I replaced the tomato sauce with BBQ sauce as another reviewer suggested and it was fabulous! My only gripe was the number of pots/pans to clean on a work night. Will make again.
This simple casserole is delicious. Everyone enjoyed it. I doubled the recipe to make one to freeze. To freeze it, I prepared it up to the point where you put it in the oven. I put it in an aluminum 13x9 utility pan, and covered it tightly with heavy duty aluminum foil. Labeled it, and as soon as it was cool, put it in the freezer. To bake it, let it thaw completely, and bake as directed or until bubbly and heated through.
"Mom, this is NOT going on the list." Ended up throwing away the whole pan. Very bland woth of "off" taste.
I added a can of diced tomatoes, mushrooms and black olives. Used ground turkey instead of beef, 2% milk, bowtie pasta and the Mexican blend cheese. Put some breadcrumbs and parmesan on top before baking it. Delicious!
very Bland unless you do add ins. No one wanted seconds and my 5 year old who loves macaroni wouldn't eat more than two bites
I was looking for a quick dinner, and came upon this recipe. Had some of the ingredients for a Mac and Cheese but this looked very interesting. Got hamburg, followed the recipe, mostly. did not coat the elbows with cooking spray or the casserole dish. Used super sharp cheddar cheese. Used dry mustard, 1/2 tsp in the cheese sauce, no nutmeg. On top of the rest of the cheese, i crushed Ritz crackers, and sprinkled parmesan cheese and broiled it after cooking for a little crisp on the top. It was good, we enjoyed it, The other changes i made were to add a tiny bit of oregano in the meat. I thought the cheese would be overpowering, but was not, Also i did not cook the pasta fully, about 7 minutes so it would not turn to mush with more cooking and it came out great.
Read the reviews and added seasonings to both the meat sauce and cheese sauce. Still lacking something though.
followed others' suggestions, which made this a good comfort dish! my quick recap, which is a conglom of many: put cajun spice in the gr sirloin, added sweet red pepper, did half carrot shreds and zucchini. didn't make the cheese sauce, but put in directly colby jack and pepper jack, all with rotini mixed with 1.5 c homemade marinara. didn't bake either, served from stovetop. we all had 2 helpings!! will probably make again.
This was really good and my two teenagers and husband ate 2 helpings each. Like a lot of reviewers I used a can of whole tomatoes and chopped them up, I also sliced 2 fresh jalapeño and added to the veggies when they were sautéing . We like more seasoning so I used some seasoned salt and fresh pepper. I did not have fat free milk so I used 2%. A nice comforting dish for a weeknight.
My son loved this recipe. He works outside all day so coming home to a hot cheesy plate of ground beef and macaroni is right up his alley. This is a good meal for all your hungry men out there!
This is a very good recipe! I made it for lunch today, and it was a hit! I'm sure it would be good for a potluck as well. I did make some slight alterations however. I used Rotini noodles instead or elbows, only one heaping teaspoon of garlic, and mixed cheeses. A word of caution though, you may want to leave out the nutmeg. I found the flavor a touch overpowering. If you decide not to skip it, you may wish to use a stronger cheese, (such as Colby Jack, or sharp cheddar) The carrots were not our favorite either.
This dish is NOT bland if you get a little creative with it. I cooked up the ground beef with some cajun seasoning and added some cayenne pepper for a kick. I also added 1-2tsp of Dijon mustard to the cheese sauce. The combination of flavors is actually pretty good! It's like a mac and cheese with beef that has a little kick. I also topped it with breadcrumbs before baking. Adding more veggies to the dish would also be very simple, as it makes plenty of cheese sauce to cover some more food. Overall, it's a quick and tasty weeknight meal.
Made this as directed. It was good, but next time, I'll try what others have done, added a but more seasoning and peppers and substitute chopped tomatoes for the sauce. I think it will kick it up to a tastier dish.
Made this last night. Instead of using tomato sauce, I added a can of chopped tomatoes with chilis. It added a punch to the dish. We liked this dish and will make it again with other add-ins.
We love this recipe & I've been making it for years. I always add 3/4 cup of chopped bell pepper (whatever color I have), extra garlic, oregano & 1 tbsp of tomato paste to the meat. The biggest change I make is upping the sauce by half & using regular extra sharp cheddar. I have found that an 11X7 is too small (drips & makes a mess), so usually make it in a deep square baker. Leftovers are great for quick meals.
