Friday, September 30, 2011

Leftovers Pizza

A delightfully easy and gratifying dinner for the lazy or tired.

1. Use your favorite kind of frozen pizza (cheese for me!)

2. Put stuff on it.  (I used the leftover sauteed veggies from last night's Lasagna Cupcakes and the leftover Miscellaneous Cheese Mixture from the night I made Cacio e Pepe, Herbed Feta Cherry Tomatoes, and slightly failed Parmesan Crisps (all of which I made in my pre-blog days, so now I'll have the joy of making them again!)

3. Cook according to the box directions.

4. Drink water and play with your cat(s) while you wait.

You end up with something slightly less unhealthy than you started with.

Mojo had a sardine, 1/2 can of his prescription food, and later managed to nab one of his favorite plunders - pizza crust.  He seems to covet pizza and pizza crust more than other foods.  He goes apeshit for just about anything I make in the kitchen, but really he seems to like pizza as much as I do.

Once my roommate said to me: "Megan, I think you really ought to feed your cat more.  Last night, I set a pizza out on the counter, with the box completely closed, and I went into the bathroom for like 30 seconds...."

By this point I knew exactly how the story ended.  "...and?"  I prompted with a knowing smile in my eyes.

"I came out and he was running across the room with a piece of pizza in his mouth!"

Well duh.

For the record, he didn't turn out to be such a freak because of me.  I got him when he was about 6 years old, from my landlord.  He had been raised on that property from birth, as a slightly feral outdoor cat.  The runt of his litter, his mother was also too young to care properly for her kittens.  Therefore, Mojo developed a 'scarcity mentality' about life. Even after he has just eaten more than a mouse-sized portion of food, ("doesn't he get sick when you feed him that much?" asked another friend upon seeing his dinner portions) if I am start to prepare food of any kind, he yowls and meows like he's trying to win a Plaintive Award.

I feed him plenty, but it's hard-wired into his kitty brain to never pass up an opportunity to eat.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Lasagna Cupcakes

I happened upon this recipe recently in the depths of a labyrinthine food blog perusal session - I don't know what I was originally looking for.  Maybe lasagna.  Following links on food blogs to other food blogs, finding a good one and looking at their list of recipes, then at first sight.

Lasagna Cupcakes.

I knew this would be a flexible, easy-to-make, hard-to-mess up recipe.  And indeed - after just one attempt, this is already one of my 'Easy Awesome' recipes, perfect for a satisfying, easy dinner at the end of a stressful day, or a surprising fancy creation if you want to show off.

I created my basic recipe by combining the common features of these two recipes from Cruftbox and Can You Stay for Dinner?

Lasagna Cupcakes

Wonton wrappers (find them in the fridge in the produce aisle)
Pasta sauce (if you want to keep it lazy and simple, choose a very flavorful sauce. I used Sockarooni)
Ricotta cheese (essential for the lasagna experience!)
Olive Oil

Optional Ingredients:
Parmesan cheese
Mozzarella cheese 
Veggies! (it doesn't take a lot of effort to make something seem fancy. I poured some olive oil in a saute pan, mixed in generic Italian seasoning and small chopped zucchini, green beans, shredded carrots, and diced onions. Cooked over medium-low heat with the lid on. Meanwhile, I grated mozzarella, and lined the cupcake pan with oil and wrappers. 

Grease cupcake tin with a little olive oil (adds flavor and prevents sticking)
Form wrappers into cup shapes
Add stuff* (pasta sauce, ricotta, etc)
Add another wonton wrapper
Add more stuff** (more sauce, veggies, etc)
Top with mozzarella

Bake at 375 for an excruciating 10-15 minutes, or until golden brown.  I was literally pacing back and forth in front of the stove waiting for these suckers to cook so I could find out how good they'd be.

*For the bottom layer, I started with a dollop*** of pasta sauce, then a dollop of ricotta. For kicks, I added an ample sprinkling of Parmesan cheese, and a twist of freshly ground black pepper from the pepper mill.

**For the second layer, I added a little bit more sauce, a small spoonful of the sauteed veggies (green beans, zucchini, carrots and onion). Then I topped it with mozzarella.

***The exact measurement of a 'dollop' is about a spoonful

Post-Bliss Ruminations: 
These were really fucking good.  

Everything lasagna should be - perfect, gooey, maybe even a little crispy or crunchy in places, perfect blend of cheeses, hits your hungry stressed out overworked belly like a hug from a friend that will never let you down when you really need them.  

I loved the way the wonton wrappers looked because I didn't tuck in the ends - very decorative and loved the way they crisped. 

The best dinner I've had since I made Easy Peanut Red Curry a couple weeks ago.

To take out of the pan, I just grabbed a crispy corner of the wrapper and popped it right out (thank you, olive oil!)

The package of wonton wrappers I bought (for $2 on sale) has ~40 wrappers in it, so I have enough of everything to make another batch very soon!!!!!

I ate four lasagna cupcakes and felt satisfied, but due to a certain recurring feminine event, I also took the liberty of eating a slice of Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread from the bakery where I work and two-mini Snickers bars.  Now I'm in a moderate food-coma.  I'm too happy to move.