National Apple Day! Jumbo Apple Cinnamon Muffins | Apple Season Recipes

Happy National Apple Day! I got back from a two-week east coast trip this week and it’s been a whirlwind getting back into a regular routine. Organizing my planner last night, I realized that I have only two free weekends as of right now through the end of the year. Goodbye sleeping in, productive hours of writing, movie nights, delightful Sunday night dinners, and freedom. The last few months of the year are always the craziest as many of you can probably relate to as well. I can’t help but love them anyway. The 31 Nights of Halloween is on the TV every night like clockwork lately...I’m regretting that Sweeney Todd movie night. I just bought a bunch of pumpkins for the front porch too. ..

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Slow Cooker Series: Taco Chili with Cornbread Topping + A Giveaway

Last week, I introduced the Slow Cooker Series with New Leaf Wellness. Kelly generously provided me with her e-Book Bundle and I've had the pleasure of cooking through all four cookbooks plus a few of her favorite recipes. Last week I talked more about the freezer meal planning process and how it works. I've meal planned for a while but never with freezer meals so it was a slightly new thing for me, one that I am thoroughly enjoying. Now, I'll dive into each cookbook individually so you can get a taste of what to expect.

What I personally love about freezer meal planning is that 5 days takes about 2 hours to prep and the day of is as simple as dumping the bag into the slow cooker. All the hard work is done so weeknights are easy. This week's recipe is my personal favorite out of the five I'll be sharing: Taco Chili with Cornbread Topping. I could have eaten this for days and I can say without a doubt in my mind that I will be making it again. I was a bit skeptical about the cornbread topping but it turned out fantastic. I've made a Taco Cornbread Skillet in the past but this was much easier since I barely had to do any work.

The recipe comes from the CROCK'D cookbook full or slow cooker freezer meals. The e-book includes nutritional information for every recipe, photos, tips for prepping freezer meals, safety and ingredient information, label and prep instructions, thawing and cooking tips and more. After the recipes and nutritional information, you'll also find five grocery lists. One is a master list that includes ingredients for all 28 recipes included in the e-book and the other four include ingredients for a week's worth of meals (the 28 meals are divided into 4 weeks). As if that wasn't enough, there are also freezer labels for each of the 28 meals that include ingredients and cooking instructions as well as a plain labels for your own freezer meal creations and personal notes.

1 lb. 85% Lean Ground Beef
1 small Yellow Onion, peeled and chopped (1 cup)
1 medium-sized Green Bell Pepper, chopped
1 cup Frozen Corn
1 tsp. Honey
15 oz. can of Tomato Sauce
1 tbsp. Chili Powder
1/2 tsp. Salt
1/2 tsp. Ground Cumin
1/2 tsp. Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
1/2 tsp. Paprika
1/2 tsp. Garlic Powder
1/2 tsp. Onion Powder
4 oz. Cheddar Cheese, shredded (about 1 cup) *Not needed until the day of cooking
1 box of JIFFY Corn Muffin Mix + any ingredients necessary to make muffins *Not needed until the day of cooking

1. Label freezer bag.

2. Add all ingredients to your freezer bag (except for cheddar cheese and corn muffin mix)

3. Remove as much air from the freezer bag as possible, seal, and lay flat in your freezer.

1. The night before cooking, move frozen bag to your refrigerator to thaw. 

2. The morning of cooking, pour contents of freezer bag into your slow cooker and cook on "low" setting for 6-8 hours.

3. Break apart beef and mix all ingredients.

4. Top with shredded cheese and assembled corn muffin mix.

5. Add lid and cook on "high" setting for 60 minutes or until cornbread topping is cooked through.

This will be the only full recipe and instructions I share from the five meals in this series BUT, do not fret! Kelly is giving away her e-Book Bundle to one lucky reader so you can make all five of these meals plus the 70+ more on your own. The giveaway will be open now through Friday, August 12th at 11:59pm CST. See below for what's included in the bundle and enter below! 

70+ easy recipes that you can freeze without any cooking ahead time
Nutritional info for all recipes
Organized, Printable grocery lists
Freezer meal labels
A list of Kelly's 7 favorite recipes in the eCookbooks with a grocery list and freezer labels
20+ pages of expert advice for prep, packaging and cooking
Cookbooks included: 
- 15-Minute Freezer Recipes eCookbook
- CROCK'D Slow Cooker Freezer Meals eCookbook
- No-Cook Freezer Meals eCookbook (which includes printable freezer meal labels)
- Crockpot Chicken Freezer Meals eCookbook


Looking Back On Cooking With Stanley

January 14, 2015 I embarked on a journey to cook through The Tucci Cookbook by Stanley Tucci. There has been blood, tears, screaming, but most of all an overwhelming sense of success. I fell in love with cooking my junior year of high school. Food had always been a part of my life growing up with a strong Italian influence. Some of my fondest memories are intertwined with scents like gravy cooking on the stove and pizza on Christmas Eve. However, it was Rachael Ray every day at 2pm that I would run home from school to watch. I started cooking dinner for my family, using almost all Rachael Ray recipes and began to get comfortable with ingredients. I guess you could say that if it weren't for her, I would have never had such an appreciation for being in the kitchen. 

