8 Dishes You Never Thought to Make in a Muffin Tin

Basically everything is better (and cuter!) mini-sized.
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Photo By: Matt Armendariz ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Matt Armendariz ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Matt Armendariz ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Matt Armendariz ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Matt Armendariz ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Matt Armendariz ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Matt Armendariz ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Matt Armendariz ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Matt Armendariz ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Think Like a Muffin

Even if these tins were only good for making muffins and cupcakes, that would still be enough to justify their place in a cramped cabinet. But they're actually a kitchen workhorse just like cast-iron skillets (or even, believe it or not, waffle makers). Here are eight delicious reasons why they — and their cute cousin, the mini-muffin tin  — are our go-to pans.

Easy Lasagna Cups

Cooked ravioli is the shortcut secret to this kid-friendly dinner or fun party appetizer. Fill sprayed foil liners with a layer of tomato sauce, a piece of ravioli, shredded mozzarella and Parm. Then, repeat the layers, and bake until browned and bubbly.

Mini Monkey Bread

Individual portions of pull-apart bread mean you get a whole mini loaf to yourself — and no more fighting over the last piece! Cut refrigerated biscuit dough into small pieces, and toss with melted butter, cinnamon and sugar (add nuts if you're feeling fancy). Bake in greased muffin cups until puffed and golden brown.

 

Taco Side Salads

Skip the grease and fat in fried taco shells by making your own tortilla cups in the oven. Fold and fit flour tortillas into the sprayed cups of a muffin tin. Then spray the tortillas and bake at 425 degrees F until they're golden and crisp. Fill with shredded lettuce, salsa, taco beef mix, guacamole, and your favorite hot sauce and toppings.

Sundaes for a Crowd

Muffin tins can even help you prep a treat as finicky as ice cream ahead of time. Eliminate the messy melting part of serving sundaes by pre-scooping different flavors into the cups of a muffin tin. Freeze until ready to serve.

Fruit Tartlets

Press sugar cookie dough or pie crust into the bottoms and partly up the sides of greased muffin cups, and bake until golden and cooked through. Press down if puffy, let cool, unmold, and fill with dollops of sweetened whipped cream (or cream cheese) and colorful fruit — think kiwis, raspberries and sliced grapes.

Potato Croquettes

Transform leftover mashed potatoes by mixing them with chopped scallions and cheddar (use a little milk or egg to loosen them if necessary). Scoop into greased mini muffin cups, sprinkle with more cheese, and bake until crisp on the sides and hot in the center. 

Chocolate Bird's Nests

Toss canned potato sticks with melted chocolate and press them into muffin tin cups coated with nonstick spray. Chill to set and voila! Charming, savory-sweet baskets ready to be filled with treats. 

Chorizo Frittatas

For a poppable take on Spanish tapas, scramble eggs with chopped cooked Spanish chorizo and onions. Pour into the greased cups of a mini muffin tin and bake at 375 degrees F until set.