Book review: The Muffin Tin Chef by Matt Kadey

I don’t know about you, but I get tired of eating (I would say “cooking”, but my husband does 90% of that) the same meals all of the time. Once you get stuck in a rut of the same old burgers, taco’s and tuna casseroles, it can be hard to climb back out without a cookbook or two. Which is where The Muffin Tin Chef by Matt Kadey comes in.

With the help of The Muffin Tin Chef, I realized two things:

A) Muffin tins are good for more things than just making chocolate cupcakes and cornbread

B) You can make a muffin tin version of just about any entree (or dessert)

Some of the super-creative meals in this book that have a muffin-tin twist include Parmesan Hash Browns (yum), Turkey Pot Pies (double yum) and Lasagna Rolls (so good that I’ve received permission to print the recipe here):

Lasagna Rolls

Most muffin tin lasagnas floating around the Web use wonton wrappers, but I think a more authentic and flavorful result comes from taking the extra effort to use lasagna noodles. When using a store-bought tomato sauce, I’ll often jazz it up by blending it with mushrooms, red wine vinegar, red chili flakes, oregano, or other seasonings.

(A note from Crazy Mandy: I used meat sauce, so the version that I made wasn’t exactly vegetarian, but was tasty just the same.)

 Serves 6

Vegetarian, Freezes Well

9 whole wheat lasagna noodles

2 cups store-bought pasta sauce or homemade (see page 84), divided

1½ cups reduced-fat ricotta cheese

4 ounces chopped spinach (about 3 cups)

1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese (about 4 ounces)

salt

torn fresh basil, to serve

grated Parmesan cheese, to serve

In a large pot of water, cook the lasagna noodles according to the package directions until al dente. Depending on the size of your pot, you may need to do this in batches. Divide half of the pasta sauce among 6 jumbo muffin cups. Lay the noodles on a flat work surface and spread the ricotta cheese over each one. Top the ricotta with the spinach, and tightly roll the noodles. Slice each roll in half and stuff three lasagna rounds into each of 6 jumbo muffin cups with the cut sides up. Sprinkle the tops with a dash of salt. Top with the remaining sauce and the mozzarella cheese.

Bake until the cheese is melted and bubbly, about 20 minutes. Let cool for several minutes before unmolding. As they cool, the lasagna rolls will meld together. To unmold, run a butter knife around the edges, place a flat object such as a cutting board on top of the tin and turn upside down. If desired, serve with torn basil, grated Parmesan cheese, and/or additional pasta sauce.

If you’re stuck in a meal-making rut and need to inject a little creativity, then I suggest that you check this cookbook out. It certainly helped me (and Josh, who got to sit back and relax while I made dinner for a change!)

(Disclaimer: I received a copy of The Muffin Tin Chef from the published in exchange for my honest review. For more information, please check out my disclosure policy.)

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