20-Minute Cheese Tortellini and Vegetable Soup

This cheesy tortellini soup is only 20 minutes from start to finish and your family is going to love it!

Whenever I’m trying to survive through a busy week, I turn to quick soups like this one. They’re packed with vegetables, customizable (hello, using up leftovers), freeze well, and they’re cheap to make. It’s like a one-two-three punch of deliciousness.

Like, I’m not even sure ‘deliciousness’ is a word, but it totally can be when you’re talking about making this easy, flavorful and low-cost soup.

Earlier this week in the Meal Plan Buddies email, I talked about meal planning during weird weeks.

You know the weeks I mean: when the ish is hitting the fan and you’re busy, trying to hang on to your sanity, yet you’re not always sure how your evenings will be so how the heck can you plan for the cooking? 

If you’ve ever had a week like that, then I feel ya sister. That’s when knowing how to pivot, understanding your kitchen strengths, and being kind to your future self will come into play big time.  

It’s also where dishes like this 20-minute cheese tortellini and vegetable soup make an appearance on our dining room table.

Just 20 minutes and it’s so easy that it kinda feels like cheating.

As in, “I’ve just called Dominos for dinner and now I’m going to lie here and stare at the wall til they arrive’ kind of cheating.   

It’s full of flavor, bursting with vegetables, comforting to make and kids love it.  

It also freezes awesome, although the tortellini have a tendency to taste a little soggy if they’ve been cooked prior to freezing and thawing. So if you want to make this ahead of time, I ‘d recommend planning ahead on the soup part, and then storing the soup in the freezer alongside a separate baggie full of tortellini. Then you can add them in during the reheat.  

I also made a video for this cheesy tortellini soup! It’s slightly choppy, since I’m still honing my little video skills, but you can see how simple the soup actually is. Especially for one with so many vegetables packed inside!

It’s slightly choppy, since I’m still honing my little video skills, but you can see how simple the soup actually is. Especially for one with so many vegetables packed inside!

And, before you say it- in the video, I added crumbled brown sausage. This is totally up to you in this recipe; you can leave out the sausage and swap vegetable stock to make this a vegetarian soup. You could even use vegan pasta and hold the cheese to make these even more of a plant-based soup! So when you see me popping the crumbled sausage into the soup but don’t see

So when you see me popping the crumbled sausage into the soup but don’t see that part in the recipe, have no fear: it’s simply an addition we like to do around here because I <3 sausage, but it’s not needed for this delicious soup.

In any case, it’s an easy, flavorful, family-approved soup. It takes 20 minutes from start to finish and most of that is waiting for the carrots and onions to soften.

I mean, come on. When you’re looking for an easy dinner, you can’t do much better than a cheesy tortellini soup.

Enjoy!

An easy soup that comes together in only 20 minutes and is so tasty, it feels like cheating! This cheese tortellini soup is a kid favorite, too.
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20-Minute Cheese Tortellini and Vegetable Soup
This soup is so easy it almost feels like cheating; with just a few handfuls of ingredients and a box of stock, you’ve got a flavorful soup comes together quickly and is so flavorful! Crumbled sausage is a nice addition to this soup, if you have some on hand. If you’ve got fresh tortellini and diced kale, all the merrier; but I also keep both in my freezer so that this soup can be pulled together in a pinch.
Servings: 4
Author: Ruthy Kirwan
Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 large yellow onion diced
  • 2 large carrots diced (about 1 cup)
  • 2-3 stalks celery diced (about 1 cup)
  • teaspoon chili flakes
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 4-5 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 cup corn kernels
  • 2 handfuls fresh spinach
  • 3 cups chicken broth or stock
  • 2 cup cheese tortellini
Instructions
  1. In a large pot, heat butter over medium heat until shimmering. Add the onion, carrots and celery and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions and carrots have softened, about 2-3 minutes.
  2. Add the garlic and stir to combine, cooking until the garlic has whitened and become fragrant about 1-3 minutes.
  3. Add the corn and the spinach and stir to wilt the spinach, about 3-5 minutes.
  4. Once the spinach has wilted, pour in the chicken broth.
  5. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to low. Simmer for 5 minutes, then remove from heat.
  6. Add the tortellini and cook, stirring occasionally, until heated through, about 3-5 minutes.
  7. Serve hot, garnished with grated parmesan cheese.

