Sunday, March 9, 2014

Grandpa Casserole

When I was growing up my family made what we called "Grandpa Casserole."  The reason we called it that was simply because my grandpa liked it.  Since then, I learned that there are lots of variations and names for this "secret family recipe."

I can't believe it, but I hadn't made this for my family until about 6 months ago.  And when I did, they loved it.  This dish is incredibly easy, relatively quick, and easy to modify to whatever you have on hand.  I like to make it on days little j has a later evening activity because I can keep in the oven while I pick her up. I don't make it as a traditional casserole, but, again, you can make however it might work best for you.

Grandpa Casserole

Serves 4 

2 cups dried pasta (penne, macaroni, or other sturdy pasta works best)
1 lb ground beef
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
salt and pepper
1 28 oz can chopped tomatoes with liquid

Cook pasta according to package directions.

Heat a large saut√© pan on medium high and brown ground beef.  Drain off most, but not all of the grease.  Add onions and cook until softened.  Season with salt and pepper.  Add garlic and cook for 30 seconds.  Add in tomatoes with juice.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and allow to simmer while pasta finishes cooking.

When pasta is done add to ground beef mixture and combine.  At this point you can either serve it or you can place it in an oven proof dish, cover with foil, and keep warm at 250° for 30 minutes to an hour.  This allows the pasta to soak up some of the tomato juice.

Again, you can add whatever you like - herbs, vegetables, cheese, etc.  You can substitute ground pork or italian sausage.  If you prefer tomato sauce instead of chopped tomatoes, that works as well.  Lots of options here!


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