Picture me rollin’… {a recipe}

If you know me well, you know I am a lover of 80’s & 90’s hip hop.

Talib Kweli, Nas, Wu Tang, Tupac, Biggie, Missy, Raekwon, Busta Rhymes, JayZ and more. Any given day, the “Gold School” Spotify playlist is a weekly favorite.

My love for hip hop originated with my very own dad…no kidding. My parents had me at the ripe age of 19yrs. old, so my formative years were spent growing up “with” my parents in their 20s. My dad has always been a lover of a good beat & the man has GOT some rhythm. Actually, if you know any of the Boulware’s from Ridgeway/Winnsboro, SC, you know we’ve got some smooth moves on the dance floor. My dad personally requested that our “father/daughter” wedding dance be to Ciara’s “1, 2 Step” in lieu of some of your more traditional song choices. Yep, that happened.

We officially celebrated my dad’s 55th birthday this past Friday with a family dinner. Lasagna is one of his favorite meals so it HAD to be on the menu for the evening. I’ve made traditional lasagna before, but this time, I really wanted to try something different. Also, one of my biggest frustrations with traditional lasagna is that no matter how long I allow it “set,” it always becomes a gooey mess {albeit delicious, but messy} on the plate. I decided to test these rolls to see if this method would help contain the “goodness” a little better than flat sheets. And it did!

I’ve always heard that music is to cooking like coffee is to the morning. It fills the kitchen with a necessary energy and a creative spirit unlike any other. I believe these lasagna rolls turned out as good as they did due in large part to the assistance of my trusted hip hop playlist. When you try this recipe below, be sure to turn up some tunes (preferably ones that get you moving…it helps with the rolling<3)

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Picture Me Rollin’ {Lasagna}

Serves 6-8

Ingredients

1 pkg.         Lasagna Noodles (w/curly edges)
24 oz.         Marinara Sauce (Your choice – I used Trader Joe’s Italian Marinara
Sauce with Barolo Wine)
20 oz.          Part Skim Ricotta Cheese (I used the Trader Joe’s version, so I had to buy 2-16oz)
1 pkg.         Shredded Parmesan Cheese
2 C.             Baby Kale (or spinach ), messy chopped
1                  Egg
1 lb.            Lean Ground Turkey
1 medium  Yellow Onion, diced
Fresh Basil, chopped
EVOO
Pinches of  Salt, pepper, garlic powder & Italian herbs

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Cook lasagna noodles, according to package but pull them on the early side when they are just barely al dente. Once drained, lay them out flat on a baking sheet/cutting board/flat surface, allowing them to cool & dry off.
  3. In a mixing bowl, add ricotta cheese, 1 heaping cup (large handful) of parmesan cheese, chopped baby kale and egg. Mix together and add a pinch of salt, pepper, garlic powder and any Italian herbs. Cover and refrigerate until you’re ready to spread on the noodles.
  4. In a large skillet, coat pan with EVOO, cook diced onion 2-3minutes then add in ground turkey, sautéing 4-5minutes until browned, add in 1 cup of marinara sauce. Pinch of salt, pepper & Italian herbs. Remove from heat, allow to cool.
  5. In an 8×8 glass or metal pan, pour 1 & 1/2-2 cups of marinara in an even layer.
  6. To assemble the rolls, spoon out & spread cheese mixture on noodles (enough to cover) and then top with meat sauce, evenly. Starting at one end, slowly but tightly roll the noodle like a pinwheel, pulling in any toppings that try to fall out the sides. Place the roll curly side up with the seam against the pan. Continue with the remaining noodles, placing the rolls close {snuggly} together so the seams are pressing against the other rolls.
  7. Once all the lasagna rolls are in the pan, lightly brush the remaining marinara on the sides. Top with shredded parmesan and place in the oven for 25 minutes.
  8. Remove from oven, allow dish to cool slightly. Top with chopped fresh basil and serve.

I served these with a SUPER simple Caesar salad {romaine, parmesan, croutons, thinly sliced shallots} and it was great, but you can serve with any salad of your choice.

Enjoy! <3


Foodie Friday | National Strawberry Month

Happy National Strawberry Month!

May is ALMOST over and I just realized that it’s National Strawberry Month! Without even knowing that, we’ve been consuming strawberries at a probably alarming rate…all month. We actually went strawberry pickin’ at a local farm at the beginning of May.

 

That day we picked 2lbs. of strawberries for $4…and they were divine! Red all the way through, none of that  crispy white center crap you get in the grocery stores. Speaking of grocery stores, we did get strawberries from Harris Teeter last week (buy 1, get 1 free!) and they were actually REALLY good…red and juicy…who knew?!

So for today’s Foodie Friday, I wanted to feature some fun strawberry recipes and leave you with one that I am going to try this weekend (perfect for the wilting on-the-way-out berries):

FRUIT PIZZA

This was actually a go-to recipe for me in high school! Anytime our classes would have parties, I would bring this delicious dessert pizza. Don’t let the name gross you out, it really is yummy:

This recipe is SIMPLE!! Sugar Cookie dough, rolled out and cooked according to the package (10-12min). Mix together 1 8oz. package of cream cheese and 8oz. of whipped cream (I try to make homemade whipped cream instead of the cool whip stuff). Let cookie cool and then spread topping evenly on top. Arrange fruit of choice…kiwis, strawberries and blueberries are my favorite and VOILA!