Make Ahead Breakfast Egg Muffins, 3 Different Ways

I am LOVING these easy, low-carb make ahead breakfast egg muffins on busy mornings! I just make a tray ahead of time, pop in the freezer, and we can eat them for a healthy breakfast throughout the week. This post has three different kind of fillings ideas, too!I am LOVING these easy, low-carb make ahead breakfast egg muffins on busy mornings! I just make a tray ahead of time, pop in the freezer, and we can eat them for a healthy breakfast throughout the week. This post has three different kind of fillings ideas, too!

These easy, low-carb, make ahead breakfast legg muffins a just the thing for busy mornings!

They’re so easy to make the night before and then pop into the freezer once cool. You can also fill them with leftovers, extra veggies, and CHEESE.

The word ‘cheese’ is capitalized because cheese is life around here.

 

And did I mention the leftovers part? Other than glorious cheese, using up leftovers is totally my jam.

Shredded chicken from tacos? Add it in with some onions and cheddar.

Leftover spinach from dinner’s salad? Toss with some tomatoes and add it in!

Leftover roasted broccoli? Add those babies in!

It’s up to you, and I love that.

These make ahead breakfast egg muffins are made 3 different ways.

I played around with the fillings, but I have a basic ratio for you: For every four cups, you’ll need:

2 eggs

2 tablespoons milk (doesn’t even have to be dairy! Coconut milk worked great in these muffins)

2 tablespoons filling, whatever you choose that to be.

That ratio will vary slightly depending on your filling, but it’s pretty standard. Just double it or triple it depending on how many breakfast egg muffins you feel like making!

A note about the coconut milk I used in these breakfast egg muffins:

It totally works just like milk! Those of you who have always been down with milk alternatives probably knew this, ut if you’re like me, or you’re new to the world of living dairy free, this may make your day.

Make sure it’s unsweetened (for no other reason than vanilla egg muffins might be…. odd tasting. But you do you, boo). And try other plant based milks, like almond milk, or cashew milk, or even soy milk.

The world is your milk oyster.

Below, I’ve written out the ‘recipes’ I used, although like I said earlier, making a make ahead breakfast egg muffin is more about playing around with ratios than anything.

But this is a recipe post, and thee shall have a recipe.

But I’d love to know what kind of combos you guys dig! Have you tried making make ahead egg muffins? Have you tried making eggs with plant based milks?

I am LOVING these easy, low-carb make ahead breakfast egg muffins on busy mornings! I just make a tray ahead of time, pop in the freezer, and we can eat them for a healthy breakfast throughout the week. This post has three different kind of fillings ideas, too!
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Make Ahead Breakfast Egg Muffins, Three Ways
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
10 mins
Total Time
20 mins
 

Use the recipes below as guidelines; depending on your fillings, your egg muffins mixtures may make one or two more muffins than what is described below. Typically, the different recipes below will make about 4 muffins each. 


Servings: 3 people
Author: Ruthy Kirwan
Ingredients
For the Sundried Tomatoes and Spinach:
  • 2 tablespoons finely diced sundried tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons shredded spinach
  • 2 eggs whisked
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
For the Asparagus and Cheese
  • 2 tablespoons finely diced asparagus about 3 trimmed stalks
  • 2 tablespoons shredded cheddar cheese
  • 2 eggs whisked
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
For the Spanish chorizo and potato
  • 2 tablespoons finely diced Spanish dry-cured chorizo sausage
  • 2 tablespoons finely diced white potato
  • 2 eggs whisked
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
Instructions
Method:
  1. Preheat the oven to 375*F
  2. Spray a muffin tin with vegetable or coconut oil, or line with paper liners.
  3. Add the dry ingredients to the bottom of each muffin cup.
  4. Combine the eggs, milk, salt, and pepper together in a bowl.
  5. Evenly pour the egg and milk mixture on top of each, evenly distributing between each. Leave at least 1/2" space below the rim of the cup.
  6. Bake 8-10 minutes, or until the center has set and is no longer jiggly.
  7. Remove and let cool, then remove from the muffin tin.
  8. Eat immediately, or store, tightly covered. These will last up to 6 weeks in the freezer if tightly wrapped, or up to 5 days in the fridge.
 

