Dinner For Two: Spinach Lasagna Roll-ups

It’s about time for another Dinner For Two recipe, right?  I’ve been making a lot of meals for two lately, because I made a change in the way I approach dinner.  I used to spend about $100 a week on groceries— for just the two of us!  Isn’t that ridiculous?  My theory was:  buy whatever looks great, and keep a fully stocked pantry so I can pull together any type of meal at a moment’s notice.  This system is incredibly wasteful.  When I found out we were moving to Kansas, I stopped grocery shopping…and for 6 weeks, I didn’t need a thing from the store (except milk and eggs).  And what’s more, on my last week in California, I was giving away bags of unopened groceries.  This means that I had over 6 weeks’ worth of food stored up in the pantry.  Sure, I could fulfill a craving for pasta with artichokes, sun dried tomatoes, herbed bread crumbs, and goat cheese at a moment’s notice (one of my favorite single-girl meals).  And yes, I could bake a 3-layer cake without needing a single ingredient from the store.  But, is it really necessary?

So, I started meal planning.  I know thousands of you do it, yet I was too stubborn to try it.  A few weeks ago, I did a quick inventory of the pantry before making my weekly grocery run.  I spent $40 less than usual, and now I’m hooked!

This system has an unexpected perk:  I never knew how relaxing it could be to come home and know exactly what I’m cooking for dinner.  I never realized that moment at 5:00 when I had to come up with something for dinner was stressful.  Now, I come home from work, do a quick chore (laundry, vacuuming, etc.), pop a bottle of wine and set about making dinner peacefully.  I feel like my time after work is much longer and more enjoyable.  Life is great!

Shall we talk about lasagna now?  Ok, this recipe is for individual lasagna roll-ups.  You take the filling that normally goes between the layers of pasta in a traditional lasagna and spread it on one noodle instead.

I promise you (I’m looking at you in the eye here) that the filling does not fall out when you roll it up.  The gooey ricotta and mozzarella adhere readily to the sticky al dente noodle.  Spread out the filling on 6 partially cooked lasagna noodles, roll them up, top with sauce, cheese and bake.  We eat two roll-ups for dinner with a salad, or 3 roll-ups on their own.  It’s up to you.


5.0 from 3 reviews
Dinner For Two: Spinach Lasagna Roll-ups
 
Makes 6 individual lasagna roll-ups
Ingredients
For the tomato sauce:
  • 1 14.5 oz. can crushed tomatoes
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 clove garlic, grated on a microplane
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • ---you may substitute 2 cups of your favorite store-bought sauce instead---
For the lasagna:
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 6 wavy lasagna noodles (not the no-cook kind)
  • 8 oz. frozen chopped spinach, defrosted
  • 8 oz. ricotta cheese
  • 1 large egg
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • ¼ teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • 8 oz. fresh mozzarella, grated
  • 6 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Instructions
  1. If you're making the sauce from scratch, combine all ingredients in a small saucepan and simmer uncovered for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350 and grease a medium-sized baking dish with the olive oil.
  3. Cook the lasagna noodles in boiling water until al dente, about 1 minute under the time recommended on your box. Remove from the water, lay them out between pieces of paper towel and keep covered.
  4. Next, take the defrosted spinach (it really must be defrosted!) and squeeze out the excess liquid in your hands. Give it a few good squeezes--it should appear mostly dry when you're done.
  5. Next, in a small bowl, stir together the spinach, ricotta, egg, red pepper flakes, nutmeg, salt and pepper. Mix well.
  6. Take 1 lasagna noodle at a time, spread ⅙th of the cheese mixture on it evenly (see photo), top with the grated mozzarella. Roll up the noodle away from you, starting at the short end. Place it seam-side down in the greased baking dish. Repeat for the remaining 5 noodles.
  7. Pour the tomato sauce on top and sprinkle on any remaining mozzarella cheese. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of Parmesan cheese over each roll-up.
  8. Bake for 25 minutes, until sauce is bubbly and cheese is melted. Serve.

 


Comments

  1. says

    I’m so glad you got on the meal planning bandwagon! I never used to either but it does make life so much easier. Grocery shopping is easier, cheaper and less of a hassle! Plus it is great to come home and already know what you have to do instead of wracking your brain for ideas. And you get fantastic meals like this! I love lasagna rolls! Yours look especially tasty!

  2. says

    Oh this is exactly my life! I used to get to 5pm every day and feel so unenthusiastic about coming up with something for dinner. Now we sit down on a Sunday and plan what we’re going to eat. Saves us so much money & time and you’re so right about feeling more enthusiastic about cooking dinner because of it.

    These will have to go into our rotation!

