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Noodles + Sour Cream + Melty Cheese = Comfort (...Sour Cream Noodle Bake)

I realize I'm looking up at him.  My baby.  It dawns on me as I fan the hydrogen peroxide dry with a few quick waves of my hand and hold a q-tip at the ready with my other hand. He realizes it at the same time.  "Hey, I'm taller than you, mom."  In unison, we turn to peer in the bathroom mirror.  Six inches, at least...that's what my baby's got on me.  I let out a laugh that sounds almost hysterical.  How does thirteen years sneak by in the blink of an eye? 

Tears think about forcing their way out.  But he's looking at me with with a lopsided grin that is so infectious, that instead of tears I find myself grinning right back at him. I wrap him in a quick bear hug and head off to answer the timer that is yelling at me from the kitchen.  The death trap skateboard is stashed in the garage for the evening and the sweetest face (okay, one of three) in the world on the mend. And now it's time for a simple, comforting, satisfying dinner.
Sour Cream Noodle Bake
from The Pioneer Woman
serves ~8

    1¼ lb. Ground Chuck
    1 can (15-oz.) Tomato Sauce
    ½ tsp. kosher salt
    freshly ground Black Pepper
    8 oz. Egg Noodles
    ½ c. Sour Cream
    1¼ c. Small Curd Cottage Cheese
    ½ c. Sliced Green Onions
    1-2 c. Sharp Cheddar Cheese, grated

Preheat oven to 350° F.

Brown the meat in a large skillet, then drain the fat. Add tomato sauce, salt and lots of freshly ground black pepper. Stir it all together, then let it simmer gently while you work on the other ingredients.

Cook egg noodles until al dente. Drain and mix with the sour cream and cottage cheese that you've combined in a separate bowl while the noodles were cooking.  Add another good amount of freshly ground black pepper and the green onions.  Stir it all together.

Spray a baking dish (~11" x 7") with pan spray, then spread half of the noodle mixture in the bottom.  Top with half of the meat and half of the cheese.  Repeat.  Bake for ~20 minutes, until the cheese is melty and everything else has melded together.
Serve with crusty bread and/or a simple salad.

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