Bake One, Freeze One – Chicken & Ricotta Lasagna Rolls

This post was written in a paid partnership with Manitoba Chicken Producers. As always, all opinions are my own and I only promote products and services that I use and love.

Spring break is just around the corner and that means kids are home from school and will at some point be a) hungry and b) bored. These Chicken Ricotta Lasagna Rolls are a great way to get the kids in the kitchen to keep them busy AND feed them.

a pan of cooked lasagna rolls in white sauce
These Chicken & Ricotta Lasagna Rolls are perfect for Spring Break: An activity for the kids and a meal for the family.

60-Second Recipe

As I mentioned in How to prep Chicken – One Pan Chicken Souvlaki, Manitoba Chicken Producers has 60-Second Recipe videos on manitobachicken.ca to teach you how to make over 50 of their recipes.  There is a video for these Chicken and Ricotta Lasagna Rolls too, so if you have older kids who are independent in the kitchen, you can set them up with the groceries and the link and let them have fun cooking dinner.

ingredients on a cutting board

Bake One, Freeze One

This recipe is a great one to double and freeze for another meal.  You can divide it in portions that are suitable for you. I like to use foil containers to freeze these, so that I don’t have to freeze my everyday baking dishes. 

Versatile & Adaptable

Chicken & Ricotta Lasagna Rolls are adaptable, and you can tweak the flavors based on ingredients you already have on hand. For my take on this recipe, I substituted the swiss chard with sundried tomatoes and the thyme for my Three Herb Pesto. You could also use spinach, shredded zucchini, or mushrooms instead of the swiss chard.  If using zucchini or mushrooms, be sure to sauté them first, to release some of the moisture.

ingredients in a bowl being mixed with a spatula

Since I doubled the recipe, I made half with the cream sauce, as stated in the original recipe, and used marinara sauce for the other half. You can also use different pasta shapes for these Chicken & Ricotta Lasagna Rolls. I tested this recipe using fresh lasagna sheets and oven-ready cannelloni shells. You could also use jumbo shell pasta or regular lasagna noodles (be sure to cook them and cool them before filling).

lasagna rolls in red sauce in a baking dish

Tips for Assembling Chicken & Ricotta Lasagna Rolls

This recipe is so easy to prepare. Younger children can help mix the ingredients and dollop the filling on to the lasagna sheets.  When I was using the oven-ready cannelloni, I used a piping bag to fill the tubes.  This technique might be tricky (but fun!) for tiny hands but will make filling them a breeze for a teen or an adult.

a hand holding a canneloni bring filled with a piping bag

Also, be sure to cover the rolls completely with whichever sauce you choose to use.  I made the mistake of leaving some of the edges uncovered and they got a bit crispy.

cream being poured from a pitcher over lasagna rolls

Tips for Freezing and Storing Chicken & Ricotta Lasagna Rolls

There are two important food safety tips you need to know for making and freezing these lasagna rolls.  First, when you bring the ground chicken home from the store, be sure to use it within two days.  Second, when freezing the lasagna rolls, they will keep in the freezer for up to three months.  Be sure to label your foil pans with the name of the recipe and the date so you know how long they have been in your freezer.

foil pans with cooking instructions written on the top

When thawing the rolls before cooking them, be sure to thaw them in the refrigerator the night before you would like to cook them.

These Chicken & Ricotta Lasagna Rolls are delicious leftover as well.  I thought they were even better the next day! Be sure to consume leftovers within two days. For more chicken-related food safety tips, head to the Cooking School section at manitobachicken.ca and click Cooking, Storing or Handling in the dropdown menu.

How to Serve Chicken & Ricotta Lasagna Rolls

a plate of food beside a baking dish of cooked lasagna rolls

These lasagna rolls pair well with a Caesar salad and garlic or focaccia bread.  Which variation will you make? Head to manitobachicken.ca for the recipe and to watch the 60-Second video.

How to make a burrito bowl

One of my favorite weeknight meals is a burrito bowl because it’s easy to switch up the protein and flavors and it’s easy to deconstruct for the kids, who aren’t always into spicy foods, or foods touching each other on their plates.

The Rice

The rice is the base for this burrito bowl. You can use white or brown rice, or even quinoa if you prefer. If you want to prep this ahead of time on the weekend for a quicker weeknight meal, you can cook the rice in two different ways.

  1. Cook plain rice, then season it in a skillet when you’re ready prepare dinner.
  2. Cook the rice with the seasoning in the water. (Don’t use this method if you’re using fresh ingredients like cilantro and lime to season the rice.)

I prefer the first method and here’s why. The kids don’t love the seasoning, so I usually add corn and black beans to the rice in the pan, set some aside for the kids, then season the rest for us.

My favorite ways to season the rice are:

The Veggies

I like to add corn, black beans and diced red peppers to mine. You could also add onion, garlic or jalapeno if you want. Again, to make weeknight preparation quicker, chop your veggies ahead of time and rinse and drain your beans. This reduces some of the steps for busy weeknights.

