April 7, 2015

Pudding Muffins *Create Your Own Flavor*

It's been a little muffin cRazY around here lately. I had an idea for a *create your own muffin* recipe. I like having choices and playing with my food. With this muffin recipe, I did both! I got a little carried away trying different flavor combinations. My family didn't seem to mind since almost as soon as I baked these muffins, they were gone! But, by the fifth batch my husband did ask me to stop making muffins. :) So, I just made one more batch and now I'm done...I think.

I'm writing down the basic muffin recipe, then you get to choose and create your own flavor. First, choose an instant pudding flavor, second choose a flavoring (extract) and third, choose a mix-in like chocolate chips, blueberries, raisins, craisins, other dried fruits, chopped nuts, peanut butter chips, and on and on....
Finally, ta-da! You've created your own muffin. Fun, right?! After the basic recipe, you can check out some of the muffins I've made so far.

Basic Pudding Muffin Recipe
Printable Recipe 
3 cups flour
1 cup granulated sugar
2 Tablespoons baking powder
1 (3.4 oz.) package instant flavored pudding mix
2 eggs, beaten
1 1/4 cups milk
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon flavored extract (vanilla, lemon, rum, strawberry, etc...)
1 to 2 cups of your favorite mix-ins (chocolate chips, blueberries, chopped nuts, raisins, dried fruit, etc...)
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Grease muffin pans or prepare with paper liners.
2. In large bowl combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and dry pudding mix (dry ingredients).
3. In a separate bowl whisk together the eggs, milk, oil and extract (wet ingredients).
4. Pour the wet ingredients into the large bowl with the dry ingredients. Stir until moistened---do not overmix! Stir in your mix-ins (chocolate chips, nuts, etc...)
5. Divide batter evenly into 24 standard muffin cups (about 2/3 full) or 48 mini muffin cups. Bake about 20 minutes for standard muffins or 10-15 minutes for mini muffins. When done, remove muffins from pans and let cool on cooling rack. Store in airtight container. 
Makes 24 standard muffins or 48 mini muffins
Too many muffins? Place extra muffins in a freezer bag and store in the freezer. 

Inspired by this recipe for Pistachio Muffins from Hannah Help Me!

Muffins I've Made So Far...

 Chocolatey Chip Muffins
1 (3.4 oz.) package vanilla or french vanilla instant pudding mix
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups chocolate chips
(These were the kids favorite muffins!)

 Lemon Blueberry Muffins
1 (3.4 oz.) package lemon instant pudding mix
1/2 teaspoon lemon extract
2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
(These were my favorite muffins.)

 Double Butterscotch Muffins
1 (3.4 oz.) package butterscotch instant pudding mix
1/2 teaspoon rum extract
1 (11 oz.) bag butterscotch chips

 Strawberries and Cream Muffins
1 (3.4 oz.) package strawberry creme instant pudding mix
1/2 teaspoon strawberry extract
1 (11 oz.) bag of white chocolate chips
Chocolate-Peanut Butter Chip Muffins
1 (3.4 oz.) package chocolate fudge instant pudding mix
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 (10 oz.) bag of peanut butter chips

Pumpkin Pecan Mini Muffins
1 (3.4 oz.) pumpkin spice instant pudding mix (seasonal flavor)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups chopped pecans

Pistachio Cherry Muffins
1 (3.4 oz.) package instant pistachio pudding
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
about 1 1/2 cups chopped dried cherries
The Results...
Tasty and fun! 
I didn't get too crazy with the flavor combinations, but I still have some ideas floating around in my head. How about a Pina Colada muffin using coconut cream instant pudding, coconut or rum extract with shredded coconut and chopped pineapple (drained) mixed inside? Maybe a Root Bear Float muffin using vanilla instant pudding, root beer extract and white chocolate chips? Or a Raspberry Cheesecake muffin using cheesecake instant pudding, raspberry extract with some fresh raspberries mixed in? Oh! the possibilities.

More recipes using pudding mixes...
Cool-Whip Frosting
Pudding Milkshake (no ice cream)

More muffin recipes...
Omelet Muffins
Pumpkin Banana Muffins
Sweet Hubby Corn Muffins
Applesauce Muffins

March 13, 2015

Breakfast Burrito Pie

Happy Pi Day (tomorrow)!  I was so excited this morning when I saw my Breakfast Burrito Pie on the Today Show on NBC.  Earlier this week I entered their Today's Take Pie Challenge for pi day.  I thought I'd give it a shot never really expecting to be featured.
I had to submit a picture of me with my pie.  It was just my 3 yr. old and I at home when I created this pie.  Since I didn't feel confident in my 3 yr. old's photo skills, I stacked up a pile of books on the kitchen counter, set the camera on top, hit the self timer button and ran in front of the camera with my piece of pie! :)  I probably would've put more effort into it if I knew it was going to be on national TV.  My husband said, "at least I did my hair." haha  

Seriously, I am so excited and happy that not only did my family really like this pie, but so did the Today Show family.  Tamron said she could eat the whole pie and Willie said he's having it for breakfast tomorrow.  Al said the pies were "fantastic."  Here's the link to the article, Pies you gotta try from Today Take's Pie Challenge and here's the video from this morning.............

