Make Ahead Breakfast Casserole

Sausage Breakfast Casserole is loaded with sausage, peppers, cheese and Italian seasoning is one my favorite make ahead  breakfasts! The best part is this recipe is made ahead of time (overnight even) so it’s the perfect dish for a holiday morning or when you have guests!

Serve this breakfast casserole recipe with a fresh fruit salad and mimosas for the perfect brunch!

Sausage breakfast casserole ready to serve with a spatula on the side.

A Holiday Favorite

I love a good savory breakfast and this sausage breakfast casserole is definitely at the top of my list! My Mom has made bacon breakfast casserole on Christmas morning for as long as I can remember.  It’s truly one of my absolute favorite things I eat at Christmas time.

Over the years, I’ve enjoyed countless overnight casseroles (both in the oven and even an easy Slow Cooker Breakfast Casserole). I do have to admit, I think this sausage breakfast casserole might be my favorite yet, I just wish you could taste it through the screen.  It’s so deliciously easy and savory.

Loaded with sausage and cheese, this overnight casserole recipe is perfect for holidays, weekends and even for overnight guests.

A slice of overnight sausage breakfast casserole on a plate.

How to Make a Breakfast Casserole

This overnight Sausage Breakfast Casserole is very simple to make!  Bread cubes, chopped peppers and cooked sausage are placed in a casserole dish. The whole thing is topped with a simple egg mixture and of course cheese.  Once prepared, this recipe goes into the refrigerator for at least 4 hours (overnight is best) to set.  This allows the bread cubes to soak up the egg mixture.  In the morning just bake and serve!

I love adding Italian sausage to this recipe along with fresh red and green peppers because the sausage has so much flavor!

This quick and easy casserole recipe can be made the night before for a worry-free weekend breakfast (or prep in the morning to bake for dinner after a long day).

Sausage Breakfast Casserole in a pan

Substituting Bread With Hashbrowns

This Sausage Breakfast Casserole is a full meal on it’s own but we do sometimes serve it with a Fruit Salad for breakfast (or a simple Cucumber Dill Tossed Salad for brunch or dinner).

While I much prefer the consistency of this dish using bread cubes, you can certainly make this casserole without bread and replace it with hashbrowns.

If you’re lucky enough to have leftovers, this dish reheats really well and freezes perfectly.

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Sausage Breakfast Casserole

Overnight Sausage Breakfast Casserole with sausage, peppers, cheese and Italian seasoning is one my favorite make ahead breakfasts!

  • 14 slices bread (crust removed, cubed and dried (see note))
  • 1 package Johnsonville Naturals Italian Sausage
  • 3 green onions (sliced)
  • ½ red bell pepper (finely diced)
  • ½ green bell pepper (finely diced)
  • 2 cups shredded Italian blend cheese
  • 2 cups mozzarella cheese
  • 6 eggs
  • 3 cups milk
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • pepper to taste
  1. Remove casing from sausage and cook over medium high heat until no pink remains. Drain any fat.
  2. Layer ½ of the cubes in a greased 9×13 pan. Top with ½ of each the sausage, green onions, peppers, and cheese. Repeat layers ending with cheese.
  3. Combine eggs, milk, & seasonings Pour egg mixture over bread ensuring all of the bread has been covered. Refrigerate overnight (or at least 3 hours).
  4. Remove from fridge and place in the oven while preheating the oven to 350 degrees. Bake covered with foil 65-75 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. (If you are baking 2 pans increase cooking time will need to increase).

Allow bread to dry overnight or dry slightly in the oven oven at 300 degrees for about 10 minutes to dry slightly. (Do not brown or toast it).

This Overnight Breakfast Casserole with sausage, peppers, italian seasoning and cheese is the perfect make ahead breakfast idea! Easy to make & delicious!

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Johnsonville. The opinions and text are all mine.

Tomato Tortellini Soup (in about 15 minutes)

Tomato Tortellini Soup recipe only needs about 15 minutes to cook, making it a delicious, family friendly meal that saves both time and money! We love making homemade tomato soup on busy weeknights. Just create the tomato soup, add the tortellini, and top it with cheese and basil. It’s that easy!

Our weeknights are usually pretty busy so I’m always looking for meals that quick and easy. A comforting bowl of tortellini soup with a fresh salad is the perfect meal!

A bowl of tomato tortellini soup garnished with parmesan cheese and basil.

I have partnered with Progresso™ to bring you this easy belly warming recipe.

Tomato Tortellini Soup

Tomato soup is my daughter’s absolute favorite meal and I mean, what’s not to love?  It’s delicious and the perfect lunch or dinner…  and ready in just minutes! We love adding things like fresh croutons, a dash of cream, bacon, or of course, tortellini! It’s great served with grilled cheese roll ups or a fresh caesar salad.

Tortellini soup is super versatile add in your favorite proteins,  to create a sausage tortellini soup or chicken tortellini soup! Stir in handful of spinach before serving. Feel free to add whatever you have on hand – from peppers, to macaroni noodles, mushrooms, or onions!

A pot of tomato soup with tortellini and tomatoes

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How To Make Tomato Tortellini Soup

To make this easy tortellini soup recipe:

  1. Combine all of the tomato soup ingredients in a saucepan. Bring it to a boil,  reduce heat, and simmer for 8 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, cook the tortellini.
  3. Blend the soup mixture using a hand blender.
  4. Stir in the cream, and simmer for another 5 minutes adding tortellini in the last minute.

