I am always on the hunt for a good weeknight meal. One that cuts the time I would normally spend on the weekend but doesn’t sacrifice flavor. Lasagna is a family favorite. It’s a process to make but worth the time when I have it which is usually on a Sunday. Lasagna is so hearty and comforting which makes it the perfect dinner with all the snow on the ground and chilly temperatures. But I wanted to see about creating a simple version that could be pulled together in less than two hours, including cooking time.
I started with fresh, no-boil lasagna noodles which are par-boiled and take a short amount of time to cook. Check your store but in mine, they were in the deli section with the fresh pasta. (don’t use the no bake noodle in the pasta aisle which are dried like boxed pasta). They are sold is sheets so rather than stack them with cheese and sauce like a traditional lasagna, I cut the sheets in half, rolled them with the filling and then cooked them standing up. I also decided to put the sauce on the bottom of the pan and in between the rolls rather than overstuffing them. For the sauce, I used a jar of my favorite marinara from Patsy’s and browned some ground turkey to make a quick meat sauce but healthier without the beef. It worked great and by having the sauce on the bottom, the noodles had enough liquid to cook evenly. I feel no guilt using a jar of sauce for a quick weeknight meal. I make sauce from scratch when I have the time – and freeze most of it for future dinners – but I didn’t have any on hand so I didn’t stress about it (and you shouldn’t either!).
Inside each roll was ricotta cheese, parmesan and shredded mozzarella. I covered the shallow dish for about 20 minutes until the sauce was bubbling and then removed the foil and let them brown a bit on top. I had some fresh mozzarella on hand and crumbled that on top but if you don’t have fresh, you can use more of the shredded cheese. I didn’t use the fresh mozzarella inside the rolls since it gives off a good amount of moisture. Next time I will add some spinach to the filling, or another thinly sliced vegetable like zucchini or eggplant to bulk up the flavor and sneak some veggies in.
The roll-ups were a big hit and the small amount of leftovers were enjoyed for lunch the next day. I will continue to play with this recipe and add spinach or even eggplant next time but I love that it was easy, quick, healthier than normal lasagna and most importantly, delicious.
1 pkg No-boil, fresh lasagna sheets (I found them in the deli section with the fresh pasta)
1 container Part skim ricotta cheese
½ cup Freshly grated parmesan cheese
½ bag Pre-shredded, part skim mozzarella cheese
½ cup Crumbled fresh mozzarella cheese
1 jar Your favorite marinara sauce
Preheat your oven to 400.
In a bowl, combine the ricotta and grated parmesan cheese. Cut the lasagna noodles in half and cover with a damp paper towel to avoid them drying out. Lay two cut noodles on a cutting board and spread about two tablespoons of the ricotta filling and sprinkle some of the shredded mozzarella cheese on each. Roll each noodle and place on a plate with the seam side down until all the rolls are done and you are ready to assemble the entire dish.
Once all the rolls are finished, take a large, shallow casserole dish and pour 2/3 of the sauce into the bottom of the dish. Take each roll and cut it in half, then place the two rolls in the dish so you can see the swirl of cheese on top. Repeat till all the rolls are cut and placed in the dish on top of the sauce. I left a little room between the rolls in my dish and then poured the remaining sauce on top of the rolls and between them. Top with the crumbled fresh mozzarella cheese and cover with foil (I spray the foil with a non-stick spray so the cheese wont stick to the foil).
Bake at 400 for 20 – 30 minutes till everything is bubbling. Remove the foil and cook for another 10 minutes to give the edges some color. Let sit for 10 minutes before you dig it – they will be hot.