4-Ingredient Peanut Butter and Jelly Protein Balls

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No bake, 4-ingredient, healthy peanut butter and jelly protein balls! Try these addictive, simple paleo and low carb snacks whenever you need a push of energy. They whip up super quick and keep stored in the fridge for up to two weeks! Gluten free and great for kids.

No bake, 4-ingredient, healthy peanut butter and jelly protein balls! Try these addictive, simple paleo and low carb snacks whenever you need a push of energy. They whip up super quick and keep stored in the fridge for up to two weeks! Gluten free and great for kids.

No bake, 4-ingredient, healthy peanut butter and jelly protein balls! Try these addictive, simple paleo and low carb snacks whenever you need a push of energy. They whip up super quick and keep stored in the fridge for up to two weeks! Gluten free and great for kids.

I think I figured out why these easy, 4-ingredient pbj protein balls are so tasty and delicious – it’s like eating a ball of cookie dough, without any worry of raw egg or flour!

Plus, with no added sugar, these are a great after-school snack for hungry kids. And hungry adults, too!

The apricot adds just enough sweetness to these protein balls. When combined with the peanut butter flavor, it tastes just like a tiny little peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

I found peanut butter powder at my regular old grocery store, stocked with the prepared peanut butter. I used to think powdered peanut butter was just for bodybuilders making smoothies, or thrifty people who prefer to mix their own, but I’m finding that there are dozens of other uses for powdered peanut butter than what you might think.

I’m pretty psyched to keep using it, to be honest! I like how it adds peanut butter flavor without extra sugar or oil. It’s a bit pricier than regular peanut butter, but a little goes a long way.

As for the protein powder, I used a neutral flavor in this recipe, but I bet most flavors would work well here; especially chocolate!

One other awesome thing about these protein balls: they’re a great grab and go snack on the way out the door.

Some mornings are so insane around here that I barely have time to make my kids breakfast, let alone myself. But grabbing a protein ball on the way out the door gives me just enough energy that I don’t turn into a hangry mom-monster before I can eat. Nobody like hangry mom-monster, right?

So I think it’s not a stretch to say, making these protein bars would be doing your family a favor. I hope you love them as much as we do!

No bake, 4-ingredient, healthy peanut butter and jelly protein balls! Try these addictive, simple paleo and low carb snacks whenever you need a push of energy. They whip up super quick and keep stored in the fridge for up to two weeks! Gluten free and great for kids.
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4-Ingredient PBJ Protein Balls
Servings: 4
Author: Ruthy Kirwan
Ingredients
  • 10 dried apricots
  • 1 scoop protein powder
  • 2 tablespoons powdered peanut butter
  • 3 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
Instructions
  1. Place all ingredients in a food processor fitted with an "s" blade, and pulse 10-12 times, until the apricots have chopped into uniform size. 

  2. Turn the food processor to high and blend until mixture resembles wet sand, about 1-2 minutes. 

  3. Pour the mixture into a bowl and using your hands, roll into balls about 2" wide. 

  4. Serve at room temperature. Store in a tightly covered container for up to 2 weeks. 

Recipe Notes

This recipe makes about 6 balls total. 

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Blueberry, Maple, and Almond Milk Overnight Chia Pudding

This Blueberry, Maple, and Almond Milk Overnight Chia Pudding is lactose-free and the perfect quick, grab-and-go breakfast for hot summer mornings!

