Apple Cheddar Bacon Soup with Cheesy Croutons

Cheesy soup gets dressed up with sweet apples, salty bacon, and ooey gooey cheesy croutons!

Cheesy soup gets dressed up with sweet apples, salty bacon, and ooey gooey cheesy croutons!

At first glance, this is an unlikely soup. Apples, cheddar, and bacon? “Pass!” you might be thinking. But hold up just a minute… cheddar and bacon is a classic combo, right? And you’ve heard of the whole cheddar cheese with apple pie thing, right? And applewood smoked bacon is totally a thing. So let’s put it all together–apples, cheddar, bacon. Not so unlikely after all! (And pssttt… I made a fabulous Maple Apple Pie Crisp with Cheddar Crust and Bacon Crumb Topping a couple years back!) And if you need further convincing, just think of it this way: this soup has the sweet and salty thing down pat.

Cheesy soup gets dressed up with sweet apples, salty bacon, and ooey gooey cheesy croutons!

And it’s utterly delicious. Next time you’re in the mood for an interesting new soup recipe, check out this one! I’m sure you’ll love it. 🙂

one year ago: Spicy Ranch Chicken Rice Skillet
two years ago: Chocolate Coffee Bundt Cake
three years ago: Strawberry Yogurt
four years ago: Cumin-Scented Cabbage Salad
five years ago: Extraordinary Grilled Cheese
six years ago: Best Egg Salad

Apple Cheddar Bacon Soup with Cheesy Croutons

  • Servings: 4
  • Time: 30 minutes
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from What Megan’s Making


  • 3 slices bacon
  • 1 1/2 cup diced onion
  • 2 cups apples, peeled and chopped (about 2 medium)
  • 1 large potato, peeled and diced
  • 3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 1/2 cups no-sugar-added apple juice
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 ounces shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 2 slices sourdough or rye bread, toasted
  • 1 teaspoon whole grain dijon mustard


Cook bacon in a large stockpot set over medium heat until crisp. Remove to paper towel to drain. Meanwhile, remove most of grease from pot, leaving about 2 tablespoons.

When bacon is cool, chop into small pieces and set aside.

Combine the onion, apples, and potato in the stockpot and saute over medium high heat until onion and apples are soft, about 8-10 minutes. Pour in chicken broth and apple juice, then bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook until potato is soft, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and season with pepper, then stir in almost all the cheese, reserving 3 tablespoons. When cheese is melted, use an immersion blender to puree soup until smooth.

Meanwhile, preheat the broiler. Spread the toasted bread with dijon and evenly divide reserved cheese between slices. Broil–watching carefully!–until cheese is bubbly and melted. Remove from oven, cool for a couple minutes, then slice into bite-sized squares. Serve soup with bacon, cheese croutons, and lots of black pepper. Enjoy!


Apple Peanut Butter Pancakes with Sautéed Cinnamon Apples #FreshTastyValentines

Sweet and nutty, these Apple Peanut Butter Pancakes with Sautéed Cinnamon Apples are a great way to start your day! 

Sweet and nutty, these Apple Peanut Butter Pancakes with Sautéed Cinnamon Apples are a great way to start your day! #FreshTastyValentines

Apples and peanut butter go SO well together. I started typing just a minute ago about how they were a great childhood snack, blah blah blah–then erased it because I realized I eat apples and peanut butter as a snack or add on to a meal several times per week. And I am most certainly not a child! 🙂 When I found out that Envy Apples was one of our sponsors for #FreshTastyValentines, my first thought was: I don’t want to BAKE with a new variety of apples. I want to eat them by themselves, dipped in peanut butter. But a blog post about that would be pretty boring. So I went with the next best option: pancakes.

Sweet and nutty, these Apple Peanut Butter Pancakes with Sautéed Cinnamon Apples are a great way to start your day! #FreshTastyValentines

If you  know me, you know I’m a breakfast girl. And pancakes are my breakfast food of choice. Homemade or at a restaurant–it doesn’t matter… and I must say, sharing a pancake recipe today is especially fitting because February 5, 2016 is the eight year anniversary of our first date: breakfast at Bob Evans, where we both ordered cinnamon pancakes [Ben copied me because he was too nervous to figure anything else out to order! What a guy! :)]. I’ve already made several versions of apple pancakes before–but then, yesterday, I had the genius idea to play up the apple PEANUT BUTTER element. And voilà–these pancakes were born.

