Every Busy Cook Needs This Easy Go-To Recipe

I may be the only person in the world for whom this happens, but I doubt it. On a whim, I invite a bunch of friends over for Sunday Dinner. Or the phone rings and just like that I need to get a meal on the table in a big hurry because guests are on their way.

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Those are the occasions that I run to an amazing recipe that is easy to prepare, delicious to eat and quite impressive, too. Think: Italian restaurant in a pan. While it’s in the oven I make a big salad and we’re good to go.

This is a recipe that kids love as well as adults. It’s just amazing and I bless the day that the folks at Pillsbury came up with the idea. I, of course, have tweaked the recipe bit, but I give credit where credit is due.

Because life is uncertain, you will always find a bag of Italian meatballs from Costco and several loaves of Italian bread in my freezer, a big jar of marinara sauce in my grocery stockpile and cheese in the fridge.

You need to try this recipe. Soon. Don’t worry about being exact or that you aren’t a great cook. This is the most forgiving recipe in the world. As long as you do not burn it, there is no way this will turn out anything but fabulous. And it will save you a ton of money when you can whip this out in no time, rather than calling for take-out. Or worse, picking up the tab to take the entire group to a restaurant.

Mouth-watering, Italian meatballs, three cheeses on a platter rimmed by toasted slices of French bread

Italian Cheesy Bake Dinner

On a whim, you invite a bunch of friends over for Sunday Dinner. Or the phone rings and just like that you need to get a meal on the table in a big hurry because guests are on their way. This is it! So fast, so delicious and so cheesy—this is the easy go-to recipe every busy cook needs! 
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Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 8
Calories: 42kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 pound frozen meatballs Italian size (about 32)
  • 1 jar marinara or spaghetti sauce about 28 oz.
  • 1 cup mozzarella cheese shredded
  • 1 cup Italian blend cheese shredded
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese shredded
  • 1 loaf Italian or French bread sliced

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 400 F. Place entire bag of meatballs in a medium saucepan with sauce (feel free to add garlic, onion powder, salt, and pepper to taste) and cook over medium heat until warmed through, about 10 minutes. Stir as needed to keep meatballs from sticking to the pot. Remove from heat.
  • Place meatballs in the center of a 9x13 baking dish, layer mozzarella and Italian blend cheeses over meatballs topping off with the Parmesan
  • Lightly spread garlic butter on the bread or brush lightly with olive oil and garlic and place on a sheet pan (even if you leave the bread plain, it will still turn out fabulously—delicious!).
  • Place the pan of meatballs and the sheet pan in the oven and bake for approximately 25 minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbly and bread is lightly toasted (keep an eye on the bread as every oven is unique)
  • Remove from oven, line the meatball pan with the bread so the pieces are standing up around the perimeter of the pan. Enjoy! Serves 6 to 8. Recipe multiplies easily. 

Nutrition

Calories: 42kcal | Protein: 3g | Fat: 3g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 11mg | Sodium: 87mg | Potassium: 10mg | Vitamin A: 95IU | Calcium: 71mg | Iron: 0.1mg
Tried this recipe?Mention @EverydayCheapskate or tag #EverydayCheapskate!

Meatball Sandwich Casserole

  • 1 pound or about 32 frozen Italian style meatballs (like Mama Lucia brand or Costco)
  • 1 jar of marinara sauce or spaghetti sauce (about 28 oz. or larger)
  • 1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 1 cup Italian blend cheese, shredded
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded
  • 1 loaf Italian or French bread, sliced
  1. Preheat oven to 400 F. Place entire bag of meatballs in a medium saucepan with sauce (feel free to add garlic, onion powder, salt, and pepper to taste) and cook over medium heat until warmed through, about 10 minutes. Stir as needed to keep meatballs from sticking to the pot. Remove from heat.
  2. Place meatballs in the center of a 9×13 baking dish, layer mozzarella and Italian blend cheeses over meatballs topping off with the Parmesan.
  3. Lightly spread garlic butter on the bread or brush lightly with olive oil and garlic and place on a sheet pan (even if you leave the bread plain, it will still turn out fabulously—delicious!).
  4. Place the pan of meatballs and the sheet pan in the oven and bake for approximately 25 minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbly and bread is lightly toasted (keep an eye on the bread as every oven is unique).
  5. Remove from oven, line the meatball pan with the bread so the pieces are standing up around the perimeter of the pan. Enjoy! Serves 6 to 8. Recipe multiplies easily. 

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11 replies
  1. tinydogpries
    tinydogpries says:

    It sounds good for a family dinner, or maybe a potluck. I NEVER, EVER invite people for dinner and if someone should drop in, dinner simply waits until they are gone. I don’t do company.

    Reply
    • DianaB
      DianaB says:

      I agree on the soggy/mushy bread thing. Also, the directions mention to cut into serving size portions. I do not find anything to cut, as it is all sauce and meatballs and melty cheese on top. More like spooning portions into a bowl or onto a plate. Certainly enjoyable but I would have the crispy garlic bread done on the side and maybe a salad. Just my preference here, something like deconstructed meatball sandwich (like they chefs would refer to it) and really don’t need the pasta anyway. Other than those comments, I don’t see this recipe as being any big deal.

      Reply
      • Honeywest
        Honeywest says:

        I don’t think you and Katybee get it. The bread is warmed on the side. It is then sliced and added around the 9×13 pan for serving. It doesn’t get soggy as it is served immediately.

  2. crabbyoldlady
    crabbyoldlady says:

    Sorry, I have to add that not everyone likes Italian food. I have been to Italy three times and every time I have had trouble finding food that I would enjoy that is affordable.

    Reply
  3. Jeanne
    Jeanne says:

    I love this idea! And the presentation makes it look like a special meal. Thank you for the great recipes you share- every one that I’ve made is a winner. Which reminds me of your cinnamon rolls…. unbelievable!

    Reply
  4. Pat Goff
    Pat Goff says:

    We always have meatballs in the freezer. I always stock up when they are free or less than a dollar a bag at Kroger.We love the cooked perfect meatballs brand. Yummy.

    Reply

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