Classic Meatball Sub Casserole made even better by making homemade meatballs! (*And a few extra tricks up my sleeve to share, too!) No gross, rubbery, flavorless, bouncy, “super balls”. Just simple pantry ingredients that take this retro fave over the top! Your new “family night” game changer! Enjoy!!
If you’ve never had “meatball sub casserole”, you’re seriously in for a royal treat! It’s a retro ’90’s recipe that was one of my go-to’s for just about every fun social gathering that came up!
Everyone loved it! And I loved that it was so easy to make!
Everybody always requested the recipe, and always said that mine was better than the others. My secret? Well, the main secret is to start with homemade meatballs!
Not those gross little rubbery, faux meat, “super balls”! (Now there’s a blast from the past!!)
I mean, just look how wonderful homemade can be! And the flavor, if I do say so myself, is outstanding!
The other secret? Well, why use plain ol’ ordinary french or hoagie bread, when you can sneak in even MORE flavor by simply using garlic bread instead, right?!
So, here are most of the ingredients needed to put this recipe together. Nothing fancy-pants. Just wholesome ingredients!
And please, I beg of you, don’t cave and use that “green can stuff”. Buy a small wedge of real parmesan cheese! (You can store it in the freezer when not using it.)
That “green can stuff” adds, literally, wait for it….sawdust.
Yep, SAWDUST to the “cheese” to keep it from sticking together. Who wants to eat sawdust?? I mean, seriously?? REALLY?!!
Shame on them.
Anyway, just get the real deal good stuff.
Choose whatever pasta/spaghetti/marinara sauce you enjoy, and try to use a good mozzarella-provolone blend cheese that melts well and tastes great.
I always use Sargento’s, because it never lets me down. But if you have a favorite that you enjoy, go for it!
So, here we go. (This is SO EASY. You’re going to love this!)
Just make up the meatball mixture, roll them into balls, and bake on parchment paper for quick ‘n easy cleanup.
Slice the (thawed) garlic bread into 1/2-inch thin slices and place them down into a sprayed 13 x 9 baking dish or pan.
Stir together the cream cheese mixture, and pour and spread it over the bread slices.
(*I don’t know how good a light or low-fat version of cream cheese would work for this. So, since this isn’t a diet dish by any stretch of the imagination anyway, just use the regular stuff. It never fails.)
Sprinkle a little of the shredded cheese over the top….
…place on your meatballs….
…(and I won’t tell if you sneak one!)…
…(I mean, who can resist these, right? Besides, my philosophy is, whoever does the work gets the perks!)…
….then pour the whole jar of sauce over them!
Lastly, top with the rest of the bag of cheese!
Halfway through baking time, I did add just a little dried parsley flakes on top for a little bit of color.
Then, when it’s done, and the cheese is all melty and gooey, and the casserole is nice and bubbly, remove it from the oven and sprinkle it with thinly sliced green onions.
I served this with garlic bread, peperoncini peppers, and a simple tossed salad on the side.
Cut into serving sized pieces, and carefully remove the servings from the pan using one or two spatulas.
Don’t sweat it if it doesn’t come out of the pan perfectly. It will all taste so good, no one will even care!
Just LOOK at all that yummy cheeeeeese!!!
And those MEATBALLS…..all I can say is….don’t turn your back on this casserole. It’s going to disappear like magic!!
The entire family won’t even have to be called for supper. They’ll already be waiting with forks in hand, singing your praises!
So, if you’re looking for a super fun and delicious weeknight casserole, or even a simple but fantastic-tasting meal for Sunday supper, give this retro classic Homemade Meatball Sub Casserole a try!
It’s one of our favorites, and soon to be one of your family’s, too!
Stay SAFE. And, as always, wear those MASKS. We’ve come this far, don’t blow it as we near the end!! Love to all!
Homemade Meatball Sub Casserole
About 8 servings
1 lb. lean ground beef
1/4 cup whole milk
1/2 tsp. worcestershire sauce
1 extra large egg, well beaten
1/3 cup dried breadcrumbs, preferably with romano cheese, I used Vigo’s
1/4 cup finely grated fresh parmesan cheese, lightly packed
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. dried minced onions
1/2 tsp. dried italian seasoning
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. regular black pepper
(more pepper for after rolling)
For Cream Cheese Mixture:
1 (8 oz.) block cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup regular heavy mayo, I used Duke’s
1 tsp. dried italian seasoning
1/4 tsp. regular black pepper
1/16 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 cup of the shredded mozzarella-provolone blend cheese, *see below
Rest of Ingredients:
part of a 1 lb. loaf frozen garlic bread, thawed, sliced into 1/2-inch thick slices
1 (24 – 28 oz.) jar spaghetti sauce, I used Bertolli’s Organic Olive Oil, Basil & Garlic (their Tuscan Herb is also wonderful)
1 (1 lb.) bag shredded mozzarella-provolone blend cheese, *divided, I used Sargento’s
1 tsp. dried parsley flakes to garnish, optional
4 – 6 green onions, thinly sliced, to garnish, optional but really good
Preheat oven to 400º F.
In large bowl, add ground beef. Break up with a fork and spread out across bottom of the bowl. Evenly sprinkle rest of ingredients across top of meat in order. Stir with a large spoon to get it started, then mix with your hands. (Try not to over mix, but do get everything combined and dispersed well.)
Roll into 28 meatballs, placing onto a parchment paper-lined baking sheet, sprinkle tops with (more) pepper, and bake for 15 – 18 minutes. Remove, leaving behind any fat, and place into a bowl or container. Cover with a paper towel then cover with a lid. (*These can be made a day before if need be. Store in refrigerator or freeze for later use.)
Lower oven to 350º F.
Spray a 13 x 9 baking pan or dish. Slice the thawed garlic bread into 1/2-inch thin slices, and lay them on their sides. Slice only enough to completely cover the bottom. (The rest can be baked and served on the side.)
In medium bowl, warm cream cheese in microwave just until softened and stir-able. Add rest of ingredients, except shredded mozzarella, and stir well. Pour and spoon over bread and spread out to cover. Sprinkle evenly with a 1/2 cup of the mozzarella cheese.
Top evenly with meatballs. Pour spaghetti sauce evenly over meatballs to cover. Sprinkle top with the rest of the bag of mozzarella. Garnish top with a little bit of dried parsley flakes.
Pop into oven and bake for 25 – 30 minutes at 350º F. Remove from oven, and garnish with thinly sliced green onions. Just the green part, or include the white part, too, if desired.
Serve hot with garlic bread and a tossed salad with one of my homemade Salad Dressings. Enjoy!!
*My recipe for meatballs can make larger ones, as few as 20, and will need to be baked (at 400º) for 20 – 25 minutes, depending on size. Great for spaghetti, sweet and sour meatball recipes, soups, appetizers, and other casseroles! I made them smaller for this particular recipe.
**Do not over bake them. If they are a little pink in the middle still, but will be cooked further in a sauce or baked in a dish, they will finish cooking, so don’t worry about it.