Sausage Pizza Roll-Ups – Vegetarian or Vegan or Not!

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2015

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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So – the badass Miles Miller was in town for Christmas.   Those of you that know him and my regular readers know that he lives almost exclusively on meat.  I eat none.   So, meals can be tricky.  But these roll-ups proved to be a perfect compromise.  He made his with real sausage & I used vegan ones.  Problem solved.

These are really easy & be customized to suit almost all tastes.  Vegan?  Use vegan cheese.  Want some veggies?  Add chopped spinach – like the filling I used in my Sausage and Spinach Stuffed Shells (Vegan – Vegetarian – Or Not).

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You could add anything, really.  Just saute your selections with whatever sausage you are using.  I used a homemade pasta sauce and I have posted lots of recipes in the past for sauce.  HERE is a 5 minute arrabiata (spicy red sauce) and HERE is a marinara.  You can make a sauce or use your favorite brand.

I used homemade pizza dough – from this recipe HERE.  You can use that (I use it the same day despite the instructions) or make another kind or use a store bought variety.

This post is really just a guide rather than a recipe.  The ingredients are up to you as is the quantity you use – of sausage or cheese or sauce.  Whatever you decide to do – I can promise these will be crowd pleasers.

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Sausage Pizza Roll-Ups – Vegetarian or Vegan or Not!

Two of these little roll-ups will typically feed one person.  One recipe here can be cut up to make 6-7 roll-ups.

INGREDIENTS

Pizza dough

2 sausages – (vegan or not) – sliced

1 pinch fennel

1 tsp dry oregano

1 TBS crushed red pepper (optional)

2 garlic cloves – minced

Red sauce

Grated cheese (I used a Mexican mix) – (vegan or not)

Mozzarella – sliced – (vegan or not)

Fresh basil

Olive oil

Cooking spray

Flour to roll the dough out on

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DIRECTIONS

Heat the oven to 350 degrees.

Saute the sliced up sausages.  If using vegan ones – you will need olive oil to keep them from sticking.  If using real sausage – adding spices might not be necessary but I think they REALLY help the vegan sausage.   If you care to – add the fennel & oregano & crushed red pepper.  Once the sausage is browned & ready to go – add the garlic & saute another minute but be VERY careful not to burn the garlic.  Burned garlic is bitter.

Roll out your dough on a floured surface.  Roll it pretty thin.  Top with sauce (reserving some sauce to serve with the roll-ups) & sausage & grated cheese.  Roll up & slice.

Place the roll-ups in a pie pan (or other pan) treated with cooking spray.  I then sprayed the rolls themselves to aid in browning them.  Add some grated cheese.

Bake for about 30 minutes or until they just begin to brown.

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Warm the extra red sauce on the stove.

Take the roll-ups out & top with mozzarella & cook another 10 minutes or so or until the cheese is properly melted.

Serve with warmed red sauce & chopped fresh basil.  Bust out the bag of wine & get down to the serious business of chowing the fuck down.

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Pizza Treats Two Ways – Baked Wonton Pizza Rolls & Pizza Pinwheels

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2013

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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All my posts now have a VERY customizable PRINT & PDF option.  Create a PDF & save the recipe to your computer or print it out.  It offers a “remove images” option & you can delete any part of the post you do not need before printing.  The button is below by the Twitter & Facebook links.

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I almost didn’t post these guys because I am having oven issues.  It seems the fan in there and/or the thermostat are kaput so the oven seems to really overheat.  The result is – I am burning everything I bake and these guys only narrowly avoided that fate.  Because of the unreliable temperature in my oven – these guys are not as pretty as they could be but they remain easy to make & delicious – so fuck it.

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Baked Wonton Pizza Rolls

INGREDIENTS

Wonton skins

Some kind of tomato sauce (I used a chunky, homemade pasta sauce with lots of peppers etc)

Grated cheese (I used a shredded mozzarella) – or vegan alternative

Extra sauce for dipping

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DIRECTIONS

Heat the oven to 375.

Treat a cooking sheet with cooking spray or use a silpat baking mat.

Lay out some wonton skins.  You can either top them in layers, moisten the edges with water, fold over & press sealed – like this:

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Or – you can mix the sauce & cheese in a bowl & top the wontons with that mixture, moisten the edges, fold & seal.

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Spray the rolls with cooking spray.  Bake them for about 15 minutes or until they are golden/browned & crisped.  Serve with extra tomato sauce & devour!

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Pizza Pinwheels

INGREDIENTS

Pizza dough

Tomato sauce

Grated cheese – or vegan alternative

Any other toppings you like on pizza

Extra tomato sauce for dipping

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DIRECTIONS

Heat the oven to 350 degrees.

Roll out the dough on a floured surface.

Top with the sauce, cheese & anything else you like.  Roll it up & slice into rounds.

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Place the pinwheels onto a greased cooking sheet.  Bake for about 20 minutes or until the cheese is melted & the dough is browning.

Serve with additional sauce.  Eat them all, alone, in the kitchen – while standing up.  There are no calories that way – especially if there are no witnesses to your indulgence.

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Pasta Roses: Ham & Fontina and Zucchini, Mozzarella & Basil with a Spicy Pink Sauce

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2013

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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All my posts now have a VERY customizable PRINT & PDF option.  Create a PDF & save the recipe to your computer or print it out.  It offers a “remove images” option & you can delete any part of the post you do not need before printing.  The button is below by the Twitter & Facebook links.

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Well now – here is an embarrassing blog post: I am posting two recipes here WITHOUT any photographs of the final results.  (Update!  I made these a second time in 24 hours & have result photos to share.  They will follow at the end of the original post.)  This happened because I had a dinner party yesterday & by the time these guys came out of the oven – I was more interested in serving them & eating them that I was in photographing them.  Let me assure you – there were no visual surprises when they came out of the oven so do not be afraid to try these.  They are easy & delicious!!!!  They are an interesting alternative to tradition lasagna.  My sauce was made with the produce I had handy – which included a leek & both a red & yellow pepper.  You need not use two colors of pepper nor a leek.  Onions alone would do as would just a single red bell pepper.  I am going to list quantities here but they are really approximates.  When making dishes like this that require layers of assembly, I always err on the side of making or buying more of each ingredient than the recipe calls for.  That way, you do not run out of sauce or cheese or whatever midway through putting it all together.  This made about a dozen of each of the two rose varieties.  And – as a brilliant coincidence – I served my guests pasta roses & after they left – my awesome stud of a boyfriend, Miles, presented me with these roses!  At like – 11pm.  It was a total surprise.  Isn’t he great?

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Pasta Roses: Ham & Fontina and Zucchini, Mozzarella & Basil with a Spicy Pink Sauce

INGREDIENTS

Approximately 1.5 lbs lasagna noodles (I cooked two boxes but threw a lot away)

For the sauce

1/2 onion – diced

1 bell pepper – diced

1 leek – diced

6 garlic cloves – minced

1-2 TBS olive oil

2 (29 oz) cans of tomato sauce or crushed tomatoes

2 TBS crushed red pepper

2 TBS fresh basil – chopped

1 cup heavy cream

S&P to taste

For the ham & fontina roses

Approximately 1/2 lb sliced ham

1/2 lb sliced fontina

For the zucchini, mozzarella & basil roses

1-2 large zucchini – sliced into rounds

12-16 oz fresh mozzarella – sliced

1 large bunch basil

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DIRECTIONS

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Cook the lasagna noodles.  About 2-3 minutes before they are done – add the zucchini rounds to the water.  I cooked mine for 5 minutes – which was too long.  Then – rinse the noodles & zucchini under cold water.  Then set the zucchini aside & lay the noodles out to dry.

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For the sauce, heat the olive oil in a stock pot & saute the onion, bell pepper, leek (or additional onion) & crushed red pepper for about 5 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.  Add the garlic & basil & stir for another minute or so.  Add the canned tomato sauce & simmer on medium heat for about 20 minutes.  Stir in the heavy cream.  I used an immersion blender here & pureed the sauce into a smooth & creamy texture.  You can do this in a blender or skip this step & leave the sauce with the vegetable texture.  Set aside.

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To assemble the roses, layer a casserole pan with the sauce.  I needed two casserole pans to fit all my roses.  Roll the ham & fontina in some of your lasagna noodles.  No need to roll them tightly.  A nice loose roll is good.  Stand the roses up in the pan.

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I cut the ribbon edge off one side of the lasagna noodles on the ham rolls so I could identify which roses had meat in them & which did not.

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Roll up some zucchini, mozzarella & basil in the other lasagna noodles.

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I had a little extra zucchini & mozzarella left over so I just stuck in in where I could fit it – once my casserole dishes were filled to capacity with roses.

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I then slathered lots of sauce on top of both casseroles.  You might want to go lighter than I did & leave the edges of the lasagna noodles uncovered.  That way they will brown & curl a bit & create the rose effect you want.

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Bake for 20-30 minutes – or until the top of the noodles are golden.  Again – apologies for the lack of final result images!!!  Serve with additional sauce if you have more left over.

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UPDATE at 3:00pm!

I made these again so I could show you results.  This time – I used oven-ready lasagna noodles soaked in warm water until they were pliable.  I cut them in half to make smaller roses.

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I made the ham & fontina again and the zucchini, mozzarella & basil again.  I added some amazing garlic sauce that I bought at Super King to the veggie ones but I might not in the future.  It made them too wet & sort of limp in the end.

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Here is the assembly of the two versions.

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I’ve read that slicing an X into the tops of the roses will allow the lasagna noodle to curl outward as they cook – creating a better blooming effect for your roses.  I neglected to do this.  Just cut about a 1/2 inch down into the tops & you should get a good curl.

I baked them in about 1/4-1/2 inch of the spicy pink sauce at 350 for about 20 minutes.  I then took them from the oven & added a tad more sauce & some grated Parmesan to the roses.

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Ten minutes later – they looked like this.

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And they serve up looking like this!  Whew!  What a relief!  I felt like such a fraud!

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Pretty, right?  And yummy!

Caprese Lasagna Rolls

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2013

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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All my posts now have a VERY customizable PRINT & PDF option.  Create a PDF & save the recipe to your computer or print it out.  It offers a “remove images” option & you can delete any part of the post you do not need before printing.  The button is below by the Twitter & Facebook links.

 

I WROTE A NOVEL!  Please read it!  🙂

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Pardon me for revisiting this concept so soon after my Cheesy Spinach & Mushroom Lasagna Rolls but this dish is so simple & such a sure-fire crowd pleaser – I just had to go back to the well.  I had dinner guests last night – most of whom I have never fed before – so I was unaware of any food objections they might have (high on the list of “controversial” foods are: eggplant, beets, mushrooms, seafood, spicy things, garlic, peas).   So – I decided to make something I thought nobody could object to – these caprese rolls.  Of course, tomatoes are often cited by wary diners as something to avoid but – everyone likes lasagna – right?  So I risked it.  I liked these better than the previous effort & found them far prettier.   They were a huge hit – even with the teenager in attendance so – I hope you give them a go!

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Caprese Lasagna Rolls (this makes about 16)

For the marinara

1-2 TBS olive oil

2 (28 oz) cans of crushed tomatoes or tomato sauce

1 small onion – finely diced

3 cloves garlic – minced

1/2 cup chopped fresh basil

S&P to taste

For the caprese lasagna rolls

1 lb lasagna noodles

2 cups ricotta

2 eggs

5-6 Roma tomatoes – sliced VERY thin

2/3 cup grated Parmesan

1 lb grated low moisture (packaged) mozzarella (or blend)

S&P

1 cup fresh basil – cut into ribbons

DIRECTIONS

Heat the oven to 350

For the marinara

Heat the olive oil & saute the onions until translucent.  Add the garlic & stir for about a minute.  Add the other ingredients & simmer 30 minutes or so.  Adjust S&P.  Set aside.

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For the caprese lasagna rolls

Cook the lasagna as directed & when they are just done, drain them & rinse them under cold water.

In a large bowl, mix together the ricotta, eggs, Parmesan and most of the grated mozzarella.  Reserve some cheese to top the rolls.

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Cut your basil into ribbons like these tutorials show or by rolling several leaves at a time into long rolls & then slicing them up.

Assemble to rolls by putting some of the cheese on each piece of lasagna, adding some tomato & basil & gently roll without applying any pressure so that the contents do not squeeze out.

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Put a thin layer of marinara in a baking dish & place the rolls, seam side down, in the pan.  Top with enough sauce to cover each roll (so they do not dry out) & top with extra cheese.

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Cover tightly with foil (or they will dry out) and bake for about 30 minutes.  Serve with additional sauce & basil.

I cut into one to show you the melty goodness!  MANGIARE!

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Cheesy Spinach & Mushroom Lasagna Rolls with Feta & Homemade Ricotta Smothered in Marinara Sauce

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2013

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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All my posts now have a VERY customizable PRINT & PDF option.  Create a PDF & save the recipe to your computer or print it out.  It offers a “remove images” option & you can delete any part of the post you do not need before printing.  The button is below by the Twitter & Facebook links.

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I was inspired to make these because I had a shit-ton of fresh spinach that was about to go bad.   Once I was well into the process here – I got the spinach out to steam it & realized some of it had already wilted to the point that I didn’t want to use it but I was able to save enough that I could still pull this recipe off.  I added mushrooms to the filling to make up for the lost spinach.  I also used some leftover feta because the homemade ricotta quantity was smaller than I felt this dish needed.

This is not a difficult dish to pull off.  In fact, I’d call it easy – if you used a jarred sauce & a store-bought ricotta.  I have no life & my boyfriend lives in Arkansas – so I have nothing but time.  So – I made the ricotta from scratch (which takes about 10 minutes – I swear) and I made the marinara (also pretty easy).  I used fresh spinach – not frozen – but frozen would work, too.  I would like to have added some sliced, fresh Buffalo mozzarella to the top at the end of the baking process but, alas, all I had was this ghetto pizza cheese.

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It seemed a bit of a crime to bother to make the ricotta & then top these guys with processed cheese food.  Especially as I had sprung $14 (yes – FOURTEEN DOLLARS!!!) on these two cans of San Marzano tomatoes.  WTF?  But, shit happens so I just went with it.

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As an aside – I have recently discovered the joy of buying whole peeled tomatoes & squishing them by hand.  I cannot explain why I find it so satisfying – but I do.  Maybe I feel more Italian?  Maybe I get out some buried aggression?  I don’t know – but I suggest trying it – even though I felt I had to finish this sauce by punishing it with an immersion blender – to break up the bits I’d missed.

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But let me promise you – these lasagna rolls are delicious!  You could really roll anything up in lasagna noodles – a meat sauce or – you know – anything you would put in a traditional lasagna.  Try them.  You won’t regret it.

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Spinach & Mushroom Lasagna Rolls with Feta & Homemade Ricotta Smothered in Marinara Sauce

INGREDIENTS

For the ricotta

1/2 gallon milk

2 cups buttermilk

1 tsp salt

2.5 TBS white vinegar

(or just use about 1 1/2 cups or so of store-bought ricotta)

For the Marinara

2 28 oz cans or tomatoes (crushed – or you crush them by hand)

1 small onion – diced finely

6 cloves garlic – minced

Olive oil

1 packed cup fresh basil – chopped

1/2 cup fresh parsley – chopped

1/4 cup fresh oregano – chopped

1 tsp dry oregano

2 tsp salt

1 tsp pepper

1 TBS good quality balsamic vinegar

For the lasagna rolls

12 (or so) lasagna noodles (more if you fear tearing some)

1 egg

12-16 oz spinach

1/2 cup Parmesan cheese – grated

1 cup feta cheese – crumbled

1 small onion – diced

1/2 lb mushrooms – sliced

4 cloves garlic

1 TBS crushed red pepper

S&P to taste

Extra Parmesan & basil or parsley as garnish

DIRECTIONS

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For the ricotta

Heat the milk & the buttermilk in a pan.  When it just begins to bubble in the corners – turn off the heat.  Add the salt & the vinegar & stir.  With a slotted spoon – scoop out the curds that form until all that is left is the yellowish whey.  Alternatively – CAREFULLY pour the curdling milk through a cheesecloth-lined colander.  In either case – let it cool a bit & then wrap it up in cheesecloth and squeeze out as much moisture as you can.  Unwrap the ricotta from the cheesecloth & put in a bowl & set aside (or chill).  There is video of this process in my Lasagna Cupcakes post.

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For the marinara

Heat about 1 TBS olive oil in a large stock pot.  Saute the onion until it is soft.

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Add the chopped herbs, dry oregano & minced garlic & saute another minute or two – or until the spices become aromatic.  Add the two cans of tomatoes & the S&P.  Simmer a few minutes (or more).  Add the balsamic & stir to get it fully incorporated.  Allow to simmer on a very low flame until you are ready to assemble the rolls.

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For the lasagna rolls

Heat your oven to 350.

Cook at least 12 lasagna noodles (I cooked the whole box & threw away the extra) until just al dente.  Rinse in cool water & set out to dry.

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Bring some water to a boil.  Submerge the spinach until it just wilts.  Drain & run under cold water.  Squeeze out all the moisture & chop the spinach finely.

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Heat 2 TBS olive oil in a large frying pan.  Add the chopped onion & the sliced mushrooms. I used  a red onion – which is why these images look kind of pink.

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When the mushrooms are just about done to your liking – add the garlic & saute another minute or two.  In a bowl – mix the mushrooms, egg, ricotta, feta, Parmesan, crushed red pepper, spinach and some S&P.

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Spread a bit of the mix on a lasagna noodle.  Roll it VERY loosely – applying no pressure – so that the filling doesn’t squeeze out.

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Put a thin layer of marinara on the bottom of a baking pan.  Then place your lasagna rolls on that – SEAM SIDE DOWN.  You might need two pans to fit all your rolls in.

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Top with some sauce & a bit of additional cheese.  If you are using buffalo mozzarella – add that about 10-15 minutes before the rolls are done cooking.

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Wrap tightly in foil & bake for about 40 minutes.  Serve with more sauce, additional grated Parmesan & some fresh herbs.  Yum!

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