Betty's Macaroni-Beef Casserole

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1 pound lean ground beef (90% lean)
½ cup chopped onion
2 garlic cloves, finely minced
1 can (28 ounces) crushed tomatoes
1 can (6 ounces) tomato paste
2 teaspoons sugar
1½ teaspoons salt
1 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
¼ teaspoon pepper
8 ounces uncooked elbow macaroni
2 cups (16 ounces) fat-free cottage cheese
1½ cups (6 ounces) shredded reduced-fat cheddar cheese

Topping Ingredients:

¼ cup dry bread crumbs
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 Tablespoon butter, melted


1. In a nonstick frying pan, cook beef and onion over medium heat until meat is no longer pink.

2. Add garlic; cook 1 minute longer. Drain.

3. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, sugar and seasonings. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 1 hour.

4. 20 minutes before the beef mixture finishes simmering, cook macaroni according to package directions; drain.

5. Add cottage cheese to the macaroni and mix well.

6. Coat a 13×9 inch baking dish with cooking spray.

7. Layer 1 cup meat sauce, ⅓ of the macaroni mixture and ⅓ of the cheddar cheese.

8. Repeat layers two more times. Top with remaining meat sauce.

9. In a small bowl, combine the topping ingredients. Sprinkle evenly over sauce.

10. Bake, uncovered, at 325° for 40-45 minutes. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

Makes 8 servings

Nutrition Information:

One serving (1 cup) equals:

379 calories
10 grams fat (5 grams saturated fat)
34 mg cholesterol
1,087 mg sodium
40 grams carbohydrate
4 grams fiber
31 grams protein