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Having Company Casserole

Unveiling Culinary Magic: Having Company Casserole Extravaganza

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Prepare to dazzle your taste buds and delight your guests with our “Having Company Casserole.” This hearty and flavorful dish is designed to impress, combining layers of ziti, savory ground beef, and a luscious medley of cheeses, all enveloped in a rich, seasoned tomato sauce. Whether you’re hosting a gathering or simply craving a comforting meal, this casserole is sure to become a staple in your repertoire. Join us on a culinary journey as we guide you through the creation of this crowd-pleasing masterpiece.

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Ingredients

Meat

  • 1 lb Ground beef, lean

Produce

  • 1 tsp Garlic powder
  • 1 tsp Onion powder
  • 1 (14.5 oz) can Tomatoes

Canned Goods

  • 2 cups Beef broth

Condiments

  • 1 1/2 tsp Balsamic vinegar
  • 1 (8 oz) can Tomato sauce

Pasta & Grains

  • 8 oz Ziti

Baking & Spices

  • 1 tsp Black pepper
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1 tsp Kosher salt

Dairy

  • 1 cup Cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup Cottage cheese
  • 4 oz Cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup Sour cream

Instructions

Step 1: Preheat and Prep

  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C).
  2. Grease a 9×13-inch baking dish for easy serving.

Step 2: Cook Ziti

  1. Cook the ziti according to package instructions until al dente.
  2. Drain and set aside.

Step 3: Brown Ground Beef

  1. In a large skillet, brown the lean ground beef over medium-high heat.
  2. Season with garlic powder, onion powder, black pepper, Italian seasoning, and kosher salt.
  3. Drain any excess grease.

Step 4: Create Tomato Sauce Base

  1. Add canned tomatoes, tomato sauce, beef broth, and balsamic vinegar to the ground beef.
  2. Simmer the mixture for 10-15 minutes, allowing the flavors to meld.

Step 5: Combine Cheeses

  1. In a separate bowl, combine cheddar cheese, cottage cheese, cream cheese, and sour cream.
  2. Mix until well blended.

Step 6: Assemble the Layers

  1. Place half of the cooked ziti in the greased baking dish.
  2. Spread half of the cheese mixture over the ziti.
  3. Pour half of the tomato sauce and beef mixture over the cheese layer.
  4. Repeat the layers with the remaining ziti, cheese mixture, and tomato sauce.

Step 7: Bake to Perfection

  1. Cover the baking dish with foil and bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes.
  2. Remove the foil and bake for an additional 15 minutes or until bubbly and golden.

Step 8: Serve and Enjoy

  1. Allow the casserole to rest for a few minutes before serving.
  2. Scoop out generous portions and relish the delicious layers.

Cook Notes and Variations

  • Vegetarian Twist: Substitute the ground beef with plant-based alternatives like crumbled tofu or meatless grounds for a vegetarian version.
  • Greens Galore: Add spinach or kale to the cheese mixture for an extra burst of color and nutrients.
  • Spicy Kick: Incorporate crushed red pepper flakes or diced jalapeños for a spicy variation.

Keto and Low-Carb Versions

Keto Version

  • Replace the ziti with zucchini noodles or shirataki noodles for a low-carb alternative.
  • Use almond flour or coconut flour to thicken the tomato sauce.
  • Opt for full-fat dairy options to enhance the fat content.

Low-Carb Version

  • Choose a low-carb pasta alternative such as cauliflower rice or konjac noodles.
  • Adjust the amount of tomato sauce and use a sugar-free option.
  • Opt for low-fat dairy choices to reduce the overall carb count.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q1: Can I prepare this casserole ahead of time?

Absolutely! You can assemble the casserole a day in advance and refrigerate it. Bake it just before serving to ensure maximum freshness and flavor.

Q2: Can I freeze the leftovers?

Certainly! Portion out any leftovers and store them in an airtight container in the freezer. Reheat in the oven for a satisfying meal later on.

Q3: Can I use a different type of pasta?

Certainly! Penne, rigatoni, or rotini are excellent alternatives to ziti. Choose your favorite pasta shape for a personalized touch.

Q4: What can I serve with this casserole?

Pair it with a crisp green salad, garlic bread, or roasted vegetables for a well-rounded meal. The versatility of this casserole makes it a perfect match for various side dishes.

Q5: Can I use ground turkey instead of ground beef?

Absolutely! Ground turkey is a fantastic substitute, offering a leaner option while maintaining the rich flavors of the casserole.

healty meal, low carbs meals, keto meal

In conclusion, the “Having Company Casserole” is a culinary masterpiece that brings together layers of savory goodness in every bite. From the seasoned ground beef to the creamy cheese mixture, this casserole is a symphony of flavors and textures. Explore the variations to tailor it to your preferences or dietary needs, and relish the joy of sharing this delightful dish with friends and family. Whether for a special occasion or a comforting weeknight dinner, this casserole is a testament to the joy of hearty, homemade meals. Get ready to savor the warmth and satisfaction of a dish that captures the essence of home-cooked goodness!

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