10 Great Casseroles on a Budget

Penne Pasta Casserole (Beef or Turkey)
Tasty penne pasta helps stretch the more expensive meat in this dish.
Tasty penne pasta helps stretch the more expensive meat in this dish.

Yield: 6 servings

Ground meat combined with a hearty starch has been used to stretch protein sources since the beginning of time. Or at least the beginning of the casserole. In this Italian-style meal, ground beef or ground turkey mix with penne pasta and cheese for a filling dinner that does just as well (or even better) for lunch the next day.

Get cooking!


  • 1 pound ground sirloin beef or ground turkey
  • 3 cups shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese (3 cups = 12 oz)
  • 1 can (14.5 oz.) diced tomatoes with basil, garlic and oregano, un-drained
  • 1 can (6 oz.) tomato paste
  • 1 large onion, chopped (1 large = about 1 cup)
  • Cooking spray
  • 12 ounces dry penne pasta, uncooked (12 oz = 3 cups)
  • 1/2 cup water


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Cook pasta according to package directions.
  2. Brown meat with onions in large skillet; drain. Stir in tomatoes with their liquid, the tomato paste and water; cook until heated through, stirring occasionally. Set aside.
  3. Spray 13-by-9-inch baking dish with cooking spray. Drain pasta; place in large bowl. Add tomato mixture and 2 cups of the cheese; toss to coat. Spoon into prepared dish; sprinkle evenly with remaining 1 cup cheese.
  4. Bake 20 to 25 minutes, or until casserole is heated through and cheese is melted.

(For nutritional information, see TLC Cooking.)

Next, a quick-cooking casserole ...