Made this tonight and all 5 kids and husband loved it! I seasoned the meat a bit more, added some Cajun seasoning, and used cheddar cheese. For the cheese sauce, I used corn starch instead of flour, and reduced the ground nutmeg by half, and used 2% milk. I also used Prego traditional sauce instead of tomato sauce, and used a whole jar with 1.5 lbs of lean ground beef, and a 12 oz box of Hidden Veggie elbow pasta. I mixed the cheese sauce into the pasta mixture instead of pouring on top. I may try putting it on top next time. I will be adding this to our favorite recipes!
Good recipe. Added more tomato sauce including a can of El Pato (Mexican tomato sauce) which gave it a little heat. Family went back for seconds...
We enjoyed this recipe. I used ground beef, but it was still good. Tabasco was a nice touch too. Erin
It has all the right ingredients for an easy kid-friendly meal, and hopes were high, but it just failed. We all ate it, but no one wanted seconds and everyone asked that I delete it from my recipe file. I tried adding some taco seasoning to the leftovers, thinking that would help. I was wrong.
Went back for seconds....except Gillian.
Kids LOVED this meal! Mom and dad loved it as well. Not fancy. Simple and perfect for a weeknight meal. Leftovers were just as good.
Really quite bland. This recipe seemed to have all the right ideas, but just didn't execute well. I'm trying to experiment with flavoring up the leftovers and make it something worthwhile, but I haven't discovered it yet. I won't make it again and hope to find something similar that's actually exciting and flavorful.
I suggest you double it! My family of 4 LOVED it! It would have been nice to have leftovers!!! :) Delish!
Subbed in about 2 c marinara sauce and used gouda since I had it on hand. Also used spicy turkey italian sausage. Tasted good and kids chowed down. No one even noticed my finely chopped carrots. Will add more veggies when I have them. Easy pantry meal for us.
Made this tonight and it was super yummy. Both my husband a 3 year old loved it. I didn't have any carrots so I added some spinach.
Yum. Great family meal!
Deceptively simple recipe that tastes much better expected. It is now a regular part of our menu rotation. I also added some petite diced tomatoes just because we like the tomato chunks.
One of our favorites.
Wonderful weeknight meal. I followed the advice of some of the other reviewers and added 2 cups of marinara instead of the 1 cup of tomato sauce but other than that didn't change a thing. Delicious meal .
This recipe is DEFINITELY going into our regular rotation! I only made two changes: I only had 1c of sharp cheddar, so I used 1/2 c of the pepper jack that I had and mixed it with 1/2 c of cheddar for the sauce and used the remaining 1/2 c cheddar on the top. I also used cornstarch (1T) instead of flour for the cheese sauce, but only because it's what I had on hand. I also added a can (drained) of petite diced tomatoes. My entire family had seconds and have all suggested alterations we can try the next time I make this. Absolutely a winner!
My family enjoyed this casserole and never said a thing about the veggies inside. They didn't seem to notice. I loved it and will definitely make it again!
This was so good. I don't know why people thought it was so bland. I really liked it and I made it exactly as written expect for omitting the onions. I thought it was just the right combination of flavors and you can't even taste the carrots they just add texture. I can't wait to make this again.
Made it exactly as recipe was written and my family loved it. It was a great weeknight family meal, and we will make it again, for sure!
This recipe was a huge hit with my husband and kids. The only substitution that I made was to replace the tomato sauce with spaghetti sauce, other than that I made it exactly as directed. Highly recommend!
Good recipe. I followed other reviewers' advice and used marinara sauce instead of plain tomato sauce. I used whole grain pasta and diced carrots. Very tasty...no complaints.
Enjoyed this even more the second day! Added some Italian seasoning and a little more nutmeg to the cheese sauce.
I used sausage instead of ground sirloin, it was fantastic.....I also used fresh garlic & added some sweet red peppers.....
I like this recipe even the 2nd time I made it, but can only give it 3 stars because as written that's probably all it deserves. I followed the advice in the reviews and with minor changes, I think it is a 4-star recipe. 1) I used marinara sauce (and 2x as much) instead of tomato sauce; 2) at least doubled the garlic 3) added some crushed red pepper; and 4) added about 1 tsp of Italian seasoning. I used the Dutch oven to make the cheese sauce which saved a pan. Also, I'm not sure how you could add the cheese sauce into the 11x7 pan AND stir, so I just put the pasta/beef mixture in the 11x7 pan until the cheese sauce is done and then stir the mixture in the Dutch oven.
