12 Family Favorite Real Food Soup Recipes

Seeing as this is one of the busiest times of the year – and will soon be the coldest – I think having a list full of Real Food Soup Recipes in our back pocket is a good idea. Would you agree?

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First, let’s talk Broth. Here’s my tutorial on making Chicken Broth on the stove-top. In addition, here’s my tutorial on making Beef Broth on the stove-top. I actually like making Beef Broth more often, simply because it doesn’t require the tedious task of boning a chicken. But that’s just me trying to save time in the kitchen. :)

I’ve started playing with making broth in my Instant Pot, which truly is easy and a great time saver! That might become my go-to method of broth making!

Either way, I find that it’s wonderful to have a few jars of homemade broth on hand every week during the winter months so I can quickly make soup for my family! And now for our favorite soup recipes!

12 Family Favorite Real Food Soup Recipes

And while we’re on the subject of soup, if you need Cream of Mushroom Soup or Onion Soup Mix, we’ve got a homemade option for you!

12 Family Favorite Real Food Soup Recipes

And with that, I will sign off. After all, this is one of the busiest times of the year. :) I’d love to hear about your favorite soup recipes!

Pink is the New Black Friday

You know me. I like pink better than black. Therefore, Black Friday becomes Pink Friday around here. But of course.

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I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving! We filled our house with almost 30 people from the community and it was marvelous. (P.S. When you ask God, “Who needs to be around our table at Thanksgiving?” he will show you. It is a glorious experience.)

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Today I want to share some of my favorite finds on the web, first and foremost, a big discount on my new Best of Heavenly Homemakers book! We marked it all the way down to just $14.95 today through Monday! Grab your copy here.

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Simple Meals is saving everyone’s family time!! Plus it saves you money while you feed your family great, healthy food! Through Monday Simple Meals costs even less than normal.

Become a Simple Meals member at $10 off here!

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Our beloved Rose’s Razors is offering a 25% discount on their Long Stem Boxes when you use the code BFCM25 (offer good through Monday only). Or use the code Heavenly20 to get 20% off anything else at Rose’s Razors (offer available through Dec. 31).

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Lilla Rose is having an AMAZING Black Friday Sale, this Friday through Monday.

Up to 50% off everything!

Free Shipping on orders over $75!

And yes, it can be combined with the monthly special of a Free Poinsettia Gift Set with every $125 purchase! It includes a gorgeous Poinsettia brooch, a pair of Poinsettia bobby pins, and a beautiful silver bag to keep them in.

We also have over 90 brand new styles, including all the past 2017 Flexis-of-the-Month! I especially love the new Adora, a gorgeous dangling ribbon Flexi! We also have many matching gift sets, to make gift-giving easy!

These amazing deals run all weekend, but if you want even BIGGER deals, be sure to check out the Facebook Live online shopping event that is happening in Paula’s Black Friday Extravaganza,  at 1 PM Eastern time on Friday for fun time-limited steals!

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I’m writing this post ahead of time so I can enjoy a day off, so I can’t know for sure. But I am counting on my beloved Instant Pot being discounted this weekend! If it’s less than $100, grab it up. It’s a gem and a huge time saver!

instant pot

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Happy, happy, happy Thanksgiving weekend! I am thankful for you!

P.S. I’ll be sending out emails as I find the best deals during the next few days. Be sure to sign up here if you don’t want to miss out!

The Simplest Crock Pot White Chicken Chili

Who would like another recipe that only takes an effortless 5 minutes to prepare? What about a recipe that allows you to forget to thaw your meat ahead of time? A recipe that tastes amazing and is a crowd pleaser? Okeedokee! Let the excitement over this Crock Pot White Chicken Chili commence!

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This is one of those recipes in which you quickly place ingredients into a pot then walk away and let it make dinner for you. Is this a perfect recipe for a busy holiday season? Oh yes. Let’s enjoy our holiday season while our crock pot cooks dinner for us, shall we?

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Call this White Chicken Chili, or actually, let’s just call it A Night Off. This is one of those rare times we can simply open cans of prepared food and dump them into a pot. We can feel great knowing that it’s all still real food and it’s still healthy and nourishing for our families!

