If you loved this recipe, be sure to leave a rating! Share your filling inspiration in the comments below!
Pepperoni Pizza Crescent Rolls
These pizza crescent rolls are speedy snack packed with flavor.
Course Appetizer, Dinner, Entree, pizza, Snack
Prep Time 10minutes
Cook Time 12minutes
Total Time 22minutes
Author Holly Nilsson
4Mozzarella String Cheese
1cuppizza saucefor dipping
1tablespoongrated parmesan cheese
Preheat oven to 375°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Cut each string cheese in half.
Lay crescents and top with 3 overlapping slices of pepperoni and a string cheese piece.
Fold the wide end over the toppings and pinch the sides to seal. Continue to roll up and place seam side down on a baking sheet. Sprinkle parmesan cheese and garlic powder over the tops of the roll ups.
Bake for about 12 minutes or until golden. Serve with warm pizza sauce for dipping
Nutritional information does not include dipping sauce.
Substitute pepperoni for your favorite pizza toppings.
Toppings with moisture (such as mushrooms or pineapple) should be cooked or squeezed dry before adding.
Warm and comforting this is an easy-to-make classic Baked Ziti recipe filled with Italian Sausage, tomato sauce, and cheese to the max! This recipe is especially indulgent with a side of Homemade Garlic Bread.
Baked Ziti | A Classic Dinner
Love Lasagna but hate the time it takes to make it? Baked Ziti offers all of the same flavors and comforts that lasagna does but with way less effort. Meaty tomato sauce, filling pasta, and all of that melted gooey cheese! Today’s classic Baked Ziti recipe makes a large 9×13 pan which is perfect for large families or to use as leftovers! While I have my Instant Pot Baked Ziti on the blog (that is super popular), I thought I should post a more classic recipe that everyone can make. No special equipment needed!
Main Ingredients Needed
With a couple of pantry staples you can have this Baked Ziti recipe ready for dinner tonight! Here’s what you’ll need:
Ziti Pasta – this is just a specific pasta shape, penne would work perfectly well in its place.
Sweet Italian Sausage – I used sweet Italian Sausage here but feel free to use mild or hot!
Olive Oil, Onion + Garlic – these three are used with the sausage to add some subtle flavors.
Marinara Sauce, Tomatoes + Water – these three make up the sauce. I used storebought marinara sauce (Rao’s). It’s a little expensive but so worth it.
Oregano, Basil, Bay Leaves, Salt + Pepper – these herbs and seasonings help flavor the sauce.
Mozzarella + Part-Skim Mozzarella – I used a blend of full fat and a lower fat mozzarella in this recipe. Don’t worry, it still tastes great.
Parmesan – I also used parmesan for a little bit more cheesy oomph!
Baked Ziti Variations
Everyone has their secret tips and tricks in making Baked Ziti their own and in this house, I encourage it! Feel free to use my recipe as a base then customize to your liking. Here are a couple of options to get you started:
Vegetarian Baked Ziti: feel free to make this a vegetarian meal by leaving out any meat products and then supplementing with more veggies!
Adding Vegetables: you can absolutely use/hide vegetables in this dish. Consider wilting spinach, adding shredded zucchini, or shredded carrots to this dish! Or serve your vegetables on the side!
Using Different Meat: although I use a pork Italian sausage for this baked ziti recipe, you can absolutely replace it with ground beef or ground turkey.
How to Make Baked Ziti
For full details on how to make baked ziti can be found in the recipe card down below
Step 1: Boil the Pasta
Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Cook ziti according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
Step 2: Brown the Meat
In another pot or deep skillet with high sides, heat the pan over medium heat. Brown sausage, breaking apart as it cooks. Drain if desired. Replace back in the pan. To the cooked sausage, add olive oil, onion, and garlic and saute until mostly tender.
Step 3: Make the Sauce
Stir in diced tomatoes, marinara sauce, water, basil, oregano, bay leaves, salt, pepper. Stir well. Cover and simmer. Taste sauce and adjust seasonings. Remove bay leaves.
