One of the main ways I'm saving money is by slashing our food budget. I buy hardly any pre-made packaged foods (in fact I don't buy any). But my kids are just as hungry as they used to be. So once or twice a week I make muffins. They are tasty, cheap, and quick. They are also a really good way to use up fruits and vegetables that are starting to fade. These come together so fast that I can throw them together when we walk in the door after school and they are out of the oven about half an hour later... which is just how long it takes Kid to actually put away her coat and backpack so it works out just fine.
Basic Muffin Recipe
taken from How To Cook Everything by Mark Bittman
2 c all purpose flour
6 T sugar (1/2 c if you like them pretty sweet)
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 c milk
3 T melted butter (or veg oil)
1 T baking powder
1/2 t salt
Heat oven to 400.
Whisk dry ingredients together.
Stir in wet ingredients just until incorporated. Do Not Over Mix... lumps are fine!
Bake in muffin tins until toothpick comes out clean, about 16 minutes.
Makes 12 muffins.
You can take this recipe and change it up any which way. I add shredded apple and carrot and cinnamon. Or I throw in frozen blueberries and cranberries, orange zest, and vanilla. You could put in mashed banana. They are infinitely flexible.
I always use half all purpose and half whole wheat flour. I also always dust the tops with raw sugar (the big crystals) before I bake them to give a little something special to them. This recipe is not too sweet, so it doesn't kill you calorie wise either... they are about 130 calories a pop. His original recipe calls for 1/4 c sugar as the base and adding more per your add ins. I find the 6 T works fine for most everything, but if you like a pretty sweet muffin you might want to start out with 1/2 c.
I store these in a big tupperware container with a paper towel underneath and the lid just slightly ajar. You want a little circulation or the tops will get moist.