Incredible Meatball Sub Casserole

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I happen to really like this casserole! I guess I better like it if I’m sharing it with you! The funny thing is, as a kid, I would have hated it. Completely and utterly hated it. My dislike of tomato sauce is the cause of this. I didn’t even want to look at tomato sauce. My mother would always prepare me a straightforward white sauce whenever we had pasta. She was so good to me! Thanks, Mom! Now, when I think about it, I don’t think I actually didn’t like tomato sauce. I think I made it up in my mind because I didn’t like spaghetti (the noodle shape itself). I still don’t love it. It always made me feel sick as a kid. And that seems really weird, because I was good with any other shape of pasta. That’s not just a little weird. That’s so weird. I’m so weird.

I must say though, I was an odd child when it came to food. As I said, I didn’t like spaghetti. That’s a really bad thing to not like because that’s a household staple for a lot of people. You don’t know how many times I was at a friend’s house and they would be having spaghetti for dinner and I would choke down as much as I could to be polite. And spaghetti is served at every youth group dinner… I’m sure of it! Another thing that every kid likes, except me, is hot dogs. I had to force down a lot of hot dogs growing up. I have memories of them being a very popular birthday party food. And speaking of birthday parties, I didn’t like cake because I couldn’t stand the icing. I soon learned it was just that sickly sweet icing that comes on store bought cakes that I didn’t like. Give me any other type of icing and give me a spoon! All that to say, this would not have been a hit with me as a child. And that being said, I would guess that I was an odd child and this would be a hit with most kids! Let me know if your kids like it! Happy cooking!

Meatball Sub Casserole

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes


For the meatballs

  • 1 lb lean ground beef
  • 1/4 cup bread crumbs
  • 1/2 tsp each garlic powder and minced onion
  • 1/4 tsp each ground ginger and black pepper
  • 1 egg

For the casserole

  • 1 can tomato sauce
  • 3 large submarine buns sliced in half horizontally
  • 1 pkg plain cream cheese softened (or use garlic & herb cream cheese and omit mixing in the herbs)
  • 1/2 tsp each garlic powder basil leaves and oregano leaves
  • 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese


  • Preheat oven to 350°F.
  • Make meatballs by combining all ingredients until mixture looks uniform. Roll into 1-inch (2.5 cm) balls and place on a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 160°F.
  • Meanwhile, spread a small amount of tomato sauce onto the bottom of a 9x13-in (22x33 cm) casserole dish. This is to prevent the buns from sticking to the bottom of the pan.
  • Next, mix the cream cheese with the garlic, basil and oregano. Spread onto the submarine buns and place in the casserole dish, fitting them side by side (cut in smaller pieces to fit if needed).
  • Once the meatballs are cooked, place in a large bowl and toss them with the tomato sauce. Distribute the mixture evenly over the sub buns. Sprinkle with cheese and place in preheated oven for 25 minutes. Broil for another 3-5 minutes, just until cheese is bubbly.

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