Meatball Sub Casserole

I don’t know about y’all, but I love a casserole.  I don’t know if it’s a Southern thang or what…but chicken casseroles, pork chop casserole, you name it.  So, when I saw this Meatball Sub Casserole on Pinterest, I was ready to give it a try.  Especially since it had a nice, cheesy picture to go with it.  (There is one problem however.  I don’t even like meatball subs.  But….I made it anyway.  Because I’m weird like that.)  I figured, how can you go wrong with bread, cheese and pasta sauce.  Plus it was super easy to throw together.

It doesn’t plate all that pretty, but like I said, bread, cheese, sauce….what’s not to like?! 
Meatball Sub Casserole adapted from Brenda’s Canadian Kitchen
Meatballs* (I used frozen turkey meatballs)
1 loaf  (1 pound) Italian bread, cut into 1 1/2 inch slices*
1 package (8 ounces) reduced fat cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup fat free mayonnaise
1 tsp. Italian seasoning
1/4 tsp. pepper
2 cups shredded Italian blend cheeses
1 jar (28 ounce) spaghetti or marinara sauce
1 cup water (I didn’t use)
2 garlic cloves, minced (I omitted)

*See original recipe for homemade meatball recipe
*Since other reviews mentioned the bread being soggy, I sprayed my bread with olive oil & garlic powder and broiled to get it crisp and toasted before adding it to my casserole.

Arrange bread in a single layer in an ungreased 13-in. x 9-in. baking dish (all of the bread might not be used). Combine the cream cheese, mayonnaise, Italian seasoning and pepper; spread over the bread. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup cheese. (I cut the recipe in half and used an 8×8 pan)
Combine the spaghetti sauce, water and garlic; add meatballs. Pour over cheese mixture; sprinkle with remaining cheese. Bake, uncovered, at 350° for 30 minutes or until heated through. I did not completely thaw my meatballs before adding to casserole.  I just had them sitting out while I got everything else ready. 

Since I used frozen turkey meatballs, jarred sauce, and store bought bread, this came together in a snap and was super easy for a weeknight meal.  Unfortunately, I have crazy children who wouldn’t eat it.  This whole I don’t like sauce is getting old.  Just eat it already!  I thought it was pretty good, considering I don’t really like meatballs.  I think next time I’ll make it with turkey italian sausage.  Yum!  It definitely tastes like a meatball sub, so if you like those, you should love this!
A few notes: toasting the bread and having nice thick slices helps ensure the bread doesn’t get too soggy.  I also didn’t add the water…which would have made a lot more sauce, but the bread would definitely get soft I think.  It depends on what you like.  (I personally hate soggy bread)  Making simple ingredient substitutions, like the turkey meatballs, reduced fat cream cheese and fat free mayo makes this a much more figure friendly dish than it would be otherwise.  Also, you could use a whole wheat bread loaf.  
Since the weekend was filled with a birthday party and Easter, I have more sweet treats to share!
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