Pizza Bites (snack or meal)

Pizza Bites are the best way to feed a hungry crowd something quick and tasty. Made by rolling all your favorite pizza ingredients cinnamon bun style and baking until cheesy and delicious! 

Dip these little bites in pizza sauce for serving.

Pizza bites baked in a casserole dish.

How To Make Pizza Bites

It’s as easy as 1, 2, 3 to make this fun treat, and it will be ready in a flash!

  1. Roll out pizza dough and cut into 16 pieces.
  2. Fill with equal portions of cheese and pepperoni in the center.
  3. Form into a ball and top with oil & seasonings and bake!

Pizza bites being topped with pepperoni and cheese before forming into a bowl.

Enjoy as-is, or serve with pizza sauce, marinara sauce or homemade ranch dressing for some delicious dipping!

Variations

Swap out the fillings to your favorites or build a Create-Your-Own pizza bar and let everyone have fun!

  • Mozzarella is the go-to for pizza because of its creamy, mild flavor and its ability to hold everything together, but don’t be shy about trying different kinds of cheese. Muenster is a great choice!
  • Of course, bacon crumbles make everything even better, but how about a dollop of jalapeno popper dip, too?
  • Add your favorite cooked meats and veggies including bell peppers, onions and black olives!

Two images showing pizza bites being brushed with olive oil and seasonings.

Pizza bites are so versatile, they can also be dressed up for a more upscale presentation! Just add basil, red pepper flakes, or a sprinkle of crumbled feta cheese and watch everyone come back for more!

Cheesy Pizza Filled Recipes

Print

Pizza Snack Bites

These Pizza Snack Bites are the perfect snack for game day, or after school!
Course Appetizer
Cuisine American
Keyword pizza bites
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 12 minutes
Total Time 27 minutes
Servings 12 rolls
Calories 171
Author Holly Nilsson

Ingredients

  • 1 pound pizza dough
  • 8 oz mozzarella cheese cut into 16 cubes, or shredded
  • 3 ounces sliced pepperoni chopped
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon Italian seasoning blend
  • 2 tablespoons parmesan cheese grated
  • pizza sauce for serving

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 400°F and spray a 9x9 baking dish with non-stick spray, set aside.
  • Divide dough into 16 pieces. Roll each out into a 1/4 inch thick circle.
  • Add equal parts cheese and pepperoni into the center of each circle. Pinch together the corners of the dough and create a ball.
  • Place the balls, seam side down, into the prepared baking dish.
  • After all the balls have been made and are in the dish, brush the tops with olive oil and sprinkled on garlic powder, Italian seasoning, and Parmesan cheese.
  • Bake for about 20 minutes or until the dough is fully cooked and the rolls are golden brown.
  • Serve with warmed pizza sauce for dipping.

Nutrition

Calories: 171 | Carbohydrates: 17g | Protein: 10g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 12mg | Sodium: 616mg | Potassium: 100mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 185IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 183mg | Iron: 1mg

 

Jalapeno Popper Wonton Cups {Great Appetizer!}

Crisp Wonton Cups are stuffed with jalapeno popper mix for the perfect crowd-pleasing snack!

Serve baked fresh and warm from the oven while the cream cheese and cheddar is super melty. You can even make them with bacon bits for a little more oomph!

Jalapeno Popper Wonton Cup with a bite out of it.

What could be better than wonton cups stuffed with a cheesy jalapeno popper dip? Everyone goes crazy for jalapeno poppers (and pretty much anything popper inspired) and these little nibbles are no exception!

Wonton Wrappers are good for much more than just wonton soup! They bake up nice and crisp as wonton chips, are delicious as crab rangoon and of course make perfect wonton cups for filling with any cream cheese dip recipe (hot or cold)!

You can find wonton wrappers in most grocery stores. They’re usually near the tofu towards the produce area or sometimes in the freezer. If you don’t see them, ask at the grocery because they usually have them!

Jalapeno popper ingredients in a glass bowl with wonton cups in a muffin top.

How to Make Jalapeno Popper Wonton Cups

These cheesy wonton cups are super easy to make!

  1. Brush each wrapper with melted butter and place in the bottom of a mini muffin tin and bake (per recipe below).
  2. Mix the filling ingredients together.
  3. Fill each wonton, top with cheese and bake until the cheese is melted and bubbly.

Remove from the oven and let cool about 5 minutes. Serve warm.

Wonton cup stuffed with jalapeno popper mixture.

To Make Ahead

Jalapeno popper wonton cups can be made in advance but I don’t usually fill and bake them until serving.

To prep ahead, bake the wonton cups until crisp and allow to cool. Prepare the filling mixture as directed. Just before serving, fill and bake as directed.

These can be baked ahead of time as well and then reheated in a toaster oven or oven.

Jalapeno Popper wonton cups topped with a slice of jalapeno.

Jalapeno Popper Inspiration

Jalapeño Popper Wonton Cups

Delicious Jalapeño Popper dip in a two-bite cup! This is one of my favorite wonton appetizers, it's creamy, cheesy, spicy and crispy!

