Perk up reluctant breakfasters with a tasty meal-in-a-muffin

By , Special to The Christian Science Monitor

The aroma of muffins baking is one way to stimulate your family's interest in eating breakfast. If you are in the habit of making only those three favorites - bran, corn, and blueberry - it might be time for a change.

Experiment with some of the heartier, meal-in-a-muffin varieties that, when served with fruit or fruit juice and a beverage, constitute a well-balanced breakfast.

Children and teen-agers will be captivated by such innovative fare as tuna, ham, or barbecue muffins.

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To achieve good results in baking muffins, do not overmix, as this causes knobs and peaks on the tops and long holes or tunnels inside. Stir the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients just enough to dampen all the flour, leaving the batter rough and lumpy. Ham or Bacon Muffins 1/4 cup butter or margarine 1/4 cup sugar 1 egg, well beaten 2 cups flour 4 teaspoons baking powder 1/2 teaspoon salt (optional) 1 cup milk 1/2 cup chopped, cooked ham or cooked, crumbled bacon

Cream butter and sugar and add egg. Mix and sift dry ingredients and add to creamed mixture alternately with milk. Stir in ham or bacon. Drop by spoonfuls into greased muffin pans. Bake at 400 degrees F. for about 25 minutes. Makes 12 muffins, 2 1/2-inches in diameter. Tuna-Corn Muffins 1 12-ounce package corn muffin mix 1 egg 2/3 cup milk 1 7-ounce can tuna, drained and flaked

Heat oven to 375 degrees F. Empty corn muffin mix into bowl. Add egg and milk. Blend only until dry ingredients are thoroughly moistened. Lightly stir in tuna.

Fill greased muffin tins about 2/3 full. Bake about 20 minutes or until golden brown. Barbecue Muffins 2 1/2 cups white flour 1/2 cup cornmeal 2 teaspoons baking powder 1/2 teaspoon salt 4 tablespoons sugar 2 eggs 3/4 cup milk 1/4 cup melted shortening 1 tablespoon green pepper, finely chopped 1 tablespoon onion, finely chopped 1/3 cup grated cheddar cheese

Sift flour, cornmeal, baking powder, salt, and sugar into a bowl. Beat eggs in small bowl and add shortening and milk. Add liquid ingredients all at once to dry ingredients, and stir until dry ingredients are moistened.

Fold in pepper, onion, and cheese. Fill greased muffin pans 2/3 full. Bake in 400 degree F. oven for 25 minutes. Makes 12 muffins. Zucchini and Wheat Germ Muffins 2 cups flour 1 cup shredded zucchini 3/4 cup wheat germ 1/2 cup packed, light-brown sugar 1 tablespoon baking powder 3/4 cup milk 1/4 cup oil 1 egg, beaten

In large bowl, mix well flour, zucchini, wheat germ, sugar, and baking powder. Set aside. In small bowl, mix well milk, oil, and egg. Stir into flour mixture just to blend. Spoon into 12 well-greased 2 1/2-inch muffin cups. Bake in preheated 375 degree F. oven 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown. Makes 12 muffins. Marvelous Mixed-Up Muffins 2 tablespoons shredded carrot 2 tablespoons finely chopped celery 2 tablespoons finely chopped onion 1 tablespoon butter or margarine 1 4 1/2-ounce can deviled ham 2 cups packaged biscuit mix 1 tablespoon sugar 1/2 cup shredded sharp natural Cheddar cheese 1 egg 2/3 cup milk

In small skillet, cook carrot, celery, and onion in butter until tender. Cool. Stir in deviled ham. Set aside. In medium bowl, combine remaining ingredients. Beat by hand for 1/2 minute. Fill 1 3/4-inch greased muffin pans 2/ 3 full of batter.

Make an indentation in center of each and fill with a little deviled ham mixture. Bake in 400 degree F. oven 16 to 18 minutes or until browned. Remove from pans while hot. Cool on rack. Makes 16 muffins. Lazy Morning Five Fruit Muffins 1 16-ounce can fruit cocktail 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour 1/3 cup sugar 2 teaspoons baking powder 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom seed (optional) 2 eggs, lightly beaten 1/4 cup melted butter or margarine 1 tablespoon grated lemon peel 1/4 cup chopped walnuts

Drain fruit cocktail, reserving all syrup. Measure fruit syrup. Add water to make 2/3 cup. In large bowl, sift together flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and cardamom.

Stir fruit cocktail syrup into flour mixture along with eggs, melted butter, and lemon peel. Mix only until dry ingredients are moistened. Stir in drained fruit cocktail and walnuts. Fill well-greased muffin cups about 2/3 full. Bake in 400 degree F. oven 20 to 25 minutes or until done. Allow muffins to stand in pans for a few minutes, then remove to wire rack to cool thoroughly. Makes about 12 muffins, 2 1/2-inches in diameter.

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