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Thursday 1 August 2013

Spinach and 5 cheese lasagna roll-ups with roasted tomato sauce recipe. Mozzarella, cheddar, Monterey Jack, parmesan and cream cheese cheeseiness!

For a cool rainy day or when I get a craving for it, I like making these lasagna rolls (and freezing a bunch for a quick lunch or rainy day).  Just as satisfying as a vegetarian lasagna, rolling these babies up makes it much easier to serve (and freeze portions for later)... and you can still see the pretty layers if you're having unexpected guests pop over... pretty always translates into oohs and ahhs cuz folks think you slaved over this for hours! I've included a faster recipe and a slow food recipe.  I came up with this recipe this summer when we had the tornado scare... nothing like 5 cheeses, warm soft noodles, sweet caramelized onions and a rich tomato sauce to warm and comfort!
So, for the slow food recipe, it really is slow and a bit time consuming.  I always roast tomatos when I have a bunch on hand and I dont' have time to get to eating them while their fresh.. just pop in oven, set a timer and roast away while you prep supper or something, then pop in freezer for quick fast roasted tomato base for sauces, stews and soups!  If you want to make this recipe now! you can easily sub the roasted tomato sauce with a bottle or can of tomato/spaghetti sauce.  Do add in the seasonings that is added to the roasted tomato sauce recipe cuz it adds sooo much more flavor!!  The recipe does take a bit of time to assemble, but this little labor of love is totally worth sinking your teeth into!

First off, make the roasted tomato sauce if you have time.  Here is the middle of the sauce making with the pureed roasted tomatos after I tossed in some garlic, basil... mmmm!
Next up, boil, drain and cool the lasagna noodles.  I used smart pasta for a bit more fibre.  Whole wheat noodles work too if you don't mind the rougher texture.  And if you're a gluten free nut - gluten free pastas work for this recipe too!  Mix up the spinach and cheese mixture and spread the love all over the cooked lasagna strips.. ooooh yeah baby!  If you're worried about the calories, use low fat cheeses - don't use non-fat as they bake out rubbery (ick).
Then, roll them up!  This part takes the longest as wet noodles, cheese mixture makes them slippery little buggers. Pretty!

Pop them into an oven safe baking dish big enough to hold them all snugly. I have 6 rolls here cuz I put all the other ones into my freezerproof and microwavable pyrex containers (from this set I loooove: Pyrex Easy Grab 19-Piece Glass Bakeware Set with Lids) at this point for quick fast meals later.

Douse literally and cover them up with the tomato sauce

Toss on the remaining cheese so it prevents the lasagna from drying out as it bakes (all of the remainder if you like crunchy crisp cheese topping, save 1/2 of the remainder to put on last 10 min of baking if you like it ooey gooey.

Take out of oven, cool for a few min...

Scoop and stuff face with spinach and 5 cheese lasagna roll happiness!

Spinach and 5 cheese lasagna roll-ups with roasted tomato sauce recipe Makes 12 rollups total or 6 servings of 2 rollups each
-2 cups roasted tomato sauce (recipe below
) or bottled/canned tomato/spaghetti sauce if your short on time
-12 cooked lasagna pasta strips (use gluten free pasta to make it gluten free!)
-2.5 cups or 750g of frozen chopped spinach, defrosted and well drained (squeeze all the water out!)
-1 small pkg or 250mL of cream cheese
-1Tablespoon granulated garlic powder
-1/2 cup parmesan cheese
-3 cups shredded cheese: 1 cup mozzarella, 1 cup cheddar, 1 cup Monterey Jack
-one onion finely diced (about 1 cup)
-1 teaspoon olive oil
How to:
1) Preheat oven to 375F
2) Cook lasagna pasta according to directions. While pasta cooking, carmalize onion in a frying pan over med heat and 1 tsp olive oil and cook for about 5 min. Set aside.
3) Squish as much liquid as you can from spinach. In a large bowl, cream into the spinach in this order: cream cheese, 2 cups of shredded cheese, parm cheese and cooked onions.
4) Divide spinach mixture between all the lasagna strips, rolling them up one at a time. Lay seam side down in a medium large baking pan (big enuf to hold all 12 roll-ups snugly. and dump tomato sauce all over to cover.
5) Sprinkle with 1/2 cup cheese. (save the last 1/2 cup!) and bake for 20min.
6) Add last 1/2 cup of cheese and bake for 10min more. Dividing up the cheese leaves you with ooey gooey cheese top instead of a crispy solid crust. Enjoy!!

Slow roasted tomato sauce recipe
-12 ripe hothouse tomatos
-1 Tablespoon granulated garlic powder
-1tsp dried basil or 5-6 finely chopped leaves of fresh basil
-1/2 tsp dried oregano or a leaf of the fresh
-1Tablespoon 2x or 3x concentrated Italian tomato paste (optional but adds sooo much tomato flavour!)
-3 cloves finely chopped garlic
How To:
1) Preheat oven to 325F.
2)Cut ripe tomatoes (12 fist size tomatos makes about 2 cups of tomato sauce later) in half, spray with olive oil
3) Lay cut side up on foil or parchment lined cookie pan and roast for 30-40min until the edges crisp up nicely.
4) Cool and squish out all the interior. Discard the skins. You can freeze all the lovely roasted tomatos at this point, or continue on to make sauce!
5) Blenderize with a hand blender to loosen it up
6) Mix in remaining ingredients, season with salt and pepper to taste.. simmer gently on low heat for 10-20min for the flavors to meld

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