Cheese, beef, sour cream, and noodles. Now that's a combination that's hard to resist. I love casseroles because they generally take little effort, taste amazing, and provide plenty of food for our large family. Those are all wins in my book!
I was in the mood for something with cream cheese yesterday, so I went rummaging around to see what I could come up with. Cream cheese is just one of my favorites. Seriously, I could eat it out of the package. I don't (usually), but I could. I have some go-to dishes that include cream cheese, but I wanted something a little different.
This recipe has very few ingredients and very little hands-on time. It's super easy to make, tastes great, and the kiddos loved it. It took me about fifteen minutes of hands-on prep and just ten minutes in the oven. Again, all wins, right? If you're looking for a simple but filling casserole, this might be just the thing.
2 pounds of ground beef (I used 90/10, but any will work)
2 packages of cream cheese, 8-ounce
1/2 to 1 onion, minced
1 tablespoon of oil of choice
1 tablespoon of minced garlic
1 teaspoon of salt, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon of black pepper, or to taste
12 ounces of wide egg noodles
1/2 cup of sour cream
4 ounces of mozzarella pearls (optional)
To make it:
Heat the oven to 225 degrees. You won't need to actually cook the dish in the oven. You'll just want to warm it back up after you mix everything together.
First, place a pot of water on the stovetop and bring it to a boil for the egg noodles. Also, place a large skillet or Dutch oven on the stovetop and add the oil and heat.
Next, mince your onion. I used 1/2 of a Vidalia onion, but you could add more or less, depending on your family's preferences. Add the onion to the skillet and stir.
Add the ground beef to the skillet and mix in the onion. As the meat begins to brown, add the garlic, salt, and pepper (if you wish to add other seasonings to make it your own, feel free to add those as well).
Remember to keep an eye on the water for the noodles and add them when it's boiling. Boil those as directed on the package, then remove from the heat and drain them. Set them aside.
While the noodles and beef are cooking, cut the cream cheese into cubes to make it easier for it to melt.
Once the ground beef mixture is done cooking, drain it if necessary and return it to the skillet. Turn the heat down to low and add the cream cheese and the sour cream. Stir it well and cook over low heat until all the cream cheese is melted.
When the cream cheese is melted, turn off the stovetop and remove the skillet from the heat. Mix the ground beef mixture and the noodles together in a large bowl (add the mozzarella pearls to the mixture if using, and pour it all into a casserole dish. I used a roughly 9x13 dish that is about 3 inches deep.
Put the dish into the oven for about ten minutes. You don't want to cook it further, just warm it all back up while you're finishing up your side dishes.
Easy enough, right? After about ten minutes, the casserole should be heated through. Remove it from the oven and serve it hot. If you used the mozzarella pearls, they will be quite stringy. Be careful when serving so you don't get burned.
What about variations?
There are many things you could do to make this your own. Some of them include:
This is not a saucy casserole. If you want a sauce, I recommend making a white sauce with butter, flour, and milk to add to the mixture. You could also add additional sour cream.
You could add cracker crumbs or shredded cheese to the top before you put it into the oven.
You could add other vegetables to the beef mixture.
You could add any spices you'd like. Cumin, chili powder, paprika, and oregano would give it a Mexican kick.
What to serve this with:
You could serve this with almost anything. It would pair great with green beans, peas, mixed vegetables, broccoli, a salad, or roasted vegetables. Anything you'd like to serve would likely complement this nicely.
We served it with corn on the cob, coleslaw, and dinner rolls. My entire family loved this dish, and they don't always love a casserole that isn't saucy or creamy. It's simple, basic comfort food, and they ate it up. Even if you have picky eaters, I recommend giving this a shot.
Do you have any go-to recipes you'd like to share? If you try this one, let me know how it goes.