Strawberry Avocado Salsa
from Cooking Light

Photo: Randy Mayor; Styling: Cindy Barr

 

Strawberry, Pistachio & Goat Cheese Pizza
from Cooking Light {this is another one I am trying THIS week!}

 

Photo: Randy Mayor; Styling: Cindy Barr

and lastly, for those wilted berries in your refrigerator…this recipe comes from Heidi Swanson of 101 Cookbooks. Remember back when I gave away a copy of her beautiful Super Natural Living Every Day cookbook? Well today’s super special recipe feature comes from that book. I can’t tell you the number of hours I’ve already spent oogling the food photography and delicious in that book…and I think it might be my summer challenge book (still deciding). So enjoy:

Roasted Strawberries

Photo credit: Heidi Swanson © 2011 via design*Sponge

Ingredients
8 ounces / 225 g small to medium strawberries, hulled
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
1 tablespoon port wine
A few drops balsamic vinegar

Directions
Preheat the oven to 350F / 180C with a rack in the middle of the oven.

It is important to use a rimmed baking sheet or large baking dish for this recipe—you don’t want the juices running off the sheet onto the floor of your oven. If you are using a baking sheet, line it with parchment paper.

Cut each strawberry in half. If your strawberries are on the large side, cut them into quarters or sixths. Add the berries to a mixing bowl. In a separate small bowl, whisk together the maple syrup, olive oil, and salt. Pour this over the strawberries and very gently toss to coat the berries. Arrange the strawberries in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet.

Roast for about 40 minutes, just long enough for the berry juices to thicken, but not long enough for the juices to burn. Watch the edges of the pan in particular.

While still warm, scrape the berries and juices from the pan into a small bowl. Stir in the port and balsamic vinegar. Use immediately or let cool and store in the refrigerator for up to a week.

makes about 1/2 cup / 5 oz / 140 g

Super Natural Every Day: Well-Loved Recipes from My Natural Foods Kitchen by Heidi Swanson, copyright © 2011. Published by Ten Speed Press, a division of Random House, Inc. via design*sponge.

 


Summer Sun and I’m Feelin’ Fine

Happy Monday!

I am truly sorry for taking a week hiatus from the blog, but I think (I hope) you will like some of the changes and the new direction this blog will go. I’ve got a couple ideas in the works and I will explain those more in detail later as I finish them….BUT in an effort to whet your whistle and give you a little glimpse into what’s to come…here are some things I am working on:

>> Travel Tips <<


One of my most FAVORITE things to do is travel. When Jay and I plan on taking a trip, I am a MAD woman when it comes to picking restaurants, finding fun places off the beaten path and scoring major $$ deals along the way. I think either on a weekly basis or bi-weekly basis, I’ll feature a different destination, give basic travel tips, highlight sweet food spots and more. My hope from these posts is that you get inspired, get on the ROAD and take a vacation from the hum-drum of normal life.

>> Cooking Challenge 2.0…Recipes on a WHOLE New Level<<

any excuse to wear a fun apron:)

I really have had a great time trying new recipes for Foodie Fridays. I think for the summer, I am going to up the ante (if you will) and challenge myself (and YOU) a little more. If you’re anything like me, you have a collection…quite a LARGE collection of cookbooks. In the digital age that we live in today, it’s just SO easy to go to GOOGLE to find recipes to make…it actually has become quite a challenge to bring myself to crack open one of those books that I actually PAID for.

So…(I really like elipses obviously) I am going to pick a cookbook (or two) and make ALL the recipes in the book. I have yet to decide which one but it’s looking like either my newest cookbook, “Super Natural Living Every Day” by Heidi Swanson OR the one I’ve been dying to actually use “I Like You. Hospitality Under the Influence” by Amy Sedaris. Either way…I’ve got approximately 60 days or so in my “summer”, so I will try to choose a book that has close to that many recipes.

Whether you feel inspired to do the same thing OR are perfectly happy watching me drive myself a little recipe crazy, please stick around and maybe join me by making some of the recipes I end up featuring.

SHAMEFUL PLEA: And for the love, please leave a comment for goodness sake. It always helps to know folks are “in it to win it” when it comes to reading your blog:)

>> A Book Club <<

I'd do a book club with this hottie...anyday!

Confession: I hate to read.

Okay, maybe “hate” is a little too strong…but for me, I can’t just crack open a random book and get lost…or get anything for that matter. I do read, occasionally, and by occasionally I mean average about 1-2 books A YEAR. (don’t laugh!) Now, I have been known to get sucked into certain book series (which may or may not have dealt with vampires and werewolves) that I manage to read in a matter of DAYS.

All this to say, I want to read more. When I do read a book and I LOVE it, I can get lost in it. I like that feeling. I want to read more, so I am putting together a summer reading list. I don’t want to aim too high, so I might pick 2-3 books for right now to put on said list. “Bossypants” by Tina Fey is definitely on the top of my list so far.

I’ve never actually participated in a book club before, but I would love to try it. So if you want to join me, let’s pick a book and read/review/discuss here on the blog. {again, this would require you to leave a comment…just sayin:) }

___________________________

So those are the three areas of focus this summer for Uglyspots. I really hope you will join me by participating in one or all three areas. I’m no “mommy blog” so I don’t have a “top this” or “top that” community to get votes or meet new web-friends, but I would definitely appreciate you passing Uglyspots along and recommending to your friends…or if you want to be super nice, even linking to Uglyspots or putting our button on your blog. Thanks again and stay tuned for fun times ahead…