Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Cooking with Pampered Chef




Everyone loves to eat. Sometimes we are able to spend a lot of time preparing delicious food for our families and, other times, we need to be realistic and realize that short-cuts are helpful and often necessary.

After attending a Pampered Chef party, I was immediately intrigued by PC’s newest item called the “Brownie Pan.”

If you’re not a baker, but take interest in cooking, like I do, don’t shy away based just on the name. This pan actually does so much more than just bake sweets. You can prepare appetizers and full meals.

There are hundreds of recipes that you can try and, since I have been craving lasagna for the last while, I decided to try out the Pampered Chef – Mini-Spinach Lasagna Squares.

With 12 individualized wells, aluminized steel provides ideal heat distribution and offers a non-stick coating for quick and easy clean-up. Say goodbye to those awful scrubby pads that end up ruining all your cookware.

Also, if you’re a little clumsy, the extended edges are a nice touch to the pan so you have a good grip with your oven mitts. It is also safe in conventional and convection ovens up to 450°F.

So what’s the downside?

Well, unfortunately, the only negative is that it is not dishwasher-safe, so this pan needs to be washed by hand. However, for the time that you ended up saving making dinner, it’s not a terrible inconvenience.

The Pampered Chef Mini-Spinach Lasagna Squares recipe:

  • 4 oz (125 g) part-skim mozzarella cheese (1 cup/250 mL grated), divided
  • 1 oz (30 g) fresh Parmesan cheese (1/4 cup/50 mL grated)
  • 1 pkg (10 oz/300 g) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and well drained
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 3/4 cups (425 mL) marinara sauce, divided
  • 24 small (approx 1½-2-in./4-5-cm squares) frozen cheese ravioli (12 oz/350 g)
  • Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Using Microplane Adjustable Coarse Grater, grate cheeses; place in two separate (1-cup/250-mL) Prep Bowls.
  • In Classic Batter Bowl, combine ½ cup (125 mL) of the mozzarella, Parmesan, spinach and garlic pressed with Garlic Press. Mix well with Small Mix ‘N Scraper.
  • Place marinara sauce in (2-cup/500-mL) Easy Read Measuring Cup. Using the Measuring Spoon Set, spoon 1 tbsp (15 mL) marinara sauce into each well of Brownie Pan; top with one ravioli.
  • Using Medium Scoop, place one rounded scoop of spinach mixture on top of each ravioli. Top with another ravioli. Spoon remaining marinara sauce over each ravioli and sprinkle with remaining mozzarella.
  • Bake 20-22 minutes or until cheese is melted and sauce is bubbly. Remove pan from oven to Stackable Cooling Rack. Serve with Mini Nylon Serving Spatula.

I tweaked the recipe a little bit to meet our needs. I used a plain, low-sodium tomato sauce and added herbs and spices. For the cheese, I used a mild cheddar and about half the amount of what the recipe suggested, just to keep it healthier and not so heavy.

Lasagna squares waiting to go into the oven
This recipe is really versatile and allows for proper portion-control, so the possibilities are endless for what you can create. All the italicized items can be found on the Pampered Chef website.

I would recommend getting the Mini Nylon Serving Spatula if you’re going to use the Brownie Pan. You really can’t have one without the other. The spatula is designed to fit this particular pan, it lifts up items without scratching the finish, and it is dishwasher safe.

I was quite proud that I didn't have a lasagna meltdown on the plate. These mini lasagna squares were a hit and I even have a few leftovers for lunch tomorrow.

The pre-portioned lasagna squares are done and just waiting to be served.

The plated lasagna squares made easy with Pampered Chef.

Pampered Chef has a product line of over 500 items and, with the holidays right around the corner, this is one of the many gifts that beginner cooks all the way to the culinary chef, in your life, will cherish for a lifetime.