The reason that I am jumping up and down about this quick and simple recipe is that everyone in my family enjoyed it. From my pickiest kid to my very discerning husband, they all loved this dish.
And really, what’s not to enjoy about it? This Meatball Sub Casserole is a real winner! It is made with Italian meatballs, marinara sauce, and mozzarella cheese. And it is sandwiched between two layers of Pillsbury crusty french bread loaves that I unrolled and flattened out.
The best part is how quickly this casserole comes together. Minimal prep and forty minutes in the oven means that you will have dinner on the table in about an hour. On a busy week night when everyone is pulling in multiple directions, that is the type of meal that has me dancing!!
- 2 cans of Pillsbury refrigerated crusty French loaf bread
- 1 32 oz. bag of frozen fully cooked Italian meatballs, thawed
- 1 jar of marinara sauce
- 2 TBLS garlic spread, divided (I used Lawry's)
- 2 cups of shredded mozzarella cheese
- Spray a 9x13 glass pan with cooking spray and pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees
- Remove the bread loaf from the container and using a sharp knife, slice it down the middle lengthwise (without cutting it all the way through). Open up the bread and lay it flat on the glass pan and begin to press it out to the edges using your fingers. If necessary, use the knife again to open the dough further. (Do not get too frustrated as the dough tries to pull back away from the edges. Just get it to the edges as best you can and don't fret if it doesn't stay or if holes break apart in the center. In the long run, it will work just fine. In fact, you can tell in the picture that there are a few holes in the top of the bread layer but so what! This meal is a bit on the "sloppy" side)
- Put the pan in the oven and bake for approximately 20-25 minutes or until the bread begins to slightly brown.
- In the meantime, slice the thawed meatballs in half and place them in a large pot along with the marinara sauce. Stir to cover the meatballs with the sauce. Heat it over medium heat and cover, stirring occasionally for approximately 20 minutes, or while the bread is baking.
- Remove the pan from the oven and spread 1 Tablespoon of the garlic spread over the top of the bread.
- Spoon the meatballs and sauce over the top of the bread making sure the meatballs lie as flat as possible. (Even into the parts of the pan that might not have bread on it).
- Evenly sprinkle the meatballs with the mozzarella cheese.
- On a greased flat cookie sheet, lay the second bread roll using the same procedure as the first: Slice the roll down the center without cutting it all the way through and using your fingers, spread it out as best you can to form a 9x13 rectangle. Again, don't get frustrated if holes form or it doesn't quite cooperate, it will still work out fine.
- Carefully, take the bread rectangle and lay it over the top of the cheese layer and using fingers, try and spread it to the edges as best as possible even though it won't be perfect.
- Place the pan back in the oven and bake for approximately 20-25 minutes or until the bread on top begins to brown.
- Remove from the oven and spread the remaining Tablespoon of garlic spread over the top of the bread and slice into 18 slices.
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