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Nutritional Info
  • Servings Per Recipe: 6
  • Amount Per Serving
  • Calories: 259.6
  • Total Fat: 7.9 g
  • Cholesterol: 12.9 mg
  • Sodium: 425.3 mg
  • Total Carbs: 39.5 g
  • Dietary Fiber: 4.1 g
  • Protein: 12.6 g

View full nutritional breakdown of Three-Cheese Macaroni from 'The SparkPeople Cookbook' calories by ingredient
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Three-Cheese Macaroni from 'The SparkPeople Cookbook'

Submitted by: CHEF_MEG
Three-Cheese Macaroni from 'The SparkPeople Cookbook'

Introduction

Cheesy, rich, delicious--just what you expect in macaroni and cheese. What you won't expect? 2/3 the fat and half the calories of the original!
Cheesy, rich, delicious--just what you expect in macaroni and cheese. What you won't expect? 2/3 the fat and half the calories of the original!

Number of Servings: 6

Ingredients

    For the Sauce:
    2 tbsp light butter
    2 tbsp all-purpose flour
    1 1⁄2 cups skim milk
    1 bay leaf
    1⁄8 onion, cut in a wedge
    2 cloves
    1⁄4 cup shredded reduced-fat Swiss
    cheese
    1⁄4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
    1⁄4 tsp salt
    1 pinch cayenne
    8 ounces whole-wheat elbow pasta, dry
    (see Note)
    6 slices turkey bacon, cooked and chopped
    1 slice whole-wheat bread, processed into
    crumbs
    2 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese

Tips

Like this recipe? It's from "The SparkPeople Cookbook: Love Your Food, Lose the Weight." Click here for more info.


Directions

If there is a food more comforting and satisfying than homemade macaroni and cheese, we haven’t found it. But a typical homemade recipe—made with cream, butter, and full-fat cheese—has about 400 calories and 25 grams of fat per serving; our version has a third of the fat and about 250 calories per cup. We slightly reduced the amount of cheese, used whole-wheat pasta, and chose flavorful ingredients to create a version that tastes good while cutting extra calories.
This recipe still keeps some fat, which is what adds flavor to this dish. You could make macaroni and cheese with fat-free cheese and no butter, but would you want to eat it?
Though it seems counterintuitive, eating a smaller quantity of a rich dish can be more satisfying than a larger quantity of a dish made with “filler” foods, those that have little flavor and nutritional value. This is a comfort food that you can feel good about eating.
My three boys love this dish. We usually serve it as a side dish rather than an entrée—it goes great with Spicy Turkey Mini Meatloaves (page 201) or just grilled chicken breasts. You can leave out the turkey bacon to make this dish vegetarian; add a pinch of dry mustard to the sauce for a
sharper flavor.


1. Preheat the oven to 375° F. Prepare a 9" x 13"
casserole dish with nonstick cooking spray.
2. Place the butter in a medium saucepan, melt
over medium-low heat, and cook until foaming.
Add the flour and stir well with a wooden
spoon for 1 to 2 minutes. Slowly pour in the
milk, whisking to incorporate.
3. Attach the bay leaf to the onion wedge using
the cloves. Drop the studded onion into the
milk mixture with the clove/bay leaf side down.
Cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture
thickens, about 15 minutes
4. Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to
package directions, but don’t salt the cooking
water.
5. Remove the studded onion from the sauce
and discard. Add the Swiss and cheddar
cheeses. Stir to combine and heat the sauce
until the cheese is just melted. Season with salt
and cayenne.
6. In a large mixing bowl, combine the sauce,
bacon, and cooked macaroni; toss to coat.
Combine the breadcrumbs and Parmesan in a
small bowl.
7. Pour the pasta mixture into the prepared
baking dish and top with the breadcrumbs and
Parmesan. Bake uncovered until bubbly and
golden, about 15 minutes.
Note: You can swap half the pasta for 3 cups of
blanched broccoli or cauliflower

Serving size: 1 heaping cup





TAGS:  Poultry |

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Member Ratings For This Recipe



  • 51 of 56 people found this review helpful
    If you substitute cooked chicken breast for the bacon you could probably save on the amount of salt in the nutritional figures. This would help for those with high blood pressure. - 1/6/11

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  • Incredible!
    40 of 40 people found this review helpful
    I skipped the salt and bacon (I don't cook with salt), and my family loved it.

    Other variation: panko crust instead of the breadcrumbs.

