Eight-Layer Casserole

I set a goal for myself for this year, which was to master how to cook/bake other foods that weren't dessert-related. I'm taking this goal pretty seriously, but in a fun way, and lately every moment I've had to make something, I make sure it's not always something sweet. Take this casserole, for example. Yea, I know usually casseroles really aren't that yummy and they're kind of looked-down on for being so common. But... this casserole isn't a normal casserole. It's practically a lasagna, but instead of sheet pasta, it's made with noodles. It has a really flavorful beef layer that's combined with tomato sauce and herbs. The "casserole" also has spinach, and a really creamy cream cheese/sour cream/onion layer. It'll appeal to all tastes, and you could easily adapt it to other layers and other meats. This recipe from the Better Homes & Gardens New Cook Book is one that can be used for any event. Also, it tastes even better the day after you make it :)

Eight-Layer Casserole
*makes 8 servings*

6 oz dried medium noodles
1 lb ground beef
16 oz tomato sauce
1 tsp dried basil, crushed
1/2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
8 oz dairy sour cream
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup whole milk
1/3 cup chopped onion
10 oz frozen chopped spinach, thawed and well drained
4 oz shredded cheddar cheese

1) Grease a 2-quart casserole; set aside. Cook noodles according to package directions; drain and set aside.
2) Meanwhile, in a large skillet cook beef over medium heat until brown. Drain off fat. Stir tomato sauce, basil, sugar, garlic powder, salt, and pepper into skillet. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes.
3) In a medium mixing bowl beat together sour cream and cream cheese with an electric mixer on medium speed until smooth. Stir in milk and onion. In prepared casserole layer half of the noodles, half of the beef mixture, half of the cream cheese mixture, and all of the spinach. Top with the remaining beef mixture and noodles. Cover and chill remaining cream cheese mixture.
4) Cover casserole with lightly greased foil. Bake in 350F oven about 45 minutes or until heated through. Uncover; spread with remaining cream cheese mixture. Sprinkle with the cheddar cheese. Bake, uncovered, about 10 minutes more or until cheese melts. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

If you want to print this recipe out, go here to its link on the Better Homes & Gardens site.

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