A bowl of homemade tomato tortellini soup

How To Store This Soup

The tortellini in this soup can get soggy if you have leftovers so we leave it on the side and always combine just before serving.

If you’d like to freeze this soup, add the cream once heated and defrosted (and freeze the tortellini separately). Serve this easy recipe with 30 Minute Dinner Rolls or crusty bread for dipping and a big fresh Easy Italian Salad.

Tomato Tortellini Soup

This Tomato Tortellini Soup takes just 15 minutes making it the perfect weeknight meal! Quick, easy and totally cheesy, my whole family loves this soup!

  • 2 cups fresh tortellini ((meat or cheese filled))
  • 1 cup fresh chopped spinach ((uncooked) optional)
  • Fresh Basil for garnish

Tomato Soup

  • 28 oz diced tomatoes (canned with juice)
  • 2 cups Progresso™ Chicken Broth
  • 2-3 teaspoons sugar (or to taste)
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 cup heavy cream

OR

  • 2 cans Progresso™ Vegetable Classics Tomato Basil Soup
  1. Combine all soup ingredients in a saucepan except cream. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer 8 minutes. 

  2. Meanwhile, cook tortellini according to package directions. Add chopped spinach to the boiling water 30 seconds before the tortellini is finished. Drain well.

  3. Blend soup mixture with a hand blender. Add in heavy cream and simmer an additional 5 minutes.

  4. Stir in tortellini and spinach if using.

  5. Place in serving bowls and top with fresh basil and parmesan cheese if desired.

Tomato tortellini soup is an easy 15 minute recipe that is perfect for busy weeknights. This easy creamy tomato soup recipe is made with canned tomatoes for a quick meal! #spendwithpennies #tortellini #tomatotortellinisoup #soup #tomatosoup #tortellinisoup
Tomato tortellini soup is an easy 15 minute recipe that is perfect for busy weeknights. This easy creamy tomato soup recipe is made with canned tomatoes for a quick meal! #spendwithpennies #tortellini #tomatotortellinisoup #soup #tomatosoup #tortellinisoup

Gooey Cheese Sticks

Homemade Cheese Sticks are one of the crispy finger foods I crave the most (along with Oven Baked Potato Skins)! The first bite begins with a deliciously crispy outer coating followed closely with a surprisingly soft, gooey and cheesy middle. Serve them with homemade marinara sauce for an appetizer the whole family will love!

Be sure you’re using cheese strings (and not cheese sticks) for this recipe. It melts better and helps keep the cheese from leaking out.

Gooey homemade cheese sticks with marinara sauce ready to eat

How To Make Cheese Sticks

Making homemade cheese sticks could not be easier! It is important to purchase cheese strings and not just mozzarella as the cheese strings will not melt as quickly as regular cheese will. The cornstarch mixture is a bit messy and can feel like a lot but this really keeps the cheese inside.

  1. Peel open the cheese strings, cut them in half and freeze.
  2. Dredge the cheese strings first in beaten egg, then a flour/cornstarch mixture, back into the egg and finally in the bread crumbs.
    • The flour mixture will be a thick coating and sometimes needs to be rolled a bit to get the egg to soak into the flour mixture.
    • Press the breadcrumbs into each cheese string to ensure even coating.
    • Be sure to follow the order of – Egg – Flour Mix – Egg – Bread Crumbs –
  3. Freeze for later or place each in hot oil and cook until just browned. Serve immediately.

Making gooey homemade cheese sticks

How to Cook Cheese Sticks

These Cheese Sticks will have the best results deep fried, it makes them crispy and delicious. They can be baked in the oven or cooked in the air fryer but the best results come from frying! When baking or air frying, a bit of the cheese may leak out, this is normal and they’ll still be delish!

  • To Bake Cheese Sticks: Spray cheese sticks with cooking spray. Preheat oven to 400°F. Bake 9-11 minutes or until crumbs are crisp and cheese is melted.
  • To Cook Cheese Sticks in the Air Fryer: Preheat air fryer to 400°F. Cook cheese sticks in small batches for 4-6 minutes or until crumbs are crisp and cheese is melted.

Cheese Stick Do’s & Don’ts

  • Cheese: Purchase cheese strings and not just mozzarella as they melt differently.
  • Freeze: Completely freeze your cheese before you begin, this keeps it from leaking out during cooking.
  • Crumbs: Take extra care to press the breadcrumbs into each cheese stick. You want the oil to get at the breadcrumbs, not the cheese inside!
  • Cook Time: Do not  overcook your cheese sticks, you just want the breading to get crispy. If they cook too long, the cheese will melt and begin to ooze out.

WARNING: If the cheese is not fully coated (or you use cheese sticks and not strings) the cheese can leak out of the coating causing hot oil to splatter.

Homemade cheese sticks breaded and ready to fry

What dipping sauces go well with crispy fried Cheese Sticks?

Many people enjoy a classic marinara sauce with their cheese sticks, but you could use a bolognese sauce for a meatier option. Another delicious dipper is homemade ranch.

I love to eat cheese sticks as an appetizer along with ‘pub grub’ food like loaded nachos, chicken wings, potato skins, sausage balls or Ham and Cheese Sliders! I also enjoy these crispy cheesy bites as a side dish with a tomato soup for a fun lunch or dinner!

Cheese leaking out of gooey homemade cheese sticks

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Gooey Cheese Sticks

Homemade cheese sticks are made with a deliciously crispy outer coating followed closely with a surprisingly soft, gooey and cheesy middle.

