This week’s McDaniel Short-Cut includes Trader Joe’s Ricotta and Lemon Zest Ravioli. I heart anything with LEMON in a recipe. Lemon, in this dish, brightens up a potentially heavier pasta plus cheese dinner.  For many, school starts back this week. I tend to underestimate the emotional impact that transitions bring.

Smooth Transitions

As I write this post, it’s 5:45 am, and I can hear my newly turned second grader moving about in his room. He normally wakes around 6:30 am. Transitions can take a toll on all of us, and I’ve noticed they impact both sleep and eating patterns. It’s a good reminder for me to be a bit more patient and keep life as easy and manageable as possible. It also helps to expect the discomfort associated with transitions. For example, breaking before you hit a familiar bump in the road. That way, it won’t send you spiraling when you hit it.

Trader Joe’s Short-Cut: Ricotta and Lemon Zest Ravioli

All the ingredients in this week’s recipe came from Trader Joes including my favorite tomato sauce: Arrabiata Sauce. Arrabiata is a tomato-based sauce that includes roasted red bell peppers as well as a touch more spice compared to traditional marinara sauce. The sauce is also a bit more thin, making it the perfect broth-like tomato sauce to cook the ricotta and lemon zest ravioli.
ricotta and lemon zest ravioli

Make This Ricotta and Lemon Zest Ravioli Yours

Due to an abundance of eggplant from our CSA , I used this as the main vegetable ingredient. However, eggplant is CURRENTLY not a well-accepted vegetable in our family, so my husband and I ended up eating most of it. You could easily swap in other vegetables such as zucchini, peppers, summer squash, mushrooms, or artichoke hearts.
To all you parents, we hope this series of short-cuts, including this ricotta and lemon zest ravioli, helps you with the back-to-school year transition.
Good luck this week!

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Roasted Eggplant Bake with Ricotta & Lemon Zest Ravioli

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  • Author: Jennifer McDaniel
  • Prep Time: 5
  • Cook Time: 60
  • Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
  • Yield: 6 1x


  • 1 T. olive oil
  • 2 small-medium eggplant, cubed
  • 1 medium to large onion
  • 45 cups jarred marinara sauce
  • 1 package Trader Joes’s Ricotta and Lemon Zest Ravioli
  • 2 c. shredded mozzarella cheese


  1. Heat oven to 450 degrees. On a rimmed baking sheet, toss eggplant and onions with olive oil. Roast until browned and tender, about 25 minutes.
  2. Turn oven down to 350 degrees.
  3. In a 13 x 9 greased baking dish, add 1/2 marinara sauce. Layer ingredients in the following order x 2: roasted eggplant, ravioli, cheese. Repeat. Top with mozzarella & Parmesan cheese.
  4. Cover with aluminium foil and bake for 25-30 minutes or until bubbly and heated through.


  • Serving Size:
  • Calories: 371
  • Sugar: 23.2 g
  • Sodium: 743.3 mg
  • Fat: 13.1 g
  • Saturated Fat: 5.1 g
  • Carbohydrates: 50.7 g
  • Fiber: 11 g
  • Protein: 15.2 g
  • Cholesterol: 26.8 mg