Monday, October 10, 2011

Mini Lasagna

To most Sunday is that relaxing catch up day of the week, but for me, that is Monday! And Mondays are my absolute favorite day of the week! While everyone else is at work, I can do whatever I want! Today, that was baking... I was going to make lasagna and freeze it, but as only one person, I couldn't defrost the whole thing and eat it later...

Simple solution? Mini Lasagnas! It's a pretty easy recipe, the hardest part is the assembly! (Makes 24)

First things first, I start by pouring myself a glass of wine. Cupcake Red Velvet is my favorite lately... Not bad not bad! Even my cat likes it...


1lb. ground beef (you can use turkey too which is also delicious!)
1 large jar of pasta sauce (your favorite kind or home made works too)
2 small onions
3 cloves of garlic
3 TBS olive oil
Lasagna noodles (don't get the no bake kind, they won't work with this recipe)
1 large container of Ricotta Cheese
1 tub Grated Parmesan Cheese
8 oz Mozzarella Cheese
Salt/Pepper/Nutmeg - to taste
Nonstick cooking spray

First, I chopped up the onions and garlic, and sauteed them in a pan with the olive oil. I cooked them until they were translucent
then added the beef. Cook until you don't see any pink, then drain off the excess fat.
 I used one of those 70 ounce jars of pasta sauce, and added about half to the beef. This is when I added salt & pepper, and just a touch of nutmeg. Taste your sauce to make sure it tastes just like you want it to!
 Take it off the heat and set it aside once it tastes just right. I had an audience while I was cooking, my little buddy Rocco wanted in on the action, but I made him sit on the other side of the kitchen.
 Boil a big pot of water with some salt in it (i use about a tbs. of salt to season the noodles). I used a whole box of lasagna noodles, and I broke them in half and cooked them in two seperate batches. Cook it as the directions on the box tell you to. Mine cooked for 10 minutes.
When they are done cooking lay them out on paper towels and line them up to prevent sticking. My mom taught me this when I was younger, and even when I make regular lasagna, I lay them out just the same. Now is a good time to preheat your oven to 350 degrees. 
 After all your noodles are cooked, spray your cupcake pan with your nonstick spray (I'm a fan of Pam).

Lay out 12 lasagna noodles, and cut off both edges of each noodle that are curly. I just cut right after the curly part to leave the noodle as wide as I could. Lay the noodles in the cupcake pan as if you were using the noodle as a cupcake liner. It will leave the sides of the cupcake pan open, but that's okay.

Start layering in your ingredients, I'm a big fan of ricotta cheese, so I add more to my lasagna! Here I added about a tbs (not exact) of sauce, then about 2 tsp of ricotta cheese.
 Find a drinking glass or cookie cutter that is about the same size as the opening of the cupcake tray and cut out 12 pieces of noodle to make the layer in your lasagna. I used a glass from anthropology that fit perfectly! This is how it looks when you add the layer. Do this to all 12 of your mini lasagnas.
 Then add another layer of sauce, and another layer of ricotta cheese. Here is where I cut off the extra noodle hanging out, just be careful while you are doing this, after spraying your pan your noodles may be a little slippery!
Top your mini lasagna with a heavy coating of shredded mozzarella cheese, and about a tsp of shredded Parmesan cheese. It's okay if they look a little full, they do bake down a little.
 Bake at 350 for about 20 minutes, or until it is golden and bubbly! It's a seriously delicious bite, and once they cool you can pop them into a plastic freezer baggy and save them for later! When you want to heat them up again, you can defrost them and microwave them, or pop them right back in the oven and heat them up!

Till next time...

cupcake bettie

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