Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Beef and Veggie Casserole

Ah, beef. It's what's for dinner, you know.
And The Deb feels that so long as you're buying lean beef and not cooking it in, say, bacon fat or lard, it's not that bad for you. That being said, you should be careful about consuming it every day. I just heard on NPR that you should have about 3 servings a week, and you shouldn't grill it because the grilling process can lead to carcinogens (CANCER) in your burger. Gah. The Deb often wonders if it wasn't infinitely easier living in the 1950s where you could smoke, drink and eat red meat all you wanted because: Steaks = vitamins, booze = necessary social lubricant and smoking = dedication to a hobby.

Anyway. It's 2007 and here's a nice casserole dish for these chilly winter nights that will taste good and homey but not weigh you down.

Warm Beefy Delicousness

Preheat your oven to 500 degrees and spray a cookie sheet.
Cook your pasta, also.

You will need:
8 oz. whole wheat pasta, BARELY cooked (I only cook my ziti for about 6 -- 8 minutes because it will be in the oven); ziti, medium shells, or macaroni works fine with this. I've even used egg noodles.
2 bell peppers (any color), sliced
2 zucchini or squash, sliced
12 oz. lean ground beef
1 onion, chopped
2 minced garlic cloves
1 C. tomato sauce
2 C. fat free ricotta
2 T. parmesan cheese
1 large egg yolk
1 C. reduced fat cheese
salt, pepper, Mrs. Dash and chopped parsley, to taste

Roast veggies on cookie sheet for 10 -- 15 minutes. Reduce temp to 350.
Saute beef, onion and garlic until beef is browned. Stir in sauce and bring to a simmer. Combine with cooked pasta.
Spead beef/noodle mixture in bottom of a 9 x 13 pan and top with roasted veggies. Sprinkle with seasonings/parsley.
Whisk together ricotta, yolk, cheddar and more seasonings (to taste). Smooth over top of casserole with a spatula and top with parmesan. Bake uncovered for 25 minutes, then take the foil off and cook 10 more minutes to get the cheese all melty.
This is so good for around the holidays because it feeds 6 -- 8 people and it's really like comfort food, so you don't feel deprived on a cold winter night.
Serving six, it's got about 315 calories per serving, or 7 WW points.

Casserole Sing-A-Long
"Baby It's Cold Outside!"
"Yes We Can-Can-Can" from the Moulin Rouge soundtrack


ivancull said...

This was sooo yummy and the roasting veg ahead was well worth it. I had ground turkey on hand and used that instead and devoured it.

The Dainty Deb said...

Great idea with the ground turkey! I bet shredded chicken breast would work nicely, too. Glad it turned out well!