Zesty Pizza Casserole

I’ve tried out many different types of crock-pot pizza recipes along with different versions of the casserole, but this recipe is my family’s favorite.  I love how you can add anything you would be able to top a pizza with.  Every time you make the casserole, it could have a different taste based on the different “pizza toppings” you add.

Brown 1 pound ground beef or Italian sausage along with your diced onion (and bell pepper if using that ingredient).  Drain any excess grease from the pan and then add your seasonings and whatever other pizza toppings you want.  This time around I just added pepperoni, black olives, and mushrooms to the diced onions and hamburger.

Spray a 9×13 baking pan and set aside.  Cook 2 C. elbow macaroni until tender, drain then add to the pan.  You can either use half pizza sauce and half spaghetti sauce or just all spaghetti sauce.  This time I used just a large jar of homemade spaghetti sauce.

Mix well.

Next, add the meat mixture to the noodles and mix well.

At this point you can freeze the casserole for a quick freezer meal down the road.  If freezing, you can divide into 2 8×8 pans, cover each tightly with foil and either wrap in plastic wrap or place each pan in a gallon freezer zipper bag. To cook, let thaw overnight then bake like normal.

Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese.  Place inside preheated oven at 350 degrees for 30-45 minutes.

Remove from oven and let set for about 10 minutes before serving.  Quick, easy and DELICIOUS!!!  I know it’s another pasta dish but at least it has variety! 🙂

Zesty Pizza Casserole – by Meals in Minutes

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • ½ C. onion, chopped
  • ½ C. green pepper, chopped
  • ½ tsp. oregano
  • ½ tsp. garlic powder
  • ½ tsp. basil
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 2 16-oz cans pizza sauce
  • 4-oz. can mushrooms, drained
  • 4-oz. pkg. sliced pepperoni
  • 2 C. elbow macaroni
  • 3/4 C. shredded mozzarella

DIRECTIONS:  Brown ground beef with onion and green pepper; add remaining ingredients except for the mozzarella. Pour into a lightly greased 9×13 dish; sprinkle with cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-45 minutes. Makes 4-6 servings.

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Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookie S’more Bars

A few months ago I found a fun recipe for a S’more bar made from chocolate chip cookie dough and other tasty filings.  The original post and recipe I tried can be found at www.cookiesandcups.com.  The blogger procured the recipe from Peanut Butter Comfort.

The first time I attempted to make this finger-lickin’-good treat, it didn’t turn out well at all.  Now, I don’t mean it didn’t “taste” good because it DID.  I mean it just didn’t turn out looking good like the pictures on the blog.  I figured it had something to do with the fact that I used my own recipe for chocolate chip cookies and left out the chocolate candy bars whereas the original recipe called for store-bought cookie dough and Hershey candy bars.

With my second attempt, I tried to accomodate for the alterations.

Start by mixing 2 sticks butter (or margarine) in your mixer.

Add:

  • 3/4 C. sugar
  • 3/4 C. brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 1/2 C. flour

Mix until well combined.

Line a 9×13 baking pan with either foil or parchment paper.  Spray with non-stick cooking spray.

Spread 3/4 of the cookie dough into the pan and place in a preheated oven at 350 degrees for approximately 15-20 minutes (or until lightly browned).

Spread 2 C. chocolate chips over the baked cookies and let set for a minute.  You can place back inside the oven for a minute to speed up the melting process.

Spread the melted chocolate chips evenly.

To help with spreading the peanut butter over the melted chocolate, warm it inside a microwave for a few seconds.

Spread the 1 C. peanut butter evenly across the chocolate chips.

Crumble approximately 3 graham crackers over the top of the peanut butter.

Warm one 7 ounce jar of marshmallow fluff for a few seconds in the microwave then carefully spread on top of the crushed graham crackers.

Drop globs of the remaining cookie dough over the top of the pan trying to cover as much as possible.  Place back inside the oven and bake for 20 minutes (or until top is golden brown).

Remove from oven and let rest on top of a wire rack for 2 hours.  Remove from wire rack and place inside the refrigerator for at least two hours prior to serving.  Store remainder in a air tight container inside the refrigerator.

The tricky part to this dish is that even with the bottom being baked first, it still had the tendency of being gooey on top.  It’s hard to determine whether or not it is uncooked cookie dough or the peanut butter mixing with the cookie dough and marshmallow.  Maybe it’s just my own fear of failure so it’s easier to just think it’s not my poor baking skills but some weird chemical reaction.  In any case, just really watch the top to ensure that it bakes all the way through.

It’s worth the effort to try this delicious treat no matter what the results are. 🙂