Beef, Spinach and Noodle Casserole is comfort food at its best, and is super easy to prepare. Plus, it can be made ahead of time, and even frozen, too!
Lately I’ve been craving comfort foods, and in particular a casserole that my mom used to make when I was young. Noodles, beef, tomato sauce, cheese – you get the picture. I’m sure the recipe is buried somewhere in her recipe boxes or files, but I can’t find it. So, I decided to create my own, and this Beef, Spinach and Noodle Casserole is the result.
In my version, egg noodles are cooked al dente in beef stock (to add in more flavor), then layered with a flavorful and hearty sauce of ground beef, onion, garlic, Italian seasoning and marinara. Another layer of cheeses, spinach, sour cream and green onion is added to provide creaminess, a bit of tang, and also color. It’s all baked together until it’s bubbly, creamy, melty . . . .and oh, so yummy!
This Beef, Spinach and Noodle Casserole is extremely flexible and pantry friendly. You can use just about any type of dried pasta in place of the egg noodles. It’s also delicious with ground turkey or chicken as well. Instead of cream cheese, you can substitute ricotta or cottage cheese. So, switch it up a bit and have fun!
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Beef, Spinach and Noodle Casserole
This Beef, Spinach and Noodle Casserole is comfort food at its best, and is super easy to prepare. And, it can be made ahead of time, and even frozen, too! Noodles are cooked in beef stock, then layered with a flavorful and hearty sauce of ground beef, onion, garlic, Italian seasoning and marinara. Another layer of cheeses, spinach, sour cream and green onion is added to provide creaminess, a bit of tang, and also color. It’s all baked together until it’s bubbly, creamy, melty . . . .and oh, so yummy!
- Yield: 6 to 8 servings 1x
- Category: pasta, beef, make ahead
- 2 1/2 quarts water
- 2 tablespoons beef base (I like Better than Bouillon brand) – see alternatives in Note below
- 8 ounces egg noodles, uncooked
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 pound ground beef (can also use ground chicken or turkey)
- 1/2 cup chopped yellow onion
- 2 garlic cloves, chopped or pressed
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 2 cups marinara sauce
- Kosher salt, to taste
- Fresh ground pepper, to taste
- 8 ounces cream cheese, softened (can also use 6 ounces ricotta or small curd cottage cheese)
- 1 (10 ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and well drained
- 1/4 cup sour cream
- 1/4 cup chopped green onion (white, light green and some of the dark green portion)
- 1/2 cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese, divided
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 2-quart baking dish.
- In a large stockpot, bring water to a boil. Stir in beef base. Add noodles and cook according to package instructions. Drain well. Return to pan and add butter; stir until the butter is melted. Set aside.
- In a large skillet, add ground meat, onion and garlic. Sprinkle with Italian seasoning and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally and breaking up meat, until onion is soft, meat is no longer pink and grease is cooked off (or drain). Stir in marinara sauce; reduce heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- In a medium mixing bowl, stir together cream cheese, spinach, sour cream and green onion.
- Spread half cooked noodles in prepared baking dish. Top with meat mixture, spreading evenly. Sprinkle 1/4 cup of Cheddar cheese evenly over top of meat. Spread remaining noodles over top of cheese. Carefully spread cream cheese mixture over the top of the noodles. (I place dollops of the mixture all over the top, then spread them to be an even layer.) Sprinkle remaining Cheddar cheese over the top.
- Bake casserole, uncovered, for 30 to 40 minutes, or until bubbly and heated through.
Alternatives to beef base: You can substitute 6 beef bouillon cubes for the 2 tablespoons beef base. Or, substitute 6 cups beef broth and reduce water to 4 cups.
Make ahead: Casserole can be prepared but not baked, covered and refrigerated earlier in the day. Can also be frozen, cooked or uncooked, for up to 1 month.