It’s the first Friday of Lent, and if you are a Catholic you know meat is a thing of the past…at least for the next several Fridays. I always get nervous when Lent comes around because my husband is a meat eater and then I worry how limited my choices will be for dinner. The thing is, my husband and all of my kids are big on fish and other seafood so there is always that. And, most importantly, there are so many other things to make that don’t need meat in them. So why do I feel stumped for dinner every Friday during Lent and end up ordering pizza? I have no answer.
This Friday I had an answer though. Spinach Lasagna Roll-Ups. I had a recipe for these several years back and loved them when I first made them. Of course, I lost the recipe. I thought I had remembered it enough to duplicate it, but I still feel like something was missing. As odd as it may sound, I could SWEAR the original recipe had diced water chestnuts in it. In lasagna you ask? I know, it sounds weird, but it added a crisp little bite to the dish without messing with the flavor. But I don’t think that was all that I was missing when I made these. Something and I can’t place it. And I don’t think it was a spice.
In any event, this is the recipe from what I could remember from it, and they were good! I didn’t do the water chestnuts because I wasn’t sure about them, and more importantly, I didn’t have any. They were fun to make and filling to eat.
A few pictures for you to see how they look when you are rolling them
Here they are all rolled up and fit into the baking dish before I added the sauce:
Oh, and when the kids ask, “Mom. What is the green stuff?” Just tell them it’s basil. For some reason basil is less frightening than spinach. Don’t be afraid to lie to your kids, folks. It’s okay to do it sometimes. Especially when it makes life more convenient for you.
Spinach Lasagna Roll-Ups:
- 1 Lb. Lasagna Noodles
- 1 10 oz. Package Frozen Chopped Spinach Defrosted
- 16 oz. Ricotta Cheese
- 2 Cups Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
- 2 Tbsp. Grated Parmesan Cheese
- 1 tsp. Kosher Salt
- 1/2 tsp. Ground Black Pepper
- 4 Cups Pasta Sauce
In a large stock pot, bring water and some salt to a boil for the lasagna noodles.
Take spinach and squeeze out all the liquid. Set to the side.
In a large bowl, add the ricotta, parmesan, 1 1/2 cups of the shredded mozzarella, salt, pepper, and spinach and stir well. Set to the side.
Boil the lasagna noodles for no more than 6 to 7 minutes. You want them to be slightly firmer than al dente since you will be baking this once you roll them up.
In a 13″ x 9″ baking dish, place about 1 cup of sauce on the bottom and spread to evenly coat.
Drain the lasagna noodles in a colander and run them through with some cool water to stop the cooking process along with making them easier to work with.
Lay out a few lasagna noodles and add about 2 tablespoons of the cheese/spinach filling and spread out along each noodle. Then roll up and place seam side down in the backing dish. The 1 lb. box of noodles usually comes with about 20 noodles, and I always end up with just enough filling to fill 19 of them. Drives me nuts, but now matter what I do, that’s how it works out.
Once you have them all stacked up evenly in the dish, cover them with about 1 1/2 cups of sauce and cover with foil. Bake in a 350 oven for about 40 minutes. After the 40 minutes, remove the foil, sprinkle with the 1/2 cup of reserved shredded mozzarella cheese and pop back in the oven for another 10 to 15 minutes.
Remove from oven, allow to set for a couple of minutes and serve with some extra grated parmesan cheese.
Use the extra sauce you had leftover to top each serving with.