Individual portion frozen shepherd's pies (or any kind of casserole dish)

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This is more of a tip than a recipe, but I’ve put it here because it’s a handy way of building up your bento freezer stash. When I make something that is baked in a casserole for dinner such as shepherd’s pie, I try to make a few individual portions in cupcake liners. In this case it’s shepherd’s pie, but it would work with fish pie, lasagna, macaroni and cheese, moussaka, or any kind of dinner main dish that you would normally bake in a casserole dish. It only adds a few minutes to your dinner making time.

Here is how I do it:

  • Line a regular size metal muffin tin with cupcake or muffin liners. You can use paper or silicon.
  • Fill the cups with whatever you are making. In this case, I filled the cups a bit more than halfway with the meat mixture, topped them with a swirl of mashed potatoes, then drizzled on a little Worcestershire sauce. You could get very fancy here and pipe on the mash if you like. The metal muffin tin provides support for the cups, which is good if you have something a bit difficult to pack into a small container like mac and cheese.
  • Bake these along with your main dish, but take out after 15-20 minutes, or half the time it takes to bake your main dish. Let cool to room temperature.
  • Put the whole tin in the freezer. The metal will help to freeze the cups very fast, so they’ll be firm enough to take out of the tin after a couple of hours. Take the cups out and put them in a freeze bag to store.

The cups will defrost nicely in 5-6 minutes on the HIGH setting in a microwave.

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11 comments

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ooohh, I like that idea..

ooohh, I like that idea.. Everything tastes better in a muffin cup! I make chicken potpies for my husband in small foil pans we get from takeout food, but they’re too big for lunch. Muffin potpies would be perfect for bento! Do you have any trouble getting the paper liners off of lasagna? Thanks for all the great tips!

not unless the lasagna is

not unless the lasagna is overbaked and gets stuck/burnt onto the paper. Otherwise it’s fine.

Jalapeno Poppers

My husband makes Jalapeno Poppers in mini-muffin pans and packs them for his bento. I don’t eat them because I don’t like spicy food, so it’s purely a ‘macho man must eat painful food to prove masculinity to himself’ type of thing. I love the idea of the pies though! I’ll have to try that with my whole grain zucchini bread. I never thought of putting it into muffin pans. O.o;

hmm… Jalapeno Poppers

hmm… Jalapeno Poppers sound intriguing! Where’s your blog now? :) I want the recipe!

Making these

Making these “mini-meals” is SOOOO great for bento. I haven’t tried shepherd’s pie yet, but now you make me want to. I’ve done a few different spaghetti recipes, enchiladas, and homemade chicken pot pies. it’s nice to have a bit of comfort food in your lunch box when you’re having a hard day at work. :)

Another suggestion, for people who don’t want to use disposable cups, is to use silicone baking cups. I tend to use these, because I’m cheap and don’t want to keep buying stuff only to use it once and throw it out. :)

That is such a good idea.

That is such a good idea. Not only for bentos but for those living on their own. My sambo goes away for months at a time, so I miss out on delicious things like shephard’s pies and lasagnes.

Toppings!

I’m going to make some meatloaf muffins after seeing these. And then I’ll have to dream up some other casserole’y things to make, and then come up with something yummy to top them so they’d be like savory cupcakes. Maybe cream cheese dips, mashed bean dips, or some of your smushed veggie dips.

Poppers

I forgot to ask about the poppers in muffin tins too.

Guess #1: Cheese muffins with jalapeno slices in them. Maybe they’re covered with cream cheese with dried ranch dressing mixed in.

Guess #2: Partially fill muffin tin with cornbread batter, stuff jalapenos with cream cheese, cover with remaining batter. Sprinkle grated cheddar cheese on top towards end of cooking. I guess that’s almost chile relleno.

Please tell us Suzunomiko. I’m not very macho, but I do enjoy hot foods 8^)

And then do you eat them hot

And then do you eat them hot or cold at lunchtime?

if you have access to a

if you have access to a microwave you can heat them up - here’s an example. Otherwise as part of a bento they can be eaten cold too.

Individual servings

I love this idea! As a single petite female, there's NO way I can eat a whole casserole of anything before it goes bad. I've started to use mini foil bread pans for pot pies and lasagnas, but the silicone cup idea is brilliant! Normally I prep all the containers and only bake the one I am about to eat, freezing or refrigerating the others. But I've never been able to bring them to work for lunch. I will now go out and buy some silicone cups to try out this idea. Thanks a bunch!

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