Three Cheese Zucchini Stuffed Lasagna Rolls

Three Cheese Zucchini Stuffed Lasagna Rolls

Three Cheese Zucchini Stuffed Lasagna Rolls

It’s a good weekend for pasta.   You know how I know?   Every weekend is a good one for pasta.

That was easy!!

If there’s a reading nook and a good book involved in the weekend pasta plans….I’m there.

Seriously, though, there are some really good things happening in this dish of weekend pasta.  It’s the height of summer garden produce, so we’re taking full advantage of …..wait for it….. zucchini!!!    (again)

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This time it’s mixed with ricotta and Parmesan cheeses and stuffed into lasagna rolls that are then  topped with marinara sauce and mozzarella cheese–delicious, kid friendly, and kind to waist watchers.  You can make them a day ahead and refrigerate, or if you like to cook for the week(s) ahead, they are freezer-friendly.  This is a great recipe to make double of and share with someone in need, they’ll thank you!  (BTW they are vegetarian also, perfect for Meatless Mondays!)IMG_7947

By now you’ve discovered that these roll-ups are another way to use zucchini.  I’ve been thinking about lasagna a lot lately, but instead of making the traditional lasagna, these rolls are so much easier to make and they’re great for portion control.  I have made this same recipe using spinach in the filling, but when my neighbor brought me some zucchini from her garden I thought I’d try out this zucchini version instead.  These turned out so good;  light, not too filling but very flavorful.  I’m so glad that I have yet another way to use zucchini.

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If you plan to freeze these, you can freeze them individually in ziplock bags or freeze them as a finished dish ready for the oven.  You can also freeze any that you’ve baked, but didn’t finish eating.

THREE CHEESE ZUCCHINI LASAGNA ROLLSIMG_7933

Yield:   Makes 8 servings  @  240 cal./servings

Ingredients:

  • 8 lasagna noodles, cooked al dente
  • 1 tsp. olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 medium zucchini ( 7 oz. each), grated and squeezed dry
  • 1 cup + 2 tbsp. part skim ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • black pepper
  • 1  3/4 cups Marinara sauce
  • 1/2 cup part skim mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • fresh basil for garnish, (optional)

Directions:

1.  Preheat oven to 350*F.  Lightly grease or spray a 13 x 9-inch baking dish.   Ladle about 1 cup of sauce onto the bottom of the baking dish and set aside.

2.  In a medium nonstick skillet, saute garlic and olive oil over medium heat for about 1 minute;  add zucchini, salt and pepper to taste and cook about 4 -5 minutes, until soft.

Sauté garlic and zucchini till soft.

Sauté garlic and zucchini till soft.

3.  In a medium bowl, combine the zucchini, ricotta cheese, Parmesan cheese, egg, salt and pepper.  Stir to mix well.

Mix ricotta with the zucchini, Parmesan and egg.

Mix ricotta with the zucchini, Parmesan and egg.

4.  Lay out the lasagna noodles on a clean work surface.  Pat noodles dry with paper towels.  Spread about 1/3 cup filling evenly over each noodle.

Spread each noodle with 1/3 cup filling.

Spread each noodle with 1/3 cup filling.

Roll carefully and place seam side down into peppered baking dish.  Repeat with remaining noodles.

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5.  Ladle the remaining sauce over the lasagna rolls and top each one with 1 Tbsp. mozzarella cheese.

Ladle on more sauce and mozzarella cheese.

Ladle on more sauce and mozzarella cheese.

Cover dish with foil and bake for about 40 minutes or until the rolls are heated through and the cheese is melted.  Top with fresh basil if desired and serve hot.

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SOURCE:   Skinny Taste

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Stuffed Portabellos

Lasagna-stuffed portabellos.

Lasagna-stuffed portabellos.

