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Dump and Bake Meatball Casserole

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Hey there, my incredible readers! It’s your culinary friend, Imagine the warmest, most comforting hug on a chilly day; that’s the feeling today’s recipe gives! 🌟 I’m bursting with excitement to unveil a dish that’s close to my heart and has been a star at countless family dinners: The unbeatable Dump and Bake Meatball Casserole. Believe me, once this beauty graces your dining table, empty plates will be the only testimony left!

Why is this dish a must-try, you ask?

Well, let me paint you a picture: Amidst the whirlwind of our bustling lives, imagine a dish that requires minimal effort but rewards you with a flavor explosion. The meatballs are like tender pillows of joy, drenched in a sauce that’s the epitome of richness and comfort. The melted cheese drizzled on top? It’s like the cherry on the cake, the pièce de résistance! Every bite is a harmonious blend of textures and flavors, making your taste buds erupt in a joyous dance. Prepare to be serenaded by the symphony of savory goodness that this dish promises.

What makes this casserole unique?
This isn’t your regular casserole. It’s a delightful fusion of textures and flavors that will please both adults and children alike. It’s that go-to dish that never fails to satisfy.

Can I use store-bought meatballs?
Absolutely! While I love making my meatballs from scratch, on days when time isn’t on my side, store-bought ones work wonders. Just ensure they’re of high quality.

Any special cheese recommendations?
I prefer using a mix of mozzarella for its meltiness and parmesan for its sharpness. But feel free to use your favorite cheese!

Is this dish freezer-friendly?
Yes! This dish can be prepared ahead, frozen, and baked when needed. It’s a lifesaver for surprise guests or lazy weekends.

How can I make it vegetarian?
Swap out the meatballs for a veggie or mushroom-based alternative. There are some fantastic options available these days.

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes


  • 1 lb of meatballs (about 20 meatballs)
  • 2 cups of pasta (uncooked)
  • 24 oz of marinara sauce
  • 2 cups of water
  • 2 cups of shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup of grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 tsp of Italian seasoning
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Fresh parsley or basil for garnish (optional)


  1. Start by preheating your oven to 375°F (190°C). This ensures even cooking right from the start.
  2. In a 9×13 baking dish, evenly spread out your uncooked pasta. It forms the foundation for the casserole, ensuring every bite has a delightful crunch.
  3. Pour your marinara sauce and water over the pasta. The pasta needs adequate moisture to cook perfectly in the oven.
  4. Place your meatballs (store-bought or homemade) evenly on top of the pasta layer. Their juiciness will seep into the pasta, making every bite a dream.
  5. Sprinkle the shredded mozzarella and parmesan cheese over the meatballs. The cheese will melt, binding all the ingredients together.
  6. Season with Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper. This adds that extra flair, making the dish burst with flavors.
  7. Place the dish in your preheated oven and bake for about 30 minutes. You’re aiming for a bubbly sauce and a golden-brown cheesy top.
  8. Once baked to perfection, remove from the oven, garnish with fresh parsley or basil, and serve hot. Your family’s new favorite dish is ready!

Cooking Tips:

  • While I used regular pasta, whole wheat or gluten-free options can be a healthier alternative.
  • Feel adventurous? Add some red pepper flakes for a touch of heat.
  • Introduce more colors and flavors by adding bell peppers or olives.
  • Try different cheeses like provolone or gouda for a flavor twist.
  • Making homemade meatballs? Add garlic and onion for a richer taste.
  • Ensure there’s enough liquid for the pasta to cook. If it looks dry before baking, add a bit more water or sauce.

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