Light-hearted casseroles

Magnificent low-fat main dishes that satisfy appetite and good intentions at once
ANDREW BAKER

Childhood food memories, for many Westerners, come in the shape of casseroles - lasagna, enchiladas, baked stew with dumplings. These comfy dishes often fueled growing bodies with a generous helping of fat. Readers tell us they still crave the familiar flavors but - having no desire to keep growing - wish we could come up with recipes for hearty, low-fat versions.

Our readers' wish is our command - or challenge, in this case. And it was surprisingly easy to meet. We've shed fat calories and added fresh twists to a cosmopolitan collection of casseroles: The lasagna tiers are layered on potatoes instead of pasta; the meat loaf starts with lamb and conceals a core of seasoned bulgur wheat. Each is hearty enough to serve eight generously. All you need to add is a salad (we've provided a simple one that goes with practically everything) and a fat-shy dessert like crisp meringue cookies or fresh berries.