Monday Recipe: Silician Casserole

This is a recipe I found while searching www.allrecipes.com for specific ingredients I had on hand.   I upped the garlic and upped the cheese.  Yes my family loves garlic and cheese!  Haven't found a recipe yet that I don't increase these two items.  Or if garlic is not called for and it is not a dessert (hmmm wonder if it would in dessert, but I digress), then I will usually add it in. 

This is also another recipe that is great for freezing.  I made two the first time I attempted the recipe, froze one and eventually it was taken to a friend's house as a meal.  I always try to have a casserole, stew or other in the freezer at all times that can be used for a friend or relative in need.

Why, yes.  I do live in the South and in a small town.  The cure for everything is FOOD!

  • 1 lb. ground meat
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 - 5 cloves garlic, minced ( I used 5)
  • 1 red or yellow bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
  • 1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 2 tsp. dried Italian seasoning
  • 2 cups elbow macaroni
  • 8 oz. pkg. cream cheese, cubed
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  • 3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
  • 1/2 cup grated mozzarella cheese
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
  • Brown the ground meat, onion, and garlic in heavy saucepan/skillet, stirring to break up meat. Add green bell pepper when meat is almost cooked; continue to simmer until completely browned.
  • Drain meat and veggies well.
  • Add tomato paste, tomato sauce, water, and dried Italian seasoning and stir well to blend. Let simmer for 10 minutes to blend flavors.
  • Meanwhile, cook elbow macaroni as directed on package.
  • While macaroni is cooking, combine cream cheese and milk in medium bowl. Cook in microwave on medium power for 2-3 minutes, stirring once halfway through cooking. Remove from microwave and stir with wire whisk until sauce thickens and blends to form a smooth sauce.
  • Drain noodles and add to cream cheese sauce along with sour cream and 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese; stir to combine.
  • In 2 quart casserole dish, place all of cream cheese mixture.
  • Top with all of the ground meat mixture and sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese and the mozzarella.
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes until casserole is bubbly.
  • Add 1 Tbsp. cornstarch to the cream cheese sauce.
  • Prepare casserole as directed, except instead of baking, chill in refrigerator.
  • Wrap well and freeze up to 3 months.
  • To thaw and reheat, thaw casserole overnight in refrigerator. Bake, covered, for 25-35 minutes, then uncover and bake 5-10 minutes longer until bubbly.

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