Creamy Low-Carb (Mock) Mac and Cheese



I’ve been meaning to try this recipe adapted from a collection of similar recipes.  I happened to notice that our local grocer had riced cauliflower on sale and thought I would use the opportunity to make a little “comfort food” for this chilly Sunday afternoon.  The texture of the diced cauliflower simulates the texture of rice or noodles.  It’s certainly not exactly like my original version of mac and cheese that my family has grown to love, but it’s close enough for carb concious gals like me.

Creamy Low-Carb Mac and Cheese


1- 12 ounce bag riced cauliflower

3/4 cup cream or half and half

2 oz cream cheese

1/4 teaspoon dry mustard

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon onion powder

1 1/2 cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese

Steam or microwave riced cauliflower as directed. Pat dry with paper towels. Spray 13X9″ baking pan with non-stick spray. In a small saucepan bring cream to a simmer, add cream cheese stirring until cream cheese melts. Add dry mustard powder, pepper, garlic powder and onion powder; whisk to incorporate. Turn off heat and add 1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese slowly, stirring well to incorporate. Put cauliflower into prepared casserole dish, evenly pour cheese sauce over cauliflower.  Sprinkle the last 1/2 cup of cheese over the top. Bake at 375 degrees until topping is melted and beginning to brown, or about 15-20 minutes.  Remove  from oven and let sit for 5 minutes before serving.

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Low-Carb Taco Casserole

While most households were gobbling up lots of carb-laden snacks and appetizers this past Sunday, we watched the Super Bowl while munching on this delightful Low-Carb Taco Casserole.  I used to make this recipe without the added Doritos chips but I find the crust to be a bit more crunchy and a lot less low-carb tasting… just by added 3 little chips to the mix.  I looked up the  nutritional facts for Doritos and calculated that 11 chips equal 16 grams of carbohydrates so you can do the math to figure how many carbs exist in just 3 crumbled chips. Boy, those chips add a world of difference to the crust.  You be the judge…  It’s totally up to you if you’d like to omit the chips.  …Hope you enjoy this simple recipe that’s packed with flavor!

Low-Carb Taco Bake

For the crust:
4 ounces cream cheese, softened

3 eggs

1/3 cup half & half

1/2 package taco seasoning mix

8 ounces cheddar cheese, shredded

3 Doritos chips, crumbled

For the topping:
1 lb. ground beef
1/2 package taco seasoning

1/4 cup tomato sauce

2 tablespoons green chilies, optional

1/2 cup tomato, diced

8 ounces cheddar cheese, shredded

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Grease a 9×13″ baking dish; set aside. 

To make the crust:  Beat the cream cheese and eggs until smooth.  Add the half & half and taco seasoning, mix well.  Spread the cheddar cheese over the bottom of the baking dish.  Spread the egg mixture evenly over the cheese. Sprinkle crumbled Doritos over egg mixture. Bake at 375ºF, 25-30 minutes or until golden brown on the edges.  Let stand 5 minutes.

To make the topping:  Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees.  Brown the ground beef until no longer pink; drain thoroughly.  Stir in the taco seasoning, tomato sauce and chiles.  Spread over the crust.  Top with diced tomato and shredded cheese.  Bake for 20-25 minutes or until hot and bubbly. Cool slightly before cutting into serving-sized squares.

Creamy Chicken Lasagna



This is an adaptation of a recipe that I found in a Better Homes and Gardens magazine many years ago.  I had received the magazine as a “free trial” but I rarely had time to read it as my 3 children were young and my life was busy.  I did, however, make it a point to visit the recipe contest page to see what recipes had been selected as “winners” for each monthly issue.  

One month, a recipe for a white chicken lasagna was chosen.  It was a bit more complicated than the adaptation I have submitted below. The white sauce was elaborate…starting with a classic roux.  Managing a busy household, I had no time for that so I decided to use a purchased sauce.  This eliminated a few time consuming steps and made for a quick and tasty alternative.  It was a big hit in my household so I’ve been making it this way ever since.

