Guest Blog: 
Lasagna Cupcakes!

Mmmm, cupcakes.
Mmmm, cupcakes.

Do you ever say, ‘I’m just looking’ and then you find something? I was cruising around Pinterest to find a new recipe for cooking Valentine’s Day dinner for my husband. I was intrigued with the notion of taking traditional lasagna into a cupcake shape. It was well worth it – each cupcake had it’s own crispness (much like the corners of a traditional lasagna) and wonton wrappers felt less filling than pasta noodles. Overall a fun spin on an original that I will make again!
-Jenni L.

Recipes source from: The Girl Who Ate Everything

 

 

 

Lasagna Cupcakes

Ingredients
1/3 pound ground beef
Salt and pepper
24 wonton wrappers
1 ¾ cup grated parmesan cheese
¾ cup ricotta cheese
1 cup pasta sauce
Basil for garnish

Instructions
1. Preheat the oven to 375°F
2. Spray muffin tin with cooking spray
3. Brown beef, season with salt and pepper
4. Drain beef
5. Return pan to heat and add tomato sauce
6. Cut wonton wrappers into circle shapes (using the top of a drinking glass)
7. Start layering; wonton wrapper, tomato sauce, ricotta
8. Repeat layers until add about 2-3 wonton wrapper layers are added per cupcake
9. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese
10. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until edges are brown
11. Let cool for 5 minutes
12. Use a knife to loosen edges, then pop each lasagna out
13. Garnish with basil and serve

Buon appetito!

Recipe Rating:
Novelty Rating:
3.8 of 5 stars
Likelihood of Repeat: 75%
The taste of melted cheese is like gelato on a warm day and that’s lasagna; however, lasagna in a cupcake shape is phenomenal. I don’t think I could ever go back to making lasagna in a rectangular pan. My cupcake tin is now reserved for lasagna!

Lesson Learned: Use cooking spray and let the lasagna sit for 5 minutes after removed from the oven. Removing the lasagna cupcake from the tin is delicate and letting the lasagna rest for 5 minutes after removed from the oven is key (reserve a little cheese to munch on in the meantime). ☺

So easy to eat!
So easy to eat!

[Broccoli & Spinach] Miso Slaw

As a kid, my mom would make steamed broccoli, and my favorite parts to eat were the little slices of tender stalk (outside bark was peeled off) that she would steam along with the usual tree-like shapes I would stick in bowls of rice to create a tiny diorama before eating. It wasn’t until years later that I learned other people don’t necessarily consider the stalk worth even cooking.  I found this combo while searching for recipes to use up the giant quantity of miso I will have left over from another one that calls for only a few tablespoons.

Miso Slaw
From The Kitchn’s recipe.

Pretty green close-up, post-mixing.
Pretty green close-up, post-mixing.

Miso dressing
1/3 cup rice vinegar
3 tablespoons yellow or red miso (note: check labels to ensure specific gluten-freedness)
3 large garlic cloves, peeled
2 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons chopped fresh ginger
2 teaspoons sesame oil
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup mayonnaise

Chop chop chop chop chop chop, chop chop, blend.
Chop chop chop chop chop chop, chop chop, blend.

Step 1: mix everything in a blender.

Salad ingredients
4 broccoli stalks, julienned into bite-sized pieces*
4 cups chopped spinach
1/2 cup finely chopped sliced almonds

Step 2: mix dressing and salad ingredients in a large bowl. Garnish with almonds and chill or serve.

Consumed on Day 1 with a side of brown rice and baked tilapia.
Consumed on Day 1 with a side of brown rice and baked tilapia.

Today’s Recipe Rating:
Novelty Rating: 4 of 5 stars.
This was astonishingly a salad I was both happy to eat, and that I thought was good for me, and the flavors only seemed to get better on day 2 and day 3.
Likelihood of Repeat: 20% See below.
Lesson Learned: Unfortunately, being the thrifty person I am, *I did not buy “Trader Joe’s broccoli slaw,” so the amount of time it took to shred broccoli stalk myself was maddening, and did not feel equal to the amount of slaw I got out of it. Still seems weird that Trader Joe’s would sell something people often might thing to throw away, or could get out of spare stalk, though..

