Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Sunday Afternoon Cooking: Muffins, Spinach Pasta, and Pizza...Oh My!

In case you haven't noticed yet, I'll confess - I LOVE muffins! I think muffins are the perfect breakfast or snack food: easy to make, easy to bake, perfect to grab and go when you need a quick bite to eat. Muffins, unlike quick breads, come in their own container and seldom make a mess. No utensils are required and the perfect brown sides and bottom are offset by that delicious puffed up top. If you are old enough to have enjoyed Seinfeld, the muffin top episode was a classic (Season 8, Episode 21) Episode Clips HERE!

I've gotten in the habit of making two batches of muffins at a time. They can all be baked at 350, so I make a full-size batch for my husband and I and a mini-muffin batch for Henry. As the weekend rolled around, I had some leftover pumpkin puree in my fridge which needed to be used and one over-ripe banana.

I used a basic pumpkin muffin recipe for the full-size muffins, but added molasses to give it that gingerbread hint along with some extra spices. They turned out great, fabulous texture once cooled!

Ginger Pumpkin Muffins
Yield: 12 Muffins
Bake: 350 degrees for 18-20 minutes

1 cup Pumpkin Puree
1 Egg
1/4 cup Molasses
1/2 cup Butter
3/4 cup Brown Sugar
1/2 cup Whole Wheat Flour
3/4 cup All-Purpose Flour
1 tsp Baking Powder
1 tsp Baking Soda
1/2 tsp Salt
1 tsp Pumpkin Pie Spice
1 tsp Ground Ginger

Blend ingredients through Sugar until smooth. Add in the dry ingredients and mix to combine, batter has a thick mousse-like texture. Spray your muffin tin or use liners and divide batter among the 12 cups.

For Henry's muffins, I used my basic Baby Muffin Recipe.  However, I'd used around 1/2 cup from a newly opened can of pumpkin to supplement the leftover pumpkin I put in my Ginger Pumpkin Muffins. Since I didn't have the full can for his muffins, I added in 1/2 cup applesauce instead. I also reduced the amount of rolled oats from 1 cup to 1/2 cup because I am running low on oats and Henry eats them for breakfast. I do give Henry small amounts of our "adult" muffins and bits of treats such as cake or donuts on the rare occasions we have those items. But I love having a big freezer bag of these mini muffins which are sugar-free, salt-free, and white flour-free ready for easy snacks. They thaw at room temperature in around an hour or if you plan ahead, you can put them in the fridge overnight.
Prepped Muffin Batter

Cooling Muffins

I came across this super-easy recipe for Spinach Mac'n'Cheese last month. I had leftover cream cheese in my fridge still from the first time I made it and Henry had just eaten the last container out of the freezer so I whipped up another batch. I use whole-wheat macaroni - cooked to the max recommended time for extra soft noodles. I filled a 1-cup container for the fridge, and then froze the rest in 4-oz jars (made 5 freezer jars). A 4-oz freezer jar usually feeds Henry for lunch, he might even eat more but I don't like to overdose on pasta. I put the container in the fridge to thaw the night before and he eats it cold for lunch. He usually has some sauted zucchini and/or fruit with it.
Spinach Mac'n'Cheese Meal Prep

Spinach Pasta is delicious, Mom!
Later that afternoon (because my Kitchen Aid mixer hadn't had enough of a work out for the day!) I made a batch of pizza dough and we had home-made pizza for dinner. I used plain cheddar cheese because the pepper-jack my husband and I favor is too spicy for Henry. We had tomato sauce, mushrooms, and Canadian bacon (which I sliced bite-sized before putting it on so it'd be small enough for Henry). This was his first pizza experience and he LOVED it! Here's the recipe for my Lactose-Free Pizza. We were lazy and did not get out the pizza stone, just baked on a baking sheet.

Homemade Pizza Pie

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