Vegetarian Lasagna Rolls

Vegetarian Lasagna Rolls

The other day I was in the mood for Italian food, but not spaghetti, fettuccine, or baked ziti. Something else….

Vegetarian Lasagna Rolls

I had one bunch of kale left over from my last Hometown Harvest bag, and thought maybe that would be tasty in a lasagna, sautéed first with some garlic and olive oil, and then added into the ricotta mixture. My vegetarian sister happened to be in town from Brooklyn (and eating with us!), so I thought she’d be a fan of the combo too.

Vegetarian Lasagna Rolls

I warmed the olive oil and minced the garlic. Then, I pulled the kale out from the fridge.

“Hmmm…this kale looks odd,” I thought.

Then, I quickly realized what I had leftover wasn’t kale at all! It was bok choy.

Well played.

Vegetarian Lasagna Rolls

I decided to use it anyway.

Vegetarian Lasagna Rolls
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{Inspired by Giada De Laurentiis' Lasagna Rolls Recipe}
Serves: 6
  • 12 lasagna noodles, cooked to al dente
  • 3 tablespoons salted butter
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1-1/4 cup whole milk
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 bunch chopped fresh bok choy, spinach or kale
  • 1 15-oz container of whole milk ricotta
  • 1 large egg
  • 1-1/2 cup shredded Italian cheese blend
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 tablespoons fresh chopped basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 cup marinara
  1. Preheat the oven to 425°F and use a tablespoon of butter to grease the bottom and sides of a 9x11" baking pan.
  2. For the bechamel sauce: melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a sauce pan over medium heat. Whisk in the flour until it's smooth, and then let it cook for 1 minute. Pour the milk in all at once, add ½ teaspoon of salt and ½ teaspoon of pepper, and continue whisking until the bechamel becomes thick and bubbly. Pour it into the bottom of the buttered baking pan.
  3. Add the olive oil to a skillet over medium-high heat. Chiffonade the bok choy, then give it another quick dice - you should have around 2 cups' worth. Throw it into the skillet along with the garlic. Sauté the bok choy for 3 minutes, then add ¼ cup of water, cover the skillet and let it cook for 10 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, mix the ricotta, egg, ½ cup cheese, basil, oregano, 1 teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon pepper together in a large bowl. Stir in the cooked bok choy.
  5. Spread 3-4 tablespoons of the ricotta mixture on one lasagna noodle. Roll it up like a jellyroll, starting on one of the short ends. Lay the lasagna roll seam side down in the baking pan, on top of the bechamel. Repeat with the remaining lasagna noodles.
  6. Top the lasagna rolls with the marinara, the remaining 1 cup of cheese and some more fresh basil. Cover the baking pan tightly with aluminum foil, and bake it for 20 minutes. Remove the cover and continue baking for 5 minutes longer, or until the cheese is melted, bubbly and golden.
  7. Leftovers reheat well, and the individual rolls will freeze great too.

Baked Ziti

baked ziti, how to make baked ziti, baked ziti recipes

There’s this little neighborhood pizzeria about two miles from our house that has the best baked ziti recipe I’ve ever eaten. I don’t claim to be a baked ziti expert, but I know a good Italian recipe when I taste one.

What I love most about their baked ziti is that it’s simple. Just the right amount of fresh basil and fresh mozzarella, a sauce + ricotta ratio near to perfection, and barely a touch of their light marinara on top.

Did I mention ooey, gooey fresh mozzarella?

Over the weekend I decided to roll up my sleeves and take a stab at making baked ziti at home. I mean, it’s not difficult, and the ingredients are really no secret. And I, too, kept it simple – although I was lacking some of the fresh ingredients I would have preferred. Still, we were all pleased.

baked ziti recipe, baked ziti, how to make baked ziti

By the way, my easy homemade Italian bread (made the same afternoon) went perfectly!

You’re welcome.

Baked Ziti
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Serves: 6
  • 1 23.5oz jar organic marinara sauce
  • 3-1/2 cups dry ziti or penne pasta
  • 1-1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • ½ cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup whole milk ricotta cheese
  • 2 tablespoons dried basil
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt + 2 tablespoons for the pasta water
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  2. Bring water and 2 tablespoons of salt to boil in a large pot. Add the pasta and cook it to al dente. Drain.
  3. Mix the marinara, ricotta, ¾ cup mozzarella, ¼ cup Parmesan, ½ teaspoon salt, and the basil together in a large bowl. Add the pasta, stirring gently to coat completely.
  4. Coat the bottom of a 9x13" baking dish with olive oil. Spread the pasta mixture evenly in the dish. Sprinkle the top with the remaining mozzarella and Parmesan.
  5. Bake for 20 minutes, or until the baked ziti is bubbly and golden brown on top.

