Cupcakes for Dinner


We usually associate cupcakes with parties and events and never think of them as a healthy choice. If you think of cupcakes in an unconventional way you'll be able to come up with all sorts of ways to spruce up your dinners and make meal time more fun for your kids.

Here are a few options and recipes to bring cupcakes to your dinner table. Start with these easy recipes and you'll soon be coming up with creative cupcakes of your own.

Meatloaf and Mashed Potato Cupcakes

Preheat oven to 400F and grease a standard muffin tin. Combine 1 cup of fresh bread crumbs and 1/3 cup of milk in a bowl and leave until the bread has fully absorbed the milk. Saute 6 oz of chopped bacon in a frying pan over medium heat until crisp. Remove bacon from the grease and chop finely. Discard all but 1 tbsp of bacon fat and saute 1 cup of finely chopped onion. Place lb lean ground beef and 1/2 lb of ground pork in a large bowl. Add one large egg, 3 tbsp of ketchup, 1 tbsp of worcestershire sauce, 1 tbsp of soy sauce, 2 tsp chopped thyme, 1 tsp of chopped garlic, the bacon, onions and soaked breadcrumbs. Stir gently to combine the mixture. Using a 1/4 cup to measure, scoop meat mixture into prepared muffin tin and bake for 20 minutes. Make sure meat is cooked through. Remove meatloaves from pan onto a rack, spread mashed potato "icing" on top and serve with a vegetabel of your choice.

Macaroni and Cheese Cupcakes

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a standard muffin tin with a good coating of olive oil. In boiling salted water, cook 2 cups of elbow macaroni for approximately 6 minutes or until al dente. Drain and return to the pan. Add 2 tbsp of butter, 1 large beaten egg and 1 1/2 tsp of chopped garlic stirring constantly. Whisk 1 1/2 tsp of dijon mustard into 1 cup of milk and pour over pasta along with 8 oz of grated sharp cheddar. Scoop pasta mixture into prepared muffin tin ensuring the liquid is well distributed between the wells. Combine 3/4 cup of fresh bread crumbs with 2 tbsp grated parmesan and 1 tbsp of olive oil. Sprinkle over top of the pasta and bake for 25 minutes. Let stand for 10 minutes before removing from the pan and serving.

Cheese Souffle Cupcakes

Preheat oven to 400F. Butter 6 3/4 cup ramekins and set aside. Combine 4 large egg yolks and 3 tbsp of milk. Beat until uniform. Stir in 1/3 cup of grated swiss cheese and 1/4 cup of chopped green onion. Set aside. Beat 4 large egg whites with a pinch of salt until they are satiny looking and form small dropping peaks. Gently fold in one third of whites into yolk mixture. Repeat until yolk mixture and whites are just incorporated. Spoon into ramekins and bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden and well risen but not fully dried in the centre. Serve immediately.

There are many other options for tasty and heatlhy dinner cupcakes. You can also adapt these recipes to liven things up. For instance add salsa and cheese to the meatloaf cupcakes instead of mashed potatoes for a different flavour. You may also want to bake breads or savoury treats in muffin tins instead to have bitesize treats to go along with your dinners. The possibilities are endless.