Sweet and nutty, these Apple Peanut Butter Pancakes with Sautéed Cinnamon Apples are a great way to start your day! #FreshTastyValentines

They’re not just your average pancakes–these babies are thick, hearty, and filling. Adding peanut butter to whole wheat pancakes will do that to ya, and stirring in some protein-rich Bob’s Red Mill Hulled Hemp Seed Hearts [also another fabulous #FreshTastyValentines sponsor] makes them even better! These pancakes have the perfect blend of sweetness and nuttiness. I topped mine with some easy sautéed cinnamon apples and maple syrup, and oh man… what a breakfast! I used a combination of Envy apples and Gala apples in my apple topping [since Envy apples are a Gala-Braeburn hybrid, and I wanted to save one to try on its own]. If you can find Envy apples in your grocery store, snap them up quickly because they’re great–so crisp and sweet. And don’t forget to enter our giveaway for a chance to win great prizes–including Envy Apples and Bob’s Red Mill Hulled Hemp Seed Hearts! 🙂 Happy Friday! And make these pancakes part of your weekend!

one year ago: Potato Rosemary Knots
two years ago: Lindsay’s Chicken Noodle Soup
three years ago: 60 Minute Sandwich Buns

four years ago: Loaded Sweet Potato Fries 
five years ago: Tomato Tortellini Soup

Apple Peanut Butter Pancakes with Sautéed Cinnamon Apples

  • Servings: 2-3
  • Time: 30 minutes
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pancakes adapted from my Go-To Pancakes


for pancakes

  • 1/2 cup white whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup Bob’s Red Mill Hulled Hemp Seed Hearts
  • 3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 1/4 cups skim milk, room temperature
  • 1 egg, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup creamy natural peanut butter [I used a honey roasted peanut butter], melted in the microwave for 15 seconds if too thick to stir
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup finely diced apple [I used Envy Apples] – peeled or unpeeled depending on preference
  • butter or canola oil, for cooking
  • maple syrup, for serving

for Sautéed Cinnamon Apples  

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 3 medium apples, thinly sliced [I used Envy Apples and Gala Apples] – peeled or unpeeled depending on preference
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 cup water


In a medium bowl, stir together flours, hemp seeds, baking powder, and cinnamon. In a small bowl, whisk together milk, egg, peanut butter, butter, and vanilla. Pour wet ingredients over the dry and fold together gently to incorporate. Stir in apples until just combined. Batter may be lumpy. Let batter rest for 10 minutes.

While batter is resting, heat griddle over medium heat for cooking pancakes.

In a separate 10 inch skillet, melt butter over medium heat. When melted, add apples and top with cinnamon, vanilla, and water. Stir to combine, then cook over medium heat, uncovered, until liquid starts to bubble. Reduce heat to medium low and cover, stirring occasionally, until apples soften and get slightly caramelized and juices thicken. Then reduce heat to low to keep warm while pancakes cook.

Pour batter onto hot skillet in 1/4 cup increments. Cook for two to three minutes on the first side until bubbles form, then flip and cook on other side until golden brown. Batter makes about 14 pancakes.

Serve pancakes with Sautéed Cinnamon Apples and maple syrup.


You can use all-purpose flour in place of the whole wheat and white whole wheat flours, or use all white whole wheat flour too.

If you don’t have the hulled hemp seed hearts, you could substitute in flax or chia seeds, or some chopped nuts, or just leave them out.

Check out the other awesome recipes that our #FreshTastyValentines blogging crew have come up with at the link below. 🙂

Find Bob’s Red Mill

on the web: here
on Twitter: here
on Facebook: here
on Pinterest: here
on Instagram: here

Find Envy Apples

on the web: here
on Twitter: here
on Facebook: here
on Pinterest: here
on Instagram: here
Disclosure: I received complimentary products from Bob’s Red Mill and Envy Apples for my participation in #FreshTastyValentines. However, I was not required to write a positive review and I was not otherwise compensated for this post. The thoughts expressed above are entirely my own. Thanks to Bob’s Red Mill and Envy Apples for their sponsorship of this event!

