Browsing Category:


Affordable, Garfield-Approved Rolled Lasagna Recipe (Bonus: Hidden Veggies!)

Lasagna roll ups in the pan

Do you have a Garfield in your life? Someone who can’t resist a heaping plate of lasagna? I do! I’m married to a man who behaves just like the famous cartoon feline when it comes to this classic Italian dish.

But as much as my husband loves traditional lasagna, there’s one variation that has managed to make it to day three in our house: rolled lasagna.

The beauty of rolled lasagna is that it’s made up of individual portions, meaning you can control exactly how much you make and serve. This not only helps to prevent overeating, but also ensures that there will be leftovers for the next day (or two!). And lasagna is always better on day two.

Quick Tips for Lasagna Roll Ups

Before jumping into the recipe, here are a few quick tips to get you started:

  • Noodles: Try to avoid the no-boil noodles (I won’t judge if they’re already in your pantry and you pull them out – I just can’t promise this will turn out!). Boil them in water with a bit of salt (for flavour), according to package directions to al-dente.
  • Sauce: Pick your favourite tomato sauce. If it already has some meat or added veg, bonus!
  • Cheese: I hate ricotta, so I don’t cook with it. Sometimes I’ll sub in goat cheese if I find a sale, but usually stick to basic mozzarella and Parmesan. The more cheese you use the more expensive the dish becomes, so I try to balance flavour and cost.
  • Veggies: Chop them small, or through them through a food processor to really shred them. The smaller they are, the fewer protests from little beings I hear.
  • Serving: The beauty of rolls is portions are already set for you! My 6 and 9 year olds eat a roll each, and most adults will be satisfied with two. Garfield goes for 3 – this still left us with over half the dish for leftovers! The rolls can be cut with a fork, but if you like to preserve the layers a knife is a good idea.
  • Storage: You can prep this ahead of time and store it uncooked in the fridge with tinfoil on top for up to two days, or freeze it and cook it within three months (I love disposable pans or glass pans with a lid). Thaw frozen lasagna in the fridge overnight before cooking and bake according to recipe instructions. It’s also possible to cook it now, package into meal sized portions and freeze those for future lunches.
  • Reheating: A minute in the microwave is perfect for 1-2 lasagna roll ups from the fridge. If you slice up food for your kids it’s much easier to do while cold, so take care of that first!
    • If you prefer to use the oven, cover it with tinfoil, and bake at 350F for 20-25 minutes.
  • Make more and make ahead: I’ll triple up on this recipe and make three pans at once. One for dinner tonight, and two to go in the freezer. It’s a slightly longer day in the kitchen, but covers me for at least six meals. I can spend a bit of extra time cooking in one shot for that kind of freedom! It’s a rich meal, so we usually only have lasagna once a month.
Lasagna roll up in the pan

How to Make Rolled Lasagna (the wordy version)

