Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Food Gifts for New Parents: Lasagna Rolls

After two pregnancies, two very different birth experiences and bringing home two newborn babies, I've learned that new mamas, and new families, need more than just baby clothes and blankets. Whether it is your first baby or your fifth, I think one of the best gifts you can give a new family is a home-cooked meal. After Parker was born, our refrigerator and freezer was filled with yummy food, mostly from our mom's. What an awesome feeling, not having to think about what to have for dinner (for weeks!), and focusing that energy on our new little boy.

So, when we decided to go up to Lansing to meet Brynn and Tanner, I pulled out one of my favorite recipes, Lasagna Rolls. I've made them numerous times, including for Christmas dinner. They are a simple variation of traditional layered lasagna and still very yummy. Plus, they are easy to freeze and bake later. If you ask me, that's a great combination for new, exhausted and hungry parents.
Lasagna Rolls (from Weelicious)

9 lasagna noodles (I usually cook 12 or so, in case of tearing or if I have extra filling)
1 egg
16 oz. ricotta cheese
1/2 cup parmesan cheese, divided
1 tsp. Italian herbs
1 tsp. salt
1 cup frozen spinach, thawed and drained well
1 1/2 cups marinara sauce or your favorite pasta sauce (I use a whole jar)
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese, divided

Cook lasagna noodles in salted water 2 minutes less than package directions call for and rinse with cold water. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a bowl, whisk the egg, ricotta, 1/4 cup parmesan, Italian herbs, salt, 1/2 cup mozzarella and spinach to combine. Place 1/4 cup of the marinara sauce on the bottom of a 9×11 inch baking dish. Spread 1/3 cup of the ricotta mixture on each lasagna noodle, covering the noodle and roll up. Place the lasagna rolls seam side down in the baking dish and top with remaining marinara sauce, 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese and 1/4 cup parmesan cheese.

Cover the dish with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Uncover and continue to cook an additional 15 minutes.
If you want to freeze the rolls and save for later, do not bake now. Cover and put in the freezer and when you are ready to eat, bake covered for 45 minutes. Then uncover and bake for an additional 15 minutes. 

I made it a complete meal by including breadsticks, baby carrots and dip and some Ben & Jerry's Milk and Cookies ice cream.

Thank you to our mommies for reminding me what a wonderful gift a hot meal can be when you are adjusting and healing.

Also, on a somewhat related note, I stumbled upon this blog post, After the Birth, what a family needs, before I got pregnant with Parker and thought she was absolutely dead on. It made me kind of teary-eyed. Her original post is nearly 10 years old, but I loved it so much that I saved it as a reminder, and to eventually share it here.


  1. I think this recipe is very yummy--and a good choice for a food gift. :) I agree with the "what a family needs" post. I especially like the comment on leaving a note on your door.

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  3. I agree -- great recipe (I've made it on my own since Christmas a few times already!). I like the blog post too..although I heard that parents of twins should never turn down help, it all depends on what their idea of "help" is..ya know? (Sorry that last comment was deleted by me -- I'm at work and realized it left the "author" as one of my students that was logged in to google last..my bad!)