Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Lasagna Cups?! Can I Get a "What-what!"

Alright, I know it's been literally a year since I last posted, but don't worry, the cooking hasn't stopped! I just had to take a hiatus from blogging for jewelry-making, travelling, learning how to drive, and life in general! The posts won't be as frequent, but I will try to update with fun, yummy things every once in a while. My husband saw my laptop open to three different recipes (from Pinterest), and this particular one caught his eye. I could never refuse that excited face, so into production it went!

Lasagna Cups
Bolognese Sauce (of course, you can use your own recipe!)
2 tbsp olive oil
1 small onion
1/2 pound lean ground beef cooked and drained
1 small zucchini, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
6 oz. can tomato paste
8 oz. can tomato sauce
14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes
1 tbsp dried basil
1/2 tbsp dried oregano
1 bay leaf
1 tbsp sugar
salt & pepper to taste
Cheese Filling
10 oz. tub Philadelphia Tomato & Basil Cheese Cooking Cream 
1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
3/4 pound mozzarella cheese, grated & divided
1/3 cup ricotta cheese
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 egg
21 lasagna pasta sheets
1/4 cup white wine

Parchment paper or aluminum foil, muffin tin

The state of my counter.

Brown your ground beef!

Brown your ground beef and set it aside. Next, saute your chopped up veggies in olive oil for 5 minutes on medium high heat, or until soft. Add the meat and tomato paste, stirring very well. Next, add your diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, bay leaf and a quarter cup of water to your sauce. I added a generous splash of white wine too, but you don't have to. Add your herbs, and simmer on low heat for at least 30 minutes. (covered, but not sealed with the lid)
While your sauce is cooking and getting more flavourful by the minute, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add a pinch of salt just before it starts to boil, and a tablespoon of olive oil to prevent the pasta from sticking. Then add your lasagna sheets one at a time, cook them for only 10 minutes, and drain immediately. I laid all but 12 of my lasagna sheets out on a cutting board, the rest I left in the colander so I could briefly rinse them in cold water before rolling them into cups.
Set your oven to 350 degrees farenheit, and make your cheese mixture! This is easy if you've bought pre-shredded packs of cheese. It will be slightly more laborious if you have to shred the cheese yourself (which I did, because I'm cheap, and the blocks of cheese were cheaper than the shredded bags!) Dump everything into a mixing bowl and mix it up really well. 

Now, line your muffin tin with either pieces of parchment paper or aluminum foil. I used foil because it stays put and holds the cup's shape better.
Pasta sheets in boiling water

Roll your lasagna into tubes, and place in your lined muffin tray. You'll want it to be wide enough to stick a spoon in.

Cut the rest of the lasagna sheets into quarters for layering.

Spoon about half a tablespoon of sauce into the bottom of each lasagna cup, then layer a piece of pasta on it. Add more sauce, and then the cheese mixture, and more lasagna, etc. Repeat until each cup is quite full. Finish with a layer of cheese. If you have leftover sauce and cheese, don't worry, we can use it for pretty plating later!

Once you're done layering, pop them in the oven for 25-30 minutes.

What it looks like straight out of the oven! Yum!

Dinner is served!
If you end up with extra sauce, you can spread some on the bottom of your plate, along with a dollop of cheese mixture in the middle, and plop your piping hot lasagna cup right on top of the cheese mixture! Or you can even spread some more bolognese sauce over top of your lasagna cup!
These are great, because you can really control your portions, and they're super easy to pack for lunch, -just pick it up with your hands and put it in a take away container. 
My husband loves them and so do I! Lasagna Cupcakes, he calls them. :)