Eight-Layer Casserole

Eight-Layer Casserole : A Midwest Delight

Transport yourself to the heart of the Midwest with the Eight-Layer Casserole – a hearty and soul-warming bake that captures the essence of comfort food. Perfect for cold nights or family gatherings, this dish not only fills your stomach but also warms your heart. Make it ahead for a convenient freezer meal or prep it for a delightful weeknight dinner after a long day at work.


  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 can (15 ounces) tomato sauce
  • 1 can (14.5 ounces) diced tomatoes, not rinsed
  • 1 can (6 ounces) tomato paste
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 3 cups rotini pasta, uncooked
  • 1 cup cottage cheese
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 4 cups shredded mozzarella
  • 10 ounces frozen chopped spinach, thawed and well-drained
  • 8 cooked bacon slices, broken up
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Eight-Layer Casserole


  1. Preheat the Oven:
    • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2. Brown the Ground Beef:
    • In a large skillet, brown the ground beef with chopped onion and minced garlic. Drain any excess grease.
  3. Prepare the Meat Sauce:
    • Add tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, tomato paste, water, dried basil, salt, and pepper to the beef. Mix well and let it simmer for 10 minutes.
  4. Cook Rotini Pasta:
    • While the sauce simmers, cook the rotini pasta al dente according to package instructions. It should be slightly firm, as it will continue cooking in the oven.
  5. Prepare Cottage Cheese Mixture:
    • In a small bowl, combine cottage cheese and beaten egg.
  6. Layering in Baking Dish:
    • In a greased 9x13-inch baking dish, layer 2 cups of mozzarella, half of the cooked rotini pasta, half of the cottage cheese mixture, and half of the meat sauce.
  7. Repeat Layers:
    • Add another layer, placing well-drained spinach on top.
  8. Top with Bacon and Parmesan:
    • Sprinkle chopped bacon and grated Parmesan cheese over the top to finish.
  9. Bake:
    • Cover with foil and bake for 45 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for an additional 15 minutes or until the cheese is golden and bubbly.
  10. Let it Rest:
    • Allow the casserole to rest for 10 minutes before serving; it will be very hot.

Changes and Tips:

  • For a lighter version, substitute ground beef with ground turkey or a plant-based alternative.
  • Enhance the flavor with a teaspoon of smoked paprika in the meat sauce.
  • Make it vegetarian-friendly by adding leftover cooked vegetables to one of the layers.
  • This dish is freezer-friendly; assemble, cover, and store in the fridge or freezer for future use.
  • If baking from cold, add 15 to 20 minutes to the baking time with the lid on.

Experience the warmth and convenience of Eight-Layer Casserole – a comforting embrace in the form of a delicious meal, ready whenever you need it! 🍲✨

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