Tuna Melt Muffins

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There is something genuinely comforting about warm tuna covered by melted cheese. This is the famous “tuna melt,” which my father ate every day of his elementary school years, during the Fifties, when kids walked home for lunch. His was a sandwich of tuna, covered with melted cheese, slices of egg, and a pickle. The sliced egg and pickle were my grandmother’s idea, but the tuna melt has endured as the fish-version of cheeseburger.

But that was elementary school. Eating a massive tuna melt would be a difficult endeavor for a toddler, not to mention messy.

The solution: Muffinize. Turn the classic sandwich into a muffin. Now you have a hand-held package that’s packed with protein, moist and almost as fluffy as Wonder bread. This cheesy muffin is oozing with cheese in an inner pocket and crisped to perfection on the buttery-tasting outside.

The dill, lemon juice, and Parmesan add to even more zest to the flavors and charm of the recipe. The muffin tops give a nice bite to this recipe that does not include butter, just tastes like it.

The scent, emanating from the oven, brings back the days of childhood when school lunches meant grilled cheese and tuna fish sandwiches.

These are wonderful at room temperature, and even cold.

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Tuna Melt Muffins (makes 12)
1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbsp chives, dried
1/8 tsp black pepper
1 ½ cup cheddar, Colby, or mozzarella cheese (or combination), shredded and divided into 1 cup and ½ cup
1 tsp lemon juice
2 Tbsp vegetable or olive oil
2 large eggs
1/2 cup milk
1 1/2 cup (15 oz) water-packed tuna fish, drained
Topping
1/4 cup cheddar, Colby, or mozzarella cheese (or combination), shredded
¼ cup Parmesan cheese, grated

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 12-cup muffin pan with cooking spray.
2. In a mixing bowl, sift flour, baking powder and salt. Stir in chives, pepper, and 1 cup cheese.
3. In a separate bowl, combine lemon juice, oil, egg, milk, and tuna.
4. Add wet ingredients to flour mixture and stir until just combined.
5. Spoon mixture into prepared muffin cups to ½ full.
6. Sprinkle 1/2 cup cheese on top of each cup and spoon the remaining batter on top of each.
7. Sprinkle Topping on each muffin cup (first shredded cheese, then Parmesan).
8. Bake for 20 minutes.
9. Remove from muffin pan immediately and place on a wire rack to cool.
10. Serve piping hot, room temperature, or cold.

 

Pizza Muffins

Pizza Muffins

What child doesn’t like pizza? Mine! I’m continually perplexed that the even the smell of pizza doesn’t excite my kids. However, I’ve discovered that pizza in muffin-form is a gazillion times more interesting and fun.

This muffin doesn’t ooze or drip. The melted cheese on top looks like frosting on a cupcake. Try adding chopped mushrooms, onion, peppers, or sardines to the batter. Eat these muffins hot or cold. Serve for lunch or snack with a side of spaghetti or pizza sauce for dipping.

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Pizza Muffins (makes 18)

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp dried basil leaves
1/2 tsp dried oregano
2 Tbsp white sugar
1 cup tomatoes, seeded and diced
2 1/2 cups sharp cheddar cheese (or mozarella or both), shredded and divided
1 egg, beaten
1 1/2 cups buttermilk

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease muffin cups with olive oil or cooking spray or line with paper liners.
2. In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, basil, oregano, and sugar. Stir well until blended.
3. Mix in tomatoes and 1 1/2 cups of cheese.
4. In another bowl, beat egg, whisk in buttermilk, and stir until combined.
5. Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups until half full.
6. Sprinkle remaining 1 cup cheese on top of muffins.
7. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into center of muffins comes out clean.