Beef and Cheddar Casserole

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It’s Superbowl Sunday! Just like last year, it’s just the three of us eating snacks, watching commercials, and enjoying the 90s-inspired half-time show (go Eminem!). I plan to play with my air fryer and make: Tater Tots, Mozzarella Sticks, and Jalapeno Poppers. For dinner, we’re having Instant Pot White Chicken Chili with cornbread. I’ll blog it if it turns out to be good.

Today I’m sharing a really easy casserole (yes, yet another casserole!) that you could make today or during the week. It’s comforting, cheesy, beefy, and simple. Picky eaters will like it too. I’ve slightly modified it from the original, which you’ll find on The Food Network.

Go preheat your oven to 425F. You’re going to need it to melt all that yummy cheese. Find a 2-quart casserole pan and spray it with cooking spray. Boil some noodles according to the package. Pull the sour cream out of the fridge. While you’re boiling your noodles, dice a red bell pepper and chop a bunch of green onions.

Beef and Cheddar Casserole

Grab your packaged ground beef. Shred some Parmesan cheese, or buy the shredded stuff. It seems like I haven’t been able to buy a block of Parmesan cheese since the pandemic hit unless I want to spend $20/pound for the imported stuff. No thank you.

Measure out some tomato paste and Italian seasonings. BTW, after you open that can of tomato paste and only use a tablespoon, don’t throw it away! Get a plate, plop tablespoons of paste onto the plate, and freeze. When they’re frozen, pop them in a baggie and store in the freezer. It’s a good way not to waste tomato paste and you’ll have some for other recipes. You’re welcome.

You’ll also need some salt and pepper on stand by. Grab a can of diced tomatoes. Grate some cheddar cheese. If you have some parsley, chop a few leaves for garnish. Sorry, I sound like I’m barking out orders. Please gather you’re ingredients. It’s better to have everything you need to work with at your fingertips.

Take your ground beef and brown it in a skillet for about 4 minutes. Toss in your veggies with a pinch of salt and cook for 3 minutes so the veggies are still a little crunchy. Move the meat mixture to the side and add your tomato paste. You’ll cook this for about a minute to help get the raw flavor out. Add Italian seasonings and another pinch of salt. It’s important to add a little salt bit by bit as you go rather than add a ton of it at the end. Throw in your diced tomatoes and stir. Simmer it for a couple minutes. It should thicken up a bit.

Beef and Cheddar Casserole

When your noodles are done, drain and put them in your casserole pan. Add sour cream, Parmesan cheese, and pinch of salt and pepper. Stir it around until it’s well mixed. This will be your first layer. Next, pour the beef mixture over the noodles. Do not mix!

Beef and Cheddar Casserole

Sprinkle the grated cheddar cheese over the whole thing.

Beef and Cheddar Casserole

Add more than 2 cups if you’re wild. I used restraint and stuck with 2 cups. It was very difficult. I see a patch in the middle that could have used more cheese.

Stick it in the oven and bake until the cheese is all melted and gooey, about 15-20 minutes. I’d start checking on it after 15 minutes. You don’t want to scorch the top. Pull it out when it’s ready and let it sit for about 10 minutes. I know. It’s a hardship you’ll have to bear.

Beef and Cheddar Casserole

Serve and garnish with parsley so it looks fancy.

Beef and Cheddar Casserole

You’re done! In addition to being easy to make, it reminds me of lasagna without all the work. It’s creamy. It’s saucy. It’s unforgettable. You’ll want to make this again and again.

