Spaghetti Muffins

My kids love spaghetti. There’s something about the challenge– attempting to twirl the strands onto a fork and slurping up the strays. Pure fun. And what could be even more fun? Picking at the crispy, crunchy, toasted tops of spaghetti muffins.

Here is a great way to recycle and reformat leftover spaghetti. The topping is the icing on the cake of handheld spaghetti nests. They are whimsical for kids and delightfully suited to adult tastes, too.

If you have any leftover, they toast wonderfully.

Spaghetti Muffins (makes 12)

4 cups cooked spaghetti, tossed in cream, butter, or marinara sauce (option: cut spaghetti into about 2 inch strands)
4 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup cheese, shredded
1/2 cup seasoned bread crumbs
1/4 – 1/2 cup cooked meat, finely diced (optional)

Topping
1/4 cup seasoned bread crumbs
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Grease muffin cups with cooking spray or line with paper liners.
2. In a large bowl, mix eggs, cheese, bread crumbs, and meat (optional).
3. Add mixture to pasta and toss.
4. Scoop pasta into muffin cups.
5. Sprinkle Topping over each muffin cup.
6. Bake for 8-10 minutes.
7. Allow to cool.
8. Remove from tins, serve, and enjoy!

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Blueberry Muffins

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Been-there-done-that? These blueberry muffins are worth it.

As a Mom of three kiddos, I’m always looking to streamline. Since my almost-one-year-old can eat a whole box of blueberries by his lonesome, I muffinize® by pumping healthy ripe blueberries into an easy batter that makes super moist muffins with a delicate crust.

Blueberry Muffins (makes 12)

½ cup butter, softened
1 ¼ cups sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups flour
½ tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
½ cup milk
2 cups blueberries, washed, drained and picked over
3 tsp sugar

1. Preheat the oven to 375. Grease muffin pan with non-stick cooking spray.
2. Use a hand-mixer to cream* butter and sugar until light. (*To cream butter without a mixer: use the tines of a fork to mash sugar into butter. With a spoon, stir mixture until light and fluffy. The butter is “creamed” when it has almost doubled in mass and it has lightened to a yellowish-white color.)
3. Add the eggs, one at a time, and mix well. Add vanilla.
4. In a separate large mixing bowl, combine flour, salt, baking powder and cinnamon.
5. Add creamed mixture and milk to the flour mixture and mix until combined.
5. Crush 1 cup blueberries with a fork, and mix into the batter.
6. Coat remaining whole berries with flour and then fold them into the batter.
6. Distribute batter into each muffin cup. Sprinkle the 3 teaspoons sugar over the tops of the muffins, and bake at 375 degrees for about 30 minutes.
7. Remove muffins from tin and cool at least 30 minutes. Store, uncovered, or the muffins will be too moist the second day, if they last that long.

Soft Pretzel Muffins

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If you grew up in South Philly you know that “Wawa” isn’t just the sound a baby makes. Your loved ones have probably sent you care packages with “Tasty Kakes,” and you know that a warm, chewy soft pretzel pulls apart at the knot and has just the right amount of salt crystals on top.

These muffins may be missing the traditional pretzel shape but they pull apart like the knotted version and their texture brings home the street vendor.

Serve warm, right out of the oven or leave on the counter and watch them disappear. These muffins are scrumptious by themselves, but you could serve alongside cheese or spicy mustard dip.

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Soft Pretzel Muffins (makes 12)

6 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
1 1/2 cups warm water
2 Tbsp light brown sugar
1 package active dry yeast (2 1/4 tsp)
2 1/2 tsp kosher salt
4 1/2 to 5 cups all-purpose flour

1. In a large microwave-safe bowl, melt butter in the microwave.
2. Add water, sugar, yeast and mix to combine. Let sit for 5 minutes.
3. Add salt and flour and mix with a spoon until dough is smooth and begins to pull away from the side of the bowl (If dough appears too wet, add additional flour, 1 tablespoon at a time).
4. On a flat surface, knead dough with hands and form a ball.
4. Oil a bowl with vegetable oil, add the dough and turn to coat with the oil. Cover with a damp towel or plastic wrap and place in a warm spot until the dough doubles in size, about 1 hour.
5. Preheat oven to 425 F. Spray muffin cups with non-stick cooking spray.
6. Pull off golf ball-size pieces of dough and distribute into muffin cups (roll dough into mini ropes and twirl or just plop into individual muffin cups).
7. Brush tops of each muffin cup of batter with the egg wash and season liberally with the coarse salt.
8. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes until golden brown.
9. Serve warm, right out of the oven with a condiment of your choice (cheese sauce, spicy mustard dip, ketchup, chocolate sauce).

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Whole Wheat Spinach n’ Feta Muffins

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Still warm and straight out of the oven, my 7 year-old grabbed one of these and said:
“Mom, this is like lunch and dinner in a muffin.” Bingo.
“It’s like a grilled cheese with spinach.” Right again.
“Mom, I’m amazed.”

These muffins, a complete balanced meal, not only satisfy salty cravings, but add fiber and smell divine. Everything works together: the carmelized onion, buttery spinach and pockets of creamy salted feta and cheddar.

These muffins will have you at first bite. Their crisp outside and soft inside make it impossible to stop.