  1. Boil the lasagna noodles. Lasagna noodles are large and prone to sticking together, so use your big soup pot for this.
    • Bring water to a boil.
    • Add about a tablespoon of salt before adding a dozen noodles.
    • Cook to al dente where they are flexible and roll-able but still firm. They will soften up more in the oven and absorb liquid from your sauce, so you don’t want them overcooked.
    • Drain and rinse with cold water. This stops the cooking process, removes excess starch, and makes them ready to handle right away. We don’t need burned fingers! Don’t skimp on the cold water, more is better. If your noodles are sticking, chances are you didn’t cool them down enough, or quickly enough.
  2. Meanwhile, make your sauce. Every fall I fill my freezer with a basic tomato with meat sauce made from my garden tomatoes, and often have some jars of meatless sauce in the cupboard (they’re great for travel!). Using that as a starting point, I prep the following extras:
    • Prep: Shred 2-3 carrots, 2-3 stalks celery, and an onion (a food processor is perfect for this!). Chop 4 cups spinach into 1/4inch ribbons.
    • In a large frying pan, cook carrot, celery and onion over medium heat for 3-5 minutes until softened.
    • If you want more garlic (aka you’re kids aren’t vampires who hate it), mince two or more cloves into the pan and cook until fragrant (about 30 seconds to a minute).
    • Add 1-2 pounds of ground beef, depending how meaty you want your lasagna and if the sauce you’re using already has meat in it. Cook until all the pink is gone.
    • If your sauce doesn’t have mushrooms in it, and they won’t cause a riot in your home, add a drained can of sliced mushrooms now. (Going fancy with fresh mushrooms? Add those before the garlic and cook down a bit before adding the meat.)
    • If you’re working from a jarred sauce or canned tomatoes (I love the ones with Italian spices already added – yay lazy cooking!) add them now and let everything simmer together for at least ten minutes. Add spices to taste (oregano, parsley, basil, rosemary, thyme, marjoram, etc).
    • Take off the heat.
    • Add chopped spinach and stir.
    • Add pre-made tomato sauce. This will reduce the temperature to make it easier to handle.
  3. All about cheese: You can do this before starting everything else, or mix it up while the meat is cooking. Or put an ambitious child to work. I like that last option best.
    • Chop 3 cups spinach into small 1/4 inch square-ish pieces (just make it small but not a paste, okay?).
    • In a medium bowl beat one egg.
    • Add chopped spinach, 1 cup shredded mozzarella, 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, and either
      • another cup shredded mozzarella and 1 cup shredded cheddar,
      • a package ricotta (about 2 cups), or
      • a package goat cheese plus enough shredded mozzarella to make 2 cups.
    • Stir until well combined.
  4. Assemble your rolls of lasgana. This is a pretty easy process, but can be a bit messy.
    • Before starting on the rolls, spread a thin layer of sauce in the bottom of your baking dish. This is kind of like greasing the pan, but so much tastier! Get the sides, too if you can. Go for the runnier parts of your sauce for this. That makes the rest of your sauce thicker, and won’t leave the meat outside your rolls.
    • Lay three noodles out flat on a cutting board, a baking sheet, or right on the counter if you’re into that kind of clean up. Don’t put them in the pan yet, or you’re just going to make a mess of the sauce you just spread. And your fingers.
    • Divide your cheese mixture into quarters. Spread one quarter evenly over the three noodles.
    • Top generously with sauce.
    • Roll up tightly and place in the pan, seam down.
    • Repeat for the remaining nine noodles.
  5. Finishing the lasagna off with a topping of sauce (be extra generous around the edges and in the corners to help keep those spots soft – unless you you like crusty bits!), and a cup and a half of mozzarella.
  6. To bake any lasagna I like to edge the dish with tinfoil and then rest a sheet on top of that. This prevents the edges from overcooking.
    • In a pre-heated over, bake the lasagna for 45 minutes at 375F.
    • Remove the top sheet of foil and bake for another 5-10 minutes until the cheese is just starting to brown up.
  7. Serving the lasagna roll ups is easiest if you’ve let it rest for at least 15 minutes. You’re also less likely to burn your tongue! I like to use a knife to help separate the rolls, but they can come the pan with just a fork or spatula, and then you get the Instagram-worthy stretchy cheese.
Lasagna roll ups in the pan

Affordable, Garfield-Approved Rolled Lasagna Recipe

Prep Time: 45 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour

Total Time: 1 hour, 45 minutes

Yield: 6 generous (but not Garfield-sized) servings


    Lasagna Noodles:
  • 12 dry lasagna noodles
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • Meat sauce:
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2-3 carrots
  • 2-3 stalks of celery
  • 1 medium onion
  • 2-5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 can sliced mushrooms (or 2 cups fresh)
  • 1-2 pounds ground beef
  • 3 cups spinach
  • 4 cups tomato sauce
  • Cheese mixture:
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella
  • 1/4 cup Parmessan
  • 3 cups spinach
  • 1 package ricotta cheese (about 2 cups) OR 1 cup shredded mozzarella and 1 cup shredded cheddar OR 1 package goat cheese plus enough shredded cheese to make 2 cups


