There is a recipe for One-Skillet Cheesy Beef and Macaroni in The Mom 100 Cookbook (oh, yes, and it’s also this blog) that is my husband’s favorite recipe, perhaps of all time. It’s quite high on my kids’ list and also one of the recipes that people most often email me about, declaring it a staple in their weekly repertoires.
It seemed only right to try to follow it up with a beefy cheesy noodle-y pasta casserole encore, which I included in book two, Dinner Solved!. It is essentially a Mexican twist on the original much-loved dish, and a meal that is greeted in my house with thunderous applause. Okay, not thunderous applause, but requests for seconds, which is as close to thunderous applause as I can hope to get.
Make Ahead and Leftovers
You can make this casserole up to the point that the noodles are about halfway cooked, and refrigerate it, covered, for up to 2 days. Bring to room temperature and warm the casserole gently over low heat until the noodles are cooked through (you may need to add a bit more broth). When it is hot, stir in the cream and finish it off with the cheese.
In a perfect world you don’t want to add the cheese until the dish is basically cooked and hot, so that the cheese melts invitingly over the top of the beefy noodle fabulousness and doesn’t melt so much that it simply sinks into the casserole.
Should this happen, or should you be reheating leftovers in a microwave with no control of how the cheese melts, it will taste every bit as delicious, it just won’t have that alluring melted cheese topping, and there will be less of a chance at an actual cheese pull. And we do all love our cheese pulls.
But we also love a dish that leaves us leftovers, so….if you are being thoughtful about it, and know you are only going to eat half of the casserole on any given night, you could only cover half of it with cheese. And then, the next time you serve it and reheat it, add the remaining cheese once it’s hot, cover, and get the same cheesy results another time.
Ground Beef and Cheese:
Truly it does not seem as though I will ever find another combination that pleases Gary and the boys as much as cheese and beef. (America agrees). However, you can also make this with ground turkey or ground pork.
You could add some sliced or chopped mushrooms when you add the onions and bell peppers, or some minced carrots. Use whatever color pepper you have on hand – the green ones are less sweet than the red, orange and yellow (with the red being the sweetest).
Serve this enchilada casserole with a salad, a simple salad. Let this dish have its deserved moment in the spotlight.
Other Ground Beef and Cheese Recipes:
- Cheesy Beef and Hash Brown Casserole: Crispy but tender shredded potatoes top a casserole of juicy ground beef bound together with a creamy cheesy sauce.
- Cheesy Ground Beef Quesadillas: Like the best bar food in the world, but right here in your own kitchen.
- One-Skillet Cheesy Beef and Macaroni: The dish that launched a thousand dinners. Full on crowd-pleasing comfort food.
- Simple Baked Pasta with Bolognese Sauce: A super solid, super satisfying cold weather pasta casserole—kind of a deconstructed lasagna.
- Cheesy Mashed Potato Topped Shepherd’s Pie: Mashed potatoes atop a savory pie are delicious; cheesy mashed potatoes are kind of sublime.
- Instant Pot Ziti “Lasagna” with Bolognese Sauce: The Instant Pot quickly makes cooked pasta, sauce, and cheese come together in a layered pasta dinner.
One-Skillet Beefy Enchilada Casserole
- Nonstick cooking spray for the skillet
- 1 ½ pounds lean ground beef
- 1 tablespoon olive canola, vegetable, or peanut oil
- 2 onions chopped
- 1 red yellow, or orange bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and diced
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- Kosher or coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 2 to 3 cups chicken broth preferably low-sodium
- ¼ cup tomato paste
- 1 can (28 ounces) enchilada sauce
- 1 pound fusilli, rotini, or egg noodles
- 1 tablespoon finely minced jalapeño pepper
- 8 scallions trimmed and chopped (white and green parts)
- ½ cup light or heavy cream or half-and-half
- 1 ½ cups shredded Monterey jack cheddar cheese, or a Mexican blend
- Spray a very large, deep (13-inch; 6 quart) skillet with nonstick cooking spray and place over medium-high heat. Add the ground beef and cook, stirring frequently and breaking up the meat, until it is crumbly and browned throughout, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a colander and drain.
- Heat the oil in the skillet over medium heat. Add the onions, bell pepper, garlic, chili powder, cumin, oregano, and salt and pepper. Sauté until the onions are softened and the spices are nice and toasty and aromatic, 5 minutes.
- Raise the heat to high, add 2 cups of the chicken broth, the tomato paste, and enchilada sauce, and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium-high, add the drained beef and noodles, and stir well. Cover and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium-low and continue to simmer, covered, until the noodles are cooked, following the package directions. Stir once halfway through the cooking time and add the jalapeño pepper hopped scallions. When the noodles are cooked the liquid should be pretty much absorbed, but the mixture should still be moist looking. If the noodles absorb all of the liquid before they are cooked, add up to an additional cup of chicken broth to the pan, stir, and cover until the pasta is tender.
- Stir in the cream until incorporated, and then sprinkle over the cheese. Cover and cook until the cheese melts, just 1 or 2 minutes. Serve hot.
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