Apple Cranberry Relish Salad

A fun, flavorful, refreshing salad combining seasonal favorites: cranberries, apples, and jello! Mmm! 

Apple Cranberry Relish Salad... A fun, flavorful, refreshing salad combining seasonal favorites: cranberries, apples, and jello! Mmm!

Happy New Year! 2016–woo! It’s fitting that my first recipe of the new year is a festive dish like this. My mom made this salad for our early family Christmas dinner and we devoured it… so naturally, I had to make it for Ben and I to enjoy at home… and for you too! 🙂 I highly suggest making it before the holiday season ends because it’s just so good it can’t wait til next year.

Apple Cranberry Relish Salad... A fun, flavorful, refreshing salad combining seasonal favorites: cranberries, apples, and jello! Mmm!

Dishes like this aren’t fancy by any means, but they are one of my favorite parts of a good holiday meal. There’s something so refreshing about the sweetness, simplicity [no cooking required!], and tartness of a side dish like this combining fruit and jello in one marvelous dish! Growing up, we always had some sort of jello dish for every big occasion, but cranberries usually weren’t part of that. But this time… they are. It’s like cranberry relish + jello in one!

Apple Cranberry Relish Salad... A fun, flavorful, refreshing salad combining seasonal favorites: cranberries, apples, and jello! Mmm!


one year ago: Chewy Ginger Cookies
two years ago: Sweet Potato Chorizo Chile Mac
three years ago: Chicken Tinga Tacos
four years ago: Crock Pot Cran-Apple Sauce
five years ago: Chicken and Wild Rice Soup

Apple Cranberry Relish Salad

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Time: 10 minutes + 4 hours to chill
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from Taste of Home Magazine, by Edna Means of Iola, Kansas


  • 1 small package strawberry gelatin [3 ounces]
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1/2 cup frozen orange juice concentrate
  • 1 package fresh/frozen cranberries, chopped [I used a food processor]
  • 1 medium apple, peeled and chopped [I used a Granny Smith apple and didn’t peel]
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar


In a medium bowl, whisk together strawberry gelatin, boiling water, and orange juice concentrate. When gelatin is dissolved and orange juice is melted, fold in cranberries, apple, and sugar. Stir to combine, then cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight to set.

Red Cabbage, Raisin, and Apple Slaw

This easy red cabbage slaw is sweet and crunchy, bursting with raisins, apples, and carrots. It’s creamy and tangy so everyone will love it!

Red Cabbage, Raisin, and Apple Slaw | thepajamachef.comI don’t really like the word “slaw.” Or the words “cole slaw.” It just sounds… unappetizing to me. But when you need a cold veggie side dish for summer picnics or barbecue pork, or just a normal weeknight dinner, it’s just really the best choice. You can make it ahead and it’s good in the fridge for up to a week too! And this slaw [shudder!] tastes really, really, really good. So that helps too. 🙂 I’m so picky about cole slaw, besides the name. The taste is super important to me. I don’t like it to be too creamy [like my dad prefers] or too vinegary… but rather, something in the middle. Like this recipe! The dressing for this red cabbage based slaw is creamy AND tangy. I used mayo, Greek yogurt, and sour cream for optimal creaminess along with a hint of apple cider vinegar and lemon juice for tang. Perfect!

Red Cabbage, Raisin, and Apple Slaw | thepajamachef.comBesides the taste of the dressing, a great slaw to me has to have some sweet elements. The more the merrier, I think! This slaw also features raisins and apples and carrots for tons of sweetness. The perfect blend. 🙂 My slaw isn’t quite as pretty as traditional cole slaws because the holes of my circa-1980 food processor are kinda wonky, so if you take the time to slice a head of cabbage your slaw will look MUCH better than mine. Take a look at the original recipe and you’ll see what I mean. But looks aside, this slaw is fantastic and is sure to be a staple in my home for many summers to come. Enjoy! Happy Labor Day weekend!

one year ago: Healthy Crumb Topped Zucchini Bread
two years ago: Pumpkin Coconut Soup
three years ago: Chocolate Mousse

four years ago: Pumpkin Granola
five years ago: The BESTEST Pizza Sauce Ever + A Pizza How-To

Red Cabbage, Raisin, and Apple Slaw

  • Servings: 8
  • Time: 10 minutes
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slightly adapted from Budget Bytes


  • 1/3 cup mayonaise
  • 1/3 cup Greek yogurt or sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 small head purple cabbage [about 1.5 pounds]
  • 2 large carrots, peeled
  • 1 medium Granny Smith apple, cored
  • 1/2 cup raisins [I used a mix of regular and golden]


In a small bowl, whisk together mayo, yogurt, vinegar, lemon juice, honey, and pepper for the dressing. Set aside.

