Cheap, easy, delicious, and a fan-favorite… These are the words I attribute to the meals I cook for my brother and me when we’re in the eleventh hour. After 2 days of feasting on frozen taquitos and pizza rolls, sometimes you just need some easy home-style cooking.
So, what do I make? A casserole, of course.
Creamy Tortellini Casserole in Meat Sauce
18 oz refrigerated tortellini
1 lb ground beef
24-oz jar of your favorite spaghetti sauce
8-oz cream cheese, cubed
1-2 cups of preferred shredded cheese
Seasonings to taste (more on that later)
Fresh or dried parsley for garnish
Yields: 6-8 servings
1) Cook the tortellini according to the package directions then drain and set aside.
2) Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and grease a 9×13 baking dish.
3) In a large skillet, brown the ground beef with the seasonings of your choice. (I “measured with my heart” using salt, black pepper, garlic powder, and a heavy helping of Italian seasoning. In a pinch, salt, pepper, oregano, and thyme will do).
4) Drain any grease from the beef then stir in your spaghetti sauce and cubed cream cheese. Continue to stir and simmer until the ingredients make a sauce free of any cream cheese chunks.
5) Gently incorporate your tortellini in the sauce mixture then transfer your meal into a casserole dish. Sprinkle (or pile on) your cheese of choice.
6) Bake uncovered in the middle rack of your oven for roughly 18-20 minutes. Some ovens may take longer. For more color, garnish with a pinch or two of fresh or dried parsley.
7) Enjoy with a delicious side or two!
Sides of Choice:
A nice salad, canned green beans cooked with bacon bits, and/or a classic helping of garlic bread are all great options.
What type of tortellini do I use?
For the nutritional value, I prefer using the spinach and cheese tortellini. However, any cheese tortellini will work and might be less jarring to your littles that may not like “green stuff” in their casserole.
My tortellini exploded! Help?
Unfortunately, this is a fact of life. If you boiled your tortellini for too long or some of the pasta got stuck at the bottom of the pot, it may come undone. There is no need to panic! Just scoop up the unfolded tortellini with a spoon and drop it in the bowl with the rest. It’ll be okay.
Did you really not measure your seasonings?
Yes. 🙂 But if you feel uncomfortable, I would gander my measurements were about a teaspoon of salt and pepper, a teaspoon or two of garlic powder, and a heaping tablespoon of Italian seasoning. If all else fails, go teaspoon to teaspoon or tablespoon to tablespoon until you feel comfortable that the taste is right.
Do I have to bake my casserole?
Not necessarily. If you like what you see in the skillet, feel free to serve it as-is. You can still layer cheese on top (or mix it in) while the dish is still hot.
Can I broil it?
Absolutely! Just pop the non-stick pan or cast-iron skillet in your oven and let it broil for 2-3 minutes or until the cheese is browned to your liking.