I know it seems too soon to post another muffin recipe, but the Tropical Muffins are gone, because my husband was eating them two and three at a time. Well, these are not so sweet, with only half the sugar, and they contain the one secret ingredient that will curb his appetite—cinnamon. I can’t understand who wouldn’t like cinnamon, but there it is, and I use it to my own benefit sometimes.
In addition to sour cream and carrots, there are chopped walnuts and flaked unsweetened coconut, so there are plenty of flavors and textures in these muffins—they’re just not sweet ones. None of the additions—carrots, coconut, nuts, sour cream—are sweet, except for the brown sugar. I think the muffins would be great with some cream cheese and a nice big cup of coffee in the morning. You could certainly sweeten them up with different additions or with a sweet spread. I just wanted something hearty for breakfast.
Sour Cream Carrot Breakfast Muffins
Preheat oven to 375°; prepare a muffin pan with paper liners or butter.
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, salted or unsalted, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 1 large egg
- 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoons cinnamon
- 2 cups shredded carrots
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
- 1/2 cup unsweetened flaked coconut
- Beat butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add sour cream and egg and continue beating until well combined.
- Stir in dry ingredients—flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon—just until lightly combined.
- Add carrots, nuts, and coconut and mix until well combined. The batter will be thick.
- Scoop the better into the muffin cups—it should mound high in the cups, but it will not spread out or run over.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. 25 minutes worked for me.
I’m always looking for ways to change up the old grilled hamburger in the summer, like tonight for example when I made meatloaf burgers. They made a better version of a meatloaf sandwich, more tender than a regular hamburger and already full of lots of flavors, so that they didn’t need a lot of additions piled on. Last year I put giant meatballs on skewers, and that worked out pretty well, too. They were spicy, like these kebabs, but without quite so much heat. I made the kebabs a few days ago on one of the long holiday weekend days.
Tip for keeping any ground meat shape on a skewer: don’t make too wet or loose a mixture. You want the meat to hold its shape around the skewer so you can turn it on the grill.
We ate them two ways in flatbread wraps. I topped mine with roasted peppers, fresh tomatoes, and a sour cream-cucumber sauce. My husband chose only the peppers and my homemade burger sauce (mayo, Sriracha, garlic, cumin, maple syrup, lime juice, salt).
Spicy Grilled Ground Meat Kebabs
Plan ahead so the meat and spices have a chance to marinate up to a day.
- 1/2 lb ground beef
- 1/2 lb ground pork
- 1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
- 1 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1 bay leaf, ground
- 1/4 teaspoon ground chipotle pepper
- 1-2 tablespoons chopped fresh or dried cilantro
- 2 teaspoons garlic paste or grated garlic
- 1-2 teaspoons ginger paste or grated ginger
- 1 teaspoon brown sugar
- 4 bamboo skewers, soaked in water for 1 hour
- Mix the ground meat, spices, and aromatics until completely combined. You might even want to run the mixture through a meat grinder, especially if your ground meat has not been ground fine. Cover and refrigerate for several hours or overnight.
- Divide into four and shape each portion into a long sausage shape around a bamboo skewer.
- Grill over direct heat for a few minutes on each side. They cook quickly and you don’t want to overcook them. You could cook them over indirect heat with the grill lid closed for about 10 minutes, browning over direct heat or not. I like the taste of the charred kebabs better.
My favorite way to use the slow cooker is on the high setting, where I can count on meats not being dried out and flavorless. That’s what I find happens when you cook meat for 8-10 hours while you are at work. Soups and dried bean recipes do well for the long cooking, but even then any added meats are usually overcooked, unless you have a large piece like a pork shoulder. So, I’ve found a number of recipes that cook up in 3-5 hours, like my Butter Chicken/Pheasant recipe, that takes care of the delicate little pheasant breasts. Of course, I’m retired, so I can make use of the shorter cooking times any day of the week.
This slow cooker pulled chicken is a variation of the slow cooker pulled pork recipe originally from Chowhound. Here are the few changes I’ve made to accommodate chicken:
- I cut back the cinnamon in the rub to 1/2 teaspoon
- I rubbed the chicken pieces with the rub and let them marinate in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for about 4 hours
- I only used one onion and 1/2 cup of chicken broth, because I only used 5 boneless chicken thighs
Marinated chicken on onion-garlic bed
Sandwiches with slaw
Slow Cooker Pulled Chicken
- 1 tablespoon packed brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs
- 1 large onion, halved and thinly sliced
- 4-5 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/2 cup chicken stock
- Place the chicken and rub in a large plastic bag, seal, and turn to coat all pieces well. Refrigerate for about 4 hours or even overnight.
- In the crock of a slow cooker, place the onions, garlic, and chicken broth. Place the chicken pieces on top and close the lid.
- Cook on high for about 4 hours. Pull the chicken apart in the crock and mix well with the onions and broth.
- Pile meat on buns and serve your favorite way, which for us is with a creamy slaw.
We used to love the popular commercial version of this cookie, but they changed the recipe years ago, like so many other popular foods did, and ruined them. This recipe comes pretty close to what we remember, and it doesn’t use any odd ingredients. It is your basic 1-2-3 ratio cookie, with a few items added to highlight the pecan flavor. They have become one of our favorite cookies.
I roll the dough in balls and press them flat with a glass, but if you want a more perfect round, roll them into logs and slice them before baking.
Preheat oven to 350°; line cookie sheets with parchment paper.
- 4 oz sugar—1 tablespoon dark brown sugar plus enough granulated sugar to make 4 oz.
- 8 oz butter (2 sticks)—I used salted butter
- 12 oz all-purpose flour
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 1 cup chopped pecans
- Optional: 1-2 tablespoons milk if dough is too dry to form into balls and press
- In bowl of stand mixer, cream butter and sugars until fluffy. Beat in salt and vanilla.
- Slowly incorporate flour until combined. As mentioned in ingredients list, the dough could be too crumbly to roll into balls and press, depending on such factors as temperature and humidity. Add milk 1 tablespoon at a time until dough holds together well, but is not sticky or too wet. Today I only needed 1 tablespoon.
- Mix in nuts until well combined.
- Form into small balls about 1 inch in diameter and place on cookie sheets 2 inches apart.
- With a flat-bottomed glass or other flat object dipped in flour, flatten each ball of dough to about 1/4-3/8 inch thick. Don’t press them too thin or they will be too crispy.
- Bake for about 12 minutes or until edges are beginning to brown. Cool on cookie sheet for a few minutes, then remove to rack to cool completely.