The Simplest White Chicken Chili

The Simplest White Chicken Chili
 
Author:
Serves: 6-8
Ingredients
  • 1-2 pounds boneless Chicken thighs or breasts
  • 2 15-ounce cans Black Beans (drained)
  • 2 10-ounce cans Rotel (Diced Tomatoes and Green Chiles)
  • 2 cups Frozen Corn
  • 3 Tablespoons Ranch Dressing Mix*
  • 1 Tablespoon Chili Powder
  • 2 8-ounce packages Cream Cheese
Instructions
  1. Place chicken (frozen or thawed) in the bottom of a crock pot.
  2. Add beans, Rotel, corn, and seasonings over the chicken and stir.
  3. Place cream cheese on top of the mixture.
  4. Cook on low for 7-8 hours or on high for 3-4 hours.
  5. Remove chicken and shred, then stir it back into the soup.

*Here’s my Homemade Ranch Seasoning recipe.

Complete this meal by pulling salad fixin’s out of the fridge and washing some fresh fruit.

The Simplest Crock Pot White Chicken Chili

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Easy Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Muffins

It’s like we just can’t get enough of these cheesecake-topped muffins. We’re loving them at our house! Allow me to remind you of the others in this little series before I share the latest Easy Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Muffins:

The fourth and final (at least for now) cheesecake muffin is this:

chocolate chip cheesecake muffin22

Care to peek inside?

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There’s so much yum in there!

I’m not sure why I saved these for last. Perhaps because most have declared them to be the best of them all? You be the judge. They are all amazing.

Easy Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Muffins

Easy Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Muffins
 
Author:
Serves: 12-15
Ingredients
  • 2 cups Muffin Mix** or...
  • 1½ cups whole grain flour
  • ⅓ cup brown sugar or sucanat
  • ½ teaspoon baking power
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 egg
  • ½ cup milk
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • ¼ cup melted butter
  • ¼ cup mini chocolate chips
  • Cheesecake topping:
  • 8 ounces softened cream cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 2 Tablespoons real maple syrup
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup mini chocolate chips
Instructions
  1. Scoop Muffin Mix or measure dry ingredients together in a bowl.
  2. Add egg, sour cream, milk, and melted butter, stirring until ingredients are combined.
  3. Fold in ¼ cup chocolate chips.
  4. Scoop batter into 12-15 prepared muffin tins.
  5. Prepare cheesecake topping by blending (in a blender or with a hand mixer) cream cheese, egg, maple syrup, and vanilla until smooth.
  6. Spoon 2-3 Tablespoons of cheesecake topping over each unbaked muffin.
  7. Sprinkle chocolate chips over the top of each.
  8. Bake in a 400 degree oven for 18-22 minutes or until muffins are golden brown.

**You really must get our Simple Mixes to Save the Day eBook so you can save time and energy by using the Muffin Mix for this recipe instead!! I LOVE having these mixes on hand!!!

Easy Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Muffins

 

How are your holiday plans coming? Have you been Getting Ahead for the Holidays? I can’t recommend it highly enough!

The Easiest Way to Make Lasagna

Raise your hand if you never make lasagna because you think it’s too difficult. Come closer, my friends. Allow me to let you in on a few secrets so that you can learn the easiest way to make lasagna for your family and for guests!

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Ten years ago when I first launched my website, this was a recipe I included in my first cute little eBook series. I’ve since taken these eBooks out of my shop and shared most of these recipes on my blog. But somehow, I failed to ever share this recipe for The Easiest Lasagna!!

In the Kitchen eBooks

Awww. Remember these? Precious memories.

Until now. In celebration of 10 years of blogging, it is a must that I finally tell you my secrets for making the easiest lasagna on the planet. Forgive me for waiting this long. Your life will be better now that you can make lasagna with so little effort. Your family will be so happy!

lasagna33Trick #1: Do not cook the lasagna noodles ahead of time. Simply lay the dry noodles in the pan and layer them with the sauce and cheese. Drizzle about 1/2 cup of water over the lasagna before baking and cover with foil. The water will cook the noodles while it bakes. Easy!

Trick #2: Stir the cottage cheese into the sauce instead of working in vain to spread it onto the noodles as you create layers in the pan. This makes no difference in the taste, but it sure does alleviate a challenging step in the lasagna-making process!

Trick #3: When making one lasagna, for the love of all things simple, make two or three. It takes no extra effort to do this! Then you can put the extra lasagnas into your freezer to effortlessly bake another day!