  3. says

    I am totally that $100 a week, food hoarder. I made this nutty/seed bread yesterday about 15 minutes after seeing an inspiration for it and a friend was like “you had all those ingredients on hand?!” Um yes, I have panic attacks when any pantry ingredient gets below half way used up and immediately restock it. I bet I could live 6 weeks without buying food too. It’s a sickness. haha
    Maybe I need a move to jump start me into a normal grocery shopping routine that isn’t quite so excessive!

  4. says

    I go in spurts with meal planning, but I’m not good at making it work. Sort of goes like this: meal plan, shop, congratulate myself, sit down at computer and look at pinterest, cry because I now want something different for dinner, go back to store, waste the food that I already bought. I end up spending more and wasting more if I have more than one or two days worth of food in the house. So, I pretty much shop every day. It’s ridiculous.

    I love these roll-ups, though! I’ve tried them before, but not with spinach. Yum!

  5. says

    I love planning meals! I started doing it when we were planning our wedding and it stuck! I love knowing what I am going to be cooking and it definitely cut down on the grocery bill! It makes me feel so organized too!

  6. says

    I love this idea, this is awesome! I cannot believe how much you saved on groceries though, that is really what is crazy awesome. I have never been a planner until the last year. And moving was the culprit plus school and money. It makes it so less stressful, like you said.

  7. says

    We easily spend $100 a week on groceries. But now that I’ve heard your story, maybe I should consider meal planning. I’ve always felt the process is daunting, but perhaps its not as bad as I have made it out to be in my mind!

  8. angelitacarmelita says

    Welcome! I started ‘planning’ my meals about 2 years ago. I decided to split a CSA share w/2 other co-workers and my thought was, “whatever it brings, I will eat” Of course I filled in what it didn’t bring… but, the point is (and my friends tell me this), I was Rachel Ray’s week in a day before she made that cool! I would sit down w/my CSA basket, check my frig and pantry and then plan ALL of my meals, Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner! when I tell my friends that I spend probably $15-30 dollars a week in groceries, they’re like “we hate you” I have to admit that there have been some weeks that I haven’t even gone to the grocery store… it’s true! I call it Freedom! your gonna like it here…… The Recipe: LOVE IT! and do NOT leave out the butter in the sauce, it makes it.

  9. says

    This post has honestly been one of my favourite in the WHOLE blogging world! I am afraid I am a waster too, I have weird carvings at 4.30 pm just before it is dinner making time and off to the store I go to buy once off ingredients! Shocking I know! I have just made a pretty good meal planner on my ipad calendar – and I am hoping I will stick to it! I am sure I can survive on the food I have in my freezer and grocery cupboard for weeks!!!! So thank you for a push in the right direction! And concerning these roll ups – I have no words – they just look like I could eat them every night for the rest of my life. Looks like a nice and easy week night meal too! Cant wait to try it!!!!

  10. says

    I’m still that way. It’s so bad that I’ve expanded to my husband’s office. I have about 40 pounds of flour, 100+ small bags of nuts / dried food and for some weird, a huge supply of liquid smoke (it doesn’t exist here… I had to stock up!)

    And these look incredible! So simple and quick. Love it.

  11. says

    fun rollups! you definitely know how to make lasagna sexy because usually mine turn out like a big pile of mush! i’ve tried to recipe plan before but sometimes life gets in the way ;) good for you for doing so!

  12. says

    These are so beautiful and such a smart idea! I’m trying to meal plan, too, but sometimes I get home from work late and just want to pass out :)

  13. says

    Glad you’ve discovered the joys of stress-free meals, Christina. The less $ you spend at the grocery store, the less TIME you spend there, too. Much more relaxing to enjoy your extra time at home!

  14. says

    oooh what I would give to not have to go to the market daily. I love fresh ingredients, but meal planning needs to happen soon or I will go crazy. These lasagna roll ups look perfect for the two of us! Perfect fall supper. :)

  15. says

    I need to menu plan more. It’s just the two of us but I always making tons of extra food. (I normally have the extra as lunches and left overs, but sometimes it does go to waste) So I really need to start making dinners for two. These roll ups look so good. I’ve made them before, but mine were not as nice looking lol

  16. Angela says

    Do you think this would freeze well? I am freezing some meals to give to a friend for after she has her first baby.

  17. Jenn says

    This was incredible! I have three young, very picky boys, but they and my husband ate every single
    bite without complaining once! It was also so much easier to make than I had expected. This has
    definitely been added into our regular rotation. Thank you so much!

  18. Julie says

    Did I tell you that this is our Valentine’s dinner for tomorrow night? Because it is. :) Well, that and pie (which isn’t a pie for two, but we will eat it like it is). Hope you and your honey have a good Valentine’s day and weekend. xoxo

    • says

      Awww, I hope you love it Momma Swope! I was just texting Stephie! She sends the cutest Valentine’s Day cards, doesn’t she? Hope y’all have a great Valentine’s Day :) xoxo

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