Lillian’s Macaroni and Cheese

Tuesday was a bitterly cold day here in southwest Ohio, the second of two heavy snowfalls imminent, and I was craving macaroni and cheese.  I normally make a reduced-fat version ( but on a day like this, I wanted all of the cheese I could get. I came up with this version which my daughters and I really enjoyed.

Lillian’s Macaroni and Cheese

1-½ cups dry macaroni, cooked in boiling, salted water al dente, drained
4 oz. cream cheese
1-1/2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese
½ cup milk
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. dry mustard
A few grindings of black pepper
½ cup grated fresh Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F

In the bottom of a microwave-safe baking dish, place the cream cheese and microwave for 45 seconds, until cheese is very soft. Stir in the grated cheddar, milk, salt, dry mustard and black pepper.

Add cooked, drained macaroni and stir to blend. Sprinkle grated Parmesan cheese on top.

Bake @ 350 degrees F for 30 minutes.

The macaroni was served with chicken breast which had been sprinkled with olive oil and herbs, and baked a covered pan at the same time as the macaroni casserole. We also had some steamed broccoli and carrots. Delicious snowy-day meal.

Our Favorite Lenten Meal – Salmon, Macaroni and Scalloped Tomatoes


I’m posting a repeat of three recipes from 2008 that my family thinks make the best Lenten meal.  I make this every Friday during Lent (7 Fridays in a row) and although I like more variety in my meals, my younger daughter loves this lunch so much that I go through the one-hour prep time so the two daughters and I can enjoy Our Favorite Lenten Meal:  Salmon Patties, Macaroni and Cheese, and Scalloped Tomatoes.  These three items just seem to go together so well.

Mom’s Salmon Patties


I make these patties the way my mother used to make her “salmon” patties, which were actually mackerel.  Mother didn’t have the money for the expensive salmon and I think mackerel was about 10 cents per can back in the 1940s.  Although I loved her version and didn’t have a very big food budget when I married, I always made the patties with salmon and used her method of adding only crackers, onions and seasoning to the mix, no egg (my mother used as few eggs as possible in every dish).  My family prefers them this way and they are never as crispy on the outside and moist on the inside as when they are fried in Crisco.


  • Servings: Makes 6 patties
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  • 1 Tblsp. olive oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped onions
  • One 14-15 oz. can Alaskan pink salmon
  • 12 saltine crackers, crushed
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Crisco for frying

In a small skillet, heat oil and saute onions on low heat until they are soft but not brown.

Drain salmon and remove any bones.  Place salmon in a bowl and add the sauteed onions.  Add the crushed saltines and a grind or two of black pepper.  The saltines add enough salt for our taste.  Mix together and form into 6 patties.  The mixture should hold together but still be slightly moist.

Melt Crisco in a large skillet and add the patties, browning/cooking about 5 minutes on each side.


I’ve used several good macaroni and cheese recipes through the years, but this one has become my favorite because, with the use of lower fat ingredients such as milk, cheese and cottage cheese, it is not too bad cholesterol-wise and is still delicious.


  • 3/4 cup dry macaroni
  • 3/4 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
  • 2 Tblsp. dried onion
  • 3/4 cup cottage cheese
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 tsp. yellow mustard
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/8 tsp. pepper
  • 2 slices bread, processed into crumbs (about 2 cups)
  • 3 Tblsp. Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Spray a 9×9″ pan with non-stick spray

Cook macaroni in salted boiling water for approximately 8 minutes.  Drain.  Place in large bowl, add cheese and onion.

In a blender or food processor, blend cottage cheese, milk and mustard.  Pour over the macaroni mixture.  Add salt and pepper.  Pour macaroni into prepared pan.  Sprinkle bread crumbs on top of macaroni and add a sprinkling of the Parmesan cheese.

Bake for 20 minutes @ 350 degrees F.

Yield:  6 servings

Old Time Scalloped Tomatoes


This dish has been a family favorite from over 25 years ago when I had a lot of tomatoes at all times.  My husband had every variety in large amounts in his garden and I spent a lot of time canning and freezing them for use all through the year.

Old-Time Scalloped Tomatoes

  • 1 Tblsp. oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • One 14-15 oz. can whole peeled tomatoes, drained
  • One 14-15 oz. can crushed tomatoes
  • 2 Tblsp. butter
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • Dash of salt and a few grinds of black pepper
  • 2 cups soft bread crumbs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F

In small skillet, heat oil and saute onions on low heat until soft.  Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper.

