At our house, we have a saying..."Don't yuk my yum!". We are trying to raise kids that aren't picky eaters by exposing them to many different kinds of food. It wasn't that long ago that one of my kids asked "Why can't you cook food like everyone else? Like tater tot hotdish?" The reason? It's not very healthy or creative and I think it's kind of gross. I don't cook like that. I like to use fresh, healthy ingredients to make great tasting good for you dishes. I've created this blog to share my favorite recipes with you.

Follow my kitchen adventures from using up vegetables from our weekly CSA box to baking and creative cooking.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Sausage and Spinach Lasagna Rolls

Who doesn't love lasagna?  Layers of meat, pasta, sauce and cheese all come together to create a delicious flavor combination in your mouth.  Unfortunately, all that deliciousness is not very healthy.  I stumbled on a version of this recipe last summer in a cookbook by the "Eat This, Not That" writers.  I am always on the lookout for new ways to use veggies and I must have had a ton of spinach when this one caught my eye.  I made the recipe as written, and have since tweaked it to fit our taste buds and preferences. 

I think this recipe is way easier than making the layered lasagna and with all the spinach in it, it has to be better for you!  While this is not a favorite of my children, they have mostly learned to "shut up and eat it".  The quantities I am providing makes enough for 36 rolls, which is a ton.  Make it for company or do what I do and  divide the rolls between two pans and freeze one for later.  You could also easily cut the recipe in half for a more manageable batch, but to me, it's just as easy to make enough for two meals at once.  One pan feeds the four of us with leftovers for lunch the next day for both me and Phil. 

Lasagna Rolls
1 box lasagna noodles (18 noodles), cooked al dente, then cut in half cross-wise (see picture below)
1 lb. italian sausage (the original version calls for chicken or turkey sausage, but whatever you prefer is fine. I used pork this time but it was equally good with turkey.)
2 bags frozen spinach,, thawed & squeezed out (not the block, but the loose stuff)  Fresh works, too.
1 15 oz. container part skim ricotta
1/4-1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (more or less to taste)
salt and pepper to taste
marinara sauce (1 big jar should do it.) I used homemade
1 c. shredded mozzarella cheese

Brown sausage in large skillet.  Drain fat and add in spinach and red pepper flakes.  Cook until warmed through (drain any extra water from the spinach).  Remove from heat and stir in ricotta, adding salt and pepper if desired. 

Spray two 9x13 pans with non-stick spray or put a little marinara in the bottom of each pan.  I have done both and they work equally well to prevent sticking.  Lay the noodles out as shown below, placing a large spoonful of spinach/sausage mixture at one end and rolling up.

Put rolls in pans. 

Top each pan of lasagna rolls with marinara sauce (as much/little as you want) and sprinkle with mozzarella cheese.  Cover with aluminum foil and bake at 400 for 15 minutes, then remove foil and bake for an additional 10 minutes, until cheese is bubbly. 

If you freeze one pan, bake it at 400 until the cheese is bubbly, about 40 minutes.  I use a metal pan so it can go straight from the freezer to the oven, but be careful if you have a glass pan because it could break with the temperature change!

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