  1. Preheat oven to 375F
  2. Lasagna noodles:
  3. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add noodles, oil, and salt and cook to al dente, according to package instructions. Rinse noodles under cold water then sprinkle with olive oil to keep them from sticking together.
  4. Sauce:
  5. Shred veggies in food processor while heating up a large frying pan.
  6. Cook carrot, celery, and onion until softened (approx. 3-5 minutes).
  7. Add garlic and cook until fragrant (about 30 seconds).
  8. Add ground beef and cook until no longer pink.
  9. Add mushrooms and remove from heat.
  10. Add spinach and stir.
  11. Add prepared sauce.
  12. Cheese mixture:
  13. Combine beaten egg, cheese, and diced spinach in a medium bowl. Divide into quarters.
  14. Assemble rolled lasagna:
  15. Cover the bottom of casserole pan with a thin layer of sauce.
  16. Lay 3 noodles out flat on a cutting board. Evenly spread 1/4 of the cheese mixture between the three noodles (about 1/4 cup each). Top with sauce (~3-4 tablespoons). Roll up tightly and place in pan, seam down.
  17. Repeat for remaining 9 noodles.
  18. Spread remaining sauce over rolls. Sprinkle with 1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella.
  19. Bake:
  20. Cover the pan with tinfoil and bake for 45 minutes.
  21. Uncover and bake another 5-10 minutes until the cheese begins to brown.
  22. Let cool for 15-20 minutes before serving.

Did you make this recipe? Snap a photo and tag us on Instagram @albertamamas or share it on Pinterest.

Making Memories with ‘Kids Bowl Free’: A Summer Activity for the Whole Family (locations across Alberta!)

Westlock Bowl

When Kim’s 4 year old son started to fall in love with bowling she signed up. Christine enrolled all three of her kids the next year. I’m excited because it’s a new activity for our family that we can all enjoy.

Have you heard about Kids Bowl Free? It started 16 years ago, so we wouldn’t be surprised if you have!

Read more
By /

Ramadan 101

By Mona Ismaeil

The time has come when you may find yourself in those awkward situations where you offer your colleague something to eat or drink and they say they are fasting! Ramadan is near! It doesn’t have to be awkward! Here is what you need to know about Ramadan and your workplace:

What is Ramadan?

The Holy month of Ramadan is a very spiritual month for Muslims around the world. For 30 days, Muslims will refrain from food, drink, smoking and spousal relations from sunrise to sun set. Between these hours, Muslims fast. Fasting is one of the Five Pillars of Islam.  

There are a number of reasons Muslim fast during Ramadan. The first is that it shows devotion to Allah (God). Secondly, during periods of fasting there is a heightened spirituality and closeness to God. The time of the year includes more prayers, reading of the Holy Qur’an and gathering in remembrance of God.  Next, Muslims practice self-control and finally there is a recognition of the many blessings we are granted.

At the end of Ramadan, Muslims are required to give a percentage of their wealth to those in need in an act of charity.

Read more

An 12 Year Olds Take On YouthWrite

Hi! My name is Hayden Reeve!

You might recognize my last name as I am the daughter of one of the Mamas! I am going to tell you about my experience at YouthWrite®. For a little introduction, it is a non-profit organization with camps for children who love to write. There is also a separate camp for adults who also enjoy writing! Today though, we are going to be discussing the camp for, well, youth! 

Something that I think is quite important and an absolutely excellent characteristic about YouthWrite is the fact that they have a figuratively speaking, bubble type of deal around them.

Read more

SkirtsAfire Feature – Teneil Whiskeyjack – Ayita creator and playwright.


I’m Teneil Whiskeyjack. I am originally from Saddle Lake Cree Nation and a mother of 2. My daughter is 17 and my son is 7, both at different stages in their lives. As a single mother and working artist, the demands of career, life and our own autonomy in systems that can make us feel depleted, it can be challenging to find the balance in it all. The expectations we put on our ourselves as mothers, always asking “am I doing this right?” Truth is, there is no manual to parenting and parenting looks different for many in terms of culture, values, family traditions and beliefs. Becoming a mother for the first time at such a young age, I admittedly didn’t know myself well enough to give reverence to a tender, compassionate, and patient relationship that I needed within myself. As time moved forward, I wanted to find peace in my journey and the grounding my children and I needed and deserved. I looked at the both of them and wanted them to see a mom that was vibrant, strong, present and healthy. As women, we are taught to put others before ourselves, leaving no room for our own curiosities, or relationships to our bodies and spirit. Going back to my culture and ceremony as an Indigenous woman meant going back to land-based practices, asking myself what it means to me to be a nehiyaw iskwew (cree woman) today, learning to ask for help within safe spaces of community and kin and reminding myself that parenting is one of the most sacred responsibilities we carry as life givers. I believe our children choose us to be their parents before they are born.  

