Thursday, November 12, 2009

Meatball Sub Casserole

Meatball Sub Casserole
Adapted from Taste of Home recipe

1 loaf crusty Italian bread, cut into 1-1/2 inch chunks
1/3 cup chopped green onion
1/4 cup Italian bread crumbs
3 Tbsp grated parmesan cheese
1 lb ground beef
8 oz package of cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1/4 tsp black pepper
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
28 oz jar spaghetti sauce
2 garlic cloves, minced

Heat oven to 250 degrees and put bread pieces on a baking sheet and put in oven for 1 hour to dry out (I did this the night before).  You can also cut the bread and leave it out overnight.  This will allow the bread to be very crisp so when you bake it in the casserole, parts remain crusty and parts get soft, just like a meatball sub.  In a bowl, combine onions, crumbs and parmesan cheese.  Add beef and mix well.  Shape into 1-in balls, place on a rack in a shallow baking pan.  Bake at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until no longer pink.  Reduce the oven to 350 degrees.  Meanwhile, arrange bread in a single layer in an ungreased 13x9x2 baking dish (all of the bread may not be used).  Combine cream cheese, mayonnaise, Italian seasoning and pepper; spread evenly over bread.  Be sure to spread the bread because it helps seal out the moisture from the tomato sauce so the bread doesn't turn to mush.  Sprinkle with half the mozzarella cheese.  Combine sauce, garlic, and add meatballs.  Pour over cheese mixture; sprinkle with remaining mozzarella.  Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes, until cheese is melted and casserole is heated through.

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