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HOLIDAY RECIPES: Pressed for time? Whip up sour cream noodle bake

If you’re looking for a quick meal this holiday season, give this sour cream noodle bake by Ree Drummond, the 'Pioneer Woman,' a try. It takes about 10 minutes to prepare, 20 minutes to cook and only a few minutes to devour. Even Zach, my 5-year-old picky eater, dug in. Staff photo by Daniel Clifton


MARBLE FALLS — The Clifton house was all awhirl this weekend with activities, work, church and relatives. And somewhere in there, I needed to come up with one more activity: cooking. But the recipe couldn’t be complicated or take a long time, since it was Sunday evening and I had to fit it in between family visits, baths and other things.

It honestly looked as if I wasn’t going to cook anything up this weekend.

“Why not the sour cream noodle bake,” my wife, Sheri, suggested. “It’s quick and easy.”

Two of the “ingredients” I was looking for. Now just because the recipe is quick and easy doesn’t mean it’s not fulfilling. The recipe hails from Ree Drummond, the “Pioneer Woman” (www.thepioneerwoman). My wife came across it a few years back, and it’s been a hit wherever she takes it. At a family reunion, people scarf down the sour cream noodle bake almost as quick as the deviled eggs.

Even Zach, our 5-year-old, who believes if it’s not candy, it’s not actually food, can’t get enough of this dish.

Once the ingredients are gathered, the fun begins. You preheat the oven to 350 degrees while you brown the ground chuck. Now, be sure to carefully drain the fat from the browned meat before adding the tomato sauce. It sounds obvious, but skipping or forgetting this step really changes the consistency of the bake.

Unless you want to serve more of a soupy bake than a plated dish, drain the excess fat.

Since this wasn’t bread or cookies, it also meant managing a few more heat sources and pots than I had previously. But under my wife’s watchful eye, I did fine.

Everything came together in the baking dish and went into the oven for about 20 minutes. After baking, we set it out to cool (and give us time to finish up the boys’ baths), then it was onto plates and into some hungry bellies.

It only took Zach one bite before giving his review.

“Best. Noodle. Bake. Ever,” he said. Of course, he’ll say the same thing the next time we whip up a dish of sour cream noodle bake, but until then, I’ll just revel in the review.

So if you’re looking for a great dish that is quick and easy for hectic family holiday dinner (or office pot luck), give this sour cream noodle bake a try. You’ll come back to it time and time again.


  • 1¼ pound ground chuck
  • 1 can tomato sauce (15 oz.)
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • egg noodles (8 oz.)
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • 1¼ small-curd cottage cheese
  • ½ cup sliced green onions (less to taste)
  • 1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese




Preheat oven to 350 degrees.Brown the ground chuck in a large skillet. Drain fat, then add tomato sauce. Add ½ teaspoon salt and plenty of freshly ground black pepper. Stir, then simmer while you prepare the other ingredients.

Cook egg noodles until al dente. Drain and set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine sour cream and cottage cheese. Add plenty of freshly ground black pepper (apparently the Pioneer Woman loves freshly ground black pepper.) Add to noodles and stir. Add green onions and stir.

To assemble, add half of the noodles to a baking dish. Top with half the meat mixture, then sprinkle on half the grated cheese. Repeat with noodles, meat, then a final layer of cheese. Bake for 20 minutes or until all cheese has melted.