Add cooked ziti to the sauce and stir to coat. Add in fresh mozzarella and parmesan cheese. Stir to melt slightly.
Step 4: Bake
Pour into lightly greased 9×13 pan. Sprinkle with shredded mozzarella cheese, cover with lightly greased foil and bake. Top with chopped parsley (optional) and serve hot.
Storing Baked Ziti
Baked Ziti will last in the fridge, in an airtight container, for 4-5 days! Which means it’s great for leftovers and meal prep. Alternatively you can make a double batch and freeze one portion for later!
One of the best parts about Baked Ziti is that it can be frozen to last even longer and make a super easy dinner for the future, I love when that happens!
Simply double the recipe, bake one portion, and with the other store in a freezable container before baking (those aluminum casserole dishes found at the grocery store would work great for this). Be sure to cover tightly with aluminium foil and then plastic wrap before freezing. Freeze for up to 3 months.
When ready to bake, thaw in the fridge overnight then bake as accordingly!
Bring large pot of salted water to boil. Cook ziti according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
In another pot or deep skillet with high sides, heat pan over medium heat. Brown sausage, breaking apart as it cooks. Drain if desired. Replace back in the pan. To the cooked sausage, add olive oil, onion, and garlic and saute until mostly tender, about 3 minutes.
Stir in diced tomatoes, marinara sauce, water, basil, oregano, bay leaves, salt, pepper. Stir well. Cover and simmer 30 minutes. Taste sauce and adjust seasonings. Remove bay leaves.
Add cooked ziti to sauce and stir to coat. Add in fresh mozzarella and parmesan cheese. Stir to melt slightly. Pour into lightly greased 9×13 pan. Sprinkle with 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese, cover with lightly greased foil and bake at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes. Top with chopped parsley (optional) and serve hot.
This tasty Spinach Lasagna is an easy recipe and jam-packed with spinach & three kinds of cheese!
Layers and layers of pasta, sauce, cheese & spinach, this dish can be made ahead of time, freezes and reheats well and everyone loves it.
I am so excited to have partnered with Reynolds Wrap® to bring you this favorite spinach lasagna!
Tips for an Easy Meal
Who doesn’t love to cook entrées that are easy, delicious, and filling? Spinach Lasagna is a family favorite, with its fragrant layers of rich flavors — and lots and lots of cheese! Below are our favorite time-saving tips!
Skip boiling the noodles, and simply pour hot water over them while you prepare the sauce and the cheese mixture.
Reynolds Wrap® Heavy Duty Foil is durable and sturdy and using it to line the pan means you can lift the lasagna out (without the foil tearing) for easy cutting and serving!
This dish can be made up to 3 days ahead of time before baking.
Bake spinach lasagnacovered with Reynolds Wrap® Heavy Duty Foil for the first 45 minutes to keep it from drying out.
Top with cheese and bake uncovered for the last 15 minutes; this gives a nice cheesy crust on top.
This dish is a great one to bake an extra and give to a neighbor or loved one. I am excited to partner with Reynolds Wrap® this year especially after learning of their partnership with Feeding America®. They are helping provide meals to people who need them. Did you know that 1 in 9 Americans do not have access to a meal? This affects all walks of life, children and adults alike, which means many children and families need help. Reynolds Wrap® has joined Feeding America® in the fight against hunger by helping to provide 2 million meals* to families across the country.
Visit Feeding America®here for ways that YOU can get involved, including donating, fundraising, and volunteering to name a few. Volunteers are always needed across the United States (check out the link above to find a food bank close to you) and each has a variation of needs making every volunteer experience a little different.
*$1 helps provide at least 10 meals on behalf of the Feeding America® network of food banks
SAUCE We love homemade marinara sauce but a jarred sauce makes this extra quick. Replace the marinara with a meat sauce if you’d like.
