Sunday, August 14, 2011

Lasagna Done Differently

Cooking is a skill that I have never really been great at. I don't burn things; I don't add to much, or not enough; I don't over think the recipe. It's just that I don't usually try new things. Call me boring, plain, or whatever other synonym you can conjure up for dull, and that's me...when it comes to food. Everyone who knows me, including my acquaintances on facebook, can tell you that my favorite food to eat is grilled cheese, well done french fries and a large diet coke from none other then Volcano Burgers. 

It's not that I despise other foods, I just prefer to eat the same things. I like to stick within my comfort zone, use the same ingredients, and know what to expect from the meal on my plate. The "Daddy-O" on the other hand, likes new, likes different, likes to try things outside the box. Therefore, I have become compelled with the help of Pinterest, and the fact that I take pleasure in seeing something through from start to finish, to cook for my family. 

Recipes are wonderful, and I enjoy following them on most nights. However, I woke up one morning, the thought of having lasagna for dinner popped into my mind (what a true Italian I am), and I was determined to do it differently without searching for a recipe. So, the Lasagna Roll Up was invented.  

Lasagna Roll Ups

For this entrée you will need 1 box of lasagna sheets, 1 jar of pasta sauce (24 oz will do, but you could always add more if you so desire), 1 pound of Mozzarella Cheese, 1 small tub of ricotta cheese, and 1 pound of meat (I used Italian Sausage, but hamburger would work just as well). 

Boil your water, throw in the lasagna sheets, drain when finished cooking, and lay to the side. 

In the mean time, place the meat of your liking (Italian Sausage pictured below) in a frying pan, brown it up, and allow approximately 5 minutes to cool before you begin the stuffing & rolling process. 

Make sure to grade your cheese, unless you have bought the pre-graded kind.

While the meat & noodles are finishing up cooking, mix together 1/2 the jar of sauce, the entire tub of ricotta cheese, and half the mozzarella cheese. You can add your meat to this bowl after it has cooled, however I do not. (Because I am so plain, I make 1/2 of my Lasagna Roll Ups with just cheese the way I like them & the other 1/2 with the cheese and sausage for the Daddy-O. )

Place a thin layer of sauce on the bottom of your 13x9 backing pan (mine is glass, but you can use metal if that is what your kitchen is equipped with). This will help keep the Lasagna moist, allow for extra flavor, and most importantly prevent the noodles from sticking to the bottom of the dish. 

Right about this time in my Thursday night cooking escapade, I hear a loud CRASH. I turn to see a blue glass shattered all over the kitchen & dining room floor, thanks to a tap of the foot by the baby. Of course I'm barefoot, because why would I be wearing shoes while I'm cooking? They aren't required! Anyhow, the production stops, Daddy-O sweeps up the small blue particles & then we resume on our way! 

It's assembly time. Place one lasagna sheet out on a clean hard surface, scoop a spoon full of your cheese/meat mixture onto one end, top with extra mozzarella, and roll. When you have reached the end, you can place a small quarter size amount of cheese/meat mixture on the opposite end to hold the roll up closed. Then, place the roll up on the bottom of your 13x9 dish. 

Your pan should hold at least 12 lasagna roll ups depending on how full you fill them. The ingredients should yield you enough to make approximately 18, so you may want to prepare another pan the same way (this is what I did) or save your ingredients on the side to reuse your same dish after you have finished cooking the first batch. 

When they are lined up, pour the remainder of the sauce on top and spread out evenly.

Sprinkle the remainder of your meat & cheese on top. Then, place in the oven at 350 for about 30 minutes or until cheese is thoroughly melted.

And, there you have lasagna done differently! 

The lasagna roll ups were devoured by Daddy-O, the girls, and our friends the Phee's. The night ended with Presley crawling across the kitchen table, 

and the kidlets each taking off one shoe, and tipping each other backwards in the car. 

Good food, good friends, awesome memories!  

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