ingredients
  • extra lean ground beef 1 lb
  • penne pasta 1 lb
  • yellow onion 1/2 medium, chopped
  • Garlic 2 cloves, minced
  • Extra virgin olive oil 2 tbsp
  • Marinara sauce 1 ½ cups
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Cheddar Cheese 1 ½ cups, grated

If you've been on the hunt for an incredibly simple yet tasty dinner your whole family will enjoy, look no further than the humble ground beef casserole. Thanks to its quick cook time and the small amount of prep needed, ground beef casserole is a perfect weekday meal. If you're busy but still want to cook hearty, nutritious meals that taste fantastic, this recipe needs to be on your radar. The best part of making ground beef casserole (other than how easy it is to make) is the fact you can customize it to your family's tastes. Add fresh herbs or try a mix of different cheeses. You can also swap beef for pork or chicken and expect the same delicious results!

How to Make Ground Beef Casserole

Preheat your oven to 400°F. While your oven is heating up, grease a 9×13-inch baking dish with a little olive oil or some cooking spray.

Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil. Cook the penne for 10 minutes. It should be slightly underdone. Drain, and set off to the side.

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet. Sauté the beef and onions over medium-high heat for about 10 minutes, breaking up large chunks of meat as you go along. Stir in the garlic halfway in. You may need to drain off some of the fat.

Add the marinara sauce, and cook the mixture until it's heated through, making sure to stir occasionally. Sprinkle in the salt and pepper.

Pop the penne into your baking dish. Pour the beef over the pasta, then mix to combine thoroughly. Add the grated cheese in an even layer over the penne.

Bake the beef casserole for 10 minutes, or until the cheese has melted. To brown the cheese, broil the casserole for 2-3 minutes, then serve.

What kind of substitutions can I make in this ground beef casserole recipe?

Because this ground beef casserole is so versatile, you have a lot of freedom to play around with substitutions or adding other ingredients to this recipe. You can use a can of diced tomatoes instead of marinara sauce then add a dash of dried herbs or make it with any pasta you have in your cupboard. Egg noodles also taste wonderful in this recipe. Freshly chopped vegetables like bell peppers, carrots, celery, or green beans make tasty and nutritious additions to this dish as well.

Instructions

Preheat your oven to 400°F. While your oven is heating up, grease a 9×13-inch baking dish with a little olive oil or some cooking spray.

Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil. Cook the penne for 10 minutes. It should be slightly underdone. Drain, and set off to the side.

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet. Sauté the beef and onions over medium-high heat for about 10 minutes, breaking up large chunks of meat as you go along. Stir in the garlic halfway in. You may need to drain off some of the fat.

Add the marinara sauce, and cook the mixture until it's heated through, making sure to stir occasionally. Sprinkle in the salt and pepper.

Pop the penne into your baking dish. Pour the beef over the pasta, then mix to combine thoroughly. Add the grated cheese in an even layer over the penne.

Bake the beef casserole for 10 minutes, or until the cheese has melted. To brown the cheese, broil the casserole for 2-3 minutes, then serve.