Thursday, April 21, 2011

Crunchy Beef and Onion Casserole

A basic but flavorful ground beef casserole, made with sauteed bell pepper, onion and garlic, cooked in a sauce of stewed tomatoes and cream of mushroom soup, and a few basic seasonings.

Crunchy Beef and Onion Casserole

I have been busy this past week, cooking a few new side dish Easter recipes to post on the site - Baked Pineapple Casserole, Copper Pennies Carrot Salad and Sweet and Sour Green Beans - none of which my meat and potatoes Cajun will touch.  I still have to feed him though, so last night we had Grilled Onion Chili Cheese Burgers, with a little help from Wolf brand chili, and some Crispy Oven Fries, but to be honest, when I'm a bit harried, or feeling particularly lazy uninspired, casseroles are always my fall back.

This one, made from ground beef, sauteed bell pepper, onion and garlic, a sauce of stewed tomatoes and cream of mushroom soup, and with just a few basic seasonings added in, has long been a family favorite of ours. The shell shape works great with this casserole because the sauce gets into all the little nooks and crannies of the shell noodle, but you can use pretty much any short cut or decorative pasta here - like penne, rotini, cavatappi, even good ole elbows would all work. The "crunch" comes from the fried onion topping, which matches just perfect with this casserole, so use as much as you like on top.

This is one of those stovetop to oven casseroles, so if you have a large stainless, oven safe lidded skillet, once everything is sauteed and combined, you can just stick the lid on it and take that right from the stovetop to the oven to bake. Otherwise, just transfer it all to a casserole dish as usual.

It's a very basic but tasty casserole, that comes together pretty quick and easy, and one that my husband loves. Hope you enjoy it too.

Cook the pasta according to package directions and set aside. I used the medium sized shell noodles.  Meanwhile, saute your veggies in a little bit of olive oil, just to get them tender. Add the ground beef and cook that until nicely browned. Drain off any excess oil.


Add the tomato sauce and the stewed tomatoes, along with all of the seasonings. I often like to use canned stewed tomatoes rather than diced, since they are stewed down with The Trinity and just add another layer of flavor to dishes. Just use your kitchen shears to chop them up right in the can before adding them to the skillet.


Stir in the cream of mushroom soup and blend that in.


Add the cooked shell noodles. If you see any stuck together, pull them apart and then blend it all up together. Transfer to a prepared baking dish or if you used an oven safe skillet, cover and place into a 350 degree oven.


Let it bake for about 30 minutes, then remove and top with cheese and add the crunchy fried onions.


Return to the oven, uncovered, for only about 5 minutes or until the onions begin to lightly brown.


Serve with a side of green beans or a large mixed garden salad and a nice cool glass of southern iced tea.

Recipe: Crunchy Beef and Onion Casserole

©From the Kitchen of Deep South Dish
Prep time: 20 min |Cook time: 30 min | Yield: About 4 to 6 servings

Ingredient
  • 3 cups of dry, medium sized shell pasta
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 1 cup of chopped Vidalia or other sweet onion
  • 1/2 cup of green bell pepper
  • 2 teaspoons of minced garlic
  • 1 pound of ground beef
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can of stewed tomatoes
  • 1 (8 ounce) can of tomato sauce
  • 1 tablespoon of chopped fresh basil
  • 1 teaspoon of dried parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon of Cajun seasoning (like Slap Ya Mama)
  • Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
  • 1 teaspoon of beef base (like Better Than Bouillon), optional
  • 1 (10.5 ounce) can cream of onion or mushroom soup
  • 1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1-1/2 to 2 cups of French fried onions
Instructions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare pasta al dente according to package directions in well salted boiling water; drain, stir to separate, and set aside. Use an oven safe, lidded skillet if you have one, otherwise, butter or spray a 1-1/2 to 2-quart casserole dish; set aside.

Heat olive oil over medium high heat in a large skillet and saute the onion and bell pepper until softened but not brown, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook another minute. Add the ground beef and cook, breaking up the meat, until browned. Drain off any excess fat if needed.

Using a pair of kitchen shears, chop the stewed tomatoes in the can and add to the skillet along with the tomato sauce. Bring to a boil, reduce and simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes or until reduced and thickened. Add the basil, parsley, Cajun seasoning, salt and pepper, and beef base, if using; blend. Stir in the cream soup until well blended. Separate any shells that are stuck together and add the drained pasta to the skillet. Mix well, cover and transfer skillet to the oven, or transfer to the prepared baking dish.

Bake at 350 degrees F for 30 minutes, carefully remove, sprinkle top with the cheese, scatter French fried onions over the top and return to the oven for about 5 minutes, or until lightly browned.


Serve with a side of green beans or a large mixed garden salad and a cool glass of southern iced tea.

Source: http://deepsouthdish.com

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Posted by on April 21, 2011

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16 comments:

  1. Looks so good and fast! I love that it's topped with the crunchy onions. Mmm!

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  2. Wow! Talk about comfort food! Yum!

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  3. I agree Eva comfort food is right. This is on the menu for next week. Can anything really be bad with crunchy onions on it? LOL! Keep up the great work Mary = )

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  4. I go along with the wow comment - looks very good

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  5. This is almost exactly like the casserole I grew up eating. My aunt gave my mother the recipe and now I make it for my daughter.

    The only difference is mine doesn't use the onions on top (but what a great idea, will try it next time) and I mix the soup with the pasta (it helps de-clump the pasta) before adding to the meat/sauce mixture.

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  6. Yes! You must try it with crunchy onions - it is so good. Good tip on the pasta too - thanks!

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  7. I made this for dinner tonight & it was DELICIOUS!! My husband loved it:)). Will definitely be making this again!

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  8. My husband and I (and our toddler) really loved this dish! Thank you so much for sharing. I appreciate the simple directions and wonderfully do-able recipes you share on your blog. Its one of my favorites!

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  9. I'm so glad I made this recipe b/c it was DELICIOUS!!! My husband LOVED it:)))). Will be making this again for sure!!

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  10. Thanks so much Lesli and Tricia - I'm thrilled it was a hit & thank you for letting me know!

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  11. This was delicious! Definitely a recipe keeper. Thank you!

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  12. Made this tonight for dinner -- delish. I could really see it made with leftover chuck roast.

    So great!

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  13. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  14. Have you ever heard this called goulash? The seasonings, cheese and onions are a new twist I cannot wait to try. You are the best.

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