SRC: Cranberry and Cream Cheese Muffins

These sweet muffins swirled with cranberry compote and a delicious cream cheese center are the perfect afternoon snack!

Cranberry and Cream Cheese Muffins | thepajamachef.com #secretrecipeclub

Welcome to November’s Secret Recipe Club! This month I was assigned to Maxine’s blog, Why I Am Not Skinny. Maxine is a South African expat living in Brussels… two great places! I’ve been to South Africa for a few days when I was in Lesotho for part of a summer in college, and I would absolutely love to go back. On her blog, Maxine shares so many delicious recipes and restaurant recommendations. If/when I go to Brussels I will have to check out her blog again! Though I really wanted to make her Pea and Mint Risotto or Pumpkin Fritters, I settled on these Cranberry and Cream Cheese Muffins because I wanted a sweet treat. :)

Cranberry and Cream Cheese Muffins | thepajamachef.com #secretrecipeclub

I also kind of wanted to make these as a sort of redemption for Maxine, because her muffins didn’t come out quite as well as BBC’s picture. And I am SO glad I did. They were tangy and creamy and all sorts of deliciousness. Though they weren’t quite as simple as most muffins are–you have to make the cranberry compote and the cream cheese filling, they are well worth it. Next time [and there WILL be a next time] I think I’ll skip mashing the cranberries so as to have bigger chunks in the muffins, and I might reduce the temperature for baking down to 325 or 350 so they don’t brown quite as quickly. Some of my unpictured muffins definitely got a little dark. Maxine, I hope my muffins live up to your expectations! Thanks for a great recipe! :)

one year ago: Pumpkin Graham Muffins
two years ago: Pollo alla Poggia Alloro
three years ago: Homemade Maple and Brown Sugar Almond Butter
four years ago: Pumpkin Soup and Homemade Croutons

Cranberry and Cream Cheese Muffins

  • Servings: 12
  • Time: 30 minutes
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from Why I Am Not Skinny

Ingredients:

  • 100 grams/3.5 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 250 grams sugar/1 cup + 2 tablespoons, divided
  • 175 grams/6 ounces fresh cranberries [frozen can also be used, just add a splash of water or apple cider to help liquify]
  • 200 grams/26 tablespoons flour – UPDATED: I used this calculator to come up with this. When I made the recipe I used my kitchen scale and didn’t measure in tablespoons… I think the previous measurement I had here was wrong. So sorry about that!
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 eggs
  • 75 ml canola oil [this is just between 1/4 and 1/3 cup]
  • 3/4 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line a muffin tin with paper liners or grease well with cooking spray.

Beat together cream cheese with 2 tablespoons sugar. Place in refrigerator to chill until ready to use.

In a small saucepan, combine another 2 tablespoons sugar with 6 ounces fresh cranberries. Heat on medium, stirring occasionally, until cranberries pop. Then mash gently with a wooden spoon. Remove from heat and set aside.

In a large bowl, stir together flour and baking powder. In a smaller bowl, whisk together eggs, oil, vanilla, and almond extract. Fold in wet ingredients into the dry, then fold in cranberries. Do not overmix or else the batter will bleed.

Scoop batter–it will be thick–into prepared pan, about 1/2 to 2/3 way full. Do not overfill. Use a spoon to scoop a ball of cream cheese mixture into batter, pressing down gently. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until golden brown.

Notes:
Some of my muffins spilled over the top of the muffin cups because I filled them too full, so don’t make that mistake.

Also, you may want to skip mashing the cranberries so the batter bleeds less.

Do not overbake–cheese may still seem a bit soft. If muffins are browning too much, cover with foil for the last 10 minutes of baking or reduce heat to 325 degrees F.

Be sure to check out all the other fun recipes made this week for the Secret Recipe Club below!

 

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#PumpkinWeek: Pumpkin Quinoa Oatmeal Bake

Pumpkin oatmeal meets quinoa in this hearty, healthy baked breakfast dish!

Pumpkin Quinoa Oatmeal Bake | thepajamachef.com #PumpkinWeek

Welcome back to#PumpkinWeek hosted by Terri from Love and Confections. We are celebrating our love of the season with a whole week of pumpkin goodies, leading up to National Pumpkin Day on October 26th. This week, 17 food bloggers are sharing tons of yummy recipes, both sweet and savory. You can also find these great recipes and more on Love and Confections’ #PumpkinWeek Pinterest Board. Today I have a delicious breakfast to share with you. Baked oatmeal is one of my favorite breakfasts, and in the fall, this Pumpkin Pie Baked Oatmeal is one of my go-to choices. But you know me… I always want to try something new! And this something new is definitely a good thing! :)

Pumpkin Quinoa Oatmeal Bake | thepajamachef.com #PumpkinWeek

For awhile now, I’ve seen recipes using quinoa, barley, or farro as a pseudo-oatmeal. I’ve gotta admit though–while those recipes SOUND good, they also seem a little scary. Old breakfast habits die hard, I suppose. To ease my way into this breakfast madness, I decided to combine quinoa with oatmeal in a baked breakfast dish. I added tons of pumpkin pie spice and pumpkin puree to make this dish seasonally appropriate. It was such a hardship, let me tell you. Ha. Not at all!