Creamy Chicken Lasagna

1 (16 ounce) package lasagna noodles

1 (10 ounce) package frozen chopped broccoli

3 boneless chicken breasts, poached and diced

2 (16 ounce) jars Alfredo-style pasta sauce

4 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

1 (16 oz) container cottage cheese

1 egg

1 teaspoon Italian seasoning

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

3/4 teaspoon pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease a 9X13″ baking dish.  Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente; drain. Cook broccoli according to package directions; drain well.  In a medium bowl, combine cooked chicken, broccoli and one jar of Alfredo sauce, garlic powder, and pepper; stir together. In a separate bowl, beat egg into cottage cheese.  Add Italian seasonings; stir well.  Pour 1/3 of the jar of remaining Alfredo sauce in bottom of the pan, spread evenly.  Place one layer of lasagna noodles, edges overlapping, into the baking dish.  Pour 1/3 chicken, broccoli, and Alfredo sauce mixture over the noodle layer and spread evenly. Spread 1/3 cottage cheese mixture over chicken, broccoli, and Alfredo sauce mixture.  Sprinkle 1/3 of the shredded mozzarella over chicken mixture.  Continue to layer two more times, ending with a sprinkling of mozzarella cheese. Tightly cover with foil.   Bake 30-35 minutes.   Remove foil and continue to cook for 5-10 minutes until top is brown and bubbly.



Overnight Breakfast Casserole

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Traditionally, this is the breakfast casserole that I make for early morning holiday meals throughout the year. What I really like about this dish is that it’s prepared the night before the occasion. I assemble things just before heading to bed, pop the dish in the fridge and pull it out early in the morning with little fuss or cleanup involved. Early the next day, I usually head into the kitchen well before anyone else is up, make myself a piping hot cup of coffee and enjoy the quiet first light of the new day.
This Easter was no different when prepping for the holiday brunch. A special treat, I was pleased to have our K home for the weekend. We will drive her back to campus later today but it’s always a blessing to have the family together on these special mornings.
Happy Easter everyone! I hope you are enjoying the warmth of the sunshine wherever you may be this lovely blessed day.

Overnight Breakfast Casserole

1 pound ground pork sausage
1 teaspoon mustard powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
8 eggs, beaten
2 cups milk
8-10 slices white bread, cubed
8 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, shredded

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray with cooking spray, a 13×9″ baking pan. Crumble sausage into a medium skillet. Cook until evenly browned; drain.
In a medium bowl, mix together mustard, onion and garlic powder, salt, eggs and milk; set aside. Layer ingredients into prepared 13×9″ baking pan as follows:

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Evenly distribute bread in the bottom of pan. Next, layer in the sausage and then the broccoli. Pour egg mixture over entire dish, making sure to saturate all of the bread. Top with shredded cheese. Cover with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for 8 hours, or overnight. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cover with foil and bake 45 to 60 minutes. Uncover, and reduce temperature to 325 degrees. Bake for an additional 15- 30 minutes, or until set.

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Scrambled Egg Squares (Strawberry Shortcake Eggs)

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This is one of the first recipes M&K were able to make on their own. About 12 years ago, during a Scholastic Book Fair, M spied a Strawberry Shortcake Berry Yummy Cook Book named for her favorite cartoon character called Strawberry Shortcake. She fell in love with the book on the spot. We brought it home and she went to work trying to find the perfect first recipe to make for Saturday breakfast.

