Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Ravioli Lasagna Cups

Wow!!! My family and I returned home from a 9 day vacation yesterday. While I was gone, I had a ton of requests for a recipe for the lasagna cups that I made for my last post before we left. I never dreamed these little cups would be so popular. I have had a blast of social media activity on that little lunch. Hmmm.....maybe I should go on vacation more often! We love these lasagna cups, and they really are very easy to make. There is a surprise ingredient in them....ravioli. Yep!! I use precooked ravioli for the noodles. And why not?? Ravioli are the perfect base for lasagna made in muffin cups, providing not only the pasta, but the yummy cheesy filling, as well. I adapted my recipe from The Muffin Tin Cookbook. This is a great cookbook with over 200 recipes for meals cooked in a muffin tin. If you like to cook using a muffin tin, this would be a fabulous book to add to your cookbook arsenal.

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Ravioli Lasagna
Serves 6, using a jumbo silicone muffin cup

12 large cheese filled ravioli- I use the Kirkland brand 4 cheese ravioli at Costco.
1/2 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
3 cups of your favorite tomato based meat sauce- If you make your own meat sauce, please use that. These lasagna cups are delicious with homemade meat sauce. If you don't have your own recipe for a meat sauce, Here is a very tasty recipe. This is my exact recipe except that I add 1 tsp sugar to cut the acidity of the tomatoes, add 1 bay leaf, and sometimes I add a can of sliced mushrooms.
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/8 cup grated Parmesan cheese- I use Kraft Parm/Romano/Asiago blend
1 Tbsp. milk or half & half
1/4 tsp. Italian seasoning
1/8 tsp. garlic powder
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Spray the jumbo cups with cooking spray and set them on a foil lined (or Silpat lined) baking sheet. Or, you could also put them in a jumbo muffin tin. 
2. Cook the ravioli according to package instructions until al dente.
3. In a small bowl, mix together the ricotta, Italian seasoning, garlic powder, salt, pepper, and milk (or half & half).

4. Cut each ravioli in half, so you have two circles (It's okay if the filling ends up mostly on one side. This step allows all the flavors to combine like a real lasagna.)
******At this point, I like to set up the ravioli, cheese mixture, mozzarella cheese, and meat sauce in sort of a makeshift assembly line. ******

5. Place a dollop of meat sauce in the bottom of each cup. Ok, I say 'dollop' here because I don't know exactly how much meat sauce I use. I generally just use a regular sized spoon and scoop enough sauce to cover the bottom of the cup.
6. In each cup, layer 1/2 of a ravioli (noodle side down), 1 tsp. ricotta mix, 1 tsp. mozzarella, and 2 tsp. meat sauce on top. Repeat this two more times in each cup. Honestly, I do not measure these amounts when I make these. I usually eyeball the amounts. But, if you eyeball these amounts, don't get so zealous adding the ingredients that you run out of space in the cups to add all the layers.
7. Top each cup with 1/2 of a ravioli (noodle side up).
8. Top with enough meat sauce to cover the ravioli, and sprinkle the top generously with the Parmesan cheese blend. I actually forgot to buy the Parmesan cheese blend when I made these. So, I added a bit of cheddar cheese on top. 
9. Bake for 15- 20 minutes until bubbly. Allow to cool and set for 10 minutes or so before eating. 

Friends, these are hard to mess up. If you aren't a meat eater, use your favorite spaghetti or marinara sauce in place of the meat sauce. If you love garlic, add more garlic. Same with the spices....add the spices you like best. Want a little zing? Add your favorite hot sauce. Change the ravioli flavor to spinach and cheese....these would still be delish!! Don't like mozzarella cheese? Use cheddar cheese. You can change the ingredients in the lasagna cups up a hundred different ways, and they will still taste great. This recipe alone is yummy. But, you can use it as a base to build your own lasagna cups. Tailor these to your family's taste. 


Some of the things I used to make this lunch:

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