SPINACH LAYER Spinach lasagna needs a great spinach layer. We add ricotta, mozzarella, and parmesan for great flavor. Frozen spinach works well in this recipe (but you can replace it with fresh if you’d prefer). Be sure to squeeze it dry so the layers set up.
PASTA Traditional lasagna noodles are our favorite (and they don’t actually require boiling, more on that below). You can also use fresh lasagna sheets found in the refrigerate area (no boiling required for those either)!
Time Saving Tip
To make lasagna without boiling the noodles first—even if they are not the oven ready kind — pour boiling water over them while you prepare the sauce and cheese mixture.
Use plenty of sauce and be sure to cover the casserole with Reynolds Wrap® Heavy Duty Foil so no steam escapes. Tender noodles and no boiling!
How to Make Spinach Lasagna
Spinach lasagna takes a bit of time, but it’s easy to pull together. Your family will love its cheesy goodness!
Prep Sauce Simmer your favorite marinara sauce with some onions, garlic, and seasonings (per recipe below).
Prep Filling Stir together spinach, ricotta, some mozzarella, and some parmesan.
Layer the Lasagna Line the pan with Reynolds Wrap® Heavy Duty Foil and layer the lasagna.
Bake Cover tightly with foil and bake. Uncover, add cheese, and bake until browned.
Rest 15-30 minutes to allow the lasagna to set up. Grab the edges of the foil and lift it out of the pan. Cut and serve.
Make it a Freezer Meal
Freeze a whole lasagna by prepping it in a casserole dish lined with Reynolds Wrap® Heavy Duty Foil, extending the foil on each side about 6 inches. Wrapping in foil will protect the spinach lasagna from freezer burn.
Fold over the foil and freeze the lasagna. Once frozen, remove the lasagna from the casserole dish (and wrap well in Reynolds Wrap® Heavy Duty Foil). This way your casserole dish can be used for other things until you’re ready to thaw and cook the spinach lasagna.
To bake from frozen, place the foil-wrapped lasagna back into the same pan and bake covered 75 to 90 minutes at 350°F or until hot in the middle. Open the top of the foil, add cheese and bake for an additional 15 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a 9×13 pan with Reynolds Wrap® Heavy Duty Foil.
Place lasagna noodles in a pan and cover with boiling water for 15 minutes. Rinse with cold water and dab dry.
Meanwhile, heat olive oil over medium heat in a large skillet. Add onion and garlic and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Add pasta sauce and Italian seasoning. Simmer 5 minutes more or until slightly thickened.
While sauce is simmering, squeeze spinach to remove moisture. Combine with ricotta cheese, 2 ½ cups mozzarella cheese, ¼ cup parmesan cheese, egg, and fresh parsley. Mix well.
Place 1 cup of sauce in the bottom of the prepared pan.
Layer with 3 lasagna noodles. Add ½ of the spinach and cheese mixture and ⅓ of the sauce.
Add 3 more lasagna noodles, remaining ½ of the spinach and cheese mixture, and ⅓ of the sauce. Top with the last 3 noodles and the remaining sauce.
Cover with Reynolds Wrap® Heavy Duty Foil to ensure it is well sealed and bake 45 minutes. Remove foil, top with remaining mozzarella and parmesan cheese. Bake an additional 15-20 minutes or until browned.
A perfectly crispy and chewy crust that is topped with a homemade tomato sauce, melty mozzarella cheese, fresh basil, a sprinkling of sea salt, and a drizzle of olive oil. This is the ultimate Margherita Pizza recipe! Crack out that Pizza Dough and try this delicious classic!
Ever since we moved out of NYC, Gordon and I have been dying to eat some amazing pizza. Since Margherita Pizza was our favorite, its the one we’ve been trying to perfect first and I’m so excited to be sharing this recipe with you today. New York knows they make pizza well and there are SO many pizzerias that have great pies. Our favorite pizzeria in the city was steps away from our last apartment and mama, was it good. So, we’ve been using our memories and tastebuds as a guide and gotten as close to the original as one can at home. I hope you come to love this recipe and become master pizza makers in the process.
