Baked Mac and Cheese

  • laurac281 Posted: 10/23/11
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    My family absolutely LOVED this recipe! I made it EXACTLY as written, and it was not too dry...it was very flavorful too. I made sure to use good cheeses, the full fat variety that the recipe called for, as well as the 2% cottage cheese, and I think this made a huge difference. I've made it twice, and my daughter even said she wants me to pack it in her lunch! Now that's a good endorsement!

  • greenshamrock Posted: 10/26/11
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    I made this exactly as written except I did not have Panko so I used regular italian season flavored bread crumbs. This was delicious and so incredibly easy to make. My kids and husband loved it.

  • detailaddict Posted: 11/17/11
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    I had initially given this recipe 3 stars with plans to tweak, but after having made it a second time, I don't think there will be a third. I used a full 16-oz. carton of cottage cheese (albeit 1% no-salt-added) to address the dryness from the first time and extra sharp cheddar; but upon tasting it before it went into the oven I found it to be bland and the cheddar barely detectable. I added 1/4tsp. more salt, another oz. of cheddar and some pasta water and it still tasted just ok. As it happened I was making it for another family so there wasn't time to experiment further and after topping it into the oven it went. I'm a bit embarrassed to be sending this off for someone else to eat; hopefully they're not as picky as I am. In the future I'll be sticking with the more cheddar-y recipes.

  • Barkly Posted: 11/19/11
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    I made this exactly as written and it was both bland and dry. I don't expect macaroni and cheese to be a boldly flavored dish, but the paucity of cheese made this seem to be baked pasta and not much more. WalMart's boxed macaroni made with skim milk & one tbsp of unsalted butter is better and is probably not that much worse for us. Just a waste of cottage cheese, of good cheddar & parmesan, and even of panko.

  • BBecker7686 Posted: 12/03/11
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    I added a little Harvey cream since I had it on hand, so it was not dry. I think it's worth making again. My son, who is not a big fan of mac and cheese, loved it.

  • ErinWard Posted: 10/25/11
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    I made this recipe as written, with the exception of substituting whole-wheat penne and 1% cottage cheese, and it came out sour tasting and very dry. There are much better mac and cheese recipes on Cooking Light, and I won't be making this one again!

  • jgcookin Posted: 11/08/11
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    Impressive how great the blended cottage cheese works! I didn't have cheddar so used part gruyere and part emmentaler along with the parm and it was awesome. Used 1% cottage cheese since it was all I could find and dried (home grown) parsley with Panko on top. Added some extra pepper with some ground red pepper at the end.

  • mrscrazyed Posted: 11/28/11
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    I wasn't expecting much from this recipe given the cottage cheese and the fact that I always use low-fat cheddar. However, DH raved about this. HUH?! He's a high-fat dairy eater and always notices when I go low. His comment with this was, "Where's the bread to sop up all this good stuff?" Admittedly I made some changes: half the amount of pasta (we just don't eat that much), nonfat instead of 2% cottage cheese, sharp low-fat cheddar instead of regular, and omitted the Panko and parsley altogether. (We don't like "crisp" mac and cheese.) I didn't bother to broil at all; just baked it for 15 minutes in individual serving dishes. If protein is needed/wanted, I would suggest adding some diced ham before baking. With my modifications (sans the ham), each serving came out to 200 calories. All and all, this is a wonderful, healthy replacement for a traditional comfort food.

  • boatyL Posted: 11/13/11
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    I tried this because it looked quick and simple enough for a weeknight recipe, and it is! (It's not as rich and creamy as my usual recipe, but I hardly ever have time to make that one). A couple of changes...I used whole wheat shells and wasn't too thorough about draining them, so that gave a little extra liquid to the sauce. I didn't have panko, but I thought the recipe looked like it was going to be bland, so I crunched up some parmesan garlic kettle potato chips (I know, I know...extra salt and fat) to throw on top and somehow, that helped it pass the "Can I make it again?" test with my family. They said yes.

