I followed the recipe but added fresh spinach and asparagus to the sauce as well as fresh parsley to the cream cheese mixture. It turned out so well!! I like the canned tomato sauce rather than using a pre-made "Prego-type" sauce.
It wasn't a total kid pleaser, but honestly, what is these days? My kids don't like pizza, so don't bank on your kids not liking this (I loved it as a kid).
Ingredients I used:
1 lb ground beef
1 tblsp olive oil
2-3 garlic cloves, crushed and minced
2 tsp salt
2 tsp sugar
3 small (8oz) cans of tomato sauce
1 package of cream cheese (spreadable is easiest, but if you get regular, let it sit out for an hour before making this meal)
1 small jar of sour cream (about 1 cup)
8-10 green onions (whites and greens, chopped)
handful of chopped fresh parsley (or about 1 tblsp of dry parsley)
handful of fresh spinach* (optional)
5 stalks of asparagus (cut into about 1/2 inch pieces) * (optional)
12-16 oz noodles (I've used egg noodles as well as medium shells)
2 cups of shredded cheese (cheddar or colby/jack)
While the pasta is simmering, mix together the softened cream cheese with the sour cream until smooth. Fold in the onions and fresh parsley. Set aside.
Once the pasta has cooked to al dente, drain, then layer on the bottom of a casserole dish.
Add the cream cheese mixture to the pasta and spread it out in an even layer on top.
Top with the meat sauce and sprinkle with cheese. Bake uncovered at 350 (or 340 for convection oven) for about 30 minutes. Watch to make sure the cheese doesn't burn or dry out.
Serve with salad and a nice Malbec or Chianti wine.
This is a great meal to double up on and freeze some for later. Just cook about 1 hr - 1.5 hours from a thawed state. With the recipe above, this made dinner for 4, lunch for 2 adults the next day, and a meal for 4 in the freezer. A pound of ground beef goes a long way.