Pumpkin Quinoa Oatmeal Bake | thepajamachef.com #PumpkinWeek

I should have known to always trust quinoa. And pumpkin. :) This breakfast was so great! I enjoyed it a few ways–warm with cinnamon as pictured above, warm in a bowl with some Greek yogurt and maple syrup, and warm in a bowl with almond milk and some maple syrup and dried fruit. The bake is also hearty enough to just be cut and served at room temperature. I think it could be excellent with some peanut butter or even pumpkin butter spread on top. Mmmm! I’ll have to make it again soon. I always get good serving ideas after everything’s all gone. :) Enjoy!

Pumpkin Quinoa Oatmeal Bake | thepajamachef.com #PumpkinWeek

two years ago: Chicken Enchiladas with Green Chile Sour Cream Sauce
three years ago: Apple Cinnamon Pancakes
four years ago: Oatmeal Scones

Pumpkin Quinoa Oatmeal Bake

  • Servings: 8
  • Time: 60 minutes
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adapted from my baked oatmeal

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup quinoa, uncooked
  • 1/4 cup canola or vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 egg
  • 2 1/2 cups old-fashioned oats
  • 3/4 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 1/4 cups almond milk + more for serving
  • Greek yogurt, for serving

Directions:

In a small saucepan, cook 1/2 cup quinoa in 1 cup water according to package directions. Set aside to cool.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a 10 inch round casserole dish [a pie plate or square baking dish will work too, but cooking time may vary].

Meanwhile, whisk together oil, pumpkin, maple syrup, and egg. Fold in oats, baking powder, pumpkin pie spice. When quinoa has cooled down, add quinoa, vanilla, and milk, stirring to combine.

Spoon batter into prepared pan and smooth out if necessary. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until firm and golden brown.

Serve warm with almond milk or Greek yogurt, plus additional sweetener/dried fruits/nuts if desired.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies | thepajamachef.com #PumpkinWeek

Check out all the #PumpkinWeek Bloggers and their recipes:

Pumpkin Pie Cream Cheese Truffles by Love and Confections

Pumpkin-Vanilla Bean Madeleines by Culinary Adventures with Camilla

White Chocolate Drizzled Pumpkin Scones by That Skinny Chick Can Bake

S’mores Pumpkin Pie by The Spiffy Cookie

Homemade Pumpkin Puree by Happy Food Healthy Life

Pumpkin Mole by Curious Cuisiniere

Drunken Pumpkin Seeds by Life Tastes Good

Pumpkin Roll by A Day in the Life on the Farm

Pumpkin Lasagna by My Catholic Kitchen

Cinnamon Pumpkin Bread by Making Miracles

Pumpkin Quinoa Oatmeal Bake by The Pajama Chef

Pumpkin Chocolate Swirl Pancakes by Dizzy Busy and Hungry

Banana Chocolate Chip Mini Muffins

Cute lil mini muffins filled with bananas and chocolate are perfect lunchbox treats!

Banana Chocolate Chip Mini Muffins | thepajamachef.comEven though it’s pumpkin season, I bet you still have some brown bananas hanging about, needing to become banana bread, right?!? Well, next time you do, you will have to try these adorable Banana Chocolate Chip Mini Muffins! I have a million banana bread recipes on my blog, and I love every one of them. :) This one is no exception! Each muffin is full of mini chocolate chips and tons of banana flavor. You know how some banana recipes only call for one banana? That’s never enough, and this recipe knows it. That’s why it includes THREE bananas. Triple the banana love, folks!

Banana Chocolate Chip Mini Muffins2These muffins are extra moist and rich thanks to the double dose of butter and sour cream in the batter. Is it weird that the first thing that came in my mind while typing butter and sour cream is, “boy, I’d like a baked potato.” Wait–don’t answer that. I guess I’m hungry. :) While baked potatoes and banana muffins don’t go together, these muffins pair perfectly with a tall glass of milk or a cup of hot cocoa. Ben has become, can we say, a bit obsessed with chocolate milk recently, so he’d say you should serve the little guys with chocolate milk, but I say, drink whatever kind of milk suits your fancy. :)

Banana Chocolate Chip Mini Muffins | thepajamachef.comNormally I prefer our everyday lunch/snack muffins to be on the healthy side, but sometimes you gotta live it up and enjoy the chocolate! :) There’s plenty to go around!