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Ingredients (printable recipe)
1 lb. breakfast sausage (cooked, crumbled, drained)
3/4 cup chopped bell peppers, any color
1/3 cup chopped sweet onion
2 cups shredded cheese, divided (we like sharp cheddar)
1-10 inch flour tortilla (burrito size)
2 large eggs
1 cup milk
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
freshly ground black pepper to taste
cooking spray
Sour cream and chopped green onion to top each slice

1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Spray 9-inch pie plate with cooking spray. Press tortilla into pie plate and spray lightly with more cooking spray.
2. Toss cooked breakfast sausage, chopped peppers, onions and 1 cup shredded cheese in a large bowl until combined. Spread filling over tortilla. 
3. Whisk together eggs, milk, flour, baking powder, salt and pepper in bowl until smooth.  Slowly pour over filling in pie plate. 
4. Sprinkle with remaining 1 cup cheese and bake until surface is golden brown, about 20-25 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes. Cut into wedges and top with sour cream and green onions. 

Tip: Place pie on a baking sheet to make it easier to take in and out of the oven

Source: Myself

First, cook, crumble and drain the breakfast sausage
You will LOVE how easy the crust is, just spray the pie plate, put in the tortilla and spray the tortilla---Done!
Toss the sausage, chopped pepper, chopped onion and cheese together and then....
Spread the filling over the tortilla
Whisk your eggs, milk, flour, baking powder, salt and pepper together
Carefully pour it over the filling
Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top. Place pie on a baking sheet to make it easier to take in and out of the oven.
Ta-Da! All done. Let cool 5 mintues, slice and top with sour cream and chopped green onions
The Results... 
Everyone in our family gave this pie 4 to 41/2 stars (out of 5).  We really liked it and will definitely be making it again!

February 21, 2015

Market Street Clam Chowder

When I was 15 years old, my family moved from western New York state to Utah.  We settled near Salt Lake City and were surrounded by the beautiful Wasatch mountains.  One of our favorite restaurants in the area was Market Street Grill in downtown Salt Lake and one of our favorite things at Market Street was the clam chowder.  My mom and I would go there just to get a bowl of clam chowder and then share a dessert.

Fast forward 5 years later, I was a student at Brigham Young University in Provo and engaged to my now husband.  He loves seafood, so I introduced him to Market Street and it became one of our favorite spots.  While planning our wedding, we would drive up to Salt Lake on weekends to meet my mom and often we would stop at Market Street for lunch.  Which of course meant more clam chowder!

After we were married we stayed in Utah for a couple more years before grad school and work took us elsewhere.  Whenever we came back to visit, we would try to make a trip to Market Street again.  On one of our visits, I found a stack of recipe cards on the front counter.  Guess what recipe it was.  That's right, clam chowder.  I couldn't believe it wasn't a secret!  Of course, I took one with plans to make it at home.

With the chilly weather recently, I've been craving clam chowder.  Unfortunately, I lost that recipe card a long time ago.  So, I did a little searching online and found this recipe again.  This time it was printed in The Salt Lake Tribune.  It's been a really, really long time.  Would it be as good as I remembered?

Ingredients (printable recipe)
3/4 cup melted butter
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup (1/2 inch) diced potatoes *see notes
1 cup (1/2 inch) diced celery
1 cup (1/2 inch) diced onion
1 cup (1/2 inch) diced green pepper
1 cup (1/2 inch) diced leeks
3/4 cup chopped clams, *canned or fresh
3/4 cup clam juice (from canned clams or purchased separately)
3/4 Tablespoon coarse ground black pepper
1 1/2 Tablespoons salt *see notes
3/4 Tablespoon whole thyme
6 bay leaves
1 teaspoon hot sauce (Tabasco recommended)
2 cups water
2 quarts half and half
1. Heat oven to 325 degrees F. Combine melted butter and flour in oven-proof container. Bake for 30 minutes. Meanwhile...
2. In large saucepan, combine remaining ingredients except half and half. Simmer until potatoes are thoroughly cooked (about 15 minutes).
3. Stir the butter-flour mixture into chowder and stir until thick. Mixture will be slightly less thick than cookie dough. Remove from heat and stir in half and half until blended.
4. Return to heat and warm to serving temperature, stirring occasionally. Serve immediately.
Makes 12 servings

Notes: If using canned clams, I would reduce the amount of salt to 1 Tablespoon. I used 2 (6.5 oz.) cans of clams which yielded 1 cup total, plus I had plenty of juice, too. 
Also, my husband suggested adding an extra 1/2 cup of diced potatoes.

Adapted from Gastronomy, Inc. (printed in The Salt Lake Tribune)

First, I put the melted butter/flour mixture in the oven. Then, I chopped and prepared the rest of the ingredients.
I never used leeks before, so I searched for websites that explained how to clean and prepare leeks. Here are two that were useful: Simply Recipes and a video from Real Simple.
Lookin' Good!
This is what my butter/flour mixture looked like after it baked for 30 minutes.
Here's step 3. I stirred in the butter/flour mixture and it got thick.
Pouring in the half and half.
It really wasn't difficult to make.
The Results... 
Market Street Clam Chowder is rich and creamy with a blend of hearty vegetables and tender clams. This was the first time that I made clam chowder from scratch.  It was much easier than I thought it would be and I even learned how to use leeks! 

Our son gave this chowder 4 1/2 stars (out of 5).  He really liked it!  My 10 and 7 yr. old girls gave it 3 stars.  They thought it was OK.  My 3 yr. old refused to eat her chowder and put orange slices inside her bowl and swirled them around (I'm guessing that means she didn't like it at all).

My husband and I really liked this chowder, but there were a couple of things we would change next time.  It was a bit too salty for us and we thought it could use more diced potatoes.

Overall, this is a great recipe to have on hand and if my memory serves me well, this tastes very much like the clam chowder we enjoyed many years ago at Market Street Grill.  Now I can make it at home!

I sometimes share recipes at these link parties.