  • 16 Mozzarella string cheese sticks (must be string cheese)
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup corn starch
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil (or vegetable oil)
  • 3/4 cup Italian bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup Panko bread crumbs
  • oil for frying
  1. Open the cheese strings and cut each in half. Cover and place in the freezer for at least 2 hours or until completely frozen. 

  2. Combine flour and cornstarch in a small bowl. Combine the Italian and Panko bread crumbs in a separate shallow dish. In third small bowl, whisk eggs and olive oil until well combined.

  3. Dip each cheese stick half into the egg mixture and then gently roll into the flour mixture.

  4. Put back into the egg mixture and roll until coated. Finally, place into the bread crumbs pressing the crumbs on each piece of cheese to make sure it’s coated all around so the cheese doesn’t leak out.

  5. Place in the freezer while the oil preheats. Preheat oil to 350 degrees. It should be hot enough that a few crumbs dropped into the oil will bubble.

  6. In small batches, place breaded cheese sticks into the hot oil for about 2 minutes or just until browned. Do not overcook or the cheese will leak out.

  7. Serve hot with warm pasta sauce.

These easy cheese sticks are the best appetizer ever. Serve them alongside some marinara sauce for mozzarella sticks that everyone will devour! #spendwithpennies #cheesesticks #mozzarellasticks #cheesy #appetizers #cheesysticks #mozzasticks
These easy cheese sticks are the best appetizer ever. Serve them alongside some marinara sauce for mozzarella sticks that everyone will devour! #spendwithpennies #cheesesticks #mozzarellasticks #cheesy #appetizers #cheesysticks #mozzasticks

Easy Homemade Lasagna

Homemade Lasagna is a classic, delicious dinner that every family should have in their recipe rotation. We love serving a classic lasagna dinner, complete with a caesar salad or Italian salad and dinner rolls slathered in Homemade Garlic Butter. It’s the world’s best meal! 

Lasagna may seem daunting, and while there are a few steps, this is such an easy recipe – you will absolutely love it. On a cold winter day, this homemade lasagna recipe is the perfect Italian meal to warm you from the inside out!

A slice of classic homemade lasagna ready to serve

How to Make Lasagna

When you think homemade lasagna, you might feel overwhelmed but don’t worry! The lasagna ingredients in this recipe are easy to prep and while it does take some time, it’s not difficult at all! All you’ll need for this easy lasagna recipe is one pan, one bowl and a 9×13 baking dish!

Here’s what to do to prepare for layering lasagna:

  1. In the BOWL: Mix the ricotta and divided cheeses with an egg in a bowl, and set aside.
  2. In the PAN: Brown the onion garlic and meat in a pot on the stove top. Add the pasta sauce and tomato paste.
  3. In the 9×13: Layer the meat sauce and cheese mixture with noodles and bake until bubbling

To make this into a spinach lasagna, squeeze out most of the moisture of defrosted frozen spinach and add it along with the cheese layer. Lasagna ingredients don’t have to be limited to the ones you see here. Substitute meats or different cheeses, or try different meat sauce variations. Any way you slice lasagna, it’s always delicious!

Ingredients for making the best homemade lasagna recipe

How to Layer Lasagna

Once you have prepared the meat sauce and cheeses, you’re ready to for the layering. This is the fun part! To layer lasagna:

  1. Spread about a cup of meat sauce into a 9×13 pan. Add a layer of noodles.
  2. Top the noodles with some of the cheese mixture.
  3. Repeat the layers, ending with a layer of noodles
  4. Cover with foil and bake.
  5. Remove foil, top with mozzarella and parmesan and bake another 15 minutes.

A pan of the best lasagna made from an easy lasagna recipe

How Long to Bake Lasagna

Baking time lasagna for this recipe is about one hour total. To get that perfect browned cheese topping, you’ll need to bake it in two stages. After it’s layered, cover it tightly in foil to retain the moisture.

Once cooked, remove the foil, top with cheese, and return to the oven for another 15 minutes, or until the top is browned and your easy lasagna is bubbling.

It’s very important to let the lasagna sit for at least 15 minutes once removed from the oven. This is what keeps it from becoming runny and helps it to keep its shape when cut (you don’t need to do this when you’re reheating it though).

Serve this easy lasagna with a salad topped with Italian Dressing and a chunk of focaccia bread or crusty white bread.

A pan of lasagna cut into pieces for serving

How to Freeze Lasagna

Lasagna is one of the best meals to make ahead and freeze. I love to make two pans of this easy lasagna recipe, and save one for another day. You can either divide the already baked lasagna into several portions and pack it in freezer safe containers, or freeze the whole pan.

You can also layer the ingredients then freeze before baking. Defrost in the refrigerator overnight and bake as directed.

How To Reheat Lasagna

If you’re baking frozen prepped lasagna, it’s best to pull it out the day before you’re going to cook it so that it has a chance to defrost before it goes in the oven. This prevents it from burning on the edges and undercooking in the center.

If you’ve frozen leftovers, pop them in the oven at 350°F covered, until reheated. This should take about 30 minutes! Of course leftovers are perfect heated in the microwave too!

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Easy Homemade Lasagna

Homemade lasagna is a classic, delicious dinner that every family should have in their recipe rotation. 

