When You Don’t Have Time To Make Lasagna…

…this makes a good substitute. It’s not a gorgeous five star restaurant dish but oh my is it tasty. It’s homey and cheesy (and really? Need I say more if I’ve said cheese?) and comforting and appeals to adults and kids alike. Which is always a plus when you have kids and don’t feel like listening to “Ewwwww… what is this?! It’s…it’s…it’s GREEN!”

When I was a kid, I loved the canned Chef Boyardee cheese ravioli. Yes, I admit it. I even admit to having a liking for it now. Sometimes. As well as the mac and cheese. Ok, I admit it again!!!! I just like canned pasta of any sort! I also like Spam, Vienna sausages and canned chicken and dumplings. Hello, my name is Janet and I am a “preservative-holic” Sigh. I can kiss my followers goodbye can’t I? But really, there is something comforting about the mild taste and childish appeal of them. The canned pasta that is. Also, they have so many preservatives in them, that if you eat enough, you’ll be like Dick Clark and never age. I have it on good authority (as they say in the Enquirer, “we heard this from a close friend of the family”) that this is how Dick keeps his eerily youthful appearance. Canned pasta, Twinkies and Cheetos and Botox. Lots of Botox.

As I got older though, I discovered frozen and homemade ravioli. Homemade ravioli is saved for that one day a year or so when I’m feeling really ambitious. If I had a pasta machine, maybe it would be three or four days. but without one, hand rolling pasta is a bitch and a half. Seriously. Though I do love me some homemade egg noodles. So frozen ravioli comes in handy. Again, especially when you have kids. open the bag, toss it into a pot of boiling water and a few minutes later, you have what is actually quite good ravioli. So it was only natural for me, with my fetish love for cheese, that I combined cheese ravioli and cheese… massive amounts of cheese, covered in more cheese and served with a side dish of cheese. I suppose you could use beef ravioli in this, but…why would you WANT to? Just sayin’.

This goes together so easy it’s scary and again, it may not be the fanciest dish in the world but one of the things I promised when I started this blog was to help you with the basics too. this is pretty basic. if you can open jars and boil water without burning the house down, you can make this. So make it. Enjoy the cheesy goodness. 😀 This can be easily cut in half if you’re not feeding an army. You can also add a pound of cooked and sliced Italian Sausage or some cooked ground beef to this to make it meaty.



  • 2 25 ounce bags frozen cheese (or Beef I suppose) ravioli
  • 1 jar spaghetti sauce (just use your favorite and don’t even try to tell me you only use homemade sauce and have never used jarred. 😛 )
  • 1 15 ounce can fire roasted tomatoes
  • 1 6 ounce can tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup chopped basil (or half a tube of the squeeze tube kind.)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons onion powder (yes, you can use fresh for both the onion & garlic, but that defeats the “I want something fast & easy” idea)
  • 1 1/2 pounds shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Cook the ravioli as directed on the bag.
  3. Drain and set aside. In the same pot (why dirty more dishes right?) mix all your other ingredients, except for one cup of the mozzarella cheese and all of the Parmesan. Add the ravioli to the sauce mix and stir gently. You don’t want to mash up the ravioli just mix it with the sauce. Top with the reserved cheeses.
  4. Pour it all into a lightly greased (or better yet, foil lined because of that “why do more dishes” thing) 3 quart baking pan. As I always say, try to use glass because glass doesn’t pick up off tastes like metal can. and bake at 350 until golden brown and bubbly, about 30 to 40 minutes. Eat. Enjoy. Buy more cheese. Repeat.


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29 thoughts on “When You Don’t Have Time To Make Lasagna…

  1. I won’t let my roommate even BUY jars of sauce – but she’s as much of a sauce snob as I am. I’ll freeze part of the quarterly mondo pot of spaghetti sauce and use that, though.

    Mmmm… cheeeeeese

  2. Oh believe me, I prefer my “simmer for 6 or so hours, filled with 300 different ingredients and types of meat” homemade sauce but sometimes, you just have to be quick and even with three freezers, I never seem to have room to freeze the homemade stuff lol

  3. Thanks for posting such a quick and tasty Italian dish. I have to put this one under the “time-management” recipes! Kudos to the person that makes everything from scratch 100% of the time-but I am not one of them !

    • Me either! I mentioned in my “about me” that I am not one of those cooks who is going to be constantly posting things that the average home cook wouldn’t make just so that I can look good. I want to make things everyone can make and at times that includes using the convenience products that the stores carry. They wouldn’t carry them if people weren’t buying and using them lol so I may as well have a blog that incorporates their use

  4. I like canned pasta too. I really like the not really meat but super tasty meatballs in the spaghetti and meatballs chef boyardee.

    This dish looks really really good!

    • Heh. I was just eating some canned spaghetti the other night and I turned to my husband and asked him if he thought there was any REAL meat in the meatballs or if they used, sayyyyy, elk testicles 😛

  5. It could be turned into a restaurant dish with a little tweaking. Firstly I would make them in individual ramekins make a home made tomato sauce and maybe drizzle with some pesto. But trust me at home I would make this as is

    • Thank YOU Alida. I like to make the long simmering sauce and all most of the time but this is great for rush nights and for people like your husband who aren’t as sure of their way around the kitchen

  6. Honestly, Janet? You are COOL! When I make lasagna – I make the sauce, the pasta…everything is scratch….but this one looks amazing and I bet it’s as well received as anything else. I’m not a food snob – I enjoy cooking….but I would eat this in a heartbeat!! Bring a big pan when you fly down!

    • I make lasagna the same way… totally from scratch . Well, other than home made noodles. I’m not THAT ambitious. But sauce that simmers for hours with four kinds of meat, yada yada yada… but this comes in handy when I am wanting the same flavor but don’t have the time or energy for the real thing. And my kids and husband love it because it’s cheese overload lol

      As for bringing it….wait for it… it depends on how tired my arms may get flying that far 😛

    • Thanks Tina. I hope you like it. It’s so darn easy but yet people who don’t cook as much are fooled into thinking it took hours hehe

  7. Holy Cow! This looks outrageously good! And I LOVE your description of ‘massively cheesy’! I grew up on Chef Boyardee too! But what a great way to have lasagne when you don’t have the time to put it all together! My sons will love this! : )

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