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Easy 4-Ingredient Hamburger Casserole

Easy 4-Ingredient Hamburger Casserole: A Quick and Flavorful Meal

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Indulge in the simplicity and deliciousness of this 4-Ingredient Hamburger Casserole. With just a handful of pantry staples, you can create a hearty and satisfying dish that’s perfect for busy weeknights or lazy weekends. Let’s dive into the recipe and explore how to make this comforting casserole in no time.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb medium shell pasta
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 2 (10 oz each) cans tomato soup
  • 1 1/2 cups cheddar cheese, grated
  • 1 1/2 cups mozzarella cheese, grated
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste, or seasoned salt

Instructions:

  1. Cook the Pasta:
    • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the shell pasta according to the package instructions until al dente. Drain and set aside.
  2. Brown the Ground Beef:
    • In a separate skillet, cook the ground beef over medium heat until browned and no longer pink. Drain any excess grease.
  3. Combine Ingredients:
    • Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C). In a large mixing bowl, combine the cooked pasta, browned ground beef, tomato soup, cheddar cheese, and mozzarella cheese. Season with salt and pepper to taste, or use seasoned salt for added flavor.
  4. Assemble the Casserole:
    • Transfer the mixture to a greased 9×13-inch baking dish, spreading it out evenly. Top with additional grated cheese, if desired, for a golden and bubbly finish.
  5. Bake the Casserole:
    • Place the casserole dish in the preheated oven and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and bubbly, and the casserole is heated through.
  6. Serve and Enjoy:
    • Remove the casserole from the oven and let it cool slightly before serving. Garnish with chopped parsley or green onions for a pop of color, if desired. Serve warm and enjoy the comforting flavors of this easy and delicious meal!

Cook’s Notes and Variations:

  • Customize Your Casserole: Feel free to add your favorite seasonings or vegetables to the casserole for added flavor and nutrition. Try incorporating diced onions, minced garlic, bell peppers, or mushrooms for a tasty twist.
  • Make It Ahead: Prepare the casserole ahead of time and store it in the refrigerator until ready to bake. Simply cover the dish with foil and refrigerate for up to 24 hours before baking. This makes meal prep a breeze and allows for easy weeknight dinners.
  • Freeze for Later: This casserole is freezer-friendly! Prepare the dish as directed but do not bake it. Instead, cover the dish tightly with foil and freeze for up to 3 months. When ready to enjoy, thaw overnight in the refrigerator and bake as directed.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

Q: Can I use ground turkey or chicken instead of beef? A: Yes, you can substitute ground turkey or chicken for the ground beef in this recipe if you prefer a leaner protein option.

Q: Can I add other ingredients to the casserole? A: Absolutely! Feel free to customize the casserole with your favorite ingredients such as diced tomatoes, black beans, corn, or cooked vegetables.

Q: How do I store leftovers? A: Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. Reheat individual servings in the microwave or oven until warmed through.

More about 4-Ingredient Hamburger Casserole:

Ingredent Substitutions:

  • Ground Meat: If you prefer, you can use ground turkey, chicken, or even plant-based meat alternatives instead of ground beef for a lighter option.
  • Cheese Varieties: Experiment with different types of cheese to customize the flavor of your casserole. Try Monterey Jack, Pepper Jack, or Colby Jack for a spicy kick, or Swiss cheese for a milder taste.
  • Soup Options: While tomato soup adds a rich and tangy flavor to the casserole, you can also use cream of mushroom soup, cream of chicken soup, or any other condensed soup of your choice for a different flavor profile.

Serving Suggestions:

  • Side Dishes: Serve the Hamburger Casserole with a side of garlic bread, steamed vegetables, or a crisp green salad for a well-rounded meal.
  • Garnishes: Sprinkle chopped fresh parsley, green onions, or crispy bacon bits over the casserole just before serving for an added burst of color and flavor.
  • Dipping Sauces: Offer a variety of dipping sauces such as ketchup, barbecue sauce, or ranch dressing on the side for dipping the casserole bites for extra indulgence.

Healthier Alternatives:

  • Whole Wheat Pasta: Use whole wheat or gluten-free pasta instead of traditional white pasta for added fiber and nutrients.
  • Leaner Meats: Opt for lean ground meats and reduced-fat cheese to lower the calorie and fat content of the casserole while still enjoying the same great taste.
  • Vegetable Additions: Incorporate chopped vegetables such as bell peppers, zucchini, or spinach into the casserole for added nutrition and texture.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

Q: Can I make this casserole ahead of time? A: Yes, you can assemble the casserole ahead of time and refrigerate it until ready to bake. Just be sure to increase the baking time slightly if baking the casserole straight from the refrigerator.

Q: Can I freeze the casserole for later? A: Absolutely! This casserole freezes well. Simply prepare the dish, allow it to cool completely, then wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and foil before freezing. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.

Q: Can I add additional seasonings to the casserole? A: Yes, feel free to customize the seasoning blend to suit your taste preferences. Add dried herbs such as oregano, basil, or Italian seasoning for extra flavor.

With its minimal ingredients and maximum flavor, this 4-Ingredient Hamburger Casserole is a go-to recipe for busy weeknights or whenever you’re craving a comforting meal without the fuss. Versatile, customizable, and downright delicious, this casserole is sure to become a staple in your kitchen. So gather your ingredients and get ready to enjoy the simplicity and satisfaction of this classic dish—it’s a winner every time!

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