This Flavorful Pizza casserole with beef, macaroni pasta and basic, yet fresh ingredients, is the perfect comfort food for after a busy day. With only 15 minutes of prep time this meal can be made ahead and done in the crockpot or it can be baked in 30 minutes! This easy pizza casserole is kid and budget friendly as well which makes it a week night win for everyone. See below the recipe for photos and notes.
Prep time 15 minutes.
Bake time 30 minutes.
- 8 oz. dry macaroni (or 1 3/4- 2 cups)
- 3 Tablespoons olive oil (optional)
- 1 lb. ground beef
- salt and pepper
- 3/4 cup red or yellow onion, diced.
- 2 garlic cloves, minced.
- 3-4 cups marinara, pizza or pasta sauce. *see note below
- 4 oz. canned mushroom pieces and stems, drained. (optional) *see note.
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
- 1/2 teaspoon salt (or to taste.)
- 3/4 teaspoon Italian seasoning or fresh herbs of your choice.
- 3 oz. sliced pepperoni
- 3/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
- shredded mozzarella cheese
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Preheat oven to 350.
- Cook pasta, then meanwhile in a large skillet, brown ground beef in olive oil, along with minced garlic and diced onion. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Once beef is browned, add pasta sauce of your choice, mushroom pieces, and seasonings, then stir well. Allow to simmer on low heat for about 5 minutes. Remove from heat.
- Drain pasta, then dump into a large bowl. Separate pepperoni and toss over cooked macaroni, then pour beef and sauce mixture over top. Mix well, then gently mix in grated parmesan.
- Pour contents of the bowl into a 9 by 13 inch dish, (or two 8 inch dishes and freeze one for later.) then top with shredded mozzarella cheese ensuring pasta mixture is well covered.
- Bake for 20-30 minutes until cheese is melted and edges are starting to brown. Cool slightly before serving. Optional: serve with salad and garlic bread. Yum!!
- Brown beef in olive oil and season with salt and pepper, drain if needed. Place the browned beef, onions, minced garlic, mushrooms (optional) sauce (3 cups for lighter sauce and 4 cups if you prefer a saucier casserole), seasonings, pepperoni and parmesan cheese into a 2.5-4 quart crockpot.
- Stir the sauce, pepperoni and veggie mixture to combine, then cover with the lid and cook on low for 5-6 hours (cooking times may vary according to crockpot size and strength).
- Add the Macaroni at the last 25-35 minutes of cooking and stir occasionally (*see notes below). After the macaroni has softened, add shredded cheese and allow to melt before serving. Enjoy! Keep scrolling down for photos and notes of this recipe.
Note*1 The homemade marinara sauce used to test this recipe may be sweeter than most store bought sauces. Feel free to adjust the salt and garlic salt to taste.
Note 2* You can also add one cup sliced, fresh mushrooms. Just stir them into beef and onion mixture (about 5 minutes before you add the pasta sauce) to allow them to cook and soften. If using the crockpot there is no need to sautee the vegetables first, unless you simply prefer to do so.
Tip* In the Summer months I like to chop fresh herbs such as parsley, oregano, and thyme, then add a tablespoon or so into the beef mixture instead of Italian seasoning. You can adjust the herbs according to your preference.
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