Cheese manicotti was the first meal I cooked for my husband, and years later he still enjoys it! —Joan Hallford, North Richland Hills, Texas

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Makeover Creamy Mac & CheeseTaste of Home

Makeover Creamy Mac & Cheese

Macaroni and cheese just may be king of the comfort foods. This sensational version is bubbling with creamy goodness—but is lighter on calories. —April Taylor, Holcomb, Kansas

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Ricotta-Stuffed Portobello MushroomsTaste of Home

Ricotta-Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms

These mushrooms are rich and creamy and bright at the same time because of the fresh herbs and tomato. I especially like to serve them with grilled asparagus. —Tre Balchowsky, Sausalito, California

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Effortless Alfredo PizzaTaste of Home

Effortless Alfredo Pizza

Here's a lighter, scrumptious twist for pizza night. It makes good use of convenience items and keeps everyone's taste buds happy with help from nutty-flavored fontina cheese and crushed red pepper flakes. —Brittney House, Lockport, Illinois

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Pork Chops with Blue Cheese SauceTaste of Home

Pork Chops with Blue Cheese Sauce

Sometimes a sauce is just a sauce, but with these tender chops, it really makes the dish. If you like a little spice, mix a pinch of nutmeg with the black pepper before you sprinkle it on the meat. —Kathleen Specht, Clinton, Montana

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De-Lightful Tuna CasseroleTaste of Home

De-Lightful Tuna Casserole

This mild, homemade tuna casserole will truly satisfy your family's craving for comfort food without all the fat! —Colleen Willey, Hamburg, New York

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Cheeseburger Macaroni SkilletTaste of Home

Cheeseburger Macaroni Skillet

This is the ultimate simple and fulfilling dinner that uses items I typically have in my cupboard. It's so easy to prepare and cooking all in one skillet makes it a snap for clean up. —Juli Meyers, Hinesville, Georgia

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Cincinnati-Style ChiliTaste of Home

Cincinnati-Style Chili

My husband had this type of chili when visiting a friend in Ohio and was thrilled when I made it at home. Serving it with spaghetti, cheese, onions and beans makes it what Cincinnatians call five-way. —Tari Ambler, Shorewood, Illinois

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Shrimp Tortellini Pasta TossTaste of Home

Shrimp Tortellini Pasta Toss

No matter how you toss 'em up, shrimp and thyme play nicely with any spring-fresh vegetable. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen

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Provolone Ziti BakeTaste of Home

Provolone Ziti Bake

As easy as it is filling and delicious, this Italian meal appeals to everyone—and they won’t even miss the meat. Serve with salad and hot French bread, and watch it disappear. —Vicky Palmer, Albuquerque, New Mexico

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Cheesy Spinach-Stuffed ShellsTaste of Home

Cheesy Spinach-Stuffed Shells

This is my own personal recipe. I'm very proud of it because I am still a beginner cook and it was the first recipe I created. You can adjust it to your liking by doubling the spinach or adding some meat. —Laci Hooten, McKinney, Texas

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Butternut & Portobello LasagnaTaste of Home

Butternut & Portobello Lasagna

Lasagna gets fresh flavor and color when you make it with roasted butternut squash, portobello mushrooms, basil and spinach. We feast on this. —Edward and Danielle Walker, Traverse City, Michigan

Rachel Seis
As senior editor for Taste of Home magazine, Rachel has her hand in everything you see from cover to cover, from writing and editing articles to taste-testing recipes to ensuring every issue is packed with fun and fabulous content. She'll roll up her sleeves to try any new recipe in the kitchen—from spicy Thai dishes (her favorite!) to classic Southern comfort food (OK...also her favorite). When she's not busy thinking of her next meal, Rachel can be found practicing yoga, going for a run, exploring National Parks and traveling to new-to-her cities across the country.

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