Cold months mean comfort food, and these 13 easy real-food casseroles are perfect. Healthy meals that are easy to make, include chicken, beef, and meatless options, and some can be made in the slow cooker! Pairs wonderfully with cloud dinner rolls.
The winter months are all about comfort food to me.
I want chilis, soups, or a real food casserole. But comfort food has gotten a bad rap. Especially casseroles.
Most people think of casseroles as being full of fat, processed foods, and preservatives. NOT so!! I promise you that with a few simple swaps, you can serve your family up a casserole that will surely be deemed “comfort food” without all those nasty additives.
Eating clean does not mean that you have to give up casseroles. Today I am sharing with you my top 13 casseroles that are easy, tasty, and made with REAL food!
I can’t help but think of canned cream of chicken and rice casseroles being served at the church potlucks that I went to growing up–not really what I want to put into my body. These chicken dishes are still creamy, yet so much tastier (and better for you) than anything served at the potlucks I went to as a child!
Psst! Here’s my recipe for homemade cream celery soup… including cream of chicken!
1. Creamy Chicken and Rice
Brown rice, cooked chicken, and lots of cheese all swimming in a decadent, yet healthy cream sauce. This is a dish that everyone loves. And I mean loves to the point of licking the plate clean.
2. Amish Chicken or Parmesan Chicken Casserole
This is an old-fashioned dish that my mom used to make that all four of her children would beg for! And it is so simple. I have elevated it a bit with the addition of white wine and fresh thyme.
3. Chicken Pot Pie
This is my Papa’s dish–so near and dear to my heart! He made everything from scratch and this is his recipe to a T–because you just don’t mess with perfection!
4. Chipotle Chicken Enchiladas
Spice things up with these enchiladas. Tortillas that have been filled with moist, shredded chicken are submerged in rich Enchilada sauce and then smothered in cheese for an easy, family meal worthy of any Mexican Restaurant.
Note: Creamy Chicken and Rice, Amish Chicken, Chicken Enchiladas, and Chicken Pot Pie all call for pre-cooked chicken and chicken stock. I use my homemade broth and meat from my Oven Roasted Rotisserie Chicken or Roasted Chicken Breasts.
5. Buffalo Chicken Bake
This is one of my all-time favorites. It is a one-pot dinner that has potatoes, spicy chicken, cheese, and bacon. You finish it with homemade Ranch dressing and just WOW!!
6. Chicken and Spinach Enchiladas
This is how I got my kids to like spinach, and now they don’t even realize when I substitute kale or collards instead! Salsa verde is the key to this recipe, but it tends to be spicy. You can cut back a little in the recipe for those with sensitive palates, and serve extra at the table.
7. Chicken Jalapeno Popper Casserole
This casserole fits the bill with junk food cravings (jalapeno poppers) with real food priorities, so we all get that junk food “fix” without compromising our health goals.
These are the perfect go-tos for Meatless Mondays, vegetarians, or just to save a dollar by cutting back on meat costs.
8. Slow Cooker Baked Ziti
A casserole that comes together in the slow cooker? YES PLEASE!!! This is so easy, so tasty, and leaves the oven out of the equation.
9. Easy Creamy Squash Pasta Bake
If your family doesn’t like squash or greens, give this one a try. They’re mixed with noodles and covered in a creamy sauce that will make everyone ask for seconds!
10. Baked Ziti with Zucchini and Kale
A total of NINE vegetables are in this baked pasta dish, and that’s just the beginning. Excellent for using up leftover marinara or any vegetables hiding in the fridge. Tip: If the veggies are hard (like carrots), boil until they’re soft and then layer in the dish.
11. Easy Healthy Green Bean Casserole
Growing up, one of my favorite casseroles was green bean casserole. This recipe is quick, easy to make, and creamy!
Real Food Casserole Questions
What makes a food a casserole?
Is it better to bake a casserole covered or uncovered?
Should I saute onions before adding them to the casserole?
Meat-Based Casseroles: Beef/Pork
12. Tamale Pie
A hearty casserole filled with shredded meat (like leftover carnitas) and topped with homemade cornbread that captures the flavors of a tamale without all the work.
13. The World’s Easiest Lasagna
You can not go wrong with a lasagna that is made in 10 minutes and tastes so good!! I promise you, this will become a go-to in your house!
So there you have it, a list of real food casseroles that prove you can eat real, nutritious foods and have some of your favorite comfort foods!
More Easy Dinner Recipes
- Slow Cooker Osso Buco
- Easy Black Bean and Corn Salsa Tacos
- Instant Pot Ground Beef
- Sweet Potato Black Bean Enchiladas
Finally someone who gets it. Love the recipes!
Oh my so many yummy casseroles to choose from. I think I’m going to make the enchilada this week.
Kristen (contributing author)
Enjoy Denise 🙂