Saturday, August 21, 2010

Feta and Spinach Lasagna Rolls

This is a "cook in bulk and freeze" meal. I got the recipe from my friend, Julia, when I heard that she and some other friends were doing this together, and I anticipated how busy my nights were going to be once Stephen had to go back to working 12-9. As if our work schedule wasn't enough to make you tired, Lauren has dance on Mondays and Girl Scouts every other Thursday, and I've signed Caleb up for soccer. I still have no idea how I am going to shuttle all 4 kids to these places, and on those nights when we'll be getting home just in time for dinner, I am going to turn to my good ol' friend, Crock Pot. But on the other nights, I'll be pulling pre-made meals from my freezer and so I tried this recipe.

3 1/2 (16 oz) boxes lasagna noodles **** see note below
24 oz crumbled feta cheese (5 c)
32 oz low-fat cottage cheese
32 oz part-skim ricotta cheese
1 c shredded Asiago cheese (4 oz)
1 c shredded Parmesan cheese
2 t black pepper
15 oz frozen chopped spinach, water squeezed out and leaves broken apart

8 one-gallon freezer bags, labeled
Large bowl (5 quarts)
Stockpot for boiling noodles
baking sheet
****pastry bag(s)

What you need for preparing the meal:
2 c marinara or pasta sauce (or more to taste)
1 c shredded mozzarella cheese (or more to taste)

1. Working in batches, boil noodles until flexible enough to roll, but not completely cooked.
2. Meanwhile, mix all other ingredients, except spinach, in large bowl. Stir in spinach leaves last.
3. Place partially cooked noodles on a clean work surface in a single layer (do not overlap). I used a piece of foil. Measure how long 4 lasagna noodles would be if lined up end-to-end.
4. Spread about 3 T filling down the length of each noodle. I cut the noodle in half vertically first. Roll noodle and place seam side down on a rimmed baking sheet. Place rolls in the freezer for 30 minutes.
5. Divide frozen rolls evenly among the freezer bags. Seal and refreeze.

*******This procedure was taking a super long time, and the noodles seemed too narrow to me. My hands were covered in filling from trying to roll the noodles. As I was nearing the end of 3 hours of boiling noodles, arranging the filling "just so", and rolling them, it dawned on me that 1) I could use a pastry bag to fill the noodles, and 2)instead of the time spent on rolling hte lasagna noodles and partially freezing them, I could have used canolli/manicotti noodles! This epiphany came from working with Nancy and Charlie at their family Italian restaurant. It would have saved SO much time.

When preparing:
Use a 9x13 when preparing 10 rolls.
1. Place lasagna rolls in a greased baking dish. Cover with foil; completely thaw in refrigerator.
2. Preheat oven to 350.
3. Pour 2 c marinara over rolls and top with mozzarella; replace foil.
4. Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until center is hot and cheese is melted.

In my opinion: These were really, really good! I think I'll use more pasta sauce next time, but I like my pasta smothered in sauce. I don't think I'll get tired of eating all 7 bags that are left in the freezer.

1 comment:

Julia said...

Way to go Mama! thanks for breaking it down for us!