    I also really liked the commentary about "eating a small amount of rich food can be more satisfying..."; very helpful information. Thank you - 10/18/11

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  • 37 of 38 people found this review helpful
    Read the recipe carefully. The cloves are used as a pin to attach the bay leaf to the onion wedge. Then it is tossed. The onion, bay leaf and cloves are just for flavor, not to eat. - 10/6/11

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  • Very Good
    26 of 26 people found this review helpful
    This was really good. For those who said it was too many pans or time consuming....I made the bacon in the microwave, boiled the pasta and drained, made the cheese sauce in the pasta pot and mixed it all together in the pasta pot. - 8/5/12

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  • Incredible!
    24 of 25 people found this review helpful
    I didn't have any cloves or a bay leaf and I subbed in some minced ham deli meat instead of the bacon, low fat mozza for the swiss. I took the suggestion of the dry mustard and swapping out half the pasta with some blanched cauliflower. It was a little labour intensive but well worth the effort. - 1/27/12

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  • 17 of 45 people found this review helpful
    I think Chef Meg has a lot more time than I do. :) - 10/19/11

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  • Incredible!
    14 of 15 people found this review helpful
    SRCECIL: NO! Not cloves of garlic, but 2 whole cloves (the ones used on baked ham! Delicious! To cut out a little more sodium and fat, I used reduced fat cheddar, used soy-based bacon chips instead of the bacon, and left out the salt entirely--the cheeses are "salty" enough! - 10/6/11

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  • Incredible!
    9 of 9 people found this review helpful
    I love this recipe. I've made it at least 5 times since I bought the cookbook, and I use the sauce technique in 100s of other dishes (like tonight's rutabaga au gratin). It's always a pleasure to make; thanks Chef Meg! - 8/29/12

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  • 9 of 11 people found this review helpful
    I have found ff sour cream with low fat cheddar cheese and a lot of mushrooms instead of meat satifies my cheesy rich foods craving!! :) - 5/15/12

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  • Incredible!
    9 of 13 people found this review helpful
    I will try this, love onion in mac n cheese so I will use small amount of grated onion and pick out the cloves and bay leaf. I also will use Dreamfields pasta since it has only 5 carbs that impact the body. Taste great too. - 10/18/11

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  • Very Good
    8 of 8 people found this review helpful
    Very tasty recipe. My first homemade mac and cheese attempt and even my very picky 9 year old liked it, even though it didn't come out of a box. I will make again. - 10/6/11

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  • Incredible!
    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
    i just made this recipe and i thought it was really yummy a good hearty meal that satisfies your rich fatty food craving without the fatty food - 2/29/12

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  • Incredible!
    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
    This was a super recipe, a great way to disguise the taste of whole wheat pasta, the whole family loved it. I did not use the bacon, and I substituted with regular breadcrumbs. Delicious. - 11/7/11

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  • Good
    5 of 14 people found this review helpful
    I say 3 stars, my husband says 2. What am I going to do with the double-portion we made in good faith??? - 12/11/11

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  • Very Good
    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
    I made this tonight and the family liked it. I used 51% wheat pasta because I knew my 6 year old wouldn't touch the pasta if it was too dark. I also substituted "No Salt" for the salt. It was filling and tasty. I will try the cauliflower variation next time. Thanks for the recipe. - 9/25/11

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  • 4 of 11 people found this review helpful
    Haven't tried this yet, but will soon. I think I'll substitute tuna for the bacon. I LOVE the fact that the nutritional information is available by ingredient. That way when you substitute (or eliminate) anything, you can still get a fairly accurate count. - 1/16/12

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  • Very Good
    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
    Loved it, had to improvise some as no bay or clove, so bbouquet garni instead....dont think it needed breadcrumbs....
    A new favourite, dh enjoyed it too, he doesn't like mac cheese cause its usually too saucy - 1/4/12

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  • Very Good
    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
    Didn't like the sound of the cloves so missed these out, apart from that it tasted pretty good. - 1/3/12

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  • Very Good
    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
    lots of steps and pans, but worth the effort! I didn't use the turkey bacon and used Barilla plus pasta for a meatless meal. Once I got everything out and organized, it was on the table in 40 minutes tops. - 12/15/11

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  • 3 of 6 people found this review helpful
    I havn't made this yet but it sounds ok. Why can't the ingredients be given in grams or ounces as well as 'cups' whatever they are. It precludes anyone european from making them. - 8/28/12

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  • 3 of 3 people found this review helpful
    This was great! I had to be careful to limit myself to a portion size, though... This is in my meal rotation. - 8/25/12

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  • Incredible!
    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
    I luv this, recipe it sounds just perfect - 12/11/12

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  • Incredible!
    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
    Very healthy snack. - 10/8/12

