Could An Old-Fashioned Cupcake Pan Be The Hottest New Cooking Must Have?

They’ve been around forever. Your Grandmother had one or more with varying degrees of rust on it from constant use. Muffins, corn bread and cupcakes were created from this kitchen staple. But now cooks are using them for more than just bread products!

They are perfect for creating portion-controlled brunch, dinner or dessert ideas. The magic of the muffin tin is expanding! They are good in the oven or under a broiler and cook food quicker since the depth or width of the item being cooked is smaller. They also work really well to make food products in advance that can be readily frozen for future enjoyment.

Breakfast ideas can include muffins, quiches, egg cups with hash browns, prosciutto cups, or oatmeal or quinoa cakes filled with berries.

Dinner ideas include beef or chicken lasagna (be careful not to overcook or they will look like hockey pucks), meat, squash or veggie lasagna* or quinoa cakes.

Dessert ideas are endless. Small cheesecakes, mini fruit pies, bread puddings, and cupcakes are just a few ideas. They are great for kid’s parties. They can hold pretzel sticks, small portions of raw veggies, Chex mix or candies for gatherings.

It’s fun to realize that the most innovative product for cooking healthy meals doesn’t have to be purchased on late night TV, but needs to be revised from your own cupboard!

*Asparagus-Mushroom Mini Lasagnas
-Eatingwell.com

Canola spray or olive oil cooking spray
1 cup low-fat milk
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
3/4 cup Asiago cheese
1/8-1/4 teaspoon white or black pepper
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 large shallot, finely chopped
2 cups chopped baby Bella mushrooms
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups thinly sliced asparagus (from 1 bunch)
24 wonton wrappers
1 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
1/4 cup prepared pesto

1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Coat a 12-cup nonstick muffin tin with cooking spray.
2. Whisk milk and flour in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, whisking constantly, until bubbling and thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and whisk in Asiago and pepper to taste.
3. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add shallot, mushrooms and salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms release their liquid, 3 to 5 minutes. Add asparagus and cook, stirring, until just beginning to soften, about 3 minutes.
4. Place a wonton wrapper into the bottom and partway up the sides of each muffin cup. Combine ricotta and pesto in a medium bowl. Spoon about 2 teaspoons of the ricotta mixture into each muffin cup. Spread about 2 teaspoons of the Asiago sauce over the ricotta and top with about 1 tablespoon of the vegetable mixture. Place another wonton wrapper over the filling, pressing down gently to form a “cup.” The corners of the wrappers will stick up, forming 4 little points. Repeat with another layer of the ricotta mixture, Asiago sauce and vegetables. Coat the tops with cooking spray.
5. Bake the mini lasagnas until the tips of the wonton wrappers are golden brown and the filling is bubbling, 18 to 20 minutes. Let cool in the pan for 5 minutes. Loosen and remove with a paring knife. Serve warm.

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