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4 Ingredient Hamburger Casserole

4 Ingredient Hamburger Casserole (Quick & Easy) Recipe

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Welcome to a delightfully simple yet incredibly tasty recipe for a 4 Ingredient Hamburger Casserole. Perfect for those busy nights when you need a quick and satisfying meal, this casserole combines tender pasta shells, savory ground beef, and rich tomato soup, all topped with gooey, melted cheese. This recipe requires minimal effort and ingredients, making it an ideal go-to dish for families, students, and anyone short on time. Let’s dive into the details of this delicious comfort food, and explore some variations, keto and low-carb versions, and useful cooking tips.

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Ingredients

  • 1 (1lb) box medium pasta shells
  • 1lb ground beef
  • 2 (10oz) cans tomato soup
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella
  • 1/2 cup water
  • Garlic, salt & pepper to taste

Instructions

Step 1: Cook the Pasta

  1. Boil the Pasta: In a large pot of salted boiling water, cook the pasta shells according to the package instructions until al dente. Drain and set aside.

Step 2: Prepare the Ground Beef

  1. Brown the Beef: In a large skillet, cook the ground beef over medium heat until it is no longer pink, breaking it up with a spoon as it cooks. Drain any excess fat.
  2. Season the Beef: Add garlic, salt, and pepper to taste, stirring to combine.

Step 3: Combine Ingredients

  1. Mix with Tomato Soup: Add the cooked pasta, ground beef, tomato soup, and 1/2 cup of water to a large mixing bowl. Stir until well combined.

Step 4: Assemble the Casserole

  1. Layer the Casserole: Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C). In a large baking dish, spread the pasta and beef mixture evenly.
  2. Add Cheese: Sprinkle the shredded cheddar and mozzarella cheese evenly over the top of the casserole.

Step 5: Bake the Casserole

  1. Bake: Place the casserole in the preheated oven and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and bubbly.
  2. Serve: Remove from the oven and let it sit for a few minutes before serving. Enjoy!

Cook’s Notes

  • Cheese Variations: Feel free to use other types of cheese, such as Monterey Jack, Colby, or even a spicy pepper jack for added flavor.
  • Pasta Options: You can substitute the medium pasta shells with other pasta shapes like elbow macaroni, rotini, or penne.
  • Make-Ahead: This casserole can be prepared ahead of time and refrigerated until ready to bake. Simply increase the baking time by 10-15 minutes if baking straight from the fridge.

Variations

1. Veggie-Packed Hamburger Casserole

  • Ingredients: Add 1 cup of diced bell peppers, 1 cup of chopped onions, and 1 cup of sliced mushrooms to the ground beef mixture.
  • Instructions: Sauté the vegetables with the ground beef until tender before combining with the pasta and tomato soup.

2. Spicy Hamburger Casserole

  • Ingredients: Add 1 can of diced tomatoes with green chilies and 1 teaspoon of chili powder to the mixture.
  • Instructions: Mix the spicy ingredients with the pasta, ground beef, and tomato soup for a casserole with a kick.

3. Creamy Hamburger Casserole

  • Ingredients: Substitute one can of tomato soup with one can of condensed cream of mushroom soup.
  • Instructions: Follow the same steps, combining the cream of mushroom soup with the tomato soup for a creamier texture.

Keto and Low-Carb Versions

Keto Hamburger Casserole

  • Ingredients:
    • 1lb ground beef
    • 2 (10oz) cans tomato soup (keto-friendly version or homemade)
    • 2 cups shredded cheddar
    • 1 cup shredded mozzarella
    • 1/2 cup water
    • 2 cups riced cauliflower (as a pasta substitute)
    • Garlic, salt & pepper to taste
  • Instructions:
    1. Prepare Ground Beef: Brown the ground beef as described above, adding garlic, salt, and pepper to taste.
    2. Mix with Tomato Soup: In a large mixing bowl, combine the cooked ground beef, keto-friendly tomato soup, riced cauliflower, and water.
    3. Layer and Bake: Spread the mixture into a baking dish, top with shredded cheddar and mozzarella, and bake at 350°F (175°C) for 20-25 minutes.

Low-Carb Hamburger Casserole

  • Ingredients:
    • 1lb ground beef
    • 2 (10oz) cans tomato soup (low-carb version or homemade)
    • 2 cups shredded cheddar
    • 1 cup shredded mozzarella
    • 1/2 cup water
    • 4 cups zucchini noodles (as a pasta substitute)
    • Garlic, salt & pepper to taste
  • Instructions:
    1. Prepare Ground Beef: Brown the ground beef as described above, adding garlic, salt, and pepper to taste.
    2. Mix with Tomato Soup: In a large mixing bowl, combine the cooked ground beef, low-carb tomato soup, zucchini noodles, and water.
    3. Layer and Bake: Spread the mixture into a baking dish, top with shredded cheddar and mozzarella, and bake at 350°F (175°C) for 20-25 minutes.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. Can I use ground turkey instead of ground beef?

Yes, you can substitute ground turkey for a leaner option. The cooking time and instructions remain the same.

2. How can I make this dish gluten-free?

To make this casserole gluten-free, use gluten-free pasta and ensure that all canned ingredients, such as tomato soup, are labeled gluten-free.

3. Can I freeze the leftovers?

Yes, you can freeze leftovers. Allow the casserole to cool completely before transferring it to an airtight container. Freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight before reheating.

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4. What sides go well with hamburger casserole?

This casserole pairs well with a simple green salad, garlic bread, or steamed vegetables like broccoli or green beans.

5. How do I store and reheat leftovers?

Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat in the microwave or oven until warmed through.

6. Can I add other ingredients to the casserole?

Absolutely! Feel free to add other ingredients like cooked bacon, diced tomatoes, or different types of cheese to customize the casserole to your liking.

7. Can I make this recipe dairy-free?

To make this recipe dairy-free, use dairy-free cheese alternatives and ensure that any canned ingredients, like tomato soup, are also dairy-free.

The 4 Ingredient Hamburger Casserole is a wonderfully simple and delicious dish that is perfect for any night of the week. With just a handful of ingredients and minimal prep work, you can have a comforting and satisfying meal ready in no time. This recipe is incredibly versatile, allowing you to customize it with your favorite ingredients or adapt it to fit dietary preferences, including keto and low-carb diets.

We hope this recipe becomes a staple in your meal rotation and that you enjoy making and sharing it with family and friends. Happy cooking!