A lot of people have eaten this main dish from my kitchen over the years. We have served it to company, made it as a entrée for youth camps, and given it away for meals to new moms. This is our all-time easiest and favorite recipe. It only uses a handful of ingredients but it is rich on taste and super kid-friendly. This is my go-to dish when I need to take a meal to someone without advanced notice–or I get unexpected company that shows up at my door. Everyone loves it. The recipe makes a lot. It’s just fabulous comfort food. Serve it with a salad, garlic bread and brownies and you’re all set.
I use ground beef, pepperoni, pre-made spaghetti sauce, rotini noodles, parmesan cheese and mozzarella cheese. That’s it. The recipe is inspired from a dish that used to be served at the Pizza Hut salad bars during the 70s and 80s. But I really didn’t have a recipe.
You can add onions, mushrooms, peppers & garlic if you like, or use spaghetti sauce that already has it. You can omit the ground beef and use spaghetti sauce with ground meat or Italian sausage — or skip it entirely. But I really don’t recommend cutting out the pepperoni because that’s what gives this casserole its zip. If you want more kick, add 1/8 tsp. crushed red pepper. If you want more seasoning, add 1 tsp. each of oregano, basil, parsley, and garlic salt.
Here’s what I did:
Brown your ground beef. This was 90% lean. I usually get 93% lean. Drain if you need to.
Toss in the pepperoni.
Boil and cook your noodles. Unfortunately, I didn’t have rotini which is my preferred noodle for this dish.
I opted for whole grain noodles over shells and macaroni noodles. Dumpling noodles are a little floppier than rotini. But I was trying to go with something I already had on hand rather than run to the grocery store.
Stir in spaghetti sauce – your preference on flavors.
Sprinkle with parmesan cheese. The canned stuff will do. I used about a cup of grated parmesan cheese.
Bake until bubbly–about 30-45 minutes depending on how much you make and the size of your casserole dish. Remove from oven and sprinkle top with 8-oz. shredded mozzarella cheese. Return to oven for about 5-10 minutes until cheese melts.
Here’s the finished product. Don’t let the casserole stay in the oven so long that the cheese burns on top!
Here’s the recipe.
(My concoction, but inspired by a dish Pizza Hut used to serve at their salad bars in the 70s and 80s)
2 lbs. ground beef, cooked and drained
2 32-oz. jars Prego spaghetti sauce
16-oz. box Rotini noodles, cooked and drained
6-oz. pkg. pepperoni
16-oz. Mozzarella cheese, shredded
Mix beef, pepperoni, noodles and spaghetti sauce. Place in two large 9×13” greased pans. Sprinkle generously with Parmesan cheese. Bake about 30 minutes at 350°, or until mixture is bubbly. Sprinkle with Mozzarella cheese and heat an additional 5 minutes until cheese is melted. Serves about 12-14.
You can add 1 chopped green pepper, 1 onion, diced, and 1 can sliced, drained mushrooms if you desire more of that flavor. Or you can buy spaghetti sauces that have these ingredients.
You can half this recipe if desired.
Here it is a day later after setting up some in the refrigerator.