Pigs In Blankets - © Pillsbury,com

Roll-Ups: Snowy-Day Fun For All!

In our Little Piece of Heaven (i.e.- my town) we’re not sending the kids back to school just yet. It’s looking more and more likely that there will be another surge in COVID-19 cases in the U.S. But some jurisdictions prepare to re-open for business – certain ones, like the state of Texas, going full steam ahead, 100 percent.

But… With the kids staying home, in some locales at least, Mom’s and Home-Dads are looking for fresh ideas to make mealtimes happier and healthier. A package of Manicotti from a local supermarket deli gave me today’s idea as well as one of those eerie feelings you get when you realize you’ve been staring right at the solution to your problem the whole time and couldn’t see it because your brain was tuned to another channel.

Taco Roll Ups - ©cinnamonmspiceandeverythingncie.com

Actually, a great idea!

You’ll recall that, early in the lock-down era, I proposed you put Taco, Burrito, Nacho, Personal Pizza and other DIY buffet-style ‘Bars’ on your lock-down family menu routines every couple of weeks or so to add not only variety but fun to supper times. I missed one, though, and that’s especially odd since it was one of my favourites when I was a young adult.

Have you, on your own, tried serving up a Roll-Ups Buffet to your family yet? Well, then, let’s get going!


We’re talking, here, about smaller, finger-food sized Roll-ups, here; not (for instance) full-sized Burritos or Luncheon-style Roll-Ups. This allows folks to try different combinations of ingredients during the same meal.

Breads, Doughs, etc,

It’s easy, thanks to pre-made pastry! Which is not to say you can’t use tour own fave Short Pie Crust. But that’s probably the least popular Pastry for Roll-Ups, and everyone knows it’s the Pastry that makes the Roll-up – not to mention often being a key clue as to what kind of Roll-up you’re making.

Among your go-tos should be Flour Tortillas and Pita Bread. These guys offer the advantage that you don’t even have to bake ’em, if you want to do a Salad- or Deli Cold-Cuts style of Roll-up.

Pre-made ‘every-day’ style Pastry crust is the stuff that comes in ‘cans’ from the freezer section. Think of the Crescent Rolls, Cinnamon Rolls and similSee photo, top of page.)

There’s also a whole range of ‘flat’ doughs, including Pizza Crust, bake-as-needed Bread Dough, Phyllo and Puff Pastry, available in virtually all large supermarkets these days.

Think of all the different styles of Roll-Up Buffets you can set up with one or more of those as your starting point!

You can start simple and use, say, the Pizza Dough for Pizza Roll-ups. Or dare to experiment with Puff Pastry or Phyllo with Pizza Toppings.

Go Asian using Phyllo as the base for Spring Roll or Egg Roll style Roll-ups. Don’t limit yourself to traditional Spring or Egg Roll fillings, either. This Roll-up format is also great with Italian, Tex-Mex, Middle Eastern or other styles of filling.

Remember: Roll-Ups can be shaped like Egg Rolls or Spring Rolls, or be rolled in larger diameters and sliced (into pinwheels) to lie flat for baking or serving directly, cold. (See photo of Tex-Mex Taco Roll-Ups, above left.)

Leverage the fun factor!

There’s something magical – especially for younger kids – about the ways raised doughs can transform simple, familiar ingredients when deployed as Roll-Ups.

Many of the types of rising or puffing doughs and pastries will do so almost before your eyes. Encourage kids (of all ages) to watch through the oven door window as the magic happens!

DO follow makers’ instructions!

When using pre-made frozen or refrigerated pastries or doughs, DO follow makers’ instructions. I.e.- If the package says ‘DO NOT Microwave’, DON’T! If the package ‘recommends against’ using the Mic, DON’T! The makers know best, especially about this issue.

Handy rules for Ingredients

Rule No. One:

Any ingredients you want to offer for Roll-Up construction should be cut small, diced or chopped small to facilitate the actual rolling. You don’t want large pieces of food puncturing or deforming the Dough or Pastry

Another rule:

Beware the mess-making potential of Sauces in the Roll-Up context! Think twice before putting side-bar Marinara or BBQ Sauce or the like on a Roll-up Buffet. Diners can easily over-do it and use so much that the Sauce oozes or squirts out at first bite! Same goes when offering fillings that come dressed with their own Sauces or Dressings. Less is more!

A sensible alternative:

Rather than Employing Sauces meant to be applied to the Roll-up Fillings during ‘construction’ at all, go with Dipping Sauces which can make wonderful accompaniments and enhancements that can amplify your diners’ enjoyment of any kind of  Roll-Ups: Asian, Indian, Tex-Mex, Central European or whatever.

Stuff your family with fresh fruits and veggies!

Always insinuate lots of fresh fruits and veggies on your Roll-Up Buffets – cut or otherwise prepped as appropriate or the style of Roll-up you’re making. In light of recent findings such as the ones we reported yesterday validating the ancient and venerable 5-A-Day rule. Any opportunity to offer more fresh fruits and veggies should be taken advantage of.

And there you have it…

Give Roll-Ups a go and see how your family (and other lock-down companions) come around to a happier, more-engaged attitude just in time for supper!

~ Maggie J.