This cheesy Beef and Noodles Casserole is easy enough for a weekday meal but, tasty enough to serve for company. Filled with egg noodles that are smothered with a meaty homemade sauce, it has all of the makings of a spot-on family dinner personified.
Beef and Noodles Casserole
Pasta is not only inexpensive but, it's filling and not complicated to prepare. Italian inspired sauces and casseroles are ideal for assembling in advance and the flavors seem to become even more robust as they sit. My family never turns down pasta in any form, whether it's as simple as double cheddar macaroni and cheese, slow cooked lasagna or cheesy baked spaghetti it fills them up in a hurry.
Homemade Sauce Makes the Difference
The sauce for this beef and noddle casserole is not difficult to make, much like homemade pizza sauce.
- The sauce begins with seasoned tomatoes and tomato sauce available in most every market. It's ideal for making Italian-inspired sauces from scratch.
- Tomato paste is used for thickening the sauce. The sauce is meant to be thick. You can't go wrong, if you follow the amount in the recipe.
- I used ground beef for this casserole but, a mix of ground beef and Italian sausage or all Italian sausage may also be used.
- When cooking the egg noodles, don't overcook them initially, and they'll turn out perfect after baking in the sauce.
- This entire casserole can be assembled one day in advance, covered and chilled. Allow to sit on the counter for 20 minutes prior to baking, and lengthen the baking time, if needed.
Other Noodle Casseroles to Try
Chicken cordon bleu noodle casserole is another favorite of ours that takes the egg noodle flavor in a different direction. Also, my recipe for ham and noodle gratin is a tasty way to use leftover holiday ham. Another variation of beef and noodles you may like to try is this crockpot beef and noodles from Affair From the Heart.
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Helpful Kitchen Items:
Beef Noodle Casserole
- 1 12 oz package egg noodles cooked to al dente
- 1 ½ lbs lean ground beef
- 1 medium sweet onion diced
- olive oil
- 1 14.5 oz can petite diced tomatoes with basil, garlic and oregano
- 3 8 oz can tomato sauce with basil, garlic and oregano
- 1 6 oz can tomato paste
- 1 Tbsp dry Italian seasoning
- 1 tsp garlic or plain table salt more or less to taste
- 1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes more or less to taste
- 30 pepperoni slices quartered
- 1 8 oz onion and chive cream cheese softened
- 1 cup half and half
- ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 3 cups shredded Mozzarella or Italian cheese blend divided
- 1 Tbsp chopped Italian parsley for garnishing
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray a 13 x 9 inch baking dish with cooking spray. Set aside.
- In a large skillet cook ground beef and onion in a few drizzles of olive oil over medium-high heat. Cook until beef is browned and no pink remains. Drain excess fat from pan.
- To the beef add tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato paste, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper flakes. Simmer on medium-low, uncovered for 10 minutes then remove from heat and stir in pepperoni.
- Meanwhile, cook noodles in salted water per package directions. Drain well.
- Return noodles to pot and onto burner with heat off. To the noodles add cream cheese and half and half. Mix until cream cheese has melted. Add Parmesan, mix well.
- To assemble: Layer ½ noodles on bottom of baking dish. Top with ½ sauce and ½ cheese. Repeat ending with cheese.
- Bake for 35-45 minutes or until bubbly and cheese is lightly browned.
- Let stand for 10 minutes. Garnish with chopped parsley just before serving.