Lasagna is a great way to stretch food dollars because it makes a butt-load of food! I change it up a bit by rolling them up with the filling inside instead of layering the noodles. It’s really fun and the kiddies will enjoy it too!
I’m really enjoying the spring break time off classes! I had today off work too and was able to prep some food and snacks for the week, get caught up on cleaning and work on some school projects. I also made it to a kick-my-butt box class which was really great. Sometimes it’s just nice to have a day off, but it goes so darn fast!
Yield: 8-10 servings (2 roll-ups)
- 15 oz part-skim ricotta cheese
- 3 cups skim mozzarella (1 cup for filling and 2 cups for topping)
- 1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tbsp dried Italian herbs, crushed
- pinch of salt and pepper to taste
- 1 chicken sausage link, casing removed and sautéed in pan
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
- 2 cups packed and chopped spinach
- 16 lasagna noodles
- 4 cups of your favorite pasta sauce (or see below)
For the crock-pot pasta sauce:
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 onion, chopped fine
- 1 carrot, chopped fine
- 8 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/4 cup tomato paste
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- 2 (28oz) cans roma tomatoes with basil, no salt added (I like the TJ’s brand)
- 2 tbsp dried Italian herbs, crushed
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil to add freshness at the end (optional)
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Place about 1 cup of pasta sauce on the bottom of a 9 x 13 pan. Mix the first 9 ingredients (1 cup mozzarella cheese through spinach) in a large bowl.
Boil the pasta noodles just until they are bendable and easy to work with. Place them on a cookie sheet so they don’t stick. Place about 1/3 cup of the cheese mixture down on each lasagna noodle and roll-up.
Place in a 9 x 13 baking pan. You should be able to make about 15-16 roll-ups. Cover with the rest of the pasta sauce and some foil. Bake at 350 covered with foil for 20 minutes; remove the foil and increase oven temp to 400. Sprinkle with about 2 cups of mozzarella cheese. Bake an additional 20 minutes or until golden and crispy on top. So good!
For the crock-pot sauce:
Sauté the onion, carrot and garlic in olive oil until slightly golden. Clear a space in the center and plop the tomato paste in the middle. Cook this for at least 8-10 minutes. It really deepens the tomato flavor. Add the balsamic vinegar and stir to reduce down a bit. Add this to the crock-pot along with the tomatoes and spices. Cook on low for 7-8 hours. Taste for seasonings and add the fresh basil at the very end.
Here is the average nutrition facts for 2 roll-ups. I had to use a generic sauce which probably had a considerable amount of sodium in it. I don’t really add that much salt to the tomato sauce because I love the fresh taste of tomato and fresh basil. Plus when it cooks in the crock-pot all day it gives a wonderful depth of tomato flavor so you don’t need to use that much salt! You could also reduce some of the mozzarella cheese on top because it was pretty cheesy!
Cheesy goodness! My favorite part is all the crusty crispies on the side. You could also cut this recipe into two 8 x 8 square pans and freeze one (without the cheese on top and tightly wrapped/covered) to have another week.
We are going to be eating leftovers for days. And I’m sure the flavor will be even better tomorrow, yay! And I can’t forget the birthday shout out to VeggieGirl, woo-hoo!
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Are you a big leftovers person? If so, what is your favorite dish to have lots of?