This Blueberry, Maple, and Almond Milk Overnight Chia Pudding is lactose-free and the perfect quick, grab-and-go breakfast for hot summer mornings!

This Blueberry, Maple, and Almond Milk Overnight Chia Pudding is lactose-free and the perfect quick, grab-and-go breakfast for hot summer mornings!

This Blueberry, Maple, and Almond Milk Overnight Chia Pudding is lactose-free and the perfect quick, grab-and-go breakfast for hot summer mornings!

This Overnight Blueberry, Maple Syrup, and Almond Milk Chia Pudding is lactose-free, cool and delish, and the perfect quick, grab-and-go breakfast for busy mornings!

I’ve always had a sort of love and hate relationship with breakfast. It’s not my favorite meal of the day, that’s for sure. I’m never really hungry when I first wake up, although if I don’t eat, I find myself Jekyll-and-Hyde-ing by about 10 am and get that hangry feeling.

Enter this overnight chia pudding! It’s perfect for both hot weather and cold, cool and comforting to eat, and requires very little thought on my behalf; I can grab it out of the fridge and eat even before the caffeine of my morning coffee kicks in.

This Blueberry, Maple, and Almond Milk Overnight Chia Pudding is lactose-free and the perfect quick, grab-and-go breakfast for busy mornings!

It’s a play on the idea of blueberry pancakes, but with a twist!

Instead of regular cow’s milk, I used unsweetened almond milk, which gives a slightly nutty flavor that feels a lot more ‘pancake-ish’ than plain cow’s milk.

It’s the perfect busy morning breakfast, especially since it really shines when you use the freshest and juiciest of blueberries. Since this overnight chia pudding is thickened in the fridge, it’s the opne of my favorite breakfasts to have in the summertime when the temps are already climbing before you even have a chance to turn on the coffee machine.

This Blueberry, Maple, and Almond Milk Overnight Chia Pudding is lactose-free and the perfect quick, grab-and-go breakfast for busy mornings!

Chia seeds are a superfood, loaded with anti-oxidants and good omega-3 fats. When they’re soaked, they form a gelatinous ‘shell’ around the core of the seed. This makes whatever liquid they’re suspended in thick and pudding-like, but studded with crunch from the seeds. I love the texture!

You make this overnight chia pudding at night, and leave it to thicken before you eat it the next morning.

First, cook the blueberries down into a jam-like consistency on the stovetop. This might sound like it takes a while but it’s really only about 10 minutes or so.

I’ll put the blueberries on to cook while I’m cleaning up from dinner or packing lunches for the next day. It takes only a few minutes to whip up the rest of the overnight chia pudding, after which it gets wrapped in plastic wrap and sits overnight in the fridge to chill and thicken.

This Blueberry, Maple, and Almond Milk Overnight Chia Pudding is lactose-free and the perfect quick, grab-and-go breakfast for busy mornings!

I like to make a couple overnight chia puddings at a time so that I have a handful of breakfasts to eat all week long. It’s a great addition to your weekly Power Hour of meal prep!

(I have a great worksheet that helps you plan out your ‘power hour’, which is an hour spent on the weekend prepping your meals for the week and drastically cuts down on cooking time. Leave your name and email in the box to access!)

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Overnight Blueberry and Maple Chia Pudding
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
5 hr
Total Time
5 hr 15 mins
 
