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HMc: Pizza Casserole FOR THE WIN!!!

Greetings, Froggy friend!  I hope today finds you well.
So, it’s been awhile since I have shared with you a favorite recipe of mine.  But have no fear because I have been cooking up a storm and have the tighter jeans and higher number on the scale to prove it.  EEK! 
My family love love loves pizza.  My husband doesn’t cook often but when he does he likes to get the Chef Boyardee pizza-in-a-box mixes.  He makes the crust and then the debate is on in our kitchen over favorite toppings.  He likes pepperoni.  I like hamburger and mushrooms.  My step-daughter has to have black olives and my son just wants cheese.  Needless to say that by the time the pizza is done we need a forklift to get the slices onto our plates.
I was on Facebook a few days ago and saw that a friend had posted a recipe for Pizza Casserole.  I was intrigued because I adore casseroles as much as pizza.  Casseroles are great because you just throw a whole bunch of stuff into a dish, bake it for a little while and you have dinner.  Plus casseroles generally mean leftovers, so that means plenty for lunchboxes the next day.  When I saw the recipe on Facebook for Pizza Casserole I knew that I had to make this for my family.

1 (16 ounce) package uncooked rotini pasta
1 lb ground Italian sausage
1 (24 ounce) jar pasta sauce
1 (16 ounce) container cottage cheese
1 (2 1/4 ounce) can sliced black olives, drained (optional)
1 (4 ounce) can mushrooms, drained
12 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese
2 (3 ounce) packages sliced pepperoni

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 9x13 casserole dish.

Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Place pasta in the pot, cook for 8 to 10 minutes, until al dente, and drain.

In a skillet over medium heat, cook the sausage until evenly brown, drain grease. Mix in the cooked pasta and pasta sauce. Pour into prepared casserole dish.

In a bowl, mix the cottage cheese, olives, mushrooms and mozzarella cheese.

Spoon the cheese mixture over the sausage and pasta mixture. Top with pepperoni slices.

Bake 25 minutes in the preheated oven, until bubbly and lightly browned.
Heather’s variations:
Instead of canned mushrooms I used fresh, sliced white button mushrooms.
My family is not overly fond of sausage on pizza so I browned up some ground beef.
After the ground beef was browned and drained I mixed the mushrooms in with the sauce and pasta noodles instead of with the cheese mixture.
Next time I make it I am going to add a little basil and garlic to the sauce.
A friend made this also.  Instead of sausage she used crumbled bacon.  Yum!
 The fun thing about making pizza at home is that you can personalize it any way that you want.  This casserole is absolutely no different.  I turned out so delicious that my husband informed me that I would be making it again . . . SOON!  My son, who wrinkled his nose in disgust while watching me make the casserole, was soon shoveling it into his mouth while trying to tell me that he loved it also.
I’d say that the pizza casserole is a hit in my house and I hope it’s a hit in yours as well.
If you have any recipes that you would like to share I would love to hear them and, with your permission, share them with Froggyland.  You can email me at heathermc@forevercomm.com or send them to me on Facebook:  www.facebook.com/heather.mcribbits.
Until next time, have a hoppy day!
Heather McRibbits
P.S. - Check out my brand new book to benefit the kids at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital by CLICKING HERE!

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04/03/2013 11:28AM
HMc: Pizza Casserole FOR THE WIN!!!
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