  • 24 wonton wrappers
  • 1/2 cup melted butter
  • 6 oz jalapenos (diced, or to taste)
  • 1 8 oz package cream cheese (softened)
  • 2 tablespoons green onions (chopped)
  • 3/4 cup cheddar cheese (shredded, divided)
  • 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.

  2. Brush each wonton wrapper on both sides with melted butter and place into a mini muffin tin. Bake 7 minutes.

  3. Mix remaining ingredients in a small bowl, reserving 1/4 cup cheese for topping.
  4. Fill each wonton cup with the cream cheese mixture. Bake and additional 12-14 minutes or until cheese is melted and wonton is browned.
  5. Cool for about 3 minutes and serve warm.

Jalapeno Popper Wonton Cups with a sliced jalapeno on top.
Jalapeno popper wonton cups with a slice of jalapeno on top.
Top image - jalapeno popper wonton cups with a slice of jalapeno on top. Bottom image - Jalapeno popper wonton cups prepared to go in the oven.

 

Easy Cheesy Pasta Bake (with Spaghetti & Meatballs)

Everyone loves a nice saucy Pasta Bake recipe! This meatball casserole is made with homemade meatballs (or frozen if you’re in a rush), spaghetti and a variety of cheesy toppings all baked into a delicious casserole.

Add a loaf of crusty bread and fresh tossed salad for a perfect meal!

Spaghetti and Meatball pasta bake garnished with parsley.

Casseroles involving pasta, like a cheesy baked penne or a spaghetti casserole, are always welcome potluck at work or as the main attraction for any crowd!

Ingredients/Variations

    • PASTA Spaghetti is my choice here but any long pasta will do. Keep in mind it will bake more in the oven so be sure to cook it al dente (firm to the bite).
    • SAUCE Make your own homemade marinara or use store bought to keep this extra quick!
    • MEATBALLS This is one place I almost always use homemade. You can prep meatballs ahead of time and freeze them, the flavor is so much better than store bought.
    • VEGGIES  You can add veggies to the sauce in this reicpe if you’d like! Zucchini, peppers, and mushrooms are great options!
    • CHEESE Cheese is added to the spaghetti as well as on top for great flavor! Shred it yourself for best results, pre-shredded has additives to keep it from clumping and it doesn’t melt as well.

Left image - cheese, egg, and seasonings being combined in a glass bowl. Right image - spaghetti mixed with egg mixture in the casserole dish.

How to Make Spaghetti Pasta Bake

Any decent meatball casserole calls for delicious meatballs! If you don’t want to make them by hand, replace them with defrosted/cooked premade meatballs for simplicity!

  1. Prepare the meatballs. Try spicy Italian sausage meatballs or even turkey meatballs!
  2. Mix pasta and cheeses (per recipe below) and place in the bottom of a 9×13 dish.
  3. Top with meatballs and sauce and bake until bubbly and browned.

Serve with a slice of garlic bread to soak up every last drop of that sauce!

TIP: Bake the meatballs right in the 9×13 pan you’ll use for the casserole… one less dish to wash!

Left image - spaghetti topped with meatballs. Right image - prepared spaghetti and meatball pasta bake.

What To Serve With Spaghetti And Meatball Pasta Bake

Anything that goes with regular spaghetti and meatballs or baked spaghetti goes with this super tasty pasta bake!

Spaghetti and meatball pasta baked being lifted out of a casserole dish!

Easy Pasta Dishes

Spaghetti and Meatball Pasta Bake

Noodles are tossed with a cheesy sauce and then topped with homemade meatballs and pasta sauce!

Meatballs

  • 1 lb lean ground beef
  • 1/3 cup fresh bread crumbs
  • 1 tablespoons milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 cup onion (finely chopped)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley (chopped)
  • 1 egg

Casserole

  • 8 oz spaghetti
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cups mozzarella cheese (shredded, divided)
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese (grated)
  • 1 large egg (slightly beaten)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley
  • 28 oz pasta sauce (jarred or homemade)
  1. Grease a large casserole dish.
  2. Preheat oven to 400°F. Combine all meatball ingredients and form into 1″ balls.

  3. Place meatballs in a 9×13 dish and bake 18-20 minutes. Remove from oven and reduce heat to 350°F. Remove the meatballs and set aside.

  4. Boil the pasta until al dente. Drain well and toss with olive oil.

  5. Stir together egg, parsley, pepper, 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, 1/4 cup parmesan cheese & pepper to taste. Toss with the pasta and place it in the 9×13 dish.

  6. Top with meatballs and pasta sauce. Cover with foil and bake 35 minutes. Remove foil, top with remaining cheeses and continue to bake until cheese is melted and browned, about 10 minutes.

Top image - pasta bake being scooped out of a casserole dish. Bottom image - Pasta Bake in a casserole dish.
Spaghetti Pasta Bake being scooped out of a casserole dish.
Pasta Bake in a casserole dish. Garnished with parsley.

