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.

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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.

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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

Easy 3 Ingredient Bubble Pizza

Bubble Pizza is almost as much fun to make as it is to eat. If you’ve ever had monkey bread, pull apart pizza bread is a similar concept. Canned biscuit dough (or even homemade biscuits) are tossed with cheese, pizza sauce and toppings for an easy snack!

To turn bubble pizza bread into a meal, add hearty toppings like Italian sausage and serve with a fresh tossed salad or even veggie sticks or Caesar Salad!

A pan of bubble pizza ready to be served with marinara sauce

A perfect homemade pizza is hands down one of my favorites! Tender chewy crust, zesty sauce and of course loads of toppings. As much as I love a good pizza, I also love having a recipe in my pocket for something that has all of the same delicious flavor with just a few ingredients a very little prep.

Bubble Pizza Ingredients

Since it’s so easy to prepare, pizza bread is the perfect snack to introduce your kids to cooking too! You’ll need just three ingredients:

  • Pizza Sauce
    • Use store bought or homemade
    • Cirio pizza sauce is my favorite brand (I get it our local Italian market for about $3)
  • Biscuit Dough
    • Canned biscuit dough to keeps this recipe easy
    • Homemade dough (or dough from biscuit mix) will work as well.
  • Shredded Cheese
    • Mozzarella is best for achieving that gooey goodness that makes pull apart pizza bread so good
    • Parmesan adds great flavor
    • Swap in some extra sharp cheddar to pump up the flavor even more
  • Toppings
    • No toppings are required if you’d prefer plain cheese
    • Add fresh basil with mozzarella to create a Margherita Pizza bread
    • Cook watery toppings (like mushrooms) before adding

Ingredients for pizza bread ready to be prepared including quartered biscuits, cheeses, pizza sauce and pepperoni.

How to Make Bubble Bread

You won’t believe how easy it is to make a pizza casserole with biscuits. Here’s all you do:

  1. Separate the biscuits and cut into quarters, using kitchen scissors or a knife.
  2. Toss the pieces with the pizza sauce and half the cheese & toppings.
  3. Place the mixture in a casserole dish and bake until puffed up and lightly browned.

Top with the remaining cheese and cook until melted and gooey. So easy!

Pizza Bubble Bread baked and ready to serve

What to Serve with Pizza Bread

Bubble Up Pizza Bread is the ultimate party snack food, so serve it with a variety of dips that go well with the flavors of pizza. Marinara sauce is a popular (and delicious) choice! Other good options include ranch dip, Blue Cheese Dressing or Spicy Dill Dip.

Bubble Pizza makes a terrific finger food to serve at parties or on game day. Just don’t forget to put out plenty of extra-large napkins –or better yet, a roll of paper towels!

Pizza Inspired Favorites

Easy Bubble Pizza

This easy bubble pizza is quick and delicious recipe needing just a few ingredients. Add your favorite toppings and bake until bubbly.

  • 1 roll of biscuit dough
  • 1 cup pizza sauce
  • 1 1/2 cups mozzarella cheese (or cheddar) (shredded)
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese (shredded)
  • Toppings as desired
  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.

  2. Cut each biscuit into 4 pieces using kitchen scissors or a knife.
  3. In a large bowl, toss biscuit pieces, pizza sauce, toppings and 1/2 cup of cheese.
  4. Spoon biscuit pieces into a well greased 9×9 pan. Top with toppings. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until lightly browned and centre seems cooked.

  5. Top with remaining cheese and bake an additional 5 minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbly. Broil to brown if desired.

Easy Pizza Bubble Bread in pan with a piece being taken out

remove

Bubble Pizza Bread

bubble pizza with a piece being taken

Bubble Pizza is almost as much fun to make as it is to eat. If you’ve ever had monkey bread, pull apart pizza bread is a similar concept. Canned biscuit dough (or even homemade biscuits) are tossed with cheese, pizza sauce and toppings for an easy snack!

To turn bubble pizza bread into a meal, add hearty toppings like Italian sausage and serve with a fresh tossed salad or even veggie sticks or Caesar Salad!

A pan of bubble pizza ready to be served with marinara sauce

A perfect homemade pizza is hands down one of my favorites! Tender chewy crust, zesty sauce and of course loads of toppings. As much as I love a good pizza, I also love having a recipe in my pocket for something that has all of the same delicious flavor with just a few ingredients a very little prep.

Bubble Pizza Ingredients

Since it’s so easy to prepare, pizza bread is the perfect snack to introduce your kids to cooking too! You’ll need just three ingredients:

  • Pizza Sauce
    • Use store bought or homemade
    • Cirio pizza sauce is my favorite brand (I get it our local Italian market for about $3)
  • Biscuit Dough
    • Canned biscuit dough to keeps this recipe easy
    • Homemade dough (or dough from biscuit mix) will work as well.
  • Shredded Cheese
    • Mozzarella is best for achieving that gooey goodness that makes pull apart pizza bread so good
    • Parmesan adds great flavor
    • Swap in some extra sharp cheddar to pump up the flavor even more
  • Toppings
    • No toppings are required if you’d prefer plain cheese
    • Add fresh basil with mozzarella to create a Margherita Pizza bread
    • Cook watery toppings (like mushrooms) before adding

Ingredients for pizza bread ready to be prepared including quartered biscuits, cheeses, pizza sauce and pepperoni.

