May 14, 2015

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I don’t know about you, but basically my least favorite thing to do on the planet is wash dishes. In fact, my husband and I have a deal where I do all the cooking and he does all the dishes. This works out beautifully because I never have to touch a dish, and I don’t have to eat his cooking. As was once written by the great John Green, “It’s sexist to leave the cooking to the women, but better to have good sexist food than crappy boy-prepared food.”

But back to my point. There are many obstacles that stand between me and bringing a homemade lunch to work every day. I mention a few of them here, but a big one is that it just takes SO. MUCH. TUPPERWARE. If my husband and I both need to bring lunch to work five days a week, and I’m batch cooking, I need to have ten tupperware containers clean and ready to go at once. This might not seem like much, but when it’s Sunday night and you’re tired and all you want to do is watch Game of Thrones in your underwear, it’s sometimes all the excuse you need to not make lunches: “Ughh we have to wash all the tupperware first. Screw it, we’ll both just get takeout tomorrow.”


But fear not, citizens! For I have found the solution!

Behold, the Mighty Muffin Pan


Why is this humble looking tool so magical? Because it portions your food for you. Almost any meal you can think of that has even a semi-solid texture can be made in a muffin pan, creating individual meals that you can wrap in plastic wrap or aluminum foil and throw in a bag on your way out the door. If you can keep a plate at work, just toss your muffin food on it, throw it in the microwave and voila! Plus you get lots of weird looks from people around the office, always a plus.

I’m going to give two examples here today, but go ahead and think about foods you could make in this method. Tacos? Casserole? Giant jello shots? (I kid.)

Egg Muffins (aka portable western omelettes)

Makes 12 servings.


24 eggs
A bag of shredded cheddar cheese
1 yellow onion
1 green pepper
¼ lb of sliced deli ham
Salt and pepper
Non-stick cooking spray


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Faranheit.

Coat the inside of the muffin pan with the non stick spray.

Crack all of the eggs into a mixing bowl and scramble with a whisk. (Do not thin out with water or milk. You need them to cook up a little dry.) Season with salt and pepper.

Dice the onion. Seed and dice the green pepper. Slice the ham into small rectangles.

Pour the eggs into 12 muffin tins, trying to get them all to an equal level. Each tin should be about ¾ of the way full of egg.

Into each tin, sprinkle even amounts of the onion, green pepper, ham and cheddar. Mix each tin with a fork to ensure even distribution.

Place in the oven and cook for 10 - 15 minutes, or until the eggs have taken on a firm shape and can be moved from the muffin tin without falling apart.

Let cool. Wrap each egg muffin in plastic wrap or aluminum foil, and refrigerate or freeze. Microwave when ready to eat.

Spaghetti Tarts (aka mini spaghetti pie)

Makes 12 servings.

I’m going to do 2 versions of this recipe: simple and fancy. Pick whichever sounds good to you.

Simple Ingredients

8 oz spaghetti
2 eggs
½ cup parmesan cheese
16 oz ground beef
16 oz your favorite tomato sauce
2 cups shredded cheese -- mozzarella, cheddar or a mix

Fancy Ingredients

8 oz spaghetti
2 eggs
½ cup parmesan cheese
16 oz ground beef
1 cup onion, chopped
1 cup green pepper, chopped
1 teaspoon fennel seed, crushed
2 cloves garlic, minced
16 oz canned tomato sauce
2 teaspoons oregano
2 cups plain cottage cheese
1 cup shredded mozzarella

Instructions (Simple or Fancy)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Faranheit.

Coat the inside of the muffin pan with the non stick spray.

Cook the spaghetti for 10 - 12 minutes or until tender but still al dente. Drain, and set aside to cool.

While spaghetti is cooking, cook the ground beef in a medium skillet until browned. Drain fat.

If making simple recipe, add your tomato sauce. Heat through.

If making fancy recipe, add onion, green pepper, garlic, fennel. Heat until pepper and onion are slightly softened (2 minutes). Add tomato sauce and oregano. Heat through.

Crack the eggs into the cooled spaghetti. Add parmesan cheese and stir thoroughly. The texture will be sticky.

Portion out the spaghetti mixture into 12 muffin tins. Then, using a rubber spatula coated with non-stick spray (or a spoon and your fingers, let’s be real), push the mixture onto the bottom and sides of the plate, forming a cup shape.

If making simple recipe, sprinkle shredded cheese into each cup. Reserve half of shredded cheese.

If making fancy recipe, spoon cottage cheese into each cup.

Using a spoon or ladle, portion out the ground beef mixture onto each spaghetti cup. This should fill each muffin tin to the top. Careful not to go over!

Sprinkle the top of each with the shredded cheese.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until cheese on top is bubbly. Let cool. Wrap each spaghetti tart in plastic wrap or aluminum foil, and refrigerate or freeze. Microwave when ready to eat.


Here's a picture of some batch cooking I did a while back that included egg muffins (see top left of photo). (I'm gonna get better at posting photos of food I swear.)


And here's a magically delicious spaghetti tart! Enjoy!

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