Thursday, April 21, 2011

Beef and Crunchy 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, a few basic seasonings and topped with crunchy onions.
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, a few basic seasonings and topped with crunchy onions.

Beef and Crunchy Onion Casserole

I have been busy this past week, cooking a few new side dish 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 and 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. It dates back to my original yellow Bell's Best from the 80s, one of my first cookbooks as a young bride, though I've added my own touches to it since. I'm pretty sure you'll find it in the old Alabama versions of Calling All Cooks too.

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. Here's how to make it.

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.

For more of my favorite casserole recipes, visit my page on Pinterest!

If you make this or any of my recipes, I'd love to see your results! Just snap a photo and hashtag it #DeepSouthDish on social media or tag me @deepsouthdish on Instagram!


Recipe: Beef and Crunchy Onion Casserole

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

  • 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) {affil link}
  • Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
  • 1 teaspoon of beef base (like Better Than Bouillon), optional {affil link}
  • 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

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.


Requires Adobe Reader - download it free!
©Deep South Dish
Are you on Facebook? If you haven't already, come and join the party! We have a lot of fun & there's always room for one more at the table.
Check These Recipes Out Too Y'all!

Ground Beef Mac and Cheese Casserole
Meatball and Stuffing Bake
Southernized Baked Ziti
Posted by on April 21, 2011

Images and Full Post Content including Recipe ©Deep South Dish. Recipes are offered for your own personal use only and while pinning and sharing links is welcomed and encouraged, please do not copy and paste post or recipe text to repost or republish elsewhere such as other Facebook pages, blogs, websites, or forums without explicit prior permission. All rights reserved.

Material Disclosure: Unless otherwise noted, you should assume that post links to the providers of goods and services mentioned, establish an affiliate relationship and/or other material connection and that I may be compensated when you purchase from a provider. You are never under any obligation to purchase anything when using my recipes and you should always perform due diligence before buying goods or services from anyone via the Internet or offline.