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The Easiest Way to Make Lasagna

The Easiest Way to Make Lasagna
 
Author:
Serves: 6-10
Ingredients
  • 1 lb ground hamburger meat
  • 4 Tablespoons minced onion or chopped fresh onion
  • 32 ounces spaghetti sauce
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • 8-ounces cottage cheese
  • 16-ounce box lasagna noodles
  • 3 cups shredded cheese (our favorite is Colby jack but you can also use mozzarella)
  • ⅓ cup water
Instructions
  1. In a large pot, cook hamburger meat with onion. Drain grease if necessary.
  2. Stir in pasta sauce and salt.
  3. Remove from heat and stir in cottage cheese.
  4. Lay ⅓ of the lasagna noodles (uncooked) to cover the bottom of a 9x13 inch baking dish.
  5. Pour ⅓ of the sauce mixture over the noodles and spread to cover the noodles.
  6. Sprinkle ⅓ of the shredded cheese over the top.
  7. Repeat these layers twice more.
  8. Drizzle ⅓ cup water over the lasagna.
  9. Cover tightly with foil.
  10. Bake for one hour at 350 degrees.

The Easiest Way to make Lasagna

I can think of no better time to make this Easy Lasagna recipe! This is a fabulous meal to have in your freezer during these busy holiday weeks. In addition, Lasagna is a wonderful meal to feed guests! Get your ingredients rounded up, and crank out some Lasagnas!!

If you’d like to watch a video of me making three lasagnas, here you go! See how easy this is!

Now, can anyone tell me why Lasagna is spelled with a “g” in there? I may have figured out ways to make this dish simple, but I have  yet to learn why it is spelled so silly.

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Woohoo! In honor of our 10-year Heavenly Homemakers anniversary, be sure to pick up your very own printed copy of The Best of Heavenly Homemakers!!

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Easy Pumpkin Cheesecake Muffins (With or Without Chocolate Chips)

Are you tired of Pumpkin Spice yet? Oh no. You can’t be. It’s way too early for that. And you haven’t even tried these Pumpkin Cheesecake Muffins yet!

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I did cringe to see a box of Pumpkin Spice Cheerios at the store the other day. Really now. I think we’ve taken this Pumpkin Spice craze just a little bit too far. I love pumpkin and the delicious spices of the season. But I think we should leave our Cheerios alone. And who needs oddly flavored Cheerios anyway when there are these real Pumpkin Muffins with actual cheesecake topping for our dining pleasure?

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Better yet, if I give you permission to sprinkle mini chocolate chips on top of the muffins if you wish? Well, I think the holiday season just got significantly more merry and bright. Pour a cup of coffee to go with, and a delicate tear will slip out the side of your eye as you recognize that Jesus really is the reason for the season.

Easy Pumpkin Cheesecake Muffins

Easy Pumpkin Cheesecake Muffins (With or Without Chocolate Chips)
 
Author:
Serves: 12-15
Ingredients
  • 2 cups Muffin Mix** or...
  • 1½ cups whole grain flour
  • ⅓ cup brown sugar or sucanat
  • ½ teaspoon baking power
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice*
  • 1 egg
  • 15-ounces pumpkin puree
  • ¼ cup melted butter or coconut oil
  • Cheesecake topping:
  • 8 ounces softened cream cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 2 Tablespoons real maple syrup
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
Instructions
  1. Mix dry ingredients together in a bowl.
  2. Add egg, pumpkin puree, and melted butter, stirring until ingredients are combined.
  3. Scoop batter into 12-15 prepared muffin tins.
  4. Prepare cheesecake topping by blending (in a blender or with a hand mixer) cream cheese, egg, maple syrup, and vanilla until smooth.
  5. Spoon 2-3 Tablespoons of cheesecake topping over each unbaked muffin.
  6. Sprinkle a few mini chocolate chips on each muffin if you like.
  7. Bake in a 400 degree oven for 18-22 minutes or until muffins are golden brown.

*Find the recipe for our Pumpkin Spice mix here. Or substitute: 1 teaspoon ground cloves, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, and 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg in this recipe.

**If you have our Simple Mixes to Save the Day eBook, save time and energy by using the Muffin Mix for this recipe instead!!

Easy Pumpkin Cheesecake Muffins

In case you’d rather eat a Pumpkin Spice Cheerio instead of an actual Pumpkin Cheesecake Muffin, or if you’re someone who doesn’t like pumpkin or the spices that typically accompany this delightful gourd, I will now refer you to this recipes sister recipes:

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chocolate cheesecake muffin11

Coming soon: Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Muffins!

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These recipes prove that there is so much to be thankful for this season, am I right?

Timeless Toys You’ll Want to Keep Forever

I’m not sure how I got here, but here I am. I’m the mother of four sons who are growing up, leaving the nest, and embracing adulthood.

None of my kids are looking to get married the day after tomorrow, but as fast as time flies and as quickly as seasons change, I can see weddings and gorgeous daughters and beautiful grandbabies as I peek around this corner. It’s ridiculously exciting as we pray and trust God’s timing and plans for our sons.

