Portable, packable muffin tin meals
Matthew Kadey, MSc, RD
Yes, muffins are great. But a muffin tin is also a nifty tool for making all sorts of meals for hungry kids on the go. Grab hold of these nutritious muffin-sized meals to fuel a hectic day.
Don’t write off your muffin tin as a unitasker good only for making batches of the eponymous baked goods. Whether you’re looking for make-ahead portable meals to help feed a family on the run or a new approach to appease picky eaters, there’s no shortage of kid-approved healthy and delicious recipes you can create in your trusty muffin tin. There’s just something about food shaped like a muffin that instantly makes it more appealing to little mouths, whether eaten at the dining table or in the back seat of a car on the move. What’s more, dividing up your food into muffin cups is a great way to help practise better portion control, while at the same time making the downsized meals easier to transport than their full-sized counterparts. Whether it’s weekend-long sporting tournaments, musical recitals, or potlucks, the muffin tin has your back when it comes to providing easy-to-handle nourishment. Check out these little helpers that’ll prove great things come in small packages.
Oil sprays tend to leave a sticky residue on metal muffin trays. A better option for greasing is to use a paper towel to apply a thin layer of neutral-tasting oil, such as grapeseed. Silicone muffin cups do not require greasing.
To freeze prepared muffin tin meals for future use, place cooked items on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet and then slide the sheet into the freezer until everything is frozen solid. You can then pack them into an airtight container and return to the freezer.
Have some extra chili, soup, pumpkin purée, coconut milk, chicken broth, or tomato paste on your hands? Try doling these into muffin tin compartments. They’ll freeze into individual portions that will defrost much quicker than a huge chunk of subzero food. Place items into muffin cups, freeze until solid, unmould, and then store in airtight containers and return to the freezer.