Baking Muffins in the Ninja 3 in 1 Cooking System

The Ninja says you can bake it in. So I had to try. The results were not so good.

I am not sure if it was my fault or the Ninjas – probably a combination of both.

I started with this recipe for Blueberry Pancake Muffins. This recipe is apparently designed for the Ninja Cooking System.
Ninja Blueberry Pancake Muffins

I didn’t have blueberries so I used frozen Strawberries instead. I also added a package of instant oatmeal, used skim milk instead of buttermilk and egg whites instead of an egg. Maybe those were my mistakes.

I was attempting to be creative and make Strawberry Oatmeal Ninja Muffins.

baking muffins in the ninja

Regardless my muffins cooked. If you could call it cooked; they really didn’t rise. It was like eating a poached (read boiled) muffin. The first two were hard to get out of the pan but the rest came out okay. It tasted alright but the textured was all wrong and I don’t think that was my fault. Like I said, imagine eating a cooked but soft soggy muffin. Muffins are supposed to have the nice crispy top and be golden brown and delicious all over. Let’s face it, that is never going to happen in an appliance that STEAM BAKES.

And I mean really – all this to save 20 calories a muffin? Sure you can bake with half the fat but half the fat split up over a recipe is not worth it. Trust me on this.

strawberry oatmeal ninja muffins
YUCK!

I threw all these poor muffins in the trash (minus the bite I took to taste them). Even my dog didn’t want to eat them. But really, look at them. Do you blame her?

I don’t think baking in my Ninja will ever happen again and not just because of this mess.

Before I even made these I had already come up with a few more reasons why baking in the Ninja Cooking System was just not worth it. You can only cook (notice how I didn’t say bake?) 6 muffins at a time; most recipes out there are for 12. Trying to reduce a recipe is a pain, especially when it calls for one egg. How do you half an egg? All this hassle just to save a few calories a muffin is not worth it. Not to mention the horrid texture. The extra cleaning time. No muffin liners. No crispy tops. Do I need to go on?

Do yourself a favour, make your muffins in a oven. Save your self time and make a regular size batch of muffins (or whatever). Bonus: they turn out properly and you won’t be embarrassed to offer one to your guests. You can also use paper muffin liners and make your clean up a breeze. Another bonus: you don’t need to spend tons of money buy baking pans that fit inside the Ninja (huge bonus in my books!).

In can be argued that making 6 muffins at a time will save your waist line. In that case just throw half your muffins out. Because you are going to end up doing that anyway if you cook them in the Ninja.

This is just my experience cooking muffins but I am pretty sure results will be the same or at least similar with all baked goods. Slimy cupcakes anyone?

EDIT – I was just browsing the Ninja Facebook Page and it seems a lot of people are baking with good results but I found a post talking about the Blueberry Pancake Muffin Recipe. That person threw theirs away too and they followed the recipe. Perhaps it is just a fail recipe. After seeing that I might consider baking something again…

Ninja 3 in 1 Cooking System

I got a Ninja Cooking System for Christmas. I had never even heard of one before I got it. At first I wasn’t sure if I wanted to keep it but after reading lots of reviews online I decided it was worth trying it.

ninja 3 in 1 cooking systek
It sure does look bad ass!

I tried it today for the first time. I spent some time looking up recipes and reading the books that came with it. Unfortunately there doesn’t seem to be a lot of recipes for it but the nice thing is you can do anything you want in it. At first I was a bit confused by it but it really is simple. It is like a crock pot but better.

I decided to cook a soup from the The Looneyspoons Collection that I have made before – The Chicken Soup that Flu the Coup. It is really similar to Chicken Soup with Humpty Dumplings from the Eat Shrink and Be Merry cookbook. It just doesn’t have the dumplings. I love these sisters. All their recipes are so good.

vegggies
VEGGIES!

cooking in the ninja

Using the Ninja was so easy and I think the soup turned out better then ever. I did make a few changes to the soup recipe – I added more veggies, used chicken breast instead of thighs, replaced the fresh tomatoes with canned, added some dried chili peppers and a hand full of mini pasta. It passed the husband test – he had a second bowl!

chicken soup that flu the coup
Chicken Soup that Flu the Coup – 153 calories & 14g protein per serving.

I think cooking it was even easier too – not that it was every hard on the stove but this just seemed easier and better. Clean up was easy too. I can’t wait to try more recipes in my Ninja!

