Meatball Sub Casserole – Easy and Delicious

I’m sure I’ve mentioned it before but since I work on Tuesdays and Thursday outside of the home I try and make something on Mondays and Wednesdays that we can have leftovers of the next night.  Pasta dishes are great for this, but you can only have so much pasta (yep, I said it – hard to believe I know!).  I’ve started to make a lot of casserole type meals.  Chicken and rice tends to get a little old after a while so I’ve started thinking of ways to turn non-casserole meals into casseroles.

L is REALLY into meatballs these days so I figured a meatball sub casserole would be GREAT!  A quick Google search and I realized I wasn’t alone in that thought.  I also realized that EVERY recipe called for a mayonnaise/Italian dressing packet combination.  I saw a few that used cream cheese as well.  I decided to try my own combination and it turned out so well!

I also used meatballs I had made earlier and frozen.  You could certainly use store bought frozen meatballs though!  Trader Joe’s has a frozen turkey meatball that I really like!

It’s a fairly simple list of ingredients (as you can see below!).  I’ll even own  up to the fact that I used jarred sauce.  We didn’t have any of mine frozen and I really wasn’t in the mood to make a batch so I sucked it up and went with store bought!

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Ingredients:

French or Italian bread, sliced and toasted

½ cup mayonnaise

4oz onion and chive cream cheese

½ tsp thyme

½ tsp basil

1 tsp oregano

1 tsp garlic powder

20 pre-cooked meatballs, if buying them frozen use 1 ½ 16oz bags (I did not defrost my meatballs)

2 cups Italian cheese(I usually buy Sargento’s 6 cheese blend), divided

3 cups of sauce, or one store bought jar

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees

Arrange the toasted bread in the bottom of a 9×13 baking dish coated with cooking spray.  You will probably need to cut up some of the slices to get the whole bottom covered.

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In a separate bowl, mix together the mayonnaise, cream cheese and spices.  Spread the mixture in an even layer over the toasted bread.

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Top the spread with 1/2 cup of the shredded cheese

Combine your meatballs and sauce in another bowl.  Pour the mixture over the bread, spread and cheese.

Top with the remaining cheese.

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Cover with foil and bake for 15-20 minutes

Remove the foil and continue baking for another 10-15 minutes.  Finally, finish it off but putting it under the broiler for a minute or two to make the cheese nice and brown!

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I served the casserole with a delicious spaghetti squash (recipe here) and some roasted brussel sprouts.  It was a HIT! Darrin couldn’t stop raving about this meal and Lucas ate more than his normal portion as well.

This is one meal that is entering our rotation for sure.

Do you have a favorite casserole?  Share it in the comments below because I’m always looking for something new!

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Happy St. Patrick’s Day…Let’s Celebrate with Chalk Paint

I’m not really sure if I have any Irish in me or not – my mom has always called my dad “Swiss Cheese” because he’s got a little of every nationality, expect Italian, which I get from her.

I did go to one of the most Irish schools in the country though (WE ARE ND!) so I feel like it’s cool to claim some Irish on St. Patrick’s Day.

St. Patrick’s Day was L’s first holiday last year, which means that this year it’s the first holiday that isn’t his first and I’m a little sad!  I decided to make myself feel better by getting a little crafty.

In November my friend Christa, who is the blogger behind Little Us, posted this super easy recipe for Chalk Paint.  I’ve been dying to use it on our driveway but because we’ve had a crazy cold winter I haven’t been able.

It’s finally getting nicer and as a way to make L’s second St. Patrick’s Day special I decided to give Christa’s recipe a try.

Since I was only using one color, I decided to double her recipe.  I also found that I needed to add MORE than double the food coloring to find a color I liked.  I ended up using 20 drops of the food dye.

St Patricks Day Chalk Paint

The other change I made is to use cold water when mixing.  Christa didn’t specify what temp to use but after a Google search the general consensus was cold is best!

