Veggie Lasagna Rolls…..

I am delighted to share my latest healthy vegetarian recipe!  Why not make ahead for your next dinner party?  Simply pop them into the oven about an hour before you want to serve.  Serve with a nice salad my simple garlic bread.  So good.
The recipe is large, it makes 16 rolls.  One roll will only cost you 5 Weight Watcher’s points, so worth it!  Freeze leftovers for another time or enjoy for lunches during the week.  You will need a batch of marinara sauce or you can use your favorite bottled sauce.

Veggie Lasagna Rolls

1 package lasagna noodles (14-16 pieces)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, finely diced
1 medium red bell pepper, finely diced
1 medium zucchini, trimmed and grated
1 medium yellow squash, trimmed and grated
3 large cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
16 ounces part skim ricotta cheese
1 egg
3-4 cups marinara sauce or your favorite bottled sauce
4 ounces mozzarella cheese

1)  Boil the lasagna noodles according to the package directions, undercooking by 2 minutes.  Drain and rinse.  Carefully lay them out flat until it’s time to use them.  Refrigerate if you’re going to use them later.
2)  Place a large skillet over medium-high heat and add the chopped onion and red pepper.  Cook for 5-6 minutes.  Add the garlic and cook another minute.  Add the shredded zucchini and the yellow squash.  Cook for 10-15 minutes, stirring often.  Pour into a large bowl to cool.
3)  Once the veggie mixture is cool, add the ricotta cheese and the egg.  Mix well to combine.
4)  Preheat the oven to 350′.  Coat a large baking dish with cooking spray.  (You may need an additional dish)  Spread about 1 cup of the marinara sauce over the bottom of the pan.
5)  At one end of the lasagna noodle, place about 1/3 cup of the veggie/cheese mixture and carefully roll the noodle completely around the filling.  Place in the baking dish seam side down.  Stuff the rest of the noodles.  Pour additional sauce over the rolled and stuffed noodles.  Top with mozzarella cheese.
6)  Bake for 40-45 minutes.  Makes 16 rolls.

*Extend the baking time by 10-15 minutes if you make them ahead and they’re cold.
**freezes beautifully.
***Use any vegetables you like.  If you use mushrooms, be sure to cook the moisture out of them.


Have a healthy day!


Marinara Sauce…..

Everyone should have a “go to” marinara recipe.  Here you go.  Love this over pasta with fresh grated parmesan cheese.  Add a simple salad and you have dinner.   If you’d like to kick it up a notch, serve it with my homemade garlic bread.  (you’ll find the recipe in breads category)  Why not double the recipe and keep a stash in your freezer for later, always a great idea!  Also makes an excellent meatless lasagna…will share that with you soon.

Here we go….

We  begin with a large heavy pot over medium heat and some nice olive oil.

And lots of onions…two cups.  Cook for about 5 minutes.

We’ll add some seasonings now.  The olive oil will absorb the flavors.  We have crushed red pepper flakes, oregano, thyme, salt, and pepper.

Add the seasonings all at once….

And garlic, we need lots of garlic:-)  Cook for a couple of minutes.

Of course, we need tomatoes.  I like using crushed tomatoes for a little texture, tomato sauce, and tomato paste.  Sugar is added to reduce the acidity.

Add the tomato paste.  Cook this in the pan for a few minutes, the tomato paste will start to caramelize and all of the flavors will come together.

Add the crushed tomatoes, the tomato sauce, and a little water.

Finally, the sugar.  Simmer the sauce for about 20 minutes.  Quick and easy!

Marinara Sauce
(no meat)

 2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups chopped onion
¼ cup fresh garlic, minced (about 5 large cloves)
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt or 1 teaspoon table salt
½ teaspoon pepper
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 6 ounce can tomato paste
1 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
1 28 ounce can tomato sauce + ½ can water
1 ½ tablespoons sugar

 1)  Heat olive oil in a large heavy pot over medium heat.  Add onions and cook for about 5 minutes.  Add the garlic, oregano, thyme, salt, pepper, and pepper flakes, cook another couple of minutes.

2)  Add tomato paste and cook 3-4 minutes, stirring often.  Add crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, water, and sugar.  Simmer for about 20 minutes. 

*add additional water if you’d like a thinner sauce.

Homemade Pizza Sauce…..

It is totally worth making your own pizza sauce.  No unpronounceable ingredients or high fructose corn syrup in this sauce!  Label and freeze any leftovers for another time.

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion, diced finely
2 large cloves garlic, diced finely
1 tablespoon dried oregano
2 pinches thyme
2 pinches red pepper flakes
1 ½ teaspoons salt
1 ½ tablespoons sugar
2 -6 ounce cans tomato paste
3 6 ounce cans water

Heat a medium saucepan over medium heat and add olive oil. Add onions when heated and sauté for 4-5 minutes, stirring often. Add garlic, cook about one minute. Add oregano, thyme, red pepper flakes, salt and sugar. Cook about one minute, add tomato paste. Cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring often to prevent burning. This will caramelize the tomato paste. Add water, mix well, simmer about 5 minutes partially covered. Remove from heat. Makes 4 cups.

Tequila Lime Marinated Flank Steak with Chimichurri, my version….

This is an incredibly delicious combination of heat, sweet and savory.  The steak is juicy and is very much complimented by the spicy chimichurri sauce.  The cool cucumber simple salad is slightly sweet and the roasted yuca is a very nice understated starchy vegetable.  Enjoy with a salted rimmed margarita on the rocks with fresh lime….mmmmm good!


2 large cloves fresh garlic
3 tablespoons fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons tequila
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice or bottled
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 ½ lb. flank steak

Place all ingredients in a blender; blend until smooth.  Place flank steak in a large zip bag, pour marinade over steak.  Marinate in refrigerator for several hours or overnight.  Discard marinade, preheat grill, cook over medium-high heat medium to medium rare.  For one inch thickness, cook 7-9 minutes per side.  Cover loosely with foil and allow to rest for 15 minutes before slicing.  Slice thinly across the grain or on a diagonal.  Serve with chimichurri.


3  tablespoons fresh cilantro
3 tablespoons fresh parsley
½ medium sweet onion, coarsely chopped
½ medium sweet red pepper, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons fresh basil
2 large cloves fresh garlic
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh oregano
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons black pepper
1 jalepeno pepper, (or seranno pepper for more heat), seeds included
½ teaspoon cumin

Place all ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth. Store in an air tight container in the refrigerator, allow to sit at room temperature for 20 minutes before serving.  Serve a generous portion over the grilled flank steak. Delish!

Cool cucumber salad

2-3 cucumbers, washed and thinly sliced
2-3 thin slices of red onion
1/4 cup rice vinegar
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Slice cucumbers and  onion into a serving bowl.  Mix the vinegar, sugar, salt and pepper in a small bowl, stir often to dissolve salt and sugar.  Pour over cucumbers just before serving.

Simple Bechamel Sauce…..

This is a very simple white sauce that is essential in basic cooking.  Once you master this simple and elegant sauce, you can make things like macaroni and cheese, creamed soups, scalloped potatoes, just to name a few. 

Béchamel Sauce
(Basic White Sauce)

4 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup flour
2 cups milk, warm in microwave for 2 minutes, stir
1 teaspoon salt

1) In medium size sauce pan add butter to melt over medium heat. When butter is melted, add flour. Cook for two minutes over heat stirring constantly.
2) Add warm milk, whisking vigorously to avoid lumps. Stir constantly until it starts to bubble, continue to cook for 2 minutes.

Shrimp Cocktail

1- 2 lb. package frozen cooked & peeled shrimp

1 cup ketchup
3 tablespoons prepared horseradish
2 tablespoons brown sugar

To thaw shrimp, place into a large bowl in sink and allow water to slowly run into bowl, stir frequently.  Drain well.

Mix well, refrigerate.  Serve with cooked & peeled shrimp.  Garnish with fresh parsley and fresh lemon wedges or slices.