This summer sure has been a different summer from most. I love the summer months because not only am I working a lighter load with summer school AND getting time off as well but it gives me more time to play in the kitchen. I have to say, I haven’t had nearly the time I thought I’d have to tackle recipes and whip up a bunch fun stuff!
We decided to move. It’s a long story and I won’t bore you all with the details but here it is in a nutshell — we modified the loan on our home many years ago. We were given bad advice from an attorney (I mean, he seriously steered us in the wrong direction!) and we ended up paying the price of it all by not being able to afford the new monthly mortgage payment after the modification was over. SO, we sold it. It was a bummer BUT we kept thinking about what we had to be thankful for and not the upset that life had thrown our way.
Enough of that part of the story …..we ended up renting a townhouse last year and though we loved all the upgraded features, I slowly realized – well, I recognized that the kitchen was small (I mean, ‘closet’ small!) but the realization of how small it really was happened just a few days after moving in and me trying to cook and my hubby reaching around me to make coffee. You can’t open the fridge and get around to the other side ….you just simply have to wait til I’m done peaking in the refrigerator. I know, I know….there are worse things! I get that and that’s why I made due for a year and was fine with it. There’s a couple of other things about this place that made us realize that there could possibly be a better fit for us somewhere out there but we weren’t in any hurry — til they raised the rent! WHAT??!!?? I have been a homeowner for 20+ years and prior to that, our rent didn’t get raised so I was a little thrown off but evidently, it is a thing. We pay a pretty penny for rent in So Cal so I just started browsing to see what else was out there. AND I FOUND SOMETHING! It has a way bigger kitchen, an extra bedroom and bath (which is great for when my daughter and grandbaby come to visit) and is almost $500 cheaper per month! “We’ll take it!”
And there you have it — moving again. We have been packing and doing some hole filling from hung pictures as well as painting our daughters room back to the original color as they let us paint our daughters room Tiffany Blue. So, very busy over here and it’s taken on a life of its own and is completely cutting into my summer time fun! Looking on the bright side, I’m so lucky to have this time to get it done vs. doing it all during the school year.
But let’s talk about these ‘Lasagna Roll Ups’ for a minute. I did get myself into the kitchen to make this, even though my reason for buying egg plant was for babaganoush but oh well, next time. They are delish, per the hubby! I don’t use cheese in this recipe but if you tolerate it, feel free to sub out the cashew “cheese” for ricotta or what have you.
You can even just top it off with cheese if you don’t want to fill it. It’s definitely a fun way to eat lasagna, rolled up like this but I also see it as a potluck pleaser ….as it’s a perfect way to scoop out one roll and add it to the smorgasbord on your plate, right??
There’s a few steps to this recipe but don’t let it intimidate you! It’s not hard at all ….and the results are worth it.
If you’re like most, you’ll thoroughly enjoy these a day after making them! I think spaghetti and lasagna is always better on the 2nd day but maybe it’s just me. I liked this the night of but having it for dinner the next night was even better. So maybe make this as a ‘prep ahead’ meal – why not?
I use spicy sausage in this recipe so it didn’t require a lot of seasonings & spices so make sure and season up your meat a little with your favorites if you aren’t using a spicy sausage (but trust me …the spicy sausage works so well in this! Just enough punch for the recipe without being too much). ENJOY my friends!
- 2 medium eggplants, peeled & sliced in 1/4 in slices lengthwise
- 1 lb ground Spicy Italian Sausage*, cooked and crumbled (reserve grease)
- Cashew Cheese* (see below)
- 2 cups diced mushrooms
- 4 big handfuls of spinach
- 1 1/2 cups favorite pasta sauce
- A few basil leaves, sliced for garnish
- Add 1 tsp garlic powder, 1/2 tsp salt, 1 tsp italian seasonings to the meat when cooking.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Lay sliced eggplants on baking sheets and warm for 10-12 minutes so they become softened and pliable.
- Cook sausage up in large pan and while that's going, make your "cheese" in blender.
- Once sausage is cooked & crumbled, transfer to a plate or bowl and use the grease to cook up the mushrooms for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add spinach leaves to mushrooms and let those wilt down. Sprinkle a little salt and garlic powder and set to the side.
- Lay the eggplant slices all out on cutting board or counter. Spread 1 tbsp of the "cheese" on top of each slice, coating the entire slice. Top it w/a tbsp-ish of spinach/mushroom mix and then with another 1-2 tbsp of the crumbled sausage.
- Roll from the narrow side of eggplant slice, toward the wider end and line a baking dish with each roll up. Place a dollop of your favorite pasta sauce on each roll up, spreading to cover once all the roll ups are topped with sauce.
- Bake in 350 degree oven for 20 minutes. Top with fresh basil.
- 1/2 cup cashew butter
- 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
- 4 tbsp cashew milk
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/4 tsp onion powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 2 tbsp pasta sauce
- Whirl all ingredients in blender!