9.05.2007

Casseroles (Definitely Leftover Friendly)

So lately I've been into looking up casserole recipes. I think it's mostly because CJ and I don't have a whole lot of money and these are a good way to eat without breaking our bank, which reminds me that I have to start doing weekly menu planning anyway - Maybe that will be my next post! In any case, the following are recipes for casseroles that really peaked my interest. I'm so used to doing pasta, but then not baking it or making enchiladas with LOTS of cheese on top. So, here goes! I use tomatoes a lot, but I've been trying to find recipes with different tastes, and I'm also looking forward to cooking this winter! So here is a recipe that I found on myrecipes.com that I enjoy! I've tweaked this one to my family's tastes, but no matter what, they're still enjoyable and freezable.
Beef, Cheese & Noodle Casserole

1 (8-ounce) package small elbow macaroni
PAM Cooking spray
1 cup prechopped onion
1 cup shredded carrot
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 pound lean ground sirloin
1 cup store bought tomato sauce
1 teaspoon salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 cup milk
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 1/2 cups (6 ounces) 2% reduced-fat shredded sharp cheddar cheese
Preheat oven to 350°.
Cook pasta according to the package directions, omitting salt and fat; drain. Lightly coat pasta with cooking spray or you can drizzle olive oil on it too - whichever you have on hand.
Heat a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add onion and carrot, and sauté 4 minutes. Add garlic; sauté 1 minute. Add ground beef; cook 5 minutes or until browned, stirring to crumble. Add tomato sauce, 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper. Cook for 2 minutes or until most of liquid evaporates.
Add pasta to beef mixture in pan, stirring to combine. Spoon pasta mixture into an 11 x 7-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. I use a Le Creuset pan, but it can be glass or ceramic, I'd use ceramic.
Place milk, flour, nutmeg, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt in a 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 cheese, stirring until smooth. Pour cheese mixture over pasta mixture; stir. Top evenly with remaining 1/2 cup cheese. Bake at 350° for 20 minutes or until lightly browned. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.


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