Caprese Lasagna Roll Ups – Nance and Robyn make the same recipe

Every week we’ll post a recipe that we both made. This week’s recipe was Caprese Lasagna Roll Ups, found over at Cooking Classy. Printable recipe can be found at the bottom of this post.  

Robyn’s Take:

This week’s recipe was my choice. I do not have the slightest clue where I found the recipe. Probably on Pinterest or maybe someone linked to it on Facebook. It’s a mystery! I just thought it sounded interesting (I like lasagna!) and not too difficult.

First, we make our marinara sauce.

Lasagna Rollups (1)

Ingredients: crushed tomatoes, chopped onion (I chopped it after I snapped the picture, obv), olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper.

Heat olive oil in a saucepan over med-high heat. When the oil’s hot, add your onions and saute ’til they’re soft (3 minutes or so), adding garlic in the last minute of sauteing. Pour in crushed tomatoes and add salt and garlic to taste.

Lasagna Rollups (2)

Lasagna Rollups (4)

Bring the mixture just to a boil, then reduce to simmer and cook for 25 – 30 minutes to let the sauce thicken. This will give you a chance to prepare everything else so you won’t be standing around reading your refrigerator magnets for entertainment.

Lasagna Rollups (3)

Old Southern men (ie, MY HUSBAND) can get awfully chatty when you’re trying to concentrate on a recipe. JUST SAYIN’.

Lasagna Rollups (5)

Your filling ingredients: freshly shredded mozzarella, ricotta, 1 lg egg white (in that red bowl over to the right that looks like it’s water), Parmesan, black pepper, 3 – 4 thinly sliced medium Roma tomatoes (you need a total of 24 slices; about 1/6 inch thick), chopped fresh basil.

Note: The original recipe called for freshly shredded Parmesan. Wait, what? I’m supposed to shred the Mozzarella AND the Parmesan? This illustrates my thought on THAT:

Preheat your oven to 350. Cook the lasagna noodles according to directions on the package to al dente. (Just a note, the instructions on my lasagna noodles didn’t say nothin’ ’bout no al dente. It just said “Cook this shit for 10 minutes!”, so I did.)

Drain the pasta and align lasagna noodles in a single layer on a sheet of parchment or wax paper. Another note here: I actually cooked 10 lasagna noodles instead of 8, because I know what a klutz I am, and I was afraid I’d end up tearing a noodle and then I’d have a hissy fit, and I didn’t have enough energy to fully throw myself fully into a hissy fit, so I thought I’d rather be safe than sorry.

While the noodles are cooking and the marinara is bubbling, mix your ricotta cheese and egg white, then stir in the Parmesan, 12 ounces of the Mozzarella, and season with black pepper.

Lasagna Rollups (6)

If you wanted to take that bowl into the other room and just eat straight from it, no one would blame you. At ALL. SO FREAKIN’ GOOD.

Lasagna Rollups (7)

Here are my cooked lasagna noodles, waiting to be filled, my bowl of filling, and my 9×13 baking dish with about half a cup of marinara spread on the bottom. Here’s the thing: the recipe called for an 11×7 baking dish, and I don’t have one of those. I also wasn’t about to go out and buy one. So I had to make do. Use what you’ve got, folks.

Place 1/4 cup of the cheese mixture over each lasagna noodle (I used my fingers (THEY WERE CLEAN) to spread it evenly over the length of the noodle), then align 4 tomato slices on each noodle, and then sprinkle basil atop that.

Lasagna Rollups (8)

Now here’s where I became an asshole slacker. You roll up the lasagna noodles, and then lay them in the dish, seam side down. Top each roll with about 2 Tablespoons of the pasta sauce, and then sprinkle the top with the rest of your Mozzarella and bake for 30 minutes. I didn’t get pictures of ANY of that stuff. But rest assured that the rolling and the placing of the roll ups in the baking pan went smoothly and I had no problems at all.

