When the kids were younger and life was more hectic (aka - Mom was the only one available with a driver's license to take 3 children to various extra-curricular activities and social engagements), I would gravitate toward the 365 Meal books to help me fix dinner in a pinch. At one time I think I owned every title made, but I found that the 365 ways to cook Pasta, Chicken, and Ground Meat to be the tried-and-true favorites. Later this year, if and when the weather ever becomes sunny and warm, I will post the recipe for Pasta Salad that everyone in the family adores - but for today, I thought I would post the recipe for soul-satisfying PTA casserole. This dish is very easy to prepare, makes a ton to allow for leftovers, and in my humble opinion, epitomizes the meaning of comfort food!
- 8 oz elbow macaroni -- cooked until tender
- 1 pound ground meat
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 2 cups tomato sauce
- 1 teaspoon celery salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 8 oz cream cheese - softened
- 1 cup cottage cheese
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 1/4 cup chopped parsley (optional)
- 2 tablespoons butter
- Parmesan cheese (my addition)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- In a large skillet - cook ground meat and onion over medium-high heat, stirring often to break up clumps of meat, until beef is no longer pink, about 5 minutes. Drain off excess fat. Stir in tomato sauce, celery salt and pepper.
- In a medium bowl, beat together the cream cheese, cottage cheese, sour cream and parsley until smooth.
- In a buttered (I use Pam) deep 3-quart casserole, layer the macaroni, all of cheese mixture, and remaining macaroni. Top macaroni with meat sauce and dot with butter (I eliminate the butter and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese instead).
- Bake until casserole is bubbling, about 45 minutes
- NOTE: this can be prepared through step 4 in advance, cover and refrigerate for up to one day before baking.