I've written before about my son, aka Mr. Picky Pants. He doesn't eat meat unless it is chicken or turkey. He will look at the package to be sure I'm not trying to trick him into eating beef! Silly boy. So anyway, when I cook, I often have to change things up to work for his palate. He will eat sliced turkey on sandwiches, but not ground turkey. He will eat ground chicken though!
A few weeks ago a friend shared an amazing looking casserole on Facebook. It was a deconstructed meatball sub/Hero casserole - yuuuuuuummmmmmm! I immediately went to work planning my strategy so we could try this too!
First, I decided to replace the bag of frozen meatballs with some homemade chicken meatballs. I bought a package of ground chicken, and mixed it with some Italian-seasoned breadcrumbs, a little grated parmesan cheese, an egg, ketchup, mustard, a few dashes of Worcestershire sauce, and some Italian seasoning. I shaped the mixture into meatballs and sauteed them in olive oil on the stovetop til brown.
While they were cooking, I sliced a loaf of crusty french bread, buttered it and added some garlic powder and Italian seasoning to the top.
Next, I added a jar of Spaghetti sauce into the pan with the cooked meatballs and brought to a nice simmer. Starting to smell amazing in here....
To assemble the casserole, I placed the slices of bread around the edges of a medium-sized baking dish (please excuse the condition of my baking dish - I made it at a pottery place when David was a baby, and even though it's starting to show cracks in the glaze in places and the paint is chipping off the sides, I can't stop using it! I love that dish!!) and spooned the meatballs and sauce into the middle. Then I sprinkled some grated cheese over the top and placed in the oven til the bread was done and the cheese was nice and melted!
This was so good! Yes, Mr. Picky Pants loved it, too! We'll be enjoying this several more times throughout the Fall - it's a perfect meal for a chilly night!
So while this isn't a recipe, per se, I hope it will serve as inspiration to you! Make your favorite meatballs, use your favorite sauce and customize this to your family's taste! I'm thinking of trying it soon with buttered Texas toast half-slices and BBQ sauce in with the meatballs for a BBQ chicken meatball sandwich casserole!
Let me know in the comments how you like this recipe, and what changes you will make to make this casserole for your family!