Cheesy Beef and Shells Casserole

As you know, I’m all about making healthy, fresh food for your family. And whenever possible, I like to do it from scratch. I feel much better about putting a meal in front of my family when I know exactly what went into it.

Cheesy Beef and Shells Casserole in pan

But hey, I get it…they’re called convenience foods for a reason. On a busy weeknight, opening a package of Hamburger Helper seems like a lot less work than trying to create a whole meal from scratch. It’s easy, and you know your family will eat it and like it.

Cheesy Beef and Shells Casserole on a plate

Well, what if there were a way to get that same family-pleasing meal without the package? With only, say, ten minutes of work? This Cheesy Beef and Shells Casserole does just that. It turns a package of ground beef into a hearty dish bursting with flavor: onion, garlic, tomato, Italian seasoning, and two kinds of cheese. And it only takes a few minutes of work to get it into the oven. Then all you have to do is kick back and wait for it to bake.

Can I use other kinds of pasta besides shells?

Shells are the best because they make a nice container that just scoops up all that beefy, cheesy, tomato-ey goodness. But if you don’t have any, try another type of pasta with nooks and crannies in it, like spirals or radiatore.

Why do you put foil on the casserole if you’re only going to take it off at the end?

Starting the casserole out covered keeps it from drying out. Then, taking off the foil for the last fifteen minutes lets the cheese topping get nice and browned.

I wonder…could this dish work with other kinds of meat besides ground beef?

Ground turkey almost always works as a leaner substitute for beef. And crumbled Italian sausage would be especially delicious. You could even sub in your favorite plant-based protein (such as Lightlife Smart Ground) to make it vegetarian.

Cheesy Beef and Shells Casserole

  1. Cook and drain the pasta according to the package directions. Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 375 degrees F and grease and 9×13 baking dish.
  2. In a large skillet, brown and chop the ground beef with diced onion, garlic, salt and pepper.ground beef and onions in a pan
  3. Add the cooked pasta, tomato soup, broth and HALF of the cheese to your skillet with the browned beef. Continue cooking and stirring for 2-3 minutes of over a medium heat.adding seasoning and tomato soup to pan
  4. Pour the mixture into your greased dish and top with the remaining cheese.Cheesy Beef and Shells  placed in casserole dish
  5. Cover baking dish with foil and bake for 20 minutes. Uncover and continue baking for an additional 10 -15 minute.spoon scooping Cheesy Beef and Shells Casserole

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5 from 9 votes

Cheesy Beef and Shells Casserole

This Cheesy Beef and Shells Casserole turns a package of ground beef into a hearty dish bursting with flavor the family will love.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes

Ingredients
 

  • 1 lb box medium pasta shells
  • 1 lb groundbeef
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 medium sweet onion diced
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 Tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • 20 oz tomato soup (about 2 cans)
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella
  • 1/2 cup beef broth

Instructions

  • Cook and drain the pasta according to the package directions.
  • Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 375 degrees and grease and 9×13 baking dish.
  • In a large skillet, brown and chop the ground beef with diced onion, garlic, salt and pepper.
  • Add the cooked pasta, tomato soup, broth and HALF of the cheese to your skillet with the browned beef. Continue cooking and stirring for 2-3 minutes of over a medium heat.stir and cook for 2-3 minutes over medium heat.
  • Pour the mixture into your greased dish and top with the remaining cheese.
  • Cover baking dish with foil and bake for 20 minutes. Uncover and continue baking for an additional 10 -15 minutes

Nutrition

Calories: 599kcal | Carbohydrates: 64g | Protein: 30g | Fat: 19g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 8g | Trans Fat: 0.5g | Cholesterol: 102mg | Sodium: 709mg | Potassium: 730mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 11g | Vitamin A: 889IU | Vitamin C: 14mg | Calcium: 420mg | Iron: 4mg

Nutritional Disclaimer: Family Fresh Meals is not a dietician or nutritionist, and any nutritional information shared is only an estimate. We recommend running the ingredients through an online nutritional calculator if you need to verify any information.

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5 from 9 votes (6 ratings without comment)

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7 Comments

  1. Joan E Deiters says:

    I want to try this recipe, i need to know how many cans of tomato soup to use. it didn’t say in the recipe. Thanks

    1. Hey Joan, It’s 20 oz of soup which is about 2 of your regular cans

  2. 5 stars
    This was a huge hit with my family of 6 (including 4 picky eaters!). I followed the recipe exactly except I made it the night before and put it in the refrigerator before baking it. I baked it about 10 minutes extra the next day and it was perfect. Thank you!

  3. Antoinette Sarubbi says:

    Can I use fresh tomatoes or tomato sauce instead of soup

    1. I haven’t tried that yet, so I can’t say for sure.

  4. Annabel Cailles says:

    5 stars
    I’ve made this recipe a few times now and my picky kids love it! So easy, economical, and tasty.

  5. 5 stars
    This was really good! I was hesitant, and I have a houseful of particular eaters. Everyone loved it and went back for seconds. Thanks for the great recipe!