Saturday, February 2, 2013

Paulette’s Deluxe Ground Beef Casserole

This Super Bowl weekend, consider your kitchen the neutral zone. This make-ahead dinner is best prepared in the morning and refrigerated before everyone heads for the TV. Bake this casserole just before you need it - a timely convenience that allows the flavors to mellow. No nose tackles at the table and no passing interference, puh-lease!

Paulette’s Deluxe Ground Beef Casserole:

8 oz. (about 225 g) pasta of your choice
2 tbsp. butter or margarine
2 c. low-fat cottage cheese
One 8-oz. (250 g) pkg cream cheese, softened
¼ c. dairy sour cream
⅓ c. minced green onions
⅓ c. finely chopped green bell pepper (capsicum)
One 10-oz. (284 mL) can sliced mushrooms, drained
1 tsp. canola oil
1 lb. lean ground beef
One 14-oz. (398 mL) can tomato sauce
1 tsp. basil
1 tsp. oregano
½ tsp. garlic salt 
½ tsp. pepper
1 c. packaged shredded cheese mix

Cook pasta (I used broad noodles) in boiling, salted water until nearly tender, about 10 min. Drain and toss with butter while still hot. Set aside.

In separate bowl, combine cottage and cream cheeses, and sour cream, mixing well by hand. Stir in green onions, green pepper, and mushrooms. Set aside. 

Heat oil in heavy skillet on medium heat, browning and breaking up beef until no pink remains. Drain off or blot away fat. Stir in tomato sauce and seasonings. Remove from heat and set aside.

Using the back of a spoon, spread  beef mixture in spray-greased 3 qt. (3 L) baking dish. Depending on shape of casserole, layers could be thick or thin. Using tongs, spread ½ noodles over meat layer in baking dish. Using the back of a spoon, spread with ½ cheese mixture followed by ½ remaining meat. Repeat with remaining noodles, cheese mixture, and meat. Cover and chill several hours or overnight.

Preheat oven to 350 deg. F. Bake in covered casserole 35 min. Remove cover, sprinkling liberally with shredded cheese. Bake 10 min. longer, or until cheese has melted. Serves 6-to-8.

My choice: Broad noodles "layer" well

Mix cottage cheese with ...

Cream cheese, sour cream, green onions, pepper, mushrooms

Combine beef with tomato sauce, seasonings

First thin layer of beef sauce prevents pasta from sticking

Layer noodles next. Continue as recipe directs.

Touch down! Paulette's casserole is insanely good!

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