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Best Make Ahead Macaroni Beef Casserole

If your goals was to find easy ground beef casseroles, well it won't get much simpler than this tasty dish. The Best Make Ahead Macaroni Beef Casserole is a family favorite and super budget-friendly to boot. You'll love it!

Ingredients
  • 1 1/2 pound ground beef
  • 1 leek cleaned and thinly sliced
  • 2 cans (15-ounce) stewed tomatoes
  • 1 can (15-ounce) plain tomato sauce
  • 1 pound any type pasta (rigatoni or ziti sizes work best)
  • 14 ounces bag of shredded Cheddar cheese
  • 2 tablespoons cooking oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter or margarine
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 1 can dark red kidney beans rinsed and drained (optional)
Instructions
  1. Cook pasta according to package directions using the minimum cooking time (al-dente).
     
  2. Drain and rinse with cold water and set aside. Saute the leeks in butter and oil until translucent. Add the ground beef and brown completely.
     
  3. Combine the pasta, cooked meat, stewed tomatoes, tomato sauce, cheese(s) and beans (if used). Salt and pepper to taste and pour into a non-stick baking pan or a lightly greased glass baking dish.
     
  4. Cover with foil (or lid if the container has sealable lid) and toss in fridge overnight if you're not ready to bake yet.
     
  5. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
     
  6. Bake covered with foil for 1 hour. Remove foil and bake an additional 10-15 minutes to brown the top.
     
  7. Serve with crusty bread.

Notes

Note on pasta: Adjust the baking time according to the size of the pasta. If you use smaller pasta like elbows and bow ties, cut the total baking time to 45-55 minutes to keep the noodles from getting too mushy. Note on cheeses and tomatoes: Any hearty flavorful cheese will do. Pick the stewed tomato flavors according to the cheese. We sometimes use a pre-shredded pizza cheese mix with Italian-flavored stewed tomatoes or a Mexican cheese mix with Mexican-flavored tomatoes.

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