Monday, June 3, 2013

Lasagna Cupcakes

After a very long year between books, The Diva Frosts a Cupcake comes out tomorrow. But I haven't been lazy. I'm now writing two series. Each June a Domestic Diva Mystery will be released, and starting this December, a Paws and Claws Mystery will come out every December. More on Paws and Claws in another post.





For the last year, I have been baking and eating cupcakes. Poor me! The photo to the right shows Coco Loco cupcakes on top, Lemon Meringue Cupcakes in the middle, and strawberry cupcakes on the lowest level. The recipes for all of those cupcakes and more are in the book.


In The Diva Frosts a Cupcake, Nina Reid Norwood arranges a gala banquet with an eight-course cupcake dinner. Accordingly, I had to come up with a few savory cupcakes. Originally, I thought I might make little cupcake shepherd's pies. That would be easy enough. And the potatoes on top would even look like frosting. But I kept hearing about lasagna cupcakes. I've made them several times now and I have to tell you -- they're a hit. All my tasters loved them.

They're actually simple to make. I may never bake a big pan of lasagna again! Don't tell Natasha, but I cheated by using canned sauce. You can certainly use homemade sauce if you prefer. I've made them with ground beef and ground bison. They're delicious with both. I would imagine that ground turkey would work well, too.

There really aren't too many tricks to this. The first time I made them, friends helped me with the laborious task of cutting rounds out of lasagna noodles so they would fit neatly into the pan. But we discovered that they were somewhat difficult to remove from the pan neatly and intact after baking. Please note that the photos are from that first attempt.

The next time, I tried using a lasagna noodle rectangle that was a little bit too long for the cupcake well as the base piece of pasta. That was exactly what they needed. Not only did the little corners that stood up act as handles for lifting them, but they slid out of the pan much better. The corners become hard and crunchy, of course. You can trim them before serving, or leave them on if your family likes crunchy things. Count on at least two per person for diners with average appetites.

Krista's Lasagna Cupcakes

Makes 12 cupcakes.

12 to 14 (a couple extra) pieces lasagna noodles
1-2 tablespoons olive oil plus extra for pan
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon oregano
1 pound ground bison (or lean ground beef or ground turkey)
1 14.5 ounce can pasta (or tomato) sauce
salt
8 ounces low-fat mozzarella, shredded
4 ounces Parmesan cheese, grated 

Cook the lasagna noodles according to package and drain. Heat the olive oil in a pan over low heat and add the minced garlic. After two minutes add the oregano. When it’s aromatic, add the meat and cook. When the meat is cooked, mix in the tomato sauce, salt to taste, and set aside.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Thoroughly grease the wells of a muffin tin with olive oil. Cut each noodle in half and line each cupcake well with one piece so that the ends extend slightly beyond the well. Add a layer of meat and sauce to each well. Add a layer of mozzarella to each well.

Needs more mozzarella!

Cut the remaining noodles roughly to cupcake width. Lay one across each cupcake well. Repeat the layering of the meat and sauce, and the mozzarella. Sprinkle a substantial layer of Parmesan on top of each.





Don't forget the Parmesan.

Bake 18 - 20 minutes. The cupcakes should be bubble a bit at the edges. Remove from oven and use a sharp knife to loosen the cupcakes around the sides. Allow to stand five minutes before removing cupcakes from the pan. If they do not should their shape, allow to stand a few minutes longer.


Lift the cupcakes out of the pan using the using the pasta that sticks out as little handles. The handles will be somewhat crunchy. You may wish to cut them off.







22 comments:

  1. I have made these in the past, except I used wonton skins for the noodles (per www.tablespoon.com) because I hate cooking those lasagne noodles!!! Turned out so good. Italian sausage is good, too. Can't wait for your next book to come out - I wanna live in Sophie's house.

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    1. Sharon, me too, I want to live at Sophie's house with all of you!

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    2. Actually, I wouldn't mind living in Sophie's house. I love Old Town!

      Sharon, the next book is out tomorrow! Yay!

      I read about people using wantons to make these, but honestly, I like lasagna noodles. And they're really not much trouble to cook. It's good to know that the wantons are a good substitute.

      ~Krista

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  2. Krista, when I saw the title--Lasagna Cupcakes--I have to admit it didn't sound too appealing:). But these are adorable! Did you serve them as a novelty dinner, or appetizer? How many per person?

    So excited for the new book!

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    1. Lucy, I serve them as lunch or dinner. Just like you would serve lasagna. A nice salad to go with it, some yummy garlic bread, and cupcakes for dessert, of course. I served two per person, which seemed just about right. A guy with a hearty appetite might want three. They would make a nice appetizer, too. And I love that they only take 18 minutes to cook. BTW, they warm up very nicely in the microwave the next day.

      ~Krista

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  3. I've made meatloaf cupcakes stuffed and frosted with mashed potatoes. They were a hit at my house. I'll try the lasagna cupcakes next time I make lasagna. I've had your book preordered for as long as it's available. My kindle fire and I will be waiting tonight for the download at midnight!!!

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    1. Aww, waiting up for the download? You're so sweet!

      I'll have to try meatloaf cupcakes. They sound like fun!

      ~Krista

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  4. Krista, I love your solution on making quick work of cutting those lasagna noodles--just tuck the squares into the cups and use the ends as handles, brilliant. I'm looking forward to another brilliant DIVA mystery, as well. With your wonderful recipes as a bonus, I can tell I'll be joining Sophie in frosting cupcakes, too. Congrats on your new release (and your upcoming new series, as well, looking forward to hearing more about it)!

    ~ Cleo

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    1. Thank you, Cleo. I hope you'll like some of the cupcake recipes in the book. I'm afraid I'm addicted to cupcakes now!

      ~Krista

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  5. I bet they would freeze well. The first of my kids heads off to college in the fall so I am already trying to think about how to adjust my cooking once they are both out of the nest. That looks like a good way to make and freeze enough for a couple of lunch or dinners. Way better than a regular old frozen Stouffers meal!

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    1. Susie, I haven't tried freezing them, but I don't know why they wouldn't freeze well. The sad truth is that we gobble them all up by the next day! There's never anything left to freeze!

      ~Krista

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  6. Krista, can't wait for the next Diva and the Paws and Claws series! What fun to create a whole new set of characters. Enjoy.

    I love this recipe. Also fun. My husband loves crispy lasagna. Will have to try.

    Hugs,

    Daryl / Avery

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    1. I bet your husband will like these. They passed the test with both of my pickiest eaters!

      ~Krista

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  7. Very clever idea. I bet the lasagne rolls that were featured here recently would work if one roll, on it's side, went in each muffin tin.

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    1. Libby, I wondered about that. I think you might have to cut them in half for that to work. Or, if someone loves crispy pasta, maybe the tops would work out okay. I might just have to try!

      ~Krista

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    2. A covering a cheese would soften them some...

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  8. It seems as if I have been waiting for this book FOREVER! Guess who will be at the bookstore when it opens tomorrow? Love the idea of these lasagna cupcakes. I just happen to have some lasagna noodles that need using, so I'm going to try these.

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    1. Pattie, you're so sweet. It does seem like a long time between books, doesn't it? Let me know how the lasagna cupcakes turn out!

      ~Krista

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  9. Yummy. I may try this one.

    Congrats on your book release!

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    1. Thanks, Dru! Too bad you don't live closer. I think you'd be a terrific taste-tester!

      ~Krista

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  10. They all look and sound like great cozy mysteries. Can't wait to read them. Don't know which one I would like to read first.

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