I use my email account as a recipe box. Whenever I find a recipe that sounds tasty, I copy and paste it into an email that I send to myself along with the original internet link. Search the term “recipe” and my Gmail pulls up 110 results. How many of these have I actually made? Probably only a hand full, but I feel prepared if I ever do get around to making Spiced Pumpkin Bisque with Pumpernickel Soldiers.
I emailed myself with this recipe for Cheesy Lasagna Rolls with Spinach and Ricotta from Whole Foods back on June 27, but who really wants to make lasagna in the summer time? The middle of February made more sense to me. Plus I was feeling inspired to make lasagna as I never have attempted the dish before on my own. So when I stumbled on this recipe in my Gmail, I knew exactly what to make the family this past Sunday.
You’ll find my recipe adjustments and comments in italics. Let’s roll some meat and cheese, my friends.
- 1/2 pound (8 to 10) uncooked lasagna noodles (I made the full 1 pound box and used about 17 noodles)
- Nonstick cooking spray
- 1 cup ricotta cheese (I used about 15/16 of a 15oz container)
- 1 1/2 cups prepared marinara sauce (I didn’t measure: I had two opened marinara sauce containers that equaled one large jar that I just threw into a pot to heat up)
- 1 1/2 cups packed baby spinach (only used about 1/3 cup, as I only made four spinach lasagna rolls)
- 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella
- approximately 3/4 pound ground meat – half ground beef, half ground turkey. I just pulled out two ziplock containers of meat that I had in the fridge and went with it. Didn’t use it all in the rolls – the leftover meat went into my meatball sauce. I added this for the men in my family. Baby spinach freaks my dad out. True story.
Method from Whole Foods’ website:
“Preheat oven to 400°F. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, add noodles and cook until al dente, 8 to 10 minutes. Drain well and gently transfer to a clean work surface. Grease a small roasting pan or casserole dish with cooking spray; set aside. Working with one noodle at a time, spread with about 2 tablespoons of the ricotta and 2 tablespoons of the marinara then top with spinach. Starting at one end, roll up noodle snugly then arrange in pan either seam-side down or with the rolls close enough together to hold each other closed. Pour remaining marinara over assembled rolls then sprinkle with mozzarella and bake until golden and bubbly, 20 to 25 minutes.”
There was no chance of photo-documenting this process. It was a very messy affair. After spraying the dish with the cooking spray, I covered the base with a layer of sauce then started rolling. I made the first four rolls with the spinach, then about 13 rolls with the ground meat mix (no spinach). Since I didn’t have toothpicks to keep the rolls nice and tight, I decided to cram them all into one round baking dish. Once out of room, I topped the entire thing with the leftover sauce (there wasn’t much – just enough to cover), covered the dish with foil and popped it in my oven for 25 minutes.
My finished product:
Yes, I promise there are rolls of lasagna under the sauce. It was served with this pot of goodness:
In that pot, which just got thrown together and simmered for 30 minutes, contained:
- one bag of Trader Joe’s turkey meatballs (in the freezer section)
- one large jar of Trader Joe’s tomato basil marinara sauce
- one 15oz. can of Del Monte diced tomatoes with garlic & onion
- approximately 1/2 teaspoon of Italian seasoning
- a dash ground black pepper
I served these with a couple bags of Birds Eye Steamfresh veggies: corn, peas and broccoli. I also made some reduced fat Pillsbury Crescent rolls. My dinner plate was piled high with lasagna, turkey meatballs and veggies – too bad I didn’t remember to take a picture. I did, however, get a shot of this guy who wasn’t too pleased that he didn’t have a plate himself:
On the Hans scale: the lasagna rolls were an 8.2. He is realizing he’s not a fan of tomato basil marinara sauces. He said that if I used his favorite – three cheese – it would have been closer to a 9. My Italian father, on the other hand, had two huge plates full of lasagna rolls and meatballs. He said it was “very good”, which means “awesome” in Dad speak. Overall, a success!
Would I make this recipe again? Hmmmm probably. Hans did have a good point: whatever your choices in sauce and cheeses really make or break this recipe. I would suggest investing in some fancy cheese selections and take the time to make your own sauce for an extra special meal. Don’t have the time? Whatever you pick up at Marc’s will do just find. As for assembly part, the labor in making this was a bit ridiculous in nature when I could have just made a traditional layered dish. However, the rolls were fun and a surprisingly good way to portion control your lasagna intake. Come on – you know you go back for seconds on lasagna every time – I’m not the ONLY one!