Um, Maca-what? Lol! Try again: Mac-a-sag-na. My husband named it this because it’s basically lasagna but with macaroni noodles. That’s all. It’s not complicated. It’s a family fave and I’m excited to share with you guys!
It’s an easy recipe, but it takes just over an hour to make so I prefer to cook this dish on the weekend when I have extra time vs a weeknight. Depending on the size of your family you can get a couple of dinners out of one casserole. The leftovers taste even better than fresh out of the oven, believe it or not, IMHO.
This is the type of dish that you can easily slip veggies into and your kids will have no clue.
Personally, I’m not a fan of lying to my kids about food (yes, I force them to eat veggies) but I totally get that some parents would rather not have this battle, therefore, sneaking veggies in works really well! Veggies of the squash variety are the easiest to add.
Macasagna and casseroles in general tend to be forgiving when it comes to proportions of meat, cheese and seasoning. You can definitely cater this dish to suit your family. Use my recipe as a guide. It’s delicious. I promise!
- 1 package of macaroni noodles, 8 oz.
- 1 lb of ground meat – can be pork, beef, chicken, turkey or a mix of a couple
- 2 tbsp of olive or grapeseed oil
- 4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
- 1 medium onion, diced
- Handfuls each of cilantro + parsley, chopped
- 1/2 cup of parmesan cheese
- 1 egg
- 2-3 stalks of celery, diced
- 1 bell pepper, diced
- 1/2 cup of oats or bread crumbs
- 1-2 tsp of hot chili flakes (as little or as much as you prefer)
- 1/2 tsp of black pepper
- 1/2 tsp of salt
- 2 cans of pasta sauce, any kind, I use Bravo because my family hates tomato chunks
- 2 cups of shredded cheddar cheese, or any cheese you like
- Preheat oven to 375
- Cook the macaroni noodles and set aside.
- Now for the meat. Combine the meat, cilantro, parsley, parmesan cheese, egg, oats or bread crumbs, chili flakes, salt and black pepper. Mix with fork but don’t over do it.
- Heat the oil in a large skillet and sauté the onion, garlic, celery and bell pepper. Once soft, add the meat mixture and use the back of a fork or spoon to break up the meat. You don’t want huge clumps. Cook until brown then add the pasta sauce. Let the sauce simmer for about 15 minutes. You can add extra parmesan in this process if you want it cheesier.
- Now it’s time to marry the meat, cheese and noodles. There are no layers like in a lasagna. I recommend putting the macaroni noodles and cheese in a 9×13 dish then pouring the hot meat sauce over the noodles and cheese and mix slowly. You’ll notice that the cheese starts to melt already. Make sure to get a lot of sauce in the dish. Sprinkle cheese on top and bake, uncovered for 25-30 minutes. It’s done when the top gets crusty around the edges. Mmm!
- Let is cool for 15-20 minutes before cutting.
Serve with a side of green salad or sautéed peas. Enjoy and don’t forget to alter this recipe to suit your taste buds!
Hungry for more? Check out our other recipes here.