Banana Chocolate Chip Mini Muffins | thepajamachef.comJust look at all those mini chips on top! That’s why I love mini chocolate chips…spreading the wealth! YUM!

one year ago: Pumpkin Spice Chocolate Chip Cake with Nutella Frosting
three years ago: Roasted Vegetable Soup
four years ago: Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Mini Muffins

Banana Chocolate Chip Mini Muffins

  • Servings: 36
  • Time: 30 minutes
  • Print

from The Lively Kitchen

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups mashed ripe banana [about 3]
  • 1/3 cup sour cream or plain yogurt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line mini muffin pans with paper liners or grease with cooking spray.

With a mixer, cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Add eggs one by one, mixing well in between. Beat in bananas, sour cream, and vanilla. Slowly mix in flours and baking soda by hand until just combined, then fold in chocolate chips.

Spoon into prepared pans and bake for 10-13 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Cool completely before storing in an airtight container. These freeze well!

SRC: Baked Caramel Apple Mini Doughnuts

These mini apple doughnuts are dipped in an easy sweet caramel sauce for the ultimate easy fall treat!

Baked Caramel Apple Mini Doughnuts | thepajamachef.com #secretrecipeclub #src

For this month’s Secret Recipe Club, I was assigned to Cookaholic Wife, a blog written by Nichole. Nichole has SO many delicious recipes on her site. I had such a hard time deciding what to make! In the end, I chose these cute lil mini caramel apple doughnuts because they seemed so seasonally appropriate. I do love pumpkin but wanted to show apple some love. :) Recipe runner ups included this Apple-Stuffed Bacon Wrapped Pork that Nichole just posted last week, Hawaiian Burgers, Caramel Grapes, and Coconut Lime Cookie Bars. If it was summer, those cookie bars would’ve definitely won! Aside from being into pretty much every one of Nichole’s recipes, I think the two of us could be BFFs. We’re the same age, both have two cats, and ideally would either be baking or reading on the beach. Yup, sounds about right. :) While I have a 30 before 30 challenge, Nichole had a 28 before 28 challenge. How fun! [And speaking of fun, read this post about Nichole’s mom and her burning water habit. Hilarious!]

Baked Caramel Apple Mini Doughnuts | thepajamachef.com #secretrecipeclub #src

Anyways, I was psyched to see this recipe because I a) love caramel apples but hate biting into one, b) have a mini doughnut pan that I never use, and c) they just sounded AMAZING! And that they were. These mini doughnuts were a little bite of fall, perfect for dessert or breakfast. One word of caution though–the caramel sauce is super hot, so don’t take a bite until it’s cooled down a bit. The roof of your mouth will thank you! :) [I learned that from Nichole's first hand experience.]

Baked Caramel Apple Mini Doughnuts | thepajamachef.com #secretrecipeclub #src

Since I only have one doughnut pan, and wasn’t about to mess with letting the pan cool down in between batches, I used half the batter in my mini muffin pan for some adorable doughnut holes. So if you don’t have a doughnut pan, try that out! You may just need some additional caramel sauce for dipping since they’re a tiny bit bigger. Hope you enjoy! Thanks, Nichole for the great recipe! :)

Baked Caramel Apple Mini Doughnuts | thepajamachef.com #secretrecipeclub #src

one year ago: Baked Strawberry French Toast with Strawberry Maple Syrup
three years ago: Pumpkin Spread
four years ago: Pumpkin Pie Baked Oatmeal

Baked Caramel Apple Mini Doughnuts

  • Servings: 24 doughnuts
  • Time: 60 minutes
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from Cookaholic Wife
Ingredients:

  • 2/3 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 egg, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 cup apple, minced
  • 1 cup chewy caramel candies – I used Kraft caramels, the ones they advertise for making caramel apples
  • 1 tablespoon milk

Directions:

Grease mini doughnut pan(s) or mini muffin pan(s) with cooking spray. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and cinnamon. In a measuring cup, whisk together egg, sugars, oil, applesauce, and vanilla. Pour wet ingredients into the dry and stir until combined. Fold in apples.

Spoon batter into prepared pans, filling about halfway.

Bake for 15-18 minutes, or until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Remove to a wire rack to cool for 5-10 minutes.

Meanwhile, place caramels and milk in a microwave safe small bowl. Microwave for 30 second increments on 50% power, stirring after each burst. Repeat until a caramel sauce comes together.

Dip doughnuts into caramel sauce then return to wire rack to set. Serve warm! Enjoy within a couple days, but they are definitely best the first day.

Be sure to check out other recipes from the Secret Recipe Club today!

