Grandma’s Pizza Casserole Recipe

Grandma’s Pizza Casserole Recipe

Hey friends! I’m so excited to share one of my absolute favorite weeknight dinners—Grandma’s Pizza Casserole! This recipe is a total lifesaver for me when I need a quick and comforting family meal.

You all know I’m big on keeping cooking easy and approachable. Well, this tasty casserole truly delivers. It comes together with just a few supermarket ingredients you likely have on hand. And the best part? It tastes just like pizza night! With melty mozzarella, pepperoni, tomato sauce – all the good stuff. But it’s way healthier than delivery, and so budget-friendly.

In this post, I’ll walk you through how to make Grandma’s Pizza Casserole step-by-step. I’ll also share my best tips for switching up the ingredients to suit your family’s tastes. Add veggies, meat, whatever you love on pizza!

If you’re looking for an easy crowd-pleasing dinner, cozy up to Grandma’s Pizza Casserole. Keep reading for the full recipe and my tips for making this cheesy bake an instant hit with your whole crew. It’s about to become a regular rotation dinner!

Let’s get cooking, friends. I can’t wait for you to enjoy this super simple, family-friendly pizza casserole recipe. Just dump, stir and bake for an effortless homemade meal everyone will love.

Why Choose Pizza Casserole?

Pizza casserole is a great option for busy weeknights when you want a quick and easy meal that doesn’t skimp on flavor. It’s also a great way to use up any leftover ingredients you have in your fridge, making it a budget-friendly option.

Plus, this dump-and-bake pizza casserole recipe is a healthier alternative to traditional pizza, as it’s packed with lean protein and vegetables. It’s a great way to get your family to eat their greens without even realizing it.

Why Choose Pizza Casserole?
a close-up shot of casserole pizza

Lean and Green Option

This pizza casserole recipe is a lean and green option, meaning it’s low in calories and packed with nutritious ingredients. It’s a great way to stick to your healthy eating goals without sacrificing flavor.

The lean protein in this recipe comes from the ground turkey, which is a healthier alternative to traditional pizza toppings like pepperoni or sausage. The vegetables, including bell peppers, onions, and mushrooms, add a variety of vitamins and minerals to the dish. And the whole wheat pasta provides complex carbohydrates for sustained energy.

Easy and Convenient

One of the best things about this pizza casserole recipe is how easy and convenient it is to make. You simply dump all the ingredients into a casserole dish and bake it in the oven. No need to worry about rolling out dough or making a mess with pizza sauce. It’s a one-dish meal that’s perfect for busy weeknights.

Family-Friendly

Pizza casserole is a great option for families because it’s a crowd-pleaser. Kids and adults alike will love the familiar flavors of pizza in a new and exciting form. Plus, it’s a great way to get picky eaters to try new vegetables and flavors.

How To Make Grandma’s Pizza Casserole Step-by-step

Now, here’s the twist: Grandma’s Pizza Casserole isn’t just a feast for your taste buds; it’s a lean and green option, tailor-made for those embracing a healthy lifestyle. This means you can indulge in the rich, savory goodness without any guilt. It’s a win-win situation, my friends!

So, are you ready to bring a touch of nostalgia and a whole lot of flavor to your dinner table? Let’s unravel the secrets of grandma’s pizza casserole together.

Ingredients You Will Need

Here is a quick overview of the ingredients I am going to use to make this delicious pizza recipe. You can get the exact amount of ingredients in the recipe card below:

1. Ground Meat: The Heart of the Matter

Grandma’s Pizza Casserole begins with the soulful grounding of meat. Opt for a pound of your preferred ground meat—a blend of beef and pork perhaps, for that perfect balance of richness.

2. Bow Tie Pasta: The Elegance in Every Bite

The choice of pasta is crucial. Grandma’s recipe calls for bow tie pasta, not just for its distinctive shape but for the way it cradles the flavors, creating a delightful harmony with every bite.

3. Oregano and Garlic Powder: A Duo of Magic

In the realm of spices, oregano and garlic powder play the lead roles. Half a teaspoon of each—weave the magic into your casserole, adding depth and complexity to the flavor profile.

4. Pepperoni: The Crown Jewel

Picture thin slices of pepperoni, adorning your casserole like jewels on a crown. This humble ingredient transforms into a crown jewel, releasing its smoky, spicy essence as it bakes.

5. Pasta Sauce: The Saucy Elixir

Grandma’s secret sauce—no, not just any jarred pasta sauce. A 26-ounce jar of carefully selected pasta sauce is the elixir that binds the casserole together, infusing it with the essence of Italian culinary prowess.

6. Italian Style Tomatoes: A Burst of Freshness

Diced Italian style tomatoes add a burst of freshness, breaking through the layers of richness. This is where the casserole attains a balance—bold and comforting.

7. Parmesan and Italian Cheese Blend: The Cheesy Symphony

A medley of cheeses is a crucial crescendo in this culinary symphony. A quarter cup of grated Parmesan and an 8-ounce package of shredded Italian cheese blend—a harmonious blend that blankets the casserole in a sea of gooey goodness.

8. Pizza Toppings: Your Creative Canvas

Grandma encourages creativity—black olives, sausage, onions, green peppers—let your imagination run wild. These toppings elevate the casserole into a canvas of flavors, each bite a unique masterpiece.

Instructions for Making The Casserole Pizza

Step 01: Boil, Brown, and Drain: Prelude to Perfection

Begin the culinary ballet by boiling water and salt for the pasta. Once the water dances in bubbles, add the bow tie pasta, letting it twirl in the pot. In parallel, brown the meat in a separate pan, creating a symphony of sizzles and aromas. When the pasta pirouettes to perfection, drain it—setting the stage for the main act.

