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Individual Lasagna Cups {Toddler Approved}

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Every time John makes The Pioneer Woman’s lasagna (his go-to lasagna recipe), Lily gobbles up what we serve her and often asks for more. He makes a huge pan of it so there’s plenty of leftovers for quick Lily meals during the week.

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Although Ree’s lasagna certainly is delicious, it’s not exactly the healthiest recipe out there. I wanted to make a lasagna using whole wheat noodles, low-sodium marinara sauce, and spinach to ensure Lily is getting whole grains and veggies without too much salt.

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I also wanted to make individual portions so I could freeze them and easily defrost and reheat them as needed.

A quick google search for “lasagna cups” yields a ton of recipes; most of which call for wonton wrappers instead of lasagna noodles. Although the former are quick to prepare and easier to stuff into muffin cups, I wanted to stick with the traditional lasagna noodles.

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Each cup is stuffed with a meat & spinach sauce, an herby ricotta mixture, and – of course – plenty of mozzarella cheese. The cups are baked to a bubbly & crispy perfection, and they pop right out of the muffin tin if you grease it beforehand.

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One or two cups is the perfect serving size for a toddler, and Lily loves them!

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Individual Lasagna Cups {Toddler Approved}

by Lauren Zembron

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Keywords: bake main entree cheese beef pasta spinach

Ingredients (12 muffin cups)

  • 6 whole wheat lasagna noodles (make sure you buy the noodles that DO require boiling)
  • 2 tsp extra virgin olive oil, plus more for oiling baking sheet and muffin tin
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 lb lean ground beef, preferably grass-fed
  • Kosher salt, optional (I didn’t add any because the lasagna cups were for Lily)
  • 1 cup low-sodium marinara sauce
  • 2 handfuls baby spinach, preferably organic, chopped or whole
  • 1 cup ricotta, part-skim or whole milk
  • 1 egg, preferably organic, lightly whisked
  • 1/2 tsp dried parsley
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup freshly grated low-moisture, part-skim or whole milk mozzarella cheese

Instructions

Preheat oven to 375°F.

Cook noodles according to package directions, gently stirring every couple of minutes; drain. Lay drained noodles on a large baking sheet lightly coated with olive oil; set aside.

Meanwhil, heat 2 tsp olive oil in a large skillet set over medium-high heat. Add minced garlic and sauté for 20 seconds or until fragrant. Add in ground beef and a couple pinches of salt if using; cook, breaking meat up with a wooden spoon, until browned, about 3-5 minutes. Reduce heat to low and add marinara sauce and spinach. Stir until spinach has wilted; set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the ricotta, whisked egg, dried parsley, dried oregano, a pinch of salt if using, and black pepper; stir until well-combined.

Lightly coat a 12 cup standard muffin tin with olive oil.

Cut each lasagna noodle in half. Lay one half of a noodle into the bottom of each oiled muffin cup. Spoon a heaping tablespoon of the meat mixture into each noodle-lined muffin cup. Top with a heaping tablespoon of the ricotta mixture, followed by a heaping tablespoon of the grated mozzarella.

Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbly and golden.

Let cups cool for 5 minutes before carefully removing with a butter knife. Let cool to room temperature before serving to your toddler.

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