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Stuck inside during this cold weather, I decided to clean out my pantry.  Noticing the boxes of lasagna leftover from Christmas (our main lasagna-eating time) I wanted to use them up but make something different.  This sat in the back of my mind until I was making my shopping list.  I suddenly felt the desire to roll up the lasagna noodles with cheese and spinach.  Lasagna is something I grew up eating, watched my grandma make, and can do from memory.  I decided to go sans recipe and see how it turned out.

Spinach Lasagna Rolls

8 lasagna noodles

8 oz. bag of baby spinach

8 oz. part-skim ricotta cheese

8 oz. part-skim mozzarella cheese, shredded

2 c. pasta sauce

Lasagna Rolls

Boil lasagna noodles al dente since they will be cooked further in the oven. Rinse under cold water, and let cool to room temperature.  Get the kids involved, as rest of the steps are simple and require no tools.  Cover the bottom of a 9×13 baking pan with a layer of pasta sauce.  Working on a clean, flat surface, spread out each lasagna noodle.  Divide the ricotta cheese among the eight noodles.  Spread the ricotta cheese evenly on the entire noodle. Layer spinach leaves on top of ricotta cheese.  Sprinkle shredded mozzarella on top of spinach.  Holding firm to the end of the noodle, roll each one individually.  Spoon additional sauce onto the tops and sides of each roll.  Cover with foil, and bake for 30 min at 350, until sauce and cheesy are bubbly.  Cool slightly, and serve. Add a tossed salad and your meal is complete!

Lasagna Rolls 2

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After stocking up at the Can-Can sale, I found myself staring at an unholy number of cans of tomatoes.  It was time to do something with them, and fast.  What better than to use some on a dinner that would mostly cook itself?  We’re still getting over winter illnesses here,  so I needed something that I could prep in the morning when energy was high, and enjoy later when I’d already crashed.

Slow Cooked Meat Sauce

Slow Cooked Meat Sauce

This recipe is great for a busy winter day, when you’re craving a comforting meal and abundant fresh produce and herbs are off-season.  It does require a two-step cooking process of browning the meat before putting it into the crockpot, but it’s worth it to be able to drain off the fat.  My daughters begged me to let them try the sauce before it was fully cooked, and I caught my husband drinking leftovers. So, that speaks for itself.

Ingredients

2 lb. lean ground meat (we use Turkey)

6 garlic cloves, chopped

1 medium onion, diced

2 (28 oz) cans of tomato puree

2 (6 oz) cans of tomato paste

28 oz water

1/3 c. olive oil

1 T* (each) dried parsley, basil, and oregano

1 t* salt

1 t pepper

2 T sugar

Note:  *T stands for tablespoon, t for teaspoon

Directions

Spray a large a skillet with cooking spray and heat over medium-high.   Sautée the ground meat, garlic, and onion until browned, about 10 minutes.  Drain well, and transfer to crockpot with slotted spoon.  Add remaining ingredients to crockpot, and stir well.  Cook on low for 8-10 hours, stirring once about halfway through.  Serve over your favorite pasta, with a tossed salad.  This makes enough for a full pound of pasta plus I filled three large jars with sauce, which I froze for future use.

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