Stuffed Cheese Cannelloni with Mozzarella and Ricotta!

Homemade Cannelloni is a rich Italian pasta and cheese recipe that everyone in the family will look forward to! Cannelloni tubes are stuffed with a rich and flavorful ricotta filling, then covered in marinara and a generous topping of baked mozzarella!

Once I figured out how easy it is to fill cannelloni tubes using a zippered bag, I realized it is just as simple to make as stuffed shells or chicken lasagna. My family loves this dish, and there are so many versatile uses for it!

What Exactly is Cannelloni?

Cannelloni is basically an Americanized version of an Italian stuffed pasta dish (not to be confused with cannoli, which is a sweet dessert.)

If it’s hard to find cannelloni shells, you could use what manicotti shells, which are shorter tubes and have ridges. It won’t make a huge difference, but it is nice to use traditional cannelloni which is smooth and a bit longer.

Cannelloni vs. Manicotti

Cannelloni loosely translates from the Italian as “big tubes, or even “large reeds.” Traditionally cheese and vegetables or meat filling are rolled in pasta sheets before baking. Manicotti would more likely be called “crespelle” and is often made with crepes rather than pasta.

Whatever the name of the pasta you use, you basically fill it with lots of creamy and savory cheese and cover it with sauce and more cheese before baking. Yum!

All the ingredients for the cannelloni stuffings in a glass bowl.

How to Make Cannelloni

It might seem intimidating to make, but it’s actually quite simple!

  1. Mix the filling according to the recipe directions.
  2. Spoon filling into a piping bag or a zip lock bag with the corner cut off.
  3. Squeeze filling into oven-ready cannelloni tubes.

*Tip: If you can’t find oven-ready pasta, use regular, but make sure to cover with extra sauce so the noodles cook well. Test with a fork to make sure the pasta is cooked through.

Bake according to recipe directions or until cannelloni pasta is soft. Cover with remaining cheese and continue baking until piping hot and bubbly!

Left image - cannelloni stuffed with cheese. Right image - stuffed cheese cannelloni lined in a casserole dish.

Ways to Serve Cannelloni

Serving when having guests over for dinner, with a gorgeous spinach salad with warm bacon dressing is just one of the many ways to enjoy cheese cannelloni!

  • Make it for a friend who just had a baby, or for someone who can’t cook for themselves!
  • Make it ahead and freeze it for nights when you know you won’t be able to cook!
  • Portion it out into individual freezer containers and take it to work for lunches!
  • Try it for a meatless option, or alternatively, make it with homemade meat sauce like in Lasagna Roll ups!
  • Overview of cheese cannelloni baked in a casserole dish.

Leftovers?

Cannelloni is a great make-ahead dish, and it freezes well.

  • Freeze in a freezer and oven safe casserole dish, tightly covered. Be careful not to put it in the oven right from frozen, however, as the extreme temperature change can shatter even ovenproof glass.
  • Defrost in the refrigerator or on the counter, then bake according to the recipe directions below.

Cannelloni is a special dish that’s perfect for guests or a family Italian night. Try it this week!

Must-Try Cheesy Pasta Dishes

A serving of cheese cannelloni being scooped out of a casserole dish.

Cheese Cannelloni

Rich Italian pasta and cheese recipe that everyone in the family will look forward to

  • 12 dried cannelloni (oven ready)
  • 2 1/2 cups marinara sauce (divided)
  • 1 cup mozzarella cheese (shredded)

Filling

  • 2 cups ricotta cheese
  • 1 package frozen chopped spinach (defrosted and squeezed dry)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese (shredded)
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese (shredded)
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Mix all filling ingredients in a small bowl. Place into a piping bag or large zippered bag and set aside.
  3. Place 1/2 cup sauce in the bottom of a 9×13 pan.
  4. Snip off the corner of the zipper bag if using and fill each cannelloni placing in the pan. Top with remaining marinara sauce.

  5. Cover and bake 35 minutes. Add cheese and bake covered an additional 15-20 minutes.

A casserole dish full of cheese cannelloni.

Top photo - A portion of Cheese Cannelloni being served. Bottom photo - A white pan filled with Cheese Cannelloni.
A white pan filled with Cheese Cannelloni.
A single portion of Cheese Cannelloni being served.

Roasted Vegetable Lasagna

Roasted Vegetable Lasagna is the perfect entree! Eggplant, zucchini, and bell peppers are roasted to bring out their deepest, richest flavors before they are layered with pasta, cheese and sauce, then baked to perfection.

A slice of vegetable lasagna on a plate.

Ingredients

Roasted vegetable lasagna is the best way to enjoy any leftover veggies or other ingredients like herbs, cheese, or even leftover spaghetti sauce or alfredo!

