Meatball Sub Casserole

Like most people, I love a good meatball sub. Little balls of yummy goodness covered in marinara and melted cheese on a warm sub roll. MMMM… It doesn’t get much better than that. Sometimes you toast them, sometimes you steam them. It really depends on which part of the county you are from. Whichever you prefer nothing beats this sandwich when you have a craving for zesty goodness. This time around we are going to back them. Yes, I said bake them, and in a casserole no less. This is a great recipe for a family that doesn’t want to go to the trouble of making a bunch of individual subs for everyone. Now you can make one big one and cut it up for everyone to enjoy.

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Here’s how you do it.

What you need

1lb lean ground beef

1lb hot Italian sausage

1 cup Italian bread crumbs

1 small white onion (half finely chopped, half sliced)

1 small bell pepper (thinly sliced)

2 cloves garlic (finely chopped)

2 eggs

1 tsp salt

1 tsp black pepper

1 tbsp granulated garlic

1 cup grated Parmesan

2 tbsp crushed red pepper

2 tbsp olive oil

2 Pillsbury french bread tubes

8 oz fresh mozzarella  (the little balls packed in water work great)

1 24 oz jar of marinara sauce ( I used Rao’s Marinara)

Prep and cooking.

This recipe is a little involved but the results are pretty amazing.

Note. You can make the meatballs ahead of time and freeze them to use later.

Making the meatballs

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Thoroughly mix the ground beef, Italian sausage, bread crumbs, eggs, chopped onions, salt, pepper and garlic together in a large mixing bowl. Cover a baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray it with non stick cooking spray. This will help the meatballs not stick to the baking sheet. Now roll out the meatballs into small little balls about an inch and half around. You don’t want them too big because it is harder to get them cooked through properly, but you don’t want them too small either or they dry out easily. Once you have all of the mixture rolled out into little meatballs place them in a preheated (to 35o degrees) oven and bake for 20 minutes. You want them to start getting nice and brown on top.

Garlic Onions and Peppers

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While the meatballs are baking you can prep the onions, peppers and garlic. You want to saute them using the olive oil in a medium size pan over medium high heat. Saute them until the onions start to turn translucent. Set aside.

Assembling the casserole.

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Coat a large casserole dish with non stick cooking spray. Unroll one of the tubes of french bread and line the bottom of the dish. you want to cover the entire bottom. Now start placing the meatballs in a single layer on top of the bread. You can put them as close together as you like. Its really up to you how many you want in it. Next start placing the mozzarella in between the meatballs. You want to make sure you get them nice and evenly spaced throughout the meatballs so when they melt every bite will have some. Next you want to take the onions, peppers and garlic and spread it out evenly on top of the meatballs and mozzarella. Once that is done pour out the entire jar of marinara sauce and cover everything. Now take half of the Parmesan cheese and sprinkle evenly on top. Once that is all put together it is time to add the top layer of bread, roll out the second french bread and cover the top completely. For the final touch sprinkle the remaining Parmesan cheese and the red pepper flakes on top and cover with aluminum foil and place it in the center of a preheated (350 degrees) oven. Bake it for 30 minutes covered then another 15 uncovered to get a nice brown on the top.

And there you have it. Make several cuts all the way through to get individual servings and enjoy.

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Thanks for reading,

JMW

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Take a Meatball and Stuff it

Inside a biscuit that is.

Coming up with new recipes can be challenging at times so taking an existing recipe or combining a couple of different ones can be the answer when you are running low on ideas.

This time around I wanted to make something quick and easy to snack on but was also in the mood for Italian which does not always go hand in hand. As many of you know a lot of traditional Italian dishes can be pretty involved and take a while to make if done from scratch. So I thought maybe stuffing meatballs inside of biscuits with a little cheese and marinara would be a good way to make a snack size Italian treat. Kind of like a mini home made hot pocket but without the burning lava part that comes out after microwaving.

This recipe can be done with frozen meatballs or you can make your own like I did but that will take a bit more time. I will include the instructions on how to make those in case you are feeling ambitious. Luckily I had some made and frozen from a previous meal.

Lets get started.

