Lasagna Rolls

I’ve been scouring Pinterest for recipes that sound appetizing. I’ve found many, many chicken recipes but The Husband complained that he was getting sick of chicken.

Soooo I decided to try a ground beef recipe. The Husband loves lasagna so when I found this recipe for Lasagna rolls I thought it would be fun to try.

Lasagna Rolls

Lasagna Rolls

It was fairly easy to make.

Brown the meat (I opted for ground turkey because I’m not a big beef fan.) I didn’t use any oil in the pan, just threw the meat in, turned the heat to medium (about 6-7 on my ancient stove!)

Meanwhile, in a saucepan I cooked the lasagna noodles. If you like your noodles softer, I recommend cooking them longer than recommended. Mine were a little too hard in the end.

After you drain the noodles, lay them out on your pan (I lined my pan in foil for easy clean up.)

Back to the meat, once it’s thoroughly cooked through and browned, add some of your pasta sauce. Then take a scoop of the meat/sauce and line the noodle with it. Don’t put too much or you won’t be able to roll it. I put some plain sauce on top of the meat because I like a lot of sauce – then add the shredded mozzarella cheese.

Bake uncovered at 400° for 10-15 minutes until the cheese is melted and the rolls are heated through.

 

The verdict? The kids liked them, but they pulled them apart. They sure look pretty, but they’re not practical for kids. They were fun to make, but honestly, it probably would have been easier to just make a regular lasagna dish.

I did not care for them, but I’ve never been a fan of loose ground meat. The texture just… blech!

The Husband liked them, his only minor complaint was about the noodles not being cooked enough (as I mentioned above.)

 

Would I make these again?

I think if we had leftover ground meat and noodles lying around and The Husband wanted lasagna, I would probably make some for him, while making myself some veggie or chicken ones.

These would also be fairly easy to freeze I imagine!

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Homemade Pasta Sauce – in BULK!

True story, I love pasta. I love pizza. I love bread dunked in sauce. I blame my Italian roots (I’m a quarter Italian, but it’s a strong quarter!)

So, when my mother in law taught me how to make her pizza sauce I was so happy. She uses it for pizza sauce, I use it for both pizza and pasta sauce. And it’s delicious.

This is the recipe that she photocopied for me, we don’t follow it to a T though.

Basically, the way I was taught was to throw can of tomato sauce, tomato paste, herbs, salt, sugar, pepper and olive oil into a pot and heat on low, stirring now and then. Taste as you go to get it just right. We also use onion powder instead of onions (sometimes I’ll do both or just chopped onions if I have them on hand.) Same goes for the garlic, we just use garlic powder and the thing about garlic powder is that a little bit goes a LONG way! So watch yourself as you add the garlic. Also, the last thing I do, is throw in some Italian Seasoning. Yum. Delish.

Oh! You can also add chopped tomatoes if you’re into that kind of thing. I am, but my family is sadly not, so I don’t usually add them.

The thing though, was that I was having to make this sauce so often. And until it was made my cupboard was filled with the canned sauce and paste, leaving room for little else. Plus I had to make a mess on the stove every time I wanted to make sauce.

The answer? Costco! Both cost effective and time saving for the future! I can’t remember the cost offhand, but I believe The Husband said that the sauce was around $2.99, the paste must have been somewhere around there as well, possibly a little more.

EDIT: I went back and calculated the amounts to make it slightly easier. I left the old amount (such as 27 tsp of Basil) and added the new amount next to it in parentheses (about 9 TBSP or 1/2 cup) 

So, if you want to make a HUGE batch you’ll need the following.

  • A huge sauce pan/stock pot for the stove (I used an 8 quart sauce pan, I had a couple of inches from the top and did this in 3 batches.)
  • Contadina Tomato Sauce – 105 oz (Costco) x 3
  • Contadina Tomato Paste – 111 oz (Costco) x 1
  • Basil – 27 tsp (about 9 TBSP or 1/2 cup)
  • Oregano – 27 tsp (about 9 TBSP or 1/2 cup)
  • Italian Seasoning (to taste)
  • Garlic Powder (to taste)
  • Onion Powder (to taste)
  • Salt – 18 tsp (about 6 tbsp)
  • Sugar – 10.5 tsp (about 3 and 1/2 TBSP)
  • Pepper – 2 – 1/4 tsp
  • Olive Oil – 36 TBSP (2 and 1/4 cups)

Now, because my pot wasn’t big enough for EVERYTHING I divided my recipe by thirds. Basically one giant can of tomato sauce to 1/3 giant can of tomato paste.

SO – here’s the ingredients per batch if you make it in three batches like I did.

  • huge sauce pan/stock pot for the stove (I used an 8 quart sauce pan, I had a couple of inches from the top and did this in 3 batches.)
  • Contadina Tomato Sauce – 105 oz (Costco) x 1
  • Contadina Tomato Paste – 4.625 cups (round it)
  • Basil – 9 tsp (about 3 TBSP)
  • Oregano – 9 tsp (about 3 TBSP)
  • Italian Seasoning (to taste)
  • Garlic Powder (to taste)
  • Onion Powder (to taste)
  • Salt – 6 tsp (about 2 TBSP)
  • Sugar – 3.5 tsp
  • Pepper – 6/8 tsp
  • Olive Oil – 12 TBSP (or 3/4 cup)

This is what the cans of Tomato Paste and Tomato Sauce from Costco look like. Remember, you’ll need THREE cans of sauce for each can of paste for this recipe.