  • 12 lasagna noodles (uncooked)
  • 4 cups mozzarella cheese (divided)
  • 1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese (divided)

Tomato Sauce

  • 1/2 pound lean ground beef
  • 1/2 pound Italian sausage
  • 1 onion (diced)
  • 2 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 24 oz pasta sauce
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning

Cheese Layer

  • 2 cups ricotta cheese
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 egg (beaten)
  1. Heat oven to 350°F. Cook noodles al dente according to package directions. Rinse under cold water and set aside.

  2. Brown beef, onion and garlic over medium high heat until no pink remains. Drain any fat.
  3. Stir in pasta sauce, tomato paste, Italian seasoning. Simmer 5 minutes.
  4. Combine 1-1/2 cups mozzarella, ricotta, 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, parsley and egg.
  5. Add 1 cup meat sauce to a 9×13 pan. Top with 3 lasagna noodles. Layer with 1/3 of the cheese mixture and 1 cup of meat sauce. Repeat finishing with noodles topped with sauce.

  6. Cover with foil and bake 45 minutes. Uncover, add cheese and bake an additional 15 minutes or until browned and bubbly. Broil 2-3 minutes if desired.

  7. Rest 10-15 minutes before cutting.

Time Saving Tip:  Use fresh lasagna sheets found in the deli area and skip the boiling step! Fresh lasagna doesn’t need to be boiled first.

This easy homemade lasagna recipe is a classic, and one of our family favorites. All you need is a side salad and garlic bread for the perfect meal! #spendwithpennies #lasagna #homemadelasagna #italianlasagna #easylasagna #classiclasagna
This easy homemade lasagna recipe is a classic, and one of our family favorites. All you need is a side salad and garlic bread for the perfect meal! #spendwithpennies #lasagna #homemadelasagna #italianlasagna #easylasagna #classiclasagna

Chicken Parmesan Casserole – a perfect weeknight meal!

Chicken Parmesan Casserole takes all of the flavors we love in our favorite Chicken Parmesan recipe and turns them into a belly warming casserole!

Tender chunks of chicken and pasta in a rich tomato sauce. This chicken casserole is topped with mozzarella cheese and a garlic buttery topping for the perfect bite!

Add in a side salad and some crusty bread and you’ll have dinner on the table in a flash.

Chicken Parmesan Casserole is baked in a round casserole dish.

Chicken Parmesan Casserole starts with tender chunks of cooked chicken. I normally use either Oven Baked Chicken Breasts or leftover Roast Chicken. If you don’t have leftovers, you can also use rotisserie chicken or make a super quick Poached Chicken.

If you use rotisserie chicken, remember to put the leftover bones and bits in the freezer for another day to turn them into a savory chicken soup.

How to Make Chicken Parmesan Casserole

The great thing about baked chicken parmesan casserole is how easy it is to prepare on busy weeknights. I usually make it even easier on myself with leftover chicken.

To make chicken parmesan casserole into a filling meal the whole family will love:

  1. Boil the pasta al dente and drain (it will finish cooking in the oven)
  2. In the same pot, mix the pasta, shredded chicken, sauce and diced tomatoes, and place into a casserole dish.
  3. Top with shredded mozzarella.
  4. Spread the Panko topping over the cheese and bake until golden brown and bubbling.

Chicken Parmesan Casserole prepared and waiting to go into the oven.

Pasta for Chicken Parm Casserole

The pasta you use can be just about any shape you like – or with pasta you already have on hand, other than spaghetti. I recommend either penne or rotini here, either would be the perfect choice for casseroles. They’re dense and delightfully chewy. This means it holds up well to baking, freezing, or if you expect there to be leftovers.

Rotini is my personal favorite, and kids seem to like it too. Those little spirals catch and hold the sauce, making for a more tender and juicy dish. Be sure not to overcook them so they don’t fall apart and turn into mush if you plan on freezing of refrigerating and reheating leftovers.

Easy Casserole Topping

I always think a good topping gives any casserole dish extra pizazz but it’s especially important in this recipe. Since this recipe mimics the flavors in our favorite chicken parm recipe, the crumbs replicate that delicious crunch and breading we love so much. Panko, garlic, butter and parmesan add the perfect crisp topping.

Of course, you can substitute whatever breadcrumbs are in your cupboard. The fat in the melted butter will still make them bake up nice and crumbly but Panko does give the best crispy crunch.

A serving of Chicken Parmesan Casserole on a white dish

What to Serve with Chicken Parmesan Casserole

Baked Chicken Parmesan Casserole is a simple Italian inspired dish. And what goes better with basic Italian than crusty garlic bread, and a fresh green salad?

You can pop a foil-wrapped garlic loaf in the oven at the same time the casserole is cooking. For the salad, just whisk up a homemade balsamic vinaigrette. The acidity of the vinegar will make a welcome contrast to the buttery and cheesy richness of this casserole. Your family is going to love it!

A baking dish full of chicken parmesan casserole with a serving taken out of it.

How to Reheat Chicken Parmesan Casserole

If you have leftovers, you can refresh with a new topping layer and reheat in the oven. Freezing the leftovers is also an option. Either way, the flavors will still be awesome.

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Chicken Parmesan Casserole

Baked Chicken Parmesan Casserole has chicken, pasta, tomato sauce and a crisp panko crumb topping to make a delicious Italian inspired dish you will love!