Sausage and Ranch Potato Skillet with Fried Eggs

This easy sausage and potato skillet is seasoned with a healthy herb ranch blend and topped with a fried egg, making it a perfect breakfast, brunch, lunch, or dinner! Delicious!

Sausage and Ranch Potato Skillet with Fried Eggs | thepajamachef.com

I love skillet meals! One dish meals are seriously my go-to for weeknights. Less courses=less dishes=less clean up=more time to read on the couch/bake pumpkin treats/watch tv/brush our little spoiled cats or anything else my little heart desires. Usually my skillet meals include rice, pasta, or quinoa, and cheese. Always cheese! But sometimes you want something a little lighter and fresher. Not that rice or pasta dishes can’t be light, but you know what I mean, right? For me, the key to delicious light meals is lots of flavor. Like ranch! Mmm, ranch dressing. Whoever invented that stuff was a genius!

Healthy Herb Ranch Seasoning | thepajamachef.com

A few weeks ago, on a whim, I made a batch of healthy herb ranch seasoning and used it for some roasted potatoes alongside a little breakfast-for-dinner meal with cheesy scrambled eggs, oatmeal scones, and berries. Not that you’ll NEED extra ideas for using this ranch seasoning [I think it's going to become a standard addition to my pantry] but let me just say that ranch seasoning on popcorn is amazingggg! Mmm, it’s 8 am and I want some ranch popcorn. Haha.

Ranch Potatoes | thepajamachef.com

Now, that meal was good…but I had visions! Visions of a ranch-seasoned skillet meal with crispy roasted potatoes, crumbled breakfast sausage, bell peppers, onion, garlic, jalapeno and a fried egg on top! Well, my fried eggs are actually over-easy eggs but same diff. :) I am happy to report that this skillet was everything I dreamed it would be… a fresh, filling meal full of ranch flavor AND the best part was that it’s healthy! That’s why I used that ranch seasoning blend… all the flavors of a hearty, creamy ranch without tons of salt, sour cream, or mayo. To make the potatoes super crispy I roasted them in the oven with some of the ranch seasoning, then tossed them with the sausage and bell pepper mixture after everything was cooked. Don’t forget the avocado on the side… a bite of creamy, cool avocado alongside this spicy ranch-y skillet is just divine! Enjoy!

P.S. Don’t forget about my giveaway for Healthy Solutions Spice Blends! Ends Saturday! :)

Sausage and Ranch Potato Skillet with Fried Eggs | thepajamachef.com

two years ago: Peach Ginger Pie
three years ago: Roasted Vegetable Quinoa Salad
four years ago: Chili Burgers

Sausage and Ranch Potato Skillet with Fried Eggs

  • Servings: 4
  • Time: 30 minutes
  • Print

Sausage and Ranch Potato Skillet with Fried Eggs | thepajamachef.com
Ingredients:

  • 1 pound red potatoes, cut into eighths [quarter, then half each quarter]
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon ranch seasoning, divided [see below, or use your favorite]
  • cayenne pepper – optional
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 pound breakfast sausage
  • 1 cup red onion, diced
  • 1 green pepper, diced
  • 1/2 red pepper, diced
  • 1 jalapeno, diced – optional
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 4 eggs
  • diced avocado, for serving

Directions:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Toss red potatoes in 1 tablespoon ranch seasoning, a sprinkling of cayenne, and olive oil. Spread in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until fork-tender. I like to bump the heat up to 475 for the last 5 minutes or so of baking to get a nice crispy crust.

While potatoes are cooking, heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add sausage and cook, crumbling with a wooden spoon. Drain grease and return sausage to pan. Add onion, green pepper, red pepper, and jalapeno, if using. Saute for 10 minutes or until onions are soft. Add garlic and cook until fragrant. Cover and remove from heat. When potatoes are done, add to skillet with sausage and vegetables and stir in remaining 1/2 tablespoon ranch seasoning.

Cook fried eggs to desired doneness, then serve a fried egg on top of each serving with diced avocado.

Healthy Herb Ranch Seasoning

  • Servings: 1 cup
  • Time: 5 minutes
  • Print

Healthy Herb Ranch Seasoning | thepajamachef.com

from Wildflour’s Cottage Kitchen

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons dried parsley
  • 1 tablespoon dried chives
  • 1 teaspoon dried dill
  • 2 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 1/8 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon sugar, optional
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried minced onion, optional
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt, optional

Directions:

Combine all ingredients in a Mason jar and shake to combine. Store covered until ready to use.

Can combine with 1 3/4 cup sour cream or Greek yogurt for a ranch dressing/dip; just mix well and thin with milk or buttermilk to reach desired consistency.

Linked up with Weekend Potluck.