Miniature makes it better

I have to say that one of my favorite kitchen tools is my mini-muffin pan.  There’s just nothing as cute as a mini little bite of something.  That said, I was instantly drawn to these Mini Ham and Cheese Quinoa Cups.  These are like mini quiches, but without the decadent crust.  The quinoa (a high protein seed that works well as a whole grain) adds delicious substance and extra nutrients.  The fact that their mini, makes them great for snacks, buffets, appetizers, and kids’ meals.  Although if you don’t have a mini-muffin tin I’m sure they’ll be just as delicious in a regular muffin tin (although slightly less cute).  While I haven’t had a chance yet to experiment with new flavors, I’m sure these would be great with a variety of flavors!  I’m eager to try various vegetarian versions, so I’ll keep you posted on my experiments!

Mini Quinoa Bites

Makes 28 mini muffins (or 24 with 1 ramekin sized one)

Adapted from Iowa Girl Eats

  •  2 cups cooked quinoa* (about 3/4 cup uncooked)
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 bell pepper, diced
  • 1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1/2 cup ham, diced
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 350°F.  In a large bowl, combine all ingredients and mix well.  In a greased (or nonstick), mini-muffin pan, spoon mixture into each cup (fill to top, as these don’t rise).  Bake for 20 minutes, until edges are beginning to brown and the center is set.  Allow to cool for 5 minutes in pan before removing to a cooling rack.  Store in the refrigerator for up to 10 days.  Reheat in microwave for 30 seconds.

*To cook quinoa, rinse in a fine mesh sieve, then place in pot with twice as much water as quinoa and about 1 tsp of salt.  Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer for about 10-15 minutes, or until all the water has been absorbed.  (If you’re too lazy to rinse the quinoa, like me, you can put it in the pan and toast it briefly on medium-high heat before adding the water.  The rinsing is supposed to remove whatever makes quinoa taste slightly acidic/bitter.  I’ve never really noticed/had a problem with it when I just toast the quinoa.  Do what feels right to you!)

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