  • 8 oz rotini (or penne)
  • 24 oz marinara sauce (or pasta sauce, divided)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 2 cups cooked chicken (shredded or diced)
  • 14.5 oz diced tomatoes (canned, well drained (optional))
  • 1 cup mozzarella cheese
  • 1 tablespoon parsley (fresh)

Topping

  • 2 tablespoons butter (melted)
  • 1/3 cup Panko bread crumbs
  • 1 tablespoon parsley (fresh)
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese
  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.

  2. Mix all topping ingredients together. Set aside.

  3. Cook pasta al dente according to package directions. Toss with 2 cups pasta sauce, Italian seasoning, chicken, diced tomatoes and parsley. 

  4. Place in a 9×9 dish or 2QT casserole dish and top with mozzarella cheese. Sprinkle topping over cheese.

  5. Baked 23-25 minutes or until golden and bubbly and topping is browned.

remove

We just love this Chicken Parmesan Casserole! Tender chunks of chicken and pasta are covered in a rich tomato sauce, then topped with mozzarella cheese and a crispy panko topping! #spendwithpennies #chickenparmesan #casserole #chickencasserole #pastacasserole #easyrecipe #maincourse #weekdaymeal #chicken #pasta
We just love this Chicken Parmesan Casserole! Tender chunks of chicken and pasta are covered in a rich tomato sauce, then topped with mozzarella cheese and a crispy panko topping! #spendwithpennies #chickenparmesan #casserole #chickencasserole #pastacasserole #easyrecipe #maincourse #weekdaymeal #chicken #pasta

Lazy Lasagna in the Slow Cooker

Lazy Crock Pot Lasagna is a family favorite and so quick and easy to make! A delicious meat sauce layered with cheese and spinach filled ravioli and loads of gooey cheese and cooks up perfectly in the slow cooker. A meal that everyone will agree on. Did I mention how easy this lasagna is to make?

Lazy Crock Pot Lasagna With Cheese And Sauce On Plate

Easy Easy Easy

This Lazy Crock Pot Lasagna is a family favorite!  It seems we’re always off at some activity or event and some nights it seems like everyone is going through a revolving door.  This is perfect because it’s quick to make and we can have it ready for when we get home from soccer practice.

We love lasagna and although there are a lot of steps involved in making a lasagna from scratch, the results are always worth it!  This Lazy Crock Pot Lasagna uses a few shortcuts to make a lasagna dish that takes just about 15 minutes of prep and then cooks in the slow cooker but has the same great flavor.

Easy Lasagna in Slow Cooker (Crock Pot)

Saucy Lasagna In Your Slow Cooker

The key to making this taste amazing is to use a high quality pasta sauce, the better the sauce, the better the dish!

Cheese and spinach filled ravioli (or you can use just cheese ravioli) replace the traditional layers of pasta and ricotta cheese making it super simple to put together and no boiling required. Adding the cheese on top right at the beginning of the the cooking allows it to get that yummy crusty edge that I love!

This recipe makes a large batch and I would suggest a 6 quart slow cooker or larger.

Lazy Crock Pot Lasagna made with ravioli on a plate.

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Lazy Crock Pot Lasagna

Lazy Crock Pot Lasagna is a family favorite and so quick and easy to make!

  • 1 lb lean ground beef
  • 1 small onion (, diced)
  • 2 cloves garlic (, minced)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 1 large jar ((45 oz) high quality pasta sauce)
  • 4 cups mozzarella cheese
  • 1 large package ((25-30 oz) cheese & spinach filled ravioli (uncooked))
  1. Brown ground beef, onion and garlic over medium heat until no pink remains. Drain any fat.
  2. Stir in Italian seasoning and pasta sauce. Cover and simmer 10 minutes.
  3. Spray the inside of a 6-7 qt crock pot with cooking spray. Layer sauce, ravioli and cheese.
  4. Repeat layers ending with cheese. Cover and cook on low 3-4 hours.

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Lazy Crock Pot Lasagna is a family favorite and so quick and easy to make! A delicious meat sauce is layered with cheese and spinach filled ravioli and loads of gooey cheese and cooks up perfectly in the slow cooker. This is one meal that everyone will agree on.

The BEST Chicken Lasagna Recipe

This chicken lasagna recipe is one of our favorite comfort foods. Tender chicken is layered with veggies, cheese, and lasagna noodles in a rich creamy alfredo inspired sauce. Serve it alongside a caesar salad and garlic bread for a comfort meal that’s perfect for any time of the year!

Having simple dinner recipes that I can make during the week and that reheat well to make a few meals is a complete game changer. Cue, this chicken alfredo lasagna recipe!

A slice of cheesy chicken lasagna on a white plate topped with fresh parsley.

Chicken Lasagna Alfredo

I love using leftover roast chicken for this recipe, but poached chicken, grilled chicken breasts, or even store bought rotisserie chicken work great in a pinch. If you have leftover frozen turkey, that is a great substitution too!

Making the sauce homemade alfredo style sauce adds so much flavor to this white lasagna recipe. It makes it so creamy, dreamy, and delicious!

Chicken lasagna being layered with chicken and veggies in a baking dish.

How To Make Chicken Lasagna

Lasagna has a few steps but this dish is worth every second! To make this chicken lasagna recipe:

  • Make the cheesy cream sauce
  • Combine cottage cheese, parsley, eggs, and spinach for the cheese layer
  • Layer noodles, sauce, cheese, vegetables, and chicken, end with a noodles and sauce layer
  • Bake for 40 minutes covered
  • Uncovered, top with cheese, and bake for an additional 20 minutes

When you layer lasagna, the trick is to keep things as even as possible throughout the dish to ensure even baking. The lasagna noodles should be cooked al dente as they’ll cook a little bit longer in the oven.

