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Winter Fun

Sympathy Meals / Neopolitan Casserole

My husband, Tim, had a serious accident on his mountain bike two years ago. He was hospitalized for weeks and spent months in rehab. One of the things that got us through that challenging time was the support of our friends and family. They watched our kids, they got them to lessons and after-school activities, and they fed us. It’s hard to describe what a blessing and relief it was to come home from a long day at the hospital and find a delicious dinner waiting for us.

At the time, a good friend of ours set up a calendar to coordinate the meal deliveries, but since then websites have popped up that will organize it all for you. Two I’ve participated in are Meal Train and Take Them a Meal. The nice thing about these services is that they allow you to see what other people are bringing so you can add some variety, plus the person or family you’re supporting can list food allergies and preferences, what time they’d like the food to be dropped off, and anything else they’d like to share.

I made Grandma Campobasso’s Neopolitan casserole this week for a family in town who are going through a rough time. It’s my go-to “sympathy dinner,” but I’d love to hear what you like to make when your friends and family need support. If you have a link to a recipe, that would be fantastic!

Neopolitan Casserole

1-1/2 pounds Italian sausage
1-1/2 pounds hamburger
12 ounces tomato paste
28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
2 12-ounce cans tomato sauce
1 TBSP. garlic powder
1 TBSP. basil
1 TBSP. oregano
1 pound mozzarella cheese, grated
1 pound box rigatoni

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Cook the sausage and hamburger until brown, breaking up into small pieces. Drain.

Cook the pasta and drain.

While the meat and pasta are cooking, mix together all the other ingredients, except the cheese. Add the pasta to the sauce. (I like to mix in some of the cheese at this point.) Pour into a casserole and sprinkle cheese generously on top. Bake for about 45 minutes or until golden brown. Serve with a nice salad and enjoy!


  1. Mary Jo says:

    Spagetti Pizza Pie is my go to meal.

  2. Lisa Fyfe says:

    This looks delicious, and it looks pretty simple to make!

  3. Shannon says:

    Thanks, Lisa. Honestly, I think it’s the only thing everyone in my family is willing to eat.

  4. I’m a little late finding this, but it sounds delish! I have six boys, so I’m sure this will work wonderfully in filling them up!

  5. Shannon says:

    Six boys–I love it! My dad’s the oldest of six boys (and two girls) and they had a great time growing up. The nice thing about this recipe is you can freeze half to save for later if you need to.

    Thank you for the comment!

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