Thursday, March 31, 2011

Beef, Cheese, and Noodle Bake

Doesn't everyone need a good macaroni and meat type recipe? Unless you are a vegetarian the answer would be yes. I grew up in North Carolina but spent a lot of time in Florida where my grandma lived. We always looked forward to our trips to the beach. Lots of the good memory I have of childhood revolves around my time spend down in Florida with the family that we had there. I will always and forever have a special place in my heart for that state. In fact I tell my husband all the time that I wouldn't at all be disappointed if we just HAD to move there for some reason, jokingly of course. Okay, okay, I'm not really joking when I say that. Anyways, you are probably wondering what Florida and macaroni have in common. Well, those car trips from N.C. to Florida where about 9 hours or so. We would usually leave our house super early in the morning and make it there just in time for dinner. My good old GRAM would usually have this macaroni and meat type dish ready for us to chow down on along with some kind of canned fruit like pears. I've never tried to recreate it for myself but I do have my own version here with this dish. This is a very family friendly casserole is a great way to incorporate more vegetables into my children's food. I use whole wheat noodles for extra nutrition and there is a fair share of bone building calcium in every serving. I hope you enjoy it as much as my family and who knows, maybe someday I will be a grandma making this for my grandkids when they come to visit.

Beef, Cheese, and Noodle Bake
adapted from

1 (8oz) package of whole grain shell macaroni
1 onion, chopped
4 carrots, shredded or chopped very finely
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 lb lean ground sirloin or lean ground turkey
1 cup tomato sauce
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper

Cheese Sauce

1 cup fat free milk
2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
1 1/2 cups 2% shredded cheddar cheese, divided
1/4 Parmesan cheese, grated

Cook pasta according to the package directions. Drain; lightly coat pasta with cooking spray.

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add onion and carrots, saute for 4 minutes. Add garlic; saute for 1 minute. Add ground sirloin; cook until browned, stirring to crumble. Add tomato sauce, spices, salt and pepper. Cook for a couple minutes or until most of the liquid evaporates.

Add pasta to beef mixture in pan, stirring to combine. Spoon pasta mixture into a 9x13 baking dish coated with cooking spray.

Place milk, flour, nutmeg, and remaining 1/2 tsp. salt in medium saucepan; stir with a whisk until blended. Cook over medium heat 2 minutes or until thickened, stirring constantly with a whisk. Add 1 cup of cheese, stirring until smooth. Pour cheese sauce mixture over pasta mixture; stir.

Top evenly with remaining 1/2 cup cheese and Parmesan cheese. Bake at 350 F. for 20 minutes or until lightly browned. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.


BigBearswife said...

we love casseroles! Can't wait to try this!

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One of the many jobs I have as a stay at home mom is to cook. I love being in the kitchen and creating yummy dishes to feed my family. I started this blog as a way to virtually capture my most valuable recipe creations and finds. I hope you enjoy!
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