Oatmeal Applesauce Muffins with Salted Caramel Chips

Every summer my grandma and my friend give me apples from their trees, so I make my own applesauce and use it in my baking year round. I wanted to develop a muffin recipe that was low in sugar and used a good amount of applesauce. Also, a recipe that was filling enough that the kids wouldn’t ask me for another snack after having eaten.

These muffins are made with oats and whole wheat flour, which will give energy and satisfy hunger. I like to use almond milk, however, to keep them school-safe, use dairy, soy, or oat milk instead.

What you need to know about these muffins

  • My kids devoured these.
  • They don’t contain sugar (maple syrup and applesauce sweeten them up)
  • You don’t even have to use your mixer. A whisk or spoon will do.
  • You can freeze them for lunches or snacks.

*These school-safe energy bites also make a great lunch box snack!

Meal Prep Tip

In my Meal Planning for Busy Families Online Course, I mention baking muffins while you eat dinner as a strategy to save time. You can pre-mix the dry and wet ingredients when you do your meal prep for the week, then combine them and pop them in the oven while you’re eating. By the time you’re finished eating, the muffins are ready. Bonus points if your oven is already pre-heating from having cooked dinner!

Other great muffin recipes

I usually stick to a rotation of about 3-4 different muffin recipes. They’re all shared on my Tried & True Pinterest Board. Our go-tos are the Healthy Banana Muffins (with chocolate chips!) and the Healthy Double Chocolate Zucchini Muffins (again, with chocolate chips.)

Double Batch Oatmeal Applesauce Muffins with Salted Caramel Chips

This low-sugar recipe is quick to whip up with a bowl and a spoon. No mixer required!

Course Breakfast, Dessert, Snack
Keyword applesauce, double-batch, muffins, oatmeal
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Servings 28 muffins

Ingredients

  • 2 cups unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 4 tbsp canola oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 1/2 cups rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 1 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 bag Chipits Salted Caramel Chips can use butterscotch chips

Instructions

  1. Combine all wet ingredients.

  2. Add dry ingredients, except salted caramel chips and stir until combined.

  3. Add salted caramel chips.

  4. Use a triggered ice cream scoop to dispense in muffin liners.

  5. Bake at 375 for 20 minutes.

Cooking with Kids – Bruschetta Chicken

This is part one of a two-part series and a paid partnership with Manitoba Chicken Producers. As always, all opinions are my own and I only promote products that I use and love.

Did you know that September is National Chicken Month? In our house, chicken is always a hit with the kids. While chicken drumsticks and chicken fingers are their favorites, they also enjoy shredded chicken in some of the recipes I make. I try to get them to branch out and try new ways to enjoy chicken.  Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. Getting the kids involved in preparing recipes is a great way to expose them to new foods and to teach them about food safety.

I used this Bruschetta Chicken recipe from the new Now You’re Cooking with Manitoba Chicken Youth Education Booklet. It contains three recipes that are easy to prepare with kids, plus the graphics are pretty and there are a variety of chicken farming facts, lots of food safety tips, and cooking techniques, perfect for budding young chefs.

If you’re interested in receiving your own copy of this brand-new resource, contact Manitoba Chicken Producers at: consumerrelations@chicken.mb.ca 

Please provide your name and mailing address and they will be happy to send you one.

My seven-year old is the only one who wanted to help this time, and she happens to be my pickiest eater of the four kids, so I had my work cut-out for me. I knew that getting her to taste this recipe would be a challenge, so I tried a few strategies I thought might help ease her into it.

Tip #1 – Know your child’s food phobias

Before we started, I went over the recipe with her and had her read out the ingredients.  Right away, she said “I don’t like pepper!” I also know that she doesn’t like “green things” a.k.a fresh or dried herbs in her food. She didn’t say anything about the basil when she read the recipe, so I left it for the moment. 

Knowing which foods are going to raise red flags for your kids, can help you find a substitution or expose them to the food in a positive way.   

Ways we exposed these recipe ingredients while making this recipe:

  • Picking fresh basil and tomatoes from the garden
  • Feeling the basil, touching the leaves, tasting a fresh leaf
  • Cracking pepper over all the chicken breasts except one
  • Peeling garlic for the bruschetta mix

Positive interaction with new foods, could help kids build up the courage to try them. Even if they refuse to try them the first time, repeated positive exposure could help.

