Thursday, November 1, 2012

Rollin', Rollin, Rollin- Lasagna Rolls

Yes friend, it's been a while but thanks for coming by. Pull up a chair and let's just pick up where we left off like we always do.
These days I am trying to survive. The busyness of life that has me pulled in a million directions keeps me on my toes trying to maintain my schedules and meeting and orders and kids and events and all of the day to day blessings that are pouring in my door. Since I am working out of my house three days a week I have really had to adjust my menu planning schedule to allow me to still feed my kids at home and not opt out for the easy and expensive take out meals every day. I have started trying to prepare larger meals so that I can freeze part of it for another meal. Don't get me wrong, we have plenty of meals that are based around the kids favorite cereal, but I try my hardest to give them something of substance and in a variety of colors.
One of my favorite quick fix meals are lasagna rolls. They have all of the yumminess of my mom's lasagna but don't require all of the layering and planning (in my humble opinion). I also like these because you can fill them with anything from sausage, hamburger meat or grilled chicken or you can just fill them with fresh sauteed or roasted veggies like spinach, roasted squash, broccoli, mushrooms, etc. This sausage spinach version is what we have the most around this neck of the woods. One of my muffins scoops out the creamy filling eating only the noodle while the other does the complete it makes everyone happy in one form or another. These are great to make for when you have company or when you are needing to impress. Don't be scared by these instructions! Just put on your big girl britches and go for it!  

Lasagna Rolls (This version is sausage and spinach)

12-14 curly edged lasagna noodles
Throw these in some heavily salted boiling water and cook until they are al dente or soft but still have a bite to them. Rinse them with cold water until they have come to room temp and just let them hang until your stuffing is done.

1 lb Italian sweet sausage (can use hamburger meet, 2 cups diced roasted chicken, 1 cup diced pepperoni slices, or 2 cups chopped meatballs)
Cook your sausage on medium heat in a skillet with 2 Tbsp of olive oil added and constantly crumble with a wooden spoon or potato masher until it is browned and is a fine crumble.(Use this same method for ground beef but add in 2 tsp Italian seasoning and 1/2 tsp garlic salt )
*If you want to do a veggie version you will use 2 cups of your veggie of choice. Cut the veggies into a small dice size and saute in 2 Tbsp of olive oil adding in the 2 tsp of Italian Seasoning and 1/2 tsp garlic salt until the veggies are soft.

Cream Filling
2 cups cottage cheese
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese *reserve 1/4 cup for the topping)
2 cups mozzarella (I have also used white Cheddar and provolone) *reserve 3/4 cup for the topping
1 egg
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1/4 tsp garlic salt
1/4 tsp cracked black pepper
1 cup chopped fresh spinach (or if you want to go with an all spinach version the squeeze the juice out of a 10oz frozen chopped spinach box and add it in)

Combine all of the above in a bowl. Add in the cooked and crumbled sausage.

2-24 oz Jar canned spaghetti sauce (preferably garlic and herb and the cheap stuff is fine!)
I typically make two different pans of this and freeze one for later. If you are cooking this all at once you will fill up a jam packed 9x13 but if you have an 11x15 that works best.

Ladle in 1/2-3/4 cup of sauce on the bottom of your pan and spread it around to where it evenly coats the entire bottom.

Take your cold lasagna noodles out of the water and lay them out on your counter in long strips. I like to do this all in once step so I don't get my hands gunky.  Spread about 3 Tbsp of mixture evenly on top of each noodle until you have used up all of your filling. I typically get 12 but you could get up to 14, but don't be too skimpy with filling. Start from the bottom of one noodle and roll that baby up and place it in the sauce seam side down. Repeat until you have rolled all of the noodles.

Next, ladle the sauce over all of the noodles. You might not use up both jars but you want to be sure you have plenty of sauce on the top of the rolls or you will get a super crunchy noodle, and no one likes that.

Next, spread your remaining cheese across the top. If you are going to freeze a batch, spray the foil with Pam before covering and putting in the freezer. If you are baking right away, lightly tent the pan with foil for the first part of baking.

Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes, removing the foil after 25 minutes. Allow it to sit for about 10 minutes before serving so things can settle and calm back down before you dig in.
Enjoy Y'all!

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