We have been invited to a potluck for a volunteer group my husband is a part of. While I was thinking about what to bring I remembered that in my research last week I found a great idea for stuffing; bake it in a muffin tin for individual servings. My thoughts then jumped to how wonderful an idea that would be for busy people & cancer patients in treatment. Individual, make ahead servings of meals made in a muffin tin/pan. Of course, as it turns out, I am not the only one who has thought of this. There are literally a thousand recipes on the internet.
This idea of using the muffin pan is perfect for a quick breakfast, lunch or a grab & go snack to bring along for a busy day. It would be ideal for those of you who have lost your appetite & need a calorie dense mini-meal. Let’s explore some of these ideas.
My go to for potlucks is a vegetarian, spinach & mushroom, quiche. I found several crust-less quiche recipes for a muffin pan. These would be easy to make & they could be frozen & warmed up when needed.
Mushroom, Spinach & Mozzarella Mini Crustless Quiches
Makes 12 muffin-size quiches
Cooking spray or grease with coconut oil
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion, diced
5 ounces fresh baby spinach You could also use frozen spinach well drained
6 ounces crimini or button mushrooms, sliced
1 cup grated mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup 2 % milk or a nut milk or coconut milk
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Generously spray a standard-sized muffin tin with cooking spray, making sure to cover each cup completely. Set aside.
Heat a large saute pan over medium heat. Add olive oil. When the oil begins to shimmer, add onions. Cook until softened, about 5-8 minutes.
Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring, until they shrink in size and begin to brown, about 5 minutes.
Turn the heat to low and mound the spinach on top of the mushrooms and onions. It will look like a lot of spinach, but it will wilt down. Gently stir until spinach wilts, about 2 minutes.
Set aside to cool.
Crack eggs into a medium mixing bowl. Pour in the milk. Whisk until the eggs and milk completely combine and the mixture slightly fluffy, about 1 minute. Stir in the cheese, salt and pepper.
When the spinach and mushroom mixture has cooled slightly, add it to the egg mixture and stir gently to combine.
Fill each muffin cup with 1/4 cup of egg and vegetable mixture (I like to use 1/4 cup measuring cup).
Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the tops of the mini quiches begin to brown.
Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes. Run a butter knife around each mini quiche to free it from the muffin tin. Serve warm or at room temp.
Spinach Quiche Cups from Manila Spoon: Completely gluten-free and low-carb is this healthy and delicious quiche that everyone will enjoy. You can tweak the recipe to add your favorite vegetables!
A little olive oil (for cooking the mushrooms)
1 (10 oz) package fresh spinach (I used the baby ones) — about 284 grams
4 eggs (if the yolks are quite small I use 5 eggs)
1 cup shredded cheese of your choice (I use mozzarella or the Italian Blend)
1 (8 oz package) mini-bella mushrooms, chopped
1-2 Tbsp, heavy cream or half-and-half (optional)
Salt and Pepper, to taste
*Variation – If you don’t fancy mushrooms, try asparagus or bell peppers with the spinach. Also, add some onions to the mix. I add some when I do not use mushrooms.
Procedure: Preheat the oven to 375F or 190C.
Heat a little oil in a large skillet. Saute the mushrooms until they are soft, about 5-6 minutes. Set Aside.
Place the spinach in a deep pan or in the skillet that you used for the mushrooms. Add a little water, 1/4 cup should do it. Using medium heat, cook the spinach just until wilted, about 3-4 mins. Use either your hand or a spatula to pack in the spinach. Drain the excess water really well (especially if you decide to use frozen spinach instead).
In a large mixing bowl, whisk the eggs until combined. Add the cooked mushrooms, spinach, cheeses and cream (if using) to the eggs. Mix well. Season to taste.
Divide evenly among the 12 muffin cups. Bake for about 20-23 minutes, or until it’s well set and a tester/toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Leave in the pan for a few minutes or just until it’s cool enough to handle. It was so easy to remove them from the pan! They practically pop-out!
Want a healthy turkey idea?
Muffin Tin Mini Lasagnas from Tracey’s Culinary Adventures I like this recipe because it uses turkey rather than beef & uses wonton wrappers instead of noodles. barely adapted from Can You Stay for Dinner?
12 oz ground turkey
1 medium onion, chopped
1/2 cup chopped mushrooms
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 (15 oz) can tomato sauce
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano, divided
pinch red pepper flakes
1 1/2 cups part-skim ricotta cheese
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
24 wonton wrappers
1 1/2 cups shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
Preheat oven to 375 F. Spray a 12-cup muffin tin generously with nonstick cooking spray. or coconut oil.
Add the ground turkey, onions, mushrooms, salt, and pepper to a large skillet set over medium to medium-high heat. Using a wooden spoon, break the turkey up into small crumbles and cook for about 10 minutes, or until the turkey has browned. Stir in the garlic and cook for 30 seconds to 1 minute, just until fragrant. Add the tomato sauce, 1 teaspoon of the oregano, and the red pepper flakes, and stir to combine. Taste and season with additional salt and pepper if desired. Bring the sauce to a gentle boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.
