Tuesday, February 23, 2010

I have trouble following recipes…

So here’s the thing- I love recipes. Reading them, making them up, and using them for inspiration. Problem is, I don’t always do exactly what they say.
Case in point: Lasagna Roll Ups
I looked all over the internet for a recipe for one. They all seemed to call for spinach. While I LOVE spinach, my children do not and even though Jon says he will eat it in a dish, I know it’s not his favorite.
That being said, I wasn’t satisfied with  my search results.
So what did I do?
I came up with a recipe all on my own.

What is wrong with that you ask? Well, nothing really except I’m not good at writing the recipe down for someone else to make it, if I used a little of this and a pinch of that. I’m pretty much flying by the seat of my pants and hoping that it’ll turn out good. Not everyone is comfortable with that method of cooking. Some of you need to be able to follow the recipe to the letter. Me? Not so much. Good thing about what I did is this method is basic. A foundation of sorts. If you use the basic ratio of ricotta cheese, 1 egg, and some cheeses, you can add pretty much whatever else you want to it to make it your own.
So, for your culinary enjoyment, and if you choose to attempt to make these on yourself, I give you….(drum roll please)

Lasagna Roll Ups
Ok, so I browned some ground beef. I happened to brown about 5 lbs worth all at the same time. I browned it with some chopped up garlic.
The reason I tell you this is because I didn’t measure out how much cooked meat I used in the roll ups. See? I told you I made this up as I went along. But lets say for recipe sake, I used 2 lbs of ground beef.
Ok, let’s start over. Tee-hee…
2 lbs. ground beef, browned and drained
2 cloves garlic, minced
12 lasagna noodles, cooked about 10-11 min. in boiling salted water
1 1/2 cups of whole milk ricotta cheese
garlic salt, salt and pepper
1 cup of shredded parmesan cheese (Im guessing how much I used because I didn’t measure, I just used it throughout and mixed it in the cheese mixture and on top)
1 egg
1 Jar Marinara sauce, your choice
1 Jar Alfredo sauce, your choice
Shredded Mozzarella cheese, about 2 cups, divided
Brown beef, drain. Let cool. Boil water, boil noodles, when cooked, set aside to cool on baking sheet sprayed with a little pam so they don’t stick.

Mix ricotta, garlic salt, salt and pepper, parm. cheese, cooled beef, and 1 egg. Mix until incorporated. Before you add the egg, taste mixture and adjust your seasoning. I liked it heavily flavored with garlic salt, but you can use as little or as much as you like.
Spread about 1 cup or so of alfredo sauce on the bottom of a 9x13 pan. I used a deep metal pan with square sides as my pyrex glass dish was in the fridge with something yucky in it from who knows how long ago! LOL ahem…moving on.
Take on lasagna noodle and lay it out long ways. Sprinkle with a little mozzarella cheese and put a spoonful of the meat and cheese mixture onto the noodle. Rolling the end of the noodle around the beef/cheese mixture, roll up the rest of the length of the noodle. Repeat the same steps until all 12 noodles are filled and put in the bottom of the pan. It should look like this:

Sprinkle with more mozzarella cheese. Spoon marinara sauce over the top of each roll. Top with more mozzarella and parmesan cheese.
lasagna roll ups 2

Cover with foil sprayed with pam, (so the cheese won’t stick) and bake at 375* for about 30 min. I started at 350*, but turned it up half way thru because it wasn’t heating up fast enough. Then I took the foil off and baked it for 15 more minutes to melt the cheese and make sure it was heated through.
oh by the way, this made 12 rolls, and for our family, that means 2 rolls each. If you are one or two people, you could still make the 12 rolls, and freeze the cooked portions for later. Do with it what you will, I know you can do the math. ;o)
Behold the cheesy yumminess that is lasagna rolls.
lasagna roll ups 3 
Like my new tablecloth? Wal-Mart, 4 bucks.

The verdict:
Jon loved them! They were tasty and easy to eat, unlike regular lasagna that oozes out all over the pan when you cut and serve them.
Dan and Lauren ate their 1 piece and along with french bread, they seemed satisfied.
Michael Jon liked the noodle, but not the filling because he heard me say there was a raw egg in it. Oy. Had he not heard that, I think he would have been more willing to like the way it tasted.
I thought they were delish! Easy to eat, easy to prepare given the late start I had to making dinner.
Brenna fell asleep, so we’ll have to ask her another time.
I thought it could have used more sauce on top, but only 1 other thought they could have been saucier. The boys said it was perfect the way it was.
This “recipe” is very forgiving. I ran out of meat with like 5 noodles left, so because I browned up so much at once, I just added more meat and more ricotta cheese and a couple shakes more of garlic salt. Easy peasy!
I think they will freeze well and reheat well also. Don’t you think Leslie?You’ve made them before, and you said they froze well. Chime in Sister!
I hope you try this recipe and let me know how they turn out for you. Remember, you can add thawed and drained spinach, mushrooms, or sautéed onion in the with the browned beef. Don’t feel limited by our bland palates! Go forth and make it your own! I know you can do it!!


  1. I'll try this recipe after I finish the rolls your sister made me last week. They look delicious!! And easy, too!

  2. What I said yesterday was that they freeze really well, hence the 4 containers I have left in my freezer. I got my recipe from Kraft Food & Family magazine but since they want you to use all Kraft brands, I didn't follow the recipe exactly per se. Next time I will use spinach and/or shredded zucchini. I love zucchini in my lasagna.

  3. Whoa those look uh-mazing. I have a recipe for roll ups that I always say I am going to try and just never get around to it. I wanted to say thank you so much for the comment about "Jesus with skin on". I really pray we can be that to my nephew.