Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Freezer meals - Lasagna rolls

I helped my sister out yesterday with making a bunch of freezer meals that she can pull out in the next few months on tired days. She's beginning her family practice medical residency. I personally prefer to do lasagna rolled up because it's a nice way to portion things out, plus you don't have to let them stand for 10 minutes before serving like you do with regular lasagna to avoid severe lurpage.

Like so many recipes, this is one that can be endlessly customized to suit your own tastes. We made 8 pans with 4 rolls in each out of the quantities listed. We used foil loaf pans with heavy duty freezer foil on top.
32 lasagna noodles, boiled in salted water
4 pounds ricotta cheese
4 eggs
1 T garlic powder
Salt and pepper to taste
4 pounds ground meat (we used a combination of mild pork italian sausage, ground turkey and ground beef)
2 medium onions, minced
3 bell peppers, chopped
3 cups chopped broccoli
4 T. italian seasoning (or make your own with rosemary, oregano, basil, thyme and parsley)
Salt and pepper to taste
3 quarts spaghetti sauce, any type
4-5 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
Cook the lasagna noodles according to package directions until al dente. Once they are done, mist a cookie sheet with cooking spray, lay the noodles down side by side, mist them again, lay another layer down, etc. If you don't mist them, they'll dry out and stick together in a bad way. Trust me on this one.
Meanwhile, saute the meat in a large skillet until cooked through. Drain off any excess grease if necessary, then add in the peppers and onions. Cook for another 5-7 minutes until softened. Stir in the seasonings and broccoli, then pull off the heat and set aside.
In a medium bowl, mix the ricotta cheese, eggs, garlic powder, salt and pepper until well combined.
Pour a thin layer of spaghetti sauce into the bottom of each pan. Then, working a few at a time, spread a layer of ricotta about 3/4 of the way down each noodle. Spoon and spread about 1/4 cup of meat on top, then roll up snail style and put the seam side down in the pan. Once you have four in a pan, spread sauce over the top, making sure that all the exposed noodle is covered, and separate them slightly to let it run down in between. Sprinkle a generous handful of cheese on top.
If you are making this for dinner tonight rather than freezing it, cover it with foil and bake at 350 for 25 minutes, then remove the foil and cook for another 5-10 minutes or until the cheese is nice and bubbly and golden. If you are freezing these for later, cover with heavy duty foil, making sure that all of the edges are securely crimped down, and once it is all cooled down to room temperature, put them in the deep freeze. These are best used within 3-4 months. You can either pull it out the night before and let it thaw in the fridge and then bake as above, or if you have a 9x13 size pan, you can bake it at 300 for 3 hours (see, this works great on a Sunday!)


robeth said...

Great recipe! I have been wanting to start making "make ahead meals" that I can pull from my freezer. More of a "DUH" moment than an "AH HA" moment.

Nurse Heidi said...

I hope to be able to post these pretty frequently - I have a sister in law that just informed me that she does freezer stuff all the time, so I am going to pick her brain. Wouldn't we all like to have 10 back up dinners in the freezer?!