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Monday, September 17, 2012

Sweet Potato Spinach Pesto Lasagna Rolls

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Liz, one of my college roommates and a Sweets Life reader, recently emailed me asking a bit about the strategy behind my meal-planning and cooking schedule. I sent her a lengthy email back—likely more than she wanted to know—but the bottom line was this: it all comes down to the planning! I don’t just plan what we’re going to eat each day (and write a corresponding grocery list), but I also figure out when is the best time to make what, depending on our schedule. There are nights I’ll cook two meals so that we can eat leftovers for a few days. There are Sunday afternoons where I do nothing but chop vegetables and bake homemade granola bars for lunches, to shorten prep time when we get home from work late.

This meal is a perfect example of planning ahead. The first evening I came home and made the filling, which required getting out my food processor and cooking the sweet potatoes. I refrigerated the mixture overnight. The next morning, I made the pasta, assembled the rolls, and baked. There's no way I would have gotten the entire meal finished in one evening. This is what works for me--you might have more time in the evenings. Do whatever works for you! I made 16 lasagna rolls and served with a salad. It fed 5 of us the first night and there was still plenty for leftovers. Another option would be to make a full batch but freeze half of them (assemble, but don't bake) and pull them out on a busy night! 

What are your time saving tips in the kitchen? I'm always looking for more!

One Year Ago: Toffee Cappuccino Muffins
Two Years Ago: Copycat Egg McMuffin
Three Years Ago: German Chocolate Cookies

Sweet Potato Spinach Pesto Lasagna Rolls
from Eats Well with Others

-5 cloves garlic
-5 oz basil
-2 tbsp pine nuts
-2 tbsp olive oil
-2 oz spinach
-15 oz part-skim ricotta
-6 oz mozzarella, grated & divided
-1/3 cup parmesan cheese
-3 large sweet potatoes
-16 lasagna sheets
-2 cups tomato basil sauce
-salt & pepper, to taste

1. To make the filling (can be done a day ahead of time), add garlic, basil, pine nuts, olive oil, and spinach to the bowl of a food processor. Process until smooth and season with salt to taste. Add the ricotta, half of the mozzarella, and the parmesan to the food processor (keep the pesto in there) adn process until smooth.
2. Prick each of the potatoes all over with a fork. Wrap each of the sweet potatoes in a damp paper towel. Microwave on high, turning every 2 minutes, for 4-8 minutes (depends on size), until tender. Allow to cool. One cool, mash sweet potato mixture with cheese pesto mixture (or add potatoes and puree until smooth).
3. When ready to assemble the lasagna, preheat oven to 350F. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and add lasagna sheets, cooking until al dente (about 12 minutes).
4. Line two baking sheets with aluminum foil. Remove noodles from water with tongs and lay flat on prepared baking sheets. Spread 2-3 tbsp of cheese mixture on each noodle. Roll up loosely from one side to the other.
5. In a 9 x 13-inch pan, spread 3/4 cup tomato sauce over the bottom. Place lasagna rolls seam side down in the pan, as close to one another as they can. Top with remaining cheese and sauce.
6. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake for an additional 15 minutes. Cool for 5 minutes before serving.