Beef Noodle Casserole

*Beef Noodle Casserole*
Serves 8

A delicious Beef and Noodle casserole that is baked in 8 layers.  You can use low fat ingredients and cut down on calories and fat.  Because of the sour cream and cream cheese it doesn't freeze well, so I normally cut the recipe in half for us.  It's also a great pot luck dish.  Easy and quick to put together.

6 ounces dried egg noodles (3 cups)
1 pound ground beef
2 cups of tomato sauce
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1 cup sour cream
1 (8 ounce) package of cream cheese
1/2 cup milk
1 small onion, peeled and chopped
1 (10 ounce) package of chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed until dry
4 ounces shredded cheddar cheese

Grease a 2-quart round or square glass baking dish; set aside. Cook the  noodles according to the package directions,  drain and set aside.  Cook the  beef  in a large skillet over medium high heat until brown. Drain off any accumulated fat. Stir in the  tomato sauce, basil, sugar, garlic powder, salt, and pepper.   Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat. Simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes.

Beat together the sour cream and cream cheese with an electric mixer on medium speed  in a bowl, until smooth. Stir in the milk and onion. Layer half of the noodles (about 2 cups) in the prepared  baking dish, half of the meat mixture (about 1 1/2 cups), half of the cream cheese mixture (about 1 cup), and all of the spinach. Top with the remaining meat mixture and noodles. Cover and chill remaining cream cheese mixture until needed.

Preheat the oven to 180*C/350*F/ gas mark 5.  Cover the casserole with a sheet of buttered foil.  Bake in the heated oven for about 45 minutes or until heated through. Uncover and  spread with the remaining cream cheese mixture. Sprinkle with the cheddar cheese. Bake, uncovered, about 10 minutes more or until cheese is melted. Let stand for for 10 minutes before serving.

Note:  Because there are only two of us I normally halve the recipe.