Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Embracing the Muffin Top

I realized sometime over the weekend that it was MY turn to host Pie's playgroup.  Normally, we like to have a little something for the moms and kids to snack on.  But I was a solo parent this weekend and was not about to take two children grocery shopping.  What did I have in my pantry and refrigerator that I could put together quickly?  Not much.  Bisquick.  At least two eggs.  Some oil.  Lots of jambalaya mix (it was on sale).  No milk, but my mom helped me out there (thanks, Mom!)  I went to Bisquick's website to see what I could dig up.

The ironic thing is that I collect cookbooks.  I own so many that I've weeded them out and sold them at yard sales on occasion.  Do I consult these books when I need to try something new?  No!  I go to the internet!   I especially love product sites because the ideas are simple with ingredients already on hand.  I "like" these companies on Facebook and get yummy recipes posted on my wall daily (see Betty Crocker, Taste of Home, Pillsbury, Southern Living).  My favorite cookbook is my 3 ring binder stuffed with print outs, hand written family recipes, and magazine clippings - contained in plastic sheet protectors, one of the best ideas I've ever had.  Perhaps that's not saying much.  Anyway, I bet you a dollar that I already have the recipe I printed out online in my Bisquick cookbook.

Here's the thing: It's really not much more effort to find a simple recipe rather than opening up a box of muffin mix from the store, and the results are SO MUCH BETTER.  Don't be afraid.  Give it a try!  It doesn't take long - chopping up one apple took the most time here.

Apple Cheddar Muffins
1 egg
2 cups Original Bisquick® mix
3/4 cup coarsely chopped peeled cooking apple (1 med. apple, I used Braeburn)
2/3 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
1/3 cup sugar
2/3 cup milk
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 
Heat oven to 400°F. Grease bottoms only of 12 regular-size muffin cups with shortening, or line with paper baking cups. 
In medium bowl, beat egg slightly. Stir in remaining ingredients just until moistened. Divide batter evenly among cups. 
Bake 17 to 19 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm.

Everyone seemed to like the muffins, but the most important thing is that I didn't need to make a special trip to the grocery store or spend hours in the kitchen to put something warm and delicious on the table.

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