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Dinner Bucket List

Happy Hump Day!

Thank you so much for your votes of confidence in my new teaching adventure. I’m pumped for class #2 tonight. Yesterday as I was sitting at a local university’s cafe preparing my lesson plan, iPod blasting tunes, skim latte in reach — I had flash backs to being a student myself. Can I just say that I miss it? A lot. Those were the days…

My new schedule has me utilizing every free second of the day. I worked out yesterday morning (40 minutes on the elliptical) so that I could lesson plan after work. And because Lily is spoiled ROTTEN demanding, I went straight to the cafe rather than even TRYING to be productive at home. Rattling off a blog post is enough “neglect” to send the dog into a complete meltdown…I shudder to think what a lesson plan would lead to.

After my lesson planning and latte, I made a quick dinner before running off to Weight Watchers. I will write a full, in-depth review of the new POINTS Plus program after I become acquainted with it. I was less than impressed with the leader, but the members were very fun to talk with and get to know. But more on this next week — Monday or Tuesday, promise!

On to dinner.

Last night’s dinner was on my Bucket List of meals to make. Am I the only one with a Bucket List that revolves 100% around cooking? Don’t answer that, actually. I’ve seen lasagna roll-ups on lots of blogs, in cookbooks, on the internet…everywhere! They are just one of those meals that you can’t wait to dig into. Picture perfect, even. And just…ingenious. Says the girl who loves “cute” food. Without further adieu, lasagna roll-ups!

Lasagna Roll-Ups adapted from Homemade by Holman

8 whole wheat lasagna noodles
1/2 pound lean ground turkey (93/7 or leaner)
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 2 cloves garlic
1/2 onion
15 oz can crushed tomatoes
1 egg
1/2 cup low-fat ricotta cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 1/2 3 Tbsp fresh basil, chopped
1 1/2 3 Tbsp fresh oregano, chopped
1/4 cup shredded 2% mozzarella cheese
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes


Preheat oven to 350° F.  Heat a large pot of water to boiling over high heat.  When it reaches a boil,  add a pinch of salt, and drop in the noodles.  Stir occasionally and cook to just al dente.  Drain noodles and set aside.

Meanwhile in a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat.  Add garlic and onion and saute for 2-3 minutes.  Add turkey and brown.  When almost cooked through, add tomatoes and reduce heat to medium low.  Simmer for about 15 minutes.  Add 1/2 the basil, oregano, and crushed red pepper flakes and stir to combine.

In a small bowl, lightly beat egg.  Add ricotta, Parmesan and remaining basil and oregano and stir together.  Spray pan lightly with cooking spray.  Add enough sauce to lightly cover the bottom of the pan.  To assemble, on a drained noodle, add a spoonful of ricotta mixture.  Top with a spoonful of meat sauce and roll up.  Place seam side down in pan.  Continue until you’ve used all the noodles.  Top each with a little more meat sauce and sprinkle with mozzarella and remaining crushed red pepper flakes.  Bake approximately 20 minutes until cheese is melted and bubbly.  Serves 4 (2 roll-ups per serving).

Nutrition Information (per serving): 387 calories; 14.5 g. fat; 119 mg. cholesterol; 579 mg. sodium; 38.3 g. carbohydrate; 8 g. fiber; 7.5 g. sugar; 30.3 g. protein

Result: Mr. Prevention loved this dish, and so did I. He says, “It was really good…I ate like all of it.” Which, he did eat 2 servings worth, but that’s pretty much on par for Mr. P and his appetite. The roll-ups were less labor-intensive than I would’ve imagined. The dinner came together in about 35 minutes and then baked for 20 minutes, which I find very reasonable. The roll-ups, conveniently, can be made ahead of time and heated later. I love that the calorie content is low and there’s lots of fiber and protein — very filling, and it pairs perfectly with a light tossed salad. Enjoy! 😀

A quick lesson in ricotta. There is low-fat and part-skim ricotta. Low-fat is 60 calories/serving while part-skim is 80 calories/serving. I am ashamed to admit that I have never paid close enough attention to the fact that both of these lower-fat options exist. Alas,  paying attention saved me some calories and saturated fat this time and in the future!

Question: What’s on your “dinner bucket list”?

Don’t forget to enter my LARABAR Giveaway! TEN winners!!!

Be well, Eat well.

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  1. January 5, 2011 / 6:31 am

    I’m happy your first class went well Nicole! I too think about college sometimes and really miss it. Those seriously WERE the days, but of course back then I didn’t think that. It makes me think will I be looking back at THESE days ten years from now, and thinking THOSE were the days?! Yikes.

