Though she's usually pursuing other interests, Donna enjoys making easy and hearty meals for her family and sharing her recipes with others.
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4 to 6 servings
Easy Weeknight Meal: A Family Favorite
This recipe is one of my family's favorites. It's easy to make and can be put together ahead of time and then just heated up to be served. I use meatballs and pepperoni, but you could substitute your favorite sausage for one of the ingredients—or use all three! I've included my meatball recipe, but you can use your own if you have one you like.
Step 1: Make the Meatballs
- 1/2 pound hamburger or ground turkey (I use ground turkey)
- 1 egg
- 1/4 cup seasoned breadcrumbs
- Oregano, to taste
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and cover a cookie sheet with some aluminum foil. You can also spray the sheet lightly with cooking spray.
- In a bowl, blend together meat, egg, and breadcrumbs. If the mixture is too wet, you can add more breadcrumbs. If it's too dry, add a little water or milk to the mixture.
- Add about three shakes of oregano (approximately 1 teaspoon) to give the meatballs some more flavor.
- Shape the meatball mixture into small balls (about golf ball sized) and place them on the cookie sheet.
- Cook for about 15 to 20 minutes, turning them over about halfway through cooking time. I check that they are done by cutting one in half.
Step 2: Assemble the Casserole
- 10-12 meatballs (use recipe above or your own)
- 20-25 slices pepperoni (like you would use on a pizza)
- 1 (16-oz) jar spaghetti sauce (you probably won't use the whole jar)
- 1 (16-oz) package rotini or ziti pasta (you probably will not use the whole box)
- 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
- Parmesan cheese, for garnish
- While the meatballs are cooking, you can start the pasta according to the package instructions. I cook about 2 cups of pasta.
- While the pasta is cooking, pour about 2 tablespoons of the pasta sauce into the bottom of your 8x8 baking pan, just to give it a coating.
- When the pasta is done, strain it and put it in the baking pan.
- When meatballs are done, cut them in half (about bite-size pieces) and add them to the baking pan.
- Distribute the pepperoni amongst the meatball and pasta.
- Cook 1 to 2 more cups of pasta (as needed) to fill up the baking dish. Stir the casserole mixture.
- Pour the pasta sauce over the casserole and mix it so everything is coated. The mixture should be coated but not swimming in sauce.
- Cover with mozzarella cheese, and then cover the pan with aluminum foil.
Step 3: Bake and Serve!
- When you are ready to serve, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Cook casserole (covered) for about 20 minutes until cheese is melted and everything is steaming hot.
- Serve with Parmesan cheese as desired. Enjoy!