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Rustic Ground Beef and Potato Bake

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This Rustic Ground Beef and Potato Bake is a hearty and comforting dish that’s perfect for any night of the week. Layered with thinly sliced potatoes, seasoned ground beef, and a creamy mushroom sauce, this casserole is then topped with melty cheddar cheese and crispy French fried onions for a deliciously satisfying meal.

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Ingredients

  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • ½ cup yellow onion, diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 to 3 medium-sized Russet potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 (10.75-ounce) can condensed cream of mushroom soup
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • French fried onions, for topping
  • Optional toppings: sliced green onions, chopped fresh parsley

Instructions

Step 1: Prepare the Ingredients

  1. Preheat the Oven:
    • Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C).
  2. Prep the Vegetables:
    • Peel and thinly slice the Russet potatoes.
    • Dice the yellow onion and green bell pepper.
    • Mince the garlic cloves.

Step 2: Cook the Ground Beef

  1. Brown the Beef:
    • In a large skillet over medium heat, cook the ground beef until it starts to brown.
  2. Add Vegetables:
    • Add the diced onion, green bell pepper, and minced garlic to the skillet. Cook until the vegetables are softened and the beef is fully cooked, about 5-7 minutes.
  3. Season:
    • Season with salt and pepper to taste. Drain any excess fat.

Step 3: Prepare the Sauce

  1. Mix the Sauce:
    • In a medium bowl, combine the condensed cream of mushroom soup and sour cream until well mixed.

Step 4: Assemble the Casserole

  1. Layer the Potatoes:
    • In a greased 9×13-inch baking dish, arrange a layer of thinly sliced potatoes on the bottom.
  2. Add Beef Mixture:
    • Spread half of the ground beef mixture over the potatoes.
  3. Spread Sauce:
    • Spread half of the mushroom soup and sour cream mixture over the beef.
  4. Repeat Layers:
    • Add another layer of potatoes, followed by the remaining beef mixture, and then the rest of the sauce.
  5. Top with Cheese:
    • Sprinkle the shredded cheddar cheese evenly over the top of the casserole.

Step 5: Bake the Casserole

  1. Cover and Bake:
    • Cover the baking dish with aluminum foil and bake in the preheated oven for 45 minutes.
  2. Uncover and Top:
    • Remove the foil and sprinkle French fried onions over the top. Bake uncovered for an additional 10-15 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender and the top is golden and crispy.

Step 6: Serve

  1. Garnish and Serve:
    • Remove from the oven and let the casserole sit for a few minutes before serving. Garnish with optional toppings like sliced green onions or chopped fresh parsley for added flavor and color.

Cooking Notes and Tips

  • Potato Slices: Ensure the potatoes are sliced thinly and evenly to ensure they cook through properly. A mandoline slicer can help achieve uniform slices.
  • Creamier Sauce: For an even creamier sauce, add ½ cup of milk or heavy cream to the soup and sour cream mixture.
  • Make Ahead: This casserole can be assembled ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours before baking. Just add a few extra minutes to the baking time if baking straight from the fridge.

Variations

Protein Alternatives

  • Ground Turkey or Chicken: Substitute ground beef with ground turkey or chicken for a lighter version.
  • Sausage: Use ground sausage for a different flavor profile.

Vegetable Additions

  • Carrots and Peas: Add diced carrots and peas to the beef mixture for added color and nutrition.
  • Spinach: Mix in fresh spinach leaves for a burst of green and extra vitamins.

Serving Suggestions

  • Side Salad: Serve with a simple green salad for a balanced meal.
  • Bread: Pair with crusty bread or dinner rolls to soak up the delicious sauce.

FAQs

Q: Can I use a different type of cheese? A: Yes, you can use any cheese that melts well, such as mozzarella, Colby Jack, or Monterey Jack.

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Q: How do I store leftovers? A: Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat in the oven or microwave before serving.

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Q: Can I freeze this casserole? A: Yes, you can freeze the unbaked casserole. Assemble the casserole, cover tightly with plastic wrap and aluminum foil, and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight before baking.

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This Rustic Ground Beef and Potato Bake is a comforting, family-friendly dish that’s easy to prepare and sure to please everyone at the table. With its layers of tender potatoes, flavorful beef, and creamy sauce, it’s a classic casserole that’s perfect for any night of the week. Enjoy this delicious recipe and make it a staple in your meal rotation!

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