It has been so long since I have blogged but when I opened my Ninja today I thought it was a good time to get back in the habit. The Ninja is so new I thought blogging about my experience might help and encourage others. Also it’s a new year and time to get back on the eating better train. Let’s see how long that lasts!

I can’t believe I went all of 2012 without blogging. 2012 was a crazy year! I actually lost about 40 pounds in 5 months in order to look my best for our wedding. Unfortunately since then I have gained back a few pounds. Okay, a bit more then a few pounds. But it is a new year. Back to eating healthy and cooking more. I really hope my Ninja helps me with that!

Recipe Review: Smackaroni and Cheese (The Looneyspoons Collection)

Finally got a chance to cook out of my new cookbook – The Looneyspoons Collection – this same recipe can be found in Eat, Shrink and Be Merry but I used my new book :p I made this before a while ago but it was even better then I remembered it! SO AMAZING! I made a couple small changes, I used ground turkey instead of beef, left out the zucchini, and replaced light cheese whiz with jalapeno tex mex cheese whiz! The spicy cheese whiz added a nice little kick and flavour boost. I am pretty sure I am going to be making these recipe over and over – my man loved it. What’s not to love, pasta, meat and cheese. YUM!

The best thing was, dinner was ready in just half an hour!

Recipe Review: Smackaroni and Cheese (The Looneyspoons Collection)

There are two different versions of this recipe, one of them can be found here – it is different then the one I made.

Dinner: Frozen Meal Salad

Look at me, blogging again – weeeee. Really struggling to stay on track so just trying to do everything I can. So tonight I was alone for dinner and decided to make a frozen Weight Watchers Meal – Smart Ones Santa Fe Style Beans and Rice. I put it on top of some spring mix and called it a salad.

This is something I do often for lunches at work.

Weight Watchers Meal - Smart Ones Santa Fe Style Beans and Rice

Total calories: 330

Cute New Lunch Bag

I couldn’t resist this super cute BUILT lunch bag in the store. I had to have it. I love that it isn’t big and bulkier like all my other ones and that it still zips closed. Perfect for packing my healthy lunches for work.

I have been eyeing up these bags for a while now – seen them in different stores around town. The best part is, I found it on a clearance table for only $5! Super excited. Can’t wait to pack my lunch it in… it is almost too cute to use… almost.

built lunch bag

I also found these mega cute cupcake cups… not that I should be making cupcakes, but I couldn’t leave them at the store. I am always looking for pretty ones and these were only $1!

cute cupcake cups

Quick and Easy Dinner: Crockpot Roasted Chicken

I guess it is really more like steamed chicken when you cook in the crockpot. But whatever. I have posted about doing this before but I am posting about it again. Posting stuff like this helps keep me on track. I have been terrible about making dinners lately – seriously. Lots of frozen pizza and pre made food it is horrible. Really trying to get back on track with making nice dinners. The new cookbook I got the other day should help with that.

I love chicken. The thing that sucks about making your own chicken is that it costs the same or MORE then just buying it already cooked. Kind of stupid really but I am sure this is better for me. And I get the satisfaction or knowing I made it myself. I also find when I buy the pre-cooked chicken I ended up buying a pre-cooked side or something bad for me to go along with it for an instant dinner. Cooking the chicken myself leads to all around better and healthier cooked meal.

So yah, buy a chicken and stick it in your crockpot before work. I topped mine with salt, pepper, garlic powder and cajun seasoning. I poured a splash or a bit more then a splash of wine into the bottom of my crockpot. Put the lid on and turned it on low. I let it cooked while I was at work. Super easy.

When I got home I steamed some broccoli and made some mashed sweet potato. I did both things in the microwave. Dinner took less then 30 minutes to prepare in total and the chicken cooked itself while I was at work. Awesome.

Oh, and it tasted DELICIOUS!

Quick and Easy Dinner: Taco Salad

This is one of our favourites around our house.

First you cook up some extra lean ground beef or chicken chicken or turkey or whatever you want. I like to add some taco seasonings.

Then you take some lettuce, I like to use this stuff:

free express iceberg garden salad mix

Free Express - Iceberg Garden Salad Mix

I dump in on a plate or in a bowl – whatever I am in the mood for. Sometimes I top it with chopped tomatoes, cucumber and onion – sometimes I am lazy and don’t. I add some cheese, the ground meat and use hot sauce and light sour cream for the dressing!