In a medium bowl, stir together the ricotta, the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of oregano, the basil, and a pinch each of salt and pepper.
To assemble: Press 1 wonton wrapper into each well of the muffin pan – be sure to press them into the bottom and sides of the pan. Working with half of the ricotta mixture, divide it among the wells of the pan evenly, pressing the ricotta into an even layer. Working with half of the tomato sauce, divide it among the wells of the pan, spreading in an even layer rather than mounding. Sprinkle 2 teaspoons of the mozzarella over the top of each mini lasagna. Press a second wonton wrapper onto each mini lasagna then repeat the process of layering using the second half of the ricotta mixture, the remaining half of the tomato sauce and finally two more teaspoons of the mozzarella per cup.
Bake the mini lasagnas for 10 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and bubbly. Remove the muffin pan to a wire rack and let the mini lasagnas cool for a few minutes before removing them. Garnish with fresh basil before serving, if desired.
This Mexican food recipe can be changed to fit your taste. Again, it uses wonton wrappers. Go to the recipe link to see photos of how to put it together.
Crunchy Taco Cups from Kevin & Amanda
YIELD: 12 CUPS (ABOUT 3-4 SERVINGS).
- 1 lb lean ground beef, browned and drained Can be omitted. Use ground turkey, seitan or beans instead.
- 1 envelope (3 tablespoons) taco seasoning
- 1 (10-oz) can Ro-Tel Diced Tomatoes and Green Chiles
- 1 1/2 cups sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (or Mexican blend)
- 24 wonton wrappers
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Generously coat a standard size muffin tin with nonstick cooking spray.
- Combine cooked beef, taco seasoning, and tomatoes in a bowl and stir to combine. Line each cup of prepared muffin tin with a wonton wrapper. Add 1.5 tablespoons taco mixture. Top with 1 tablespoon of cheese. Press down and add another layer of wonton wrapper, taco mixture, and a final layer of cheese.
- Bake at 375 for 11-13 minutes until cups are heated through and edges are golden.
BREAKFAST HASH BROWN CUPS from Delicious YIELD: 12 SERVINGS, PREP TIME: 15 MINUTES, COOK TIME: 50 MINUTES, TOTAL TIME: 1 HOUR, 5 MINUTES
“Tender-crisp hash browns topped with eggs, bacon, spinach and mushrooms. Easy to make and so perfect to serve large crowds!”
- 1 (20-ounce) package refrigerated hash brown potatoes
- 4 large eggs
- 2 tablespoons milk
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 teaspoon hot sauce
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 2 slices bacon, diced Can be omitted.
- 8 ounces cremini mushrooms, thinly sliced
- 1 bell pepper, diced
- 1 cup chopped baby spinach
- 1/2 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese, divided
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly coat a 12-cup muffin tin with nonstick spray. Divide potatoes into each of the 12 muffin tins, pressing carefully to make sure there is an opening in the center. Place into oven and bake for 22-25 minutes, or until golden brown; set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, Worcestershire and hot sauce; season with salt and pepper, to taste. Set aside.
Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add bacon and cook until brown and crispy, about 6-8 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate; drain excess fat, reserving 1 tablespoon in the skillet. Add mushrooms and bell pepper to the skillet. Cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 4-5 minutes. Stir in egg mixture until the eggs are completely set, about 3-4 minutes. Stir in spinach, 1/4 cup cheese and bacon until the spinach has wilted, about 2 minutes.
Spoon egg mixture into the muffin tins and sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup cheese. Place into oven and bake for 3-4 minutes, or until the cheese has melted.
- 5 eggs
- Splash of milk
- 1 (10 oz) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
- 2 chopped scallions
- 1 cup shredded cheese of your choice (you can also use feta or goat cheese)
- Salt and Pepper, to taste
Preheat the oven to 375F. Spray a 12-cup muffin tin with non-stick cooking spray. Beat eggs with the splash of milk. Season with salt and pepper. Evenly distribute the spinach and scallions in each muffin cup. Next, pour the egg mixture on top – evenly distributing among the muffin cups. Sprinkle the cheese on top of each cup. Bake for about 20-23 minutes, or until the egg cups are well set and a tester/toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Serve immediately.
If you want to freeze the egg cups, let cool completely then wrap each egg cup individually in plastic wrap and transfer to a large freezer zip lock bag. Freeze up to one month. To serve from freezer, either thaw overnight in the fridge then re-warm in microwave or oven, or take directly from the freezer to the microwave and heat until thawed and warmed. Remove from the plastic wrap before placing in microwave!
This is another good idea for those of you on the go!
Time-Saving Tip: Freeze Smoothie Ingredients in Muffin Tins: “Instead of rounding up smoothie ingredients such as bananas, greens, and protein powder on the spot, Muffin Tin Mania’s Matt Kadey recommends blending a batch ahead of time. Freeze the mixture in muffin tins and then store in a zip-top bag for later. When you’re in the mood for a smoothie, you can quickly toss a couple of these frozen smoothie cups in a blender with liquid such as water, coconut water, or milk.” Go to the site for recipes.