How to Make Bubble Bread

You won’t believe how easy it is to make a pizza casserole with biscuits. Here’s all you do:

  1. Separate the biscuits and cut into quarters, using kitchen scissors or a knife.
  2. Toss the pieces with the pizza sauce and half the cheese & toppings.
  3. Place the mixture in a casserole dish and bake until puffed up and lightly browned.

Top with the remaining cheese and cook until melted and gooey. So easy!

Pizza Bubble Bread baked and ready to serve

What to Serve with Pizza Bread

Bubble Up Pizza Bread is the ultimate party snack food, so serve it with a variety of dips that go well with the flavors of pizza. Marinara sauce is a popular (and delicious) choice! Other good options include ranch dip, Blue Cheese Dressing or Spicy Dill Dip.

Bubble Pizza makes a terrific finger food to serve at parties or on game day. Just don’t forget to put out plenty of extra-large napkins –or better yet, a roll of paper towels!

Pizza Inspired Favorites

Easy Bubble Pizza

This easy bubble pizza is quick and delicious recipe needing just a few ingredients. Add your favorite toppings and bake until bubbly.

  • 1 roll of biscuit dough
  • 1 cup pizza sauce
  • 1 1/2 cups mozzarella cheese (or cheddar) (shredded)
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese (shredded)
  • Toppings as desired
  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.

  2. Cut each biscuit into 4 pieces using kitchen scissors or a knife.
  3. In a large bowl, toss biscuit pieces, pizza sauce, toppings and 1/2 cup of cheese.
  4. Spoon biscuit pieces into a well greased 9×9 pan. Top with toppings. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until lightly browned and centre seems cooked.

  5. Top with remaining cheese and bake an additional 5 minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbly. Broil to brown if desired.

Easy Pizza Bubble Bread in pan with a piece being taken out

remove

Make Ahead Breakfast Casserole

Sausage Breakfast Casserole is loaded with sausage, peppers, cheese and Italian seasoning is one my favorite make ahead  breakfasts! You’ll love this for holidays and when you’ve got guests as it can (and should) be made ahead of time!

Breakfast casserole is literally my favorite breakfast recipe of all time and everyone raves about it. Serve with a fresh fruit salad!

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

A Favorite Breakfast Made Easy

My Mom has made bacon breakfast casserole on Christmas morning for as long as I can and either one is my absolute favorite holiday dish (along with a classic stuffing recipe of course).

I love that overnight casseroles (both in the oven and a Slow Cooker Breakfast Casserole) can be prepped the night before making it perfect for holidays, weekends and even for overnight guests.

How to Make a Sausage Breakfast Casserole

This sausage egg casserole is very simple to make!

  1. Place bread cubes, chopped peppers and cooked sausage in a casserole dish (per recipe below).
  2. Combine eggs, milk and cheese. Pour over bread.
  3. Refrigerate at least 4 hours (overnight is best).  This allows the bread cubes to soak up the egg mixture.
  4. In the morning just bake and serve!

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).

A slice of overnight sausage breakfast casserole on a plate.

 

Variations on Sausage Breakfast Casserole

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

  • Meat: Sausage is my first choice in this recipe, it has lots of flavor!
  • Vegetables: I use peppers and onions for flavor. Any veggie will do (including leftover roasted veggies). If your vegetables are watery (like mushrooms) be sure to pre-cook them so they don’t make the casserole watery. If you use veggies like asparagus or broccoli, steam until tender crisp.
  • Cheese: Use whatever you have on hand! Gruyere or a bit of swiss also add a great flavor.

Substituting Bread With Hashbrowns

While I much prefer the consistency of this dish using bread cubes, you can certainly make this into a sausage hashbrown casserole in place of bread. You can also use leftover rolls, hot dog buns… pretty much any dry bread will work!

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

More Easy Eggs

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.

Overnight Sausage Breakfast Casserole is the perfect make ahead breakfast for guests or holidays! It's loaded with sausage, peppers, seasonings and cheese. #spendwithpennies #sausagerecipe #sausagecasserole #breakfastcasserole #sausagebreakfascasserole #overnightbreakfastrecipe #stratarecipe #sausagestrata
Overnight Sausage Breakfast Casserole is the perfect make ahead breakfast for guests or holidays! It's loaded with sausage, peppers, seasonings and cheese. #spendwithpennies #sausagerecipe #sausagecasserole #breakfastcasserole #sausagebreakfascasserole #overnightbreakfastrecipe #stratarecipe #sausagestrata

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. 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 (even 30 minutes is fine). 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 chunk of Homemade Garlic 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