Sunday, November 27, 2011

Pasta Roll-Ups

This weekend has flown by! I swear, it was just Thursday five minutes ago!  I know what's been eating my time -- I've been busy! I went Christmas shopping with a friend, I've been cooking, cleaning, and doing my training walks.  I put up my Christmas lights (even though they won't be turned on until December), and I'm slowly getting some things checked off my to-do list that have been there for ages.

This recipe was one of those things.  I've had it on the list for ages, thinking 'oh maybe next weekend', or 'when I have more time', or another of a million excuses.  But after one bite, I'm sorry I waited so long.  This one's every bit as good as it looks.  If you don't believe my pictures, check these out!  I'm so inspired I've put more of the recipes from this book into my menu plan for this week, so stay tuned :)

I have a feeling December will go quickly.  I'm surprised yet again how we've gotten to the end of the year so fast!  It feels like it was just summer yesterday.  But I guess we all suffer from that a bit!  December has some great things to look forward to, even without counting Christmas.  This December I'm taking another cake decorating class, I'm participating in a bake sale at work, and a cookie exchange! That one I'm really excited about -- I'll get to show off some of my cookie favourites, and maybe try some new ones.

Here, as one of my last November recipes, let me show you this very tasty, comforting, easier-than-it-looks, ooey-gooey "not" lasagna. 

Pasta Roll-Ups
Makes: 8 servings

Ingredients:
1 tsp olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 lb ground beef
3/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 28-oz can diced tomatoes in juice
1 tsp salt
8 sheets dried whole-wheat lasagna
1 10-oz box frozen chopped spinach, thawed
1 15-oz container nonfat ricotta cheese
1 egg
3/4 cup shredded reduced-fat mozzarella cheese

Directions:
In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium. Add onion and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook another minute. Turn heat to medium-high and add ground beef, cooking until meat shows no sign of pink. Stir in cinnamon and nutmeg, then add tomatoes and salt. Reduce heat to medium-low, stir, cover and let simmer for 20 minutes, occasionally stirring and breaking up tomatoes with a wooden spoon.
 Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to boil. Cook pasta according to package directions, drain, rinse and allow to cool in a colander.

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Squeeze all remaining moisture from thawed spinach and place in large bowl. Add ricotta cheese, egg and a 1/4 cup mozzarella cheese to bowl. Stir until combined.
 Spread 1 cup of cooked tomato sauce into bottom of a 9 x 10-inch casserole dish. Lay a cooked lasagna noodle flat in front of you. Use your fingers to spread 1/8 of ricotta mixture across the noodle and roll it up. Place the rolled pasta seam side down, into the casserole dish. Repeat with remaining noodles.
Spread remaining tomato sauce over roll-ups, then top with remaining 1/2 cup mozzarella
 Bake, covered with foil, for 20 minutes. Remove foil and broil for 5 minutes or until the rollups are browned and bubbly.
Notes:  Next time I make this one, I plan to use crushed tomatoes instead of the diced or whole tomatoes -- I think it will give the sauce a creamier texture. 

Also, I substituted ground beef for the ground turkey mentioned in the original recipe.  It's personal preference.  Do as you wish.

One tip from their website is to use leftover cooked turkey -- just chop it finely or run it through your food processor to chop it up to the right consistency for this recipe.
Enjoy!

Source: Best of Clean Eating Magazine.

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