The other day on Facebook I asked your opinion on “classic casseroles.” The response was almost unanimous—you love them, but would like to see versions made without as many canned ingredients or “cream of” soups. I’m all about that idea, so the first casserole I decided to tackle was this Beef & Mushroom Country Casserole.
Beef & Mushroom Country Casserole
What is a “Country Casserole”?
If you pop “country casserole” into Google or Pinterest you’ll find 100 different versions (here’s one from PlainChicken.com and another from SixSistersStuff.com). Sometimes it’s called Amish Country Casserole, sometimes Beef and Noodle Casserole, sometimes just Country Casserole. Despite the different names, they all have one thing in common—they’re a creamy, beefy, noodley delight!
Most versions of this classic casserole include a can of tomato soup, a can of cream of mushroom soup, some sort of cheese, and usually no vegetables. So, I knew there was definitely room for improvement.
More Vegetables PLEASE!
I just had to inject more vegetables into this casserole to feel right, so I added an onion, fresh mushrooms, and a can of diced tomatoes (not fresh, but better than nothing). I then swapped out the tomato soup for tomato sauce, which is very similar but without the huge amounts of sugar that tomato soup is usually hiding.
Instead of cream of mushroom soup, I used sour cream and real mushrooms to give a similar effect. My Beef & Mushroom Country Casserole still has a lot of cheese, but let’s face it. Casseroles are cheesy and/or creamy by nature. That’s just what they are. Let’s not kill it completely. ;)
Six Small but Mighty Servings
As with most casseroles, this guy is pretty filling and caloric. I split mine into six servings. The servings may look on the small side volume-wise, but it made me quite full. If you need more volume in your meal to make your “eyes” full, I suggest adding a simple side salad or using 12oz. pasta instead of eight.
Beef & Mushroom Country Casserole
- 1 Tbsp cooking oil ($0.04)
- 1/2 lb ground beef ($1.99)
- 8 oz mushrooms ($1.99)
- 1 onion ($0.25)
- 1/4 tsp garlic powder ($0.02)
- 1/4 tsp salt ($0.02)
- Freshly cracked pepper ($0.03)
- 1/2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce ($0.03)
- 8 oz extra wide egg noodles ($1.00)
- 15 oz can tomato sauce ($0.65)
- 15 oz can fire roasted diced tomatoes, drained ($1.50)
- 8 oz sour cream ($1.49)
- 8 oz medium cheddar, shredded ($2.79)
- 4 green onions, sliced ($0.29)
- Cook the noodles according to the package directions, but until slightly less done. The noodles will further cook while the casserole bakes. Once cooked, drain the noodles and set it aside.
- While the noodles are cooking, finely dice the onion and slice the mushrooms.
- Add the cooking oil and ground beef to a large skillet. Cook over medium heat until the beef is fully browned. If using a higher fat content beef, drain off the excess fat before continuing.
- Add the diced onion, sliced mushrooms, garlic powder, salt, and some freshly cracked pepper to the skillet. Continue to sauté over medium heat until the mushrooms are soft and the onions are transparent. Add the tomato sauce and Worcestershire sauce to the beef and mushroom mixture. Stir to combine, then simmer for a few minutes, or until it thickens slightly.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Return the drained noodles to the pot they were boiled in (heat turned off) and add the beef and tomato mixture, diced tomatoes (drained), sour cream, half of the shredded cheddar, and half of the green onions. Stir to combine and then transfer the mixture to a 9x13 inch casserole dish.
- Top the casserole with the remaining shredded cheese, then bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes, or until it is bubbling around the edges and the top is starting to brown just slightly. After removing from the oven, sprinkle the remaining green onions over top.
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Love casseroles? Check out these other canned-soup-free casseroles: Creamiest Green Bean Casserole, Cheesy Chicken Vegetable and Rice Casserole, Wild Rice and Vegetable Casserole, and Cheesy Cottage Pie.
Step by Step Photos
Cook 8oz. extra-wide egg noodles according to the package directions, but leave them slightly underdone (cook about 2 minutes less than directed). The noodles will finish cooking while the casserole bakes.
While the noodles are cooking, dice one onion and slice 8oz. mushrooms. Add 1 Tbsp cooking oil to a large skillet along with 1/2 lb. ground beef. Cook the beef over medium heat until the meat is fully browned. If using a higher percent fat beef, drain the excess fat before continuing.
Add the diced onion, sliced mushrooms, 1/4 tsp garlic powder, about 1/4 tsp salt, and some freshly cracked pepper to the skillet. Continue to sauté until the mushrooms are soft and the onions are transparent.
Add one 15oz. can tomato sauce and 1/2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce. Stir to combine, then let simmer over medium heat for a few minutes or just until it thickens a touch.
My international readers always ask what “tomato sauce” is, so let me show you… :) It’s basically puréed tomatoes, with just a little salt and seasoning (onion, garlic, etc.). It’s not sweet like ketchup or tomato soup. I think the closest product would be passata, but you might need to add a little more salt.
Here’s the back so you can see the ingredients. It’s mostly just tomato and has a LOT less sugar than canned tomato soup.
Anyway, back to the recipe… Preheat your oven to 350ºF. Return the drained noodles to the pot that they cooked in (assuming it’s big enough to be used as a mixing vessel) and add the beefy mushroom tomato mixture, one 15oz. can of fire roasted diced tomatoes (drained), 8oz. sour cream, 2 sliced green onions, and 4oz. shredded cheddar cheese (the rest of the cheese and onions will be used to top the casserole). Stir everything to combine.
Transfer the mixed casserole ingredients to a 9×13 inch casserole dish. Top with the remaining 4oz. shredded cheddar. Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes, or until it’s very bubbly around the edges and just a little brown on top.
After it comes out of the oven, top with the remaining two sliced green onions. Then EAT. :)
Okay, so maybe I could have cut back on the cheese just a little… but nahhhhh. ???