The Seahawks home opener is tomorrow...a High Holy day at the Slaughterhouse foh-sho! And so we have pulled out all the stops in the hopes that 1. The Seahawks can finally win their first game, they have lost the first two and 2. the mister will be able to feast through all 4 quarters without running out of food.
Our 12th Man flag has been strategically hung up on the front porch so we can see it through the dining room window. The mister is a Season Ticket holder and every year he gets some little gift for being one - he was thrilled when he opened the box he got this year and saw the flag, and he said, "It's either going in the bedroom or out front, your choice." The mister beamed with pride when he saw it hanging up...cavemen are so easy to please.
Before I get to the best beast-mode-casserole around, let me tell you about Shari's Berries. If you don't know what Shari's Berries are - click here and go have a look, but I must warn you, they are extremely addictive! Shari's Berries sent me two boxes of their chocolate covered strawberries for a game day two weeks ago...yes, you read that right, two boxes! But here's the kicker...they arrived while I was out of town and the mister didn't tell me about them right away - nope, he waited TWO days before he said, "Oh by the way, you have something here from Shari's Berries." I was so distraught. The berries last for several days but are best eaten within 48 hours - and that wouldn't have been a problem except that I was gone for a week! So the mister ate them. The mister who is a dessert racist...he doesn't like chocolate, remember? He only likes white desserts...so sadly, the berries were not enjoyed as they should have been. He ate them like he was tossing back popcorn - not savoring every bite, not letting the juice from the strawberries slowly drip onto his chin...not letting the chocolate melt slowly on his tongue, nope, he ate them like candy corn, like peanuts, like a pig in a corn field, one after the other because, as he said, "They were football food!"
And who can blame him - they ARE football food! Little pig-skins that taste like heaven. Beautiful, no? The mister took this picture for me...before he devoured them. Feeling slightly cheated, I ordered myself a box - it will arrive after the big game, this coming Wednesday, just as I planned. That's the great thing about Shari's Berries, you can have them delivered when you want...(my trip was last minute and I forgot the berries were coming! My bad!) And just because I could, I ordered myself some that didn't look like footballs, in case the mister sees them and thinks they are his!
If you come visit me on Wednesday, I might let you have one...or half of one...or maybe just a bite...it will depend on what's left!
Now, let's get down to it...if you want easy and delicious, this will be your new game-day dish. There are a lot of meatball sub casseroles out there, after trying a few, I kind of came up with a version we like. And it is easy, especially if you use purchased frozen meatballs or you can make your own. You can use purchased pasta sauce or make your own. You get to decide just how easy you want this dish to be. I always choose easy on game day for two reasons, 1. The mister doesn't care, as long as it's edible and 2. There are now FOUR game days in every week...Monday Night Football, Thursday Night Football, Saturday College Football and the High Holy games on Sunday...it's almost too much, almost, so I make it easy on myself and you should, too.
You can also adapt this recipe to suit your caveman's likes...the mister happens to like green peppers and onions, so I always include them, but if yours doesn't, leave them out. See, you have complete control, now when is the last time you heard that?!?
Here's more good news, you can assemble the casserole and then put it into the refrigerator overnight to bake the next day. Aaaaaand, you can also freeze it for up to a month! So why not make two, one to eat and one to keep for a rainy day?
Meatball Sub Casserole - Inspired by The Country Cook and Joni Geurts
6 to 8 slices French Bread, cut into 1-inch thick slices
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 cups Mozzarella cheese, shredded(I use 1 cup Mozzarella and 1 cup Italian 3 Cheese blend, finely shredded)
1 jar (24 oz.) Pasta Sauce (I use Prego Creamy Vodka sauce because it has a little bit of a "bite" to it)
1 package (1.5 lbs.) fully cooked, frozen Italian meatballs, thawed (I like to use Johnsonville Classic Italian Style Meatballs)
1/2 large white onion, finely diced
1 large green pepper, finely diced
2 tablespoons olive oil
butter for baking dish
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter side and bottom of a 9 x 13 baking dish. Arrange bread slices in a single layer, filling any gaps with smaller pieces of bread. In a medium bowl combine softened cream cheese, mayonnaise, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper. Spread cream cheese mixture evenly over bread slices. Sprinkle 1 cup of they shredded mozzarella cheese over the top of cream cheese mixture. Pour half of the pasta sauce over the cheese, top with thawed meatballs, spacing evenly. Pour remaining pasta sauce on top of meatballs. Set aside.
In a large skillet, heat olive oil. Saute diced onion and green pepper until onion has softened, about 6 to 8 minutes. Remove from heat and spread onion and peppers over tops of sauce/meatballs. Sprinkle with remaining cup of cheese**. Bake in 350 degree oven for 35 to 45 minutes, or until bubbly on top and cheese has melted. Remove from oven and serve hot. Serves 6.
**If you decide not to bake right away, at this point you can cover with plastic wrap and keep in refrigerator over night and then bake the next day, and add an additional 5 to 10 minutes to the baking time. You can also freeze the casserole after it is assembled. Cover with foil and freeze for up to one month. To bake after freezing, place foil-wrapped casserole in oven and bake for 40 minutes, then remove foil and bake for an additional 15 minutes, or until bubbly and cheese has melted and it is heated through.
Here's my prediction: Seahawks over the Bears, 32 to 13. From my keypad to God's ears. Go Hawks!