I studied abroad for six months while I was in college. Hands down, it was the most rewarding and life altering experience of my four years of education. I can vividly remember sitting in the orientation class and listening to a past student talk about her time in London. She boasted about how she had lost her “freshmen fifteen” during her stay due to the large amount of required walking. I was bursting with excitement. I couldn’t wait to feel a foreign pavement beneath my feet and if my walking around an unfamiliar country while soaking in the rich history meant I would also shed a few pounds, sign me up.
I had never struggled with my weight. Even though I ate like a seven-year-old, I was highly active and went to the gym regularly during my first two years of college. I stepped on a scale once a year at my annual doctor’s appointment. My weight never weighed very heavy, or really at all, on my mind.
Looking back, I think I prematurely convinced myself that my experience would perfectly align with that of the orientation speaker. I would live abroad. Walk miles upon miles a day and have zero need to join a gym or watch what I was eating. I was terribly mistaken.
My best friend and I coped with living in another country by eating. And eat we did. We dined multiple times a week at the local Pizza Hut or McDonalds. We frequently indulged in Samir’s, which was basically mayonnaise on a pita and topped with chicken. Before bed we would drink a Vanilla Coke and eat a Sainsbury All Butter Madeira Cake. Sounds completely healthy, right? We blamed not being able to join the school’s gym on tight budgets and bad exchange rates. We honestly believed we could eat like pigs and the weight would never catch up to us because we were walking around England so quickly.
I’ll never forget the look on my mom’s face as I was half-way down the escalator at the Charlotte airport. It was a mixture of complete elation and confusion. It had been six long months since we had seen each other and I was noticeably a more plump version of the girl that had left. Even though she was quick to point out that I must have been eating well during my stay, I continued to live in denial. It wasn’t until a few weeks later when my favorite pair of jeans ripped straight up the middle while I was trying to stuff my butt into them that I realized I needed to change.
It took a period of drastic lifestyle adjustments and a change from the inside out to bring back that confidence I lost when I had gained extra pounds. I’m still far from a fruits and veggies eater but I do try. I check the scale more than once a year not to make sure I’m skinny but to make sure I’m healthy. I maintain my weight because I want to be completely naked and feel ridiculously sexy.
The correlation between my story and this recipe is that one of the major ways I whipped myself back into a healthy shape was through portion control. I love that this recipe makes it so easy to gage exactly how much you should eat. I can kill some Italian food so this method guarantees I don’t end up in a lasagna coma. It’s easy to assemble – so easy that there really isn’t a right or wrong way. There are zero measurements. Make it the way you like it. It’s quick to cook as long as you aren’t taking pictures of each step and it tastes delightful. Enjoy!
Pound of Ground Beef
Salt & Pepper
Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
Shredded Parmesan Cheese
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray muffin tin with cooking spray.
2. Brown beef and season with salt, pepper and Italian seasoning. Drain.
3. Return pan to the stovetop and add pasta sauce. Heat throughout.
4. Line each muffin cup with a wonton wrapper. Fill each wrapper with meat sauce, ricotta cheese and shredded cheese. Repeat. Top with remaining cheeses.
5. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until edges are brown. Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes. Use a butter knife to loosen the edges and then pop each lasagna cup out and serve!