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Early Saturday morning, M&K put on their aprons and began assembling the egg dish. They did a fantastic job measuring and pouring ingredients. They were delighted when we pulled the completed dish from the oven.
The original recipe was called Huckleberry Pie’s Hash Brown Bake (so cute). At the time, the recipe included hash brown potatoes but we weren’t fond of the soggy potatoes in the dish so we tweaked it a bit. We gave our adapted dish a new name; Strawberry Shortcake Eggs.
(Note: I have renamed the dish to Scrambled Egg Squares for the blog just because I didn’t want to confuse readers; I didn’t want anyone to think that strawberry shortcake was part of the recipe! 🙂

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The best part about making a pan of these eggs is that they are great for feeding a crowd or a big family quickly. Just pour the beaten eggs into the pan with a few other ingredients and in 20 minutes, you’ve got lots of eggs. I often wrap the cooked squares individually in plastic wrap and freeze them. Later, I use them to make breakfast sandwiches by combining an egg square with an English muffin, a sausage patty (optional), and a slice of cheese.

Scrambled Egg Squares ( Strawberry Shortcake Eggs)

8 eggs
3/4 cup milk or half & half
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
3 tablespoons Ready to Serve Real Bacon Bits, optional

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 13×9″ baking pan with non-stick cooking spray. In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs with milk or half&half. Stir in shredded cheese, and bacon pieces. Pour into baking pan and bake for 17-20 minutes or until set, puffy, and lightly browned. Cool slightly before cutting into squares.

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Cinnamon Raisin French Toast Casserole

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Not far from our home, there is a Pepperidge Farm Outlet that we often visit when going to a nearby mall. One of the items I usually stock up on is the cinnamon raisin bread that is always marked down to a reasonable price. I bring the loaves home and tuck them in the freezer for lots of different recipes.
This is a tasty casserole that takes minutes to put together. It’s such a treat to put a big pan of French toast in the oven rather than standing in front of the stovetop making slices in small batches. This makes for more time to enjoy early morning conversation with the family while savoring the awesome combination of cinnamon, raisin, pecans and maple syrup with a piping hot cup of coffee. I often make this the night before serving so that when I wake up there is no prep time and the casserole is ready when the rest of the crew wakes up.

Cinnamon Raisin Baked French Toast Casserole

5 cups cinnamon raisin bread, cubed
3 cups milk
6 eggs
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract
3 tablespoons softened butter, cut into cubes
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly spray with cooking spray a 13×9″ baking pan. Pour bread cubes into the prepared pan. Beat milk, eggs, brown sugar, vanilla and almond extract together in a bowl until evenly mixed; pour mixture over bread cubes. Set aside for bread to absorb liquid, about 10-15 minutes. Sprinkle with cinnamon and pecans. Evenly arrange butter cubes on top of casserole. Bake until golden, about 50 to 55 minutes.

Our Favorite Pat Mac

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One of our favorite relatives is our cousin Patrick. Whenever there is a family gathering, he brings two signature dishes along with him…Baked Polish Sausage and Pat Mac ( his recipe for creamy macaroni and cheese). It took me a long time to convince him to share this recipe with me but he finally broke down and let me have it several months ago. Early Monday morning, before heading out of town for a work conference, I assembled a pan of Pat Mac for the family to share while I was away. While Patrick’s dish always tastes better than mine, I still try my hand at it when the temperatures drop and the weather turns cool. Fall is the perfect time to make a big pan of Pat Mac!

Our Favorite Pat Mac (Patrick’s Macaroni and Cheese)

1 package (16 oz) of Creamette Elbow Macaroni
1/2 cup margarine or butter
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons dry mustard
2 teaspoons salt
5 cups milk
2 cups Cracker Barrel Sharp Cheddar Cheese, shredded
2 cups Vermont Sharp Cracker Barrel Cheese, shredded
1 sleeve Ritz crackers, crushed

Cook pasta according to directions. Preheat oven to 375 F. In a large saucepan, over medium heat, melt margarine, stir in flour, dry mustard and salt. Gradually stir in milk. Cook until mixture thickens slightly and bubbles. Remove from heat, Add 2 cups of cheese and stir until melted. Stir in half of the crushed Ritz crackers.
In a large bowl, combine sauce with pasta. Spoon into a greased 13 x 9-inch baking dish. Top with remaining cheddar cheese and Ritz crackers. Bake 40 minutes or until hot and bubbly.