Layered Macaroni Casserole Recipe

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"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
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 (16 ounces) fat-free cottage cheese
  • 1-1/2 cups (6 ounces) shredded reduced-fat cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 cup dry bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted

Nutritional 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.


  1. 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.
  2. Meanwhile, cook macaroni according to package directions; drain. Add cottage cheese.
  3. In a 13-in. x 9-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.
  4. Combine topping ingredients; sprinkle over sauce. Bake, uncovered, at 325° for 40-45 minutes. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving. Yield: 8 servings.
Originally published as Layered Macaroni Casserole in Light & Tasty October/November 2001, p17

Medium-Bodied Red Wine

Enjoy this recipe with a medium-bodied red wine such as Chianti, Sangiovese, Malbec or Zinfandel.

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allaboutcookies86 User ID: 4740624 56738
Reviewed 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!"

sbuffman User ID: 1497756 32090
Reviewed 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 User ID: 3317775 91474
Reviewed 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 User ID: 3346671 38649
Reviewed 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!"

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