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Dump and Bake Meatball Casserole

Dump and Bake Meatball Casserole: A Simple and Flavorful Meal Solution

healty meal, low carbs meals, keto meal

Looking for an easy and delicious dinner idea that requires minimal prep and clean-up? Look no further than our Dump and Bake Meatball Casserole recipe! With just a few simple ingredients and one pan, you can have a hearty and satisfying meal on the table in no time. Let’s dive into the details of this convenient dish, along with some variations and tips to make it your own.

Ingredients:

  • 1 (16 ounces) package of uncooked rotini pasta
  • 1 (24 or 25 ounces) jar marinara sauce (Choose your favorite brand for the best flavor!)
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 (14-ounce) package fully-cooked miniature (cocktail-size) meatballs (Thaw completely if frozen)
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • Optional for garnish:
    • Grated Parmesan cheese
    • Fresh chopped herbs such as basil, oregano, and parsley

Instructions:

  1. Preheat Oven: Preheat your oven to 425°F (220°C). Lightly grease a 9×13-inch baking dish with non-stick spray.
  2. Combine Ingredients: In the prepared baking dish, combine the uncooked rotini pasta, marinara sauce, water, and fully-cooked miniature meatballs. Stir well to combine and ensure that the pasta is submerged in the liquid.
  3. Cover and Bake: Cover the baking dish tightly with aluminum foil. Transfer to the preheated oven and bake for 45 minutes.
  4. Add Cheese: Remove the foil from the baking dish and sprinkle the shredded mozzarella cheese evenly over the top of the casserole.
  5. Continue Baking: Return the uncovered casserole to the oven and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and bubbly and the pasta is cooked through.
  6. Garnish and Serve: Remove the casserole from the oven and let it cool for a few minutes. Garnish with grated Parmesan cheese and fresh chopped herbs, if desired. Serve hot and enjoy!

Cook Notes and Variations:

  • Pasta Options: While rotini pasta works well in this recipe, feel free to use any short pasta shape you have on hand, such as penne, rigatoni, or farfalle.
  • Meatball Varieties: Experiment with different types of meatballs, such as Italian-style, turkey, or vegetarian meatballs, to change up the flavor profile of the dish.
  • Cheese Choices: Instead of mozzarella cheese, you can use other varieties such as cheddar, Monterey Jack, or a blend of Italian cheeses for added flavor.

Keto and Low-Carb Versions:

Keto Version:

  • Replace Pasta: Substitute the rotini pasta with cooked spaghetti squash or zucchini noodles to make it keto-friendly and low in carbs.
  • Use Homemade Marinara Sauce: Make your own keto-friendly marinara sauce using fresh tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, and Italian herbs to control the carb content.

Low-Carb Version:

  • Reduce Pasta: Cut back on the amount of pasta used or omit it entirely to lower the carb count. Increase the amount of meatballs and cheese to make the dish more filling.
  • Serve Over Greens: Instead of pasta, serve the meatball casserole over a bed of mixed greens or sautéed spinach for a low-carb option.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

Q: Can I use frozen meatballs in this recipe? A: Yes, you can use frozen meatballs, but make sure to thaw them completely before adding them to the casserole to ensure even cooking.

Q: Can I make this dish ahead of time? A: Yes, you can assemble the casserole ahead of time and refrigerate it until ready to bake. Simply cover it tightly with foil and store it in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours before baking as directed.

Q: Can I freeze leftovers? A: Yes, you can freeze any leftover meatball casserole in an airtight container for up to 3 months. To reheat, simply thaw in the refrigerator overnight and bake in the oven until heated through.

Our Dump and Bake Meatball Casserole is the perfect solution for busy weeknights when you need a quick and satisfying meal that the whole family will love. With its simple preparation and delicious flavor, this one-pan dish is sure to become a staple in your recipe rotation. Whether you’re cooking for a crowd or just looking for an easy dinner idea, give this recipe a try and enjoy the convenience and comfort of homemade comfort food with minimal effort.

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