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It’s interesting when trends start to appear on your pinterest page.  I hadn’t noticed, until this week, how many main dishes made in muffin tins I had kept.  The reason these appeal to me is simple – they seem perfect for portion control and for freezing.

I envision a freezer filled with an assortment of little main dishes that I can pull out when we need something quick for dinner.  I can pull out 1-2 if it’s just me (or any family member left alone at home) or a whole bag of them if we have extra people for dinner.

This week we made the Taco Cupcakes from Emily Bites and the Meatloaf Cupcakes from Home Made Simple.  You’ll see that the picture above does not look the same as the ones from the recipes.  That’s because we just used the recipes for the ideas.

For the taco cupcakes – we started with egg roll wrappers which are significantly larger than won ton wrappers.  I bought them because I thought I could cut them into quarters to make won ton wrappers but they were smaller than I wanted.  We used a texas sized muffin pan instead which meant slower production but a better product.

We started with just over three pounds of hamburger because we wanted to stock up in the freezer.  (We have a teenaged boy who is always hungry.)  To season, I made up taco seasoning using 7 tablespoons chili powder, 3 tablespoons ground cumin, 1 tablespoon onion powder and 3 tablespoons mexican pepper.  This was about a triple batch of seasoning (we ran out of chili powder – it was supposed to be 9 tablespoons) since I figured one batch did one pound of hamburger.  I was wrong but it’s not a problem having all that extra seasoning (thankfully, I didn’t just dump it in).  I browned the hamburger and seasoned to taste.  I threw in about a teaspoon of kosher salt because the seasoning was just hot but had no great flavor.  The salt made all the difference and made it hard not to just eat the hamburger with a spoon.

Because we were going to make a huge batch, we made the hamburger the night before and then let it sit in a colander over a bowl to drain off all the fat.  The hamburger we cooked with was rather dry and ungreasy (not a bad thing – let me tell you).

I pressed an egg roll wrapper into a slightly greased tin (I used a little oil for the first set and then no more since we had no problem getting them out).  In the wrapper, I put 1/4 cup of the taco meat and enough shreaded cheese to cover it. 

Our first two batches, we kept the ends of the egg roll wrapper open so we could stuff them with lettuce and salsa.  My son didn’t like the dry bits of wrapper so we opted to fold them for the remaining batches.  The tops stayed soft so they were easy to open and stuff with lettuce and salsa after they were cooked.

The taco cupcakes were amazing and we ate far too many because they felt so small.  Definitely something that needs to be served with more side dishes (we served it with a veggie).

For the meatloaf cupcakes, my husband used his favorite meatloaf recipe and just cooked them in muffin tins.  The meatloaves came out far smaller than we pictured due to shrinkage so don’t hesitate to slightly overfill the cups when you make them.  They are so good and almost a substitute for meatballs since we served ours with spaghetti (the meatloaf wasn’t supposed to be for dinner but we couldn’t stay out of them).

I’m loving the cupcake experiments and my freezer managed to get some of the goodies.  I think it would have been best to freeze them on a cookie sheet and then bag them up but our little freezer was too full (we now have a bigger one as of this morning).

Just so I don’t bore you with more posts on cupcake main dishes – here are some that I plan on experimenting with.

Spaghetti and Meatball Cups from Emily Bites (actually there are a number of cupcake recipes on Emily Bites that I want to try but this one didn’t include wonton wrappers)

Spinach and Goat Cheese Frittata Ham Cups from Always Order Dessert

Zucchini Tots from The Two Bite Club (I have seen this recipe a couple of times but this seems to be the oldest I have found)

Pop Up Pancakes from Makes and Takes

Ham and Cheese Quiche by Scattered Thoughts of a Crafty Mom

Breakfast Omelet Muffins by Six in the Suburbs

Laura Williams' Musings