Zesty Cabbage, Macaroni and Cheese

December 5, 2012 - Written by Diana

Zesty Cabbage, Macaroni and CheeseThis is my way of dealing with my husband’s new low sodium diet – by coming up with new ways to eat without using salt or high sodium ingredients.  Macaroni and cheese was out, because cheese has too much sodium unless it’s something a little on the bland side like lower sodium Swiss. So, I kicked it up with a Hot Sweet Pepper Relish and Kapow it was tasty without much sodium. This casserole had plenty of veggies, the creaminess of a good mac n cheese, and a nice kick to it. My husband had trouble backing away from the bowl even after eating two plates of it.

This is a much lower calorie version since we can’t use a lot of cheese, and it’s not as thick as a lot of other macaroni and cheese recipes.  I like to add a veggie to my mac and cheese too, so this one had sauteed cabbage and leeks.  I found a low sodium brown rice bread.  The bread was too dry and bland for a sandwich, but toasted, ground up and sauteed in a little butter and sprinkled on top of the macaroni and cheese, it added a nice texture and bit of crunch to the top.  Believe me, bread crumbs was a much better use of the bread than in a sandwich. The photo doesn’t show the bread crumbs, but the next time I did this – I used the bread crumbs and liked it better.  So that’s how I do it now.

Zesty Cabbage, Macaroni and Cheese
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
This is a lower sodium, lower fat method of cooking macaroni and cheese, with a light cheese sauce and some cabbage and leeks.
Recipe type: Casserole
Serves: 4
  • Cheese Sauce:
  • 2 tbs unsalted butter
  • 2 tbs flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 ounces chevre
  • 4-6 ounces low sodium Swiss Cheese
  • 2 tbs zesty pepper relish
  • 1 tsp stoneground mustard
  • paprika
  • cumin
  • Casserole ingredients:
  • ½ lb macaroni prepared according to box directions
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 1 leek
  • ¼ cabbage
  • 1 medium red pepper
  • 1lb ground lamb
  • Crumb Topping:
  • ¼ cup bread crumbs
  • 2 tbs butter
  1. Cook ground lamb, pour off grease and let drain on paper towel.
  2. Cut the cabbage into 1 in X 1 in pieces.
  3. Dice red pepper.
  4. Dice the white part of the leek, removing the green stem and root.
  5. Saute the leek, red pepper and cabbage in olive oil, in a non-stick pan.
  6. When soft and translucent, remove to a bowl, wipe out pan and use for cheese sauce.
  7. In non-stick pan melt butter, add in the flour and combine.
  8. Add in milk and chevre whisking as it thickens.
  9. Chop swiss cheese and add to the sauce mixture, stir in zesty pepper relish, mustard, cumin and paprika.
  10. Whisk it all together.
  11. Add together the lamb/cabbage mixture, the drained pasta and the sauce and toss.
  12. Pour into a casserole dish.
  13. Melt butter and stir in bread crumbs.
  14. Sprinkle over top of the mac and cheese.
  15. Bake at 400 for 20 min or until crust is browned nicely.
I used Wishwell Farms Hot Sweet Pepper Relish in my mac and cheese, but you can take any relish and zip it up a little with some hot sauce. You can sub out a different vegetable for the cabbage. My husband and I like cooked cabbage but you can use any vegetable you like best, just make sure it's mostly cooked before adding it to the mac and cheese. I used stoneground no sodium mustard, but you can use another stoneground, or dijon mustard.



Chicken, Broccoli and Rice

September 22, 2009 - Written by Diana

My husband snarfed the leftover broccoli from the band competition and asked if we should take it.  I said sure, I can freeze some and use some to make dinner.  He did a little happy wiggle (he does that) and asked if we could have the chicken and broccoli casserole that we love to eat. I told him sure, especially since it’s an easy meal to prepare and really delicious.  There are never leftovers of this. 

I have a small kitchen, so when I pull out my rice cooker I make extra rice and put it in the freezer.  If you have frozen broccoli, and rice, you can defrost them in the fridge during the day to make this a quick and easy dinner to pull together.  This casserole is very customizable, use your favorite ingredients to make it taste the way you like it best.


Chicken, Broccoli & Rice b4 the sauce Ingredients:

1 full size chicken breast

1/2 onion

1 cup cooked rice ( I love a wild rice mixture)

1 cup broccoli

1 can of cream soup (use your favorite – cream of broccoli, cream of chicken, cream of celery, cream of mushroom, etc)

1 cup milk

1 cup shredded cheese (cheddar, colby, colby jack, etc)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray casserole dish with oil spray.  Throw some herbs and spices that you enjoy onto your chicken.  I used thyme, paprika, salt and pepper. Slice onion, place onion and chicken onto heated oiled grill pan, or frying pan and cook through.  If your broccoli is fresh, blanch it and pat it dry. If the broccoli is frozen, rinse with warm water and pat dry.  Layer your rice on the bottom of the casserole dish, then place broccoli on top, spread out.  When chicken is cool enough to handle, pull apart into shredded chunks and layer in and around the broccoli. Whisk together the cream soup and milk in a separate bowl, then pour evenly over the top of the chicken and broccoli.  Top with shredded cheese in an even layer. Place into oven for 20 – 30 minutes until top is melted, and the soup is bubbly around the edges.

