12 Kid-Friendly Muffin Tin Recipes That Aren't Dessert

Chow on 09.25.12
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Photo: Sarah Fernandez

Like many families, our dinner options have fallen into a bit of a rut. I like to feed the kids before my husband gets home because it helps us get through that hour where they are exhausted and hard to entertain before they get that second wind when daddy walks in the door. But the kids are still in the hot dog, chicken nugget, pizza, or noodles frame of mind when it comes to dinner. Their most adventurous dinners are chicken sausage, spaghetti, and the occasional hamburger. I really want to get out of this habit and expand their protein options, but I also need dinner options that are quick and easy to make and appealing to them. I don't want to feed them packaged foods, but having a stockpile of things that I can pop out of the freezer and heat up quickly is probably the only way this is going to work, and so I'm turning to my muffin tins to make individual portions of meals that I can quickly re-heat to expand my kids meal options. Here are dozen muffin tin meal recipes that are inspiring me.

1. Mini Meatloaves
2. Chicken 'n Broccoli Pies
3. Mini Frittatas
4. Petite Lasagnas
5. Mini Ham and Cheese Quinoa Cups
6. Spinach Mac and Cheese Muffins
7. Mini Chicken Pot Pies
8. Taco Cupcakes
9. Barbecue Beef Cups
10. Crab Cakes
11. Philly Cheesesteak Bites
12. Mini Shepherd's Pie

I'm lucky that getting my kids to eat fruits and vegetables has always been a breeze. I know that I won't be able to feed them all of these muffin tin recipes on a regular basis, but it's a fun way to introduce new foods to them and get them eating more "real" food. At three and six-years-old, I want them to be expanding their palate, but their meals also have to be conducive to our busy lifestyle.

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