Sunday Prep Day:
Chardegg Cakes for Breakf*st

Dear Readers,
I hope you enjoyed the guest blogs! Many thanks to both Alex and Kris for their generous contributions. In honor of the J_______ brothers’ penchant for delicious chicken dinners, check out HuffPo’s “8 Chicken Dinners that are Anything But Boring,” Relatedly, I may share a lettuce wrap combo in a later blog too.

New year, new plans!
This is a recipe I’ve been trying out in my efforts to build more muscle, to pack some protein into breakfast. I imagine my paleo friends will approve.
Breakfast is the most logical target for amping up nutrition to me. It has the highest chances of getting the fatty parts burned off in the day, and often follows a workout (timing recommended by fitness sources from the internets). My usual oatmeal (or quinoa) and fruit -or the under-nourishing half a grapefruit with sugar- were getting a little stale anyway. How to combat the morning time crunch? By cooking up a storm on Sundays for the next week!
You’ll laugh, but the first sign of minor minor success? Not having trouble opening sticky garlic jars from the fridge! …lately, at least..

Left: cups are prepped and ready for baking. Top right: sauteed onions. Bottom right: turkey bacon...still bacon.
Left: cups are prepped and ready for baking. Top right: sauteed onions. Bottom right: turkey bacon…still bacon.

Chardegg Cakes for Breakf*st
*So fast you can eat it while you run out the door and skip the ‘a’.
Original inspiration from: Paleo Living Magazine‘s Paleo Kale and Chives Egg Muffins + I Breathe I’m Hungry’s Swiss Chard & Ricotta Pie.

Ingredients:
4 eggs
1/4 cup almond milk
1 cup chard, finely chopped
1/4 c onions, finely chopped
1 roma tomato, chopped
1/2 tsp minced garlic
salt and pepper to taste
6 slices turkey bacon, or coconut oil to grease cupcake cups

Steps:
1. Preheat oven to 350F. Sauté onions 4 minutes on medium, add garlic, fry 1 minute more until garlic is golden.
2. Grease 6 cupcake molds with coconut oil or lay out turkey bacon in each cup.
3. Whisked together eggs, almond milk, chard, and onion-garlic mix.
4. Filled 6 cups with mixture, top with tomato bits.
5. Bake 30 minutes, then pop out egg cups to eat for the week.
Storage Note: if you make a double portion, these also freeze for a pretty decent breakfast later (defrost the day before you want to eat them). If you are a toaster oven devotee, you can pop them in to toast and it crisps them right up.

Today’s Recipe Rating:
Novelty Rating:
 4 of 5 stars.
The is the second round, I may update if I find the ham was even better (or maybe tasted more virtuous to eat than turkey bacon, which may or may not be better for you than using prosciutto).
Likelihood of Repeat: 90%
This has been a household hit too, increasing the chances of repeat. It’s also so portable and satisfyingly filling.
Lesson Learned: Yes, there is such a thing as too much kale.
Also: you burn through a lot of eggs when you’re trying to eat more protein. See below for other variations I’ve tried. Check out the update on this recipe from March!

The finished product mid-bite.
The finished product mid-bite.

Other variations:
Italian sausage lining instead of turkey bacon – I tried this and found it too fatty-feeling. Plus, I am not a big fan of the fennel seeds in italian sausage mix.

Prosciutto lining – Ironically, this felt less fattening, since the prosciutto crisps up nicely, and makes the “muffins” easy to hold. However, I didn’t feel I could justify eating prosciutto for breakfast every single weekday.

Just egg, no liner – Boring, but functional if you don’t want to spend on more meat than egg protein.
Kale instead of chard – I tried this one, but accidentally put too much kale in. It is much better with tomato on top for a little variety in flavor. Chard seemed to bake a little softer.

Salsa or ketchup on the side – if you find whatever combo you’ve made a little bland, salsa can perk things up –or ketchup, if you are up for the added sugar. The American kid in me says, “ketchup makes everything better!”