In 8×8″ baking pan place tomatoes.  Roughly cut up the whole tomatoes.  Add the sauteed onions.

In the same skillet used for the onions, melt the butter, stir in brown sugar until dissolved.  Add to tomato mixture and stir to blend.

Sprinkle crumbs on top of tomato mixture and bake @ 350 degrees F for approximately 20 minutes until tomatoes are heated through and topping is browned.

Yield:  6 servings 

Serve everything piping hot.

The salmon can be made into patties ahead of time and refrigerated until ready to serve.  The two side dishes can also be made earlier in the day and then baked at the same time, adding 10 minutes if the dishes are cold.

You may not want to eat this meal 7 weeks in a row but it would make a delicious Good Friday supper.


Pause and Remember – 2/24/2012

On Friday, I pause and remember a single, wordless moment from the past week – inspired by The Warden’s Log.

A Good Lenten Meal

For the next six weeks, this will be our lunch on Friday – salmon patties, macaroni and cheese and scalloped tomatoes.

Click here for the recipes:

Salmon Patties

Macaroni and Cheese

Scalloped Tomatoes

Good Chicken Casserole and Pistachio Pineapple Pudding


My youngest daughter is a busy stay-at-home mom who always finds time to get together with me on Fridays for lunch.  I try to make meals that are tasty, quick and easy, and reduced in fat and calories.  Here is the meal we had yesterday.

This casserole was made using my favorite low-fat mac and cheese recipe, Shannon’s Macaroni and Cheese, and adding chicken, broccoli and a crisp cheese cracker topping.  It makes four generous servings or six adequate servings for someone trying to watch fat and calories.


  • 3/4 cup dry macaroni
  • 4 oz. shredded cheddar cheese
  • 2 Tblsp. dried minced onion
  • 1-1/4 cups low-fat cottage cheese
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 Tblsp. 2% milk
  • 1-1/2 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • Grating of black pepper
  • 1-1/2 cups steamed broccoli flowerettes
  • 1/2 boneless, skinless chicken breast, cooked and diced
  • 2 Tblsp. grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup cheese cracker crumbs

Heat oven to 350 degrees F

Spray a 9″ casserole dish

Cook macaroni in boiling, salted water for approximately 8 minutes until al dente.  Drain, do not rinse.  Place macaroni in a large bowl and immediately stir in the cheese and minced onion.

In a separate bowl (or small food processor) blend together the cottage cheese, milk, mustard, salt and pepper.  Pour the cheese mixture over the macaroni and mix together.  Add the steamed broccoli and cooked chicken, mixing well.  Spoon the macaroni mixture into a sprayed 9″ casserole dish.

In a small bowl, mix the parmesan cheese and cheese cracker crumbs together.  Sprinkle over the top of the macaroni.

Bake uncovered @ 350 degrees for 20 minutes.


Makes six 1-cup servings.

Each serving = 244 calories, 10.2 g fat, 36.4 mg cholesterol, 466 mg sodium, 222 mg potassium, 18.8 g carbohydrate, 0.281 g dietary fiber, 19.2 g protein (per DietPower software)

Weight Watchers:  6 Points/Plus per serving 


The dessert is based on a recipe I just found on All Recipes.  It is surprisingly rich and delicious – and only 116 calories/2 Weight Watchers points.


  • One oz. box of sugar-free, fat-free instant pistachio pudding
  • 2 cups low-fat plain yogurt
  • 1 cup pineapple tidbits (packed in juice), drained
  • 1 cup Cool Whip Light dessert topping, thawed

In a large bowl, whisk together the instant pudding and plain yogurt.  Stir in the pineapple and then fold in the Cool Whip dessert topping.

Spoon mixture into six dessert dishes, cover with plastic or foil, and refrigerate for at least one hour.

Makes six 1/2 cup servings

Each serving = 116 calories, 2.54 g fat, 4.61 mg cholesterol, 53.5 mg sodium, 227 mg potassium, 19.9 g carbohydrate, 0.333 g dietary fiber, 4.14 g protein (per DietPower software)

Weight Watchers = 2 points per serving 


Shannon and I thought it was a very tasty, satisfying meal.