Our ShipWreck casserole is a fun dinner idea! With layers of macaroni and cheese, ground beef and frozen peas, your kids will love this one. Pure comfort food cheesy and all.
There are lots of different versions of ShipWreck casseroles out there which is great so you can tweak away once you get the basic hang of how it is baked in the oven. Choose your favorite meat, pasta, veggies and with a bit of tomatoes you can bake and layer with cheddar cheese. (post may contain affiliate links present)
Amish ShipWreck Casserole Recipe
If you have heard of this version, it has kidney beans instead of the Kraft mac and cheese Instant Pot layer we used. I mean both ideas are pretty yummy but if you are going all out I really suggest the way we make it, ’cause it’s the bomb. 😉
Another option is to just boil elbow macaroni in a pot and use about 2 cups of al dente noodles on the bottom.
That way the dish will turn out more like our Jiffy cowboy casserole in a way with more of a chili mac flavor throughout the dish. It won’t be as creamy this way without the cheese sauce but to each their own I say.
ShipWreck Casserole with Tomato Soup
Like I said there are a lot of substitutions you can make to this. We like diced tomatoes so there is a bit more texture to the dish. If you wanted it to be smooth as far as that goes just use a can of Campbells or our homemade Easy Tomato Bisque Recipe.
- 1 lb ground beef, ground turkey could be used for a leaner choice, or spicy ground sausage for heat
- Olive oil
- 1 c diced tomatoes with juice, or use condensed tomato soup
- Frozen vegetables
- Beef broth
- 1/2 c cheddar cheese
- 1/3 tsp salt and pepper
- 1/3 tsp coriander
- 1 box macaroni and cheese prepared according to box instructions, or about 2 cups prepared
- could substitute with a layer of prepared rice
- precook 1 cup uncooked rice + 2 cups broth or water in rice cooker or on stove
Now let’s talk about other things you could add into this dish as another layer, or mixed in with the meat when it is cooked to soften a bit;
- Chopped bell peppers (red, green, or yellow) can contribute a pop of color and a hint of sweetness to the dish.
- Sliced or diced zucchini or yellow squash can add moisture and an earthy flavor to the casserole.
- Sautéed mushrooms can bring a savory and umami-rich element to the dish.
- Crumbled cooked bacon or cooked sausage can add extra flavor and richness to the casserole.
- Adding sautéed onions to the layers can infuse the casserole with a sweet and aromatic flavor.
- A dash of Worcestershire sauce can add a tangy and savory note to the overall flavor.
- Air fryer roasted garlic can add a delightful aromatic quality to the casserole.
Remember to always layer the ingredients appropriately and if adding slices of russet potatoes they need to be fully cooked. Frozen hashbrowns would be fine as a thin layer though as is and would bake well.
Old Fashioned ShipWreck Casserole
If you want to use as directed with a layer of mac and cheese, prepare as directed on the box so it is ready once you are set to layer. You will want about 2 cups prepared….or so.
This is a layered casserole with ground meat so all the items in there need to be cooked beforehand. The baking step is just to warm and melt cheese.
- Preheat the oven to 360 F.
- Fry the raw ground beef in the oil until browned, stirring occasionally. Or this is How Long to Cook Ground Beef in a bunch of other ways.
- Add the diced tomatoes to the meat and mix, cook for another 5 minutes, covered with a lid.
- if adding diced thinly sliced potatoes, add now
- to use larger pieces other than mandoline sized you can boil potatoes quick this way
- or just layer 1.5 cups of thawed hash browns in a bag
- Add frozen vegetables and broth to the pan with seasonings, stir, and cook for 5 minutes.
- Place macaroni and cheese in the bottom layer of your casserole dish.
- Lay meat with vegetables on top and level out so it is even all the way across.
Bake for 20 minutes. Then sprinkle top of baking dish contents with cheese and bake for another 10 minutes.
Easy Ground Beef Casserole
This and our Big Mac Casserole are always a win for dinner. If you wanted to make this in a slow cooker you could do that instead. Just prep as stated, pour into your Crock and cook on high for the same timing. When cheese is melted switch it to keep warm setting and serve.
With the name and all this would be a fun addition to a Pirate lover for their birthday! Do all the things with that theme for their special day. Ask what their favorite things to eat are and surely you can figure out how to incorporate at least one of them into this dish.
If you want to add some spicy kick to your casserole, there are several ways to achieve that heat without overpowering the overall flavor. Here’s how to make a casserole spicy:
Incorporate spicy peppers to your casserole. Just remove the seeds and ribs for milder heat, or leave them in for more intensity. Roast jalapeños and add them to the casserole layers. You can choose to just sprinkle red pepper flakes between layers for a controlled spiciness. Or add a few dashes of your favorite hot sauce to the meat mixture.
Incorporate spicy seasonings and spices to your casserole mix. Some options include. A little goes a long way. Sprinkle it into the sauce or seasoning mix for an even distribution of heat. Chipotle powder brings a smoky and spicy flavor to your dish. Like I said you can use spicy sausage for an extra kick instead of beef.
Want to see a few of my favorite things that I am totally obsessed with?? Take a peek and see how many you might already have…twinsies!
- 1 8×8 pan
- 1 pan
- If you want to use as directed with a layer of mac and cheese, prepare as directed on the box so it is ready once you are set to layer. You will want about 2 cups prepared.
- Preheat the oven to 360 F. Fry the ground beef in the oil until browned, stirring occasionally. Add the diced tomatoes to the meat and mix, cook for another 5 minutes, covered with a lid.
- Add frozen vegetables and broth to the pan with seasonings, stir, and cook for 5 minutes. Place macaroni and cheese in the bottom layer of your dish.
- Lay meat with vegetables on top and level out so it is even all the way across. Bake for 20 minutes. Then sprinkle with cheese and bake for another 10 minutes.
- Remove, let it sit for 15 minutes to thicken before serving.