Friday, September 2, 2016

Pepperoni Pizza Casserole

I did not have my act together at all last week when I returned to work. I also probably had too many other things going on at the same time, but dinner felt like a disaster during those several days. I cannot stress how much having a meal plan helps me cope during the work week. It's relaxing to know that when I get home, everything is ready to go for me to prepare my family dinner that night.

I made sure to take the time to plan out our meals all this week and it's made such a difference. I'm usually much better about planning and should know better than winging it. I also forget how really simple dishes like this one often go over well. I can't even believe I'm sharing such a simple meal with you, but I know it's one your whole family will enjoy. Because mine sure did!

Anytime you combine pasta with red sauce, it's a hit; but add pizza like toppings and you've got a real show stopper. I also love when I can get enough leftovers out of a meal for lunch the next day. It reheats nicely and tastes just as good as the night before. If you can get your family to eat olives and mushrooms, then by all means add those babies in. Mine, however, will most certainly turn their noses up at the sight.

If you're struggling a bit in the meal plan area, add this to your menu for the upcoming week. I'm positive it's one the whole family will love. It's also budget friendly and super easy to make. Round it out with a side salad and toasted garlic bread, everyone will leave the table feeling stuffed to the gills!

Pepperoni Pizza Casserole

1 lb. cavatappi pasta
24 oz. jar pasta sauce (I like Newman's Own tomato basil)
1/2 lb. cooked, crumbled ground beef
3 oz. pepperoni
2 cups mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut pepperoni slices in half, making sure to leave about 9-10 whole, for topping the casserole. Set the pepperoni aside.

Cook pasta al dente on stove top. Drain pasta and return to pan. Add in pasta sauce, ground beef and cut pepperoni slices. Stir to combine well, and then spoon into an 11x7-inch baking pan. Top with mozzarella cheese and whole pepperoni slices.

Bake in oven for about 20 minutes, just until cheese is melted and pasta is heated through. Remove from oven, let cool for a few minutes before dishing. Serve with your choice of salad and bread.

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