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.
10 Delicious Muffin-Cup Meals
- Baked Sloppy Joe Cups
- Cheeseburger Tots
- Corn Dog Muffins
- Grab-and-Go Omelettes
- Homemade Macaroni and Cheese Bites
- Mini Meatloaves
- Spaghetti and Meatballs
- Spinach Quiche
- Taco Cups
- Turkey Pot Pies
1. Baked Sloppy Joe Cups
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.
- 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
- Brown the ground turkey in the cooking oil over medium heat in a large saute pan, breaking it up as it cooks.
- As the turkey simmers, add the onion, pepper, and garlic and continue cooking and stirring until meat is fully cooked and vegetables have softened.
- Add the ketchup, mustard, vinegar, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, salt, and pepper to a small bowl and whisk well to combine.
- Pour the sauce over the meat mixture and stir to combine.
- Simmer for 5 minutes to meld flavors.
2. Cheeseburger Tots
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?
3. Corn Dog Muffins
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.
4. Grab-and-Go Omelettes
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.
5. Homemade Macaroni and Cheese Bites
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.
6. Mini Meatloaves
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.
7. Spaghetti and Meatballs
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.
8. Spinach Quiche
These cute little quiches would make a perfect grab-and-go breakfast, brunch, lunchbox main dish, after-school snack, or family meal.
9. Taco Cups
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.
10. Turkey Pot Pies
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.
© 2019 Linda Lum