This recipe has been in my recipe box for over 8 years (a third of my life) and I FINALLY made it tonight! I wish I'd tried it earlier because it is very, very tasty and my husband and I went crazy over it. I used one of those long French baguettes from the grocery store bakery instead of Italian bread because we like it more and it is sturdier than Italian bread. I also used frozen vegetarian meatballs because my husband wants to try eating vegetarian for a while, I left out the water (that would have made it too soggy for us, I can tell). For the spaghetti sauce, I used my own pizza sauce recipe. If anyone wants it, it's 3 cups plain tomato sauce (I use Hunt's because I like the flavor and it's already kind of salty, you may need to add salt if you use a different brand), 1 1/2 t oregano, 1 1/2 t basil, 3/4 t rosemary, 3/4 t garlic powder, 3/4 t onion powder, and 3/4 t pepper stirred together. Very simple. Prepared as I did, the bread is a little toasty on the bottom and the sauce moistens the bread but doesn't make it soggy. Soggy bread gives me the willies (I don't like stuffing or bread pudding), but this was very good. The flavor of the cream cheese and mayo is really good too, try it with the mayo before changing it because you can't specifically taste the mayo but the mixture tastes great. It's creamy, tangy, and smooth and really adds something. I'm sure ricotta would be good too, but the resulting flavor of the casserole would be changed a lot.
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This recipe has been in my recipe box for over 8 years (a third of my life) and I FINALLY made...