4th of July Triple-Layered Savory Casserole

READY IN: 1hr 30mins
Recipe by NELady

From Family Favorites Cookbooks by Readers Digest, c. 1993. THREE LAYERS OF YUMMY - VEGETABLE, MEAT & PASTA! This dish is a crowd-pleaser at a 4th of July celebration or at a pot luck supper. Can substitute ground turkey or veal for the ground beef. For serving, use a clear, ovenproof dish to show off the layers of the vegetables, beef, and macaroni. This casserole can be assembled a day ahead and kept, covered with plastic wrap, in the refrigerator until ready to bake.

Top Review by Paris D

Hubs gives this a 4, but I loved it and I'm doing the rating! ;) This was great comfort food. It makes a huge amount; I would say it serves 8 and not 6. I would suggest buying very lean ground beef because it gets pretty greasy otherwise. All of this said, we will not be making it again because it is WAY too much work.

Ingredients Nutrition


  1. To make the Vegetable Layer: In a large skillet over moderate heat, melt the 2 tablespoons of butter. Add the leek and saute for 2 to 3 minutes, or until softened. Add the bell pepper and suate for 3 minutes more. Add the zucchini and spinach and saute for 3 minutes more. Season to taste with 1/8 teaspoons each of the salt and pepper. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the mixture to a 2-1/2 quart casserole and set aside.
  2. To make the Meat Layer: In a large skillet, heat the oil over moderate heat for 1 minute. Add the onion and celery and saute for 5 minutes, or until the onion is translucent. Add the beef and cook, stirring continuously, for 5 minutes, or until no pink color remains. Stir in the stock, tomato paste, oregano, thyme, and basil. Cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Season to taste with the 1/8 teaspoon each of the salt and pepper. Remove the pan from the heat. Spoon the meat mixture evenly over the Vegetable Layer.
  3. To make the Macaroni-Cheese Layer: Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil over high heat. Cook the macaroni in the boiling water, or until al dente. Drain well, rinse under cold running water, and drain again.
  4. Preheat the oven to 350*F. IN a medium-size saucepan over moderate heat, melt the 2 tablespoons of butter. Slowly add the flour and cook, stirring continuously, for 2 minutes, or until a pale straw color. Gradually add the milk, stirring continuously, until the sauce is smooth. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, and simmer, uncovered, for 2 minutes, or until thickened slightly.
  5. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in 1-1/4 cups of the cheese. Season to taste with the white pepper. Stir in the macaroni. Spoon the macaroni mixture over the Meat Layer. Sprinkle with the remaining 1/4 cup of cheese.
  6. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the top is golden and the layers are heated through. Remove the casserole from the oven and serve immediately.

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