A slice of white chicken lasagna on a white plate ready to eat.

What Temp To Bake Lasagna

I bake this chicken lasagna at 350°F for about 60 minutes in total. Adding the cheese towards the end of baking ensure it doesn’t fall into the rest of the dish or overcook and crisps up nicely.

If you notice the cheese isn’t as browned and bubbly as you’d like, turn the oven to broil right before you remove the chicken lasagna from the oven.

Alternatively if the topping is done to your liking and you still have some cooking time left, cover the lasagna with foil to prevent further browning while it finishes off.

A cheesy white lasagna fresh from the oven in a casserole dish.

As with all Lasagna recipes, make sure you let this casserole sit at least 10-15 minutes before cutting. This gives it a chance to set up.

Serve this lasagna alongside a fresh kale salad for the perfect meal!

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Chicken Lasagna

A delicious chicken lasagna with a creamy cheese sauce is a family favorite!

  • 12 lasagna noodles (cooked and cooled)
  • 4 cups cooked chicken
  • 3 cups vegetables (cooked and cooled)
  • 10 oz frozen chopped spinach (defrosted and squeezed dry)
  • 2 cups cottage cheese (or ricotta cheese)
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons parsley
  • 4 cups mozzarella (divided)
  • 2/3 cup shredded parmesan cheese (divided)

Sauce

  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 1 onion (diced)
  • 2 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 4 oz cream cheese
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • ½ teaspoon oregano

Sauce

  1. To make the sauce, melt butter, onion and garlic over medium low heat. Cook until onion is softened, about 3 minutes. Add flour and cook for 1-2 minutes.

  2. Reduce heat to low. Combine milk and broth. Add a small amount at a time whisking to thicken. The mixture will become very thick, continue adding a little bit of liquid at a time whisking until smooth.

    Once all of the liquid has been added, stir in cream cheese until melted.

  3. Remove from heat and add in 1/3 cup parmesan and 1 cup mozzarella cheese.

Assembly

  1. Combine cottage cheese, eggs, parsley and spinach. Set aside.

  2. In a 9×13 pan, layer 4 noodles, sauce, cooked vegetables and half of the chicken. Sprinkle with 1/2 mozza, 1/4 cup parmesan and 1/3 of the sauce.

  3. Add another layer of noodles, chicken, cottage cheese mixture, sauce.  Top with noodles and sauce. Cover and bake 40 minutes.

  4. Uncover, top with cheese and bake 20-30 minutes more.

For cooked vegetables I use steamed broccoli and carrots. Any combination of veggies works in this recipe, mushrooms, asparagus, bell peppers or zucchini are great choices.

 

Cheesy Ranch Spinach Dip Recipe

This Cheesy Ranch Spinach dip recipe is packed with spinach and peppers and fully loaded with delicious ranch flavor!  It can easily be prepped ahead of time for a delicious dip perfect for any party!

We love Buttermilk Ranch Dressing and as much as I love a traditional Spinach Artichoke Dip, sometimes we like to switch it up which the flavor of ranch!

Cheesy Spinach Dip Being Scooped

I have partnered with Hidden Valley Ranch to bring you this amazing dip!

The Perfect Spinach Dip

This a great hot spinach dip recipe, loaded with flavor from both fresh spinach and ranch seasoning mix! We are big veggie lovers in our household! While I do love a traditional cold spinach dip recipe, there’s really nothing quite like a hot bubbly cheese dip out of the oven!

Adding diced peppers to this dip makes for great flavor! While I used fresh spinach in this recipe, of course you can substitute frozen chopped spinach as well! Be sure to squeeze it to drain well. This Ranch Spinach dip recipe is packed with spinach and peppers and fully loaded with flavor!

Baked Spinach Dip With Ranch and Cheese

How to Make Spinach Dip

This dip is easy to make and has so much great flavor! Here are a few tips to make sure you have spinach dip perfection!

  • Use a hand mixer to combine the cream cheese, this makes it softer and easier to scoop.
  • Squeeze all of the water you can out of the spinach.
  • Change the cheeses to your favorites, a bit of gruyere or cheddar are great in this recipe.
  • Low fat or light products can be used in this recipe.
  • Make up to 48 hours in advance and refrigerate. May need a bit of extra cook time if it’s chilled.

Make Ahead Spinach Cheese Dip

Not only is it perfect for any gathering,  this spinach dip recipe can actually be prepared a day in advance and put it in the oven just before serving!

Either take it out of the refrigerator 30 minutes before baking or add a few minutes extra bake time.

More Easy Dips You’ll Love

Ranch Spinach Dip Recipe

This Ranch Spinach dip recipe is packed with spinach and peppers and fully loaded with delicious ranch flavor!

  • 2 bunches spinach (washed)
  • 8 oz cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup sliced green onion
  • 1/2 cup diced red pepper
  • 1 packet Hidden Valley Ranch Mix
  • 1 1/2 cups mozzarella cheese (divided)
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.

  2. Wash and roughly chop spinach. Place in a non-stick pan over medium heat until cooked. Cool completely. Once cooled, squeeze as much liquid as possible out of the spinach.

