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Goat Cheese Stuffins

goat cheese dressing muffin recipeA few years ago, I started making these stuffing-muffin creations.  I created the recipe based on what was in the kitchen at the time and decided to put the typically large pan dish into muffin cups to maximize the crispy edges I love. When Foodbuzz (my ad network) offered me a chance to win a trip to San Francisco and their annual conference for a recipe with Nature's Pride bread, I knew these muffin hybrids had to be my submission.

Never having named the recipe before, I tossed around a few ideas.  Was it a spoon bread?  Bread pudding?  Not exactly.  It is, I thought, stuffing (or more appropriately dressing because this mix isn't stuffed into anything) in a muffin shape...stuffing muffin...stuffin.  Ah!  Moment of brilliance!

I searched around the internet to see if anyone else was using such a ridiculous name.  It turns out that a more famous cooking personality who shares my name, a certain Ms. Rachael Ray, in fact has published a recipe for stuffin' muffins.

Oh well, I'm sticking with my name and my recipe is still totally my own!

But not-so-famous Rachel, you say, don't you promote making your own bread?  Why use store bought bread?

We do make our own bread in this house.  However, I realize many people don't have the luxury of time or interest to make bread.  When we do buy bread, I carefully read ingredients to find the best nutrition with the least junk additives.  I really was impressed at the ingredient list for Nature's Pride; they include no high fructose corn syrup, no preservatives, no trans fat and no unpronounceable anything.  For this recipe, or every day use, the bread is tasty too.

Anywhoo, on to the Stuffins!

cutting bread cubes for stuffing

Slice bread into one half inch cubes.  I stack the slices, cut one half inch slices all the way across horizontally and then cut half inch slices vertically.  I like to use two varieties of bread for added texture, in this case the country white and 12 grain varieties of Nature's Pride bread.  Slightly stale bread works great.

Mix up a batter of milk, eggs, herbs, and salt and pepper.

bread soaking for goat cheese stuffing recipe

Soak bread in batter for 10 minutes minimum, or the time it takes you to prepare the other ingredients.

Chop the onion, garlic, and apple as directed and add to the soaking bread.  Chunk the goat cheese into the mix and stir gently.

goat cheese stuffing ready to bake in muffin tins

Spoon mixture evenly among a dozen muffin cups.  A stoneware muffin pan works perfectly for this though a metal tin will work too.  A test batch I prepared in a silicone pan did not crisp well or cook in the same amount of time.

Bake and let rest.  The resting part is important as the stuffins set up in that last few minutes allowing for easy removal.

goat cheese stuffing muffin ready to eat

Serve as a side dish to a autumnal meal or appetizer with fresh tomato topping as pictured.  The leftovers are fantastic warm or cold.

Goat Cheese Stuffins Time: 15 minutes active cooking, 30-40 minutes baking Makes 12

2 cups milk (whole, 2% or skim) 2 large eggs 1 teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 2 tablespoons fresh rosemary, chopped 3 tablespoons fresh oregano, chopped 8 slices (approximately 8 cups) of two varieties of slightly stale bread 1 medium onion 3 garlic cloves 1 large apple 8 ounces goat cheese 1. In a large bowl, whisk together milk, egg, salt, pepper, and herbs.

2. Slice bread into 1/2 inch cubes.

3. Place bread into milk mixture.  Stir gently and allow to soak for 10 minutes.

4. Meanwhile, dice onion into even 1/4 inch pieces.  Place in large bowl with bread.

5. Peel apple and chop into 1/4 to 1/2 inch pieces.  Place in large bowl with bread.

6. Chop garlic finely.  Place into large bowl.

7. Use fingers to separate goat cheese into small pieces on top of large bowl.  Stir gently to combine all.

8. Spoon mixture evenly among oiled stoneware 12-cup muffin tin.

9. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 - 40 minutes or until tops brown.

10. Let rest out of oven for five minutes before removing from muffin cups.

11.  Serve warm or at room temperature.  Leftovers make an excellent addition to a packed lunch!

Disclosure: I received one loaf of Nature's Pride bread from the Foodbuzz Tastemaker program to create this recipe. Then my dog ate the loaf of bread (true story!) and I had to buy another one.