However, when all my roll ups were rolled up and put in the pan, I realized that I had cheese filling and two lasagna noodles left (remember when I cooked two extra noodles just in case?) So I went ahead and made two more noodles (I even had extra tomatoes on hand!), so instead of 8 roll ups, I had 10. Didn’t take pictures of that, either, but this is what it looked like after:

Lasagna Rollups (9)

Lasagna Rollups (10)

The verdict? They were good! I mean, come on – you put that much cheese in anything, it’s gotta be good. Fred thought they were good, too, but complained that there was no kind of meat in the filling.

Will I make them again? Maybe. They were more work than I like to do, EVER, but they were certainly tasty and not very difficult. If someone else were going to make them, I’d probably request them regularly.

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Nance’s Take:

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Yup, I sure did put those pasta noodles into the pot before the water was even boiling. I am such a renegade.

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Now we’re cooking with gas!

Except we’re not because my stove is electric.  That’s just one of those phrases that my husband likes to say.  I have no idea what it even means.  Sometimes he says it and if I’m in a certain mood it makes me want to  scratch his eyes out.  Please don’t make me try to explain why.  Just know that if your husband does not have a quirk that at times annoys the living shit out of you, your marriage is truly blessed.

And also note:  No wooden spoon laying over the top of the pan. I’m living dangerously, Robyn!

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The recipe said that the noodles should not be rinsed. I have no idea why, but I do know that these fuckers were HOT and burned my hands when I was laying them out on the wax paper. I may have cussed more than usual.  In my head.  Because I am a lady.

Yeah, even I laughed out loud at that one.

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I decided to use my mom’s new stainless steel pan to make my marinara sauce. Apparently I have a death wish.

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No, these are not crushed tomatoes. I had to improvise.

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Ta-da!

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This is only the second time I have used the immersion blender that I just HAD to have. Thank God I bought it on clearance or I would be really pissed off at myself.  Now I’m just mildly annoyed because I forgot I had it and I could have been using it when I was making a cake instead of dealing with a hand mixer and beaters.

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I also improvised with the basil and the parmesan cheese.  The roma tomatoes were exactly like you would imagine tomatoes to be in the middle of winter when you do not live in the south.  Ahem.

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I just added my basil to the cheese mixture since it was gooshy as opposed to ribbony (I don’t even know what that word means when it comes to basil).

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Assembly took a little longer, but it wasn’t rocket science.

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Add sauce.

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Sprinkle cheese and bake.

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It ended up looking like this when it was all said and done. My mother said that it reminded her of vegetarian lasagna. No shit. It had no meat. I was unimpressed because it was a lot of work for what is just a meatless and twee lasagna.

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Felina, however, cleaned her plate. I bet she’s just showing off because she thinks she’s the only dog in the world that likes tomatoes. I got news for you, Felina – tomatoes are a fruit, not a vegetable.  I bet you didn’t even know that, ya silly dog.  Joke’s on you!

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My plans changed and I never got a chance to work on the site this weekend like I thought I would.  We’re probably going to be working on it whenever possible this week.  Ugh.  Send me more time if you have any extra!

 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Ingredients
  • 8 lasagna noodles, uncooked
  • 14 oz freshly shredded, low-moisture part skim Mozzarella cheese, divided
  • ¾ cup Ricotta cheese
  • 1 large egg white
  • ⅓ cup freshly, finely shredded Parmesan cheese (about 1¼ oz)
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 - 4 medium Roma tomatoes, thinly sliced (about ⅙ inch thick slices)
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh basil, plus more for garnish
  • 1 cup marinara sauce, recipe follows
  • Simple Marinara Sauce
  • 2 T extra virgin olive oil (Robyn used regular virgin)
  • ¼ c. finely chopped yellow onion
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
  • salt and black pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. First, make your marinara:
  2. Heat olive oil in a medium saucepan; add onions and saute until onions are soft, 2 - 3 minutes. Add garlic in the last minute of sauteing. Pour in crushed tomatoes and season with salt and pepper to taste. Bring just to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer 25 - 30 minutes; sauce will thicken. Prepare pasta and filling while sauce is cooking. (You can freeze or refrigerate leftover sauce for future use.)
  3. Preheat oven to 350. Cook pasta according to the directions on the package. Drain pasta (don't rinse) and align noodles in a single layer on a sheet of parchment or waxed paper.
  4. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together ricotta and egg white. Stir in Parmesan. Mix in 12 ounces of Mozzarella and season with pepper to taste.
  5. Place ¼ c. of the cheese mixture over each lasagna noodle and spread evenly. Use your clean fingers; no one will know! Place 4 thin tomato slices over the cheese mixture, then sprinkle basil atop that.
  6. Roll up lasagna noodles. Spread about ¼ cup marinara in the bottom of an 11x7 inch baking dish (Robyn used a 9x13 dish). Place lasagna roll ups, seam side down, in dish. Top each roll up with 2 T of marinara (covering all visible pasta so it won't dry out). Sprinkle top with remaining 2 ounces of shredded Mozzarella. Bake in preheated oven 30 minutes.
  7. Sprinkle pasta with plenty of basil ribbons if that's your sort of thing; serve.

