Pizza Casserole

Pizza. Pasta. Boom.

Welcome to the best of both worlds. 

If you have young kids or teenagers in your house, chances are that pizza is part of your regular dinnertime rotation. Now don't get me wrong. I enjoy my fair share of cheesy, pepperoni-filled goodness, too.

For most of us, pizza has been like a longtime friend. It was a childhood favorite. It helped you survive your freshman year of college. And then, one day after you became a parent, it becomes something else - the secret to making dinners that your kids will actually eat.

So when I saw a Tastefully Simple recipe that transforms everybody's favorite pizza toppings into a one-dish casserole? Well, it definitely got my attention. This one hits the spot - and it's really simple, too. 

Featured in the Cozy 10 Meals & More Collection, this Italian-inspired recipe actually bubbles away all day in your slow cooker. Then, when you're ready to make dinner, just toss in uncooked pasta for 20-30 minutes and sprinkle with mozzarella cheese. The beauty of this casserole is that you can personalize it by stirring in your other favorite pizza toppings, too. Sliced olives. Mushrooms. Fresh herbs. You name it.

Around here, we like ours with extra cheese. (For pretty obvious reasons.)

How will you make yours?

Tell us right here, or let us know on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. We'd love to hear from you!

 - Jen

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Pizza Casserole

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. ground turkey sausage
  • ¼ cup Pizzeria Seasoning
  • 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
  • 14.5 oz. can petite diced tomatoes
  • Half of a 3.5 oz. pkg. pepperoni slices
  • 3½ cups water
  • 16 oz. pkg. spiral pasta, rinsed and uncooked
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Directions

Serve it tonight: Crumble sausage into a greased slow cooker. Add next 5 ingredients. Stir to combine. Cover; cook on low 4-5 hours. Stir in pasta; cover and cook an additional 30 minutes. Stir, top with cheese and cover. Cook an additional 15 minutes or until pasta is tender and cheese is melted. Salt and pepper to taste.

Freezer it for later: Combine first 5 ingredients in a gallon resealable freezer bag. Put pasta in a gallon resealable freezer bag. Put cheese in a quart resealable freezer bag. Put all bags in a gallon resealable freezer bag. Seal well, label and freeze. Thaw completely. Combine casserole mixture with water and prepare as directed above. 

Serve with a garden salad.

Tips and Hints

  • I recommend topping your pasta with shredded cheese after only 20-25 minutes (instead of 30) if you prefer a firmer, "al dente" texture.
  • Transfer your pasta to a casserole dish before serving. Otherwise, the noodles will continue to cook in your slow cooker, and any second helpings and/or leftovers will get a little bit mushy.
  • Feel free to substitute lean ground beef, ground pork or Italian sausage in place of turkey sausage.
  • Serve with a garden salad and garlic toast.
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