Baked Creamy Chicken Spaghetti

I’m all for comfort food, and when I saw The Pioneer Woman’s recipe for Chicken Spaghetti a few years ago, I thought, “Is there a way to make that better?”

The answer is no. It’s just about perfect the way it is.

BUT, when one craves Chicken Spaghetti, but one doesn’t necessarily have all the ingredients to make THE Chicken Spaghetti…one must improvise.

And truly, some of the best recipe twists come from using things I already have on hand, versus traditional menu planning! Like transforming her Chicken Spaghetti into Baked Creamy Chicken Spaghetti – kinda the same, but different.

Baked Creamy Chicken Spaghetti Recipe

In this case, I took Ree’s recipe and made these changes:

  • I substituted farmers’ market tomato, diced small, for the pimentos. I love supporting local farms, and whenever I can use a fresh piece of in-season produce in lieu of a canned item, I try!
  • I used cream of chicken and cream of celery soups because that’s what I happened to have in my pantry. I considered making my own Béchamel sauce instead of “cream of” soup, but……………. Yeah.
  • I used fresh mushrooms, sliced chunky. Aside from those found in “cream of” soups, I never ever EVER used canned mushrooms. Like, ever. Ew.
  • I used half chicken broth and half beef broth because that’s all I had in my pantry.
  • I used whole wheat spaghetti instead of regular. I’m not opposed to regular pasta, but I was out of it, and whole wheat adds a healthy twist!
  • I substituted generous amounts of mozzarella instead of cheddar. Nothing against cheddar – mozzarella just sounded good. And creamier. Mmmm…

Perhaps the biggest update was the addition of a topping – crushed Kettle Brand Potato Chips!

baked creamy chicken spaghetti

There’s nothing like the bite of a crunchy, salty topping against the cheesy goodness of creamy chicken spaghetti casserole. Kettle Brand Potato Chips are the real kettle chips – able to withstand baking to proper crispy topping perfection!

baked creamy chicken spaghetti, chicken spaghetti recipe

I love Kettle Brand Potato Chips because not only are they all natural, they’re also the first chip to be verified GMO-free by the NonGMO Project! We may not be totally GMO-free in our house, but I’ve become keenly aware of GMOs over the past couple of years, and the negative impact – especially to our health. So, yay! Kettle Brand Potato Chips are GMO-free!

baked creamy chicken spaghetti

To connect with Kettle Brand Potato Chips, follow #therealkettlechips and @KettleChips on Twitter.

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Kettle Brand. The opinions and text are all mine.

Easy Creamy Scalloped Potatoes

Easy Creamy Scalloped Potato Recipe

I believe I could eat potatoes every day of the year.

I’m not sure my family would agree.

I mean, my son practically wretches at the sight of a potato – unless its form is that of a French fry. It’s true;  I’m not kidding. How does that even happen? Don’t all kids eat their weight in mashed potatoes? Not this one.

And my husband and daughter like a little variety in their dinner regime. Imagine.

So, there you have it. I manage one potato dish a week. Sometimes if I’m extra crafty, I can sneak in two.

That’s where scalloped potatoes come in to play. Not your everyday mashed or baked; a break from plain old herb roasted.

Creamy, cheesy, baked dish of yum.

So, there you go.

Easy Creamy Scalloped Potatoes
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Serves: 4
  • 3 medium white potatoes
  • ½ stick salted butter
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • ½ cup shredded Parmesan
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon garlic salt
  • ¼ cup freshly chopped Italian parsley
  • 2 green onions, diced
  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F.
  2. Thinly and evenly slice the potatoes (use a mandolin if you have one).
  3. Melt the butter in a medium sauce pan over medium-high heat. Whisk in the flour until the mixture becomes creamy, and then let it cook for another minute. Pour in the milk all at once, add the garlic salt and pepper, and then continue whisking until the sauce becomes thick and bubbly. Remove the pan from heat, then stir in the Parmesan until it's melted through.
  4. Spoon just enough sauce to coat the bottom of a 1-1/2 quart baking dish. Place one thin layer of potatoes on top, then sprinkle them with sea salt, green onions and parsley. Pour more sauce on top (about ½ cup) and then repeat the layers until you're left with sauce as the last layer. Sprinkle a little more parsley and pepper on top.
  5. Cover the casserole tightly, and bake it for 30 minutes. Uncover it, then continue baking for another 15 minutes, or until the scalloped potatoes are golden on top and bubbling.
  6. Let the potatoes rest for 5 or 10 minutes before serving.



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