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Whole Wheat Spinach n’ Feta Muffins (makes 21)

1 1/2 cups onion, chopped (1 large onion)
1 Tbsp butter
2 cups spinach, chopped
1 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
2 tsp baking soda
2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded
1 cup feta cheese, crumbled
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups milk
2 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 325 F. Spray muffin pans with non-stick cooking spray.
2. In a skillet, cook onion and butter over medium heat until onions are tender.
3. Add spinach and cook until just wilted.
4. In a large mixing bowl, combine flour and baking soda.
5. Add onion and spinach mixture, cheddar, feta, eggs, milk, and cayenne pepper (optional). Combine and mix thoroughly.
6. Distribute batter evenly into muffin cups.
7. Bake for 35 minutes. Serve warm.

Mashed Potato Muffins


While they bake in the oven, they may smell like French fries, but these muffins are a whole lot healthier. Their crisp, hash brown-y crust and fluffy potato middle will reinvent your leftover mashed potatoes.

Post Thanksgiving, load them up with leftover Turkey or take them to a new level with tons of cheese, bacon bits and chives. Keep them simple with just salt and pepper, or omit the chives on top for kids who prefer their muffin to look “clean,” without garnish.

MuffinizⓇ this classic comfort food and keep your forks in the silverware drawer.

Serve with sour cream.

Mashed Potato Muffins (makes 12)

3 cups mashed potatoes*
1 large egg
1 1/4 heaping cups Cheddar and mozarella cheese, shredded and divided
3 Tbsp chives, chopped and divided
salt and pepper, to taste

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2. Grease muffin pan with non-stick cooking spray.
3. In a large bowl, combine mashed potatoes, egg, 1 cup cheese and 2 tablespoons chives.
4. Add salt and pepper and stir.
5. Use an ice cream scoop to divide the potato mixture into the prepared muffin pan (use the back of spoon to pack potatoes down into each cup for a flattened top or leave as is for a more puffy/textured muffin top).
6. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes until golden brown and crisp around the edges.
7. Remove pan from the oven, sprinkle muffin tops with the remaining 1/4 cup cheese, and return them to the oven for 3 more minutes.
8. Remove muffins from the oven and allow them to cool in the pan for 5 minutes.
9. Transfer muffins to a serving dish, top them with the remaining 1 tablespoon of chives (optional) and serve immediately.

Notes:
*To measure mashed potatoes, scoop and pack them into a measuring cup and then level it off.
*Mashed potatoes can vary in thickness. To thicken consistency, add an egg to the mixture.

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Cheese Meltin’ Muffins

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Just out of the oven, these muffins on the counter, my 7-year-old took one bite and said, “I love how it all melts together.”  They are gloriously cheesy, just waiting to be pulled apart.

The recipe is beyond easy. Use any cheese you have on hand. I was planning to use Colby Jack, but after returning from a road trip I discovered it was moldy, so I improvised with goat, mozzarella, American and parmesan.

Buttery crisp on the outside and molten inside, these muffins make a great snack for kids. Served with milk, they make a protein-packed meal. And, mini or regular sized, they make a wonderful portable appetizer for your next cocktail party.

Even better, they make great egg sandwiches. Leftovers may be halved, popped into the toaster and spread with jam. Delicious as-is, or with a bowl of soup.

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Cheese Meltin’ Muffins (makes 12)

1 1/2 cups flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3 heaping cups cheese (I used goat, mozzarella, American and parmesan)
1 cup milk
1 egg
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) salted butter, melted
1 pat (1 tsp) butter (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 375 F degrees. Grease muffin pan with cooking spray.
2. In a medium-size mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. Stir in cheese.
3. In a separate medium-size mixing bowl, whisk together the egg, milk, and butter.
4. Pour wet mixture into dry mixture and stir to combine.
5. With an ice cream scoop or spoon, distribute batter into each muffin cup.
5. Bake for 22 to 25 minutes until muffin tops start to brown.
6. As the muffins come out of the oven, rub a small pat of butter over the tops.
7. Serve warm from the oven with a pat of butter or jam.

Spider Muffins (Creamy Cornbread Muffins)

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Inspired by a recipe for New England Spider Cake, these muffins don’t require a “spider,” or even resemble the insect.

“Spider” is the name of the cast-iron skillet, used in Vermont for making cornbread. This recipe works just as well in a muffin pan as in the cornbread skillet used during the nineteenth century.

The “trick” to making these muffins is to pour cold cream over the batter, prior to placing it in the oven. As the muffins bake, the cream sinks, forming a custardy middle layer. This produces a muffin of different textures and flavors: the center is sweet and creamy while the top and bottom is buttery and crisp.

This cornbread-pudding-soufflé is like nothing else! Now, take pleasure in telling your children you’re making “spider muffins.”

Spider Muffins (Creamy Cornbread Muffins) (makes 24)

2 cups milk
4 tsp white vinegar
1 cup all-purpose flour
¾ cup yellow cornmeal
¾ cup sugar
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
2 eggs
3 Tbsp butter, melted
1 cup heavy cream
Maple syrup, for serving

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray muffin pans with cooking spray.
2. Combine the milk and vinegar in a bowl and set aside to sour (wait 5 to 10 minutes — you’ll see the milk get lumpy).
3. In another bowl, combine flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking soda, and salt.
4. Whisk eggs into the soured milk. Stir into dry ingredients and set batter aside.
5. Add melted butter to batter (batter will seem liquidy).
6. Distribute batter evenly into 24 muffin cups.
7. Pour cream into the center of each muffin cup.
8. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the edges start to turn golden brown.
9. Serve warm, with maple syrup if you’d like.

Now, put on some cozy slippers, curl up, and indulge in sweet, simple deliciousness.