Sometimes you don't want to make something complicated. Sometimes simple is best. Pulling something warm and delicious from the oven shouldn't require two hours of prep time. There's a middle ground, somewhere between opening a can of ravioli and making pasta from scratch.
Adapted from Southern Living magazine, October 2003
1 pound lean ground beef
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 (14½-ounce) can chopped tomatoes
1 (10-ounce) can diced tomatoes and green chiles
2 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste
1 bay leaf
1 (6-ounce) package medium egg noodles
6 green onions, chopped (about ½ cup)
1 cup sour cream
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded mozzarella cheese
Garnish: fresh parsley sprigs
Cook ground beef and garlic in a large skillet over medium heat 5 to 6 minutes, stirring until the beef crumbles and is no longer pink. Drain. Stir in chopped tomatoes and next 4 ingredients; cook 5 minutes. Add tomato paste and bay leaf, and simmer 30 minutes.
Cook egg noodles according to package directions; drain. Stir together cooked egg noodles, chopped green onions, and sour cream until blended.
Place noodle mixture in bottom of a lightly greased 9x13-inch baking dish. Remove bay leaf from beef mixture, and then pour it over the noodle mixture; sprinkle evenly with cheeses.
Bake, covered with aluminum foil, at 350°F for 35 minutes. Uncover casserole, and bake 5 more minutes. Garnish, if desired.
Note: Freeze casserole up to 1 month, if desired. Thaw in refrigerator overnight. Bake as directed.
Makes 6 servings