This overnight chia pudding is perfect for the summer since it’s cool and easy to eat. This recipe calls for almond milk instead of cow’s milk, which gives a slightly nutty flavor that feels a lot more 'pancake-ish' than plain cow's milk. It’s layered with a fresh blueberry jam, which might sound initially like it takes a long time but in reality, it’s only a quick 10 minutes. I like to put the blueberries on at night while I’m cleaning the kitchen or packing lunches for the next day, and then quickly whip up the puddings right before I leave the kitchen for the night.
Servings: 2
Author: Ruthy Kirwan
Ingredients
ingredients
  • 6 ounces fresh blueberries (about 1 cup), plus more for garnish
  • 3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 cup almond milk (play up with sweetened or flavored here if you wish!)
  • cup chia seeds
  • teaspoon salt
equipment
  • small saucepan
  • 2 small drinking glasses , 6 ounce ramekins, or another vessel to hold the puddings
Instructions
method
  1. In a small saucepan over medium heat, stir together the blueberries, maple syrup and vanilla extract. Stir often as the blueberries start to cook, using a wooden spoon to lightly mash and break the blueberries apart as they soften. Cook for about 10 minutes, until the blueberries are mostly broken down and the liquid is starting to thicken. Remove from the heat and divide into evenly between into 2 drinking glasses (or other; see note)
  2. Divide the milk between each glass, then divide the chia seeds and stir gently to mix them thoroughly into the milk.
  3. Stir a small pinch of salt into each glass.
  4. Wrap the glasses individually in plastic wrap, and leave to chill in the fridge at least 5-6 hours, or overnight.
  5. When ready to serve, garnish each glass with a few fresh blueberries.

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Broccoli Pesto with Cavatappi Pasta

If you're looking for a simple way to add more vegetables into your (or your kids'!) diet, broccoli pesto makes it easy! Simple swap out the traditional basil with 'riced' broccoli. It's easy and delicious!

Broccoli pesto is a simple way to add more vegetables into your (or your kids') diet! Simply swap out traditional basil with 'riced' broccoli. Here's how.
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Broccoli Pesto with Cavatappi Pasta
Prep Time
5 mins
Cook Time
5 mins
Total Time
10 mins
 
Author: Ruthy Kirwan
Ingredients
  • 1 small head of broccoli stem removed and chopped into florets
  • 1/3 cup raw pine nuts
  • 1/2 cup ground parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 large cloves garlic peeled and smashed
  • 3/4 cup olive oil plus more
  • 2-3 cups cooked cavatappi pasta
Instructions
method:
  1. Add the broccoli florets to a large food processor (6-8 quart) fitted with an "S" blade. Pulse 5-6 times, scraping the sides of the bowl down as necessary. Turn the food processor to high and blend the broccoli. the broccoli will be ready when there are no more lumps and it has a sandy, "rice"-like appearance.
  2. Add the pine nuts, parmesan cheese, salt, garlic, and 1/2 cup olive oil to the food processor.
  3. Pulse again, 3-4 times, and the scrape down the sides of the bowl. Continue pulsing 3-4 times, then scraping, until the pesto has come together to form a rough paste.
  4. Turn the food processor to high and pour in the remaining oil through the feeder tube. Pause to scrape the sides of the bowl.
  5. If the pesto is still 'dry' looking and not a smooth, oiled paste, add another 1/4 cup of olive oil and blend again, pausing to scrape the sides after a minute or so. Continue adding oil 1/4 cup at a time and blending until the pesto is a cohesive, smooth paste.
  6. Fold 1 cup of pesto into the cooked pasta and serve. Freeze any remaining pesto (see notes)
Recipe Notes

This pesto makes about 2 cups, which is more than you'll usually need as a simple side. I recommend using 1 cup to fold into 2-3 cups cooked pasta, and freezing the rest. It will last in the freezer for up to 6 months if stored in a tightly covered container or freezer safe ziplock bag, or in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. Feel free to swap out the cavatappi for any other type of pasta! We like this pesto on penne as well.

30 Minute Spinach Lasagna Roll-Ups

These Spinach Lasagna Roll-Ups are a twist on the traditional and just as much fun to make as they are to eat!

Spinach Lasagna Roll-Ups are meat-free, with perfectly al dente lasagna sheets rolled around a creamy ricotta and spinach filling, topped with a zesty red pepper tomato sauce.

They’re vegetarian, freeze like champs, are fun to make with kids, and (the best part) are ready in under half an hour. It’s also a super versatile and totally amenable dish, and works with whatever you got going on in your kitchen right now.

For example, you can easily switch out kale for spinach, or add ground beef to the sauce if you’re not vegetarian. Feel free to have fun with this dish; it’s only a handful of ingredients (8 total!) and extremely forgiving.

