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A New Twist on Lasagna

…or a roll for that matter.

So, recently i have found myself with a little bit of extra time on my hands. I have also found myself on a very serious budget. I know it sounds weird, but from time to time I have put myself on a serious budget to see how little money I could spend and still live a healthy life. I always find it to be an interesting project – mostly because it was a voluntary choice, going on a budget. When you are doing something because you want to do it, it can be fun. When you are forced to be on a budget, it can be a lot less fun.

On Friday I was in charge of making dinner for myself, my mom and one of my mom’s best friends. I had a recipe – thanks to the great website Skinny Taste. I just had to go to the grocery store and spend less than $20 on the ingredients for dinner. I was not sure if I could do it – but it was a very good thing that I told myself I had to spend less than $20 because it prevented me from buying things that I did not need.

Here is a link to the recipe. Butternut Squash & Spinach Lasagna Roll

Here are the ingredients for the recipe. The ingredients in bold are the things I needed to buy at the market.

Butternut squash

olive oil

shallots

garlic

freshly grated parmesan cheese

salt, pepper

lasagna noodles

frozen spinach

15 ounces fat free (or low fat) ricotta cheese

1 large egg

Italian blend cheese

parsley (I decided not to spend the $$$ on parsley!)

I bought a couple of other things, that I now cannot remember. Fresh romaine lettuce for a salad, some cucumbers, and we had other vegetables at home. I left the grocery store spending $17 and I was relieved and kind of impressed. I did not buy the beautiful crusty bread that I really wanted – I obviously did not need it, and it was $4.50 and that would have put me over the $20 budget for dinner. Food sure is expensive!

Going to the market was definitely something I thought about during this trip. I wanted to go to Whole Foods, but I knew I would have a harder time getting the things I needed on the budget I had. So instead I went to Dave’s Market which is still a lovely shopping experience. I was also able to enjoy a wonderful cup of free coffee while I shopped. A savings and it made grocery shopping more fun!

When I got home, I peeled and cubed the squash and started boiling the water…

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One the squash was cooked, I transferred it into my Vitamix to purée it.

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Then I heated the garlic and shallots in olive oil and started making the butternut squash parmesan sauce.

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At the same time, I was cooking the lasagna noodles and heating the spinach in the microwave. Once the spinach was cooked, I wrapped the spinach in paper towels to get the extra water out of the spinach. I then cooled the spinach and eventually added it to the cheese, egg, cheese and freshly grated pepper.

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I changed the consistency of this mixture. I used 15 ounces of spinach and only just over half of the 15 ounce container of ricotta because I am not a huge fan of it. I like spinach better! 🙂

It was eventually time for me to start putting together the lasagna rolls. The baking dish looked very pretty and autumn like, with the nice orange colors and the smell of squash.

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Once everything was put together, I put the food in the oven for 40 minutes. The end result was so delicious!

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The dinner was a really big hit with everyone on Friday night. We have had about eight meals from this dish, which cost about $14 to make – less than two dollars per meal, not bad for being on a budget! Of course one thing that makes this meal less expensive is the fact that it is vegetarian. Meat costs a lot!

Tomorrow I will report on another vegetarian meal – a crock pot spicy black bean and mango dish that I made last night. Stay tuned!

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