One Pot Dinner, Classic Casserole!

I grew up with simple and delicious dishes.; things that could be made without a lot of fuss.  That’s not to say there were not times my mom didn’t spend the entire day cooking, in fact quite often she did. But there are definitely some meals I always loved no matter how “basic” they were.

Classic Casserole


Take casserole for instance…. the quintessential simplistic  dish of the 50’s and 60’s. It was your standard one dish dinner for the working class family.  It could be made in large amounts for relatively small cost and required little more than the ability to read a better homes and garden recipe and follow the directions.

Mmmmm Casserole

I don’t know where she learned to make this from, but it is one of the first recipes I learned from her.  If you find yourself wondering what to make for dinner, or wanting to cook but not wanting to make it an all night affair, consider giving this a try.  And for my vegetarian friends, you could easily omit the meat and use only beans, or add in a meatless “sausage”. It would make a hearty and protein (with the beans) packed dish!

The ingredients

Ingredients, it's that simple!!

Pictured above is a seasoning I get from the “Garlic Festival”, it is delicious, but not necessary.  Before I started using it, I used garlic powder, onion powder, crushed red pepper, salt and pepper.  So use those and you will be set.  For the beans I used Black Beans and Kidney Beans.  Sometimes I also add Pinto or Small Red Beans, it all just depends what is on hand and feel like having, you can really use any kind you want.  Give this simple and easy recipe a try,  I promise you won’t be disappointed! 🙂

Casserole Recipe:

  • 1lb Elbow Noodles
  • 1lb Ground Beef
  • 1 Can Black Beans
  • 1 Can Red Kidney Beans
  • 1 Can Black Beans (again you can change up the beans or add more)
  • 4 Cans Hunt Tomato Sauce (plain no basil or seasoning) if you find you like it saucier add another can
  • 1/2 tsp  each Garlic Powder and  Onion Powder (more if you like)
  • few shakes of  Crushed Red Pepper (more if you like)
  • Salt and Pepper  – to taste
  • Fill a large pot (enough to boil a lb of pasta) with water, and add a generous amount of salt to water and bring to a boil
  • Cook pasta according to directions on box, but cook to al dente
  • While pasta is cooking, in another pot over medium heat, brown the ground beef (season it with salt and pepper)
  • Rinse the beans with water until they are clean of all syrups from the can (no more bubbles/foam)
  • Once the beef is browned, add in the beans
  • Add the tomato sauce to the meat and beans, stir and season to taste, about a half teaspoon each of the onion and garlic powder, salt and pepper as needed and a few shakes of crushed red pepper. Cook mixture over low/medium low heat stirring frequently
  • When the pasta has finished cooking drain but do not rinse!!!!!
  • Add the pasta into the meat, tomato and bean mixture, continue to cook over low heat for about 15 minutes, stirring frequently
  • Serve and enjoy!

15 thoughts on “One Pot Dinner, Classic Casserole!

  1. Looks and sounds yummy! Sort of Hamburger Helper without all the preservatives and excess salt! I will definitely try this. One question – list of ingredients includes 3 cans of beans, but the picture shows two cans. Is it 2 or 3? Thanks

    I’ve just recently found your blog, and am glad I did. xo Linda

    • Thank you Linda!!! I’m so glad you found my blog and I hope you continue to enjoy it!

      The beans are totally up to you, you can add as many or as few as you want. That is the beauty of this this recipe! 🙂

      If there are things you would like to see let me know! And yes it IS hamburger helper without the junk, I actually almost named this post that! Great minds think alike! xoxo

  2. i think what i really love about casseroles is that you really CAN make it a “one pot ” meal! I mean, if you cook pasta and drain, dry pot and brown meat in the pasta pot and mix all in that pot! Granted you still need a pasta strainer but still a SUPER no dish night! My mom always made more or less a killler american chop suey close to this recipe but i always thought how cool if threw cheese on top of the whole deal (still in the pot), popped in the oven and had that nice brown, bubbled, crispy cheese crust!! YUMM, and this is coming from some who barely likes cheese! Trivet, and dinner is served! Killer, and STILL better/healthier than the drive thru.

    • Yes you could totally do that!!!! I just like to speed it up lol. American Chop Suey, we will have to discuss this further! I DO kinda love to slice Velveeta and put it on top, but I’m all about keeping it simple and quick lol so I just slice it and top it. And hell yea, WAY better than the drive through!!!

  3. too funny…but I absolutely HATE the word casserole!! …I think this comes from when I was a kid and the first thing I remember with that word attached..the dreaded tuna noodle casserole
    oh god I hate tuna noodle casserole!!
    now whenever I hear that word I think of hot slimy tuna sludge
    but…I LOVE casseroles!! hahaha..I cook A LOT ‘one-pot’ dinners…it’s really the best way to make a small amount of meat stretch to feed a whole family (or just 2 for a week!)

    • it IS a weird word!!! and totally evokes dreaded thoughts of tuna. I HATE tuna, in all forms!

      Exactly, it’s all about stretching the food! I bet this would taste BANGIN with venison!!!! I was thinking about that after I wrote this! hehehehe.

      BTW, I totally have to bring you some of this seasoning!!!!

      • when I cleaned out my chest freezer last week I discovered a lonely package of venison hiding in there…made some stew yesterday…YUM! I ♥ vension!
        I used to get the garlic-ghetti from the garlic festival…I loved that stuff! ..ran out a while ago though..this reminded me I should try to track some down! 🙂
        AND I should hit up the garlic festival this year…it’s been a while!

  4. We were sustained on something similar while growing up, a dish that we’ve come to lovingly call “Cocoroni.” As American Indians (and just plain old poor people with loads of food insecurity), we had plentiful supply of commodity mac & cheese. Mom would doctor the mac & cheese with tomato and ground beef. Being the proud owner of a Cuban uncle, we would sometimes get treats in the mail, such as Goya coconut pudding. One evening when mom was making this dish, my sister, in her pudding-excitement, laid the packet down next to the cheese packet from the mac. As you can imagine, the two were confused and because we didn’t have back up food, had to eat mac, tomato, beef, and coconut cheese casserole. Foul doesn’t hardly cover it. Yours looks way better. (BTW, I’m thinking of recreating this with SmartGround. Thanks for thinking of your veggie friends!)

    • It definitely sounds the same. We weren’t rich either. A stay at home mom and a dad that lost his job in the IBM fallout of the 90’s, and 5 kids! Mom did the best she could. OMG you owned a cuban uncle, you are so awesome!!!!! I always wanted to be cuban when I was little lol.

      OMG, the coconut fiasco sounds ummmmm puke worthy! You poor child, it is obviously has scarred you for LIFE!!!

      SmartGround? I will have to experiment with that. You are welcome! I want to start doing more vegetarian recipes, and you know me. I’m gonna make them taste like anything but crunchy granola! 🙂 Hello fried tofu and peanut sauce porn!!

  5. Just made it. Had to sub some tomato soup for the Hunt’s and added white pepper (which I love). This is tasty! I would have hated it as a kid, though. I hated beans. So glad I’m over that! Thanks for the inspiration!

  6. Pingback: Cheesy Taco Homemade Hamburger Helper | Burlap and Butter Knives

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