I’ve had a first for the new year… I baked muffins! That’s right – I don’t think I’ve ever baked muffins before. Yesterday my friend Wendy came over and she was eating a delicious pumpkin muffin and there on the spot we got inspired and decided we were going to bake muffins. I checked out my handy Cooks Illustrated: The Best New Recipe Cookbook (everything I make out of this cookbook comes out great – I highly recommend it!) and found a recipe for Cinnamon Sugar-Dipped Blueberry Muffins. I had most of the ingredients on hand and off we went!
First, I only had shy of one cup of blueberries (I’ve been eating them with my cereal in the morning) – but I did have some blackberries… so we threw those in with the rest of my blueberries equaling about 1 1/2 cups of berries overall.
Then – I only had one cup of sour cream (the recipe calls for 1 1/4 cups), which I had bought for the tacos I was making for dinner). Oh well… we threw that cup of sour cream in and then decided to add 1/4 of a cup of ricotta cheese, which I happened to have in my fridge from making turkey burgers the other night. I figured – hey… it’s dairy, it’s yummy, I don’t want want it to go to waste – why not?
Well – I don’t know what these muffins would have tasted like without our little tweaks – but MAN – they came out DELICIOUS! Oh – and when I went to get the ground cinnamon out of my pantry for the topping, I realized I didn’t have any. But I did have some cinnamon sticks. So I used my zester and made myself some freshly-ground cinnamon and wow… grating the cinnamon fresh like that is amazing! It smelled SO good – much more intense than the usual store-bought ground cinnamon.
Here is a pic of one of our beautiful muffins… light and fluffy, perfectly moist, crumbly on top, with a nice coat of crunchy cinnamon sugar – YUM.
Then came dinner. One of our favorite dinners is TACO NIGHT! I used to just buy those taco kits in the supermarket with the powdered seasoning mix and the taco shells – but after I looked at the ingredients on that seasoning packet I was determined to ditch the packet and do it up from scratch instead. Here are the ingredients to the seasoning that comes in the box:
Maltodextrin, Salt, Chili Pepper, Onion Powder, Spice, Monosodium Glutamate (MSG), Corn Starch, Yellow Corn Flour, Partially Hydrogenated Soybean Oil (otherwise known as Trans Fats), Silicon Dioxide (Anticaking Agent), Natural Flavor, Ethoxyquin (Preservative).
So I found this recipe (I honestly don’t remember where I got it!) and scribbled it on a piece of paper and I’m telling you… it makes the most delicious tacos. And now we’ve subbed lean ground turkey breast for ground beef and I actually feel like it’s a healthy meal (and we CRAVE it)! Try it out… you won’t be disappointed!
- 2 tsp vegetable oil (I typically use canola)
- 1 small onion chopped fine
- 3 garlic cloves minced (I often press them in the garlic press – easier)
- 2 tbsp chili powder
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- 1/2 tsp oregano
- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 lb. ground turkey breast (I use lean ground turkey breast raised without antibiotics)
- 1/2 cup tomato sauce (I use Cento San Marzano Peeled Tomatoes) and squish them – it’s fun.
- 1/2 cup low sodium chicken broth (I use organic)
- 2 tsp cider vinegar
- 1 tsp brown sugar
- Heat oil over medium heat – add onion and cook until softened (stirring around so it doesn’t burn) – about five minutes
- Add garlic, chili powder, cumin, coriander, oregano, cayenne and salt and mix together with the onion. Cook until fragrant (smells DELISH) – about a minute.
- Add turkey and break apart and cook until no longer pink – about 5 minutes
- Add tomato sauce, chicken broth, vinegar and brown sugar and bring to a simmer
- Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer uncovered, stirring frequently until thick and no longer liquidy about 10 minutes
That’s it! Now – measuring out the ingredients might take a few minutes… but when I put them all in little ramekins, I feel like a TV chef and it’s fun. And then once everything’s measured, you just throw it all in the skillet and it’s done in no time. And it’s so much more delicious – and you don’t get that super dehydrated feeling from all the salt and MSG and there’s no trans fats to make you fat and eventually give you heart disease! Score.
Usually, I heat up a can of fat-free refried black beans and put together some toppings, which include:
- sour cream
- chopped up avocado
- chopped tomatoes
- shredded lettuce
- shredded cheddar
- Frank’s Red Hot
This time, I had used up my sour cream and my avocado wasn’t ripe – so I skipped both of those and I must say – I didn’t really miss them. I might continue to skip the sour cream in the future because it just adds extra fat (and I go full-fat with my sour cream because I hate the low-fat or fat-free – they taste nasty to me).
Oh – and finally, this time, we bought these amazing white corn tortillas from La Tortilla Factory brand and Adam heated up them up in a little oil (next time I want to try doing it without the oil). They were the perfect vessel for our delicious fresh turkey tacos!
If you end up making either of these (muffins or tacos) – do tell me what you think!
Anyway – happy Monday everyone. Looks like it’s going to be another fairly mild week in New York. Yay.