This is another one of those casseroles that’s been around since the 1960’s. Raw ground beef, rice, vegetables and canned tomatoes all bake in a covered casserole for 2-1/2 to 3 hours, or until done. The casserole can be put together the day before and refrigerated overnight. Then, 3-hours before you need supper, place the casserole in the oven and bake it until supper time. This is a sturdy dish, and really only needs a simple salad to make a meal. Great for days when you know you’ll be busy and need something you can prepare ahead, then bake while you’re out mowing the lawn or at cub scouts with the kids. It’s probably possible to cook this recipe in a slow-cooker, but I have never done so, so I can’t tell you how to do it.
If you want to reduce the fat in this dish, see the note after the recipe.
Six Layer Beef Bake
- 4 medium potatoes, peeled and sliced
- 3 or 4 carrots, peeled and sliced OR 2-cups frozen mixed vegetables or peas and carrots
- 1/2 cup uncooked dry long-grain white rice
- 1 large onion, peeled and chopped
- 1 pound ground beef or ground turkey
- 3/4 teaspoon salt OR seasoned salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
First prepare your vegetables. Peel the potatoes and slice them thinly. Peel the carrots and slice them. Peel the onion, then chop it into pieces. I do this with my food processor, slicing the potatoes first. Then I dump them out. Slice the carrots, then I dump them out. Then I chop the onion. You could also do it all by hand or with a mandolin slicer.
Find a 3-quart casserole dish. Coat it lightly with no-stick spray. Arrange the potatoes in the bottom of the casserole. Next layer on the carrots or frozen vegetables. Scatter the rice over the carrots. Layer the onions over the rice. Pick off small bits of your ground beef (or turkey) and arrange them over the onion. Sprinkle the salt and pepper over the beef. Finally open up the crushed tomatoes and pour them over everything. Cover your casserole with aluminum foil or a lid. Bake at 325° for 2-1/2 to 3 hours. The casserole will be done cooking after 2-1/2 hours, but if you need to wait 3-hours (or even a little longer) it will wait on you patiently.
Makes 4 to 6 servings, depending on appetite. I serve applesauce on the side and a simple green salad with homemade dressing. This is a hearty meal.
Note About the Fat: Since the ground beef cooks in the casserole dish, all of the fat from the meat cooks out and coats the rice and vegetables. Some folks like their vegetables basted in this fat, some folks don’t. If you prepare this recipe with regular ground beef it will be fatty. I sometimes find lean and extra lean ground beef on sale. When I do, I save them for this recipe because I feel it’s quality is improved when there is less fat in it. Ground turkey is lean, and works very well in this dish.
If you only have regular ground beef, and wish to reduce the fat content here’s what you do. Precook your regular ground beef by frying it in a skillet. Break it up into small bits as cooks. Drain off all, or most of the fat. Rinse the ground beef in running water if desired. In the above recipe, when you scatter the raw meat over the onions, use your cooked meat instead. Proceed as directed. The casserole will still need to cook for 2-1/2 hours so the potatoes, carrots and rice have time to cook through.