  • simmig Posted: 12/14/11
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    Meh.... I was excited to make this recipe after reading it in the magazine. After reading the reviews, I was skeptical, but, I had all the ingredients at home so I decided it to give it a try. I made several changes to the recipe. I added in some feta cheese crumbles and oregano to give it some more flavor. My version was a more "Mediterranean" style dish. I made sure it was flavorful before I baked it. The family did not rave about it so I am not sure that I would make it again though.

  • tammyfaust Posted: 11/22/11
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    With a little tweaking,this recipe was great! I reduced the amount of pasta a bit, added some chunks of smoked ham ( to make it more of a dinner entree) and a little fat free 1/2 & 1/2 to make it creamy. The cooking time was way off though. I baked as indicated for 10 minutes, but was still just luke warm. I then increased the time incrementally by 10 minutes for a total of 35 minutes. During the last 15 minutes of cooking, I covered the casserole w/ foil. I also baked this in a 9x9 glass dish. Keeping the casserole thicker and w/ the foil covering, kept it moister. I serve this w/ canned chopped tomatoes to put on top. This recipe now will replace the standard, high calorie, high fat mac & cheese my family made. My son really loved it too!

  • awil0405 Posted: 11/18/11
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    This was awful. After reading the other reviews, I added some of the pasta and some milk and it was still dry. What sauce there was ended up clumpy and sour. CL has some excellent mac and cheese recipes; this is not one of them.

  • signature1 Posted: 11/01/11
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    I made this tonight and thought it was too dry. My 4 y/o liked it, but next time I will add some milk and extra cheese.

  • nallix Posted: 12/04/11
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    I was a bit skeptic of getting robust flavors out of cottage cheese and a small amount of sharp cheddar but the Parmesan really adds a great, sharp finish. I added a little boneless diced ham for a bit of flavor and to make it more like an entre.

  • Beccaroo73 Posted: 11/21/11
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    This was great! Super simple to make and really yummy. Filled my craving for mac and cheese. I used white cheddar since orange cheddar is hard to find in the country I live in, so it had a nice, mild flavor. This will definitely go in my recipe rotation.

  • dinkydoo Posted: 11/18/11
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    Very bland, best part was the crunchy topping.

  • cshgt1 Posted: 11/04/11
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    I agree CL has better mac and cheese recipes but this one was good. Kids asked for more. I made with 1% cottage cheese, and had 3 pieces of left over cooked bacon I sprinkled on top. Added nice flavor, but pretty sure that changes it to Cooking FAT! :)

  • Eliznapoli Posted: 11/07/11
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    After reading the reviews, I made the following changes to keep it moist - and to add a little more flavor. First, I used small whole grain shells, and then scooped them from the water into the bowl instead of draining. So, a little more liquid probably ended up in the pasta. Then I added smoked cumin and a bit of crushed red pepper flakes to the sauce. And since I only had a couple of tablespoons of cottage cheese left after blending, I added that to the finished mix. I would still probably add some herbs of some sort the next time - maybe thyme? But overall a good recipe. But I can see why kids would like this as written - pretty bland! Oh yeah, I also used pecorino romano instead of parmesean!

  • hcwood Posted: 12/19/11
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    I was skeptical, but this recipe turned out really yummy! When I processed the cottage cheese I added a scoop of minced garlic, which really added a lot of flavor. My husband who is not a fan of healthy alternatives loved it! Will definitely make again, thanks for the recipe!

  • mpbr18 Posted: 11/01/11
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    I made this recipe as written. I found it to be a bit dry. My husband thought it didn't have enough cheese. I might try adding some low fat milk next time.

  • leticiaglee Posted: 12/08/11
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    DID NOT LIKE AT ALL! I followed the recipe exactly. The reggiano parmesan overtook this dish. I absolutely love homemade mac and cheese. This dish was just not what I was expecting. Definitely will not make again. Cottage cheese gone to a waste.