This is where my brain lives now, so don’t mind me. But do take note as you think about what toys to buy for little ones for Christmas. You might want to consider those that are worth keeping around forever.

At our house, we’ve gotten rid of all the junk toys. Gone are the toys that were fun for five minutes before they broke or the toys that were trendy but got boring quickly. What’s left? Well, toys that I’m keeping for my future grandbabies. Toys that are worth keeping. Toys that are such good quality that they lived through four boy children drop-kicking them across the house twelve times each day for over a decade.

My friend Kim helped me put this list together of “Timeless Toys.” Toys that never get old. Toys that are of high quality and are very durable. Toys that are wonderful to have for young guests to play with. These are the toys we recommend most highly!

Timeless Toys You'll Want to Keep Forever

Timeless Toys You’ll Want to Keep Forever

legoduplos

Building Toys

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Cars and Trucks and Toys that Go

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Puzzles of Good Quality

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Board Games

Click over to look at our great big list of family Board Games! But for younger kids, we recommend:

Doll

Dolls and Accessories

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Toy Sorters and Stacking Cups

Tools

Tools

CashRegister (1)

Toy Cash Register

little people barn

Fischer Price Little People

Check out the huge variety of toys and play sets!

Little People Toys and Play Sets

Kitchen

Play Kitchen with Toy Food and Dishes

What are some of your family’s favorite toys that you plan to hold onto forever?

This post contains my affiliate links.

Simple Baked Garlic Parmesan Chicken Legs

Today I must begin by apologizing to all the chicken legs. I have underestimated how amazing these gems could taste. I truly had no idea these humble pieces could possibly be so spectacular. Now that I’ve discovered this Simple Baked Garlic Parmesan Chicken Legs recipe, the leg of a chicken will forever rise to the top of my meat choices. Move over Prime Rib. The Chicken Leg is where it’s at.

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See, we all know that Prime Rib is delicious because its price tag tells us so. But Chicken Legs? They are so budget friendly. In fact, I watch for mark-downs and get them for less than a buck per pound. Incredible! So obviously I almost always leave behind the rib and go for the leg. There is no other way.

But now we will all learn that this very inexpensive meat selection has turned out to be one of the most delicious items on the menu. Perhaps it is the garlic and the Parmesan we use in this recipe. It likely has something to do with the butter, because obviously, chicken and all of life is better with butter.

Mix all these wonders together and pour them over the infamous chicken leg, and you may just pass out on your plate at first taste. You have been warned. I am not responsible for your medical bills if you fail to brace yourself for this. I have done my part by providing your joy in the form of a leg of a chicken slathered in the most delicious sauce you’ve ever eaten.

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Simple Baked Garlic Parmesan Chicken Legs

5.0 from 1 reviews
Simple Baked Garlic Parmesan Chicken Legs
 
Author:
Serves: 6-8
Ingredients
  • 2 pounds chicken legs
  • 4 Tablespoons butter
  • Sea salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 cloves minced garlic (or 1 heaping Tablespoon garlic powder)
  • 2 Tablespoons flour or cornstarch
  • 1 cup chicken broth or water
  • ⅓ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • ½ cup heavy whipping cream
Instructions
  1. Place chicken legs in a 9x13 inch baking dish.
  2. In a large skillet, saute garlic in the butter for 2 minutes at medium heat.
  3. Whisk in the flour or cornstarch.
  4. Add chicken broth, continuing to whisk until mixture thickens and is smooth.
  5. Continue to whisk while pouring in cream and sprinkling in cheese.
  6. Allow the sauce to thicken for 1-2 minutes, stirring continually.
  7. Remove sauce from heat and pour it over the chicken legs.
  8. Bake in a 375 degree oven for 45 minutes.

Simple Baked Garlic Parmesan Chicken Legs

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Psssst! Remember that right now, Simple Meals members get this Getting Ahead for the Holidays resource packet for FREE in this week’s regular email! Want a coupon to save even more? See below!

Getting Ahead for the Holidays Cover2

Bonus: Now through November 15, get $10 off your first year’s subscription! No coupon code needed. Simply click through to order and the $10 discount will be automatically applied! Offer expires Wednesday, November 15.

Simple Meals Yearly Subscription
Your yearly subscription equips you with a 52 week's worth of meal plans, grocery guide, recipes, and bonus tips, plus you get over $60 worth of bonus eBooks! Your Simple Meals plan will arrive in your inbox each Thursday morning.
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A Unique Way to Eat Protein

This is a review post sponsored by Naked Nutrition. All opinions are my own. 

