Greek Pasta Casserole

Do you ever taste a meal someone else made and have to have the recipe?  I do.  And I ask for that recipe and 9 times out of 10, I never get around to making it.  I hate that about myself.  I have so many recipes and so many ideas, that I just don’t often wind up doing the “plan”.  This week for instance, I made so much food last week and over the weekend, I’ve just really been heating things up.  I do feel badly for my husband and child, but I’ve entered the 3rd trimester and sometimes my energy flags.  Now this meal I had every intention of making just like it was served to me.  However, when it came down to making it, I realized that I didn’t have all the ingredients and things that I assumed were in it, were not.  Therefore, I tried.  I really did, but in the end, it’s not too much like what I had originally craved.  Now, I will tell you that the original recipe does not call for meat, but my midwife is concerned that I haven’t been eating as heartily as I should be at this stage in the game, so I added the ground beef.  It could easily be left out and the dish would be just a wonderful!
Greek Pasta Casserole
  • 1 lb. pasta (I used mini ziti, but you could use any shape you desire)
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1 roasted red pepper, diced
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 4 oz can olives (I used the chopped up ones, because I thought my son would eat them better, but you could also serve this with sliced olives or green olives.)
  • 1 pint diced tomatoes (I used some from the stash I canned this summer… love popping open those jars!)
  • 8 oz. Cheddar Cheese, shredded
  • 1 can cream of mushroom soup (or you could use this recipe and make your own!  It’s really simple and doesn’t take much more time than it would to boil your pasta for this recipe.)
  • 1/4 cup milk (use only if you are using the canned soup, if not omit)

 In a large saute pan, cook up your ground beef.  I used the fat from the meat to saute the onions, garlic and peppers as well so there was no waste and it cooked together.  Yum!  Add the water as you need to keep things from sticking to the pan.  Then, stir in the olives and tomatoes and reduce the heat to a simmer.  Simmer for about 15 minutes.  In the meantime, preheat your oven to 350 degrees and boil your pasta.  I also used this time to shred my cheese since I only buy it in blocks and not preshredded.  When everything is ready, pour half of pasta into a buttered 9 by 13 inch baking dish.  Spread half the meat mixture and half the cheese over the top and then do a final layer of the pasta, meat mixture and cheese.  If you are using a can of soup, mix it together with the milk and then spread it over the top.  If you made your own soup, just pour it over the casserole and spread as necessary.  Bake in the oven for 30 minutes.  Makes enough to serve 6-8 people, but this does make excellent leftovers and freezes well.

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