In my daughter’s case, she was having fun doing all the prep work and spending some one on one time with me so that overshadowed the fact that she thought the basil was “too spicy” when she tasted it. She put it aside and carried on with preparing the recipe.

I knew that even though she liked most of the ingredients for the Bruschetta Chicken, the major problem would be that all the components were touching.  Deconstructing is a great way to get around this because you’re still exposing them to every ingredient, without preparing another meal that you think they will prefer. 

Tip #2  – When in doubt, deconstruct

Before I got to chopping the tomatoes for the bruschetta mix, I sliced some and put them on a plate.  On the side, I added a small bowl of mozzarella and some fresh basil leaves and I left a space to add some cooked chicken.

Serving all the ingredients on one plate separately, allows kids to make independent food choices.  If it’s on the plate, you’ve approved it for their consumption, so now they get to choose if and how much they will eat.  

She ended up eating everything, except the basil. I will call that a win for today. I didn’t have to make a different meal and she ate what was available, simply presented in a different way. 

When I thanked her for helping and asked if she had fun she replied with “Next time can we just make chicken fingers instead?” So, guess what? Next month, that’s what we’re making in part two of this series, also from the Youth Education Booklet.

There are so many great recipes on manitobachicken.ca that you can try with your kids.  You can search them by the cut or by the preparation technique. There are also a few delicious deconstructions and reconstructions blog using fresh Manitoba chicken, like this Asian Grilled Chicken Salad and these Greek Chicken Wraps.

What is your family’s favorite way to enjoy Manitoba chicken? Comment below and let us know!

Slow Cooker Tortilla Soup

Slow Cooker Tortilla Soup is one of our favorites to freeze and take for school lunches. We like to add chicken to it, but you could definitely make a vegetarian version as well by omitting the chicken.

Getting started

There are a few meal prep strategies that you could do before you make this soup, that will help you stock your freezer for other meals as well. I like to use Slow Cooker Vegetable Broth in this recipe. It’s almost free to make and one batch will give you enough broth to make this tortilla soup, plus an extra three cups to use in another recipe.

Jump to Recipe

You can also get ahead by making a batch of shredded chicken. You will only need about two breasts for this soup, but if you cook and shred 8 chicken breasts, you will be able to freeze 6 more for future meals.

Time-saving tips

You can save time by preparing this recipe in a number of ways:

Prepare the tortilla soup the night before you need it

Assembling the soup in the crock pot, the night before you need it will allow you to simply turn on the slow cooker in the morning and let it cook all day while you’re at work.

If you don’t have the fridge space to store your crock pot over night, consider opening your cans, rinsing beans, chopping onions and garlic and measuring spices as you pre-prep, so you can just add them to the slow cooker in the morning.

Freeze extra portions of tortilla soup for lunches

This soup is a quick weeknight meal, but is also amazing as a hot lunch. You will get 8 2-cup portions from this recipe so it’s a great one to freeze for later.

Toppings and variations

As I mentioned previously, you could definitely make a vegetarian version by omitting the chicken and chicken bouillon concentrate. Adding toppings isn’t necessary but is a nice touch. Some toppings you could add are:

  • Diced avocado
  • Fresh cilantro
  • A squeeze of lime
  • Shredded cheese
  • Tortilla strips or chips

Slow Cooker Tortilla Soup

Course Main Course, Soup
Cuisine Mexican
Keyword make-ahead meals, slow cooker, slow-cooker meals, tortilla soup
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 8 hours
Servings 8

Ingredients

  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts Substitute with 2 cups cooked shredded chicken or omit for vegetarian
  • 1 can corn
  • 1 can black beans rinsed and drained
  • 1 28 oz. can diced tomatoes
  • 1 onion diced
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 3 tsp. cumin
  • 1 tsp. chili powder
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • 1/2 tsp. oregano
  • 1/2 tsp. coriander
  • 1 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 6 cups Vegetable or Chicken Broth add 2 Tbsp. chicken bouillon concentrate if using vegetable broth, or omit for a vegetarian version.

Toppings

  • lime
  • avocado
  • shredded cheese
  • fresh cilantro
  • tortilla strips or chips

Instructions

  1. Add all ingredients to the slow cooker except toppings.

  2. Cook on low for 6-8 hours.

  3. If using whole chicken breasts, remove the chicken and shred it when cooked, then add it back to the soup.