Thursday, August 29, 2013

Layered skillet casseole

This recipe has been a family favorite of the Karoly's since our July 1981 wedding. The original comes from Sunset Magazine. The original recipe was written for a large heavy skillet or stove-top Dutch oven. I now cook it inside a 10-inch camp oven.

The photographs show you how I cooked the casserole inside the Dutch oven. The list of ingredients remain the same as listed below. The instructions are modified as noted in the photo captions.

Sauté the beef over a bed of coals or camp stove burner. I usually begin the dish over the burner, then bake with coals top and bottom in the 10-inch camp oven. You can add sweet bell peppers in addition to the onions and garlic, if desired.

For the test recipe, I prepared my own marinara sauce. The recipe was written for bottled marinara or spaghetti sauce. It's your choice.

Once the meat and sauce are ready, spoon cottage cheese over. Ricotta cheese works as well (used in the test recipe). Evenly spread a layer of uncooked wide egg noodles over the cheese.

I reserved half of the cooked meat and onion for the top layer. Note the recipe directs you to leave the meat on the bottom of the pot. The remaining half of the sauce covers the noodles.

At this point, I placed the Dutch oven over 5 charcoal briquettes and placed the lid on the oven. Fifteen coals were placed on the lid. Some 30 minutes into baking, I removed the lid and spread mozzarella cheese over the top layer. It took about 15 minutes to brown the cheese.


1 pound lean ground beef
1 medium-size onion, chopped
2 cups (or 1-16 ounce jar) marinara sauce
2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1 tablespoon dried basil
1 teaspoon each dried oregano leaves and salt
1-1/4 cups water
1 pint small curd cottage cheese
3 cups (about 6 ounces) medium-wide egg noodles
2 cups (1/2-pound) shredded mozzarella cheese

Crumble beef into a 3- to 4-quart heavy skillet or Dutch oven. Add onion and cook, over medium heat until meat browns; drain off fat.

Stir together sauce, garlic, basil, oregano, salt and water and spoon about half over meat mixture. Spoon cottage cheese over; then top evenly with uncooked noodles. Spoon over remaining sauce.

Cover and bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 30 to 40 minutes or until noodles are tender; remove from heat.

Sprinkle cheese evenly over top; replace cover and let stand for 10 minutes to melt cheese.

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