Chicken, Broccoli & Rice Casserole

Sausage & Chard Crustless Quiche

August 24, 2009 - Written by Diana

Sausage & Chard Crustless Quiche I like quiches a lot, but more without the pie shell.  I’m that way with pies too, I like the insides the most. This was our breakfast this morning.  I used some herb garden chevre in it that we got from the cheese guy at the farmer’s market and some gouda (because it’s good-er that way). Quiches are fun because you can change it up a little – put in a different meat, or a different cheese, use some other veggies and it changes the taste for a whole new type of quiche. 


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Instead of butter, I used an olive oil spray and sprayed a glass pan.  Spray a frying pan with olive oil, tear up chard and sauté the chard and shallots together until wilted.  Take off the heat.  Throw in the crumbled turkey sausage and the chevre.  In a bowl, beat the eggs and the evaporated milk together.  Stir in the sausage chard mixture, add in the gouda, salt and pepper.  Pour into the glass pan and bake in the oven until the egg is cooked through. I think it took 20 – 30 minutes, but my pan was oval and not round, so the mixture spread out more. If you are using a glass pie pan, you might need to cook it a little longer.

Shredded Vegetable Bake

July 28, 2009 - Written by Diana

I tried out this recipe from the Vegan Cook’s Bible by Pat Crocker.  We’re not Vegans, but we do enjoy all different types of dishes.  While my kids and husband are good about trying all different types of meals unlike their friends, they are really great about eating meatless meals.  The Shredded Vegetable Bake was delicious and used vegetables from my garden.  We served it with a tomato, cucumber salad on the side. 

Shredded Vegetable Bake Ingredients:


Preheat oven to 400 F.  Lightly oil 2 9X13 in baking pans. 

In large bowl toss together potatoes, onion, carrot, rutabaga(turnip), bread crumbs, nuts, garlic and oil.  Divide in two and spread in a thin layer on prepared pans.  Sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper.  Bake in preheated oven for 20 min.

Stir and spread in a thin layer again and grind more salt and pepper over vegetables and bake for another 20 minutes.

Divide chickpeas in half and stir into vegetables in pans spreading out.  bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until vegetables are crisp and lightly browned.


We’ll definitely have this again sometimes. It was delicious.

Ground Lamb & Cabbage Casserole

July 18, 2009 - Written by Diana

Plenty of cabbage growing in the garden this year, so I’m trying it out in lots of different ways.  Ground Lamb from the Farmer’s Market, cabbage from the garden, wild rice from the freezer, and this dinner makes itself in very little time.  Top it off with a little sour cream for a little extra flavor, and the family loved it. 

Ground Lamb & Cabbage Casserole Ingredients:


Sauté the onions and the ground lamb – drain the grease away.  There was a little grease in my ground lamb, but not a lot. Spray a little oil around the bottom of a deep dish baker’s pan or casserole dish.  Dice the cabbage up and line the bottom of the pan. Mix the ground lamb, onions and the wild rice together, along with the salt, pepper, and a generous sprinkling of caraway seeds. Layer on top of the cabbage.  Pour the wine and the stock over the top of the lamb mixture, and use a spoon to slightly stir, trying not to disturb the cabbage too much.  Place in the oven at 300 for 20 minutes – half hour.  You could do it longer if you like the cabbage really wilty, but I like a little crunch so we don’t heat it up too long.  Just before serving, top with dollops of sour cream.  MMMM – good stuff.

Taco Casserole

April 26, 2009 - Written by Diana

My dinner companions are usually my husband and my son, both who appreciate good regular food more than anything else. I can try to impress them with fancy things all I want, but it’s the ground beef casseroles that set their salivary glands into motion. I had a bag of crushed chips that weren’t good for salsa scooping, so I based my dinner on how to use those up. They didn’t come from the store that way, there was a mishap and they were smooshed good, but that doesn’t mean I throw them away. The flavor didn’t leach out – just the calories, right? You can halve this recipe, we needed leftovers for tonight so I made a good amount – probably 6 –8 servings.Here’s my recipe for Ground Beef Taco Casserole. Ground Beef Taco Casserole


  • 1/2 bag blue corn chips (O Organics )
  • 2 lbs ground beef
  • 1 onion diced
  • 1 green pepper diced
  • 2 packs taco seasoning mix (or your own spices if you prefer)
  • 2 cups corn, or one can, drained.
  • 1 can kidney beans (you can substitute chili beans for a little more spice) – drained (unless flavored)
  • I can diced tomatoes
  • 4 ounces colby jack cheese
  • sour cream
  • salsa (try O Organics chipotle)

    Cook up the ground beef along with the onions and peppers and drain off the oil and mix with the taco seasoning. Layer the bottom of a large casserole dish with the crushed chips, then put the ground beef mixture on top of that. Layer the corn, the beans and tomato on top of that, sprinkle with cheese and cook in a 375 oven until it’s hot and bubbling. Serve with salsa and sour cream. That’s it. If anything, the leftovers were better on the second night.