Saturday, August 16, 2014

Quick & Easy Meatball Casserole



Happy Saturday my friends!
I hope everyone is enjoying their weekend so far. I am a working mom, and I work on the weekends and in the evenings, so it is sometimes very challenging to make sure my teens and hubby have a good hearty meal on the nights I'm away from home.
My favorite things to make are the make ahead meals or crock pot dinners on those nights for quick and easy weeknight dinners or weekend dinners for that matter. It's easy for them to toss the pan I have prepared into the oven when it's dinner time. Or I can set the crock pot early in the day so everything is ready to eat when they are ready.

We do some meal freezing, but not as much as I would like. I really want to work on that. Someday I will have a months supply of dinners frozen and ready when ever we need them ... ahhhh in a perfect world LOL

I do like to freeze home made meatballs. They hold up well and are easy enough for the teens to defrost and add sauce to. For meatballs subs, meatball skewers (recipe here) even a quick spaghetti dinner on a busy week night.

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This past week we decided to try a meatball casserole. Everyone loved it, and not quite as messy as a meatball sub since you eat it with a fork :) I cheated a little and used a jar sauce since that is what I had on hand. Our favorite by far is Francesco Rinaldi. (not a plug or endorsement, it really is our favorite jar sauce in a pinch)
The meatballs I made from scratch. My kids don't like onions or peppers (weird I know!) so I just use lots of spices to compensate as much as I can for some flavor. Here's how I made them...



2 pounds ground beef (or turkey)
2 eggs
3/4 cup seasoned bread crumbs
2 Tbs ketchup
1 Tbs mustard
1 Tbs Worcestershire sauce
1 Tbs garlic powder
1 Tbs onion powder
1 Tbs parsley
salt & pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients well but don't over mix, this will make the meat tough.
preheat oven to 350 degrees. Form your meatballs into 2 - 3 inch balls depending on your preference.
Bake in 350 degree oven for about 20 minutes. turning once half way through.
Drain off your grease and plunge into your favorite tomato sauce. Or let them cool and freeze in freezer bags.

Our Meatball casserole idea came from my 15 year old. He had a similar version at a friends house for dinner one night and has been requesting it ever since. They used lots of veggies like a good parent would LOL so I had to adapt :) It was the perfect dish for an easy weeknight dinner.



We tried to do ours as "loaves" but it was to messy to stay together like a lasagne would. Which was fine, it still tasted great!
Just layer  your casserole as follows...

a little sauce on the bottom so your bread don't stick.
one layer of good crusty french bread slices
a layer of meatballs and sauce (don't add to much sauce)
a layer of mozzarella cheese
another layer of bread, a layer of meatballs , a layer of cheese
last layer .... one more layer of bread. top your casserole with some sauce and cheese

bake in a 350 degree oven for about 20 minutes. Until the cheese melts and your casserole is bubbling along the edges.

Let it set for about 10 minutes before cutting right into it. Serve with a nice green garden salad.

Unlike most tomato sauce recipes this is NOT better the next day. The bread gets way to soggy the longer it sits. Just my opinion. We did enjoy it that night, and it was a very filling meal. Even for the growing teens.

I think this is now one of our go to quick week night meals. It pleases everyone and is pretty easy to make. Even if you have to make a batch of meatballs. Give it a try and let me know what you think.
Do you have any "go to " quick and easy weeknight meals? I would love to see them!

Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

Heather!

2 comments:

  1. I'm so glad I linked up next to you on Joyful Healthy Eats! I often make big batches of frozen meatballs. This looks like a new, fun way to get out of the meatballs and mashed potatoes rut. Thanks so much! Pinning it now.

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  2. Good morning! glad you liked it and I hope you give it a try. Very kid friendly too :) Have a good day!

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