So, Papa suggested pizza for dinner, to which Mama replied, “Get a different kind from the one we had for lunch?” Clearly, they were both feeling uninspired. But dinner time was creeping up on us, and neither one of my parents felt like heading off to the store after the busy day we’d already had. Mama decided to embark on a mission.
After rooting through the freezer, she pulled out a bag of sliced, cooked ham. (A couple months back, hams were on sale—never mind that it’s really only papa in the house who eats the stuff—and it was into the freezer with the leftovers.) While that was thawing under warm water, Mama pawed through the fridge and found a nearly full container of ricotta cheese. She bought it to fill yellow squash “boats” that she grilled earlier in the week. The wheels started turning. She rummaged through the cupboard and found an opened box of whole-wheat lasagna noodles. Bingo!
Into a pot of water went 9 noodles. Into a bowl went the ricotta, some grated parmesan cheese, a bunch of parsley from the garden, chopped up, salt & pepper, and a few slices of that ham cut up. For good measure, Mama even returned to the freezer to finish off a bag of peas. Once the filling was mixed and the noodles drained, Mama laid out a noodle, spread some filling down it nearly to the end, then rolled it up. Practically in the time it took to preheat the oven (to 350°F), she had these rolls done and laid seam-side down into a lightly oiled baking pan. She covered them with a thin coating of jarred marinara that had been lurking in the back of the fridge and baked it, covered in foil, until it was heated through (about 20 minutes). Then she topped it with a sprinkling of mozzarella (also remnants), returned it to the oven for another 5 minutes, and dinner was ready.
The only thing Mama would’ve done differently was spread a bit of the sauce in the pan first, before laying down the noodle bundles. Not that I minded either way. I ate almost an entire roll all by myself. And that’s what Mama calls a successful dinner. Pantry raid, indeed.