Simple Baked Beef and Pasta Casserole

Simple Baked Beef and Pasta Casserole

Sometimes the best meal is the most simple. It is true you don’t need a whole range of complicated ingredients to prepare something truly delicious. Take this simple baked beef and pasta casserole, for example. It’s so easy and it tastes perfect as well!

Along with the pasta, you need beef, garlic, onion, cheese, and cayenne pepper. These ingredients infuse the dish with maximum flavor and make this something you will be happy to serve up at least once a week.

Beef and Pasta Casserole Ingredients  

I like to use penne pasta and in fact I typically always have that to hand. The shape of pasta doesn’t make much difference to the dish though, so if you’re more of a fusilli fan or you want to use macaroni or bowties, go ahead! Anything works here.

As for the ground beef, I would suggest 85% or 90% lean as being best, just so you don’t end up losing a quarter of the meat to fat which you then have to drain off. Prefer pork? No worries – minced pork is a great alternative. You could even use some of each.

The garlic and onion powder are easy ways to infuse the dish with flavor. If you prefer to use fresh though, I would suggest half a finely chopped yellow onion and two minced garlic cloves. Cook these with the ground meat.

Cream cheese and shredded cheddar add the creamy comfort food flavor and texture. Cayenne pepper or chili powder adds a kick of heat, but you can absolutely omit that if you prefer.

How to Make Easy Beef and Pasta Casserole

Now you have all the ingredients assembled, how do you make this simple beef pasta recipe? First off all you need to cook the pasta, which usually means adding it to salted water and simmering it until al dente. You can cook the ground beef in a skillet while the pasta is cooking in a pan. Drain off excess grease afterwards.

Next you can stir in the garlic and onion powders as well as the cream cheese, half the shredded cheese, and some salt, pepper and maybe cayenne pepper if liked. Once everything is well blended, you can combine the pasta with the meat and cheese mixture.

Transfer it into a baking dish, top with the rest of the shredded cheese and then just bake for about 15 minutes. See, I told you it was easy!

Handy Tips for a Perfect Beef Pasta Casserole

This might be an easy recipe already but it’s always worth bearing some tips in mind to guarantee a wonderful outcome.

First of all, make sure you have all the ingredients. You can use any shape of pasta, any kind of ground meat, and any kind of shredded cheese, along with your preferred seasonings. Once you’re ready to go, you can cook the pasta, preheat the oven and make the sauce.

Something I really love about easy pasta recipes is how easy they are to tweak. You can literally throw anything in there. I think this particular beef pasta casserole would be amazing with some sliced mushrooms in there. Bell peppers would also work. If you’re making this for kids, you can mince the veggies so they are invisible in the finished dish! Clever, huh?

Make this as mild or as spicy as you wish. If you choose not to add cayenne pepper or chili powder to the recipe, consider offering hot sauce at the table so everyone can choose their own heat preference.

What to Serve with Easy Beef Pasta Bake

 There are no vegetables in this simple beef and pasta casserole (well, unless you’ve minced some up to sneak in!) This means a vegetable-centric side dish is the perfect accompaniment.

Broccoli, haricots verts, zucchini, asparagus spears – the sky is the limit really. Choose your favorite veggies and sauté, steam or roast them until tender.

How to Store Leftover Beef Pasta Casserole

Keep leftovers in an airtight covered container for up to 3 days. You can microwave them for a minute or so to reheat. Can you also freeze leftover beef bake? Absolutely! Transfer it into an airtight container and freeze it for up to 3 months.

I like to freeze this in portions so if I want lunch in a hurry, I can simply take one portion out of the freezer, thaw it in the microwave (on a low setting) and heat it up. If you plan ahead, you could thaw it in the refrigerator overnight then reheat when those lunchtime hunger pangs begin.

Simple Baked Beef and Pasta Casserole

Simple Baked Beef and Pasta Casserole

Yield: 6
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 package penne pasta
  • Water, as needed
  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • ½ tablespoon canola oil
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 4 ounces cream cheese
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper (or chili powder)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper

Instructions

  1. Cook the pasta following the directions on the package and drain it.
  2. Meanwhile you can cook the meat in the oil in a skillet until cooked through.
  3. Drain off any excess fat.
  4. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  5. Turn the heat down on the stove and mix in the onion powder, garlic powder, salt, pepper, cayenne pepper or chili powder, cream cheese, and half the shredded cheddar.
  6. Combine the pasta with the beef mixture.
  7. Pour this into a 13 x 9-inch baking dish.
  8. Sprinkle the remaining cheddar on top.
  9. Bake for 15 minutes.
  10. Serve hot.

Notes

Omit the cayenne or chili powder if you don’t want this spicy, or increase it if you’re a
spice-lover!

You can lower the fat content if you want by using extra-lean ground beef and reduced fat cream cheese and cheddar.

Nutrition Information:

Amount Per Serving: Total Fat: 22gSaturated Fat: 12gTrans Fat: 10gCholesterol: 88mgSodium: 25mgCarbohydrates: 120gProtein: 40g