Sara Pokorny

QUICK APPS & FOOTBALL SNAPS: Week 8 – Lasagna cups

QUICK APPS & FOOTBALL SNAPS: Week 8 – Lasagna cups
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Oh, pasta.

If there is one thing that stops my clean eating dead in its tracks, it’s pasta. It’s not only the easiest dinner to make, but also the most delicious.

One of my favorite ways to eat noodles is in the form of lasagna, a dish layered with cheese, sauce, and sometimes meat that I will eat until I can’t hold any more in.

That’s the problem with lasagna – it normally comes in a huge pan and there’s no limit to how big a piece you can cut yourself. Want half the tray for your meal? Have at it.

There is a way, however, to enjoy this traditional Italian dish without busting your gut – lasagna cups.

Week 8 (Oct. 23-27): Lasagna Cups

Knowledge while you nosh:

Start your work week off on Monday with the Washington Redskins versus the Dallas Cowboys at 8:30 p.m. on ESPN – and the reason I jump to this is because it’s possible the Cowboys will win their seventh game in a row that night.

Get started early on Sunday at 9:30 a.m. with a match-up between the Detroit Lions and the Atlanta Falcons. The day rolls on with the Baltimore Ravens against the Cincinnati Bengals at 1 p.m. on CBS, then at night with the Green Bay Packers and New Orleans Saints at 8:30 p.m. on NBC.

*Note that all times are EST and you may not be able to get certain games, depending on the area in which you live.

Courtesy of
Yields 12 cups


For the sauce: (or use your favorite recipe or canned)

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 large onion
  • 1/2 pound lean ground beef cooked and drained
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 small zucchini, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1-6 oz. can tomato paste
  • 1-8 oz. can tomato sauce (+ 1/2 can water to wash out can)
  • 1-14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon dried basil
  • 1/2 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • Salt & pepper to taste

For the cheese filling:

  • 1 10-oz. tub Philadelphia Italian Herb & Cheese Cooking Cream
  • 1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 3/4 pound mozzarella cheese, grated and divided
  • 1/3 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 egg

21 lasagna pasta sheets


Start with the sauce (unless you’re lazy and use canned, or you’re super Italian and have your own recipe you wouldn’t dare deviate from): heat the olive oil over medium heat and sauté onions, pepper, zucchini, and garlic until tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in the cooked ground beef and tomato paste until well blended. Add the remaining ingredients and bring the whole thing to a simmer. Then reduce the heat to low and cook 30 minutes or so. It should end up pretty thick.

Move on to the cheese filling: you just reserve half of the grated mozzarella cheese for later and stir everything else together.

The pasta is also pretty easy: boil it. Come on. You know how pasta goes by now. Just cook it 2 minutes less than the package says since you’ll be throwing these bad boys into more heat soon.
Once your sauce is done, you’re ready to assemble everything. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and line a muffin tin with squares of parchment paper that spill out a bit over the sides.

Roll a pasta sheet into a little cylinder that will fit in each tin space (it’ll be longer than necessary, but it’s OK if the ends overlap). Do this for all the cups.

Spoon a half tablespoon of sauce into each cup. Take a lasagna noodle and cut it into quarters, using one piece as a layer on top of the sauce. Top that with cheese, then another pasta piece, then sauce, pushing down to get any air bubbles out. Once the cup is almost full, top it with another little pasta piece, some sauce, and some of that extra mozzarella cheese you left sitting to the side.

Bake for about 30 minutes, until it’s all hot and bubbly, then dig in.

Full schedule for the week:

Quick Apps & Football Snaps showcases healthier snacking alternatives for the pigskin season. It runs every Thursday through the NFL season to help you get a jump-start on your snacks for a weekend of sports.