Found on Pinterest: Sausage Cheese Muffins

Sausage Balls are a staple of the Southern potluck table. Usually made from some variation of sausage, Bisquick and shredded cheese, they are a tasty alternative to meatballs. However, they are also a bit of pain to make. Not because they are complicated but because it’s a recipe where you have to get your hands dirty. Or to be more precise, greasy. Ick.

I fouund this recipe a couple of years ago on Pinterest. I thought it would be great for our breakfast tailgate meals. I finally tried it last week for a graduation breakfast that our office hosted for our student worker. The verdict? YUMMY! All of the delicious taste of Sausage Ball without having to get your hands dirty.

I used a mini muffin pan and got 4 dozen mini muffins with a bit of dough leftover. I put the leftover into a ramekin and made a large muffin that I snacked on for breakfast later in the week.

Sausage Cheese Muffins
  

1 lb. ground pork sausage-I used medium heat
3 cups Bisquick
1 (10.75 oz) can condensed fiesta nacho cheese soup
2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
3/4 cup water

Cook sausage in a large skillet over medium until it crumbles and no longer pink. Drain and cool.

Preheat oven to 375. Combine sausage, baking mix, and shredded cheese in a large bowl. Make a well in the center of the mixture. Stir together the soup and water; add to sausage mixture, stirring just until dry ingredients are moistened. Spoon into lightly greased mini muffin tins, filling to tops of cups. Bake for 15-18 minutes or until lightly browned.

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Strawberry Cornmeal Muffins

I’ve been slow getting posts ups because I’ve just been dang busy. But with the long Memorial Day weekend here, I’m finally getting some time to work on the ole blog. I had hoped to update weekly as I receive my CSA boxes but that just hasn’t happened. And frankly, you haven’t missed much. The star of each week has been beautiful, sweet strawberries. It’s just too early in the season for much else.

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My first CSA box came with a sample of Strawberry Cornmeal Muffins. I was a little skeptical. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve eaten enough cornbread in my life to fill a football stadium. But I don’t like mine sweet. It’s one of those things like Coke vs Pepsi, you either like sweet cornbread or not-sweet cornbread. I liked the samples though and decided to make my own using some of my strawberries and the freshly ground cornmeal that came in the box. Because my CSA farmers are awesome, they had emailed us the recipe earlier in the week.

I ended up loving these muffins! When served warm with a little butter, it was just like cornbread with strawberry jam. I took some samples to work and they were a hit. I will definitely be making these again!

Strawberry Cornmeal Muffins

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For 12 regular muffins or 24 mini-muffins
1 cup white cornmeal
1 cup all-purpose flour
½ cup granulated sugar, plus a little more for sprinkling on top
2 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
1 egg, beaten
¼ cup oil
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup chopped strawberries

Preheat oven to 400 degrees and grease muffin cups or line with cupcake liners.

Sift together dry ingredients, then form a well in the middle of the mixture and add the egg, oil and milk. Stir thoroughly with a whisk or spoon until just combined. Fold in strawberries and pour into muffin cups, about ¾ full. Sprinkle a bit of sugar on top.

For regular muffins bake for 20 minutes, for mini muffins, bake 12-15 minutes. Cool, remove from muffin tins and enjoy.

Try them warm with a dab of butter. And if your idea of a dab is like a tablespoon, well, I won’t judge.

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Pioneer Woman’s Strawberry Oatmeal Bars

I’ve known about Pioneer Woman the blogger for several years but was never a follower. It wasn’t until she began her show on Food Network that I really paid attention to her recipes. And I really wasn’t enticed to try anything until I saw her make these bars a couple of Sundays ago.

I mistakenly thought I had plenty of oatmeal when I began making these (d’oh!) so I ended up being a half cup short. I increased the amount of flour by a half cup. Because of this, my bars are not as oat-y as they probably should be. Still, these are delicious. They remind me of a homemade biscuit with strawberry jam. I love them with a cold glass of milk for breakfast or as an evening snack. I took samples into the office and got rave reviews. I will definitely make again, possibly with blueberry jam or apple butter in place of the strawberry jam.

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Strawberry Oatmeal Bars
1 3/4 sticks salted butter, cut into pieces, plus more for greasing pan
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cup oats
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
One 10 to 12-ounce jar strawberry preserves
Directions
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9-by-13-inch rectangular pan.