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Ingredients

1lb lean ground beef

1/2 lb Italian sausage (hot)

1/2 cup Italian bread crumbs

1 egg

1/2 cup finely chopped white onion

1/2 cup finely chopped bell pepper

2 tablespoons of finely chopped garlic

1 tablespoon crushed red pepper flakes

1 tablespoon dried oregano

1 teaspoon course sea salt

1 tablespoon ground black pepper

1 package mozzarella string cheese

1 tube of refrigerated biscuits

1 jar of your favorite marinara or pasta sauce ( I prefer Raos Arabiata sauce)

Prep and cooking (if using frozen meatballs heat those up and skip to the next step). 

Step 1: Mix everything all together in a large mixing bowl except the biscuits cheese and sauce. Using both hands roll out your meatballs in small 1″ balls. You want to make small ones that will get a little crispy on the outside and cook quickly. As you make them lay them out on a baking pan. Pre heat your oven to 350 degrees and cook the meatballs for about 20 minutes or until the are a nice golden brown on the outside.

Tip: I like to cover my pan in aluminum foil and spray with non stick spray. This makes clean up so much easier.

Step 2: After they meatballs are done set them aside to cool. Now take the string cheese and cut it into small 1/2 inch pieces. Take the biscuits and lay them out and cut each one in half. Flatten the biscuit halves and place a meatball and a piece of cheese in the center, then add a small dollop of sauce. Now fold the biscuit over and press the ends together, making a nice little doughy ball of goodness. Place the now stuffed biscuits on a baking sheet with the folder sides down.

Now put the full baking sheet in the oven and bake according to the biscuits baking directions. This should give you a nice golden biscuit on the outside and a stuffed melted bit of heaven on the inside.

Once they are done let them cool for a few minutes and get ready to enjoy a truly delicious treat.

As always I hope you enjoy.

Thanks for reading

JMW

Grimaldi’s Pizzeria

Great ***

Pretty Good

OK

No Thanks

 

Let’s talk pizza this week. I know there are a lot of different places to choose from out there and that we all have our favorites whether it be the local corner pizza place or a big chain like Pizza Hut but I like to find the ones that stand out and give me something a little more different than just the standard pizza. This is why I am so glad to have discovered Grimaldi’s. Grimaldis is a New York style pizza place that not only has great food but has a nice atmosphere for dining with family and friends. Since it is a New York Style pizza place you can imagine that the interior of the restaurant yells out New York when you walk in the door. When you walk in the door the first thing you see are all of the black and white photos of the Big Apple hanging everywhere. These tie in nicely with the checkerboard style table cloths and give it that Italian restaurant feel. The other thing you will notice when you walk in is a slightly different smell in the air. This is because Grimaldi’s uses coal ovens to cook everything. These ovens get very hot and only take minutes to cook a pizza to perfection. The coal ovens give the pizza a unique flavor that you don’t get from the big chains or even from most of the local guys and because they cook so hot you also get a nice crisp crust.
For this trip I ordered a pepperoni, onion, and meatball pizza using the classic sauce. You can actually order one of three different types of sauce for the pizza (white, pesto and classic) but while I have been tempted to try the other two, the classic is so good I just cant seem to break away from it. I also ordered a caesar salad to start out because I just love a great caesar salad. I would put Grimaldi’s caesar at number two on my all time favorites list of caesar salads. I will be telling you about the number one in a later review,so stay tuned.

One thing to keep in mind when you order at Grimaldis is that everything is big. If you order a small salad you can share it with a friend. the small pizzas are also about the size of a medium at most places so order accordingly unless you like taking home left overs. The salad is made with nice crisp fresh lettuce, just the right amount of a nice mild yet tangy dressing. The best part though is croutons. These look to be made in house and are the perfect compliment to the salad.

The pizza is a nice thin crust pizza cooked with crisp outer edges and topped with strips of real mozzarella cheese. None of that processed shredded stuff here. The pepperoni is not to thick and not to thin and has a nice little spice to it but the wow factor for me is the meatballs. First of all they taste great and have that homemade flavor and texture to them. Some times the meatballs at restaurants can come out dense and hard or have an odd texture to them that screams frozen mass production. They slice them in thin slices and place them around the pizza like the pepperoni. I was surprised at how well they complemented the pizza and added to the overall flavor. For me they are a must have any time you visit Grimaldi’s. The sauce is a very nice homemade type of sauce that is just thick enough to keep everything held together. You can tell that a lot of thoughtfulness was put in to getting just the right flavor. Now when you combine all of these ingredients and slide it in to the coal oven you get one heck of a pizza that makes you want to come back again and again.

Thanks for reading,
JMW