Whole Wheat Apple Muffins


Category: , , ,

Fall is a time that apples, pears, pumpkin, and butternut squash take center stage.  Many times I want them in the form of something slightly sweet that will be utter perfection with a cup of coffee. 

I have had this recipe for a long time now, and finally got around to making it this weekend.  I am so glad I did; it's definitely one for your muffin repertoire. 

They're more like a muffin ought to be than so many other muffins around.  They're not cake in disguise; they're lightly sweetened and their texture is just a little more muffin like (I should be paid to write such amazingly descriptive prose).  It's soft but sturdy.  My own descriptive shortcomings aside, these are wonderful muffins.  They're moist and full of apple chunks, and if you do lightly sprinkle the brown sugar on top, you have a nice crunchy-soft contrast that doesn't form a shell that will crumble and end up in your lap, but instead is quite a pleasure to munch.

Whole Wheat Apple Muffins
from King Arthur Flour, via smittenkitchen.com

1 cup (4 ounces) whole wheat flour
1 cup (4 1/4 ounces) all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1/2 cup (1 stick, 4 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup (3 1/2 ounces) granulated sugar
1/2 cup dark brown sugar, packed, divided
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 cup (8 ounces) buttermilk or yogurt
2 large apples, peeled, cored, and coarsely chopped

Preheat the oven to 450°F. Grease and flour (or line) 18 muffin cups and set aside.

Mix together the flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon, and set aside. In a separate bowl, cream the butter and add the granulated sugar and 1/4 cup of the brown sugar. Beat until fluffy. Add the egg and mix well; stop once to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl.Mix in the buttermilk gently. (If you over-mix, the buttermilk will cause the mixture to curdle.) Stir in the dry ingredients and fold in the apple chunks.

Divide the batter evenly among the prepared muffin cups, sprinkling the remaining 1/4 cup brown sugar on top. Bake for 10 minutes, turn the heat down to 400°F, and bake for an additional 5 to 10 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean. Cool the muffins for 5 minutes in the tin, then turn them out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

  • I tried to be extra careful, and the mixture still curdled.  I forged on ahead and still came out with a great muffin.  I am unsure as to how this may have affected texture or outcome. 
  • Maybe it was me, but the batter was very viscous and "fluffy" but did not rise a ton.  That said, you can almost fill these muffin cups up and get a perfectly sized muffin.  I filled most of my cups about 2/3 full and ended up with 21 small muffins.  Next time I will take the smaller number and bigger muffin. 

White Chicken Chili


Category: ,

I felt sort of at a loss as to what to post here, because I made this Tuesday when it was chilly, but now it's all warm with no cold days in sight, and I don't know about you, but I find it hard to eat chili when it's not chili weather.  Sigh. 

I decided to share today, though, because it's so good and it's the best thing I've had this week.  I made a second attempt at grilled pizza, and while it wasn't bad, I don't necessarily deem it good enough to share with you on here yet.  It was truly nothing to write home about. 

This chili, though, is mild to medium spice, with an abundance of beans and tender chicken, and I really enjoyed it.  I used this recipe as a jumping off point to create my own chili, and I think I've got a pretty good thing going.  Nothing but positive feedback from my taste testers (this time Drew and Dawna)! 

It comes together in around 30 minutes, which is great in terms of prep time and for those who are super busy.  You can of course substitute dried cooked beans for the canned if you're interested in saving money over time.  This time I opted for saving time.  You can use precooked, shredded or cubed chicken if your interest is further time savings.

White Chicken Chili
by me, but inspired by a Better Homes and Gardens recipe

1 lb raw chicken, cut into bite sized cubes
1/2 cup onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tb. oil (vegetable or olive)
3-15 oz cans great northern beans, two cans drained and rinsed
2 cups chicken broth or stock
1 cup (4 oz.) grated pepper jack cheese
1- 4 oz can diced green chilis
1/2 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. cumin

In the bottom of a 4 or 5 qt dutch oven or pot, heat oil over medium to med-high heat.  Add the onion, garlic, and chicken and cook until chicken is cooked through and onions are translucent. 

Add in all other ingredients (in terms of the beans, two cans' worth of just beans and one can with the beans and their liquid) and stir to mix.  Bring to a boil, increasing the heat if needed.  Once at a boil, decrease heat and simmer for 5-10 minutes.  Enjoy with tortilla chips and more cheese, if desired. 

Let me know what you think!

Bean Dip...or Weight Watchers Chili


Category: , ,

I'm not exactly sure of the true name of this recipe because it was given to me by my aunt, who isn't known for precision in recipes.  What she IS known for is being one of the best cooks in the family, and this recipe doesn't betray her as anything but great.  Easy, quick, and crock pot adaptable, this mid sized batch chili recipe is great on a cool day, and it's healthy!  It's one of my very favorite meals, and I have made it several times a year since I was in college.  I break it out at the first hint of cool weather and eat on it for days.  It also freezes well for later enjoyment!

You can feed a small crowd with it.  Eat it as you would chili: in a bowl, over tortilla chips, or over a baked potato.  I love options! 

Bean Dip
1.5 lb ground beef
2-15 oz cans pinto beans (without pork)
2-15 oz cans kidney beans (without pork)
3- 15 oz cans diced tomatoes (recommended with peppers and onions, but I buy plain)
1-8 oz can tomato sauce
1 packet taco seasoning
1 bell pepper, diced (optional)

In a stock pot, brown the ground beef.  Drain of any fat.  Add all other ingredients and cook over medium heat for approximately an hour, stirring occasionally.  This does not need to come to a boil.  Take care that the pot doesn't scorch on the bottom.

If using a slow cooker, simply brown the meat in a large skillet, drain of fat, and pour into slow cooker with other ingredients.  Cook on low 6-8 hours or on high 3-4. 



Category: ,

Maybe you're familiar with spaghetti squash.  Maybe you have no idea what I'm talking about. 

Spaghetti squash is a fall or winter vegetable that, when cooked and a fork is run through it, resembles spaghetti.  It can be the answer to a gluten free or low carb dieter's spaghetti craving, and I finally made and ate it last week.  Drew and I really liked it.  We're fortunate not to have to limit our pasta intake for health reasons, but the squash might replace spaghetti for us, at least on occasion.  It's a great way, though, to add some good nutrition to your meal.  The squash has beta carotene and vitamins where spaghetti doesn't. 

Like a lot of winter squash, it has a slightly sweet taste that can throw you off a bit, but still plays well with parmesan and tomato based pasta sauce.  It also has an al dente texture, so don't expect anything really mushy.  That is a technical term.

You can find lots of recipes online using spaghetti squash.  We used it as a straight substitution. 

Here's how I prepared it:
Preheated the oven to 400.  Stabbed squash like crazy with a fork (to allow steam to escape).  Put squash in, whole, and baked for approx. one hour or until a fork can farily easily slide into the squash.

I then cut it open, scooped out the seeds, and ran a fork through it to get the "noodles."  We then poured doctored up jarred pasta sauce over the squash and ate it like spaghetti- nice, satisfying meal!