1. To start you simply dump the can of tomato sauce in the pot and then measure out and put in the tomato paste.

I scooped the paste out with a wooden spoon into a measuring cup.

2. Next up add the olive oil and stir it in.

3. Add the Basil, Oregano, salt, sugar and pepper and stir.

Dumped in lots of good stuff to stir in! I usually stir after adding each ingredient, but this makes SUCH a better photo!

4. Add the garlic, not too much, a little bit goes a long way. Have a taste and you can always add more!

5. Add the onion powder, just a little is all you need. Now’s a good time to taste again.

6.Add the Italian seasoning. Taste again.

7. Let simmer for a little while, until all of the herbs are nice and blended.

You can always add other veggies like onion, green pepper and so on.

Also, if you need to sneak in extra nutrients because your kids (or you!) don’t enjoy eating vegetables, this is a great place to add in some puree’d veggies. I added some Butternut Squash into one of my batches. You can put in a surprising amount without affecting the taste! I have a friend who I believe uses pureed carrots. I didn’t have any carrots on hand.

The only thing left to do is to allow your sauce to cool and then get it ready for freezing! You can get freezer safe canning jars, but I didn’t have those (Whoops! Bought regular canning jars without doing my research!) so I used freezer bags.

First batch!
We had pasta that night so this isn’t 100% of the sauce.
2 bags – 3 cups each
3 bags – 2.5 cups each
1 bag – 2 cups

I’ve found that 3 cups is about the max you should put into a quart sized freezer bag and really, unless your family is huge or you’re making something in bulk, you’re not going to need that much sauce at one time anyway!

This was the second and third batch I did. This was on a another night, a few days later. I don’t recommend doing that since the big can of paste, which was covered in the fridge, ended up with a blackish build-up near the rim. I wiped it out with a paper towel so that it didn’t end up in the last two batches of sauce.
Here we have:
5 bags – 3 cups
6 bags – 2 cups
1 bag – 1 1/3 cups
1 bag – 2 2/3 cups
= a LOT of sauce!!!

If you go the freezer bag route it can get pretty messy. I finally discovered that holding the bag open as shown in the following photo and using a 1/3 cup measuring cup to scoop and pour works best. A ladle would have worked well also, but I don’t know how much my ladle holds and I wanted to measure, so measuring cup it was!

This was how I held the bag open and made the least amount of mess.
Bottom of bag rests on counter/stove/wherever and sort of “pinch” the center of the bag as shown. Once the first scoop is in it weighs down the bottom and helps to make less mess pouring into the bag.

And there you have it! Home made pasta sauce for many, many meals to come!

By the way, I wouldn’t recommend this unless you have a deep freezer! This would probably fill or come close to filling most standard freezers. We are fortunate enough to have inherited my parents old chest freezer, which sits in our laundry room in the basement, filled with frozen sauce, breast milk and bags of fresh veggies – among other items.

Enjoy! And let me know if you decide to do this! I love helping and would be honored if this helped someone 🙂
Oh, and while I was busy with the sauce (the first day) this is what was happening to our bag of recycling!

Miranda made a HUGE mess with the recycling!

What’s For Dinner?

We had a rough night last night. I’m a night owl and ever since Saturday morning I’ve been getting up early – as in, getting maybe 6 hours of sleep? Last night I was really feeling it, all those nights catching up to me at once!

I crashed at about 1am (early for me) soon after The Husband came home from work. I knew I was exhausted so I had baby Miranda sleep in my bed so that I wouldn’t have to get up to nurse her if she woke up!  (We pushed the bed against the wall so that we wouldn’t have to worry about her rolling out.)

Whelp, The Husband went back to work – he is scheduled for regular shifts, then goes in with another guy to do basic building maintenance whenever they can make time. He had to wait until the other guy got done working his shift at his other job, then they went back in to do work. He got home around 7am! That was around the time that Miranda woke up and decided she was up for the day. Ugh… I was still absolutely exhausted!

Well, I felt bad for The Husband since he’d worked Tuesday 4:45pm until about 12:30am… Then went back from about 1:30am until 7am (or so) – he clearly needed the sleep more than I did! So…. I took the baby out to the living room and crashed on the floor. She played nicely while Allison watched Netflix for Kids. I ended up getting up around 1 (though I didn’t really “sleep” more like I just “dozed.”)

I sent Allison to wake up The Husband around 3pm thinking he worked tonight. Well, turns out he didn’t. That’s all good and well but now I have to figure out dinner, because I only make a “real” dinner when he’s home. Not sense cooking anything even halfway “fancy” when the two picky eaters (Allison and myself) are the only ones eating!

I ended up making Spinach Ravioli that we got at Aldi, with Classico pasta sauce, meatballs and garlic toast. It was delish. We have some left overs and hopefully The Husband doesn’t eat it all before I can get at it!

 

Oh, and on another note about being tired? Clearly the poor quality of sleep I had last night didn’t really help refresh me because I ended up falling asleep for almost an hour in the rocking chair with Miranda this evening! And of course, I woke up when Allison came in and she woke Miranda up, too. *sighs*