Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Surprise Muffins

My cabinets are bare of anything to grab and eat, bah!  I have stuff to cook and bake but I just haven't had the spunk to get it done.  We've had so much going on lately!  I found out last week that when I let my cupboards get like that, I tend to eat out.  Not a good thing for the old bank account or the hips!

So,  my first mission Monday morning (before work... Eek) was to drum up some viddles for breakfast. (Our schedule was full all weekend with graduation parties and a bridal shower so I didn't get any time for cooking during the weekend.)

I remembered an easy muffin that I used to make for my girls when they were little.  They loved them!  I could make them with each girl's favorite jam.  I have used homemade apple butter, homemade apricot preserves or strawberry preserves, and yesterday since it was just the old man and me, I used my favorite (strawberry preserves) and his favorite, plain old grape jelly.  I usually sprinkle them with colored sugar to designate which is which.

These are like a cross between a muffin and a sweet biscuit.  I think you could take the sugar out completely and they would still be delicious (which I intend to try).

These are super frugal!  There is nothing really super nutritious in them like carrots or oatmeal, but they ARE good and when  you're on a budget, they are certainly BETTER FOR YOU than some sort of toaster pastry or frozen waffle.  They only took me about 10 minutes to mix up.  I stuck them in the oven right before I jumped in the shower and they baked up just perfectly!  They would also be a great after school snack.

Here's how I made Surprise Muffins AT HOME MY WAY:

Surprise Muffins

  • 2 cups all purpose flour (fluffed before measuring)
  • 1 Tablespoon baking powder (make sure it's fresh)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup milk
  • Cooking spray
  • Jam(s) for the "surprise" inside
  • Colored sugar for sprinkling (optional)

In a mixing bowl, add the flour, salt, baking powder, salt & sugar. Mix well to combine.

In a measuring cup, measure the milk, add the 1/4 cup oil, and the egg.  Blend well to fully incorporate the egg.

Pour the liquids over the dry ingredients and mix JUST until moist. (Do not stir too much.)

Spray your muffin tin.

Place 1 spoon  (I use a small spoon like you would eat with) of batter in the bottom of the muffin cups.  (I put a little too much in the bottoms of mine and didn't have much for tops.  They are best to add just a little bit in the bottoms of the cups and more after you add the jam so that the tops bake completely over the jam layer.)

Add 1 teaspoon jam to each:

Add the remaining batter to the tops of the muffins:

Sprinkle with colored sugar:

Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until browning!


Thursday, May 9, 2013

Cherry Berry Crisp

I found a great recipe for a fruit crisp.  I love crisps!  I love that they use oats instead of all white flour and also that you don't have any rolling out to do.

I had quite a bit of leftover cherry pie filling from making my Ditch the Box Cheesecake (we spoon it over each slice instead of layering the pie with it).  This recipe uses canned cherry pie filling so it worked terrific to use up the remainder of my pie filling.  I also had some frozen raspberries on hand, which I normally use for Homemade Yogurt Parfaits or breakfast smoothies.  I even tossed in a handful of strawberries I had in my fridge, all to equal the "2 cups frozen fruit" referenced in the recipe.

My family has a favorite frozen pie (that you bake).  Rarely do you find a store-bought pie that tastes super special, but Aldi has a Very Berry Pie that we REALLY love!  It combines blackberries, raspberries, and cherries.  The combination of berries and cherries in this recipe is very similar to that delicious pie.

I believe you could combine all sorts of frozen/fresh (but drained if fresh) fruits and even substitute the flavor of pie filling you use.  I love recipes that I can play around with - to sub in the fruits that I have on hand.

Here's how I made Cherry Berry Crisp AT HOME MY WAY:

Cherry Berry Crisp


  • 3/4 cup oats
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup cold butter/margarine (cut into pieces)
  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans (optional)

  • 1 can (21 oz) cherry pie filling (or blueberry or strawberry)
  • 2 cups frozen unsweetened raspberries (or fresh) (I also believe frozen blueberries, blackberries, peaches would be great.)
  • 3 Tablespoons sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon flour

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Spray an 8-inch square (or round) baking dish with cooking spray. 

In a large bowl, mix oats, 1/2 cup flour and brown sugar.  Cut in the butter.

