Creamy Hamburger Noodle Casserole

Growing up, we never had things like Hamburger Helper or Tuna Mac. More often than not, my mom or dad would cook something mostly from scratch, although there was plenty of Kraft Mac & Cheese or Chicken Noodle Dinner (which, I gather has been discontinued, although I swear I’ve seen it somewhere in the last 8 years). It actually wasn’t until I was living on my own that I ever broke down and bought myself some Cheeseburger Mac to finally see what I’d missed out on all those years. Come to find out that even though as a kid I thought it was probably the best thing ever and was semi-jealous of those kids who got to eat it…It really wasn’t all that good. I think after about six months give or take, I just quit buying it altogether.

But every once in awhile, I still get a craving for a skillet-type meal. I even made up my own at one point. I came across a recipe for something a little similar on Eating Well a year or two ago that I thought might be decent, and since I’m trying to make somewhat of an effort to redeem myself at Weight Watchers (I’ve basically gained back two pounds in the past two weeks), I figured I’d give it a try.

Creamy Hamburger Noodle Casserole. It comes in at 7 PointsPlus per serving.

The thing that intrigued me most about it was the fact that it uses bulgur to help replace some of the meat, and bulk it up a bit.

I was pleasantly surprised at how much I liked it. The tang from the tomato sauce balanced nicely with the creamy cottage cheese and Greek yogurt. And it was filling.

Yield: 6

Creamy Hamburger Noodle Casserole

Creamy Hamburger Noodle Casserole
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes


  • 8 oz. 90%-lean ground beef
  • 1/2 C uncooked bulgur
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 2 8-ounce cans tomato sauce
  • 1/2 C water
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 6 ounces no-yolk whole-wheat egg noodles
  • 1 C cottage cheese
  • 1 C nonfat Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 C shredded extra-sharp Cheddar cheese


Preheat the oven to 350°F. Coat a 2-qt baking dish with cooking spray and set aside. Bring a large pot of water to boil.

Cook beef in a large skillet over medium-high heat until no longer browned, 3 to 5 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low. Add bulgur, garlic, red pepper flakes, tomato sauce & water. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer gently until the bulgur is tender and the sauce is thickened, about 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

While the meat sauce simmers, cook noodles until just tender, 7 minutes. Drain and set aside. Puree cottage cheese in a blender or food processor until smooth. Transfer to a mixing bowl and fold in the Greek yogurt. Season with salt and pepper.

Place half the noodles in the baking dish. Top with half the cottage cheese mixture, then half the meat sauce. Repeat the layers. Sprinkle Cheddar over the top.

Bake the casserole until bubbly, 30 to 40 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

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With all the Thanksgiving festivities and inevitable over-indulgence, I figured something a little on the healthier side might be wise! And it was…Paired with some steamed veggies of your choosing on the side (and no, I didn’t bother), it’s a satisfying meal that doesn’t taste overly healthified. Jay even told me he figured it was some vegetarian concoction, and gave it bonus points for actually containing some meat!

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