  • Roasted Vegetables You can use any combination of vegetables, you’ll need about 6-8 cups total. I like to keep the veggies in slices but you can dice them if you’d prefer.
  • Sauce Use either store-bought or homemade marinara or pasta sauce. You can add meat to the sauce as well.
  • Cheese Ricotta is the perfect filler for this lasagna however cottage cheese works too.
  • Pasta If your grocery sells fresh lasagna sheets (often found in the deli area), there is no need to cook them and they can be used in this recipe. For a low carb (no-noodle) version, just add extra roasted eggplant or zucchini!

Leftover roasted vegetables work well in this recipe. Veggies can be sliced or diced before layering. This makes a large pan but can be divided into two 9×9 pans and one can be frozen before baking.

Ingredients for vegetable lasagna arranged on a working surface.

How to Make Vegetable Lasagna

To make vegetable lasagna:

  1. Roast vegetables in the oven until softened.
  2. While the veggies are roasting, mix the cheese layer and boil the lasagna.

Process shots showing vegetable lasagna being layered in a baking dish.

  1. Spread 1 cup of sauce in a 9×13 pan. Layer with lasagna, roasted vegetables and cheese mixture.
  2. Bake until the cheese is bubbly and browned.

What to Serve with Vegetable Lasagna

Vegetable lasagna on a wooden surface fresh from the oven.

Can You Freeze Vegetable Lasagna?

Yes!! This can be frozen before or after baking.

To bake from frozen, thaw in the fridge overnight and bake as directed. If the lasagna is still quite cold, it may need a little bit of extra time in the fridge.

Lasagna Love

Roasted Vegetable Lasagna

Roasted Vegetable Lasagna is the perfect healthy entree! Eggplant, zucchini, and bell peppers are roasted then layered with cheese and sauce and baked!

  • 9 lasagna noodles
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 1/2 cups mozzarella cheese
  • 3 cups marinara sauce (or pasta sauce)
  • 28 ounces diced tomatoes (drained)
  • 1 large eggplant (cut sliced 1/4" thick)
  • 3 bell peppers (seeded and quartered)
  • 2 zucchini (sliced 1/4" thick slices)
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning

Cheese Layer

  • 2 cups ricotta cheese
  • 5 oz frozen chopped spinach (defrosted and squeezed dry)
  • 1 cup mozzarella cheese
  • 1 egg beaten
  1. Preheat the oven to 450°F. Drizzle eggplant, zucchini, and bell peppers with olive oil and Italian seasoning. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

  2. Line two large pans with parchment paper and roast vegetables 15 minutes. Rotate pans and roast an additional 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and reduce oven temperature to 375°F.
  3. Meanwhile cook lasagna noodles al dente according to package directions. Drain well.

  4. Combine ingredients for the cheese layer and set aside. In a separate bowl, combine tomatoes and marinara.
  5. Spread 1 cup of tomato sauce in a 9×13 pan and add 3 noodles. Top with half of the roasted vegetables.
  6. Add 1 cup of tomato sauce. Cover with 3 noodles and spread cheese layer over top. Add remaining vegetables.
  7. Top with remaining noodles and tomato sauce.
  8. Bake 30 minutes uncovered. Top with remaining cheeses and bake an additional 15-30 minutes or until browned and bubbly.
  9. Let rest at least 20 minutes before cutting.

Bacon Double Cheeseburger Stuffed Mushrooms

Meaty, cheesy and BACON LOADED. These stuffed mushrooms are crazy good. Ground beef, bacon, and three different cheeses plus some of our favorite burger toppings make this mouthwatering recipe a perfect game day snack.

Prep up to 48 hours ahead of time making this an easy favorite for any party!

Close up of stuffed mushrooms on a cutting board.

Mushrooms are a great appetizer! They can be crab stuffed or you can add with anything from salsa,  to your favorite pizza toppings and of course in this recipe seasoned beef and bacon!

What Mushrooms to Use

What mushrooms should you use for stuffed mushrooms? The variety doesn’t matter too much, look for fresh and firm mushrooms.

I’ve used white, button or crimini mushroom caps all with great results. Alternately you can pile the stuffing high into giant Portobello caps, then baking and serving as a savory, hearty (and low carb) entrée.

How to Prep Mushrooms for Stuffing

Mushrooms are very absorbent, so don’t submerge in water. Instead, wipe the caps with dampened paper towels to remove any bits of compost sticking to them. If you must, give them the quickest rinse under the faucet and immediately dry and wipe with paper towels.

To prepare for stuffing:

  • Remove the stem by bending slightly. I then use a tomato huller (they cost about $1 at the dollar store) to core out some of the flesh.
  • Scrape the black gills from portobellos. Or, if using button or criminis, snap the stems off to produce hollow spaces for the filling.
  • There’s no need to remove the gills from the smaller mushrooms (but do scoop out some of the middle for more of that luscious filling).

Stuffed mushroom filling ingredients in a frying pan before and after being combined.

How to Make Stuffed Mushrooms

Stuffed mushrooms are easy and require very little prep. They can be made up to 48 hours in advance and baked as your guests arrive.

