10 Delicious Muffin-Cup Meals

Updated on May 20, 2019
Carb Diva profile image

Exploring food facts, folklore, and fabulous recipes, one ingredient at a time.

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No One-Trick Ponies

I don't own a rice cooker. You won't find a cherry pitter in my kitchen utensil drawer, nor will you find a hot dog cooker, strawberry huller, or an avocado slicer. I don't have space (or patience) for a one-use-only gadget (I make an exception for my coffee maker).

Then there's the muffin tin, otherwise known as a cupcake pan. You probably have one in your cupboard. Have you ever considered using it for something other than baking? Here are a few reasons why muffin-cup meals are such a good idea:

  • Portion control: Banish the urge (or ability) to grab an extra-large slice of meatloaf or lasagna.
  • Kid appeal: Little people love foods that are scaled down to their size.
  • Leftovers/planned overs: Easily portion family-sized meals for individuals or cooking for two.

There are thousands of recipes out there for muffin-cup meals. I've found the best ones for you.

Baked Sloppy Joe Cups

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A tube of refrigerated biscuits makes these sloppy joe cups a quick-to-make dinner for a busy weeknight meal. Of course, you can make your own biscuits if you want, and I prefer to prepare my own sloppy joe mix (below) rather than use bottled barbecue sauce as suggested by Taste of Home.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 pound ground turkey (don't use the 99% fat-free)
  • 2 teaspoons canola or olive oil
  • 1/4 cup diced yellow onion
  • 1/4 cup diced green bell pepper
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon light brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons yellow mustard
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper

Instructions

  1. Brown the ground turkey in the cooking oil over medium heat in a large saute pan, breaking it up as it cooks.
  2. As the turkey simmers, add the onion, pepper, and garlic and continue cooking and stirring until meat is fully cooked and vegetables have softened.
  3. Add the ketchup, mustard, vinegar, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, salt, and pepper to a small bowl and whisk well to combine.
  4. Pour the sauce over the meat mixture and stir to combine.
  5. Simmer for 5 minutes to meld flavors.

Cheeseburger Tots

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Ohmygoodness! You had me with "tots." I love potatoes in any shape or form, and I simply adore tater tots. These muffin-shaped treats by Kat and Melinda start with squishing tater tots into the bottom of the muffin tin and then filling with a pre-cooked mixture of every flavor you want and expect in a hamburger. Top it all with cheese. Doesn't that sound wonderful?

Corn Dog Muffins

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Corn dogs always make me think of the State Fair, but why wait? You can have that sweet-savory treat anytime with this easy recipe by the Pioneer Woman, Ree Drummond.

Grab-and-Go Omelettes

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I'm a firm believer in "brinner" (otherwise known as breakfast for dinner), so these certainly work for me as an evening meal. But for those of you for whom breakfast is a hurried affair, these might just be the ticket. You can bake these savory healthy omelette bites for your family the night before, and then warm them quickly in the microwave the next morning for a grab-and-go breakfast.

Homemade Macaroni and Cheese Bites

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Nikki does is right. So many macaroni and cheese meals are nothing more than cooked pasta stirred into a cheese sauce. How boring and one-dimensional is that? To me, the best part of a true macaroni and cheese is the crispy topping, the browned bits of cheese with that uber umami flavor that happens when cheese proteins meet heat. That is why she created these macaroni and cheese bites, and why I love them.

Mini Meatloaves

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I'm not a meat-and-potatoes kind of girl, but I do admit to a weakness for meatloaf—and if no one was looking I could polish off an ungodly-sized portion in the blink of an eye. So, that said, these are probably the way I should go when I prepare meatloaf for my family. Also, if you are like me, you enjoy those crispy, crusty bits at the ends. These muffin-tin sized meatloaves will make everyone in your family happy.

Spaghetti and Meatballs

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If you have little persons in your house, spaghetti can get pretty messy. Here's a fun way to give your family spaghetti and meatballs without the need for bibs, wet-wipes, or tarps.

Spinach Quiche

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These cute little quiches would make a perfect grab-and-go breakfast, brunch, lunchbox main dish, after-school snack, or family meal.

Taco Cups

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Tacos are so tasty, and oh so messy. Bite in one end, and the rest of the filling drops out of the other side, or the taco shell shatters and you are left with a taco filling in your lap. Or, you could bake taco cups—small bites that you can pick up and eat, or cut with knife and fork.

Instead of traditional corn or flour tortillas, this blogger uses wonton wrappers. A perfect size to create the perfect crispy bite.

Turkey Pot Pies

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These muffin cup pot pies are so versatile. If you don't have turkey, you can substitute cooked roast beef or rotisserie chicken. Use whatever veggies you have on hand. You can even toss in some cheddar cheese.

Have I Inspired You?

Which meal will you try?

