Dear Jeanne:

This recipe has been a favorite with my family for many years. I have entered it in recipe contests and have won prizes with it; however, it is high in cholesterol. Would you please give us a light version of this creamy casserole based on a trio of cheeses? - Genevieve Helman, Sedona, Ariz.Dear Genevieve:

Your prize-winning casserole recipe is certainly worthy of a slight overhaul to also make it a winner from a nutritional standpoint. Fortunately, it can be done without sacrificing the taste and texture that makes this one-dish meal a standout.

I suggest you make it with ground chicken instead of beef. This will lower the saturated fat content which is the kind of fat that is most dangerous. I also used a light (Neufchatel) cream cheese and low-fat cottage cheese to further reduce the fat and cholesterol. Since the sodium figures are high, I decided garlic powder would be a better choice than the garlic salt. I hope you like the light version of your casserole and that it will win a place in your file of favorite recipes.

- EACH SERVING CONTAINS approximately:

Original Recipe: 375 calories; 92 mg cholesterol; 24 gm fat; 750 mg sodium.

Revised Recipe: 260 calories; 82 mg cholesterol; 10 gm fat; 735 mg sodium.

I have a collection of more recipes for healthful one-dish meals in my pamphlet, Easy and Nutritious One-Dish Meals. Order it for $1 and a stamped (45 cents), self-addressed, legal-sized envelope from One-Dish, P.O. Box 847, Gibbstown, NJ 08027-9911.- Jeanne Jones is a consultant on menu planning, recipes and new-product development for major hotels and spas. She is also the author of 18 cookbooks.

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Prizewinning Three-Cheese Casserole

1 pound ground beef

1 onion, chopped (1/2 cup)

2 (8-ounce) cans tomato sauce

1 teaspoon sugar

3/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon garlic salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

4 cups uncooked medium noodles

1 cup cream-style cottage cheese

1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened

1/4 cup dairy sour cream

1/3 cup sliced green onion

1/4 cup chopped green bell pepper

1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

In a skillet brown beef along with chopped onion. Stir in tomato sauce, sugar, salt, garlic salt and pepper. Remove from heat.

Meanwhile, cook noodles according to package directions; drain.

Combine cottage and cream cheeses, sour cream, green pepper and green onion in blender until well mixed.

Spread half the noodles in 11- by 7- by 1 1/2-inch baking dish. Top with a little of the meat sauce; cover with cheese mixture. Add remaining noodles and remaining meat sauce; sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Bake in 350 F oven 30 minutes. Makes 8 to 10 servings.

Lightweight Champion Casserole

1 pound ground chicken

1 small onion, chopped (1/2 cup)

2 (8-ounce) cans tomato sauce

1 teaspoon sugar

3/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

4 cups uncooked medium noodles

1 cup low-fat cottage cheese

1 (8-ounce) package Neufchatel, softened

1/4 cup light sour cream

1/3 cup sliced green onion

1/4 cup chopped green bell pepper

1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 350 F. In a skillet brown ground chicken and chopped onion. Stir in tomato sauce, sugar, salt, garlic powder and pepper. Remove from heat. While meat is browning, cook noodles to package directions; drain.

Combine cottage and cream cheeses, sour cream, green pepper and green onion in blender container or food processor until well-mixed.

Spread half the noodles in 11- by 7- by 1 1/2-inch baking dish. Top with a little of the meat sauce. Cover with cheese mixture then remaining noodles and remaining meat sauce; sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Bake in preheated oven 30 minutes. Makes 8 to 10 servings.