You might be wondering why the lasagna sheets are rolled up instead of layered, as you do with a traditional lasagna. The biggest benefit of rolls is that they make a perfect little serving size. One roll=one serving! This also means these spinach lasagna roll-ups are a total rockstar freezer meal. You can freeze as much or as little as you want at one time.

Smaller freezer meals defrost faster and are perfect for solo dinners or lunches. I put four spinach lasagna roll-ups in a disposable loaf pan and froze them for one week, and they defrosted beautifully and were the perfect thing to eat with my kids one night when my husband was out of town.

And kids will love rolling them up, too. I enlisted my three year old for help and she was surprisingly adept at rolling. I lined up the cooked lasagna sheets on the counter, spread the ricotta and spinach filling in each one, and let her go to town. She made an enormous mess, but like I said; this is a forgiving dish. Her rolls worked perfectly no matter how messy they were.

In any case, it’s a weeknight-friendly, freezer-awesome, kid-friendly, delicious dish and I hope you love it.

These Spinach Lasagna Roll-Ups are a twist on the traditional and just as much fun to make as they are to eat! Spinach Lasagna Roll-Ups are meat-free, with perfectly al dente lasagna sheets rolled around a creamy ricotta and spinach filling, topped with a zesty red pepper tomato sauce. They're vegetarian, freeze like champs, are fun to make with kids, and (the best part) are ready in under half an hour. It's also a super versatile and totally amenable dish, and works with whatever you got going on in your kitchen right now.
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Spinach Lasagna Roll-Ups
Servings: 4
Author: Ruthy Kirwan
Ingredients
  • 12-14 lasagna sheets
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium onion , diced (about 1 cup)
  • 1 large red bell pepper , ribs and seeds removed, finely minced
  • 12 oz frozen chopped spinach (about 2 cups)
  • 6 oz tomato paste
  • 16 oz crushed tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 cup whole milk ricotta
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded melting cheese , such as pepperjack or meunster
Instructions
  1. Fill a large pot with water, cover, and set over high heat. When the water is boiling, add the lasagna sheets and cook until al dente, about 8 minutes. When the lasagna sheets are done cooking, drain and set aside. Preheat the oven to 350*F.
  2. While the lasagna sheets are cooking, heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large saucepan until shimmering. Add the onions, bell peppers and 1 cup of spinach and stir to mix, cooking until the onions have started to cook through and soften, about 3 minutes. Add the tomato paste and stir to combine, then add the crushed tomatoes. Turn the heat to low and let the sauce cook and thicken while you prepare the rest of the lasagna, about 10 minutes. Stir the sauce often to keep from burning on the bottom of the pan.
  3. While the sauce is cooking, combine the ricotta cheese, parmesan cheese, egg, and salt and pepper in a large bowl and whisk until the ricotta is smooth. Fold in the spinach.
  4. Lay the lasagna sheets out side by side on a clean counter or sheet pan. Remove the sauce from the stovetop and add 1/2 cup of sauce to the bottom of a 7"x7" or 7"x5" ovenproof baking dish, spreading evenly. Spread 1-2 tablespoons of ricotta mixture onto each lasagna sheet and roll from bottom to top. As each sheet is rolled around the ricotta mixture, place it upright in the baking dish on top of the sauce. The curls of each roll should be facing upwards. Add the rolls, side by side and one at a time, until all the sheets have been stuffed and rolled.
  5. Pour the remaining tomato sauce on top of the rolls, using a spoon to gently push some sauce down into each roll. Top the dish evenly with the shredded cheese.
  6. Bake the lasagna rolls for 10-12 minutes, or until the cheese has melted and it is starting to bubble. Remove from the oven and serve hot.
Recipe Notes

If you are planning on freezing this dish before you eat it, store the shredded cheese separately. It will reheat better if it is not melted on the lasagna rolls beforehand. If you wish, you can add 1 pound ground beef to the tomato sauce after the crushed tomatoes, and heat until the meat has cooked through.