    I used low fat ricotta when I made gnocchi. It was definitely not as good as the full fat version, but worth the switch either way! Thanks for your ymmy recipe.

    Have a great one.

  2. January 5, 2011 / 7:20 am

    Those lasagna rolls do look show-stopping! ๐Ÿ˜‰
    I always get confused about ricotta labelling – I always thought part-skim and low-fat was the same. Thanks for clearing that up for me.

  3. January 5, 2011 / 7:43 am

    I have made something similar to those before and they are so good! Looks great! Glad the nutrition class is going well ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. January 5, 2011 / 7:49 am

    I miss school too. Those days when you could honestly skip class for the day without too much consequence. Afternoon naps. Holiday and summer breaks. Maybe I can become a professor too :). More likely than a student.

  5. January 5, 2011 / 8:28 am

    Glad your class is going well!!

    I didn’t know you were doing Weight Watchers! Must have missed that– very exciting!

  6. January 5, 2011 / 9:49 am

    Ahh how I miss college. You know how you could skip class without too many consequenes, stay up till 3am but sleep till 11, your best friends lived seconds away…

    I’ve made lasagna rollups before. Spinach mixed in with the ricotta is super yummy plus you get veggies. That’s one of the few ways I got my dad and brothers to eat spinach!

  7. January 5, 2011 / 10:05 am

    That looks great. And is probably a million times healthier. Now it’s on my dinner bucket list, which apparently just sprang into existence.

  8. January 5, 2011 / 10:23 am

    I’ve made Gina from skinnytastes lasagna roll ups, and I am pleased to say not only are they a lot let less work than making an big pan of lasagna, but they are just as tasty!!! I have noticed that fact about ricotta, but I don’t get why there are two versions so close to one another on the market?? its weird.

    I am looking forward to your take on this WW thing. I have some reserved opinions about it myself, but am finally getting a chance and the time to embrace it. I WILL say…I think it was a really dumb idea to launch it between thanksgiving and Christmas. It left me harboring a lot of resentment toward WW, and THAT is NOT a good place to be when you are trying to get healthy and loose weight. Positive vibes are way more efficient when it comes to weight loss.

  9. January 5, 2011 / 11:25 am

    They look delicious! I’ve never made them, but I need to try that asap! On my dinner bucket list is general tso’s chicken.

  10. January 5, 2011 / 12:02 pm

    I’m in school and as much as I hate the homework I do enjoy discussions!

    I am surprised to hear these didn’t take too long to make – I may bookmark this recipe!

  11. January 5, 2011 / 1:39 pm

    I never thought about a dinner bucket list, but I know that I have some on my from scratch list that would be bucket list worthy. My biggest one was that PB and J I made before Christmas entirely from scratch. I wanted to do that before 2010 ended, and I did. Your roll ups look great. I cam glad you liked teaching. I think I love teaching on campus too because I love the feeling and energy that you find on a college campus. This is probably why I am also on degree number 4.

  12. January 5, 2011 / 4:00 pm

    Your lasagna roll-ups look really great, Nicole! My mom used to make them when I was a kid and would you believe I haven’t had them since?! Thanks for reminding me of one of my childhood favs! ๐Ÿ™‚

  13. January 5, 2011 / 8:49 pm

    I’m so glad your first class went well, Nicole! With you knowledge and style, I’ll bet the students are thrilled to have you ๐Ÿ™‚ I can’t even imagine how bizarre it must feel being on the other side of the desk, as a teacher and not a student. I hope you enjoyed class #2 as much tonight!

    Those lasagna rollups look epic! I, too, have a meal bucket list, mostly revolving around hot, comfort meals (even in summer!) and desserts. I have so many bookmarked, I can’t even hope to get through them all. Won’t stop my from trying, though ๐Ÿ˜€

    Have a great evening, Nicole!

  14. January 5, 2011 / 9:18 pm

    I have to say that the title pulled me in. I never thought about having a Dinner Bucket List. The lasagna rolls look scrumptious but I’d probably leave them unrolled. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  15. January 5, 2011 / 11:14 pm

    Those lasagna rolls look delicous and healthy!!! I’d never thought of a food bucket list…but I love it. I can think of a few things already that I want to try before I leave this earth! All the best.

  16. January 7, 2011 / 10:08 am

    I usually use low-fat ricotta–there’s not too much of a difference between the original version. Anything lasagna is a thumbs up in my book. This looks great! Gnocchi is on my dinner bucket list–I’ve never gotten the opportunity to make/eat it!!

  17. January 8, 2011 / 2:13 pm

    Looks amazing, and awesome that it’s under 400 calories! My bucket list meal: My grandmother’s lobster bisque…someday!

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