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  • 1 of 1 people found this review helpful
    How long should I cook this recipe? The are 2 different cooking times listed. I didn't have Swiss cheese so subbed with Mozzarella cheese. - 4/21/12

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  • What are people using as "light butter?" - 2/1/14

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  • My husband nor I cared for this at all. - 1/10/14

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  • Did not have Bay leaf or cloves, so took the suggestion for the mustard; used onion salt and garlic salt. Still lacked something in flavor, so add a bit more of something next time. Used Planko crumbs on top. Did not put the turkey bacon as I was serving as a side with chicken. Will try again. - 1/2/14

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  • Looks too dark to me. - 12/11/13

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  • Loved the combination of spice flavors but did sub cauliflower for some of the pasta!
    - 10/6/13

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  • I miss getting my Spark Points from these recipes. But I still enjoy the recipes. - 10/6/13

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  • Although this is good, I like the mac and cheese recipe in Spark Solutions better and that has more fiber in it with the addition of the cannellini beans. - 10/6/13

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  • I enjoyed it very much. Simple to make and tasted really good! - 7/26/13

    Reply from CHEF_MEG (8/7/13)
    Thanks! My family loves it.
    Chef Meg


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  • Excellent mac and cheese recipe! - 6/3/13

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  • Too much cheese doesn't agree with me. - 6/3/13

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  • This looks like a great make ahead meal. I'm gonna try it. - 6/3/13

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  • Ewww I would not be using light butter. I don't sacrifice health for weight loss. Too many preservatives in that butter. Could also be GMO since the butter contains food starch and they don't say if it's corn starch or not!!! - 6/3/13

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  • This sounds delish! Much, much healthier than Kraft Deluxe (which is made with GMO). - 6/3/13

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  • Pretty good tasting! ;) - 5/22/13

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  • my hubby loves mac and cheese and this might just be the way to get him to eat a healthier version. - 4/17/13

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  • I just made it. It was awesome. I mixed broccoli right into the pan and cooked it. My kids devoured it. I didn't add bacon. or cayenne pepper. Awesome. - 4/1/13

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  • I made it without bacon and panko instead of bread crumbs. Very tasty. - 3/24/13

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  • Was a hit with the whole family. Thanks - 3/24/13

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  • I used canned white crab (no bacon) whole wheat flour and left the bread crumbs out. - 3/24/13

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  • mmmm - 3/24/13

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  • I have made this three times now and it is wonderful. I skip the cloves and onion bit, that's a hassle, awesome recipe! - 2/26/13

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  • Loved it! Flavourful and filling. I added the broccoli. - 2/25/13

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  • I corrected an error in the amount of flour figured which was entered as .3 C when 2 tbsp actually translates to .125 C. That made quite a difference in calories. - 2/13/13

    Reply from CHEF_MEG (2/13/13)
    The calories for the flour listed in the recipe are for the total recipe rather than the serving. Hope this helps. Chef Galvin


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  • cant wait to try it - 2/9/13

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  • I am making this tomorrow.I will use chicken rather than bacon though. - 2/3/13

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  • Magnifique! Easy to make and better than Kraft! I left out the turkey bacon and each serving is 30 calories less. Great comfort food!!! - 1/27/13

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  • Great! - 1/27/13

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  • this was really good. i couldn't find reduced fat swiss so i used reduced fat cheddar instead. Super rich taste for not that many calories :] - 1/24/13

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  • awesome - 1/21/13

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  • 0 of 1 people found this review helpful
    I have to try this - 1/16/13

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  • This is my first time making a Sparkpeople recipe. This was very good. I can definitely see a number of variations. - 1/14/13

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  • gonna eat this tomorrow. oh yeah - 1/11/13

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  • made this very very good - 1/3/13

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  • Yum! - 1/2/13

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  • Very good and I removed the bacon all together - 1/2/13

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  • Just curious, I'm thinking about making this and freezing before baking...has anyone tried that yet? - 10/17/12

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  • I wish the recipes had an amount of how much a serving is. That would be so helpful.
    I have to watch my carbs because of diabetes.
    - 10/7/12

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  • Too time consuming. My family did like it but not enough to try again. - 10/6/12

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  • I used Panko Crumbs and left out the bacon. We really liked it. - 10/6/12

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  • I like the touch of cayenne for heat, and using homemade breadcrumbs for the topping. This strikes me as a very sensible comfort food recipe, except for the cloves--can't quite wrap my head around that clove flavor instilled into mac & cheese. - 10/6/12

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  • Incredible!
    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
    Very satisfying!!! - 8/18/12