Use a food processor or a sharp knife to shred the cabbage into thin strips and place in a large bowl. Grate carrots and apple, then toss with cabbage. Pour dressing over vegetables, then gently toss until combined.

Slaw is best within the first day or so, but lasts in the fridge up to one week.


SRC: Zucchini Apple Walnut Muffins

Take zucchini muffins up a notch with some sweet bits of apple and crunchy walnuts. You’ll always be coming back for just one more muffin, I promise. 

Zucchini Apple Walnut Muffins for #secretrecipeclub | find the recipe for these  healthy 'n delicious muffins on

This month for Secret Recipe Club I was assigned Chelsy’s blog, Mangia. Mangia means “eat” in Italian and boy does Chelsy make some good things to eat! She lives in Texas where she is a personal trainer, prefers pjs/workout clothes to jeans [ME TOO!], and loves sharing her food with family and friends. Fun fact: Chelsy started her blog in July 2010 just like me. We’re practically twins. 🙂 Since she’s been blogging for SOOOO long, there were so many great recipes to choose from. Eventually I settled on these muffins but first I was sidetracked by other deliciousness–Tahini Chickpea Salad, Ultimate Mushroom Soup,  Lemon Sweet Potato Muffins, and Toasted Coconut Espresso Mini Muffins. NOM! I’m going to have to try allll those recipes, asap.

But in the meantime, I’ll be over here munching on these Zucchini Apple Walnut Muffins. They are amazing, you guys! Where do I start? For one, like most muffins I make, they’re really fairly healthy and as such, a great snack or breakfast [though let’s be real: one muffin is not my idea of a filling breakfast, but I digress]. Agave is the only added sweetener in these muffins. I have mixed feelings about agave, so you could always use honey if you prefer. I just had a bottle that I’m trying to use up! :/ They’re also made with white whole wheat flour, coconut oil, and walnuts for some crunch! I’m normally not a fan of nuts in baked goods, but they work here for sure!

Zucchini Apple Walnut Muffins for #secretrecipeclub | find the recipe for these  healthy 'n delicious muffins on

Zucchini and apple combine to make a super moist, super flavorful, super delicious muffin. Though they don’t really need anything else to make them yummy [besides the aforementioned walnuts], some pumpkin pie spice [because I can’t wait for pumpkin season and didn’t want to use just cinnamon] and coconut emulsion really spiced these babies up a notch! Speaking of babies, I made them over the weekend when my mom, sister, brother-in-law, and my cute nephew were here. Let me just say everyone inhaled these. So they’re family approved and ready for making in your kitchen! 🙂 Enjoy!

P.S. I forgot to mention that Chelsy’s original recipe used coconut flour and as such, are gluten free. I just used ingredients I had but check out her original recipe if GF is your thing!

Zucchini Apple Walnut Muffins

  • Servings: 20-24 muffins
  • Time: 35 minutes
  • Print

adapted from Mangia


  • 2 cups white whole wheat flour [240 grams in weight]
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice –> or an equivalent amount of cinnamon with a bit of nutmeg would work too
  • ~2 cups grated zucchini, with water gently squeezed out in a dishcloth –> from 2 small/medium zucchinis
  • 1 large Granny Smith apple, diced
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 cup agave nectar
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1 teaspoon coconut emulsion/flavoring/extract –> I’ve seen it sold all three ways
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a muffin tin with paper liners or grease with cooking spray.

In a large bowl, stir together flour, baking soda, baking powder, and pumpkin pie spice. In a medium bowl, whisk together zucchini, apple, eggs, agave, oil, and coconut emulsion. Gently add wet ingredients to dry ingredients, then stir until just combined. Fold in walnuts.

Divide batter between muffin cups, filling 2/3 of the way full. Bake for 20-22 minutes or until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Enjoy immediately, or cool on a wire rack for later. Muffins freeze well!

Check out the other SRC recipes below!