Friday, February 10, 2012

Beef & Noodle Casserole

I found this recipe on an easy meal planning site ( and after making it the first time put it on our favorite meal list! We are not generally a big casserole loving family but I think because the meat sauce is cooked in the oven for an hour and a half it just makes it taste amazing!!! So yes, it's not a last minute meal to make BUT it makes enough to make 2 casserole dishes full so good for at least 2 meals... I make one for the day of and the other throw in the freezer for a night I don't feel like cooking :)

Here's the recipe:

2 lb ground beef
2 medium carrots, peeled & diced
2 celery sticks, finely sliced
2 onions, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic
1 can tomatoes
2 tablespoons fresh oregano ( used ground and still worked... Also added a little Epicure Bolonese Sauce mix )
1 cup beef stock
salt and pepper
8 oz (1 cup) raw pasta shells - I use Healthy Harvest Multigrain "fusilli" noodles.
3 cups grated cheese - used cheddar & fresh parmesan mixture tonight!

You will need a casserole dish with a lid. It is worth using one that can be used on the stove top as well as the oven to save on washing-up.


Preheat the oven to 350° F / 180° C.
Brown the ground beef in 4 - 5 batches. If you attempt to brown it all at once, you will land up with a gray, watery mass. Keep on one side.
Brown the onions until they are a deep caramel color. This helps to give the dish flavor.
Add the garlic, carrots and celery. Continue frying for 2 - 3 minutes until the vegetables are slightly soft.
Add the tinned tomatoes and break them up. Add the oregano and beef stock.
Finally add back the ground beef. Place a lid on the casserole dish and bake for about 1 - 1½ hours until the mince is soft and the sauce is rich. Season with salt and pepper.
While the ground beef is baking, cook the pasta. Bring a pot of salted water to the boil. Add the pasta and cook for 15 - 20 minutes until it is 'al dente'. Drain and keep aside.
To assemble: add the pasta to the ground beef. Spoon into ovenproof dishes - either one large one (for about 8 people) or 2 smaller ones (each feeding 4 people).
Sprinkle over the cheese. Return to the oven and bake for about ½ hour until the cheese has melted. I only put the cheese on the casserole that I'm going to eat that night... The one that will go into the freezer I wait till I'm going to reheat it before putting the cheese on the top.

So this recipe actually makes 2 of these casserole sized dishes

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