Meatball Sandwich Casserole

Meatball Sandwich Casserole

On the one hand, meatballs are delicious. Really good! Immensely tasty. On the other hand, they’re kind of messy to make and cooking them usually adds one or many dishes to your nightly load. So in applications where the meatballs aren’t the star, I fake it. I buy frozen meatballs in bags (often turkey ones!). It’s a bit of a splurge (a pound of ground meat is generally cheaper than a bag of meatballs), but man, it’s a relief not to have to wash those extra dishes at the end of the night. It’s not even that the washing takes all that long — it’s the intimidating size of the dish pile. Besides, in applications like this the difference is hardly noticeable — you’re tasting the sauce and cheese and even crescent rolls before you’re tasting the meatballs.

Also, yes, this uses crescent roll dough. It’s not perfect, but sometimes the convenience is worth it. On the other hand, I made the sauce — the flavor is pretty central to the dish (and making tomato sauce is time-consuming but not terribly dish- or effort-intensive).

Meatball Sandwich Casserole, adapted from Betty Crocker

Sauce:
2-3 Tbsp. olive oil
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp. (ish) tomato paste
1 can crushed tomatoes (28 oz)
1 can diced tomatoes (14.5 oz) — or another small can of crushed, I can just never find those
sploosh (2-3 Tbsp?) red wine (optional)
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. red pepper flakes (or to taste)
salt and pepper to taste

Other stuff:
1 bag frozen meatballs (1-1.5 lbs; I use turkey)
2 cans crescent rolls
2 c. Italian or pizza cheese
1/4 c. grated Parmesan

Heat the oil in a largeish saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook until it’s beginning to get golden, then squeeze in the tomato paste and mix it around. Once it’s darkened a bit, add the crushed and diced tomatoes and the wine and mix well. Stir in the oregano, red pepper flakes, and seasoning to taste. Drop the heat and let it simmer for a few hours, stirring occasionally. Take a stick blender to it if you had to use diced tomatoes.

Preheat the oven to 375F. Spray a biggish dish (I used a 9×13, but a little smaller will work) with cooking spray or oil it. Open up the crescent rolls, separate them, and chop each one into four equalish pieces. Litter the bottom of your dish with about half the pieces and sprinkle on the meatballs. Douse everything in sauce and then sprinkle on the rest of the crescent bits on top, spreading them out a bit. Bake it for 15-20 minutes, until the crescent bits look less doughy.

Pull it out, cheese it all up (I like the Parmesan on top) and bake for another 10 minutes or so, until the cheesy bits are melty and delicious. Let it rest for 5-10 minutes and then serve!

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~ by iliadawry on 12 August 2013.

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