Beef Lombardi Casserole

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Is there anything better than a warm, cheesy casserole fresh from the oven on a chilly evening? As the intoxicating aroma fills the kitchen, you can practically feel the comfort and love radiating from that bubbly pan. For me, no dish sparks that nostalgic feeling quite like a zesty Southwestern-inspired beef and noodle bake.

I still vividly remember coming home from school to the mouthwatering scents of my mom’s signature beef noodle casserole simmering away. She always knew how to make our tummies and hearts full with her delicious, home-cooked meals. While I’ve put my own flavor-packed spin on her classic recipe over the years, that cozy feeling of digging into a cheesy, beefy bite remains.

My Beef Lombardi Casserole is downright irresistible with its south-of-the-border flair. We’re talking a meaty tomato sauce kicked up a notch with zesty diced tomatoes, roasted green chiles, and savory spices. It’s a fiesta of vibrant flavors enveloping tender noodles and layers of gooey, melty cheese that’ll have you going back for seconds and thirds!

What Makes This Casserole So Darn Good?

  • It strikes the perfect balance of cheesy richness and bold, zingy Southwestern spices
  • The beef and veggie-packed sauce is incredibly hearty and satisfying
  • There’s no shortage of ooey-gooey cheese pulls from the creamy, melty cheese blend
  • It’s a make-ahead dream for busy weeknights or anytime you need a quick meal
  • The leftovers are just as smashing reheated for easy lunches

Once you taste this amped-up casserole, it’ll instantly become a forever family favorite! It’s one of those nostalgic, timeless dishes that just tastes like home.

Ingredients

To make this flavor-loaded Beef Lombardi Casserole, you’ll need:

  • Lean ground beef (or ground turkey/chicken)
  • Diced tomatoes
  • Roasted diced tomatoes and green chiles
  • Tomato paste
  • Spices like garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper
  • Egg noodles
  • Sour cream (or Greek yogurt)
  • Shredded cheddar cheese
  • Grated parmesan
  • Shredded mozzarella

I always keep these everyday ingredients on hand because you never know when a Beef Lombardi Casserole craving will strike! Let’s get cooking.

Tasty Variations

Since this casserole makes for such a stellar base, it’s fun to jazz it up sometimes! Here are some tasty ideas:

  • Increase the heat by using hot diced tomatoes and chiles
    Sauté some veggies like bell peppers, zucchini, or spinach and mix them in
    Swap out the cheese blend for zesty pepper jack, smoky gouda, or a Mexican blend
    Top it off with fresh, colorful garnishes like diced avocado, tomatoes, green onions, cilantro or jalapeños
  • The possibilities are deliciously endless to customize this casserole to your taste buds’ desire. But no matter which way you bake it, you’re in for a serious cheesy, beefy, Tex-Mex-inspired treat!

Step-by-Step Instructions

Now that we’ve covered the casserole’s delectable checklist of flavors and fun variations, let’s get cooking! This casserole is baked pasta bliss in just 5 simple steps:

  • Brown the beef (or turkey/chicken) in a skillet until fully cooked. Drain any excess fat.
  • Add the diced tomatoes, diced tomatoes with green chiles, tomato paste, and spices. Simmer for 15-20 minutes to let the flavors develop.
  • While the beef mixture simmers, cook the egg noodles until al dente according to package instructions. Drain and toss with the sour cream.
  • Layer the creamy noodles in a greased 9×13 baking dish. Top with the zesty beef sauce, then sprinkle with the shredded cheese blend.
  • Bake at 350°F for 20-25 minutes until hot and bubbly.

That’s literally all there is to it! Just bake until melty and sublime.

Pro Tips

  • Don’t overcook the noodles – you want them firm since they’ll continue baking
  • Add a splash of the noodles’ starchy cooking water to the sour cream for extra creaminess
  • Let the beef mixture simmer a bit longer for even richer, more concentrated flavors
  • Tent foil over top if the cheese browns too quickly while baking

FAQs

Is this casserole spicy?
The diced tomatoes and green chiles add a mild, welcomed kick of heat. Use “mild” varieties if you need to tame the spice level.

Can I prep this ahead?
You bet! You can fully assemble the unbaked casserole up to 2 days in advance. Just cover and refrigerate until ready to bake (it may need a few extra minutes).

How should I reheat leftovers?
Pop individual portions in the microwave or bake your leftovers in the oven until heated through for the best texture. The oven helps re-crisp that cheesy top!

Can I freeze this casserole?
Yes! This casserole is freezer-friendly. Let it cool completely, then freeze portions. Thaw overnight before reheating.

Serving Suggestions

Here are some tasty side ideas to round out this cheesy, zesty Southwestern feast:

  • Crisp green salad or Caesar salad
  • Roasted broccoli, cauliflower or zucchini with ranch
  • Buttery garlic breadsticks or crusty bread
  • Mexican rice, cilantro lime rice or black beans
  • All the toppings – avocado, salsa, sour cream, jalapeños

When you have a home-baked labor of love like this Beef Lombardi Casserole, you can’t resist making it a whole cozy, comforting meal! One forkful of those cheesy, beefy, tomato-chile smothered noodles and you’ll be in nostalgic comfort food bliss. This easy yet show-stopping casserole deserves a permanent spot in your recipe rotation!

Beef Lombardi Casserole

My Beef Lombardi Casserole is downright irresistible with its south-of-the-border flair.
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Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Servings: 6

Ingredients

  • 1 lb lean ground beef or ground turkey/chicken
  • 1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1 10 oz can diced tomatoes and green chiles (such as Rotel)
  • 1 6 oz can tomato paste
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 12 oz package egg noodles
  • 1 cup sour cream or plain Greek yogurt
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a 9×13 baking dish and set aside.
  • In a skillet over medium-high heat, cook the ground beef until browned and crumbly. Drain excess fat.
  • Add the diced tomatoes, diced tomatoes with green chiles, tomato paste, garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer and cook for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Meanwhile, cook the egg noodles according to package instructions until al dente. Drain and toss with the sour cream until fully coated.
  • Spread the creamy noodles in an even layer in the prepared baking dish. Top with the beef and tomato sauce, then sprinkle the shredded cheeses evenly over top.
  • Bake for 20-25 minutes until hot, bubbly, and the cheese is melted and lightly browned on top.
  • Let stand 5 minutes before serving. Enjoy!

Notes

  • For extra creamy noodles, stir in a splash of the starchy pasta cooking water with the sour cream.
  • Let the beef mixture simmer longer (30+ mins) for even deeper, more developed flavors.
  • Cover with foil if the cheese browns too quickly before the center is hot and bubbly.

Variations:

  • Use hot or fire-roasted diced tomatoes for more heat
  • Sauté bell peppers, zucchini, spinach etc and mix into the beef sauce
  • Substitute pepper jack, gouda or Mexican blend cheese
  • Top with diced avocado, tomato, green onion, cilantro, jalapeño

Make-Ahead: Assemble the unbaked casserole up to 2 days in advance. Cover and refrigerate until ready to bake, adding 5-10 minutes to the bake time.

Freezing:

Let baked casserole cool completely, then freeze portions in foil pans. Thaw overnight before reheating.
Serve this cheesy, beefy, zesty Southwestern casserole with a crisp green salad, roasted veggies, garlic bread or tortilla chips and all your favorite toppings! It’s comfort food at its finest.

I hope you and your family or guests absolutely devour this nostalgic yet amped-up take on the classic baked beef and noodle casserole! There’s just something about those creamy, cheesy noodles mingling with the bold, savory beef and tomato-chile sauce that is downright irresistible. Enjoy every cozy, flavor-packed bite!

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