  1. Cook and drain bacon and ground beef with onion and garlic
  2. Stir in cream cheese and seasonings.
  3. Pile onto mushroom caps and bake until cheese is melted and mushrooms are cooked.

Stuffed mushrooms topped with cheese on a baking tray.

Can You Freeze Them?

Leftovers will keep in the fridge for up to four days. Reheat by popping in a preheated oven or microwave.

You can freeze stuffed mushrooms for make ahead convenience, provided you do not bake them first. Prepare them with the stuffing but do not top with cheese. Place in a single layer in a freezer container. They will keep for three months.

To bake, first thaw at room temperature or in the refrigerator overnight. Then top with cheese and bake.

More Mushroom Faves

Cheeseburger Stuffed Mushrooms

Juicy mushrooms stuffed a seasoned beef and bacon filling, topped with cheese and baked until hot & bubbly.

  • 1/2 pound lean ground beef
  • 1/2 onion ( finely chopped)
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 4 tablespoons cream cheese
  • 2 teaspoons ketchup
  • 1/2 teaspoon yellow mustard
  • 3 slices bacon
  • 2 dashes Worcestershire sauce
  • 15 medium to large mushrooms
  • 1/4 cup cheddar cheese (shredded)
  • 1/4 cup mozzarella cheese (shredded)
  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.

  2. Cook bacon until crisp, drain on paper towels, crumble & set aside.
  3. In a pan, brown ground beef, onion & garlic powder until beef is cooked through. Drain any remaining juices.
  4. Meanwhile, pull the core out of the mushrooms & discard… I use my strawberry/tomato huller to scrape out a little bit more of the mushrooms.
  5. Stir cream cheese into the beef until melted. Add ketchup, mustard, 1/4 cup cheese, Worcestershire sauce, crumbled bacon and stir until combined.

  6. On a parchment lined pan, fill each mushroom with the beef mixture. Top with remaining cheese and bake 20 minutes or until cheese is melted and mushrooms are cooked.

Stuffed mushrooms on a cutting board.
Close up of stuffed mushrooms on a cutting board.
Top image - close up of stuffed mushrooms on a cutting board. Bottom image - stuffed mushroom filling ingredients in a frying pan.

Caprese Pasta Salad – Fresh and Flavorful

Caprese Pasta Salad is a bright, tangy summer salad that is perfect to take to a potluck or picnic. Grape tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, garlic, and fresh basil are the most delicious additions to a pasta salad recipe!

This caprese pasta salad is a great meatless meal or top it with grilled chicken breasts to add extra protein.

Close up of a prepare caprese pasta salad garnished with basil.

Start with Fresh Ingredients

caprese salad is a very simple recipe with few ingredients so it’s important to choose great quality.

  • Tomatoes: I use cherry or grape tomatoes but any ripe fresh tomatoes will be great in this recipe. I also add some diced sundried tomatoes (oil packed is best).
  • Mozzarella: Bocconcini is the perfect creamy addition to this salad. It’s softer and milder than a traditional mozzarella (and available at almost any store).
  • Basil: This is one place it’s really worth it to use fresh, the flavor is amazing! Instead of buying a little bunch of basil at the grocery, check if they have basil plants. They’re only a few dollars and will last a long time!
  • Pasta: Any medium pasta works, choose one with crevices and curves so it can hold the dressing!

Caprese pasta salad ingredients in a bowl.

How to Make Caprese Pasta Salad

This recipe is easy caprese!

  1. Cook and drain pasta, rinse under cold water (to stop it from cooking).
  2. Whisk the dressing ingredients together and add tomatoes to the dressing. Let marinate for about 30 minutes at room temperature for maximum flavor!
  3. Combine the pasta with the remaining ingredients and drizzle dressing over.

Season with salt and pepper and refrigerate at least two hour before serving. Garnish with fresh basil and cracked black pepper before serving (the basil is best added just before serving)!

Caprese Salad Dressing

A simple combo of olive oil and red wine vinegar is the base of the dressing. If you are using oil packed sun-dried tomatoes, add a splash of oil from the jar for great flavor!

Some people like balsamic vinegar on caprese, you can add a splash if you like but it’s a bit more powerful than red wine vinegar so use sparingly. I prefer a small drizzle of balsamic glaze before serving.

A serving of caprese pasta salad in a bowl, garnished with basil.

Can You Make This in Advance?

Caprese Pasta Salad can be made in advance, but no more than about a day. Be sure to toss well and adjust the salt and pepper before serving!

Pass the Pasta

Caprese Pasta Salad

Caprese Pasta Salad is a bright, tangy summer salad that is perfect to take to a potluck or picnic. This easy recipe can be scooped onto a bed of lettuce or a hearty piece of garlic bread, or served as a side to any grilled meat!