In college and afterward, I was never able to get comfortable cooking for one. I had a blast experimenting like crazy but I always found myself making way too much food for only me. I guess you can take the girl out of the giant Italian family but you can't take the giant Italian family out of the girl. Moving back home, I was rewarded with the opportunity to cook for several people again. I received The Tucci Cookbook for Christmas in 2014 along with several other cookbooks and decided that I would make my way through each recipe. I wanted to get into the nitty gritty of Italian cooking and push myself outside of my comfort zone. I honestly believe that the journey, no matter how frustrating at times, has made me a better cook. With that said, here are a few of my favorite menus and dishes throughout the series:

Ponticello's Orange Cookies: These were delicious. Simple, buttery and perfect paired with chocolate. The orange can easily be swapped out with other flavors or left out completely for a simple cookie.

Week 26: Summer Vegetable Soup, Spareribs and Fresh Tomato Salad. This menu screamed summer and was so flavorful. The soup was delicious and filling, the spareribs tender and also packed with flavor and the tomato salad was great as a bruschetta. The spareribs had an Asian flare that was amazing. 

Week 27: Mediterranean Pasta Salad with Arugula and Tomatoes, Egg Tart with Spinach and Potatoes and Kate's Banana Bread. I don't even know where to start with this one. The pasta salad I ate for days without even being hungry it was so good. The egg tart was such an accomplishment for me and the first time I used a cast-iron skillet. The banana bread has an unusual ingredient that makes it out of this world. This is the perfect brunch right here. This is probably my favorite meal from the series overall.

Pasta Casserole & Arugula with Prosciutto, Pears and Parmesan: These two dishes were part of Week 34. The salad was refreshing and bright. I loved the prosciutto. It's one of my favorite Italian meats. The Pasta Casserole was pheomenal. The flavors were so beautiful. Creaminess, brightness, fresh from the vegetables. So much cheese! I was eating this hot and cold for days without a complaint.

Warm Individual Chocolate Souffle: This could pass as either my favorite dessert or favorite accomplishment. It was rich, almost too much so. It paired perfect with vanilla ice cream. I stored these individually in the freezer and warmed them in the oven for a few minutes when I was craving a bite.

Basil Pesto: This was potentially my favorite sauce in the cookbook. I love pesto so much and this recipe just made it impossible for that to ever change. 

Mamma's Little Fritters: I think we'll make the souffle my favorite accomplishment because these fritters were my favorite dessert. Similar to beignets, they're basically just fried dough. Nothing more perfect was ever created. I could eat these for days!

Rosemary Foccacia: This bread was unforgettable. Not only was it simple to whip up, it was delicious. If I had the patience to bake, I'd make it every weekend. 

Did you have a favorite meal, dish or dessert from Cooking With Stanley? Have you ever cooked through a cookbook before?

Celebrating National Apple Day: Cinnamon Apple Bread with a Brown Butter Glaze

We are in the prime of apple season. What better time to celebrate National Apple Day? To celebrate, we have a delicious recipe that you'll want to make triple batches of: Cinnamon Apple Bread with a Brown Butter Glaze. This recipe is packed with fresh apples and plenty of cinnamon. Everyone will be asking for anonther piece before they're even done with their first.

cinnamon apple bread.jpg

Using fresh apples gives this bread extra moisture so that it never dries out. I also subbed the oil for applesauce to cut calories which also enhances the sweetness of the apples. This bread is so good that it honestly doesn't need the brown butter glaze but it definitely doesn't hurt. 

This would also be good with pears. If, for some reason, apples aren't your thing, pears would be a good substitution, cranberries, or simply no fruit at all. You can just keep this a simple cinnamon bread recipe. This recipe gave me a loaf of bread and six jumbo muffins with enough glaze for the bread and two muffins. 

A tip for the glaze, it will take about 10-15 minutes for the butter to brown. You want to keep it moving so it doens't burn. There's a big difference between burnt butter and browned butter. The melted butter will deepen in color getting golden brown. It will give off a sweet, nutty scent as well which is a big clue to knowing it's almost ready.

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Cinnamon Apple Bread with a Brown Butter Glaze
Moist, delicious cinnamon apple bread perfect for fall and holiday get togethers. The brown butter glaze is 100% optional but phenomenal.
  • 1 2/3 cup Sugar
  • 2/3 cup Applesauce
  • 1/2 cup Milk
  • 2 teaspoons Vanilla
  • 4 large Eggs
  • 3 cups Apples, chopped (about 3 total)
  • 3 cups Flour
  • 2 teaspoons Baking Soda
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • 2 teaspoons Ground Cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon Allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon Baking Powder
  • 1 stick Unsalted Butter
  • 1 cup Powdered Sugar
  • 4 tablespoons Milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon Vanilla
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease the bottom of a loaf pan and 6 jumbo muffin cups.In a large bowl, mix together the sugar, applesauce, milk, vanilla and eggs till smooth. Add in the apples and mix well. Slowly add in your dry ingredients until the batter is well combined.Pour batter about 2/3 of the way in a greased loaf pan. Fill the muffin cups with the remaining batter. The muffins will bake for about 20 minutes and the bread will take about an hour. Test with a knife or toothpick to make sure the inside comes out clean. Let cool.While your bread is cooling, prepare your glaze. Brown one stick of butter in a small saucepan. It will take about 10 minutes or so but the end result should be a rich, golden brown color. Take off the heat and slowly incorporate the powdered sugar, vanilla and the milk one tablespoon at a time. If you find your desired consistency before 4 tablespoons of milk, that's fine. If you need a little extra, that's ok too. Just follow your gut.Pour the glaze over the bread and let cool for a few minutes until it because sticky. Serve!
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 1 loaf + 6 jumbo muffins