Lasagna For Dinner Sounds Like a Great Idea Until You Realize You Are The One Who Has To Make It......
...And since lasagna is somewhat of a comfort food for a lot of people, we really owe it to ourselves to come up with a way to take the tedious layering work out of making lasagna. (I like this recipe because it also sneaks in a hefty amount of spinach!)
The instructions below are the standard “I-had-time-to-make-dinner-today” version. One of the things I like about this recipe is that you can freeze it up casserole style or single serving style to have on hand for those “not-so-organized” days when you have to wing it to get a healthy meal on the table.
To make individual serving freeze ahead roll-ups, skip steps 1 & 2. Starting with step 3, once you’ve created each roll, place them on a baking sheet and freeze. Once frozen (an hour or so) place the rolls in a zip lock bag. When you want individual servings, just take out as many as you need. Pour a thin layer of marinara sauce in the bottom of your baking pan, set the desired number of roll-ups in the pan, and pour another thin layer of sauce over them. Sprinkle with a thin layer of mozzarella cheese. Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 60 minutes.
To prepare the rolls in a make-ahead casserole style, skip step 1 (no need to pre-heat the oven) and start with step 2, pouring sauce in the bottom of the baking pan. Once you’ve assembled all of the rolls, place them in the baking dish just as you would if you were baking the dish immediately. Cover tightly with tinfoil and freeze. When you’re ready to serve, thaw the casserole in the refrigerator for 36-48 hours before serving and bake for 40 minutes at 350 degrees.
OR….if you’re like me and you forget to take it out of the freezer in time, you can take it from the freezer to the oven and bake it for 60 minutes at 350 degrees.
So cue the Italian music and uncork the red wine - dinner will be ready in about an hour!
SPINACH LASAGNA ROLLS
2 Cups marinara sauce, plus a bit more for serving*
9 uncooked lasagna noodles, wheat or gluten free (Don’t use the “oven ready” type).
10 oz. frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed well
15 oz part skim ricotta cheese
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 large egg
½ tsp each of Salt & pepper
9 TBLSP (about 3 oz) part skim mozzarella cheese, shredded
1) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
2) Spread 1 cup of marinara sauce on the bottom of a 9x12” baking dish
3) Cook noodles according to package directions, then drain flat on waxed paper, making sure they’re dry before adding sauce to them.
4) Combine spinach, ricotta, Parmesan, egg, ½ tsp salt, ½ tsp pepper in a medium bowl. Mix well.
5) Spread 1/3 cup of ricotta mixture evenly over each of the noodles. Roll carefully, and place seam side down onto the baking dish. Repeat with each noodle**
6) Ladle remaining sauce over the noodles and top each one with 1 TBLSP mozzarella cheese. Cover baking dish with foil and bake for 40 minutes, or until cheese melts. (After baking, you can uncover and place under the broiler until the cheese is lightly brown and bubbly.)
7) To serve, ladle a little sauce on the plate and top with a lasagna roll-up.
*Read your labels carefully so that your choice of marinara sauce isn’t loaded with sugar, or sodium.
**I would suggest using ¼ cup of the mixture per roll. I used 1/3 cup and ran out of sauce after 8 noodles.
P.S. When a friend needs a little boost and you offer to bring dinner for their family, this casserole is perfect!!!
Special thanks to Gina Homolka at skinnytaste.com for this great recipe!