1 lb ground beef
1 small onion, diced
1 red or green bell pepper diced
2 cloves garlic minced
1 ½ teaspoons Italian seasoning
1 (15 ounce) can tomato sauce
1 (14.5 ounces) can fire roasted diced tomatoes
2 cups uncooked elbow macaroni
Kosher salt to taste
Fresh ground black pepper to taste
1 cup finely shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 cup finely shredded Monterey Jack cheese
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9×13-inch baking dish with nonstick spray for easier cleanup.
Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Cook the elbow macaroni al dente according to package directions. Drain well.
Meanwhile, brown the ground beef in a large skillet over medium-high heat. About halfway through the browning process, add the onion and the red bell pepper. Continue cooking until the onion and bell pepper are soft and the ground beef is browned. Drain any excess grease. Reduce the heat to low and add the garlic and Italian seasoning, cooking for 1 minute while stirring constantly.
Stir in the tomato sauce, fire-roasted diced tomatoes, and cooked macaroni. Simmer for a couple of minutes. Season with kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste.
Spoon the beef mixture into a 9×13-inch casserole. Top with a mixture of shredded cheddar cheese and shredded Monterey Jack cheese. Cover and bake for 15 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for another 5 minutes or until the cheese is melted and the casserole is heated through.
Cook the noodles al dente, which means slightly firm, as they will be simmered for a few minutes and baked.
Use any short pasta shape with this recipe, including rotini, elbow macaroni, farfalle, penne, and cellentani pasta.
Any color bell pepper works in this recipe, including green bell peppers.
Cook in the oven just long enough to heat the casserole and melt the cheese.
Other cheeses to try include mozzarella, provolone, Parmesan, Fontina, and, if you like things a little spicy, Pepper Jack.
Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat in the microwave at reduced power.