Pizza Casserole – and a Valentine’s Twist

I used to cook for a 4-H camp, and spaghetti was something that was a regular part of the menu – only the kids didn’t like it.  It’s hard to make spaghetti for 150 with only two burners and not have worm-like noodles, so instead I used rotini and baked it with cheese and pepperoni on top.

The kids loved it.

Mine do, too.  I’ve made it a bit healthier and added some meaty options for my husband, but the basics are still the same.  Hearty and easy to make, this recipe makes everybody happy.  That’s my favorite kind of meal.

Even better:  you can make this ahead and fridge to pop into the oven at the last minute, or even double up and freeze a second one for another time.  I love recipes that don’t require stove-standing at the last minute.

Here’s how to make your own pizza casserole:

Ingredients:

  • 1 13.5 oz. box of whole wheat rotini
  • 1 large can of spaghetti or tomato sauce
  • 2 small cans of diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 onion, diced small
  • 1/2 green bell pepper, diced small
  • 1 c. cooked sausage or ground beef
  • 1/2 lb. of meatballs, precooked and ready to go
  • 1 1/2 c. shredded mozzarella
  • 1/2 package pepperoni
  • 1/2 t. garlic powder
  • 1/2 t. Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 t. oregano
To pull this dish together, just:
  1. Cook your pasta according to the package directions.
  2. While the pasta cooks, chop the veggies and set aside.
  3. Drain pasta into a colander.  
  4. To the pasta pot, add the chopped veggies.  Saute for 2-3 minutes, then add cooked sausage.  Stir for another 2-3 minutes over medium heat and add tomatoes and sauce and the seasonings.
  5. When well combined, add the pasta to the pot.  Stir.
  6. Pour into a 9″ X 13″ baking dish.  Add meatballs throughout and top with shredded cheese and pepperoni.
  7. Bake at 350 for 20 – 30 minutes or until hot and bubbly.
Enjoy – and don’t fight over the pepperoni!
 
 
Looking at those spicy pepperoni, I decided that this would make a good Valentine’s dinner (since it’s all red and white), so I made another one.  I just had to play with it a bit, though ….
 
 
I think the kids will get a kick out of it. 
 
So I popped it into the freezer and will remove it next Tuesday morning to thaw.  After hanging out in the fridge all day, it will bake according to the regular directions, and dinner will be done.
 
What’s your favorite way to serve pasta?
%d bloggers like this: