Spinach and Sausage Ravioli

Using won ton wrappers makes making ravioli an acceptable weeknight dinner. This recipe is very similar to the one I shared with you on Valentine’s Day. Except this one includes meat!

Stuart bought some Hot Italian Sausages from Publix for lunch one weekend and instead of relocating the sausages to the freezer he put the uneaten ones in the fridge. I knew I had to find a recipe to use up the meat before it went bad. Yes, I know I could’ve put them in the freezer, but here was thawed out meat ready and waiting!

I was also wanting pasta. But I didn’t want a heavy pasta because Mom was back in town helping me out. Typically when I crave pasta I’m wanting a cream based sauce – but I was trying to be conscious of my dinner choices. (Hence the increase in salad posts!) I chose to do ravioli because the blogger I found this from served hers simply with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Mom decided to follow suit and enjoy her ravioli this way. I used my favorite, vodka sauce. And Stuart polished off a traditional jarred marinara.

Mom doesn’t mind cooking, but she hates making decisions on what to make. So her deal was, “I’ll cook it, you just have to tell me what it is.” I actually felt guilty in picking ravioli. Not because it’s difficult, but because it is time consuming. So, I got off the couch and joined her at the dining table to help assemble the ravioli. We went through the entire package of won ton wrappers – we had leftovers for days! If you assemble only what you’ll eat, keep your left over wrappers in a sealed bag in the fridge – you can even wrap them in a damp paper towel to keep them from drying out.

Spinach and Sausage Ravioli

Ingredients:

  • 2 links hot Italian sausage, casings removed
  • 15 oz ricotta cheese
  • 2 C fresh baby spinach, finely chopped
  • 1 C shredded Asiago cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 1 pkg (12 oz) won ton wrappers (these can be found in the refrigerated area of the produce section)*

Steps:

  1. In a nonstick skillet, brown sausage over medium-high heat. Breaking up into little pieces. Drain any fat.
  2. In a bowl combine sausage, cheese, spinach, and egg. Season with S+P.
  3. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil while assembling the ravioli.
  4. Place about 1/2-1 tsp of filling in the center of each wrapper. Dip your finger in water and run along all four sides of the wrapper. Fold into a triangle and seal.
  5. Boil the ravioli in batches of 8-10 to avoid them breaking apart. Boil 3-4 minutes, or until they float. They will become slightly translucent.
  6. Heat your favorite pasta sauce and serve with ravioli. Garnish with freshly grated Parmesan or Asiago cheese if desired.

*This recipe is adapted from http://www.justputzing.com/2011/10/spinach-and-sausage-raviolis.html*

Sausage Ravioli

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. 

Spinach Salad with Spicy Pineapple Dressing

Steak isn’t the only way for me to add iron into my diet – another option is spinach. Spinach is also the more heart friendly way to do it too. 😉 So with more red meat recipes, there’s also a chance for more salad nights!

I found this particular recipe when I was going through my very first Secret Recipe Club assignment. And now that this is the second recipe I’ve made from Lynsey’s blog – I am willing to bet my other pinned recipes from her will also be a big hit.

This salad recipe called out to me not only because of the iron rich spinach, but because of the pineapple dressing!

Spinach Salad with Spicy Pineapple Dressing

Ingredients:

  • 2 large chicken breasts, cut in half length-wise so they’re thin
  • 1 tsp ancho chili powder
  • 2 tbsp fresh cilantro
  • 1/2 jalapeno, seeded
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 1/4 C cubed fresh pineapple, divided use
  • 2 tbsp orange juice
  • 4 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 C extra virgin olive oil
  • 8 C fresh baby spinach
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, sliced
  • 1/4 red onion, thinly sliced

Steps:

  1. Season chicken with chili powder, salt, and pepper. Grill 4 minutes on each side, or until chicken is cooked through. Set aside.
  2. In a blender combine cilantro, jalapeno, garlic, half of the pineapple, orange juice, and vinegar. Pulse until smooth. With the blender running, stream in the olive oil. Adjust seasonings to taste.
  3. In a large bowl toss the spinach with the bell pepper, onion, and remaining pineapple.
  4. To serve: distribute salad, top with chicken, and dress with pineapple dressing.

*This recipe is adapted from Lynsey at http://www.lynseylous.com/2012/05/grilled-chicken-and-spinach-salad-with.html?m=1*

 Pineapple Salad

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Lasagna Roll Ups

Lasagna is always a crowd-pleaser. It’s perfect for family dinners and gatherings among friends.

I developed a taste for lasagna in college. My roommate and I would whip up a lasagna for dinner and have leftovers to get us through the busy week. She introduced me to no-boil noodles and they’ve changed the lasagna world for the better!

My recipe for lasagna uses spinach, turkey, onions, and bell peppers. And a combination of mozzarella and ricotta cheeses.

Lasagna Roll Ups 2If you want to elevate your lasagna to fancy presentation status, try these lasagna rolls! Instead of taking advantage of the no-boil noodles, these need to be boiled until they are pliable, a little harder than al dente so as to prevent them from breaking when you roll them.  Because the noodles still get baked they’ll be cooked through by the time you break into them.

We had friends over for dinner when I made these, and their youngest announced that it’s better than pizza. It’s his favorite thing that’s like pizza. (aka we have cheese and tomato sauce) I will take that as a very big compliment.

I took Judy’s suggestion and mixed two different pasta sauces – vodka and marinara. The result? A tastes-like-homemade pasta sauce.

Lasagna Roll Ups

Lasagna Roll Ups

Ingredients:

  • 8 lasagna noodles
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 (10 oz) package frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
  • 1 (15 oz) container ricotta cheese
  • 1 1/2 C shredded Italian blend cheese
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 jar, 26 oz pasta sauce
  • 1/2 C shredded mozzarella

Steps:

  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook noodles 7-8 minutes, drain and set aside.
  2. In a large, non-stick skillet over medium-high heat saute onion in olive oil. When onions are translucent add garlic, cook for 30 seconds. Add the ground turkey, season with S+P, and cook, breaking up with a wooden spoon, 10 minutes or until cooked through. Drain any fat and set aside
  3. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  4. In a large bowl combine spinach, ricotta, Italian blend cheese. Season to taste with S+P.  Mix in ground turkey. Add the egg and mix.
  5. Pour about 1/2 of the pasta sauce in the bottom of a 9×13″ casserole dish.
  6.  Place 1/3 – 1/2 C of lasagna filling onto each noodle and roll. Place lasagna roll ups seam side down in prepared casserole dish. Top with remaining pasta sauce and mozzarella.
  7. Bake covered for 35 minutes, or until hot and bubbly. A knife should go through a roll without resistance.

*This recipe is modified from Judy at http://www.bakeatmidnite.com/2013/11/cheesy-lasagna-rolls.html*

Lasagna Roll Ups

Spinach and Ricotta Ravioli

For my first Valentine’s Day as a blogger I bring you the first dish I ever made for Stuart.

On our 1 year anniversary back in college I made him dinner. I was living in the dorms and my roommate with a car helped me get to the grocery store and to his apartment so that I could surprise him with dinner. I made ravioli, Caesar salad, and an apple crisp for dessert.

Everything turned out great – except the apple crisp. The salad was one of the prepackaged options from the store, so I couldn’t go wrong there. The ravioli came from a book, Teens Cook: How to Cook What You Want to Eat, that I was gifted before attending college. I think the apple crisp recipe came from that book as well, but I don’t remember. Oh, everything turned out fine and Stuart and his roommates ate it. But I was “forced” to use I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter in place of real butter because apparently I was wrong to assume boys kept real butter in the fridge. Let me tell you, I could believe it wasn’t real butter and that not-real butter taste was only accented once baked in the crumble topping.

But I digress. This post is supposed to be about ravioli, not my abhorrence to fake butter.

For the blog I decided to try making heart shaped ravioli. And it worked!

Won ton wrappers are used in place of fresh pasta which makes it a super simple meal. Typically I’d use one sheet of won ton wrapper and fold it over, but when you’re cutting hearts out of it you need to use two sheets per raviolo. (I think that’s the singular to ravioli… eh, it sounds fun anyway!) The amount of filling you place inside each heart will depend on the size of your cookie cutter – you need to make sure you can seal the ravioli so the filling doesn’t escape while boiling.

Spinach and Ricotta Ravioli

Ingredients:

  • 15 oz ricotta cheese
  • 1 C julienned fresh spinach
  • 1/2 C shredded Italian blend cheese (or Parmesan)
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 pkg (12 oz) won ton wrappers (these can be found in the refrigerated area of the produce section)*
  • your favorite pasta sauce

*You will need two packages if making heart shaped ravioli

Steps:

  1. In a bowl combine cheeses and spinach. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  2. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil while assembling the ravioli.
  3. If making heart shaped ravioli, use a cookie cutter to cut hearts out of each won ton wrapper. Place about 1/4 tsp of filling in the center of the heart. Dip your finger in water and run along the edge of the heart. Place a second heart on top and seal shut.
  4. If not making heart shaped ravioli, place about 1/2-1 tsp of filling in the center of each wrapper. Dip your finger in water and run along all four sides of the wrapper. Fold into a triangle and seal.
  5. Boil the ravioli in batches of 8-10 to avoid them breaking apart. Boil 3-4 minutes, or until they float. They will become slightly translucent.
  6. Heat your favorite pasta sauce and serve with ravioli. Garnish with freshly grated Parmesan or Asiago cheese if desired.

Hearts Ravioli 1 Heart Ravioli 2

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. 

Creamed Spinach

Creamed Spinach is a pretty classic side dish for a meaty main course. And it’s easy to make at home!

In the past I’ve always bought the frozen stuff, and it is delicious. But when you make it yourself you can add any additional flavors you might like – such as garlic and cheese!

Be sure to have a great slice of bread, a biscuit, or a crescent roll to sop it all up!

Creamed Spinach

Ingredients:

  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 3 tbsp flour
  • 1 1/4 C milk
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp white pepper
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • pinch nutmeg
  • 10 oz fresh spinach
  • 1 C shredded cheddar cheese

Steps:

  1. Melt butter over medium heat in a large pot. Whisk in flour until it forms a paste.
  2. Add in milk, constantly whisking. Season with garlic powder, salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Bring to a simmer, still whisking.
  3. Add spinach to the pot of milk. Stir with a wooden spoon until it wilts down. Stir in cheese until it melts.

*This recipe is modified from Katie at http://www.healthyseasonalrecipes.com/cheddar-creamed-spinach/*

Creamed Spinach

Nut-Free Basil Pesto

When I found a recipe that called for pesto I opted to make my own instead of buying it. So I scoured the internet and happened upon this recipe for Nut-Free pesto. My father has a nut-allergy so I found this to be an exciting discovery.

Even though I wasn’t cooking for anyone with a nut-allergy that night, it’s nice to know that these meatballs can be prepared anytime we’re hosting company.

Nut-Free Basil Pesto

Ingredients:

  • 4 C spinach
  • 2 C basil
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/4 C parmesan cheese
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/3 C + 1 tbsp olive oil

Steps

  1. Puree all ingredients except olive oil in a food processor.
  2. While the machine is running, stream in the olive oil.

*This recipe is from Maria and Josh at http://www.twopeasandtheirpod.com/spinach-basil-pesto/*

Nut-Free Basil Pest

I used this pesto in mini meatballs – ground turkey, pesto, panko breadcrumbs – on top of linguine pasta with jarred marinara sauce for a quick dinner that still tasted from scratch.Turkey Pesto Meatballs