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I am a mom to twin boys, full-time employee of a telecommunications company and wife to a professional musician. I work, do yoga, cook and try to squeeze in DIY projects and spending time with friends.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Lasagna Muffin Cups

I have been clipping recipes for 15 years.  I have a three ring binder with pockets full of random recipes, plus a recipe box with hundreds more (at least these are categorized), and then there are the cookbooks and cooking magazines where I have marked pages where something sounded appealing.  This approach does not lend itself to the 'what will we have for dinner tonight' grind that I often find myself in.  Excellent for browsing, not so good for cooking.

Some recipes demand to be made, refusing to be stored in the recipe archives.  I see them today and am compelled to try them tomorrow.   This is not very time-efficient as it frequently requires a stop at a grocery store on the way home in order to get that one unique ingredient I don't have.....  but usually, these turn out to be the best recipes.

Lasagne Muffin Cups was one of these recipes.  I found it on a blog here early this week and knew that it needed to be made immediately.  Thus, Mr. Unwired made a trip to the grocery store (for wonton skins) and the Italian grocer (for sausage).  Worth every bit of extra effort, let me tell you!

This recipe also reminds me how everyone leaves their own mark on a recipe.  The blog where I found it adapted it from another blog.  And I changed it more.  And you may as well... while I think my version is perfect, it can always be MORE perfect for you.

Lasagne Muffin Cups
1 tsp olive oil
1/2 lb sweet Italian sausage, casing removed
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 1/2 cups diced tomato, with juice
1/2 tsp  sugar
1 tsp dried oregano -- crushed
15  oz part skim ricotta cheese
1 Tbsp fresh basil chopped
1 Tbsp fresh parsley
1 cup shredded mozzarella or blended Italian cheeses
24 small wonton wrappers

1. In a small saucepan, heat olive oil over medium heat.  Saute onion until transparent, 3-5 minutes.  Add sausage and cook until fully cooked (no pink), breaking it up into small pieces as it cooks.

2. Drain fat off the pan if you like, then return to the heat and add tomatoes, sugar and oregano.  Stir well, and increase the heat for a few minutes to reduce the liquid.  Remove from heat and set aside.   This can be done as many as two days in advance- especially if you are cooking with kids, it's easier to do so when the ingredients are cold.

3. In a bowl, mix ricotta cheese, basil and parsley.  In another bowl, measure out the mozzarella.  Now you are ready to build the lasagnas!

4. In the muffin pan, push one wonton wrapper into the bottom of each of the 12 cups.  Place a tablespoon or so of the ricotta cheese.  Add a tablespoon of the sauce, then sprinkle with mozzarella cheese.

5. Place another wonton wrapper on top of the cheese, pressing it into the cup (it's okay if they look pretty full at this point... it will still work out).  Layer ricotta on top of the wrapper, then sauce, then sprinkle the top with mozzarella cheese.

6. Bake for 10-15 minutes at 375 degrees.  Let rest five minutes, then use a butter knife around the muffin cup to separate the lasagna from the cup.  Scoop out with a tablespoon, and serve to an adoring crowd.

Yummy Lasagna Muffin Cup
Notes:   If you choose to substitute tomato sauce for the canned tomatoes, then omit the sugar and season to taste.  The fresh herbs can also be reduced by 2/3 and swapped for dried if you prefer.

Letting the lasagnas rest before serving helps them hold together on the plate.  If you are hungry, serve fast but don't expect them to be pretty!

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