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Tasty Casserole - 21st Century Hack

Serves 2

In the 1960s and 70s, my mother would throw together a casserole of ground beef, noodle, tomato sauce, top it with cheddar cheese and bake it in the oven. Considering the quality of ingredients in our house during this time period (Velveeta for the cheese, Kraft egg noodles - you get the idea), this was not exactly a good thing for the human body. I'm guessing the original recipe came from the Betty Crocker cook book.

Mom's long gone and so is that way of eating for me. Here's an organic knock-off based on what I can recall and better ways of eating today.

Ingredients

  • 3 qts water
  • 2 servings dried organic whole wheat Fettuccini pasta (or a gluten-free alternative
  • 2 TBS organic extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 14 oz can of organic crushed tomatoes
  • 1 TBS organic Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 TBS brown sugar
  • ½ organic yellow onion coarsely chopped
  • 2 organic garlic cloves, finely chopped or pressed
  • 1 lb ground grass fed beef, or organic ground turkey
  • Salt, pepper or any other desired spices to taste
  • 4 slices organic cheddar cheese

Directions

1. In a large sauce pan or stock pot, bring the water to a boil. Add noodles and cook until al dente, about 7-8 minutes. Drain the water and place noodles into a medium-size baking dish.

2. Heat a sauce pan to medium, add one tablespoon of the olive oil, crushed tomatoes, Worcestershire sauce, and brown sugar. Allow to reduce by a third into a thick sauce.

3. Heat the oven to 400 degrees.

4. In the meantime, heat a medium size skillet to medium/350 degrees. Work the spices into the ground beef by hand. Add the other tablespoon of olive oil to the skillet and cook the garlic for about a minute. Then add the spiced beef and cook until browned all the way through. Turn the heat off and drain off any excess liquid. Add the onions and thoroughly mix together with the beef.

5. Add the ground beef and onions to the noodles in the baking dish and toss together. Pour the tomato sauce over the top, layer the cheese slices on top. Cover the baking dish with foil and place into the oven and bake until cheese is melted and internal temperature is 160 degrees using an instant-read thermometer, about 30 minutes.

Notes

  • Serve with a simple side salad.
  • Enjoy with a nice Pinot Noir from Oregon.

Sussi Homeaecher/June 2019


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