I was an artist growing up. I loved to tell stories in various ways. I took a step back from creating all together for many years and what was once my solace, was no longer existent as I allowed myself to live for other’s expectations of me, in the confines of societal pressures, and a life from the choices I made that wasn’t in alignment to my truth. I doubted my aspirations and capabilities until there came a shifting cycle in my womanhood where I wanted to gain deeper insight to who I was and why I walked in footsteps that no longer resonated with me or my heart.  

Read more

Rediscovering Myself (how I got out of an 8 year mom-life rut)

The day I received the phone call to come and sub at my children’s school it dawned on me I hadn’t been in a classroom for 8.5 years! I had gone in to do Islamophobia sessions and worked with my own children but hadn’t done a whole school day since before my eldest was born. 

I hadn’t planned to be a stay-at-home mom for that period of time. It just happened that way. I’m sure people wonder what kept me at home for so long. I was just so attached to my kids. I didn’t feel comfortable sending her to daycare. There is nothing wrong with daycare but I just couldn’t do it.

When I felt I was just about ready to get back to work and she was in school full time, we had our second. So I started that whole process all over again. 

Read more

SkirtsAfire #YEG – SAVE THE DATE

 SkirtsAfire Festival in Edmonton is self-described as “diverse, inclusive and daring”, guaranteeing there’s something for everyone at their 10th anniversary festival, running March 3-13 in Old Strathcona. With the ever-changing pandemic climate we’re all navigating, there is one thing for certain – SkirtsAfire will offer 10 days of engaging and entertaining performances and experiences!

We have taken in their MainStage Productions since 2017 as well as Opening Night Parties, and of course, the fantastic SkirtsAfire Skirt Design Competition. Featuring the work of women and non-binary folks in the arts in Edmonton – MARCH 3-13, 2022.  Check out SkirtsAfire, experiencing theatre, visual art, design, music, comedy, and more.

Read more

Instant Pot Turkey Buffalo Mac n Cheese – The Perfect Dish For Your Next Potluck Dinner

It’s hard to pick the perfect potluck dish. You want something easy to prep, a dish that will feed a crowd, and something that’s easy to transport.

Don’t worry Mamas, we’ve got you! We’ve partnered with Alberta Turkey and have created the perfect pot luck dish: Turkey Buffalo Mac n Cheese. And the best part? EVERYTHING was made in an Instant Pot because we know you have zero time this time of year. By using the Instant Pot we’ve also cut out on all the dishes you have to do. This is literally a one pot meal!

Read more

Telling My Kids We Don’t Celebrate Christmas (my Muslim perspective on major religious holidays)

I don’t celebrate Christmas, I never have. I grew up in beautiful Jasper National Park. Although now it is a lovely diverse community, when I was growing up in the 90’s it wasn’t so diverse. There were not even a handful of Muslim families and basically 2 Arab families. Finding a sense of community based on my faith and heritage was impossible.

Luckily for me, although predominantly Caucasian, the community of Jasper National Park is made up of some of the most amazing, supportive and accepting people I have ever met. We weren’t the only minorities, but for me it sure seemed so!

Read more

Give Your Kids A “Wordplayful” Summer with YouthWrite®

2021 YouthWrite® Camp Theme – Voyage to the Great Unknown

Who is this camp for?

  • Youth in Alberta
  • YouthWrite®, a camp for kids who love to write…just about anything!©
  • Youth 8yrs all the way through 20!
  • Youth can choose in-person or online!

What is YouthWrite?

  • At the camps, young creators can explore new pursuits such as yoga and writing, drumming and words, songwriting, illustrating, cartooning, scriptwriting, improvisation and writing, body percussion and words, and more.
  • They also focus on traditional poetry and fiction – so there really is something for everyone!
  • YouthWrite Society Canada is celebrating its 25th anniversary as a non-profit, charitable arts organization.

Read more