By Lorraine Allen
If you don’t already serve your family meals and snacks in cups, you’re going to want to start now. They’re easy to prep, store, and serve, and they’re a breeze to transport. Best of all, you don’t need more than a spoon or fork to enjoy them. Here are eight great ideas for food that’s perfect to serve in cups for your next meal, picnic, potluck, or school lunch.
Yogurt with granola is great to serve in a cup because you can layer different sorts of fresh fruit like berries, mangoes, kiwi, or peach with grains like granola, wheat germ, toasted oats, and other nutritious food like nuts or toasted coconut, and so on. It’s pretty, it’s healthy, it’s easy to pack, and it’s truly delicious!
Savory and Sweet Pies
Shepherd’s pie is perfect to bake and serve in individual ramekins or baking cups because you don’t have to worry about them falling apart when you serve them! Try this technique for mini fruit pies, too.
Pudding and Mousse
Kids of all ages love pudding and mousse, two desserts that were practically made to be served in individual cups. They not only look fancy, but you can add other layers of flavor and texture using crumbled cookies, chocolate chips, or fresh fruit. Top with whipped cream for an extra special treat.
If you’re having people over for a casual summer meal, or heading out to a picnic or potluck, it’s always nice to serve a salad, but it often falls off those paper plates! Serve up your next salad in single-serving lidded plastic containers or glass jars — your guests will think you’re genius, and they’ll thank you for this clever solution. Use mixed lettuces and various tasty, crunchy veggies like carrots, radishes, and even fresh herbs. A garnish of croutons makes this dish extra special, and adds even more flavor and texture, too.
This refreshing dessert or snack is fun to serve in cups because you can mix it up with yogurt, mint, or crumbled cookies. The single-serving size is ideal for packed lunches, too – prep them ahead of time on Sunday and enjoy throughout the week.
Image ©iStock.com/Terry J Alcorn
Who doesn’t love an ice cream sundae!? While these awesome desserts are usually served in a bowl, serving them in cups is a good way to control portion size while still making sure you get all those amazing layers and ingredients in every delicious, sweet bite. Start with your favorite ice cream and pile on the toppings: chocolate syrup, whipped cream, crushed cookies, sprinkles, whatever you like. And don’t forget the cherry on top!
Macaroni and Cheese
Mac and cheese is one of my favorite foods. It’s warm, comforting, and versatile, too. You can add bread crumbs on top, or mix in bacon, ham or tomatoes for extra flavor. And what better way to serve this to a group of kids than in individual oven-safe ramekins or cups? It makes baking, serving, and eating this comfort food even more fun. It also allows you to freeze small portions that you can reheat for a quick meal anytime.
Baking and storing lasagna in oven- and freezer-safe individual containers (even large silicone muffin cups work well) makes it even easier to reheat quickly. Cut cooked lasagna noodles to fit the containers and layer them with sauce, cheese, and your favorite fillings. Or save even more time and swap cooked penne for the large noodles and mix all the ingredients together before dividing among the cups, topping with cheese, and baking.
What foods do you enjoy serving or eating in individual cups?
Lorraine Allen is a writer, and mom and personal chef to one spunky 6-year-old girl with severe food allergies. You can enjoy their delicious recipes and follow their amusing family cooking adventures at Feeding Lina.