We are big fans of stuffed mushrooms at our house.  I often make them as a side dish to serve with steak, or as appetizers when entertaining.  One day, however, I took special note of portabello mushroom caps and realized how many bites of stuffed mushroom you could get with just one cap.   Hey, maybe, just maybe, one of these jumbo s’rooms could become a whole meal. 😀

Well, that’s all it took for my imagination to go flying off in several directions trying to think up the perfect filling that would turn a mushroom cap into a meal.  I finally settled on lasagna as the answer.  I would take all the parts of lasagna that we love i.e.., the sauce, cheese and flavor; and leave out the pasta i.e.., calories and carbs, turning this into an inside-out vegetarian lasagna-stuffed mushroom.   Anything involving tomato sauce and gooey melted mozzarella cheese, is a winner with me.   I’ve made these several times now, testing the recipe, and I’ve determined that it’s ready for public unveiling.  Served with a side salad, we think they’re super for supper.   I hope you do too.

Please note that in the accompanying photos, I made only two caps as they were really large and definitely a meal in themselves.

After baking:  melty, cheesy,  goodness.

After baking: melty, cheesy, goodness.

LASAGNA-STUFFED PORTABELLOS

YIELD:   4 – 6 servings

Ingredients:

  • 4 – 6 large portabello mushroom caps
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1  1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 6  oz. mozzarella cheese, divided
  • 2/3 cup drained chopped frozen spinach  (This time I used kale, precooked and chopped fine,)
  • 1/2 tsp. Italian seasoning
  • 1 cup tomato sauce, or pizza sauce

Directions:

1.  Preheat the oven to 425*F.   Line a rimmed baking sheet or baking dish with foil.   Remove stems from the mushrooms and carefully scrape the gills from the caps with a spoon or paring knife; discard.   Place the mushroom caps on the baking sheet.

2.  In a small bowl, combine the garlic and olive oil.  Brush the garlic-oil mixture over the inside of the mushroom caps.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Brush caps, inside and out, with seasoned olive oil.

Brush caps, inside and out, with seasoned olive oil.

Roast the caps for about 10 minutes.   Remove from the oven, maintaining the oven temperature.  If excess liquid has collected inside or underneath the caps, blot it away with a paper towel.

Roast for 10 minutes.

Roast for 10 minutes.

3.  Meanwhile, in a medium mixing bowl, combine the ricotta, egg, Parmesan, about 3/4 of the mozzarella, spinach, and Italian seasoning.  Season with salt and pepper.  Mix to evenly incorporate.  Divide the mixture into the roasted portabello caps, spreading gently to fill them evenly.

In goes the ricotta cheese filling.

In goes the ricotta cheese filling.

Top each with 1 – 2 tablespoons of the tomato sauce.   Sprinkle the tops with the remaining mozzarella cheese

Cover it with a little tomato sauce, then mozzarella cheese.

Cover it with a little tomato sauce, then mozzarella cheese.

4.  Return to the oven and bake 10 – 15 minutes more, until the cheese is melted and the filling is warmed through.  Serve with additional tomato sauce, as desired.

After baking:  melty, cheesy,  goodness.

After baking: melty, cheesy, goodness.

Make a meal on a meaty mushroom, and a side salad.

Make a meal on a meaty mushroom, and a side salad.

SOURCE:   Carolyn’s Originals

Caprese Salad Kebabs

Caprese Salad Kebabs

Caprese Salad Kebabs

An appetizer on a stick,  a salad on a stick;  whatever you choose to call these, they are a pretty neat way to eat a favorite summertime salad.

On July 4th we had a large party for my in-laws who celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary.  Of the several foods I prepared, these were particularly popular.  We set them out with the appetizers, and before long they were all gone.  All the things you like about a caprese salad are here in miniature form, on a stick, and so easy to eat.  Just slide each component to the end of the stick and pop it into your mouth!

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In addition to being easy to eat they were extremely easy to make.  Knowing that I would be making a large number of them I purchased my ingredients at BJ’s Club.  Grape tomatoes, a package of fresh basil, and best of all a container of mozzarella balls in seasoned olive oil.  So all I had to do was thread everything on the skewers and drizzle a little of the olive oil over the top.

Try these at your next get together for a quick and easy appetizer.

CAPRESE SALAD KEBABS

Have all ingredients laid out and ready.

