Lasagna Cups

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Are you tired of sweets and leftover turkey?  It’s ok, you can admit it we won’t tell.  After all the cookies, cupcakes, pie and candy the last couple of weeks I am actually beginning to crave salad.  Crazy, right?

So how about a snack kind of cupcake.  The kind with pasta and cheese.  It’s winter and time for comfort food anyway.  These gems from Lauren’s Latest will hit the spot for an afternoon snack or appetizer.  They’re small, go on and indulge…you know you want to.

Lasagna Cups

Makes 12

INGREDIENTS:

for the sauce-
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 large onion
1/2 pound lean ground beef cooked and drained
1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
1 small zucchini, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1-6 oz. can tomato paste
1-8 oz. can tomato sauce {+1/2 can water to wash out can}
1-14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes
1 tablespoon dried basil
1/2 tablespoon dried oregano
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon sugar
salt & pepper to taste

for the cheese filling-
1-10 oz. tub Philadelphia Italian Herb & Cheese Cooking Cream (or substitute ricotta cheese)
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 lasagne pasta sheets

DIRECTIONS:

For the sauce- heat olive oil over medium heat and saute onions, pepper, zucchini and garlic until tender, 5 minutes. Stir in cooked ground beef and tomato paste until well incorporated. Stir in remaining ingredients and bring to simmer. Reduce heat to low and cook 30 minutes or so. {The longer it cooks, the better it will taste!} This will be very thick.

For the cheese filling- stir all ingredients together excluding half of the grated mozzarella cheese. Set aside.

For the pasta- Bring large pot of salted water to boil. Cook pasta sheets 2 minutes less than package directions and drain. Place pasta on greased baking sheet until you are ready for assembly.

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For assembly- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 12 jumbo muffin tins with squares of parchment paper. If they don’t stay in on their own, that’s ok–the pasta will help with that. Line the edges of the muffin tins with 1 pasta sheet per cup. {Pasta sheet will overlap about 2 inches.} Spoon about 1/2 tablespoon of sauce into the bottom of each cup {#1}. Next cut 9 pasta sheets into quarters and press one of these pieces of pasta into the bottom on top of the sauce {#2}. Top pasta sheet with a generous tablespoon of sauce {#3} and then a generous tablespoon of cheese filling {#4}. Repeat this pasta-sauce-cheese layering one more time being sure to press out any air bubbles. Top these lasagna cups off with a 3rd piece of pasta, more sauce and the remaining mozzarella cheese. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until everything is hot and bubbly. Serve hot.

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