Friday, December 27, 2013

Lasagna Cupcakes

Happy Holidays! I hope that everyone is enjoying time with family, friends, and good food. We've had a wonderful time celebrating and are ready to continue into the new year. I'm so thankful that I get school vacation around this time of year.  It fully allows me to enjoy a lot of time out and about, as well as time at home. I love cooking dinner when I'm not rushing around after work.

These individual lasagnas are a perfect dinner and an excellent potluck option. I first discovered this recipe in a Hungry Girl email a couple years ago. I've altered it slightly over time as we've enjoyed this meal. I decided it was finally time to photograph these and post the recipe here. This recipe makes about 12 cupcakes. Enjoy!

You will need:
*olive oil (eyeball about one tablespoon)
*1 pound ground turkey breast
*1/4 tsp. salt, divided

*1/8 tsp. black pepper

*1 cup onion
, chopped
*1/2 cup  mushrooms, chopped

*about 18oz of your favorite marinara sauce (or crushed tomatoes with garlic)
*1/2 tsp. Italian seasoning

*1 clove garlic, minced
*10-oz. spinach, chopped (I rarely use frozen spinach. We prefer to sautee fresh, but frozen could definitely work hear if thawed and squeeezed dry)
1 1/2 cups part-skim ricotta cheese
1 egg
*1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg
24 small square wonton wrappers
*1 1/2 cups shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese 

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

2. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add ground turkey and season with 1/8 tsp. salt and pepper. Cook and crumble until no longer pink, about 5 minutes. Add onion and mushrooms, stirring often, and cook until veggies are soft and the turkey is cooked through. 

Reduce heat to low. Add marinara sauce and Italian seasoning to the skillet. Simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove the pan from the heat and set aside.

3. While turkey simmers, 

combine spinach, ricotta cheese, egg, nutmeg, remaining 1/8 tsp. salt, and garlic in a small bowl. Mix well and set aside.

4. Spray a 12-cup muffin pan with nonstick spray or olive oil. Be sure the pan is well coated so that the muffins won't stick. Press a wonton wrapper into the bottom and shape up the sides of each cup of the pan. Evenly distribute about half of the spinach-ricotta mixture among the cups, smoothing the surfaces with the back of a spoon.

Next, add about half of the turkey mixture among the cups, smoothing the surfaces with the back of a spoon. Sprinkle each turkey layer with about 1 tablespoon mozzarella cheese. Place another wonton wrapper into each cup, lightly pressing it down on the cheese layer and along the sides of the cup, letting the edges fall over the pan. Repeat the layering by evenly distributing remaining spinach-ricotta mixture and turkey mixture among the cups. Top each cup with another tablespoon of mozzarella cheese.

5. Bake in the oven for about 10 minutes or until cheese has melted and wrapper edges are browned. Cool slightly before removing from pan.

These are best after a few minutes out of the oven. They do reheat well for the filling, but I find that the bottom wrapper can get soggy. I usually try to make them close to serving time. We do still enjoy leftovers for lunch throughout the week when I make them for just the two of us.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Recipe Swap: Crockpot Beef and Broccoli

Sarah is hosting another What's Cooking Recipe Swap. For this swap I was assigned Simple Gourmet Cooking. I had fun browsing Dawn's blog, and it was difficult to decide which recipe to try first! I pulled Dave in to help sort through my narrowed down choices. This beef and broccoli was perfect. I love utilizing the crockpot to cook weekend dinners. We both really enjoyed this dinner and plan to repeat it again. It was the perfect amount for the two of us to enjoy dinner and lunch the next day.

You will need:
*1 cup beef broth
*1/2 cup low sodium soy sauce
*1/3 cup brown sugar
*1 tablespoon sesame oil
*3 garlic cloves, minced
*1 pound stew beef or a sliced beef chuck roast
          (We can never get a roast under 3 pounds, so I used the butcher's precut stew beef)
*2 tablespoons cornstarch
*frozen broccoli florets (as many as desired-we used 16oz)
*Rice, cooked

1. Add the beef broth, soy sauce, brown sugar, sesame oil and garlic to the insert of the crockpot. Stir together to combine.

2. Place the beef in the liquid and toss gently to coat. Cook on low 4-6 hours, until beef is completely cooked, but not shredding when touched.

3. In a small bowl, whisk together 4 tablespoons of the crockpot broth mixture and the cornstarch.  Add back into the crockpot and mix well. Cook on low for an additional 30 minutes to thicken up the sauce. During the last 15 minutes of cooking, add in the broccoli to heat through.

4. Serve hot over rice.