Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Meatball Sub Casserole - Pin #8 - COMPLETE

I couldn't resist completing another recipe pin since it benefits not only myself, but my family as well.  I almost drooled when I came across this meatball sub casserole pin.  The original website that this pin leads you to is called "The Country Cook.Net".  The original ingredients for this casserole were as follows:
1 loaf Italian bread, cut into 1-inch thick slices
1 (8 oz.) package cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 tsp. Italian Seasoning
1/4 tsp. pepper
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, divide
1-lb. pkg. fully cooked frozen meatballs, thawed
1 (28 oz.) jar pasta sauce
1 cup water

I switched a few things around making them fresh and not jarred.  In addition, I was able to make it a tad healthier by switching the white bread to whole wheat bread.  

First, I made some homemade marinara sauce as well as my famous, 3-meat Italian meatballs.  I just can't bring myself to use frozen meatballs since my meatballs are so yummy and take little to no time to make (ditto with my sauce).  
Next up, preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Arrange bread slices in a single layer 9x13 baking dish (ungreased).  Just fill in any gaps with smaller pieces of bread.  Notice here I used whole grain Italian bread.

In a bowl, combine the cream cheese, mayonnaise, and Italian seasonings. Spread the mixture over the bread slices.  Shhhh.... don't tell Darren this dish contained mayo.  He doesn't like mayo.

 Sprinkle with 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese.
Layer the meatballs on top of the cream cheese mixture.
If you've made your own sauce, just layer the sauce on top of the meatballs.  If you've used jarred sauce, you will have to combine that with the water that the original recipes calls for. Refer to link, in the first part of this post, for those directions.
Sprinkle remaining mozzarella cheese and bake for 45 minutes or until meatballs are fully cooked and cheese is bubbling.  If you use frozen meatballs, your cook time will be different (approximately 30-35 minutes) because the meatballs are precooked.
After Darren was through eating this, he said, "This is by far, the absolute BEST meal you have ever cooked!"  The kids on the other hand, "HAAAATED IT!" (read that part in the Saturday night live "Hated It" tone).   Day 8, challenge #8, BADA BING... a success.

This is a definite keeper.  Next time though, I may try using ricotta cheese instead of the cream cheese/mayo combo.  I made this for our family in hopes it would turn out delicious and since it was, I made one for my friend Jody and her husband, on Tuesday, who is recovering from knee surgery. 

Give it a try!  Or have a baby, knee surgery, or something else that may require me to make it for you :)