Mmmmmmmmmm. This is my favorite dinner. Sunday is my birthday, and our dinner plans got canceled tonight, so I decided to make my favorite dinner. My mom passed it down to me, and I made it my own. I even managed to remember to take pictures as I went along. Yay, me. LOL. This one doesn't go together as quickly as some of the others I have posted, but it's not overly time consuming either.
1 box ziti noodles (or your favorite noodle)
3 jars Ragu Double Cheddar Sauce (or a homemade cheese sauce)
1 small can of tomato sauce ( I use Prego traditional spaghetti sauce and save the leftover sauce)
1 lb. of ground beef (you can use ground turkey if you prefer)
1 1/2 c shredded Italian cheese blend
1 packet of onion soup mix
seasonings ( I use Tony Chachere's, Chef Paul Prodhomme"s Pizza and Pasta, salt and pepper, nutmeg, Mrs Dash onion and herb, garlic salt, and Italian seasoning)
Non stick spray
1. Brown ground beef. Add seasonings while browning, drain and set aside.
2. Cook noodles according to package directions. Add a little oil to the water to prevent noodles from sticking together. Drain, set to the side.
3. While beef and noodles are cooking, take out a 4 qt casserole dish and spray down the sides with the non-stick spray. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
4. Layer 1/3 of the noodles along the bottom of the casserole. Top noodles with 1/2 the beef. Pour 1 jar of cheese sauce over the noodles and beef, using a small rubber spatula to spread the sauce evenly. Pour 6 dots of tomato sauce over the cheese sauce, using the same spatula to spread the tomato sauce into the cheese (it should just be for color and slight taste, not overbearing). Sprinkle 1/2 c of shredded cheese across the top of the sauce.
5. Repeat step 4.
6. Put the rest of the noodles over the rest of the casserole. Pour the remaining jar of cheese sauce over the noodles, using the spatula to spread it evenly. Take some corn flakes and sprinkle it along the edges of the casserole, all the way around the rim, leaving the center open. Sprinkle some seasonings in the center (I used pepper, Italian seasoning, Chef Paul Prudhomme's Pasta Magic, and a dash of Tony Chachere's). Split the remaining 1/2 c of cheese in 2 parts, and sprinkle one part in the center of the casserole.
7. Place casserole, uncovered, into oven and bake for 25 minutes. Take casserole out, sprinkle remainder of cheese across the top and bake for 5 more minutes. Serve with your choice of vegetable.
Oooooooohhh the cheesy goodness. I could eat this every day for the rest of my life and never get tired of it. It's an easy recipe to play around with too. I have added cream of mushroom soup, stewed tomatoes, bread crumbs, and the kitchen sink. I hope your family loves it as much as mine does. It also reheats well, and the leftovers are fantastic.