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Questions & Answers

    © 2019 Linda Lum

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      • Carb Diva profile imageAUTHOR

        Linda Lum 

        2 months ago from Washington State, USA

        Denise, you are so very welcome. Thanks for resurrecting this one; I had completely forgotten about it. I'm sorry that none of these are vegan, but it sounds like, artist that you are, you have let your imagination run free and you've solved the problem.

      • PAINTDRIPS profile image

        Denise McGill 

        2 months ago from Fresno CA

        What terrific ideas. I can easily use this idea with vegan meals, I think. I have this great lentil loaf (instead of meatloaf) recipe that might work wonderfully well. Thanks for this idea.

        Blessings,

        Denise

      • Carb Diva profile imageAUTHOR

        Linda Lum 

        5 months ago from Washington State, USA

        Thank you Ms. Dora. Yes, I will definitely be making that omelette in the near future. Blessings to you.

      • MsDora profile image

        Dora Weithers 

        5 months ago from The Caribbean

        Thanks for these recipes and your creative ideas. The Grab and Go Omelette is my favorite idea. The Spaghetti and Meatball is attractive too.

      • Carb Diva profile imageAUTHOR

        Linda Lum 

        5 months ago from Washington State, USA

        Pamela, you are no losing your mind. You did comment, and I THOUGHT I had approved it, but I looked just now and, lo and behold, your comment was still sitting there patiently waiting for me to act.

        I apologize.

        I'm glad that you liked these ideas. Me? I'm getting hungry.

      • Pamela99 profile image

        Pamela Oglesby 

        5 months ago from Sunny Florida

        Well Linda, I may be losing my mind as I know I read this article and commented, but must not have saved it.

        I picked the omelet, but the choice was difficult as they all look delicious. I have never made anything like these in my muffin pan, but I am going to now. Thanks for these great ideas.

      • Carb Diva profile imageAUTHOR

        Linda Lum 

        5 months ago from Washington State, USA

        Oh Eric, not a good way to begin the day. Get some good inspirational music going. Seger's "Old Time Rock and Roll" always gets my toes tapping.

      • Ericdierker profile image

        Eric Dierker 

        5 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

        Whahoo Linda. This will be too fun. You remind me to live and not strive.

        Listening to the worst singer ever - "I was born under a wondering star" Lee Marvin. It reminds me to be happy not roaming. Better to cook.

      • Carb Diva profile imageAUTHOR

        Linda Lum 

        5 months ago from Washington State, USA

        Eric, you made me laugh. 'Tis been a long, long time since anyone has called me "Missy." I hope you have a wonderful day. Will Gabe be helping you in the kitchen?

      • Ericdierker profile image

        Eric Dierker 

        5 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

        I was just looking over my shoulder trying to see who might be having more fun. I do not have such cookery. But by eve I shall. We love all this stuff but tonight will be Tates. Rock on Missy Linda!!

      • Carb Diva profile imageAUTHOR

        Linda Lum 

        5 months ago from Washington State, USA

        John, be my guest. I'm a super-duper meal for my husband's birthday next week and am planning on using the spinach quiche cups as an appetizer. Do let me know if you try any of these, OK?

      • Jodah profile image

        John Hansen 

        5 months ago from Queensland Australia

        Linda, you have my mouth watering. Every one of these sounds and looks delicious. I had trouble choosing one to say I would try.. I want to try all of them.

      • Carb Diva profile imageAUTHOR

        Linda Lum 

        5 months ago from Washington State, USA

        What would make them happy? Me? I'm not a corn dog sorta gal, so will probably not do that in the foreseeable future, but I love eggs and so those quiches are looking mighty tempting.

        Thanks so much for stopping by.

      • FlourishAnyway profile image

        FlourishAnyway 

        5 months ago from USA

        This collection of ideas is perfect for experimenting and I will definitely be trying a few out on my family. Its hard to know where to start.

      • Carb Diva profile imageAUTHOR

        Linda Lum 

        5 months ago from Washington State, USA

        Thanks Sha, although you had me worried for a moment. I had to quickly jump back up to the top of my article to see if I had, in fact, entitled it Muffin Cup Meals or Muffin Top Meals.

        I do hope that these work well for your mealtime plans.

      • Pamela99 profile image

        Pamela Oglesby 

        5 months ago from Sunny Florida

        Linda, It was impossible to choose a favorite as I liked almost all of them. This is such a clever idea. You are so clever in the kitchen, and I did not realize you had a blog until today or I forgot (old age forgetful sometimes). I hope you have a great week!

      • bravewarrior profile image

        Shauna L Bowling 

        5 months ago from Central Florida

        Linda, I had to chuckle when I first saw the title. My twisted mind immediately went to my senior muffin top!

        I've seen many recipes for muffin meals, but have never tried any of them. I don't know why, because I do have a muffin tin in my baking hardware cabinet.

        You know how much I love eggs, so I am going to try the grab-n-go omelettes and the mini quiche. They would make easy-peasy lunches for me to take to work thru the week.

        I also love pot pies. I just might try that one, too.

        Thanks for these awesome ideas! They'll fit very nicely in my muffin top. Tee hee!

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