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Ground beef noodle casserole with a wooden serving spoon on a table
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5 from 3 votes

Easy Ground Beef Noodle Casserole

Easy, cheesy, and flavorful, this Ground Beef Noodle Casserole is a family-friendly dinner for busy nights!
Course Dinner
Cuisine American
Keyword beef noodle casserole, easy ground beef recipe, ground beef casserole, Hamburger Casserole
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 6 - 8 people
Calories 464kcal
Author Blair Lonergan

Ingredients

  • 12 ounces dry elbow macaroni, medium shells pasta, or egg noodles
  • 4 slices bacon, chopped
  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 cup diced celery (about 3 stalks)
  • 1 green bell pepper, seeded and diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
  • 1 (15 ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can petite-diced tomatoes, not drained
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • ¼ teaspoon dried oregano
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
  • Pinch cayenne
  • Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste
  • 2 cups grated cheddar cheese

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350° F. Grease a 9 x 13-inch baking dish; set aside.
  • Cook pasta in a large pot of salted boiling water for about 1 minute less than al dente, according to package instructions. Drain.
  • While the pasta cooks, heat a large skillet or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the bacon and cook until crisp, about 5-7 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to remove the bacon to a paper towel-lined plate; reserve 1 tablespoon of the drippings in the pan. Add the ground beef and cook for 3 minutes (the meat doesn’t need to be completely cooked through at this point). Add the onion, celery, bell pepper and garlic; cook until the vegetables are soft, about 5-7 more minutes.
  • Stir in the tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, tomato paste, brown sugar, chili powder, oregano, cumin, cayenne, 1 teaspoon of kosher salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Taste and adjust seasonings, if necessary.
  • Add the cooked, drained noodles and the cooked bacon to the beef mixture; toss to combine.
  • Transfer to the prepared baking dish; top with shredded cheese.
  • Bake, uncovered, until the casserole is hot and bubbly, about 15-20 minutes.
  • Garnish with fresh parsley or green onion.

Notes

  • Adjust the seasoning to suit your taste preferences. For instance, you might like to add an extra teaspoon of brown sugar for a slightly sweeter tomato sauce, increase the cayenne to make it spicy, or use a bit more chili powder for a zestier flavor.
  • Boil the pasta in well-salted water. This is your opportunity to really season the noodles.
  • Cook the pasta for 1 minute less than al dente. The noodles will continue to cook in the oven, so you want to slightly under-boil them so that they don't become mushy after baking.
  • Garnish the casserole with fresh herbs (such as parsley, thyme, basil or oregano) for a bright, fresh touch. Sliced green onions are also good!
  • Instead of the elbow noodles, try other pasta shapes such as medium shells or even egg noodles.
  • Any ground meat will work in this recipe. Instead of the ground beef, try ground turkey, ground pork, ground chicken or ground sausage.
  • Add More Veggies: feel free to include crisp-tender steamed, roasted, or sauteed broccoli, green beans, carrots, corn, or even frozen peas in the casserole.
  • Swap out the cheddar cheese and use Monterey Jack, mozzarella, Colby or Pepper Jack.
  • Cooking for a smaller family? Cut all of the ingredients in half and bake the casserole in an 8-inch square dish. The baking instructions remain the same. You can even prepare the full recipe, but divide the ingredients between two 8-inch pans and freeze one casserole for later.

Nutrition

Serving: 1/8 of the casserole | Calories: 464kcal | Carbohydrates: 43g | Protein: 27g | Fat: 20g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 7g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 74mg | Sodium: 666mg | Potassium: 760mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 846IU | Vitamin C: 22mg | Calcium: 258mg | Iron: 4mg