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So as you may start noticing, I’m an avid cook and baker through my absolute favorite site- Pinterest! Of course you can’t guarantee that when you get to the link that there will be all the information you need and that is what I encountered when I checked out this recipe- http://acidrefluxrecipes.com/shellys-zucchini-roll-ups-aka-pasta-less-manicotti-weight-loss-recipes-for-women/…..there was a list of ingredients but no instructions on how to use the list or how long to bake so off I went to use my common sense and imagination to get my desired product….and of course I learned a few things along the way which I’m of course willing to share with my readers!

Here is the picture that went with the link on Pinterest….

 Shellys Zucchini Roll ups (aka Pasta less Manicotti)   Weight Loss Recipes for Women  vegetarian diet

First I started with the list of ingredients….which seemed simple enough (right?!)

5-6 Medium Zucchini or Summer Squash, sliced thin lengthwise (I used 3-4 small for 2 people)
4 oz. Whipped Cream Cheese- reduced fat or fat free if possible
4 oz. Ricotta Cheese- reduced or fat free/healthier than full fat at least
1/4 teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes
1/2 teaspoon Oregano- dried
1/2 teaspoon each Basil and Parsley, fresh if possible
1/2 teaspoon Kosher Salt
1/4 teaspoon Black Pepper
12 oz. Tomato Sauce

1/2 tsp-1 tsp lime juice, optional

For me, I’ve made my share of lasagnas (and who hasn’t?) so I kind of figured out to use my mandolin to cut the zucchini into long strips after chopping off each end- this resembled the lasanga noodles but of course are flexible without needing to be cooked. Don’t forget to preheat your oven to 350.

Slice or cut up zucchini- I used a mandolin set on 3, but you could use a knife too.

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I used a round 9″ glass pan, and covered the bottom in maybe a half cup of tomato sauce.

In a bowl, combine the ricotta cheese, whipped cream cheese, spices, salt pepper and lime juice if you are using it. I have an AeroGarden sitting in my kitchen growing herbs so it’s easy for me to pick fresh herbs right off and chop them up and stick them in, but if you like dried than go for it. It’s your perogative as the cook!

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Lay out 4 zucchini strips and place a tablespoon or so sized dollop (I love that word, dollop….dolllllloooooooop, dolloppp, dollop….see why I love it?) on the end closest to you- about 1/4 of the way up.

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With confidence you didn’t know you had (because of course for me, they always unroll as soon as I put them down lol)…..roll up each zucchini piece with the filling inside and put seam side down in sauce until every space is filled with goodness.

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Now for me, I had some extra filling left, so I put slathered some tomato sauce over top of all the cute little rolls and spread it all over. Add dollups (there’s that word again?!) of the filling on top of the sauce and use a spatula to spread it all evenly.

Bake for 20-30 minutes and use a large non-slotted spoon to dish onto the plates. For us, I didn’t make anything else- we’re trying to stay away from carbs at every meal and there’s already zucchini in here, but you could add garlic bread and a side salad if you’d like- I don’t mind! It’s critical to use a non-slotted one if your sauce is thin….ours was thin AND I used a slotted spoon so I was fighting with gravity to not mess up my kitchen with yummy tomato-cheesey sauce trying to get everything to the plate.

ImageIsn’t that a beautiful presentation? I only snapped one picture since we were starving and Mr. Techie doesn’t eat much during the day so he’s always hungry when he gets home too.

ImageThe end result? A clean plate from Mr. Techie and he even went back for another round! I ‘d say it was a success….

TIPS AND TRICKS….

Ok, so now on to a few tips of the trade for this recipe- I think I used too much sauce and filling on top because it was very soupy afterwards. I also wish I would have taken just a few minutes extra to put toothpicks in the rolls because as soon as I started to take them out and plate them, they fell apart. We did have to cut each one in half so there were smaller halves to eat because, unlike a snake, our jaws don’t open that far and slurping a huge strip of zucchini into our mouths like a piece of spaghetti….well, it’s not very lady-like. Or so I’m told.

Now, since it’s just the two of us and as long as the main dish includes veggies, I don’t do side dishes very often. My go-to for this would have been a side salad and some garlic bread for Mr. Techie but the laundry basket was overflowing and calling my name (well, really having clean clothes for tomorrow seemed like a good idea), so I folded laundry until Mr. Techie got home and we ate. He didn’t seem to mind not having anything with it, but he’s gotten used to not always having a side dish. Does that make me lazy? I sure hope not because sometimes I just don’t want to have to fuss with it!

What’s your thoughts? Do you always make a side dish even if there are veggies in the main part? Do you include dessert with every dinner?

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