Have all ingredients laid out and ready.

Makes 12   For a larger quantity, adjust amounts accordingly.

Here’s what you need:

  • 12 wooden skewers
  • 24 grape tomatoes
  • 12 balls fresh mozzarella
  • 24 fresh basil leaves
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 tsp. balsamic vinegar

What you do:

To make each skewer,  alternately place 2 tomatoes, 1 cheese ball and 2 basil leaves on each skewer.  If mozzarella balls are large, cut in half, and basil leaves may be torn into smaller pieces if they are too large.

Putting it all together like an assembly-line.

Putting it all together like an assembly-line.

Arrange skewers on a serving tray.  Whisk together the oil and vinegar, and drizzle over kebabs before serving.

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Summer Squash, Bacon and Mozzarella Quiche

At this time of year I try to take advantage of summer’s bounty of fresh vegetables as much as I can.  Summer squash and zucchini are two vegetables that seem to grow in great abundance for anyone who gardens.  Several of my friends tend small garden plots and are generous in sharing ” the wealth” with me.

The recipe for this quiche was in Cooking Light Magazine last July and I made it several times last summer and already this summer I’ve made it again because we like it so much.  Except for the inclusion of some bacon it is almost meatless, so if you choose to omit the bacon the quiche will still be very good.  It’s also a good way to get children to eat some vegetables by surrounding them with eggs and cheese and calling the dish “pie”.

When I make this I usually serve it with just a green salad along side for a light summertime supper.  It is also a very good dish to serve for a brunch.

SUMMER SQUASH, BACON AND MOZZARELLA QUICHE

SERVINGS:  8

Crust:  You may choose to make your favorite pie crust recipe,  use a refrigerated pie crust such as Pillsbury, or a frozen premade crust from the frozen foods isle of the grocery store.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees  Pierce the crust bottom and sides with a fork.  Bake at 400 for 15 minutes.  Watch carefully to prevent bubbles from forming, by pricking with a fork.  Cool slightly.

Filling:  

  • 4 slices smoked bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled.   Save about 2 Tablespoons of drippings in the pan.
  • 2 cups zucchini, sliced about 1/8 inch thick
  • 2 cups yellow squash, sliced about 1/8 inch thick
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion or shallots
  • 1 Tablespoon chopped fresh thyme,  or about 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 3/4 cup 2% reduced-fat milk  ( I used skim milk, and it was fine.)
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup egg beater product, or one more egg
  • 3/4 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella

To prepare filling:  Saute the two squashes and the chopped onion in the bacon drippings, sprinkling with the thyme.  Cook for about 5 minutes or until squash becomes tender.

Combine the milk, salt, pepper and eggs in a large measuring cup, stirring with a whisk.  Arrange the squash mixture evenly in the pie crust, sprinkle with the bacon and mozzarella cheese.  Pour egg mixture over all.  Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until filling is set.

When you write a food blog like this the photos taken usually show off your dish to good advantage, and the reader gets the impression that everything goes smoothly and comes out looking ‘picture perfect”.  Not so!  Sometimes everything goes wrong and the dish looks horrible.  Those I don’t write about.  But sometimes funny things happen which was the case with this quiche.

For my crust I used one which was frozen from my freezer.  Some how I failed to notice there was a crack in it.  Look closely, you can see it!   So after I filled it with the veggies, bacon and cheese, I poured in the milk mixture, which ran out the crack, over the side of the pie pan and onto the baking sheet underneath.  I discarded as much of the overflow as I could manage, then put the whole thing in the oven and hoped for the best.  Needless to say it continued to leak in the oven.  When the quiche was cooked and I removed it from the oven there was a hugh bubble of cooked egg mixture attached to the side of the pie pan.  Sort of like a pop-over attached to a quiche!  It deflated quickly so I didn’t get a good picture of it, but you can see remnants of it in the  pictures below. 🙂  In spite of this the quiche tasted very good, and we really enjoyed it.

   

SOURCE:  Cooking Light Magazine,  July, 2011