Friday, May 10, 2013

Deluxe Pizza Casserole

Casserole ready for oven.
   Sometimes there's nothing like a quick and easy casserole for dinner. Simple is often good. Using pasta and basic pizza ingredients of choice, this can be made in about 45 minutes and while it bakes, tossing together a side salad will make the meal complete. Even though it's a pizza casserole, the cottage cheese layer is a reminder of lasagna. This also reheated very well for lunches later in the week. This is a "keeper" that we'll be doing again.

Deluxe Pizza Casserole
1-8 oz. pkg. uncooked rotini or penne pasta
1 lb. ground Italian sausage, ground beef or half lb. each
1-24 oz. jar pasta sauce
2-8 oz. or 1-16 oz. container cottage cheese
1 small can mushrooms, drained
1 bell pepper, any color, chopped
1/2 cup onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, diced
1 small can sliced black olives, drained (optional)
1-1/2 cups shredded mozzarella or Italian blend cheese
2 dozen slices of pepperoni
1 tsp. each basil and oregano - or 1 T. each fresh
sprinkle of salt and pepper - about 1/2 tsp. each

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease or spray coat a 9X13 casserole dish.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook pasta for 8 minutes and drain.

In a skillet over medium heat, cook the sausage until almost brown (7-8 minutes). Cover slightly and add peppers and onion cooking 5-7 minutes more. Add mushrooms and garlic, cooking about 3 more minutes. Drain grease.

Add pasta sauce to meat and veggie mixture. Add spices. Pour into pot of drained pasta and mix to combine. Pour into prepared casserole dish.

In a medium bowl, mix the cottage cheese and mozzarella cheese.

Spoon the cheese mixture over the sausage and pasta mixture. Top with layer of pepperoni slices.

Bake 25 minutes in a preheated oven, until bubbly and lightly browned. Makes 8 servings.

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