  • 1 pound rotini (cooked & cooled)
  • 3 cups grape tomatoes (halved)
  • 1 1/2 cups mozzarella cheese (cubed)
  • 1/3 cup red onion (diced)
  • 1/4 cup sun dried tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup basil (chopped)
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic glaze

Dressing

  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 3-4 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 clove garlic (minced)
  • salt & pepper
  1. Place dressing ingredients in a small bowl and whisk to combine. Add tomatoes to dressing mix and allow to marinate at room temperature at least 30 minutes.
  2. Combine pasta, mozzarella, red onion and sun dried tomatoes in a large bowl. Toss with tomato/dressing mixture and season with salt & pepper to taste.
  3. Refrigerate at least 2 hours before serving.
  4. Chop fresh basil. Drizzle salad with balsamic glaze and sprinkle basil on top just before serving.

This easy caprese pasta salad is filled with grape tomatoes, fresh basil, and mozzarella. It is best served cold topped with balsamic glaze after marinating in an olive oil dressing! This recipe is quick to prepare and is always one of the first gone at picnics or potlucks! #spendwithpennies #capresepastasalad #pastasaladrecipe #sidedish #summer
This easy caprese pasta salad is filled with grape tomatoes, fresh basil, and mozzarella. It is best served cold topped with balsamic glaze after marinating in an olive oil dressing! This recipe is quick to prepare and is always one of the first gone at picnics or potlucks! #spendwithpennies #capresepastasalad #pastasaladrecipe #sidedish #summer
This easy caprese pasta salad is filled with grape tomatoes, fresh basil, and mozzarella. It is best served cold topped with balsamic glaze after marinating in an olive oil dressing! This recipe is quick to prepare and is always one of the first gone at picnics or potlucks! #spendwithpennies #capresepastasalad #pastasaladrecipe #sidedish #summer

Taco Lasagna – a fun twist on a classic dish!

Taco Lasagna brings a south-of-the-border kinda’ twist to a classic lasagna recipe! All the best parts of a ground beef taco are layered with lasagna noodles to create one colorfully layered entrée!

Serve with your favorite toppings like sour cream, pico de gallo, or a dollop of the best guacamole.

A slice of taco lasagna on a plate, garnished with sliced jalapeños and tomatoes.

Surprise your friends and family with a Mexican twist on an Italian classic! Take this easy taco lasagna to a potluck or an office luncheon! Make it even easier by assembling and baking it earlier! Just reheat it when you reach your destination!

How to Layer Lasagna

For this taco lasagna (made with noodles), start with the tomato sauce on the bottom of the casserole dish. This keeps the noodles from sticking to the bottom of the pan and makes the portions come out easier!

The standard layering technique is sauce, noodles, sauce, noodles, cheese, noodles, sauce. Just remember to put a layer of noodles between each cheese and sauce layer to keep everything in place!

A four square image of the steps to prepare a taco lasagna.

How to Make Taco Lasagna

Once you have all the mixtures prepped, layering this taco lasagna dish is a breeze!

  1. Beef Mixture: Brown ground beef, onion, and garlic in a large skillet.
    • Drain the fat and stir in the taco seasoning (or use homemade taco seasoning) and water. Cook until is evaporated and sauce is thickened.
    • Add the beans and veggies and cook the sauce mixture until heated thoroughly set it aside.
  2. Cheese Mixture: In a small bowl, combine the cottage cheese, sour cream and egg. Set aside.
  3. Layering: In a 9×13 inch pan, layer the ingredients ending with sauce!
  4. Bake: Cover the taco lasagna, bake for 40 minutes. Remove the foil, sprinkle with remaining cheeses and bake until cheese is browned and bubbly.

Allow the casserole to rest about 10 to 15 minutes so it has a chance to set. Top with sour cream, tomatoes, sliced black olives, sliced green onions or jalapeños!

Taco Lasagna baked in a white casserole dish. Garnished with sliced jalapeños and tomatoes.

What to Serve with Lasagna

Just like a traditional Italian lasagna, this cheesy taco lasagna lends itself to simple sides like a crunchy tossed salad, a tray of fresh cut veggies with Buttermilk Ranch Dip, or even some tortilla chips for scooping!

More Mexican Inspired Dishes You’ll Love

Taco Lasagna

Seasoned beef, beans, and veggies layered between lasagna noodles and baked until bubbly.

  • 2 cups mozzarella cheese (divided)
  • 2 cups cheddar cheese (divided)
  • 9 lasagna noodles (cooked and cooled)

Sauce

  • 1 pound ground beef (or turkey)
  • 1 onion (finely diced)
  • 2 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 2 packages taco seasoning (low sodium or homemade)
  • 1 green bell pepper (finely diced)
  • 28 oz low sodium diced canned tomatoes (undrained)
  • 1 cup corn
  • 15 oz black beans (drained and rinsed)

Cheese Layer

  • 1 cup cottage cheese
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 egg
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.

  2. In a large pan, brown ground beef, onion and garlic. Drain any fat. Stir in taco seasoning and 1 cup water. Cook until water is evaporated.

  3. Add green pepper, undrained tomatoes, corn, and black beans. Let simmer 5 minutes or until slightly thickened. Remove from heat.