Finally, it was suggested that a foam brush be used.  For the life of me, I couldn’t find mine so I used a regular art brush instead – it worked great!

Using the chalk paint was really easy!  It took me about 15 minutes to get the message written out – but I’m a bit of a perfectionist and got interrupted a few times.

Here is my version of Homemade Chalk Paint



Ingredients:

2/3 cup cornstarch

2/3 cup COLD water

20 drops of green food coloring

Mix the above ingredients together until combined well.

And that’s all there is too it – it’s as easy as that!

Now getting Lucas to sit still long enough for me to take a usable picture is another story!  This was the best we could do.  So Happy St. Patrick’s Day from my Lucky Charm!

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EDIT: Just as a small side note, this washed off very easily.  We had a rain storm the day after I did this and all traces of our chalk paint were gone!

For The Record 03.14.14

It’s the time of the week again!  Join us on the host’s blog, Little Us, and share what’s going on with you in this week’s:

FOR THE RECORD FRIDAY

 1. Favorite Picture of the Week

View More: http://ariaimages.pass.us/lucas

Another one from L’s One year shoot! I promise to go with something else next week!

2. What TV show are you addicted to right now?

I am so hooked on this season of Pretty Little Liars!  I cannot wait for the new episode on Tuesday – will we finally find out who A is?

3. What Book(s) did you read this week?

Still reading “The Secret Lives of Fortunate Wives” by Sarah Strohmeyer.  I still really like it and would recommend it to a friend, I just can’t seem to find the time to read it.

4. Song you can’t stop listening too

Disney soundtracks.  L and I dance around the kitchen to them all the time.  His favorite is the Rascal Flats version of “Life is a Highway” from Cars.

5. Something funny/awesome that happened was….

We had a super fun play date with Lucas’s friend Bella and her mommy, Renata.  We went to a local play space and just let the kids have at it while we caught up.

6. Something not so awesome that happened was….

Honestly, I can’t think of anything really awful, or even a little awful, that happened this week!

7. Favorite blog post you posted or came across this week….

Shameless self promotion in 3…2…1…I LOVED this spaghetti squash recipe that I posted earlier this week.  As far as something I read that wasn’t from my site, this post really spoke to me.  I often find myself thinking I should have done more with L during the day.  I worry I’m not doing enough or that something is lacking.  But honestly, rocking L to sleep for his naps is enough.  Pulling all the clothes out of the laundry basket and him giggling hysterically is enough.  Having our pots and pan band while I get dinner ready is enough.  Sometimes a little reminder is nice though!

8. The best dinner you had this week was…

Sauce!  I don’t think I’ve made sauce since we moved into the new house.  I could eat sauce with a spoon (and that may or may not happen when I’m making it!) so this was a long overdue meal!  I make pasta to go along with it, just so you don’t think I’m feeding my family straight sauce.

9. Plans for the weekend….

Darrin and I are taking Lucas downtown for the St. Patrick’s Day parade and festival on Saturday.  On Sunday I am going to a breastfeeding photo shoot.  I am insanely excited for that.

10. QOTW (Question of the Week): What’s the #1 Kitchen Appliance you can’t live without?

Does the coffee maker count?  Or is that too obvious?  I use my immersion blender a lot, more than I thought I would actually.  I have a pretty inexpensive one, it was like $35 at Bed Bath and Beyond.  I would LOVE one like this though!

Alright, now it’s your turn.  Click the link below and go “On the Record” for the week.

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A Simple Spring Side Dish

We love, alright adore!, pasta in this house.  Pasta can be pretty heavy though and as the weather starts getting warmer, I like to cook lighter.  I’ve experimented with Spaghetti Squash a few times before but this recipe came out so well I just had to share it.

Ingredients:
3-4lb spaghetti squash
2 tbsp butter
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
3 cloves of garlic, grated or minced
Italian herbs to taste
1/4 c grated Parmesan cheese

So first things first, you get this huge yellow squash at the store and quickly realize that it weights at least 3 to 4 pounds and would take an weed whacker to cut in half.  Now what?!