  3. Combine cream cheese, sour cream, mayonnaise and ranch mix with a hand mixer until fluffy.

  4. Fold in remaining ingredients except 1/2 cup of mozzarella and spread into a 2 quart casserole dish. 

  5. Top with remaining cheese and bake uncovered for 25-30 minutes or until hot & bubbly.

You can follow Hidden Valley on Facebook,  Pinterest, Instagram or Twitter or check out Hidden Valley online for lots of great recipes and inspiration!

This Cheesy Ranch Spinach dip recipe is packed with spinach and peppers and fully loaded with delicious ranch flavor!  It can easily be prepped ahead of time for a delicious dip perfect for any party! #Dips #HolidayAppetizers #Holidays #Spinach
This Cheesy Ranch Spinach dip recipe is packed with spinach and peppers and fully loaded with delicious ranch flavor!  It can easily be prepped ahead of time for a delicious dip perfect for any party! #Dips #HolidayAppetizers #Holidays #Spinach

Easy Make Ahead Egg Muffins

Egg Muffins are a delicious and tasty breakfast, naturally low carb and easy to make ahead of time. We prepare these little egg cups with our favorite veggies or sausage or bacon (often using leftovers).

We make these easy egg muffins ahead of time and reheat them throughout the week for a perfect meal on the go!

Egg Muffins on a plate ready for morning breakfast.

We love having breakfast ready to go like our favorite Mango Berry Overnight Oats or Blueberry Baked Oatmeal. And these Egg Muffins are definitely one of my favorite breakfast items!

Egg Muffins

Egg muffins are naturally low carb, keto friendly and easy to make! Just like Overnight Oats, they’re great to have in the fridge for a quick breakfast or lunch!

We prepare them on the weekend and heat them in the microwave for a minute. They’re perfect on their own if you’re looking for a low carb breakfast or tucked between a couple of pieces of toast or an english muffin.

How To Make Egg Muffins

These little egg cups are very simple to make. Breakfast egg muffins consist of meats, cheeses and veggies with eggs.

  1. Grease your muffin tin well (or they’ll stick) and add in your favorite toppings and a bit of cheese.
  2. Next combine eggs and egg whites. Egg whites make the texture a bit lighter (I use store bought egg whites in a carton).
  3. If you’d prefer to use whole eggs, replace the 1 cup of egg whites in the recipe and use 12 eggs total. (1 egg per cup).
  4. Bake and enjoy!

Pouring eggs into a muffin pan to make egg muffins

A Make-Ahead Breakfast Made Your Way

While these egg muffins contain turkey sausage and cheese, you can use any combination of ingredients you like!  A few of my favorites include:

  • ham & broccoli
  • bacon or sausage, peppers and mushrooms
  • spinach egg muffins with feta
  • bacon, cheddar and green onion
  • asparagus & brie

If you prefer a veggie egg muffin, skip the meat and add extra cooked veggies. We often use leftovers from the weekend to put in them and change up the cheeses depending on what we have on hand.

Naturally low carb egg cups make an easy make ahead breakfast

How Do you Store Egg Muffins?

Refrigerator: These egg muffins will keep in the fridge for up to 5 days for a quick and easy make-ahead breakfast on the go!

Freezer: If you’d like to keep them longer, I would suggest freezing your egg muffins. We place them in a freezer bag and lay it flat until frozen.

To Reheat Egg Muffins

To reheat egg muffins, simply microwave them for about 20 seconds or so from the refrigerator. If they’re frozen, they’ll need a bit longer about 60-90 seconds.

You can also reheat these in a toaster oven for about 10 minutes at 350°F.

As for these delicious egg cups, I prefer to eat them as is and my husband loves to put them on English muffins to make a sandwich.  Either way, these little egg muffins are the perfect way to start your day! 

More Breakfast Recipes You’ll Love

Make Ahead Egg Muffins

Egg muffins are a delicious and tasty breakfast, naturally low carb and easy to make ahead of time.

  • 1 lb ground turkey sausage (or pork)
  • 6 large eggs
  • 1 cup egg whites
  • 1/2 red pepper (diced)
  • 3 tablespoons minced onion
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Brown turkey sausage over medium high until no pink remains.
  3. Spray a muffin tin with cooking spray. Divide the red pepper, onion, cooked sausage and cheeses over 12 wells.
  4. In a large bowl combine eggs, egg whites and salt & pepper to taste. Pour egg mixture over the sausage in each well.
  5. Bake 22-25 minutes or until set.
  6. Remove from cups and serve warm or let cool completely and refrigerate or freeze.

Microwaves can vary greatly, time may need to be adjusted.

Looking for more quick and easy breakfast ideas?

Here are a few we love:

 

Delicious Make-Ahead Egg Muffins are the perfect breakfast on the go! Cheese & eggs loaded with your favorite toppings are quick & easy and heat in just 30 seconds!
Delicious Make-Ahead Egg Muffins are the perfect breakfast on the go! Cheese & eggs loaded with your favorite toppings are quick & easy and heat in just 30 seconds!
Delicious Make-Ahead Egg Muffins are the perfect breakfast on the go! Cheese and eggs loaded with your favorite toppings are quick, easy and heat in just 30 seconds! #spendwithpennies #easyrecipe #makeahead #eggmuffins #holidays #brunchrecipe #withcheese #easybreakfast
Delicious Make-Ahead Egg Muffins are the perfect breakfast on the go! Cheese and eggs loaded with your favorite toppings are quick, easy and heat in just 30 seconds! #spendwithpennies #easyrecipe #makeahead #eggmuffins #holidays #brunchrecipe #withcheese #easybreakfast

Slow Cooker French Onion Soup

Slow Cooker French Onion Soup is one of our favorite meals to come home to! As with any traditional French onion soup, this recipe features a beefy broth loaded with caramelized onions and herbs and topped with an amazing Gruyere cheese topping!

