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Friday, April 29, 2011

Creamy Beef Penne Casserole

A few days ago I decided to try my hand at a casserole recipe I stumbled upon at AllRecipes.com, found here.  I adapted it to include deer meat and penne pasta, and I made a few unexpected last minute changes as I started cooking (as you'll see below).  Here goes!

Creamy Beef (or Deer!) Penne Casserole

  • 4 cups penne pasta, uncooked [essentially one box]
  • 2 cups pasta sauce [essentially one jar]
  • 1 pound ground beef [deer meat in this case]
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained [Here's where I made a substitution for a can of Rotel instead since I discovered we were out of diced tomatoes!]
  • 1 package Philadelphia Brick Cream Cheese, cubed
  • 1 1/2 cups KRAFT Mozzarella Shredded Cheese [I applied it liberally ;) ]
  • 1/3 cup KRAFT 100% Grated Parmesan Cheese (And since I realized we were also out of Parmesan, I substituted another bag of shredded cheese)

Heat oven to 375 degrees F.  Cook pasta in large saucepan as directed on package, omitting salt. Remove from pan; drain.

Cook beef [or deer meat! =) ] in a large skillet over medium-high heat until browned and crumbled, stirring frequently; drain.  (I added some fresh onions and minced garlic for extra flavor.)

Meanwhile, add pasta sauce, ground beef, tomatoes and cream cheese to same pan; cook on medium heat 5 min. or until cream cheese is melted and mixture is well blended, stirring frequently.

Return pasta to pan; mix well.

Layer half the pasta mixture in 13x9-inch baking dish; cover with layers of 3/4 cup mozzarella and remaining pasta mixture.  Top with remaining mozzarella and Parmesan.

Bake 20 min. [I covered the dish with aluminum foil for ooey-gooey cheese rather than a hard crust] or until heated through.

Serve immediately and enjoy -- which is exactly what Mr. L did :)

Next time, I'll probably make sure I actually have diced tomatoes on hand, since the Rotel made the whole thing a little spicy for my taste.  For the record, though, Mr. L loved it, as did the rest of my family after they sampled the leftovers I brought them :)

Looking at these pictures makes me want to make it all over again!  Maybe next week...

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