Lasagna is my kitchen superhero. When faced with a busy Tuesday or an unexpected table of 20, this dish always saves the day. With simple staple items on hand (noodles, canned sauce, cheese), you can throw together a satisfying meal with very little time or effort. Keep it totally vegetarian or add meat, spice as desired, and then let the oven finish the job.
But guess what? While lasagna (the dish) will save dinner, lasagna (the noodle) will prove equally heroic for throwing together small bites and snacks with little effort and time. So when cravings strike next, think outside the layers and try these five, noodle-filled bites.
1. Lasagna rolls
This Pinterest darling is a fun way to transform leftover, cooked noodles into a filling appetizer or an easily reheatable desk lunch. Of course there’s the traditional version, with herbs, spinach, and ricotta as the filling. But don’t be afraid to experiment with chicken and beans; turkey and cheddar; or bacon, kale, and tomato sauce (a twist on the classic BLT).
2. Lasagna cupcakes
What happens when you combine cooked noodles and a muffin tin? Single-serving lasagna cupcakes. Simply layer cooked noodles inside the greased muffin molds to create a crust and then add your choice of favorite lasagna (or frittata!) fillings. These make a fun snack for kids and adults alike. And when filled with vegetables, they become a healthy option for breakfast, too. Simply pack, reheat, and eat at work.
3. Lasagna crackers
This is my favorite lasagna hack. Whether you have cooked noodles or some fresh lasagna on hand, cut the sheets into chip-sized shapes. Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper and lay out the noodles in a single layer. Spray (or paint) with olive oil and then sprinkle with salt and spices. Confession: I’m a sucker for garlic powder, dried onion, and caraway. Then place the noodles in a 375°F oven to cook until slightly puffed and crispy, about eight to 10 minutes. If they haven’t cooked to your liking, keep going at two-minute increments, careful to check often and not let them burn.
Once they are done, you now have lasagna crackers! Serve with dip or eat them as they are. Keep any leftovers in an airtight container for up to a week.
4. Lasagna chilaquiles
Ever wonder what to do with all those cracked pieces of lasagna at the bottom of the box? Now you have your answer: chilaquiles. That’s right — in place of traditional tortilla chips, throw broken bits of no-boil noodles into a spicy tomato sauce. Add a fried egg and top with avocado, jalapeño, and green onion. This makes a great meal for one (or two).
5. Microwave lasagna kugel
When S.O.S. dessert cravings strike, simply use two time-efficient kitchen tools — a microwave and no-boil lasagna noodles — to get the snack you need. Place an egg and about 1/4 cup of milk in a microwave-safe mug and whisk with a fork. Add a little sugar and a sprinkle of cinnamon, and something else sweet, like a splash of vanilla extract or honey. Add nuts and dried fruit as desired, and then break one piece of no-boil lasagna into little chunks. Add them to the mug and mix again until combined, and then microwave at one-minute intervals for three minutes, stirring in between, until egg is cooked through and no longer runny. Let it cool slightly, about five minutes. Stir in a little yogurt or cottage cheese until it has the pudding-like consistency you desire.
Enjoy straight out of the mug or turn it into a guest-worthy dessert by cooking in ramekins and serving with vanilla ice cream.