Saturday, April 2, 2011

Lasagna Noodles and Fish?

Greetings readers!  I know that it has been quite a while since my last blog post.  My apologies for such a large gap of time between posts - I have been traveling a lot for work and not really cooking as much because of that.  Thankfully I have some "Friend Features" to post before the weekend is over. 

One of my favorite activities is cooking with family and friends or just sharing recipes with loved ones.  When I visit Milwaukee my Mom and Aunt Dana always try to do something revolving around food; whether that be going to our favorite Mexican restaurant, going to the Farmers market, visiting a Penzey's Spices store or even cooking together. 

On a particular visit, my aunt was sharing an unusual recipe with us and it sounded so interesting that I just had to try it.  She emailed me the recipe and I finally made it last weekend... with a few minor changes though.

This recipe is perfect if you have some leftover Lasagna noodles sitting in your pantry and no idea what to do with them.  This involves a different technique of actually rolling the noodles and stuffing them with a delicious tilapia mixture.  Here is the recipe that I received from my aunt. 

Baked Manicotti Bundles
- 10 whole wheat lasagna noodles (I had regular noodles in the pantry and used that)
- 1 carrot, peeled (time saver alert: grab a bag of shredded carrots from the store. Use the rest in a salad or pasta salad)
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 12 oz tilapia filets (I used 6 filets and it was more than enough for the 2 of us)
- 4 oz light cream cheese (I'd suggest trying the cream cheese. I strayed from the recipe and used ricotta cheese instead)
- 1/2 cup skim milk
- 1/2 tsp dried dill
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 2 oz reduced-fat mozzarella cheese, grated
- Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350.  Spray 8 x 8 pan.  Prepare lasagna noodles, as directed.  Rinse pasta and set aside.  Grate carrot into small bowl, set aside.  Heat a large nonstick pan, add oil, heat for 1 minute....add fish and shake pan to keep fish from sticking.  Cover and cook for 3 minutes.  Carefully flip fish and cook for additional minute.  Break up fish with spatula and cook for addional minute if not cooked thoughout.  Remove from heat and set aside.

Add cream cheese, milk, dried dill and salt to a saucepan.  Use a spatula to break up cream cheese.  Place pan on low heat and cook, whisking constantly for 1 minute until cream cheese has melted.  Add half of mozzarella and continue hearing and whisking for 30 seconds or until mixture is smooth.  Remove from heat and scoop out 1/2 cup, set aside.  Stir tilapia and carrot into pan with cheese mixture.  Lay lasagna noodle out on a large cutting board with short edge facing you.  Place 2 tablespoons tiliapia-cheese mixture on bottom edge of noodle.  Roll each noodle pressing lighly and making a bundle, place in rest of noodles.  Spoon reserved 1/2 cheese mixture over bundles and top with remaining mozzarella.  Bake 25 minutes or until cheese is melted.

Adding the mixture to the noodle.

Baking in the oven.

Ready to eat!

I served the roll-ups with roasted asparagus which is in season right now.  It was a very light and palate pleasing meal.  To be honest, I was actually surprised how much my husband enjoyed this dish.  He couldn't quite figure out was in the roll-ups. 

One of the great things about tilapia is that it doesn't have much of an over-powering fishy flavor.  So if you're serving a non-seafood eater.. maybe tell them it's chicken and see if they can tell the difference. 

Enjoy!!  Have a blessed weekend, readers.

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