photo: Grits and Pinecones

If you’ve got picky eaters, we’ve got your dinner solution right here, thanks to Sharon of Grits and Pinecones. You can make it in one big dish, or you can make smaller dishes and freeze them for later—perfect for those busy weeknights when you don’t have time to cook.

Ingredients
1 lb lean ground beef
14.5 oz can petite chopped tomatoes
10 oz can diced tomatoes and green chilies
6 oz can tomato paste
2 tsp granulated sugar
2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
8 oz pkg medium egg noodles
6 green onions or scallions (optional)
1 cup sour cream (can substitute low or reduced fat)
1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
1 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded

Method
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

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2. Cook the ground beef in a large skillet over medium heat for 5-6 minutes, or until it is no longer pink. Break up any large pieces. (I use an old-fashioned potato masher and it works great for this task.) Drain any fat from the ground beef.

3. Add the chopped tomatoes, tomatoes with green chilies, tomato paste, sugar, salt and pepper and mix well. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes.

4. While the beef mixture is simmering, cook the egg noodles according to the package directions and drain.

5. Place the noodles in a large bowl and add the scallions if you are using them, 1/2 cup of the shredded cheddar cheese, and sour cream. Mix well.

6. If you are making one large casserole, place the noodle mixture in a 13 x 9 inch baking dish which has been sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. If you are dividing the mixture up into several smaller dishes to freeze, simply divide the mixture evenly and add it to the smaller baking dishes.*

7. Top with the beef mixture and spread out evenly. Top with the remaining cheddar cheese and Parmesan cheese.

8. Cover the casserole with aluminum foil and bake for 35 minutes. Uncover and bake for 5-10 more minutes or until the cheese has melted and is bubbling.

*Notes: If you are freezing a casserole, wrap securely in aluminum foil and place in the freezer. When ready to bake, for the best results, allow to thaw in the refrigerator overnight and then bake as directed.

What do you think of this recipe? What’s your favorite winter comfort food? Leave us a comment below!

This recipe comes courtesy of Sharon at Grits and Pinecones. Check out her site to find more unfussy recipes perfect for busy families, all with a Southern-style flair.