French Onion Soup in individual serving dishes

© SpendWithPennies.com

Crockpot French Onion Soup

French Onion Soup is one of my husband’s all-time favorites. It’s the perfect meal for any soup lover!

For me it’s all about the bread and cheese…  all soaked in that rich herby onion broth and then broiled until the cheese gets all hot and bubbly. Scooping up the first bite of that ooey gooey cheese is like a little taste of heaven.

While French Onion Soup is good, I do think that a good broth takes a long time to develop great flavor which is something I love about this recipe.

In this easy French Onion Soup recipe, the onions and broth have the chance meld in the slow cooker all day long creating a rich and flavorful soup.  Not to mention, I’m a huge fan of slow cooker meals because I love coming home to dinner ready to go!

It just seems to make the evening run that much smoother, at least in my house with activities, homework and soccer practices!

French Onion Soup made from crockpot French Onion Soup recipe

Why do they Call It French Onion Soup?

French onion soup actually originated in France in the 18th century and has been a traditional soup of France ever since.  This soup is most often served as a starter, however, we love to enjoy it (with extra bread and a salad) as a meal.

How do you Make French Onion Soup from Scratch

To make french onion soup completely from scratch you’d want to start with your own homemade broth or stock. While I often make chicken broth from scratch for this recipe I usually use a lower sodium store-bought broth.  Either will work just fine.

Caramelizing the onions does take a little bit of time but it’s totally worth the effort.  You want them translucent and golden without browning or crisping them so low and slow heat is the way to go with these!  You don’t have to stir them constantly but you do want to make sure they aren’t cooking too quickly.

While I caramelize them on the stove top for convenience, you can actually caramelize them right in your slow cooker too but it does take 8-10 hours!  If you get them started the night before, you can wake up to caramelized onions, add the remaining ingredients and you’re good to go!

How to Caramelize Onions in the Slow Cooker

Combine 3lbs sliced onions, 1/2 cup unsalted butter and 1/2 teaspoon salt.  Stir and cook on low 8-10 hours.  (You would need half of these onions for this recipe but can add more if you like. You can freeze the other half to add to mashed potatoes, casseroles, soups and more). (Note you do not need brown sugar if you use this method, the onions have enough natural sugars).

how to make french onion soup in the crock pot

What is the Best Onion to Use in French Onion Soup

When making French onion soup, you’ll want an onion that will caramelize well and have the right amount of sweetness.

I find using regular white onions provides the best results as sweet onions can overpower the broth and tend to create a soup that is too sweet.

If you happen to have only sweet onions on hand, I would suggest eliminating any sugar from the recipe.

What kind of cheese is best for French Onion Soup?

The bread and cheese topping is one of my favorite parts of this recipe.  Using Gruyere and Emmental cheeses really make this dish amazing, however, you can substitute mozzarella/ parmesan/ swiss if it’s all you have on hand.

I love to ladle this into bowls, add the cheese and broil, however, you can simply place the bread & under a broiled on a pan and add it to your bowls if you prefer.

Serve this French Onion Soup with a side salad and some extra bread for a delicious dinner!

More Crockpot Soups You’ll Love

Slow Cooker French Onion Soup

Slow Cooker French Onion Soup is one of our favorite meals to come home to! A rich beefy broth loaded with caramelized onions and herbs and topped with an amazing Gruyere cheese topping!

  • 3 large white onions (, sliced)
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 64 oz Beef Broth ((I use reduced sodium))
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 clove garlic (, minced)
  • 1/3 cup dry sherry
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme ((or 1 tsp dried Thyme))
  • 1 Bay Leaf
  • 8 slices dry french bread
  • 3/4 cup Gruyere cheese (, shredded)
  • 1/2 cup Emmental cheese (, shredded)
  • 6 tablespoons fresh parmesan cheese
  1. In a large non-stick pan, cook onions, butter and brown sugar over medium low heat until golden and caramelized. (About 20 minutes).
  2. Once golden, add to the slow cooker along with remaining ingredients except bread and cheeses.
  3. Cook on low for 6-8 hours.
  4. Remove and discard bay leaf and ladle the soup into bowls. Top with dry bread slices and cheeses. Broil 2-3 minutes or until cheese is melted and browned.

If you don’t have dry bread, slice your loaf and dry it in the oven at 300 degrees for about 5-7 minutes. Cool completely.

More Soups You’ll Love

 

Ham & Corn Chowder

This delicious Ham and Corn Chowder is rich, creamy & full of flavor! This easy to make soup is loaded with ham, bacon, corn, & potatoes. Perfect fall dinner or lunch!

 

20 Minute Broccoli Cheese Soup

20 Minute Broccoli Cheese Soup! This delicious soup is made from scratch in just 20 minutes! The perfect meal to warm you from the inside out on a chilly day!

CrockPot Lasagna Soup

Crock Pot Lasagna Soup

Slow Cooker French Onion Soup is one of our favorite meals to come home to! A rich herby onion broth topped with cheese and broiled until hot and bubbly.
Slow Cooker French Onion Soup is one of our favorite meals to come home to! A rich herby onion broth topped with cheese and broiled until hot and bubbly.

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