Mix together the butter, flour, oats, brown sugar, baking powder and salt. Press half the oat mixture into the prepared pan. Spread with the strawberry preserves. Sprinkle the other half of the oat mixture over the top and pat lightly. Bake until light brown, 30 to 40 minutes. Let cool completely, and then cut into squares.
Note: I used unsalted butter and no one was the wiser.

Per serving: Calories: 177; Total Fat: 7 grams; Saturated Fat: 4 grams; Protein: 2 grams; Total carbohydrates: 28 grams; Sugar: 18 gram; Fiber: 1 gram; Cholesterol: 18 milligrams; Sodium: 72 milligrams

Overnight Apple Pie Oatmeal

We’ve all heard that revenge is a dish best served cold.

Who knew oatmeal is also quite tasty served cold?

I found this recipe in Oxygen magazine last year, and I’m sort of addicted to it. Trust me. Try it. I was skeptical too.

PS. I’ve seen cute recipes online of making overnight oats in a jar. I just make mine in a Ziploc bowl. If I’m running behind, I just grab it, toss on the walnuts, and go.

PPS. This recipe is insanely good for you. It is not, however, a low-fat dish. One bowl has 459 calories, 24g fat, and 22g protein. Before you scream that you could eat from a drive-thru for less, take into consideration that the majority of the fat and calories come from the walnuts. If you omit them, you’re looking at 259 calories, 4g of fat and 18g protein. The thing about walnuts is that it’s healthy fat. They are full of omega-3s which are so heart healthy. Before omitting the walnuts altogether, consider only using half the recipe’s recommendation. They really do make the dish more filling and the crunch gives it a little extra pop.

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Overnight Apple Pie Oats

Makes one serving

1/3 cup old fashioned rolled oats

1/2 cup chopped apple

1/3 cup milk (skim, almond, soy)

1/3 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt

1/8 tsp each salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice (Note: I just use salt and cinnamon)

1 tbsp ground flax (optional but it’s so good for you!)

1/2 packet Stevia (or your choice of sweetner)

1 oz crushed walnuts

In a small bowl, mix all ingredients together except walnuts until well blended.

Cover the bowl and refrigerate overnight.

In the morning, give it a stir and top with the crushed walnuts. Dig in!

My Banana Variation

This is also yummy, possibly even more yummy than the apple.

Substitute half of a banana sliced for the apple. Keep all other ingredients the same. Sort of gives you a banana bread flavor combination.

Joy Bauer’s Ginger-Spiced Pumpkin Muffins

Muffins are a great grab-n-go breakfast item. Finding ones that taste good and are healthy though isn’t always easy. I’ve been disappointed many more times than I’ve been pleased when trying healthy muffin recipes.

Enter this recipe from Joy Bauer. Joy is a nutrition expert and I really can’t recommend her book Food Cures enough times to you. She not only provides detailed information on the best foods for you, she also explains why the foods are healthy and the benefits of their nutrients. I passed my mom my copy of Food Cures shortly after my dad’s heart attack. That was six years ago and she still uses it constantly.( I bought another copy for myself.) She also makes these muffins often. So, when I found myself with some leftover pumpkin, I decided to try them. I mean, surely Mom and Joy wouldn’t steer me wrong.

The results were fabulous. Many times “healthy” muffins are dry. These are moist and tasty. I also found them quite filling. I added ground flax and chia seeds to mine just to boost the nutrients. The chia seeds add a little bit of bite similiar to a poppy seed.  I also used almond milk rather than cow’s milk, and I subbed in a couple of drops of orange extract for the zest. Other than that, I followed Joy’s recipe which can be found here along with the nutritional information.

Ginger-Spiced Pumpkin Muffins

oil spray

1/2 cup sugar, brown (packed)

1 1/2 cup whole wheat flour

2 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon cinnamon, ground

1 teaspoon ginger, ground

1/2 teaspoon salt, Kosher

1 egg

1 cup milk, fat-free

1/2 cup pumpkin, puree, 100% pure

1/4 cup canola oil

1/2 teaspoon orange peel (zest), grated

 Preheat the oven to 375°F. Lightly spray 12 muffin cups with nonstick oil spray.

In a large mixing bowl, stir together the brown sugar, flour, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, and salt. Tip: Use a whisk to stir your dry ingredients. Does a much better job than using a spoon…little tip I learned from Chef Duff Goldman.

In a small bowl, beat the egg for 30 seconds, until foamy. Add the milk, pumpkin, oil, and orange zest. Beat well. Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture, and stir until the flour mixture is moistened.

