It’s no big secret – I love Magic Meat. So much so that we have some kind of variation of it about every 10 days, if not weekly. I’ll use ground beef, chicken, turkey, sausage, pork, veal, elk, bison, duck, venison, or lamb as at the protein with an innumerable combination of vegetables. Normally I make two pounds of meat, combining a slightly fattier animal with a leaner one. Recently I found the ground elk / Italian sausage duo to be ridiculously delicious, and Mr. Musky concurred. Lucky for him, there’s just two of us for the summer, so I can stretch the meat into two distinctly different meals, which is how I came up with these little gems.
Quinoa Muffins house everything you need in a meal: healthy carbohydrates, plenty of nutrient dense vegetables, protein and healthy fat from both the meat and the quinoa, and rich, satisfying flavor.
They’d be a great appetizer at a summer barbecue, as they’re best consumed at room temperature, allowing for make-ahead ease. I don’t have a mini muffin tin at the cabin, but they’d be adorable as miniature replicas of these big daddies.
We ate these atop some salad greens for lunch one day, and I stored the leftovers in the refrigerator for on-the-go snacking. Turns out they’re extremely portable, and taste lovely as a mid-afternoon pick-me-up next to a glass of Pinot Noir balanced between the legs on a boat ride.
If you’re trying to eat a bit healthier this summer, then give these little nuggets a try.
We loved them, and the flavor profile can be altered for different variations: think Asian flair with a little fresh ginger and teriyaki, or southwest with jalapeños and cumin. You could even make them semi-vegetarian – just sub the meats with extra sautéed vegetables, especially when the summer harvest really starts rolling in.
Happy Summer Solstice. Get out there and enjoy the extra daylight.
- ½ lb ground elk
- ½ lb Italian sausage
- ½ cup white onion, chopped
- 1 large garlic clove, chopped
- 1 cup crimini mushrooms, chopped
- ½ tsp dried oregano
- ½ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp pepper
- 1 cup white quinoa
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 2 T sun dried tomatoes, chopped
- 2 tsp fresh thyme
- 1 cup chopped arugula
- 2 eggs
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
- Prepare the quinoa according to package directions using chicken broth as the liquid.
- Meanwhile, brown the sausage and onion in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion, garlic, and mushrooms and cook until no pink remains in the meat. Season the meat mixture with salt and pepper.
- In a large bowl, combine the meat mixture and quinoa. Add the remaining ingredients and mix well.
- Spray a 12 cup muffin tin liberally with cooking spray.
- Spoon the quinoa / meat mixture into the muffin tins, pressing down gently to pack the mixture in.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 25 minutes, or until the muffins are set. If you use a mini muffin tin, check for done-ness at 12 minutes. They should be slightly dry on top and just starting to brown up a bit.
- Cool for 5 minutes in the pan, then remove the muffins, gently running a knife around the outside edge of each muffin if necessary to release them from the pan.
- Cool the muffins completely on a baking rack. Serve at room temperature.