The “Meat”

The picture shown above is a vegetarian version of a burrito bowl with roasted sweet potato. When I say “meat” I mean anything to add more texture to your bowl. Pulled pork or jackfruit, barbacoa beef, shredded chicken, grilled shrimp or fish and spicy chorizo are all excellent options. Consider providing a few different protein options if you’re going to serve these buffet style and allow everyone to choose their own toppings.

The Toppings

The sky is the limit on toppings. I like to use fresh or pickled ingredients to top my burrito bowls. Pickled jalapenos, banana peppers or onions pair well with avocado or guacamole. You can even add some fresh salsas like this tomatillo salsa or this pineapple salsa.

The Finishing Touch

No burrito bowl is complete without crispy tortilla chips and a bit of shredded cheese. You can also top it with your favorite hot sauce, some chimichurri or a drizzle of sour cream.

Meal Prep Tips

Here are few meal prep tips you can use to save some time in the kitchen when making these burrito bowls:

  • Cook, portion and freeze meat when you bring it home from the store
  • Pre-chop veggies
  • Rinse and drain black beans
  • Pre-cook rice
  • If using fresh salsa, make it ahead of time
  • Make extra and take them for lunch the next day
  • Use leftover cooked rice from a previous meal

If you like bowl-style foods, check out these Back-to-school lunch bowls with maple tahini sauce for another quick meal idea.

How to prep chicken for quick meals featuring One-Pan Chicken Souvlaki

This post was written in a paid partnership with Manitoba Chicken Producers. As always, all opinions are my own and I only promote products and services that I use and love.

It’s no secret that I make chicken ALL. THE. TIME. It is a protein that the whole family loves and no matter what cut you use, it’s versatile and easy to prepare. I use a few simple prep strategies that can help get dinner on the table in under 30 minutes.

Last year, I talked about how to cook, portion and shred chicken for quick meals. Today I’m showing you how to portion and prep a family pack of chicken breasts. 

We don’t realize how much time we spend taking out ingredients and doing dishes when we prep meals. 

Meal Prep Tip: To save time, it’s best to tackle as much prep as you can in one session. This is especially helpful when prepping on the weekend for busy weeknights. 

60-Second Meals

Manitobachicken.ca has some great 60-Second Meal Videos that show you step-by-step how to make each recipe.  This week I’m trying the One-Pan Chicken Souvlaki.  I prepped my chicken as soon as I brought it home from the store. 

Meal Prep Tip: Slice, portion and freeze boneless skinless chicken breasts as soon as you bring them home from the store.

I had a family pack of 11 chicken breasts.  I divided them and sliced them in three different ways:

  • Three chicken breasts, sliced in medium pieces for the One-Pan Chicken Souvlaki
  • Four chicken breasts, sliced in strips for Chicken Strips
  • Four chicken breasts, sliced thinly for a sheet pan or stir-fry (portioned in two bags)

That makes four meals that are ready to cook.

Meal Prep Tip: You can even go one step further and marinate the chicken before you freeze it.  Depending on your recipe, you can also marinate whole chicken breasts. 

Before you freeze the chicken, flatten the bags as much as you can.  They will stack neatly in your freezer and will also take less time to defrost. 

Food Safety Tip: The best way to defrost frozen chicken in overnight in the fridge. Never thaw chicken at room temperature on the counter, as it may promote bacteria growth.  Thawed chicken should be cooked within 48 hours.  

Check out the Storing Chicken section on manitobachicken.ca for a chart on safe thawing methods, as well as other food safety tips.

How to cook One-Pan Chicken Souvlaki

There are two ways that you can cook the One-Pan Chicken Souvlaki, depending on how much time you have. 

If you are pressed for time, cook it in the skillet, as directed in the 60 Second Meal Video.

If you are not pressed for time, but you have other tasks you want to do while you wait for it to be ready, you can bake it on a sheet pan at 425°F for 20-25 minutes.

Food Safety Tip: Always use a thermometer to check if your chicken is ready. Cooked chicken breast should read 165°F on a digital thermometer when inserted into the thickest part of the breast meat.

How to serve One-Pan Chicken Souvlaki

There are a variety of ways you can serve One-Pan Chicken Souvlaki.  I like to set out all the components and let everyone decide how they want to eat it.  Deconstructing is a great strategy to use for picky eaters or for people who have dietary restrictions.  Everyone can serve themselves the components they would like to have.  I talk more about deconstructing in this blog post.

Here are some of the components that you could put out on the table for serving:

  • Warmed naan, pitas or mini pitas
  • Chunky Greek Salad
  • Tzatziki
  • Hummus
  • Lettuce
  • Tomatoes
  • Olive tapenade
  • Tabouleh
  • Lemon roasted potatoes
  • Rice

My partner likes his as a wrap in naan with all the fixings. I like mine deconstructed, using the tzatziki and hummus as a dip for the chicken and the naan.  The kids will most likely just have chicken, naan, lettuce, and tomatoes, all separate and not touching on the plate! If we have leftovers to take for lunch, a great side is a tabouleh salad, made with bulgur, fresh herbs, lemon juice, olive oil and tomatoes, as this can be made and dressed ahead of time.

This meal is so versatile that you can try it over and over it again with different sides.   Head to manitobachicken.ca to check out the 60-second video, as well as more 60-second meal ideas!