Beef and Cheddar Casserole

Beef and Cheddar Casserole

Servings 6

Ingredients
  

  • Cooking spray
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • kosher salt and pepper
  • 3 cups wide egg noodles about 5 ounces
  • 1 1/2 cups sour cream
  • 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 12 ounces ground beef
  • 1 red bell pepper diced
  • 1 bunch green onions chopped
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasonings
  • 14 1/2 ounces canned petite diced tomatoes
  • 2 cups grated cheddar cheese
  • chopped fresh parsley for garnish

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Spray a 2-quart baking dish with cooking spray.
  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the noodles and cook to al dente according to the package directions. Drain and put in the prepared baking dish. Toss with the sour cream, Parmesan, and a pinch of salt and pepper.
  • Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add ground beef and cook, stirring, until no longer pink, about 4 minutes. Add the red peppers, green onions, and a pinch of salt. Cook until crisp-tender, about 3 minutes. Move the beef mixture to one half of the pan, add the tomato paste to the other side, and toast for a minute. Sprinkle with the Italian seasoning and a pinch of salt. Add the diced tomatoes. Stir and bring to a simmer. Cook until slightly thickened, about 2 minutes.
  • Pour the beef mixture over the noodles (do not mix!) and sprinkle with the grated cheddar cheese. Bake on the middle rack until the cheese is melted and the edges are bubbling, 15 to 20 minutes. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving. Garnish with fresh parsley.

Lemon Chicken Fettuccine

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One of my neighbors dropped off a million lemons for me. Now what do I do with them? I made a few loaves of Copycat Starbucks Lemon Loaf, which was amazing by the way. I was tempted to make Lemon Bars, but I seriously need to lay off the sugar. Instead, I searched high and low for the perfect lemon dinner recipe. I found something delicious, but made it my own. The original, Lemon Spaghetti, turned into Lemon Chicken Fettuccine!

This is probably controversial, but we eat meat. Like at every dinner meal. I want to implement Meatless Mondays, but it’s been shot down so many times I’ve given up. I once tried to sneak in a meatless meal by serving cheese tortellini in red sauce and was scowled at. Where’s the meat?! Fine, fine. Therefore, I knew this dish had to have some sort of meat so I chose chicken thighs. It was also pointed out to me that spaghetti is the wrong pasta shape for this dish. Fine, fine, suddenly I was using fettuccine instead. See what I have to do around here?

The recipe serves six very hungry eaters (or eight ideal portions) so I split the recipe in half. First chop chicken into bite-sized pieces. Season with salt and pepper. You can leave the chicken thighs whole and chop then after, but chopping them ahead of time reduces the cooking time. You just need to be careful not to overcook the chicken. Fortunately, chicken thighs are forgiving, unlike chicken breasts, so you should be fine. Cook up the chicken in a little olive oil. You can easily use rotisserie chicken instead. While this is going on, boil a large pot of salted water and cook your pasta. If you’re into multitasking, whisk up your sauce at the same time: oil, Parmesan cheese, and lemon juice.

Drain the pasta, but be sure to save about 1/4 cup of pasta water. Toss your lemon sauce and pasta water, about 1/4 cup at a time, into the hot, cooked pasta. Season again with more salt and pepper. Throw in your chicken and stir.

Lemon Fettuccine

Serve in bowls and garnish with more cheese and some chopped basil. You’re done!

Lemon Chicken Fettuccine

It’s cheesy. It’s lemony. It’s meaty.

Because this is a quick dish to make, it’s perfect for the weeknight when you’re in a hurry to put dinner on the table. It also makes great leftovers so feel free to double it. Definitely a make again.

Lemon Chicken Fettuccine

Lemon Chicken Fettuccine

Servings 4

Ingredients
  

  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 pound fettuccine
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice about 1-2 lemons
  • chopped fresh basil

Instructions
 

  • Chop chicken thighs into bite-sized pieces. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Heat a skillet with olive oil. Cook chicken for about 4 minutes on medium heat. Stir and then cook for another 4 minutes until cooked through. Set aside.
  • Boil a large pot of salted water. Add pasta and cook al dente, according to the package.
  • In a small bowl, whisk oil, cheese, and lemon juice until blended.
  • Drain the pasta, reserving 1/4 cup of pasta water. Toss the pasta with the lemon sauce and reserved pasta water, adding 1/4 cup at a time. Season with salt and pepper. Add chicken and stir. Garnish with more cheese and chopped basil.