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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Collard Greens (Not just a side)

There are many side dishes out there that can be tweaked a little to be turned into a main course if  you just have a little imagination. Now I know that a lot of people tend to turn their nose up and say ewwww to different greens and it is mostly because of the smell they give off while cooking or just a general loathing of anything green. To you people I say give them a chance because once they are done and you get that first bite you will be hooked. I grew up eating collard greens, turnip greens and mustard greens and love them when they are cooked properly which unfortunately is something a lot of places don’t do. Most restaurants will have them on the menu as a side dish and that is fine but I am here to show you that this does not have to be the case. You can make them where they are the main dish and you will be looking for something else to put on the side.

So here is what you need to make this tasty dish

Ingredients

3 bunches of fresh collard greens

2 lbs country style (pork) ribs (boneless)

1/4 lb sliced salt pork (you can use bacon but salt pork is better)

Garlic Powder

Black Pepper

Red Pepper Flakes

Prep

Cut the the salt pork into small 1″ pieces

Cut the pork ribs down to 2″ square pieces

Cut the stems off of the collards right at the bottom of the leaf and throw them away, now rinse the leaves, then cut the leaves into small 1 to 2 inch squares and set aside in a bowl.

Cooking

In a large pot with a lid you want to cook the salt pork first. You are going to cook it on medium high heat until it is golden brown and most of the fat has been rendered off to make a nice cooking oil. Then add the pork ribs in and season with the garlic powder and black pepper (Use about a tablespoon each). Cook the ribs until they are nice a brown and crisp on the outside. Now reduce the heat to medium and drain off any excess oil. Add in the cut up greens and red pepper flakes and put the lid on the pot. Cook them on medium for about 45 minutes occasionally stirring.  Now reduce the heat to low and cook for another 45 minutes.

By now the greens should be nice and soft and the ribs should be tender and starting to fall apart.

That’s all there is to it.  A nice dish that is great by itself or accompanied by sides.
Enjoy

Thanks for reading,

JMW