  4. In a small bowl, combine cottage cheese, sour cream, cumin and egg. Set aside.

  5. In a 9×13 pan, layer in the following order: 1 cup of sauce, 3 lasagna noodles, 1/2 of remaining sauce, 3 lasagna noodles, cottage cheese mixture, 1 cup of each cheddar and mozzarella, 3 lasagna noodles, remaining sauce.

  6. Cover with foil and bake 40 minutes. Remove foil, add remaining cheeses and bake an additional 15 minutes or until cheese browned and bubbly.

  7. Let rest 10-15 minutes before cutting. Serve with desired toppings such as sour cream, lettuce, tomatoes, olives, green onions and cilantro.

Nutrition information does not include optional toppings.

REPIN this Easy Recipe

A slice of taco inspired lasagna served on a white plate and garnished with sliced cherry tomatoes

Taco lasagna bake is a tasty oven-baked casserole dish. Using lasagna noodles, black beans, corn and taco seasoning you can prep and bake this dish ahead of time. Perfect for a quick weeknight meal or to take to a potluck! #spendwithpennies #tacolasagna #maindish #Mexican #casserole
Taco lasagna bake is a tasty oven-baked casserole dish. Using lasagna noodles, black beans, corn and taco seasoning you can prep and bake this dish ahead of time. Perfect for a quick weeknight meal or to take to a potluck! #spendwithpennies #tacolasagna #maindish #Mexican #casserole

Feel Like Pizza? Try Stromboli!

stromboli overhead with tomato sauce

This easy Stromboli recipe starts with refrigerated pizza dough, and is loaded with all your favorite pizza toppings! Salami, pepperoni, ham and lots of cheese are the key ingredients in this easy stromboli recipe! And, it’s ready in about 30 minutes!

I don’t know anything that will bring the family to the table faster than the smell of pizza baking in the oven. Stromboli pizza is that magical combination of dough, meat and cheese with Italian seasoning that gets them every time, and I can’t say I’m complaining.

close up of 3 stromboli recipe slices with ham, pepperoni and salami with cheese

This stromboli recipe is quick and easy enough for making appies, and also for a weeknight dinner. I often make two (switch up the flavours for variety!) because the leftovers are perfect for school or work lunches the next day! That is definitely a win around here.

For a really hungry crowd, I add a side of Easy Italian Salad or Italian Wedding Soup (or both sometimes!).

stromboli recipe sliced on white plate wit marinara sauce in a small bowl and a towel on the side

One of the best things about this stromboli recipe is how easy it is to prep. If you have kids who like to help in the kitchen, they can probably prepare almost the entire recipe without help!

What’s in a Stromboli?

Stromboli ingredients are very simple:

  • The pizza crust – I’ve used refrigerated pizza dough here to make this an easy weeknight meal that is ready in 30 minutes, but feel free to make your own pizza dough if you prefer!
  • The sauce – choose a good one that you like, and be sure to serve extra on the side for dunking! I prefer to use my homemade easy marinara sauce, but I often use store bought for this recipe.
  • Toppings – I keep these basic (and family-friendly) using salami, pepperoni and ham as well as a good covering of mozzarella cheese and Parmesan. You can really do anything you want for stromboli filling ideas! Mix things up and go Hawaiian, BBQ Chicken or Chicken Alfredo if you’re feeling adventurous.

How to Make Stromboli

This stromboli recipe is super easy to make. Simply:

  1. Roll out pizza dough
  2. Add cheese and toppings
  3. Roll stromboli into a log
  4. Brush with egg wash
  5. Bake
  6. Presto!

More Pizza Inspired Recipes You’ll Love!

What is The Difference Between a Calzone and a Stromboli? What is Stromboli?

You won’t find a lot of difference between stromboli vs calzone. The main difference is the size and shape.

A calzone is essentially a pizza folded in half, and is usually in a semi-circle shape. A stromboli is a pizza that is rolled and baked, then sliced. Either way, they’re both delicious and use many of the same ingredients!

overhead shot of 5 stromboli slices on a white plate, with marinara sauce in a bowl and a towel on background

Can You Make Stromboli the Night Before?

Stromboli is perfect for prepping ahead and either refrigerating or freezing!

Prepare fully, then cover with plastic wrap on the baking sheet and refrigerate up to 12 hours before baking.

Or prepare, bake, cool, wrap tightly and freeze. To serve, thaw for 5-6 hours at room temperature, then heat at 350 degrees for 10-20 minutes until heated through.

Stromboli Recipe

This easy Stromboli recipe starts with refrigerated pizza dough, and is loaded with all your favorite pizza toppings! Salami, pepperoni, ham and lots of cheese are the key ingredients in this easy stromboli recipe!