Fill the muffin cups three-quarters full with batter. Bake for 15 minutes, until the tops spring back when you touch them with a finger. Turn out muffins onto a wire rack to cool. Once cool, you can freeze the muffins, tightly wrapped, for up to 2 months.

Skinny Taste’s Pumpkin Granola-My Way

One of my favorite food blogs is Skinny Taste www.skinnytaste.com. I have tried so many of Gina’s recipes and have never been disappointed.

I made my own granola from Jamie Oliver’s recipe a few years ago and LOVED it. I really hadn’t planned on making granola last weekend but everything sort of fell together perfectly. My mom and I had gone on a little shopping trip to a store in my home town that sells bulk health foods. I had picked up pepitas (pumpkin seeds) and a box of chia seeds. I didn’t really know what I was going to do with either. I came home from my visit and was catching up on Skinny Taste posts-I checked it about once a week-when I saw pumpkin granola. I knew I had to try it.

The original recipe is here. I made some adjustments.

First, I omitted the nuts. For one thing, I didn’t have any on hand and nuts tend to be high in fat. I know it’s a “good” fat but still, I wanted to lighten the recipe up even more.

Second, I reduced the amount of dried fruit down to 1/4 cup. Dried fruit is full of sugar! If you are going to eat fruit, you should eat the real thing not the candy version. I chopped up 1/4 cup of low sugar dried pineapple (another purchase that day) and substituted that for the dried cranberries.

Instead of maple syrup, I used agave syrup. I don’t keep maple syrup around. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever bought real maple syrup. You could use honey as well. (This is not a diss on maple syrup, it’s actually a very natural and clean sweetner).

I added in two tablespoons of my newly purchased chia seeds. They are full of heart healthy omega-3 fats you know.

Other than that, I stayed true to the recipe. I had everything else on hand-yes, even quinoa and flax seed. (I can hear my friends now “You WOULD have that stuff on hand!”)

The granola smelled wonderful while it baked and it was very good. I put a 1/3 cup scoop in my organic Greek yogurt each morning. Not only did it taste good, but it was very filling. I usually find myself looking for a snack around 10 AM but not this week with my super healthy pumpkin granola!

I definitely would-and will-make this again. Don’t be intimidated if you don’t have everything you need to make it or if you don’t want to buy a lot of funky ingredients for one recipe. If you have a store nearby that sells food in bulk bins, just buy enough quinoa or flax to make the recipe. Both ingredients are really beneficial to your health so I encourage to try them but you can leave them out and just use more oats.

Great (For You) Pumpkin Pancakes

It seems to me that pumpkin has become really popular in recent years. Or maybe, I’ve just started paying more attention to this round, orange ball of goodness. Pumpkin is high in beta carotene and beta cryptoxanthin-antioxidants that can help reduce painful inflammation*. It’s also low in calories, has no fat and is a decent source of fiber. Plus, it tastes good when used in the right recipe.

I found this recipe for Pumpkin Pancakes in Men’s Health a couple of years ago. I’m really not a huge fan of pancakes-all that white flour and heavy syrup bogs me down and I find myself being hungry before lunch. I love this recipe though. The pumpkin adds flavor without adding more sugar and it helps these pancakes stick to your ribs. I use a sugar-free syrup on mine.

Pumpkin Pancakes

1¼ cup all-purpose flour

1 Tbsp sugar

1 tsp pumpkin pie spice

2 tsp  baking powder

¼ tsp salt

1 cup milk (I used almond milk)

½ cup canned pumpkin puree

2  Tbsp melted butter

1 egg

Whisk the first five dry ingredients in one bowl.  Combine milk,  pumpkin, butter, and egg in a separate bowl and mix thoroughly. Gently fold the  wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until just incorporated. Try not  to over-mix, or your pancakes will be tough.

Place a cast iron skillet or griddle over medium heat. Add a bit of cooking spray, then add a small scoop of batter to the pan. Cook until tiny air bubbles begin to form on the surface of the top side of the pancake (about 3 minutes), then flip and cook for another 2-3 minutes.

Makes 4 servings (2 pancakes per serving)

My notes:

These freeze extremely well. I freeze two pancakes per freezer bag. I lay them out when I pour my morning coffee so they can thaw while I get ready for work. Remove from bag onto a microwave plate and microwave for about a minute and thirty seconds with a flip over halfway through (microwave times will vary).

I also freeze my pumpkin in half cup servings. The standard sized can of pumpkin has about three half cup servings. Most recipes call for one cup or one half cup so I thaw what I need when I need it.

*Nutritional information from Joy Bauer’s Food Cures. A MUST read in my opinion.