Place the whole squash, as is, on a microwave safe plate and cook in the microwave for about 3 or 4 minutes, depending on how big your squash is.

Now you’ll have a much easier time cutting this delicious veggie in half with an ordinary kitchen knife.  So go head and get the squash cut in half and placed, cut side down, on a cookie sheet covered with tinfoil and a bit of cooking spray.

Cook it in an oven preheated to 375 degrees for about 30-35 minutes, again depending on how big it is.

Once it’s cooked through take it out of the oven and let it cool!  You’re going to have to hold it pretty good to scrape the good stuff out and as my finger tips can tell you, it’s HOT!

Once it’s able to be handled, scoop out the seeds and throw them out.  Next, take your fork and scrape the flesh away from the skin, creating “noodles.”

Heat up 2 tbsp of butter and 1 tbsp of olive oil in a skillet over med-high heat.  Grate in garlic, or mince it of you don’t have a hand grater, and cook for a few minutes until fragrant.  I added a bit of dried herbs at this point (basil, oregano and thyme) to taste.

Add the spaghetti squash to the skillet and cook for a few minutes until coated in the garlic, butter and oil.  I added about 1/4 cup of grated Parmesan cheese right before I took the skillet off of the heat.

And there you have, a delicious and healthy summer side dish sure to please even those who don’t always like eating their vegetables!

MommaAlwaysKnows.com Spaghetti Squash with Butter and Garlic

We had this with Meatball Sub Casserole and roasted brussel sprouts and Darrin is already asking for it again!

For The Record 03.07.14

One of my Mommy friends, and co-founders of the breastfeeding blog I’m a part of, is the owner of another amazing blog, Little Us.  She scores the best giveaways (one of which I plan on winning someday), shares great recipes and always has cute crafts and DIY projects.  She decided to start a meme on Fridays that is sort of a summary of the week.  I’m kinda bad at documenting what we do here from week to week and thought this would be something fun to look back on someday so here it is:

FOR THE RECORD FRIDAY

 1. Favorite Picture of the Week

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From L’s One Year photo shoot – this picture certainly speaks for itself!

2. What TV show are you addicted to right now?

I started watching American Horror Story on vacation.  I’m watching the second season now.  I’m not sure if I’m addicted, but it’s like a train wreck I just can’t walk away from.

3. What Book(s) did you read this week?

I’m currently reading “The Secret Lives of Fortunate Wives” by Sarah Strohmeyer.  I really like it so far, although honestly the only time I’m finding I get to read is during my 20 minute “Lucas food” breaks at work.

4. Song you can’t stop listening too

The entire Taylor Swift RED album.  It’s been in my car since it came out and I’m back to listening to it non-stop

5. Something funny/awesome that happened was….

Lucas climbed our entire flight of stair by himself (this was equally terrifying by the way!).

6. Something not so awesome that happened was….

Lucas bit me while nursing a few nights ago.  For those of you who have never nursed a one year old with teeth I can’t put into words the feeling.  Adding to the not awesome, I screamed (because it hurt like no one’s business), it scared him, he started to cry and now he refuses to feed!

7. Favorite blog post you posted or came across this week….

A friend posted this article on Facebook a few days ago and it really spoke to me.  My husband is “guilty” of this and I’m starting to use the phrase more and more myself.  I totally agree with everything the author had to say!

8. The best dinner you had this week was…

Meatball Sub Casserole with spaghetti squash and brussels sprouts…blog post coming soon – I promise!

9. Plans for the weekend….

I’m hosting a lunch for Lucas’s “friends” and their mommies as a late birthday celebration but also to celebrate the fact that we’ve been friends for a year AND survived our first year of motherhood!  We met in a breastfeeding support group and I honestly don’t know what I’d have done without this ladies in those first few months.

Alright, now it’s your turn.  Click the link below and go “On the Record” for the week.

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