As if my grocery budget isn’t enough to make me go broke, if I didn’t somehow ration all the meat my men crave, I’d go even broker.

Indeed, the more active my kids, the more protein they crave. Currently, my two high schoolers are playing both basketball and soccer (yes, at the same time because why stay home when you can go crazy). They also lift weights and run on the days they don’t have practice or games. A daily question at our house, between meals, is, “Mom, is there any meat I can eat right now?”

We have fun coming up with great protein options that are meatless (eggs, nuts, beans) so when Naked Nutrition emailed and asked if they could send some of their protein-packed cereals, I jumped through the screen and yelled, “Oh, yes please!”

naked nutrition protein cereal

Their cereals are much different than what we typically expect. Namely, their ingredient lists are tiny. Three cheers for this, right?! Check this out:

Protein Cereal: Grass-Fed Whey Protein and Organic Tapioca Starch
Apple Cinnamon Protein Cereal: Grass-Fed Whey Protein, Organic Tapioca Starch, Organic Brown Sugar, Organic Dried Apple Pieces, and Cinnamon

Admittedly, we all like the Apple Cinnamon Protein Cereal better. We found the regular Protein Cereal they offer to be quite plain. Yet, we love that it’s still a great option for a quick protein snack on the run.

Also, we found that while we don’t love eating the Protein Cereal by itself, it’s great on top of yogurt or better yet? Stirred into Fat Bombs or Homemade Chewy Granola Bars. The cereal gives these snacks a great crunch! And of course, we love that it fills them even more good protein!

As for the Apple Cinnamon Protein Cereal, we eat it as is and love that it packs such a great punch of protein. It’s especially tasty this fall since we’re loving all things apple and cinnamon anyway.

While the price is a bit steep, it is reasonable for the ingredients included. And hey, I’m the one buying entire cows to fill my freezer, so to enjoy this Protein Cereal on occasion is great.

A huge thanks to Naked Nutrition for sending us their wholesome, protein-packed cereals to try! Thank you for making a product that contains grass-fed whey protein! This is hard to come by and much appreciated. My hungry household of athletes is grateful. :)

Easy Banana Cheesecake Muffins

Perhaps you’re thinking, why would I make Banana Cheesecake Muffins when I can make Chocolate Cheesecake Muffins?

banana cheesecake muffins11

I’m here to tell you that I actually like these even better than the chocolate muffins. This, from a girl who loves her chocolate. There’s just something about the subtle sweetness, the perfect moistness, and the obvious cheesecake topping that makes these banana muffins rise to the top for me.

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Then there’s the fact that I can think of no better way to use up overripe bananas. Now I watch our uneaten bananas start to turn dark and I’m like, “YES! I’m going to have to make some Banana Cheesecake Muffins with these!”

Notice I said “have to.” Because there is no other option. None at all. The only thing I can possibly do with my blackened bananas is make these Banana Cheesecake Muffins. It is the only way.

Easy Banana Cheesecake Muffins

5.0 from 1 reviews
Easy Banana Cheesecake Muffins
 
Author:
Serves: 12-15
Ingredients
  • 2 cups Muffin Mix** or...
  • 1½ cups whole grain flour
  • ⅓ cup brown sugar or sucanat
  • ½ teaspoon baking power
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 egg
  • 2 mashed ripe bananas
  • ¼ cup melted butter
  • Cheesecake topping:
  • 8 ounces softened cream cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 2 Tablespoons real maple syrup
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
Instructions
  1. Scoop Muffin Mix or measure dry ingredients together in a bowl.
  2. Add egg, mashed banana, and melted butter, stirring until ingredients are combined.
  3. Scoop batter into 12-15 prepared muffin tins.
  4. Prepare cheesecake topping by blending (in a blender or with a hand mixer) cream cheese, egg, maple syrup, and vanilla until smooth.
  5. Spoon 2-3 Tablespoons of cheesecake topping over each unbaked muffin.
  6. Bake in a 400 degree oven for 18-22 minutes or until muffins are golden brown.

**If you have our Simple Mixes to Save the Day eBook, save time and energy by using the Muffin Mix for this recipe instead!!

Easy Banana Cheesecake Muffins

Check out the sister recipe to this one: Easy Chocolate Cheesecake Muffins. And be watching for more! Easy Pumpkin Cheesecake Muffins and Easy Chocolate Chip Muffins recipes coming soon!

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