 

Lasagna Soup – Nance & Robyn Make The Same Recipe

Every week we’ll post a recipe that we both made. This week’s recipe was Lasagna Soup, found over at PaulaDeen.com. Printable recipe can be found at the bottom of this post.

Robyn’s Take:

This week’s recipe was Nance’s choice, and I was looking forward to it, but a little iffy on it, too. Because I like lasagna, but I kind of don’t like little chunks of tomato in soups and stews. I can’t help it, there’s something about tomato chunks in liquid that ooks me out, the way they float around glaring up at me, looking all chunky. Maybe it’s ’cause I hated tomatoes as a kid (though loved ketchup and didn’t mind tomato sauce, go figure) and it’s a holdover from that.

ANYway, because I am a ray of shining light, I was willing to deal with chunky tomato bits for the team. I’m wonderful like that.

Ingredients:

Lasagna Soup (1)

Ground beef and cheese and lasagna noodles and spices and tomato stuff and such. The original recipe calls for a chopped green bell pepper, but I don’t do peppers, so I just increased the amount of onion instead.

In a dutch oven, combine the ground beef and chopped onions and garlic and cook over medium-high heat ’til the beef is browned and crumbly. Is there anything better than the smell of ground beef, onion, and garlic? I think not.

Lasagna Soup (2)

Drain it!

Lasagna Soup (3)

Combine everything except the cheeses and noodles in the dutch oven.

Lasagna Soup (4)

Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Then add your noodles and stir until the noodles are tender. I don’t like feeling up noodles for tenderness, so I checked the package that the noodles came in to see how long they needed to cook, cooked them for that long, and assumed they were tender. Then stir in your parmesan cheese.

Preheat the broiler in your oven. Now, the recipe says to “ladle the soup into 8 – 10 ovenproof bowls.” Well, I wasn’t going to do that, because there are only two of us, and why the hell would we make 8 – 10 bowls of the stuff for just the two of us?

So I just made the two bowls, sprinkled a bit of mozzarella on top of each bowl of soup, and then broiled the soup ’til the cheese was melted.

During the part of the recipe where I was waiting for the noodles to tenderize, I made crostini. I have no idea at this point if Nance made the crostini or not, but I felt it was important that I have pieces of garlicky bread to shove in my face. It’s pretty easy – slice a baguette, brush the slices with olive oil, salt and pepper it, cook it ’til it’s brown. Rub it with smashed garlic, then think to yourself “Hey, wouldn’t a sprinkle of cheese on this bread be the perfect touch?”, sprinkle mozzarella on each slice, and stick it back in the oven until the cheese is melted.

Crostini (1)

Crostini (2)

Then serve slices of crostini with the soup.

Lasagna Soup (6)

The verdict: thumbs way, way, WAY up! This stuff was SO FREAKIN’ GOOD. You know how I mentioned my dislike of chunky tomato pieces? I totally did NOT even notice the chunky tomato pieces. We ate this for dinner for two more nights, and then I got three lunches out of it. We will absolutely be making this again. The only thing I’ll do differently next time is to break the lasagna noodles into smaller pieces. Other than that, this recipe is perfect as is!

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Nance’s Take:

I do not even like soup.  Soup is messy.  I am an uncoordinated slob and it always ends up where it’s not supposed to be. Dribbling down my face. On my clothes. Ugh. I am way too obsessive to be a good soup eater. Awkward people fret about eating in public bad enough without worrying about holding the spoon just right. Not slurping. OHMYGAWD, THE BRAIN WORKS SO HARD FOR THE SOUP! It’s not worth it!