Good recipe. I used a can of diced tomatoes with green chiles and marinara sauce in place of the tomato sauce. Everyone loved it from my husband to my two year old. Will definatley make again.
My boyfriend's children love this recipe! Doubled up on the seasoning.
Can see how this would be good for kids and other picky eaters. A nice way to sneak in some extra veggies. We found we needed more flavor.. would add more onion and garlic next time, a tomato sauce with some zip, and definitely NOT cracker barrel's brand of reduced fat cheese. While good for kids.. we didn't find the serving size to be that filling.. a decent recipe, but will probably not make again. ================= update With changes, this recipe has become a cool-weather comfort for us. We added more onion and garlic, but switching from the suggested Cracker Barrel cheese to Cabot brand 50% reduced fat cheese made the biggest flavor impression. We also changed the servings from eight to six, to make them more substantial but still 'light.'. NOW this recipe is a keeper for us.
I made this last night and my 1 yr old LOVED it! My 9 yr old not so much as he is hard to please. Me and hubby grubbed on it as well, but I do think it needs some cajan or some type of spice as it was a little bland. Other than that, I highly recommend this for a quick family meal!
I feel like this is a good base for a great recipe. I found it to be bland. Could use additional spices somewhere along the way. In 5 minutes of brainstorming came up with 3 different ways to make this: italian style (using more garlic, oregano and basil), bbq style (subbing bbq sauce in for tomato -- would increase sugar/calories) and sloppy joe style (would also increase sugar/calories). The cheese sauce was fab, though.
Very tasty. All I changed up was using whole wheat pasta.
The family enjoyed it. I didn't use nutmeg and I used more salt and pepper. I also used one percent milk. The next day I sprinkled a little cayenne pepper on the leftovers.
This dish was pretty good, and my husband liked it. I would use a little less nutmeg in the cheese sauce next time. Unlike some other reviewers, my cheese sauce came out perfectly smooth and creamy. The trick is to make sure the milk is heated and thickened before slowly adding in the cheese. I did not use reduced fat cheese, so that might have helped, too. Also, I followed some of the other reviewers advice and slightly undercooked the pasta prior to adding it to the mixture and used 2 cups of pasta sauce (instead of the 1 cup of tomato sauce). This worked out perfectly. I tasted the beef/macaroni mixture before putting it in the oven so that I could adjust the seasoning. I will probably make this dish again.
Waaay better than hamburger helper. And versatile. I did add additional seasoning. I'll take reader suggestion on adding green pepper. I used flat egg noodles since I didn't have elbows and a can of diced tomatoes instead of tomato sauce.
This was very tasty but seemed lacking something. I think I'm comparing to three cheese casserole. But, still a good recipe. A crowd pleaser.
Delicious and easy to make, and the kids really like it.
Good recipe BUT next time I will... Not cook the noodles as the package directs (should have caught this but didn't account for the additional cooktime in the oven so my noodles were overcooked), use less salt in the cheese sauce... it was way too salty, add more tomato sauce (about 1/4c more) or use the drained seasoned tomatoes as someone else did, and add green bell pepper for more flavor.
Good! Sub'd turkey instead of beef & it turned out really well!
This dish is great with the addition of one can of diced tomatoes with garlic and oregano (drained). It adds the perfect amount of flavor and more veggies. I also mix some italian seasoned breadcrumbs with a bit of melted butter and spread on top about 5 minutes before I take it out of the oven. I gave it 4 stars because it is pretty bland as it is written, but it is a very versatile base that can be manipulated many different ways.
This was pretty good but needed a boost in comfort factor and flavor. I substituted the cooking spray with 2 tsp of bacon fat, added 1 tb of steak sauce, used fresh onions, garlic and carrot, substituted the fat free milk with half and half and used normal cheddar instead of low fat and increased the amount to 2 cups. It made 4 realistic size servings instead 8 little ones. It was cleaned up.
We like our food wetter than most. I used a 26-oz can of spaghetti sauce instead of the can of tomato sauce the original recipe called for. Comfort food at its best.
Pretty bland,didn't really care for.
Kid friendly, husband friendly, and waistline friendly... this is a keeper! I used a little more tomato sauce than called for, as it seemed a bit dry before I put the cheese sauce over top. It worked out well. I also used whole wheat elbow noodles and fresh minced garlic then added some parsley. I think you could add lots of different veggies to make new combinations. I served this dish with steamed green beans and everyone loved it.
Great comfort food! This recipe is easy to make, tasty and family-friendly. It also freezes and reheats well.