But First, What is Margherita Pizza?
Margherita Pizza is not to be confused with a margarita…as in the drink. Two totally different things! The name Margherita actually comes from Italian royalty, technically Margherita of Savoy, the Queen of Italy. Word on the street is she was tired of the French food she was being served on a trip to Naples, so the most famous pizza maker of the time in Naples, was then asked to make her a pizza. And thus the Margherita Pizza was born.
There is more to the story, but that’s basically all you need to know.
Main Ingredients Needed
Here’s everything you’ll need to make Margherita Pizza. Because this is a such a simple recipe with very few ingredients, the quality of those ingredients is what is most important.
While I tried making this recipe with just the San Marzano Tomatoes, I found adding a few simple ingredients to help bring out that tomato flavor was best.
San Marzano Tomatoes – I chose to use San Marzano Tomatoes for their authentic quality and taste (you can read all about it here). This is the brand I used and have loved them!
Olive Oil – to make the sauce a little saucier and to add some silkiness.
Garlic – for flavor.
Sugar – to cut the acidity from the tomatoes.
Salt + Pepper – season to taste!
A Margherita Pizza always will have fresh basil and fresh mozzarella.
Fresh Basil Leaves – these are placed right on top of everything else (whole or sliced)! They add a fresh quality to the dish.
Fresh Mozzarella Cheese – Cut into thin slices or broken into pieces to place on the pizza. BelGioioso is the brand I used and is widely available.
Sea Salt + Olive Oil – these are optional finishing toppings for the baked pizza. While they are optional, I’d highly recommend them!
Margherita Pizza is so so so good all on it’s own, but if you are looking to spice this recipe up, feel free to use some of these ideas:
Smoked Mozzarella: this is seriously some yummy stuff that elevates the whole dish.
Herby Pizza Dough: consider adding Italian Seasoning (a mix of herbs) to your pizza dough, that way, even the crust is packed with flavor.
Grill Your Pizza: have you ever tried grilling pizza before? Let me tell you it’s life-changing. Luckily for you, I have a whole how-to on grilled pizza.
How to Make Margherita Pizza
For full details on how to make Margherita Pizza, see the recipe card down below
Step 1: Preheat Oven and Pizza Stone
Move the oven rack to the very bottom of the oven. Remove any extra racks from the oven. Add pizza stone to the bottom rack and preheat the oven to as hot as it will go: usually 500-525 degrees F. Once the oven is preheated, keep the stone in there for an extra 30 minutes to ensure it is hot.
Step 2: Make the Sauce
Empty a can of tomatoes into the bowl of a food processor. Add olive oil, garlic, sugar, and salt. Pulse until mostly smooth, but still has a texture with a few small chunks.
A Note About This Fresh Pizza Sauce
The recipe for the fresh sauce makes plenty of sauce…more than you’ll need for this recipe. Store extras in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks or in the freezer for up to two months.
Step 3: Prep Mozzarella and Basil
Cut mozzarella into small cubes. Press between paper towels to remove any extra moisture. Set aside. Pick fresh basil leaves off stems and set aside or chop into smaller pieces.
Step 5: Form Your Pizzas
Stretch and roll pizza dough out to be 4 individual pizzas, or 2-12 inch pizzas. You want the crust to be about 1/4 inch straight across, with an optional thicker edge. It may take a few tries to get your crust perfect. Too thin and you’ll have a hard time getting the bottom crispy, especially if there is too much sauce.
Transferring that Pizza onto the Hot Stone
Use extra flour and cornmeal to keep the dough from sticking to pizza peel/cutting board/plate/whatever you’re using to transfer the pizza directly onto the hot stone. Before you start adding the pizza toppings, shake the pizza peel gently to ensure the dough moves easily back and forth. If it’s stuck, add more flour and/or cornmeal underneath so it slides easily. Here is a great pizza peel that works perfectly.
Step 6: Bake
Add a thin layer of pizza sauce to the dough (less is more). Again, you’ll have to test this out to see what you like best and how it bakes up for you with your oven and pizza stone.
Top with fresh mozzarella and transfer to the hot pizza stone. Bake until bottom crust is browned and crispy and cheese is hot and bubbly. For us, that was 7 minutes exactly.
Step 7: Cool, Garnish and Serve!
Remove hot pizza off the stone and onto a cutting board. Top with fresh basil, a small little drizzle of olive oil, and a light sprinkling of sea salt. I used Maldon Sea Salt Flakes and they really did such a nice job! Do not use table salt..it won’t give you the same taste or effect. Cut and serve immediately.
While I still miss the classic Margherita Pizza slices I used to get weekly from the corner pizzeria shop in NYC, this is a close second. Use my directions to make some of the best homemade pizza ever.
Helpful Tools for Homemade Pizza
Pizza Stone. Take your pizza to the next level with a pizza stone! If you want that delicious crispy bottom you find at pizzerias, a pizza stone is the way to do it. This is the one I recommend. If you don’t have a pizza stone or don’t want to invest in one, consider getting large tiles from the hardware store. They work just the same. Upside down cookie sheets will also work in a pinch, but not in the same way because they don’t hold their heat quite as well as a thicker stone would.
Pizza Peel. This will make transferring pizza to the hot stone so much easier! Yes, you can absolutely get by without it, but one you have it you’ll wonder why you didn’t get one sooner. This is the one I recommend. Alternately, use a large, flat plate dusted with cornmeal for easy transferring. Once the pizza is baked, use a large spatula to remove to a cutting board.
Pizza Cutter. This obviously makes cutting pizza so much easier. Again, you don’t HAVE to get one to have success. It’s just nice to have. This is the one I recommend. Alternately, use a knife or kitchen shears.
Move oven rack to the bottom of the oven. Remove any extra racks from the oven. Add pizza stone to the bottom rack and preheat oven to 525 degrees or as high as it will go. Once oven is preheated, keep stone in there an extra 30 minutes to ensure it is hot.
Make the Sauce
To make the sauce, empty can of tomatoes into the bowl of a food processor. Add olive oil, garlic, sugar and salt. Pulse until mostly smooth, but still has texture with a few small chunks.
Cut mozzarella into small cubes. Press between paper towels to remove any extra moisture. Set aside. Pick fresh basil leaves off stems and set aside or chop into smaller pieces.
Form the Pizzas
Stretch pizza dough out to be 4 individual pizzas, or 2-12 inch pizzas. You want the crust to be about 1/4 inch straight across, with an optional thicker edge. It may take a few tries to get your crust perfect. Too thin and you’ll have a hard time getting the bottom crispy, especially if there is too much sauce. Use extra flour and cornmeal to keep dough from sticking to pizza peel/cutting board/plate/whatever you’re using to transfer the pizza directly onto the hot stone.
Before you start adding the pizza toppings, shake the pizza peel gently to ensure the dough moves easily back and forth. If it’s stuck, add more flour and/or cornmeal underneath so it slides easily.
Add a thin layer of pizza sauce to the dough (less is more).
Top with fresh mozzarella and transfer to the hot pizza stone. Bake 7 minutes or until bottom crust is browned and crispy and cheese is hot and bubbly.
Remove hot pizza off the stone and onto a cutting board. Top with fresh basil, a small little drizzle of olive oil and a light sprinkling of salt. Cut and serve.
*The recipe for the fresh sauce makes plenty of sauce…more than you’ll need for this recipe. Store extras in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks or in the freezer for up to two months.
*If your oven only goes to 500 degrees, you’ll want to bake your pizza for a few extra minutes to make sure the bottom gets plenty crusty. Of course check the progress as you go since every oven is different.
*If your crust it too thin, it won’t get very crispy because of the sauce and moisture in the cheese. It’s better to err on the side of thicker than thinner.