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Andrea’s Country Home Cookin

Hearing that metal “ting” when a ball hits a baseball bat, smelling the very first yard being cut, tasting that burger fresh off the grill, seeing that first motorcycle of the season, or feeling the warm sun for the first time in months are some of the very first signs of spring. It always feels like we have waited years for all these simple little joys to come back into our lives. Even just hearing that first bird chirp is a breath of fresh air! Well, until they start running their pie holes at 4:00 a.m. and feel like they are just taunting you right outside your bedroom window. I mean, I know the early bird gets the worm, but dang!

Spring feels like a chaotic time in our lives though, too. So much to do! Not to mention just the everyday things we have to keep caught up on. If you could have a half a day to prep some food for your freezer, would you? These crazy spring and summer nights keep us on our toes, but having dinner ready in the freezer is honestly a great feeling. These are recipes you can even do in sections. Like for instance, shred the cheeses for the cheesy bread the night before and place in a large Ziplock bag. Fresh is best y’ all. Yeah, yeah. You could just buy it, but it won’t taste the same. It takes five minutes to shred that puppy. You totally got this, and it will be worth it when you sink your teeth into this homemade cheesy bread. Then, you can just cook up your meat for the lasagna roll-ups and throw together the cheese mixture and place in your fridge. All you have to do then is boil your pasta and assemble!

These two recipes will give you two to three meals together, and if pulled from your freezer a few months later, still taste fresh as ever! It honestly wouldn’t even take you half the day unless you shop for all the stuff all in that same day. This has to be two of my favorite dinner prep recipes. The cheesy bread could go with so many other meals, too!

There’s nothing like a yummy Italian meal prepped and ready to go on those busy, on-the-go nights. I could smile just thinking about it.

Lasagna Roll Ups
This meal is just as good fresh or out of the freezer!
• 2 pounds ground beef
• 1 small onion, finely diced
• 1 tbsp. garlic, minced
• 1 jar (26 oz.) good spaghetti sauce
• 1 cup water
• 1 (30 oz.) container small curd cottage cheese
• 3 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
• 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese, divided
• 1 egg
• 2 tbsp. Italian seasoning (optional)
• 1 teaspoon pepper
• Lasagna noodles, cooked
• Pepperoni (also optional)
• Salt, to taste


Cook lasagna according to package. You want to cook about 8-12 noodles, depending on how generous you are with the cheese and meat on each roll. I add a teaspoon of oil to the water so the noodles don’t stick. Set cooked noodles aside.

Brown ground beef and onion in a large skillet. (You’re gonna be adding the sauce and water to it after the meat is cooked.)

Then add garlic and cook for additional 1-2 minutes.

Drain excess grease from beef, then put back into skillet. Pour in spaghetti sauce and water.

Stir well and taste to see if you need more seasoning. Let simmer 20 minutes or so (or longer!), it really lets the flavors come out.

In a separate bowl, mix together cottage cheese, 2 cups mozzarella cheese, ¼ cup parmesan cheese, egg, pepper and seasoning. (Put your remaining cheeses back in the fridge, you’ll be using those after your lasagna is cooked.) Spray a casserole dish with cooking spray, and pour half the meat mixture on the bottom of the dish. Set aside.

Lay your cooked noodles down on a cutting board. First spread the cheese mixture on the pasta. Just enough to cover the noodle. This would be the time to lay down the pepperoni if you choose to use it in your rolls up, then roll up jelly roll style. Place your roll, seam down, in dish on top of the meat mixture. Then spoon remaining meat on top of the rolls.

Bake at 350 for 30-40 minutes. 5 minutes before the lasagna rolls are done, top with remaining cheese and bake till melted. Serve with warm bread and a crisp salad. Enjoy!

NOTE: To freeze, simply top with a little extra sauce, put foil over top and place in freezer. When ready to bake, simply take out of freezer, unthaw, and bake for 1 hour at 350.

Cheesy Bread
Bake right in foil, no mess no fuss!
• 2 loaves of French Bread, cut in half
• 2 cups of Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
• 1 cup of Extra Sharp Cabot cheese, shredded
• 1/2 cup mayo
• 1 stick of softened butter

Mix all together using a wooden spoon in a bowl. Spread evenly on 4 halves. I wrapped each half in foil, making sure the foil doesn’t touch the cheese. Leave a gap at the top and roll down foil. Like a teepee!

You bake it in the foil for 20-25 minutes at 350 degrees.

This will also freeze beautifully. Bake the same way, but at 30 minutes or so or until warm and melted.

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