I grate mine cold and it looks like this:

Cut in the butter/blend to combine.  I used a pastry blender but a fork would work well.  Stir in pecans (if using).

Mix the fruit/canned pie filling in a separate bowl and pour into the sprayed baking dish.

Sprinkle with the crisp topping.

Bake at 400 for 30-40 minutes or until mixture is bubbly and topping is golden brown. 


Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Homemade Stovetop Stuffing

Occasionally I see recipes for making homemade stovetop type stuffing.  I never expect it to taste as good as that wonderful stuffing you get in the box but I figured it was worth a shot.

Yesterday I made one of the fastest crockpot meals to ever throw in before you walk out the door in the morning, Crockpot Chicken & Biscuits.  Of course, any time I have anything like poultry with gravy, I want stuffing (and cranberry sauce).  I love homemade stuffing but sometimes I crave the kind that comes in a box.  Something about the spiciness of it is just over the top for me! 

Never one to run to the store after work, I grabbed my computer and googled "homemade stovetop recipes".  It didn't sound too hard.  In fact, the lady that blogged the recipe mentioned that it took her only about 15 minutes longer to make than the box kind.  My husband was mowing the yard so I had 15 minutes.  I also have a freezer full of stale bread so I gave it a shot.

Was it good?  Yea BABY!  It was delicious!  In fact, I loved it!  Probably I will never again buy another box of stuffing.  It was super cheap and also much better for you than those crazy ingredients you find in the boxed kind. 

I think it will also be good made with cornbread.  You can bet the next time I make Homemade Cornbread Muffins, I will be freezing some of those babies for making homemade cornbread stovetop.  I think I can just sub in toasted cornbread crumbles for croutons in this recipe.

One thing that I will change in this recipe is that the blogger whose recipe I used, toasted slices of bread and then cut it into cubes.  Maybe I'm just messy, but what a huge mess that was ha!!  I had crumbs flying all over the place.  I changed that part of the recipe to cube the bread BEFORE toasting.  I think that will work better for me.

Also, the original post used fresh celery and onions.  I'm sure that is completely wonderful but blahh.. I didn't have all of that.  I used dried, minced onion and skipped the celery.  She also used chicken broth.  I didn't have that either and used chicken bouillon to make my broth.  It was straight on! 

Here's how I made Homemade Stove Top Stuffing AT HOME MY WAY:

Homemade Stove Top Stuffing
(adapted from www.savoryreviews.com)

  • 8 slices of bread (I used a combination of bread/buns)
  • 3 Tablespoons margarine/butter
  • 1 Tablespoon minced onion
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 Tablespoon dried parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon sage
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 cube chicken bouillon
  • 1 1/4 cup boiling water

Cut bread into cubes (kitchen scissors work bests for this).  Place the cubes on a cookie sheet and toast in the oven at 350 degrees for 10 minutes or so until browning.  Dump them into a bowl for better pouring later on (I used the dish I would be ultimately serving my stuffing in).

Bring water to boil in separate dish (I used my measuring cup in the microwave), drop in bouillon cube while measuring the dry ingredients, etc.), stir when it starts to dissolve.

Measure all of the dried ingredients (except the bouillon cube) into a small dish so they are ready to go.  (HINT:  You could pre-measure these for storing in the pantry so they are ready to go.)

In a small pot, melt the margarine/butter, add in the dry seasonings and the chicken broth.  Bring to a slight boil and then remove from the heat.  Dump in the croutons.  Stir to mix and cover.  Let sit 5 minutes or so before serving.


I served this dish with Homemade Cranberry Sauce.  I had cranberries in the freezer so I used the whole bag, served half of the cranberry sauce and put the remainder in a jar for keeping in the freezer for next time.

The stovetop stuffing is incredibly frugal as it uses dried/stale bread.  You could also stirfry some garden vegetables or mushrooms for mixing in (stir the cooked vegetables into the broth before adding the croutons).  I will also be trying this recipe with cornbread!

The original recipe that I used for Homemade Stovetop Stuffing is found HERE!  A special thank you to this blogger at Savory Reviews!  What a great article and recipe. She gave me the confidence and inspiration to jump right on in there and try this terrific little recipe.

Let me know if you try it at your house!

I shared this recipe here:


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