Julia Vradelis and Allison Worrell, both from Eastern North Carolina, have recently published a cookbook unlike any others. “Muffin Meals” hit bookstores in late March and is currently available for purchase online through the Tate Publishing website and Amazon.
“Muffin Meals” was written with busy moms in mind. The idea of the cookbook is to provide innovative, easy-to-make meals in your muffin pan. Julia came up with the idea while watching a show about cupcakes.
“They had asked the chefs to include jalapeños in the cupcake, and I thought if you’re going to do that, why not add beef and cheese and make it a taco muffin?”
She shared this with her friend who then came up with the name, “Muffin Meals.” For the next two years, Julia and Allison developed recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner, desserts and even holiday meals that could all be cooked within a muffin pan.
Every recipe has a color photograph taken by the authors.
“We didn’t want to have photos professionally taken because the end result rarely looks like the picture,” said Allison. “These are actual photos that we took so the average cook should have the same results!”
When developing the recipes for the book, the authors took some old favorites such as Shepherd’s Pie and Chicken and Rice and deconstructed these timeless recipes, reconstructing them in the form of a muffin. The end result was a very diverse collection of recipes which look as great as they taste. In addition to being simple recipes, they are portion controlled simply by being cooked in the muffin pan. Most of the recipes are designed for the large (or Texas-style) muffin pan which is the perfect size for a meal.
“I think one of the biggest challenges for people these days is to simply eat less,” said Julia. “I’ve always heard to make your portions about the size of your fist and “Muffin Meals” accomplishes that without making you feel deprived.”
“We chose to donate a portion of the proceeds to Hospice which is very near and dear to our hearts,” added Julia. “Both Allison and I lost our mothers to cancer and I also lost my brother and sister-in-law, Randy and Mona Eckert, to brain cancer five years ago. They were all in Hospice care at the end.“
Allison’s mother, Dottie Arnoult, unfortunately passed away prior to the cookbook being written but Julia’s mother, Vera Eckert, was able to be part of the process and lived to see the final proof. The book is dedicated in their memory.
As two busy moms, Allison and Julia poke fun at themselves for being “less than great cooks” so the reader will find most of the recipes easy to follow. They also show how to wrap up the Muffins to give as gifts.