Five Things (Besides Muffins) to Make in a Muffin Pan

The Muffin Pan: It's not just for muffins anymore.

It took making this week's Pepperoni Pizza Puffs for me to realize that I'd been completely underutilizing this splendor of a kitchen tool. In both mini and regular-size versions, these pans are nonstick, portioned perfectly and make for some really adorable plating.

Here are 5 Non-Muffin Things to Make in Your Muffin Pan (and cupcakes don't count, either!):

5. Single-Serving Pastas

Baking a rich, gooey lasagna or decadent macaroni and cheese in single-serving portions can stop you from overindulging. Plus, no one has to fight over the crisp, bubbling top -- everybody gets it. Serve these with a simple side salad and you'll have all the pleasure with only a cupcake-size guilt.

For the lasagna, either cut the noodles to fit the tin, line the cups with a noodle and add your favorite filling, or use perfectly sized wonton wrappers.

4. Classic Dishes Miniaturized

Portion out your favorite meatloaf recipe, bake cute mini mini crab cakes or bake individual pot pies (use chicken, veggies, lobster or whatever your little heart desires -- shoot for the stars).

Truly, anything goes. Ex: Somehow, despite the name, even these beef cups sound good.

3. Miniature Desserts

Miniature desserts are all the rage these days. Make smaller portions of your favorite tarts or try tiny versions of classics like apple pie or rich, creamy bread pudding. They're small, so go ahead and add that scoop of ice cream. No one's looking.

2. Individual Sides

Rachael Ray may have started the trend with her Stuffin Muffins, but others have taken that idea and run a marathon with it.

Try making mashed sweet potato cups, mini mushroom tarts or my favorite, au gratin potato stacks; they would look so cute on a plate next to a juicy New York strip and some haricots verts.

But even better? Serve a side salad in its very own bacon cup.

Speaking of bacon cups...

1. Baked Eggs

There's nothing like a perfectly cooked, runny yolk...and baking eggs is a great way to achieve that perfection. Start with these bacon, egg and toast cups, then let your imagination run wild. I'd switch the bread for a croissant roll, substitute prosciutto for the bacon and add some nutty gruyère and chopped zucchini.

Mini quiches and frittatas work, too.

Anything goes, so don't be afraid to get creative. Enjoy!

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Brooke Viggiano is a contributing writer who is always looking to share Houston's coolest and tastiest happenings with the Houston Press readers.
Contact: Brooke Viggiano