My mom makes a fantastic lasagna. It has been my favorite since I was knee-high to a grasshopper (a little kid, that is!). We make it often, though we do make a slightly different version. Usually we bake it in the oven, but this time we decided to make the lasagna in smaller pans and ‘bake’ them in the Char-Broil Big Easy. The results were amazing. Fantastic mini lasagna, hot and bubbly in no-time, ready to devour!
The technique for making mini lasagna on the Big Easy is al most the same as how we make big baking pans of lasagna. The difference is that the noodles have to be cut to fit the miniature pans. We found that the best approach was to cut an inch off the end of the noodles, then cut them in half. They fit perfectly!
We used a bunk bed basket to make 4 mini lasagnas at a time. They cooked evenly and quickly.
We used these disposable aluminum pans. Leftovers can be wrapped in foil and kept in the freezer.
1poundfresh buffalo mozzarella torn into chunks, or use shredded
For the meat sauce
Crumble the meats into a large pot or Dutch oven and brown over medium high heat. Drain fat if desired.
Add the onion and cook until softened.
Add the garlic and cook another minute.
Add in all of the sauce ingredients.
Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer and cook, covered, 1-2 hours.
Continue cooking with lid off for another hour, adding a bit more water if the sauce is too thick.
For the lasagna
Cook noodles per package instructions. Drain well.
Cut 1" off of each noodle end then cut each in half in the middle.
First, spread a little sauce out on the bottom of each pan.
Then, layer the ingredients in the following order. Try to divide the ingredients evenly between each layer, but you don't have to be picky about it.
Repeat for 3 total layers.
Fire up your Big Easy. You can cook 2 lasagnas at a time in the basket that comes with the Big Easy. With a bunk bed basket you can cook 4 at a time.Place loaf pans into the Big Easy basket (and bunk bed, if using). Place in the Big Easy and cook for 15 minutes or until the cheese is hot and bubbly.
Cook the remaining 4 pans while the first pans rest. Alternately, keep them in the oven on low or warm until the final pans are done.
One of my favorite things to make on my Char-Broil Big Easy is split chicken breasts. I buy the chicken on sale, and stock up big. A few bottles of store-bought marinade, a little time, and I’ve got great tasting, tender, moist chicken. I usually cut the meat from the bone and save it for topping salads. Perfect.
This time I grabbed Rib Rack’s Chicken marinade. They claim it’s the “perfect blend of onions, garlic, apples, citrus and spices” and by golly, they’re right. The marinade made for delicious chicken. I let the chicken marinate for about 4 hours. I tend to not marinate as long when the marinade contains citrus. Four hours turned out to be the perfect amount of time.
The Rib Rack chicken marinade does contain sugar, so you’ll want to keep an eye on your chicken as it cooks in the Big Easy. High temperatures and sugar don’t usually go well together. You can end up with a pretty good crisp on your chicken, though mine just started to get dark right as the chicken was done. Perfect.
Sometimes it’s the little things. I bought 12 stainless steel oyster shells the other day and ever since I can’t stop cooking with them. I initially made these BBQ shrimp in oyster shells on my gas grill. We enjoyed them so much that I next made them on my Char-Broil Big Easy. Getting a dozen shells on the Big Easy is a bit tricky but I got it to work and the shrimp were delicious! (If you don’t have two Bunk Bed baskets, or even one, that’s ok! Just use the basket that comes with the Big Easy and cook four shells at a time!).
The broth that the BBQ shrimp cooks in in the oyster shells on the Char-Broil Big Easy is what adds such tremendous flavor to the shrimp. As an added bonus, you’re left with a good bit of the broth in the bottom of the shells after you devour the shrimp. That broth is absolutely crazy good for soppin’, so grab a few slices of grilled French bread and get to dippin’!
Loading the Big Easy
You can fit 4 oyster shells per ‘level’ in the Big Easy. The bottom level is the bottom of the standard basket that comes with the Big Easy. You’ll want to add the shells, the shrimp and the butter mixture to that level before continuing on to the next.
Then, add a Bunk Bed Basket, latching it so it’s just above the bottom level. Add 4 shells to that level, the shrimp and butter mixture. Finally, you need to add one more Bunk Bed Basket. That’s trickier because it’s easy to knock the bottom basket lose and onto the shrimp below. I take the bunk bed basket and insert it at a bit of an angle. I turn it so that the latches on the sides fit in between the latches on the first bunk bed basket (at a 90 degree angle to them). Then I latch it, add shells, shrimp and butter.
Unloading the Big Easy
Removing the shells is a little tricky too. I found that they cooled pretty quickly and I was able to remove them by grabbing them along the edges with my hands without burning myself, all the while being super duper careful that I didn’t tilt them and get super hot butter on myself! You might want to grab some heat-proof gloves or long tongs (with good rubber grippy tips!) instead. PLEASE BE CAREFUL!
Peel and devein the shrimp. Leave the tail shells on if desired.
Fire up your Big Easy. You can fit 4 oyster shells in the Big Easy basket. To cook all 12 at the same time you'll need 2 Big Easy bunk bed baskets. See my notes on how to use them.
Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. And remaining ingredients except shells. Stir.
Bring mixture to a slow simmer and let simmer until reduced by half, 3-4 minutes. Remove from heat.
Working one basket at a time, add 4 oyster shells to the Big Easy. Add two shrimp into each SOS shell and add a tablespoon of the butter mixture.
Place the shells into the Big Easy baskets grill. Cook until the shrimp begin to turn pink on the outside, 7-8 minutes.
Carefully remove the shells from the basket. I found that they cool to the touch pretty quickly (but the Big Easy baskets DO NOT!) so I just grabbed them on the sides with my hands. You might want to use grill gloves or good tongs.
You can fit two Big Easy Bunk Bed baskets into the Big Easy, but you have to be careful doing it. Adding the first one is easy, just insert it into the basket and secure the two latches to the sides of the basket. Adding the second basket is trickier. You have to insert it at a slight angle, then you can turn it flat. The latches will be at 90 degree angles to the first basket (i.e. in the gaps between the first one’s latches). I recommend that you try inserting the baskets a few times before doing it for real.