Muffin Tin Mania & Green Smoothie Cups Love this site. Of course this recipe in particular caught my eye!
- 3 cups strongly brewed coffee, cooled
- 2 bananas
- 1/2 cup chocolate hemp protein or other protein powder of choice
- 1/2 cup almonds
- 1/3 cup pitted dried dates, chopped
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
Place coffee, bananas, protein powder, almonds, dates, extract and cinnamon and in a blender container. Turn blender onto its low setting and process for 20 seconds. Switch to the high setting and blend until dates and almonds are pulverized, about 1 minute.
Divide mixture among 12 medium sized muffin cups. Place trays in the freezer and freeze until solid. Unmold coffee cups and store in the freezer in a zip-top bag.
When it comes time to make a smoothie, simply place a couple of frozen coffee cups in a blender along with about 1 1/2 cups liquid (I use 1 cup milk and 1/2 cup water) and blend until smooth. If your blender does not have a lot of power, you may want to carefully slice the frozen cups into halves or quarters before blending. I need to try this one!
Simple ideas worth considering:
Falafels are one of our favorites. I don’t like to make them because they are usually fried. I saw several recipes that put the mix into a muffin tin & baked them at 375 for 20 minutes. One recipe scooped the falafel mixture into each cup & the other one rolled them & put each ball into a cup. These could be frozen to be used as needed.
Any favorite meatloaf, vegetarian or vegan loaf recipe could be put into a muffin tin. You can even put the sauce on top. These could also be frozen.
Poached Eggs: foodnetwork “Spoon 1 tablespoon hot water into each muffin cup. Crack 1 egg into each cup; season with salt and pepper. Bake at 350 degrees F to desired doneness, 12 to 14 minutes. Carefully remove with a spoon.”
Use a mini-muffin pan for some of the recipes. Especially good for appetizers, mini-appetites 🙂 & children’s portions.
For stuffed peppers, you can stand each one in a muffin tin cup, then bake!
Make your favorite soup, pour into muffin cups & freeze. Pop out each frozen “soup muffin” & store in a freezer container. Take out & warm as needed!
Invest in regular, jumbo & mini sized muffin tins. The jumbo size holds one cup of recipe per muffin cup. Wilton Muffin Tins
Now I have to decide which recipe I am going to try! Until next week…Mary 🙂
***Update: I did make this recipe for Thanksgiving: Vegan Green Bean Casserole by Minimalist Baker It was by far the best green bean casserole I have eaten. I added another cup of mushrooms to the recipe & for the vegetable broth I used “Not-Chick’n Bullion Cubes”. It is more labor intensive than opening cans, but it is worth it.
Resources: For more recipes & ideas.
- 30 Surprising Things You Can Make With Your Muffin Tin Great ideas!
- 19 Portable Meals You Can Make in a Muffin Tin: from Greatist.com “All muffins, all the time. That’s our new rallying cry, especially now that we’ve discovered muffins can be healthy. But did you know that your muffin pan is secretly a multitasking tool? Yes, really. Think beyond blueberry muffins and vanilla cupcakes, as this tin can make any number of single-serving meals and snacks. There’s so much to love here: These recipes are portable, portion-size, and photogenic. (Instagram-worthy snacks on the go? Sign us up!) Plus, so many make easy party foods and can be made ahead of time.”
- 12 Delicious Vegan Recipes You Can Make in a Muffin Pan from ChooseVeg.com
- 14 Meals in a Muffin Tin from Get Healthy U: “Dust off your muffin tin because it is time to get cooking with these 14 healthy muffin tin recipes! These muffin tin meals are an easy way to create unique and versatile dishes that are perfect for just one or a big group. These tasty morsels are filled with fresh ingredients that your tummy and body will love. Many of these healthy muffin recipes make incredible appetizers too, so let’s have a party!”
- 15 savory recipes to make in a muffin tin right now from HellaWella: “If you live in an apartment, you probably already know all too well that space comes at a premium. Not everyone has room to store a vast assortment of kitchen gadgets and essentials, which means some of them need to multitask. Take the muffin tin, for instance. It’s not just for making muffins anymore. We found you 15 savory treats to whip up in a muffin tin, and they travel beautifully. These nibbles are sure to be a hit at any indoor or outdoor get-together.”
- Healthy Muffin Tin Recipes “Find healthy, delicious muffin tin recipes including lasagnas, oatmeal, pie and more. Healthier recipes, from the food and nutrition experts at EatingWell.”
- Muffin Tin Mania & Green Smoothie Cups
- Time-Saving Tip: Freeze Smoothie Ingredients in Muffin Tins:
- 50 Things to Make in a Muffin Pan “Every dish is more fun when it’s mini…”
- 1000+ Jumbo Muffin Tin Recipes on Pinterest!