Weeknight Dinner: Tomato Basil Lasagna Rolls

My dear friend Ashley returned home from her cruise to Key West and Cozumel with quite the tan… aka, a serious burn on her shoulder… and hungry for some home cookin'. So, naturally, she headed over here to see our new apartment and torture Mr Grumpy for a little while, which is probably my favorite thing on the planet.

If there is anything Ashley and I love, it's pasta. Any and all kinds. And cheese. These little babies taste devilshly good, but only have 250 calories per roll. And you really can't eat more than two, so I'd say this was quite the meal for little calories (except because we completely covered these in cheese, it was probably more like 500 calories per roll, but I don't think anyone's judging us. ARE THEY?). I found the idea for this on Skinny Taste's Pinterest, but then just improvised on the recipe. You could really put any type of filling you wanted in these – Ashley asked if there was a meat option, and yes! You could add any type of meat to them if you wanted to – iltalian chicken sausage, ground beef, grilled chicken pieces. The options are really endless.   


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Here's what you'll need:

  • 8 lasagna noodles
  • 1 15 oz container of low-fat ricotta cheese
  • 1/4 cup of basil, chopped
  • 1/4 cup of fresh spinach
  • 1/4 cup of chopped cherry tomatoes
  • 2 cups of your favorite tomato sauce
  • 1 cup of low-fat, part-skim mozzarella cheese
  • 2 cloves of garlic, smashed and then chopped into small pieces (you can smash it really hard with your knife like they do on the Food Network. For added drama, you can yell like Emeril, if you want. It makes the garlic taste better.)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp salt

First, preheat your oven to 350. Next, boil your water for your pasta and add in 1 tsp of salt.  Boil your pasta about 1-2 minutes short of what the directions on the box say to. This is because the pasta keeps cooking once you put it in the oven. In a small pan, drizzle a bit of olive oil and let it heat to medium-low. Add in your spinach and let it wilt slightly. Remove it from the heat once it's wilty. 

While your pasta is cooking, combine the ricotta cheese, cherry tomatoes, spinach, egg, basil and garlic in a small bowl. Take a 9X12 baking dish, and put 1 cup of your tomato sauce in it. Set it to the side. Once your noodles are cooked, drain them from the hot water and put them into a cool water bath. Let them get cool so you don't burn your fingers when you put together your rolls. Pat each one dry so they are no longer slippery.

Now, take one noodle and lay it flat on your counter on top of some parchment paper. Or, if you're being messy you can just do it right on the counter. I may actually judge you on that one… Spread about 1/4 cup of your ricotta mixture onto the noodle, evenly so it covers it completely. Take one end and roll it up tightly. Place the noodle roll into the dish, with the end of the roll facing down. Do this for all eight noodles.

Cover your noodles with the remaining 1 cup of sauce, and cover with mozzarella cheese. Cover and bake in the oven for 40 minutes, until your sauce is bubbly and the cheese is melted. 


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Now, because our rolls only had 250 calories in them, Ashley and I decided that we DEFINITELY deserved dessert while we watched Grey's Anatomy's season finale. So, we went downstairs to the market to pick up one pint of ice cream and came back with this… 


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In case you are wondering, yes that is five pints of ice cream. And a giant slice of Oreo Chocolate Cake. We had some issues at the market, including spending six minutes standing in front of the cake case, drooling over that cake. We walked away from it, but inevitably ended up with a slice. Also, the person who rang us up promised us he was not judging us, even though I felt as if he were… He also promised not to tell anyone about our large purchase of dessert items. I would like to say that we didn't eat all of it. BUT… we did. And I was not ashamed. Again, we DESERVED this. You do too, if you ask me. 

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