  • 1 can refrigerated pizza dough (enough for 1 pizza)
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese (divided)
  • 1/3 cup marinara sauce
  • 1/2 cup cooked ham (chopped)
  • 1/2 cup salami (slices)
  • 1/2 cup pepperoni (slices)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Roll pizza dough out on a lightly floured surface into a roughly 12″ x 16″ rectangle (it doesn’t have to be perfect).
  3. Spread marinara sauce over pizza dough, but leave one inch all the way around and 2-3″ at the long side furthest from you.
  4. Top with 1 cup of the shredded cheese, then ham, salami and pepperoni. Finish with remaining 1/2 cup cheese.
  5. Roll up as tightly as possible, doing your best not to push out the toppings as you do so. Stop just before you reach the end.
  6. Whisk together egg, water, Italian seasoning and garlic powder. Brush over pizza dough where the edges will meet, then pinch together.
  7. Place on prepared baking sheet with the seal down and brush with the egg wash.

  8. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until golden brown and slightly puffed. Let rest for 5-10 minutes before slicing.

REPIN this Easy Recipe

Slices from this simple Stromboli Recipe sitting on a white plate and surrounding a clear bowl of salsa

 

 

This easy Stromboli recipe starts with refrigerated pizza dough, and is loaded with all your favorite pizza toppings! Salami, pepperoni, ham and lots of cheese are the key ingredients in this delicious recipe! #spendwithpennies #stromboli #easyrecipe #kidfriendly #strombolirecipe #weeknightmeal #lunch #easylunch #pizza #pizzaroll
This easy Stromboli recipe starts with refrigerated pizza dough, and is loaded with all your favorite pizza toppings! Salami, pepperoni, ham and lots of cheese are the key ingredients in this delicious recipe! #spendwithpennies #stromboli #easyrecipe #kidfriendly #strombolirecipe #weeknightmeal #lunch #easylunch #pizza #pizzaroll

Zucchini Pancakes – Deliciously Different!

Zucchini Pancakes are the perfect way to enjoy the perfect vegetable, zucchini! Shredded zucchini is tossed with parmesan cheese, flour, and spices then fried into perfectly delicious bites.

Serve the these veggie pancakes with a dollop of sour cream or marinara sauce for the perfect healthy appetizer or side dish!

Moist zucchini pancakes topped with salsa and fresh parsley.

Zucchini Pancakes or Fritters

I love making all types of fritters and pancakes  from Salmon cakes to mashed potato cakes. These zucchini fritters have officially joined the team.

I usually think of fritters as a crisp deep fried item, almost like hush puppies. Zucchini has a lot of moisture giving these zucchini pancakes are a texture that is a cross between a pancake and a fritter; golden and crisp on the outside and soft and tender in the middle.

Zucchini is over 90% water so in these pancakes, I pre-cook the zucchini to remove the moisture and squeeze out any remaining moisture.  Many people salt the zucchini but I prefer the method of cooking the zucchini first (along with the white onion).

Delicious zucchini fritters covered in parsley.

How To Shred Zucchini

When you make zucchini pancakes, shredding the zucchini helps to keep it thin enough to shape them. I use the large side of a standard box cheese grater to shred zucchini.

You don’t need to worry about peeling zucchini before you shred it as the peel softens a ton when it is cooked. You will hardly notice it in your dish.

A stack of delicious zucchini pancakes topped with parsley.

How To Make Zucchini Pancakes

When we make zucchini pancakes, cook the shredded zucchini first to eliminate some of the water. This keeps the pancakes from becoming soggy and helps to hold them together while they cook.

Mix your ingredients and drop about 1 ½ tablespoons into the hot pan. Cook ‘em for about 5 minutes on each side or until you see a beautiful crispy and caramelized exterior!

Serve zucchini pancakes with an array of dipping sauces like pico de gallo, sour cream, hot sauce… there’s no wrong answer here!

More Zucchini Faves

Zucchini Pancakes

These zucchini pancakes are the perfect way to enjoy this colorful vegetable! Shredded zucchini is tossed with parmesan cheese, flour, and spices then fried into perfect zucchini pancakes. 

  • 2 large zucchini (or 3 small)
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil (divided)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/3 cup mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese (shredded)
  1. Cook shredded zucchini in a non-stick pan until tender, about 5 minutes.  Cool and using cheesecloth or a tea towel, squeeze out as much moisture as possible.

  2. In a medium bowl combine the flour, seasonings, cheeses and bread crumbs. Add zucchini and egg.

  3. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a frying pan over medium high. Drop zucchini mixture by large tablespoons into hot oil. Spread to 3″ circles.

  4. Fry about 3-4 minutes on each side flipping as needed.

  5. Serve warm with sour cream or tomato sauce.

REPIN this Delicious Recipe

Zucchini pancakes piled up on each other and topped with tomato sauce

 

These zucchini pancakes are one of my favorite snacks without all of the guilt! #spendwithpennies #zucchini #keto #snacks #zucchinipancakes #appetizer #easyappetizer #easyrecipe #easysnack
These zucchini pancakes are one of my favorite snacks without all of the guilt! #spendwithpennies #zucchini #keto #snacks #zucchinipancakes #appetizer #easyappetizer #easyrecipe #easysnack