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Layered Macaroni Casserole

"I concocted this quick-and-easy recipe over 40 years ago as a new bride. It's still one of my favorites," shares Virginia Cherry of Salinas, California. "I never wonder what to fix for potluck dinners. This dish is always popular."
  • Total Time
    Prep: 70 min. Bake: 40 min. + standing
  • Makes
    8 servings


  • 1 pound lean ground beef (90% lean)
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 can (28 ounces) crushed tomatoes
  • 1 can (6 ounces) tomato paste
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 8 ounces uncooked elbow macaroni
  • 2 cups fat-free cottage cheese
  • 1-1/2 cups shredded reduced-fat cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 cup dry bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted


  • In a nonstick skillet, cook beef and onion over medium heat until meat is no longer pink. Add garlic; cook 1 minute longer. Drain. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, sugar and seasonings. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 1 hour.
  • Meanwhile, cook macaroni according to package directions; drain. Add cottage cheese.
  • In a 13x9-in. baking dish coated with cooking spray, layer 1 cup meat sauce, a third of the macaroni mixture and a third of the cheddar cheese. Repeat layers twice. Top with remaining meat sauce.
  • Combine topping ingredients; sprinkle over sauce. Bake, uncovered, at 325° for 40-45 minutes. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.
Nutrition Facts
1 cup: 379 calories, 10g fat (5g saturated fat), 34mg cholesterol, 1087mg sodium, 40g carbohydrate (0 sugars, 4g fiber), 31g protein. Diabetic Exchanges: 3 lean meat, 2 starch, 2 vegetable.

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Average Rating:
  • allaboutcookies86
    Mar 18, 2012

    This recipe was AMAZING for something different. My Husband and daughter LOVE macaroni and cheese so trying this suped up version was a no brainer. IT IS DELICIOUS... Almost like macaroni and cheese meets lasagna. It is GREAT! You HAVE TO TRY IT! Super easy to put together and delightful results! Thank you taste of home!

  • Classicrock
    Oct 22, 2009

    No comment left

  • sbuffman
    Sep 23, 2008

    Agree with you kookinmama. Going to try this recipe. All the fat free stuff that I have been trying have lost me over 20 lbs and dropped my cholesterol. Can't wait to make this!

  • kookinmama
    Sep 3, 2008

    lighten up bouncey! Maybe 40 yrs ago she used full fat cheese but these days they're is no reason to. Get heart smart!!

  • bouncey
    Aug 22, 2008

    This sounds delicious...except for all the fat-free cheese. over 40 years ago...there was no fat free cheese or fat free cottage cheese. you could not have invented that 40 years ago! Maybe 4 years ago. Sorry but new studies have shown that fat is not bad for you after less and exercise and enjoy some fat in your food and less sugar!

  • engelfarm
    May 21, 2007

    No comment left