Buffalo Pasta Cups
Waaaaaaay back when I was a little girl I could not stand to eat anything spicy. My reasoning was, “why on earth burn your mouth when you could just fill it with chocolate instead?”. In my defense, that is pretty sound logic. My sister, on the other hand, has loved spicy things pretty much from the time she started eating regular foods. Now she spends her days eating burgers with ghost peppers and buying the salsa that comes with a huge warning label. Lane is just like her too, I can’t making anything too spicy for him.
And while I still prefer not to have the fire department on speed dial when I sit down to a meal, I have branched out a bit. I enjoy eating medium-level salsa, some jalapenos, and especially buffalo sauce. Usually mild, but for special occasions I can crank it all the way up to medium. That’s right. It’s getting hot in here y’all (but we should probably leave our clothes on – we’re friends and all, but not like that).
And I am now on a mission to add buffalo sauce to all things. Sure, I’ve done the buffalo mac n’ cheese, and I make a mean buffalo taco (recipe to come to the blog at some point), but with the Super Bowl approaching I wanted to make something a little healthier. Don’t get me wrong – I love crunching on boneless wings and eating an entire bag of chips with a huge bowl of guac as much as the next gal. I’m all about plates of cookies and brownies and huge margaritas (oh my!). But once in a while you gotta throw in a veggie or two, just to balance things out.
And that’s what these pasta cups do. They provide balance. Because they come with not 1, but 2 veggies! So they basically undo all the other junk we can stuff our faces with at a party. Annnnd they’re tasty. That is a win in my book.
Plus, when you’re not hosting a huge bash centered on watching football and commercials, you can easily just prepare this as a pasta bake in a pan and serve it family style – it is just as yummy. Or you can stay fancy and serve your family individual cups. For, ya know, portion control and whatnot.
There really isn’t anything too special you need to know about cooking this dish other than, DON’T MAKE THE SAME MISTAKE I DID. Buy muffin cups that are all metal – no paper whatsoever. Just don’t do it. The paper will stick to the pastas and you will be sad. And then you will decide eating paper can’t be all that bad for you, and then you will think that the pasta cups taste really good minus the paper flavor. But you can avoid all that by just making sure you buy the right muffin cups.
Other than that, just make sure you put lots o’ salt in the pasta water and a little drizzle of EVOO to keep the noodles from sticking. And get ready to wow your healthier party guests by serving up a delicious, vegetarian appetizer. Plus, it will get your friends who can’t stop talking about their new running schedule and workout regimen and how much healthier they feel after that amazing juice cleanse to be quiet for the 20 seconds it takes them to eat one of these guys. And that is worth the 30 minutes it takes to prepare these bad boys.
- 3 c. penne pasta*
- 24 metal muffin cups
- 1 green bell pepper
- 1/2 a large onion
- 16 oz. Ranch flavored seasoning
- 4 oz. blue cheese
- 2 c. cheddar cheese
- 1 t. lemon pepper
- 1 t. cumin
- 1/2 c. Frank's Red Hot (or similar sauce)
- Preheat the oven to 350. Put 5 c. of water in a large saucepan; heavily salt the water and drizzle with a little EVOO. Bring water to boil. Once water is boiling add pasta and cook about 10-13 minutes. Once pasta is done cooking, drain and set aside.
- While pasta is cooking prepare 2 muffin tins with muffin cups - spray with cooking spray and set aside. Finely chop green bell pepper and onion. When pasta is cooked and drained in a large bowl combine pasta, veggies, ranch flavoring, cheeses, spices, and hot sauce. Spoon by 1/4 c. into muffin tins and bake for 30 minutes. Serve and enjoy!
- *To make this recipe gluten free use GF pasta 🙂
- To serve family style skip the muffin tin preparation and instead prepare a baking dish with cooking spray; continue following directions above placing pasta mixture in baking dish. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.