So yeah. I have no idea why I picked this recipe either. I’m not a huge Paula Deen fan (although with my love of butter you’d think she would be my queen). I liked her well enough before she got involved with branding and her name was on everything. I really remember an ad campaign that ran on the aisle televisions at the local Walmart. It would creep me out because she sounds exactly like my mother-in-law. Same accent, same voice. I was forever forgetting about those televisions and turning around looking for my mother-in-law when I was in that store. Drove me nuts. Speaking of nuts, have you seen the Paula Deen Riding Things Meme? Hilarious.

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Shirley took this picture. It is the only picture she took of the onions so it is safe to assume that there will not be a How To Cut An Onion Lesson again.  It makes me laugh when I see that onion because it was huge and we’ve just been chopping parts of it off at a time instead of cutting the entire thing.  Creative people up in here.  Or lazy.  Heh.

Note: my pictures are going to be even worse than they normally are because I was trying to learn how to use a new flash.  You can pretty much see where my career in photography is heading.

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Good thing I bought that spice rack from Sam’s Club a while back. Otherwise, I would have no idea what exactly Paula Deen meant when she wrote Italian Seasoning in the ingredients list. And also, would not have had time to go buy Thyme (har-dee-har).

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I did not take a picture of the ground beef browning experience because I’m thinking you guys know how that looks. And we’re just going to pretend that those are petite diced tomatoes in there because I had cans of regular size diced tomatoes in the house.  Pro-tip:  You don’t need a dutch oven for this recipe.  A regular ol’ pot will do just fine.

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I made the executive decision to add more than 2 cups of broken lasagna noodles because of the first paragraph in which I wrote that I’m not a big fan of soup. The measuring cup above is a standard 2-cup measuring cup. We just heaped it as high as it would go.

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Action shot! Just imagine how great this picture would have been if I would have had decent lighting?

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I did not have a thin French baguette to make crostini with. I did, however, have some French hard rolls because I was in a sandwich kind of mood the day before. Points for improvisation!

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Voila! It was more Taste Like Lasagna Chili instead of soup because I used so many noodles, but everyone here loved it so I was happy. It also made me realize that this is a lot less hassle than making lasagna the normal way (cooking the noodles, layering everything, etc.) so it will definitely show up in the meal rotation.  I think I’m going to play around with fresh noodles (Shirley has a pasta roller and knows how to use it) and ricotta cheese next time to see what I come up with, but it’s a keeper for me!

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You knew I wasn’t going to forget to show Felina taking one for the team.  God bless that little shit of a dog.  Obligatory reminder: We wash our dishes with dishwashing detergent, hot water and chlorine bleach. It’s all good!

(Comments closed due to spammers.)

 
Ingredients
  • 1 lb ground chuck
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • 1 tablespoon firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1 (32 ounce) box chicken broth
  • 2 (14.5 ounce) can petite diced tomatoes
  • 1 (15 ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 cup broken lasagna noodles
  • 1 (5 ounce) package grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • -----------------------
  • Garlic Crostini:
  • 1 thin French baguette
  • ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves smashed garlic
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Instructions
  1. In a large Dutch oven, combine ground chuck, onion, bell pepper and garlic. Cook over medium-high heat for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally until beef is browned and crumbles. Drain well.
  2. Stir in thyme, brown sugar, broth, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, Italian seasoning, and salt. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat; reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes. Add noodles, and simmer until noodles are tender.
  3. Stir in Parmesan cheese.
  4. Preheat broiler. Ladle soup into 8 to 10 ovenproof bowls. Evenly sprinkle with mozzarella cheese. Broil soups, 6-inches from heat, 3 to 4 minutes, until cheese is browned and bubbly. Add a garlic crostini slice on top. Serve immediately.
  5. For the garlic crostini:
  6. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  7. Cut bread into ¼-inch round slices. Place on baking sheet and brush each slice with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper; place in oven and bake until golden and crisp, about 15 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool slightly. Rub each side with smashed garlic cloves.