Step 02: Layering: Building the Flavor Crescendo

In a 9x13x3-inch pan, start the flavor crescendo. A touch of sauce to coat the bottom, followed by a layer of pasta. Now, let the sauce, tomatoes, garlic powder, and oregano take center stage. Layer by layer, build the crescendo—meat, pepperoni, Parmesan, and Italian cheese. Let each layer be a note in the melody of taste.

Step 03: Pizza Magic: The Grand Finale

Top it off with a sprinkle of bacon bits and any other pizza toppings your heart desires. Imagine this as the grand finale—a burst of colors and flavors, like the fireworks marking the end of a spectacular show.

Step 04: Bake to Perfection: The Closing Act

Place your creation in the oven, preheated to 350 degrees, and let the magic unfold for 30 minutes. The aroma wafting through your kitchen is the anticipation of the grand reveal—the moment Grandma’s Pizza Casserole emerges, golden and bubbling, ready to tantalize taste buds.

Tips and Tricks

  • For a vegetarian option, omit the ground turkey and add extra vegetables like zucchini, eggplant, or spinach.
  • You can use any type of pasta you have on hand, but whole wheat pasta is a healthier option.
  • If you prefer a spicier casserole, add some red pepper flakes to the turkey and vegetable mixture.
  • This casserole can be made ahead of time and stored in the fridge for up to 2 days before baking.
  • Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.

Variations

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This pizza casserole recipe is versatile and can be customized to your liking. Here are a few variations you can try:

Mexican Pizza Casserole

For a Mexican twist on this recipe, use ground beef instead of turkey and add some taco seasoning to the meat mixture. Swap the marinara sauce for salsa and top the casserole with shredded cheddar cheese. Serve with sour cream and guacamole for a delicious Mexican-inspired meal.

Hawaiian Pizza Casserole

For a tropical twist, use diced ham instead of ground turkey and add some pineapple chunks to the vegetable mixture. Top the casserole with shredded mozzarella and cheddar cheese and bake as directed. This sweet and savory combination is sure to be a hit with the whole family.

Meat Lover’s Pizza Casserole

If you’re a fan of meat lover’s pizza, you can add all your favorite toppings to this casserole. Try adding cooked bacon, pepperoni, and Italian sausage to the turkey and vegetable mixture before baking. Top with extra cheese for a hearty and indulgent meal.

Grandma’s Pizza Casserole Recipe

Difficulty:IntermediatePrep time: 15 minutesCook time: 30 minutesRest time: 40 minutesTotal time: 45 minutesServings:6-8 servingsCalories:350 kcal Best Season:Summer

Description

Hungry for a dinner that’s both delicious and guilt-free? Keep reading, because Grandma’s Pizza Casserole is about to become your kitchen’s MVP.

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Bring a large pot of water to boil. Salt the water generously. Once boiling, add the bow tie pasta and cook according to package directions until al dente. Drain pasta in a colander and set aside.
  2. While pasta is cooking, brown the ground meat in a skillet over medium-high heat. Break up the meat into crumbles as it cooks. Drain excess grease when finished and transfer meat to a plate.
  3. Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly coat a 9×13-inch baking dish with non-stick spray or olive oil.
  4. Spread a thin layer of pasta sauce evenly over the bottom of the prepared baking dish.
  5. Layer half of the cooked pasta noodles over the sauce.
  6. Spread 1/2 of the remaining pasta sauce over the pasta layer. Sprinkle with the oregano and garlic powder.
  7. Scatter the cooked ground meat evenly over the sauce layer.
  8. Arrange a layer of pepperoni slices over the meat.
  9. Sprinkle 1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese over the pepperoni.
  10. Top with half of the shredded Italian cheese blend.
  11. Add any additional toppings like olives, sausage, onions etc. if desired.
  12. Top with the remaining half of the cooked pasta noodles.
  13. Spread the remaining pasta sauce evenly over the top layer of pasta.
  14. Sprinkle the last 1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese over the sauce.
  15. Top with the remaining half of the shredded Italian cheese.
  16. Cover dish tightly with aluminum foil. Bake for 30 minutes, then remove foil and bake 15 minutes more.
  17. Let the casserole rest 5-10 minutes before serving. Garnish with chopped parsley if desired. Now serve and enjoy the delicious pizza
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Frequently Asked Questions About This Crowd-Pleasing Casserole

If you’re new to assembling casseroles, you may have some questions about tackling Grandma’s famous pizza bake. Here are answers to some frequently asked questions:

What can I substitute if I don’t have bowtie pasta?

Any small pasta shape like penne, rotini or elbow macaroni would work well in place of the bowties. You want a pasta that will hold sauce.

Do I need to cook the pasta al dente?

Yes, the pasta should be cooked until al dente, which is just shy of being fully cooked through. This prevents the pasta from getting mushy when baked.

Can I prep this the night before?

Absolutely! Assemble the casserole in the baking dish, cover with foil and refrigerate overnight. Add 15 minutes to the covered baking time.

What if my family doesn’t like pepperoni?

Pepperoni gives great flavor, but you can leave it out or sub with browned Italian sausage or crumbled bacon.

Do I need to use a glass baking dish?

The casserole can be baked in a glass or metal baking dish. Ceramic would work too. Just avoid baking in disposable aluminum pans.

Conclusion

Grandma’s pizza casserole is a delicious and easy dinner option that the whole family will love. With its lean and green ingredients, it’s a healthier alternative to traditional pizza that doesn’t skimp on flavor. Plus, it’s a convenient one-dish meal that’s perfect for busy weeknights. Give this recipe a try and see for yourself why it’s a family favorite.

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