Anything Caprese!

24 Apr

Hello friends & family!  I know it has been a while, and I haven’t taken the time to blog, but I really want to get back into the swing of things!  Blogging is so much fun for me, but I didn’t want to be overwhelmed.  Sometimes life just seemed too busy, and I couldn’t imagine trying to add blogging into the mix of school, working full-time, commuting, maintaining the house, spending time with Matt when he’s home, etc.  But now is the time to get back into it… I just recently finished my Associate’s Degree program AND turned the big 3-0, so I’m on to the next chapter!  Time to bring blogging into the next chapter with me!

As I mentioned earlier, I just turned 30… yeeps.  I’ve been going back and forth between being ok with it and feeling anxious, and my wonderful husband was sweet enough to fly me to Vegas to celebrate!  (A little back story for ya… he’s been out of town for work for the last 2 of my birthdays and this would have been the 3rd one in a row since he was already in Vegas for a trade show… good call on the Vegas trip, babe 😉 )  We had a blast, and it was definitely the BEST birthday I’ve ever had… fabulous dinner at the Eiffel Tower Restaurant at the Paris Hotel, followed by drinks with Matt’s fantastic coworkers at Gilley’s Saloon in Treasure Island.  This is where I may or may not have ridden a mechanical bull… and there is definitely NOT photographic or video evidence!

Bull riding

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When Matt is out of town, which can be quite often some months, I’m not always the most creative or adventurous when it comes to making myself dinner.  I tend to fall back on the old stand-by of something frozen or premade, which some of you know is SO not like me.  Sometimes it seems so tough (and boring) to cook for one person and not end up with leftovers for years afterward, and I am horrible about eating leftovers.  Tonight was definitely different!  I found a recipe earlier for Caprese Lasagna Roll Ups and I knew that was going to be my dinner!  I love Caprese anything – salads, sandwiches, pasta – so I knew this would be delish (in fact, I’m making my version of a Caprese grilled cheese on a ciabatta roll for dinner tomorrow).  It was pretty easy, and healthier than one might think since I used fat-free ricotta, low-fat mozzarella, and added thinly sliced zucchini.

Caprese Lasagna Roll-ups
(adapted from Cooking Classy)
Caprese Lasagna

8 lasagna noodles, uncooked
8 oz shredded Mozzarella cheese, divided
3/4 cup fat-free Ricotta cheese
1 egg white
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, divided
Fresh ground black pepper
3 Roma tomatoes, very thinly sliced
1/3 cup julienned fresh basil (roll the leaves up and then slice them so they come out as ribbons)
1 zucchini, finely sliced (optional)
2 cups marinara sauce (the original recipe for this came with a recipe for fresh marinara, but I just bought some premade sauce to save time)

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Cook your lasagna noodles as directed by the packaging to al dente. Line cooked, cooled noodles in a single layer on a sheet of parchment or wax paper.  Pour 1/4 cup of the marinara in your cooking pan (a large glass baking dish).

In a medium-sized bowl, mix the ricotta and egg white together until blended. Stir in half of the Parmesan cheese and 6 ounces of the mozzarella and season with the black pepper to taste (I also added some of the premade pesto sauce I had in the freezer for that extra basil kick, but I absolutely love basil/pesto!).  Spread 1/4 cup of the cheese mixture on each one of the noodles, followed by the zucchini (if you used it), then the tomato slices, followed by the basil.  I only used 3 tomato slices per noodle, which seemed to be enough for me (aren’t they so pretty??).

Noodles

Roll the noodles up and place into your marinara sauced pan, seam side down.  Pour the remaining marinara sauce over each of the roll ups evenly, making sure the edges are coated so they don’t dry out when baking.  Sprinkle the remaining mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses over the top and bake for 30-40 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbly and lightly browned. Yum!

I hope you all enjoy this dish as much as I did (and will for the next few days… I’m excited for these leftovers!).  I think next time, to stick to the Caprese idea, I might make a balsamic vinegar reduction to lightly drizzle over it.  It is very yummy on its own, but I think the reduction could really tie everything together.  I’d also recommend seasoning your zucchini before you add the tomato and basil and roll the little yummies up – it was a little bland in that area for me.

Comments & feedback are ALWAYS welcome!

Until next time…

heartDes

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