Orange Ricotta Zucchini Roll-Ups with Mint Pesto

Start to finish: 30 minutes
Impresses: 4

1 cup spinach
¼ cup mint leaves
¼ cup pine nuts
¼ cup Parmesan cheese
½ cup olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
2 zucchini squash
1 cup ricotta cheese
1 orange, juiced
1 tablespoon orange zest
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper 

In a food processor, pulse together spinach, mint leaves, pine nuts and Parmesan until finely chopped. Scrape down bowl and drizzle in olive oil while pulsing to combine. Start with ¼ cup olive oil and add more as needed until thick, but drizzle-able. Season with salt and set aside.

Using a mandoline set to to a ⅛-inch thickness, slice zucchini squash lengthwise. 

Place on a paper towel-lined baking sheet to absorb excess water.

In a medium bowl, combine ricotta, orange juice and zest, salt and pepper. 

Using a spoon, spread about one tablespoon of the ricotta mixture along a slice of zucchini from end to end. Roll up like a pinwheel and place, right-side up onto a serving platter. Repeat with remaining zucchini and filling.

Drizzle with mint pesto and serve immediately. 

Sage & Brown Butter Ravioli

Start to finish: 30 minutes
Impresses: 6

1 package cubed butternut squash
½ cup ricotta cheese
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 tablespoon fresh sage
½ cup water
1 package wonton wrappers*
½ cup salted butter
¼ cup fresh sage, chopped

Steam butternut squash to package instructions, then place into bowl of a food processor with ricotta, salt, pepper, red pepper and sage. Pulse until smooth.

Pour water into a small bowl and lay out wonton wrappers.

Place 1 teaspoon filling in the center of a wonton wrapper. Dip your finger in water to wet all four edges of the wrapper. Place another wrapper on top and press to seal. Repeat until all filling and wrappers are used.

Heat a pan over medium heat. Add in half of butter and melt until it begins to brown. Add in half of prepared ravioli and sage and sauté 2–3 minutes until translucent and edges have crisped. Place in a serving bowl, then repeat with other half. Serve immediately.

*Available in the refrigerated section near produce

Cheesy Cauliflower Breadsticks


Start to finish: 50 minutes
Impresses: 6

1    pound riced cauliflower, frozen or fresh
2    eggs, lightly beaten
½    cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1    teaspoon Italian seasoning
1    cup ricotta cheese
1    cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
3    cloves garlic, minced
½    teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 425 F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper, set aside.

Steam riced cauliflower in the microwave according to package instructions. If you grate/rice your own, place in a microwave-safe bowl covered with plastic wrap with a few holes poked in the top and steam 5–6 minutes.

Carefully spread steamed cauliflower on a sheet pan lined with paper towels and set in the fridge for 10 minutes to cool.

In a small bowl, combine ricotta, mozzarella, garlic and salt. Mix until fully incorporated. Set aside.

In a large bowl, combine cooled cauliflower, eggs, Parmesan and Italian seasoning. Stir with a wooden spoon until a dough-like consistency is formed. Turn mixture onto parchment-lined baking sheet and press into an even layer, similar to a pizza crust. Bake for 15 minutes, or until slightly browned. 

Remove from oven and carefully flip over parchment, so the top of the crust is now on the bottom of the baking sheet and peel parchment off the now top crust. Schmear with ricotta mixture.

Bake again for 10–15 minutes or until cheese is bubbly and lightly browned.

Let rest 5 minutes before cutting.

Cowboy Lasagna

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Recipe courtesy of Miranda Rice

Start to finish: 1 hour and 5 minutes
Impresses: 10

1 pound ground beef, cooked and drained
1 24-ounce jar spaghetti or marinara sauce
8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
¼ cup sour cream
1 cup ricotta cheese
1 stick butter
1 16-ounce package lasagna noodles, cooked al dente and drained
cheddar cheese, grated

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Combine cream cheese, sour cream and ricotta cheese until blended. 

Combine meat and spaghetti sauce.

Place a few thin slices of butter in the bottom of a 9x13-inch baking dish. 

Place ½ of the lasagna noodles on top of the butter. 

Pour ½ of the cheese mixture on top of the noodles and spread well. 

Repeat last three steps and layer remaining noodles, cheese and meat. 

Top with grated cheddar cheese. 

Bake for 30 minutes.

Lasagna Roll-Ups


Recipe courtesy of Amber Talsma

Start to finish: 1 hour
Impresses: 10

20 lasagna noodles
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
1 cup mushrooms, finely chopped
1 bell pepper, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 pounds ground beef
1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes
1 6-ounce can tomato paste
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 30-ounce container whole milk ricotta cheese
1 pound mozzarella, grated
1 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
2 large eggs
¼ cup parsley, minced
¼ cup basil, minced

Preheat oven to 375 F. Boil lasagna noodles in a large pot of salted water until al dente. Drain, rinse with cold water to cool and then lay flat on a sheet of foil. Set aside. 

In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion, mushrooms, bell pepper and garlic, then sauté for 4–5 minutes until vegetables start to soften. Remove vegetables from the pan. 

Add ground beef to the pan and cook until browned. Drain the excess fat. 

Add diced tomatoes, tomato paste, ½ teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon pepper.

Add the vegetable mixture and stir to combine. Let the mixture simmer on low heat for 30 minutes. 

To make the filling, combine the ricotta cheese, ½ cup of the mozzarella, ¾ cup of the Parmesan, eggs, remaining salt and pepper, parsley and basil. Stir to combine. 

To assemble, spoon a thin layer of sauce into the bottom of a 9x13-inch baking pan or five 6-inch disposable foil loaf pans. 

Spread 2–3 tablespoons of the filling on each noodle. Then, roll the noodles up so the cheese is on the inside of the roll. 

Lay rolls sideways in the 9x13-inch pan (four rolls will fit in each loaf pan).

Top evenly with the remaining sauce, mozzarella and Parmesan. 

Place pan(s) on a baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes or until bubbly.