Pretty straight forward, it takes maybe 10-15 minutes to cook the meat and that is that. Calories are going to depend on how much meat and cheese you use – I probably use too much. But it is delicious!

New Cookbook: The Looneyspoons Collection by Janet and Greta Podlesk

Words can’t even describe how extremely excited I am about this cookbook. I absolutely adore Janet and Greta Podlesk other three cookbooks and this one is their best yet.

When I am on plan I cook at least once a week from their other book Eat, Shrink and Be Merry. Having a new book to cook from is extra exciting and should help me stay on plan easier. I haven’t had much of a chance to really go through it yet but at a quick glance it does have a lot of their popular recipes and some new ones too.

I pre-ordered my copy of The Looneyspoons Collections almost two months ago! The wait almost killed me.

You can order your copy here at Chapters.cause promo code OLNOV11 to save $5 during the month of November.

Since you need $25 to get free shipping you should book up their other cookbooks, they are all fantastic. I really can’t say enough good things about these books – if you can’t tell. I just love that their recipes are low calorie but don’t taste it. I also really like that they use ingredients I can find in Canada, since they are Canadian too.

I am sure there will be many more posts once I start cooking. But first I must look at it!

Recipe Review: SkinnyTaste White Bean Turkey Chili

This is the second time I have made this recipe. This first time was a while ago but I remembered it being really good so I decided to make it again. It was just as I remembered – DELICIOUS!

white beans

SkinnyTaste.comWhite Bean Turkey Chili

I did make a couple small changes. First I wasn’t using 3 pounds of ground turkey – at $5 a pound that is just too expensive. So I just used one. TIP: I buy my packs of ground turkey at Costco – you get 4 for about $20. Since I was using less turkey I used 5 cans of beans (instead of 4) – I think my cans might of been slightly bigger too. Also I didn’t use all cannellini beans like her recipe suggests. I used a mixture, 2 cans of chickpeas, 2 cans of navy beans and 1 can of white kidney beans. And it was awesome. I followed her seasoning suggestions in the recipe but next time I would make it spicier, it really wasn’t spice at all and I love spice.

The recipe makes lots and it is pretty easy. If you love beans you need to try this recipe out. According to her recipe it is only 211 calories per cup and it is very filling.

I took this to work to share with a co-worker. Both her and I did a bit of a cooking and split what we made. Perfect way to get some healthy lunches for work, with variation.

Lazy = Frozen Meals

Back when I started this journey of losing weight and a better lifestyle I was against frozen meals. Well times have changed. I still don’t think they are good for you but they really do help with portion control and eating out. I don’t eat them daily but some weeks I do eat them a couple times a week – it just depends if I have dinner left overs.

I just don’t feel like spending 10-20 minutes in the mornings anymore preparing breakfast and lunch. Coming home to make dinner after a long day in the office can sometimes be bad enough.

Frozen meals can be expensive. I DO NOT buy them unless then are on sale. I also don’t always buy the “healthy”, lower calorie meals either. I find the Michelina’s meals often go on sale for $1 each at various stores. Most of them are between 300-400 calories – really not too bad for a lunch. Sometimes I add some veggies or a side salad.

I have tried a few different Michelina’s meals and they have always been pretty tasty. The Macaroni and Cheese is by far my favourtie – I LOVE IT. I loved adding diced tomatoes to it. Diced bell peppers work well too – if I am really adventurous even some spinach.
Michelina's Macaroni and Cheese

And for breakfast I was delighted to find the Weight Watchers Smart Ones English Muffin Sandwiches. The Weight Watchers meals sometimes go on sale for $2-$2.50. You get two sandwiches in a box, so $1 – $1.25 for one. Not as cheap as toast I am sure, but a little treat – something to hit the spot when you wish you could have a McDonalds for an Egg McMuffin. As a bonus, they are cheaper too!

The Weight Watchers Smart Ones English Muffin Sandwiches are 210 calories. With some fruit or yogurt it makes for a delicious breakfast. I enjoy a lot of the Weight Watchers meal but like the Michelina’s ones better because they are cheaper.

Again, not the healthiest meals but sometimes connivence wins. I also find I usually enjoy them and having a lunch ready I enjoy means I am much less likely to get take out.