6 Better Ways to Put Cheese on Everything

By: Emily Lee

Cheese has a way of making everything better, whether it’s sprinkled on pasta, crumbled on salads or oozing out from between two slices of toasted bread. Now there’s even greater cause to celebrate its creamy superpowers: A study from the University of Michigan suggests that nisin, a preservative that naturally grows in dairy products, aids in killing cancer cells and some types of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. But the dairy aisle’s sweetheart has been catching a lot of heat from health food crusaders insisting that cheese, or any milk product for that matter, should be cut out completely in order to achieve a healthy eating regimen and leaner figures. Supermodel Gisele Bundchen and her NFL quarterback husband, Tom Brady, especially piqued interest when they hopped aboard the no-dairy train. But … the creaminess. The melty, pull-apart goodness. And don’t forget the vitamin D! Let the stars keep their brown rice and wild salmon. We’ll be over here, enjoying chicken Parm, quiche and life in general.

Here are seven recipes that prove a cheesy dish can be good for you, too:

Chicken Parmesan (pictured at top)

Order chicken Parmesan from your neighborhood Italian joint and you’ll get a deep-fried piece of chicken, likely served with a large portion of pasta. Instead, make your own baked version of chicken Parm to save on excess calories and fat, and serve it with a modest portion of whole-grain pasta. The cheese, of course, is welcome.

FN_FN Kitchens Creamy Spinach Baked Penne.tif

FN_FN Kitchens Creamy Spinach Baked Penne.tif

FN_FN Kitchens Creamy Spinach Baked Penne.tif

©2012, Television Food NEtwork, G.P. All Rights Reserved

2012, Television Food NEtwork, G.P. All Rights Reserved

FN_FN Kitchens Creamy Spinach Baked Penne.tif

Cheesy Spinach Baked Penne

Making homemade tomato sauce for this recipe really allows you to control what goes into it. Here, it’s mixed with chunks of mozzarella for extra bursts of cheesy goodness, along with cottage cheese for all the satisfying qualities of ricotta, with only a fraction of the fat and calories.

Ellie Krieger's Caramelized Onion Gruyere Quiche as seen on Food Network

Photo by: Stephen Johnson ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Stephen Johnson, 2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Ellie Krieger's Caramelized Onion Gruyere Quiche as seen on Food Network

Caramelized Onion, Mushroom and Gruyere Quiche

Normally quiches are loaded with full-fat milk and cheeses, but Ellie Krieger lightens up the typical recipe by filling her crunchy oat crust with a combination of whole eggs and egg whites, fat-free milk and nutty Gruyère cheese.

Stuffed Turkey Burgers

Ellie’s Stuffed Turkey Burgers prove you don’t need to see the cheese to know it’s there. Healthy yet far from bland, each patty is filled with part-skim mozzarella cheese and roasted red peppers for creamy texture and sweet, smoky flavor.



Photo by: Matt Armendariz ©2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Matt Armendariz, 2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Squash and Spinach Lasagna

If you need to feed a crowd, Food Network Kitchen’s hearty lasagna is your best bet. Packed with butternut squash and spinach, this vegetarian main dish gets its creamy goodness from part-skim mozzarella and low-fat milk.

Chili Cheese Casserole

Photo by: Tara Donne ©Tara Donne

Tara Donne, Tara Donne

Chili Cheese Casserole

Chile Cheese Casserole

This breakfast dish was inspired by the Mexican dish chilaquiles. Using baked tortilla chips, a mixture of eggs and egg whites, and just a bit of sharp cheddar and pepper Jack keeps the fat low but the flavor high.

Check out more cheesy dishes from our friends:

Feed Me Phoebe: Healthy Mac and Cheese with “Creamed” Spinach

Creative Culinary: Mediterranean Vegetable Stroganoff with Ricotta and Parmesan Cheese

The Lemon Bowl: Cheesy Enchilada Bake with Shredded Pork and Spelt

Big Girls, Small Kitchen: Rice ‘n Cheese

Dishing with Divya: White Beans and Spinach Enchiladas with Spicy Jalapeno Sauce

Elephants and the Coconut Trees: Beef Enchilada

TasteBook: Southwestern Cheese Crisp with Chipotle Ranch Dip

The Mom 100: Spiralized Cheesy Butternut Squash and Carrot Casserole with Chicken

Taste with the Eyes: Crispy Shaved Brussels Sprouts Flatbread with Bleu Cheese

FN Dish: 5 Dishes That Are Even Better As Cheesy Casseroles

Next Up

6 Ways to One-Up Side Dish Favorites with Cheese — Sensational Sides

Cheesy does it, cheese lovers. Instead of taking your favorite food by the block, use cheese to improve your favorite go-to side dishes.