Easy Beef and Noodle Bake

Our spring calendar has filled up rapidly.  With the warmer weather comes the start of soccer season for M and the start of O’s first year of baseball.  Luckily the soccer schedule is consistent at one night of practice during the week and one game on the weekend.  Baseball is scattered all over the calendar.  This week, O has two games and a practice in the middle and that’s not a rare sight on the calendar.  I’ve had to look at the meal plan and make sure that on nights where there are practices and games, I have make-ahead or quick dinners planned.  I can’t spend an hour making dinner when we get home from baseball or soccer anywhere between six and seven. Dinner needs to be quick to prepare or ready to serve when we get home so that we have time for homework, bath time, and keep bedtime on schedule.  The crock pot has helped out more than once on these nights, but I do have a few quick dinner recipes up my sleeves.

I love a good casserole every so often, but not using canned “cream of ____” soups or many other processed foods means they aren’t always a time-saver.  This noodle bake is as quick as browning some beef and boiling some egg noodles.  Start to finish, including twenty minutes to bake the cheese to melted perfection, this took about half an hour.  It’s a lot like a lasagna with cheddar cheese, or a way better version of lasagna Hamburger Helper.  It may not make for the prettiest picture, but when I had to get up to scoop out second helpings for the kiddos, I knew this recipe was a keeper.

beef and noodle bake

Beef and Noodle Bake

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 15 oz. can tomato sauce
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  •  fresh ground black pepper, to taste
  • 8 oz. egg noodles
  • 1/2 C. sour cream
  • 1 1/4 C. small curd cottage cheese
  • 1/2 C. thinly sliced green onions (more or less to taste)
  • 1 C. freshly grated sharp cheddar cheese

Directions:

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Bring a pot of water to a boil and add the egg noodles.  Cook to al dente while cooking the beef, then drain and set aside.

While the noodles cook, brown the ground beef in a large skillet, then drain the fat.

Stir the tomato sauce into the skillet with the ground beef.

Add 1/2 tsp. salt and ground black pepper to taste.  Add any other seasonings if desired (garlic powder, basil, oregano etc.)

Stir, and leave to simmer while you prepare the rest of the casserole.

Combine the sour cream and cottage cheese in a medium bowl.

Add ground black pepper to taste and stir.

Add in the green onions and stir to combine (start with 1/4 C., taste, and add more if desired).

Pour the mixture over the cooked noodles and stir to coat the noodles thoroughly.

To assemble the casserole, place half of the noodle mixture into a baking dish.

Top with half of the beef mixture, then sprinkle on half of the cheese.

Repeat layering the noodles, then beef, then cheese.

Bake for 20 minutes, until all cheese is melted.

Makes 8 servings.

Source: adapted slightly from The Pioneer Woman

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