Very good. The cheese sauce is great, but it needs a little more flavor than tomato sauce I think.
Very good and flavorful. I doubled the recipe and it came out awesome!
I have made cheese sause before, this was pretty blah! I would probably do without this cheese sause and just top with cheese. Its basically a beefaroni...nobody really cared for this...not even the kids!
Incredibly flavorful. Tasty! The cheese and carrots went together great. Did require quite a few pots, though.
This has become an absolute favorite around here! I also have made it for company and the kids at my son's school and everyone loves it! A few small changes are that I use ground turkey instead of ground beef, and when I pour the milk/flour/cheese mixture over the top of the meat and noodles, I do not mix it in. I spread it around evenly over the top. I think the topping absolutely makes the dish!
My family loved this. Easy and quick and my 11-year-old, whose tastes run to chicken fingers and hot dogs exclusively, ate every bit of it. Plus we love the leftovers! I followed the advice of other reviewers and used high-quality pasta sauce instead of plain tomato sauce.
Great easy recipe! I prepped it the night before and threw it in the oven when I got home from work. Me, my husband, our 5 year old and our 17 month old loved it! Awesome for recipes too! I thought it needed way more that 1 cup of sauce, especially since mine was going to sit in the fridge overnight. I used 2 cups and it came out perfect. Will make again!!
I added some mushrooms - it was very good.
I really liked this dish, even my most pickest eater had seconds. I'll put it into the rotation. I used turkey instead of beef and I added some cream cheese for taste.
This is alot of food! My husband, one year old and I ate it for three days. We enjoyed the recipe but it was a little bland so next time I will add some bell pepper. Overall very pleased with the recipe since my little girl is extreamly picky and she cleaned her plate every time we ate it.
This is now my "go to" goulash recipe. I used fresh minced garlic instead of bottled. It is great comfort food and a good choice when my grandchildren pay a visit! Very delicious!
I'd recommend cooking the beef separately and draining off the fat, even if using lean ground beef. Otherwise, a good, solid starter-recipe great just as written. Change it up to a 4 star recipe by adjusting the veggies, cheese, sauce, etc. to your preferences. I added a cup (equal 2 cups raw) of Day-by-Day Vegetable Medley (MyRecipes.com) and 4 oz. of fresh baby spinach.
I didn't really like this recipe. There wasn't enough sauce and I found there was too much cheese. The recipe was easy to make with basic ingredients but I won't be making this again.
I wouldn't make this again. As other reviewers have said, it is very bland. I like the idea of it but think there are much better options out there. I did everything exactly as suggested and just was not impressed; I wish I had read the other reviews before committing myself to this.
I make this at least once a week. Family loves it! We had to learn to not eat all of it at once to save some for leftovers. Kid hates vegetables and knows there are carrots in this, but doesn't care since it's all mixed up and tastes great. The only thing I alter in this recipe is that I'll use whatever tomato sauce is on hand.
Great solid recipe for a weeknight meal. Definitely a healthy mac and cheese or hamburger helper substitute. I would definitely make this again, but I would spice it up a little bit next time in place of the salt. Bell peppers would also be a good addition as many other reviewers noted. It also makes great leftovers for the lunch the next day.
I found it to be somewhat bland. Definitely a good basic recipe to add to and spice up. I like the idea that someone else had with bell pepper, perhaps red ones.
This recipe was good.. kids loved it! I served it with garlic bread and a side salad. Sure beats Hamburger Helper. The only suggestion I have is to make sure you season the cheese sauce it seemed kinda bland but overall great.
Due to what was on hand I used whole milk and regular pre-shredded cheese. With the exception of those two items I followed the recipe exactly. I found it to be too salty. I usually don't use salt. Instead I opt for herbs and spices to add flavor. Perhaps due to the "low-fat" ingredients the recipe asked for more salt than usual. Definitely good. The hubs & kids enjoyed it and completely easy to make. Will make again.
This is great comfort food. I followed the recipe exactly w/ a few small exceptions. I used long, ridged, curly elbow noodles since my store was out of plain elbows. They take a little longer to cook, but everyone liked them. Also, the only "cooking spray" I had was for baking w/ flour in it. So, I opted to toss the noodles w/ a TBSP of butter instead of coating them w/ cooking spray. Other than that I followed the recipe exactly, and we all enjoyed it, including the leftovers. I served w/ green salad. Not fancy enough for company, but great for a weeknight dinner.
