I feel like I haven't been sharing recipes! And the truth is I love to cook! The move (uhem like 10 months ago, hangs head in shame….) threw me off my regular cooking schedule, and living in a constant construction zone since then has not boded well for me actually cooking.
Recently however, to save some cash, and in an effort to eat better I have been trying to cook more. But it feels like trying to learn how to cook again or at least how to remember that I have to cook- and do it before we are starving, when all hope is lost. I think it is kind of like making a habit, instead of running to a restaurant(and breaking the bank!), making something… ? Anyone feel like this?
Okay, so I am looking for simple but decently healthy meals again. And while pizza casserole may not sound like a healthy alternative. I feel like we made enough good choices in this recipe that I was not too upset about eating it (and we have left overs, which I love! work once eat twice, sounds good to me! Oh and to top this all off, it is a great freezer meal option! Make and freeze -thaw and bake whenever!
We love veggies on our pizza, so it was natural to add quite a few to the pasta. I added onions, mushrooms, tomatoes, and dun, dun dun…..spinach. One that I didn't use that you might consider adding is green peppers, and if you like pineapple on your pizza that might be good too! By the way, using frozen chopped veggies saved significant time for me!
You can see that the pasta is LOADED with veggies:
Pizza Pasta Casserole Recipe
|1 box 12 oz Rotini (I used Veggie rotini) cooked al dente according to package directions|
|1 12 oz box turkey sausage links (crumble as you cook)|
|1 bag 12 oz chopped frozen onions (Or 1-2 med – large fresh onion chopped)|
|1 bar 12 oz frozen mushroom slices (optional but highly recommended!!! or 12 oz sliced fresh mushrooms)|
|6-8 cups fresh spinach ripped into smaller pieces (optional)|
|1 tsp garlic|
|1 14.5 oz can petite diced tomatoes, with juice|
|2 8 oz tomato sauce|
|1 Tbsp Garlic salt (the California style kind)|
|2 Tbsp Italian seasoning|
|2 cups shredded mozzarella|
1 package pepperoni( I used about 4 oz)
|Black Olives sliced|
|*** feel free to add any additional veggies you love, green pepper, zucchini or even pineapple!|
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a large pot bring salted water to a boil for pasta. Follow box directions for cooking pasta.
While the water is heating and pasta is cooking, add the sausage to a hot skillet and begin to crumble it up as it cooks, add the onions and mushrooms(I used bags of frozen veggies to speed up prep time), cook them down to remove juices, browning slightly. I also added some pepperoni at this stage (optional) so some would be in the pasta mix and not just on top. When the veggies and sausage are almost ready, add 1 tsp crushed garlic to pan and the fresh ripped spinach. Cook till spinach is completely wilted.
When the pasta is cooked and drained return to the large pot, add the 3 cans of tomatoes into bowl, add the garlic salt and Italian seasoning. Stir to combine. When the veggies and sausage are cooked add them to the large pot also and stir to combine. Pour in about 1/2 -3/4 cup shredded mozzarella (or other favorite pizza cheese), and 1/2 of the sliced olives into the pasta mix and toss to combine, then pour into a 9 x 13 pan.
Cover with pepperoni, cheese and olives. (if making ahead see freezer instructions below after this point)
Bake approximately 20-25 minutes till cheese is bubbling and the pepperoni is slightly crispy!
(This is a great freezable meal. For freezing, wrap the top of the casserole in tin foil. Cool down in the fridge until it is cool enough to place in the freezer without thawing anything else out! To serve, thaw completely in the fridge and bake until heated through approximately 45-50 minutes.)
Enjoy! I hope you try it! And please if it looks good PIN AWAY! Please be sure to check out some of our other favorite recipes: