Quick Italian Dishes

by Rachelle on May 7, 2013

My kids LOVE pizza and pasta!  But some recipes have too many ingredients and are way too time consuming for busy moms!  Try these three crowd-pleasing Italian dishes that will take 30 minutes or less to prepare.  Make a family favorite lasagna recipe in less time with no-boil noodles, and try a new twist on an old favorite with this delicious pizza pot pie recipe! 


Baked Ziti


1 lb. lean ground beef

1 cup onion, chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 (32 ounce) jar marinara sauce

1 cup chicken broth

1 teaspoon dried oregano leaves

1 (16 ounce) package ziti pasta, cooked and drained

2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

1 cup grated parmesan cheese


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large skillet, cook ground beef, onions, and garlic over medium-high heat for 6 to 8 minutes or until beef is browned; stirring frequently.  Stir in spaghetti sauce, chicken broth, and oregano.  Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.  Stir 1 cup of the sauce into the cooked ziti noodles.  Spoon 1/2 of the ziti mixture into a 13x9x2-inch baking dish.  Sprinkle with 1 1/2 cups mozzarella cheese and 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese.  Top with 2 cups sauce, then remaining ziti mixture and remaining sauce.  Cover and bake 20 minutes.

Sprinkle with remaining mozzarella and Parmesan cheese.  Return to oven and bake uncovered for 10 minutes or until heated through.

Time saving tip: double this baked ziti recipe and cook one for dinner and freeze the other one to cook later!  Have refrigerated minced garlic on hand to use when recipes called for fresh minced garlic.  It is inexpensive and keeps in the fridge for a long time!


Pizza Pot Pies


Tomato Sauce (or skip this entire step and use bottled pasta sauce):

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 teaspoon fresh minced rosemary leaves

2 ounces diced pancetta

1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Pizza Pot Pies:

3 cups tomato sauce

2 cups diced roasted chicken

2 cups broccoli cut into small, bite-sized pieces

1 1/2 cups diced mozzarella cheese

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 1/2 pounds pizza dough

1/3 cup olive oil

6 tablespoons grated Parmesan


You will need: 6 (10-ounce) ramekins (or improvise with other oven safe dishes)

For the Tomato Sauce: Warm the olive oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic, rosemary, and pancetta. Sauté until the pancetta is crisp and golden, about 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes, stir to combine, and simmer over very low heat for 15 minutes. Add the salt and pepper. Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. In a large bowl combine the tomato sauce, chicken, broccoli, mozzarella, salt, and pepper. Stir to combine. Divide the chicken mixture evenly between the ramekins. Roll out the pizza dough and cut circles with a paring knife that are 1-inch wider in diameter than the ramekins. Place the circles of dough over the filled ramekins and press down to seal, making sure to pull the dough over the edge of the ramekin. Brush the top of the pizza dough with olive oil and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Cut a small slit in the top of the pizza dough with a paring knife. Bake until the pizza crust is golden, about 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly before serving.

Time saving tip: I use bottled marinara sauce and premade pizza dough.


Barilla No-Boil Lasagna


1 (9 ounce) box of Barilla brand no-boil lasagna noodles (I have tried other no-boil lasagna noodles, and I believe these noodles are the best)

2   eggs

1 (15 ounce) container ricotta cheese

4 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

1/2 cup parmesan cheese (optional)

1 lb. ground beef or 1 lb. sausage, browned

Spaghetti or pasta sauce

Parsley (to garnish)


Preheat oven to 375.

In bowl, combine beaten eggs, ricotta cheese and two cups of the mozzarella cheese and parmesan.  If you choose not to use the parmesan, just add more mozzarella.  Set aside.  In a 13X9X3 pan, spread 1 cup of sauce on bottom of pan.  Layer in the order, 4 uncooked lasagna noodles (they will overlap), then 1/3 part of the ricotta cheese mixture, half the browned meat, 1 cup mozzarella cheese, and 1 cup of spaghetti sauce.  Next layer, 4 uncooked lasagna noodles, 1/3 part of the ricotta cheese mixture, and 1 1/2 cups sauce.  Next layer, 4 uncooked lasagna noodles, remaining ricotta mixture and remained meat, 1 cup of sauce.  For top layer, 4 uncooked lasagna noodles, remaining sauce, and remaining 1 cup mozzarella.  Bake covered with foil for 50-60 minutes.  Uncover and continue cooking until all the cheese is melted on the top (about 5 minutes).  Let stand 15 minutes before serving.

Time saving tip:  when I make lasagna I always double or triple the recipe so I can freeze the rest!  You can be layering the other two pans of lasagna while the first one cooks.  It is perfect to have in your freezer for a potluck or to take to a friend who has just had a baby.  I like to freeze my lasagna in disposable aluminum baking pans so I don’t have to worry about getting my dishes back or not being able to use them if they are in the freezer.



Health Contributor at Creative Bioscience
Hi I'm Rachelle, or "Elle" for short. I am a busy body, but always been a plus sized kinda girl. I've learned that my curves are sexy, and I can feel good about how I look without looking like a stick! I'm a work-a-holic and stay as active as I can with lots of projects, so I have to prioritize my health choices. Working for Creative Bioscience has opened my eyes to what you can do to supplement your diet, and manage things in a natural way. The advances that are being made in the health arena are so exciting, and we are on the front lines bringing the best of the best. Rachelle's favorite product is hCG 1234

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