Addictively good, and makes for great leftovers!
Nice on a cold evening. Does take 3 pots - but you can clean up while it's baking. I will make again with some changes: either go Italian with spaghetti sauce and added oregano and basil, or Mexican with Mexican stewed tomatoes, green chillies, added chilli powder and cumin. Also will add bell pepper to onion mix. Son ate 2 servings, but rated 2.5 stars.
Good basic recipe for an everyday meal. It is nothing spectacular but it was filling and tasty. I served it with a salad. I following the directions exactly. Next time I may add some red or green bell pepper in with the onion and add more carrots so that there are more veggies.
This was wonderful! A great "comfort" food....perfect for cool weather. My mom used to make something like this..... I pretty much pulverized the carrots in my food processor, so my hubby or daughter wouldn't detect them, but wanted them in there as carrots add a nice sweetness to tomato based sauces. It was a great one dish meal and I LOVED the cheese sauce for it as well. I cleaned the kitchen while it cooked--love that! Great with a green salad and bread. Will add to my favorites!
Down with the flu my husband craved Hamburger Helper (poor man) but he can't have MSG. Happily, I found this recipe and it was great. Good comfort food and low cal. Another bonus, the sauce recipe would be good spooned over steamed broccoli.
this was delicious and even the kids ate it. I did use ground turkey and I still think it tasted really good. I would make this again. I doubled the recipe and the leftovers were great as well. I did omit the carrots and the nutmeg.
Good and quick recipe, made faster if you have the money to spend on precut veggies at the grocery. However, it needed something, added salt at the end made it better. I will try this again but I will add a minced jalepeno, more garlic and black pepper. Good starter receipe, you just need to make it your own. Served with a salad and B&B, a little wine and you have a good meal with plenty of leftovers if there are only two of you.
When I served it, my husband said "oh, goulash!", as it seemed to resemble a dish my husband's mother made him as a child. While it is nothing fancy, it is a perfectly good recipe for hearty meal during the work week. Actually, I am sitting at my desk right now eating the leftovers for lunch. I made it with what I had on hand - ground turkey and jarred spaghetti sauce (Classico brand) and it turned out perfectly well. I may make a little extra milk sauce next time around.
Good recipe. Kids and husband liked it, but it is definitely glorified beefaroni. I added extra sauce - it looked really dry with only 1 c. I didn't alter seasonings, but should have since it could have been more flavorful. Also, homemade sauce would have made it much better. I used canned which gave it a sweeter flavor. Cheese sauce is good. Cooked in dutch oven rather than pan, and used pasta pot to make cheese sauce for easier cleanup. Mine didn't brown at 350, so I turned on the broiler the last few minutes. One hour from start to table including making a salad, slicing some bread, setting table and cleaning pots and pans while it cooked! Not bad for a from scratch recipe. 4-yr old picked out the carrots, but he ate the rest. I wouldn't say this makes 8 adult servings. For younger child, older child and 2 adults we can stretch it with a decent size serving for each, although I probably put in a little more than 8 oz of pasta (around 10 oz.). I would definitely tweak the recipe a little and make again.
This was pretty good. The "boys" liked it. In fact, 3 of us ate the whole thing in one sitting. Those tricky CL portions! It would have served 4 if my hardworking BF did not have such a huge appetite!
I carefully reviewed the entries that called this recipe bland, so I substituted the tomato sauce with the same amount of our favorite jarred pasta sauce (Perego Traditional) which added flavor. I didn't have lowfat sharp cheddar so to cut the fat grams of regular sharp cheddar I used equal portions of sharp cheddar, part-skim mozzarella and shredded parmesan. My girls came home early from their workout so there was no time to bake...just set under broiler til browned. Outstanding! And the three of us had no problem nearly finishing it! Oh, and we had fresh baby carrots on the side since my 16-year old would have never gone for the carrots in the dish. This will replace the mac and cheese entree we have had in the past!
after reading the reviews I decided just to use a few suggestions. I used cavatappi pasta to make it a little fancier, marinara in place of the tomato sauce & I added 1/8 t red pepper to the milk mixture. All else I kept the same. it turned out really good and not bland at all (I was really afraid of that). I didn't have time for a salad, but had some good crusty bread with it. I'm thinking the leftovers are going to be good too! Definitely a good weeknight dinner - am adding it to my recipe box.
Really good! My teen loved it, and so did I. We don't care for cooked carrots, so left them out altogether. Fabulous with a green salad and crusty bread. Great leftovers, too!