  • MaryEliz Posted: 09/25/12
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    Dry and bland. Re-made it later with more of all the cheeses, garlic, some turkey bacon and a bit of pasta water and it was still blah. Won't make again.

  • KCSeattle Posted: 02/23/13
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    This was pretty good! It was super easy and fast to make, so I'll definitely make it again on a week night. It was a bit dry, even with some pasta water added, but it wasn't so dry that I didn't like it. I added some garlic powder and extra pepper to give it a bit more flavor. I also used ricotta cheese instead of cottage.

  • meredith10 Posted: 03/10/12
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    I also used only half the pasta to cut back on carbs. I also added 1 can of drained tuna and 2 cups of frozen peas as I used to put them in my old mac and cheese recipe. I cooked it about 25 min. to get it hot and bubbly.

  • emestevez Posted: 08/15/12
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    I was very skeptical at first, but have made this dish on repeated occasions. My husband and I both love it. My grocery store doesn't sell 12oz containers of cottage cheese; only 16 oz containers, so I end up putting all 16 oz in (otherwise the leftover 4 oz would go to waste). Maybe that's why I didn't have a similar experience with the dryness. I also throw a garlic clove in the food processor. This dish definitely tastes better than it looks!

  • koozl19 Posted: 04/09/12
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    I added 2 cloves of minced garlic to the cheese sauce which added some good flavor. I'd suggest either doubling the cheese sauce or doing one and a half, because I found this dish to be dry once the pasta was mixed in. (I even added some of the pasta water as another reviewer suggested.) If you do more sauce, use a larger pan for baking. The taste is fine...slightly tangy from the cottage cheese. Could probably substitute ricotta cheese too.

  • carolfitz Posted: 04/11/12
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    Seriously, don't make this. Save your time & money -- just think how rarely folks give such low ratings to CL recipes. Too bad I didn't read the reviews first. We made to directions only subbing a combo of parm & asiago for all-parm. Out of the oven and on the plate it looked exactly like the magazine. But what a waste of quality ingredients.

  • SoleilVA Posted: 03/30/12
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    I think this is pretty good - would have given it a 3.5 if possible. It's not ever going to taste like full fat mac and cheese, but it's a decent substitute that can actually be hard to stop eating. The sauce has a tangy flavor, which my husband and I liked, and we kind of wanted to keep eating but stopped at one portion each. (OK, plus a few extra noodles for me when I put it away.) I found it very easy to make and I've made it twice; agree it can be dry/bland and have some tips on preparation: 1) Leave the cottage cheese in the food processor a long time, let it get really smooth and liquid-like. 2) Use a really good cheddar. I could tell the difference when I used a better one. 3) Use Pecorino Romano instead of Parmesan; it has more salt and flavor. 4) When you drain the pasta, save some of the water and add it to the cheese/pasta mixture while combining. This will help it stay more sauced and creamy in the oven. 5) Use the 11 x 17 dish. The depth is important for moisture.

  • lovefoodmom Posted: 08/07/13
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    my family absolutely love this recipe it is delicious the best Thin, not going to ever make anyother I'm going to use it for all of my holidays thank you guys so much

  • sukeedog Posted: 05/04/14
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    Yummy. The cottage cheese blend (I used ricotta since I had some on hand) was delicious, though we did find the dish to be a bit dry even after adding in some pasta water. I probably would add some milk to the cheese mixture if we made it again.

  • Emz101 Posted: 07/06/13
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    This recipe wasn't bad with some additions, but since I don't really like pasta I probably wouldn't make it again. I added 2 cloves of garlic, garlic salt, extra pepper, asparagus in with the pasta and tomatos on top and I found it very flavorful. I had never eaten cottage cheese and it wasn't as gross as I thought it would be. I didn't find it dry or flavorless at all but that could be because of everything I added to it.

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