Saturday, December 19, 2015

Muffin Tin Meals

Did anyone out there once imagine they would make wonderfully healthy cooked-from-scratch meals for their family every day? Oh, almost all of you? Well there's a surprise - NOT.

Melanie LaDue, who blogs at Reasons to skip the Housework, was one of us in this respect. Her mother even gave her a box of recipes when she got married, that showed her how to spend the whole afternoon in the kitchen making such meals. Hahahaha. As, like us, Melanie doesn't live in the 1950s, she needed fast, healthy meals that could be eaten, on the go if necessary or in a packed lunch, and stored in the freezer in single portion sizes (you don't want to defrost a whole shepherd's pie and be left eating it every day for a week).

One day she realized that a lot more could be done with a muffin tin than just bake muffins (or cupcakes). Super Quick Muffin Tin Meals - 70 Recipes for Perfectly Portioned Comfort Food in a Cup was the result. I was sent the book to review and I can honestly say that I've had a blast with it.

The genius is so simple - normal meals in muffin sizes that can be frozen and used as needed. There are spaghetti nests filled with a meatball, individual  lasagnes, shepherd's pie (you need cupcake holders for this one), chicken pot pies, deep pan pizzas, chilli in polenta nests, muffin tin meatloaf...

Melanie also makes desserts including individual cakes, pies, and s'mores.

I love that the base of your cup can be things other than dough or pastry. You can use a slice of ham or salami, slices of bread or pitta moulded into the muffin tray, or pancake batter, Another idea is to make shells from e.g. bread, pittas or wraps, and fill them with creamy chicken or vegetable salads.

I decided to start with cheesey hashbrowns, If you know me you'll also know that I'm almost incapable of sticking to the recipe as it's written. If I'm already grating potatoes I might as well add a couple of carrots and a chunk of cabbage, right? I actually just put all three in the processor and then added some eggs, milk, grated cheese, salt, pepper, oregano and zhuzhed (why mess up a mixing bowl aswell?). I added a tablespoon of flour for extra binding and some onion soup powder because I realized that an onion would have been good but I didn't have one. So basically, I made it up as I went along and it came out delicious.




Really that was quite enough for one day week, and I am trying to eat through the food in my freezer rather than feeding it more food. However, I'd already cooked some broccoli and defrosted a few cubes of chopped spinach so I had to press on. I was going to make frittatas in brown bread cups but I decided that was a waste of bread. I changed the plan to broccoli, spinach and cheese frittatas. Each muffin cup received a generous spoonful of chopped broccoli, spinach and grated cheese mixture. On top of this I spooned a custard of eggs, milk, a bit of flour for binding as I'm always scared it won't set, salt and pepper.



I've also already defrosted a packet of blackcurrents (or they may be blueberries, who knows) so I'm going to make blueberry oven pancakes as soon as the frittatas come out.

Muffin Tin Meals is published by Race Point Publishing, New York, NY (2015) and costs $21.99 US/12.99 GBP/$25.99 CAN. Perfect for a post-Christmas present as there is ample opportunity to use up the leftovers from Christmas dinner, for example, turkey stuffing bites and turkey cheddar melts.

11 comments:

  1. These sound good, I'm all for keeping it easy. I hope you have a really great Christmas. Mich x

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    1. Thanks Mich, you too - although I'll come over to yours to say that properly. xx

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  2. Yum! Can I borrow the cookbook from you :)

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    1. Yes with pleasure, I'll pm you on fb. (Lol, 10 years ago that would have made no sense at all.)

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  3. I really like the idea of these as snacks - especially as I get so hungry that I could faint, and then end up eating chocolate because I can't wait for food to cook!

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    1. I think it works best if you have a microwave for a quick defrost. I don't have one atm.

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    2. I have a microwave and I wouldn't be without it!

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  4. What a fabulous idea? They would indeed make good snacks....and 2 of them would make a good lunch, especially for a fussy eating teen!

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    1. Yes, it definitey looks like a lunch cookbook.

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  5. I love the sound (and look!) of that cookbook - would be perfect for school lunchboxes! Hope the blueberry/blackcurrant oven pancakes turned out well! :)

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    1. I didn't make them in the end as I ran out of steam and couldn't face washing the muffin tins for the third time.

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