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Most of us have a few kitchen accessories that spend far more time inside the cupboard than out. We purchase them for a special recipe or event, and then they just take up space waiting for another opportunity to show their worth.
Is that what your muffin tin is doing? Sitting unused, gathering dust?
Why limit your use of a muffin tin strictly to baking muffins and cupcakes? Creative cooks have learned that a muffin tin can be a great multitasking accessory. For example, you can use it to freeze cubes of chicken stock, fresh pesto, or even extra portions of meatloaf. But a muffin tin also comes in handy for a variety of savory, single-serve dishes.
This isn’t just about giving a little love to an underappreciated accessory. Making recipes in a muffin tin can help with portion control, and kids love muffin-shaped products—in part because they’re kid-sized. The smaller portions are more portable, and some also freeze well. On top of that, you can use the smaller spaces of a muffin tin to reduce cooking times, sometimes by as much as half.
Read on for recipes to help you repurpose this under-utilized kitchen accessory.
Mini Frittatas with Ham and Cheese
These tasty little bites are a perfect example of how quick and easy breakfast or brunch can be when using a muffin tin. A great alternative to a full-sized frittata, these diminutive takes can be whipped up in little more than 30 minutes including cooking time. You’ll use a mini muffin tin, and with only 39 calories for three, they’re a healthy, light snack as well. Get the instructions at My Recipes and start cracking!
Cauliflower Pizza Bites
Let’s face it: For those of us on a gluten-free diet, one of the hardest things to give up is pizza. But while grated cauliflower will never be mistaken for dough, these muffin-sized pizza alternatives are surprisingly tasty. Adults watching their weight will appreciate the fact that they’re low-carb, and we’ll bet kids who might otherwise resist cauliflower—one of Mother Nature’s healthiest creations—will fall for them, too. You’ll find the recipe at DAMY Health.
Muffin Tin Chicken Pot Pies
We love chicken pot pie, but making a whole pie can be a seriously time-consuming exercise.
Chef Rachael Ray has come up with a few shortcuts—starting with using muffin tins—that make the whole process a little less involved. You can shave off a big chunk of time by boiling the chicken breasts ahead of time and using store-bought puff pastry dough, yet the final result is still plenty satisfying. The Rachael Ray Show has all the details.
Baked Salmon Patties
Salmon is another healthy food most of us could stand eat more of, but buying it fresh can be expensive. This recipe for salmon patties from Red Apple Guy at Food.com breaks out the muffin tin for a thrifty way to stretch a dollar. Instad of fresh fish, it uses canned salmon along with flour, cornmeal, breadcrumbs and eggs to fluff up the final result. Serve it with a salad or other greens for a complete meal.
Popovers are the ideal accompaniment for a Sunday roast, but perfecting them is a challenge. While there are Teflon pans specifically designed for popovers, the goal here isn’t to add more equipment to your kitchen; we want to get better mileage out of the equipment you already have. This popover recipe from the Melissa d’Arabian takes advantage of the muffin tin you already own with a recipe simple enough to be called “foolproof.”
In its original form, Italy’s humble frittata is a kind of open-face omelette—the eggs are whipped vigorously for a frothier consistency, and usually oven-roasted (rather than folded in the pan) to sear the top. But muffin cups can deliver much the same final result, and this recipe from Meal Makeover Moms invites endless variations using other vegetables or meats for protein.
Muffin Tin Mac ‘n Cheese
Ever prepare a mac ‘n cheese so incredibly, unhealthily rich and tasty that you couldn't help overindulging? Oh, the shame! This is where portion control comes in handy, and where muffin tins can come to the rescue. Food & Wine offers an easy recipe that doesn’t skimp on velvety flavor, but packages the household staple in modest portions. Plus, it freezes well, meaning leftovers are easy to store for lunches or afternoon snacks.