Sharon’s Macaroni Casserole

Macaroni Casserole |

My 18 year old son created this recipe when there wasn’t much left in the pantry and fridge…those are always the best. It turned out great and is a favorite with my teens! It is easy to make and feeds a crowd.  This recipe uses American cheese, however, shredded cheddar or mozzarella would work even better. But you can use whatever kind of cheese you have on hand. Enjoy!

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Macaroni Casserole

Yield – 8 servings
Preparation Time – 5 minutes
Cooking Time – 32 minutes


  • 2 (16 oz.) boxes of elbow macaroni ( .89 cents each) $1.78
  • (10.5 oz) cream of celery (condensed soup) $1.29
  • Around 3/4  cup bread crumbs  $ .50
  • Around 2 Tablespoons butter  $ .25
  • 6 Slices American Cheese $1.00


  • Grease bottom and sides of an 8″ x 12″ pan with butter.
  • Cook macaroni according to package directions, around 12 minutes.
  • Drain noodles, then return to pan.
  • Pour cream of celery over noodles. Stir together.
  • Lightly dust bottom of baking pan with bread crumbs. Then layer as follows:  1/2 the elbows; sprinkle bread crumbs;  torn pieces of cheese (using 3 of the slices); Then put remainder of the noodles over this; sprinkle the rest of the bread crumbs;  then top with the rest of the cheese.
  • Bake in a 350 F oven for 20 minutes.

Cost $4.82

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  1. CrftySAHM says

    I love the recipes, however, as I have written to Erin before, there is no way to make these recipes for under $5 in California. Even this recipe for mac and cheese would cost more and you only have a side dish. I would have to go back over my price book to be down to the cent, but buying the sell items and store brands I would be lucky to make this dish for under $7.

  2. rebecca says

    I just moved from the Los Angeles area, and having spent 3 years there scouring the deals, I would say it is totally possible to make this meal under $5. I regularly got whole wheat pasta for .50 per box (often for free), american cheese could often be found for .99 for a 16 pack, “cream of anything” soups were cheap (almost free) in the fall, etc. You are right about the everyday price of store brands, but seasonal stock up prices with coupons make it doable.

    • CrftySAHM says

      Not in my area of California. I have tried. Even the grocery outlet places are right at a dollar a can. Thanks to “Extreme Couponing” none of our stores have double coupons or buy one get one free any more. The best deal I have found in the last six months on pasta was the buy 10 for $10. I will be making this today and will see what kind of deals I can find to keep the cost down. Understand that here, while $5 is a great goal, it is literally impossible.

  3. Gail Becker says

    I live in Pennsylvania & this meal sounds easy to make. Our family loves Mac & cheese & sometimes I add bread crumbs to make it a little different,too!

  4. LisaE says

    I don’t see how 1 can of cream soup would be enough for 2 boxes of pasta but no matter…I never use canned cream of soups anyway since I make my own and add cheese to that. Cans of that stuff is full of nastiness but to each their own.

  5. Pam says

    For my family, I think this would be a good start to a meal. (We would want more protein.)

    LisaE, if you’re still tuned in to this conversation, how do you make your soups from scratch? We don’t like the nastiness either, and know how much cheaper it is to make stuff from scratch.

    • Mar H says

      “Cream of” soups can be made by basically making a roux – melt 2 T butter, add 2 T flour, cook for 5 min, add 1 cup of milk and cook til it thickens. Add cheese or sauteed mushrooms to make whatever cream of you need…

    • LisaE says

      Pam….I make cream of whatever from scratch making a basic white sauce but add 1 cup of chicken or vegetable stock, plus whatever ingredients to make cream of celery or mushroom or chicken……the key is using the stock or broth in your white sauce, IMO.

  6. Nadine says

    My son … a college student would love this recipe. Is a 8 x 12 pan big enough for 2 boxes of cooked mac tho’?
    Just wondering …
    BTW Erin will tell you how to make creamed soups from scratch in one of her cookbooks :-)


  7. says

    Yum!! And impressive that your son threw together the ingredients in such a delightful combo. Can’t wait to try it and share it with my college kids, always eager for an easy yummy dish.

  8. Ana Fernández says

    Hi everyone,

    I did this recipe a few days ago and it was amazing, I used Spanish cheese as it was the only one I had at home and I have to say it was awesome, I just couldn´t believe, it was so tasty, smooth, all my friends at home were really surprised, (Normally I´m useless at cooking, however,I left them really impressed the other day), try it you can find them in the internet,just have a look I´m pretty sure you´ll like.

  9. Sarah says

    I love this recipe! I added 1/2 a yellow onion chopped, 1 cup frozen peas n carrots and 2/3 cup cooked lentils and its a crowd pleaser every time. Dunno if it falls under $5 but personally if I have the ingredients on hand I count it as free! Thanks Sharon. My kids (9,6, and 20 mo) LOVE this!

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