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  • Incredible!
    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
    Surprisingly my husband even loved it :) I omitted the bacon. I also did not have whole cloves, so just used ground. This just made that flavor stay in the sauce more. It was good even with that change. I also used almond milk as we don't have cow's milk in the house. Very creamy and delicious. - 8/17/12

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  • Tried this tonight. Used chicken bacon. It was good but I don't like having so many different dishes to wash. I enjoyed it, the kids were not too thrilled they like the Kraft mac & cheese. - 7/30/12

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  • sounds really good
    - 7/27/12

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  • Made this tonight. Left out the bacon and included the mustard powder. It is a good light version of mac and cheese. My husband and teens loked it too. - 7/24/12

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  • tried this dish with 30% less fat cheese and cauliflower both were great - 7/15/12

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  • 0 of 2 people found this review helpful
    i'm supposed to eat gluten-free, so this is just a dream for now. - 7/5/12

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  • Could use more flavor. Maybe pimentos? - 6/26/12

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  • We added spinach to this and it was delish! I've never had cooked spinach before and this was AMAZING way to start my (hopefully) love-affair with spinach! - 6/24/12

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  • rate this very good. Husband loved it. - 6/24/12

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  • Ok but tasted better - 6/18/12

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  • so tasty! - 6/11/12

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  • I've read the sparks peoples book and its not suppose to be 1 heaping cup its only suppose to be 2/3 cups. just a quick fyi for everyone but im excited to make this :D - 5/31/12

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  • will make this for tea tomorrow , sounds and looks lovely. - 5/27/12

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  • My hubbyand I loove cheese so I added another 1/2 cup of cheese and left out the bacon. It was very tasty! I used the "create a recipe makeover" button to adjust the ingredients and get an accurate calorie count. - 5/22/12

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  • Not as cheesy as I expected. - 5/19/12

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  • I think this is 300 calories even - 5/2/12

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  • MY family actually prefers whole wheat pasta. Left out the bacon and added tuna instead. Yummy - 5/2/12

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  • Loved It! I follow a gluten free diet, so had to make some adjustments, which were not difficult. - 4/22/12

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  • Mine actually came out a little bland. It wasn't very cheesy tasting to me. I think next time I'll add a little more cheese to it. - 4/7/12

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  • This recipe was WAY more trouble than it was worth! I had to make it 3 times because I had no help from my hubby and had to cook while taking care of my toddler. So I burned the sauce twice.

    As it goes, I prefer a juicier mac n cheese and this was outright dry. - 4/3/12

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  • Very tasty! It tasted more like a noodle casserole than mac n' cheese, but still, very delicious! I love onion in mac n' cheese so I chopped up half an onion and left it in there. I put a pinch of ground cloves and just fished out the bay leaf. Also used 1/2 cup panko instead of bread. Super yummy! - 4/3/12

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  • Used low-sodium turkey bacon limit. Recipe is delicious! All I could do to get leftovers put away before my boyfriend ate it all! :) - 3/27/12

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  • I made this recipe for My Easter Dinner, I prepared it and will bake it on Sunday, it looks good and from what I tasted its good.
    I doubles this recipe . - 3/21/12

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  • Good
    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
    We don't eat bacon! - 3/7/12

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  • I LOVE THI RECIPE! god it's so much like my mothers home-made recipe but instead of breadcrumbs, she used crackers. It's delicious :) - 3/5/12

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  • Loved this. Only thing I will change the next time I make it is to eliminate the cayenne pepper. - 2/23/12

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  • great i left the cloves and bay leaf out tasted good to me - 2/22/12

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  • I really liked this. I used shells instead of elbow mac because that's all I had, but it was delicious! - 2/22/12

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  • This was delicious. I only had colby jack cheese on hand and used panko bread crumbs instead and it was awesome. - 2/16/12

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  • Sounds great and can be substituted to fit any diet. Wonderful - 1/22/12

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  • Going to give it try i will let you know after what are my results! - 1/21/12

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  • I am cooking for one person myself so if the recipe says serves 4 I have no clue what the serving size is. Please include 1 cup serving or whatever it may be so us who cook for one does not have to eat it for a week. - 1/16/12

    Reply from CHEF_MEG (3/25/13)
    The serving size is one cup. Hope this helps. Chef Meg


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  • This looks wonderful!! Can't wait to try it. - 1/16/12

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  • Instead of pasta I used my Spirooli and made zucchini spaghetti for the recipes, as being diabetic pasta for me can be difficult with blood sugar. It was delicious. - 1/16/12

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  • If you got the perfect bite all the flavors worked great. We found the cheese taste was not real strong. I will use a sharper chedder next time to help that. - 1/8/12

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