Ever Evolving Food Blog

Hello Everyone! I have had this blog for years now, and as my personal life has changed, so have my tastes and eating habits...for the better!! I am now a fully plant-based eater, so my newer recipes will reflect this lifestyle and way of eating.

All of my old recipes will remain on my food blog, of course, so there will be a mixture of the old and the new for everyone to look through and choose. You can always play around with any recipe out there and make it your own, whether it's plant-based or not. There are always other options!
Thanks SO much for following! Happy Eating!

What's Cooking With Melissa

Don't Forget to Vote! There is a poll on the right side of this page. What is your favorite whole grain to use when cooking?

Thursday, December 30, 2010

White Sauce Pasta Bake with Italian Turkey Sausage

I'm SO excited because I made this recipe up myself, and it turned out SO well! I wanted a pasta bake, but all I could find were pasta bakes for red sauce. I am a huge fan of white sauce pastas, so I was looking for a white sauce pasta bake. When I couldn't find one, I made my own!

1 lb. Campanelle pasta
1 lb. sweet Italian sausage (taken out of its casing)

3 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil

1 cup mushrooms, sliced

3 diced bell peppers of various colors

1 medium, diced yellow onion

1 Tbs. minced garlic

1 1/2 cups heavy cream

1/4 tsp. salt

cracked pepper to taste

1 Tbs. Italian seasoning

1/2 cup Parmesan cheese - grated

8 oz. mozzarella cheese - shredded


Cook pasta in salted, boiling water for 10-12 minutes. Drain pasta, rinse with cold water, transfer to large bowl and set aside. On top of cold pasta, pour 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese and 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, but don't mix yet.
Cook sausage over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking and burning. Break up the large pieces of sausage and brown until no longer pink. Transfer sausage to a bowl, leaving behind the fat in the skillet.

Add olive oil to the already existing fat in the skillet. Saute garlic, onion, peppers, and mushrooms ~ 5-7 minutes until tender. Add sausage, cream, salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning. Boil over medium-high heat until thickened, ~ 5-6 minutes.

Pour over pasta, Parmesan cheese, and mozzarella cheese. Gently blend until everything is well-coated. Gently fold into a casserole dish, cover with remaining mozzarella cheese. Bake at 350 for 20-30 minutes.


This makes a LOT of pasta! It will feed eight people, EASY. It's so creamy and good and makes a great left-over dish! YUM!

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Saturday, December 25, 2010

Curried Christmas Cranberries

Spice up this holiday favorite with a fancy twist. Instead of serving the same old cylinder slab of cranberry blob with your turkey and dressing, try serving this sweet and spicy version to your family. It's easy, and it'll make your family think you had your side dishes catered!

1 1/2 cups sugar
3 Tbs. honey
1/2 cup cider vinegar
1/2 cup port wine
3/4 cup orange marmalade
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp curry powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1 bag (12 oz.) fresh cranberries

Combine sugar, vinegar, port, marmalade, cinnamon, curry powder, and salt in a large bowl
Add cranberries and mix well so that all the cranberries are nicely coated.
Spray a 2 quart baking dish with cooking spray. Pour in cranberry mixture, cover with foil, and bake at 325 for 50-60 minutes until cranberries are soft. Let stand for 10-15 minutes before serving.

This is a very tart dish, so you may want to add a bit more sugar and/or honey to your liking. You could also add 1/2 cup of raisins if you like to sweeten it up, as well. As always, you can tweak any dish and make it your own! Enjoy your holiday! 

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Sunday, December 12, 2010

Candy Sushi

This play on sushi is so cute, and kids LOVE it! I make them for my third graders when we are studying cultures around the world. They make a great party food, too!

1/4 cup butter
4 cups mini marshmallows
6 cups rice crispy cereal
1 (11 oz.) bag of gummy worms
2 boxes of Fruit by the Foot (or any fruit leather)


Spray a 12 x 17 inch baking sheet with non-stick baking spray.
Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add marshmallows and stir until smooth.
Remove from heat and quickly stir in the cereal until it's well-blended and evenly coated.
Press the mixture evenly onto the baking sheet. It helps if you spray your hands with the baking spray before you press out the mixture. (How-to pictures are posted below.)

Starting at one short side of the pan, one inch in, place the gummy worms end-to-end in a horizontal line. It should take 3 worms to do this step.
Gently roll the lower edge of the marshmallow mixture over the gummy worms.
Stop and cut the log away from the rest of the mixture. Continue making logs until you run out of room. You should be able to make 5-6 logs.

Next, cut the logs into ~1 inch pieces. Wrap each piece with a section of the fruit leather. (How-to pictures are posted below.) You may need to sort of mold the 'sushi' pieces a little to get them shaped right after cutting and wrapping them.


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Wild Mushroom Agnolotti topped with Smoked Turkey Sausage, Peppers & Onions

I saw a picture in a magazine, which inspired this dish. I didn't take the recipe, but decided to make up my own instead. It was originally made with sweet peas and Asian pot-stickers. I put my own twist on it!

1 (9 oz.) package Wild Mushroom Agnolotti
(Buitoni, in the refrigerated section)
1 yellow onion, sliced into bite-sized pieces
3 colorful bell peppers, sliced into bite-sized
pieces
1 (14 oz.) link of Lean Smoked Turkey Sausage
Extra virgin olive oil for sauteing
Ground pepper to taste
1 (1 oz.) packet of Au Jus Gravy Mix (McCormick)


In a large saucepan, saute the sausage, onion, and peppers between 5-10 minutes until veggies are just going tender and sausage is browning.

In a small saucepan, make au jus according to directions on the package (should make ~ 3 cups). Add to sauteed sausage and veggies, add cracked pepper to taste, bring to a boil, then reduce heat and let simmer for ~ 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, gently boil the agnolotti in 4 quarts of water for 4-6 minutes.

Arrange agnolotti on a plate, then place sausage, onion, and peppers on top, adding a bit of au jus and serve! รจ delizioso!

*I think this would have been better with ground Italian turkey sausage. I'll try it next time.

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Sunday, December 5, 2010

Ham and Swiss Stomboli

Want to fix something that's hot, quick, and REALLY easy? This stromboli only has 3 ingredients, and it takes only 30 minutes to prepare and serve! You can also put anything you want into it and make it your own.

1 tube (11 oz.) refrigerated French bread
~7 slices of deli ham
1 package (6-8 oz.) shredded Swiss cheese

On a cookie sheet lined with foil and sprayed with non-stick cooking spray, roll out the dough. Place slices of ham onto the dough, covering it but leaving an inch of an edge all the way around. Cover the ham with the shredded cheese. Roll up the dough jelly roll style, making sure the seam side is down. Pinch and tuck the ends and make 3-4 small slits in the top of the dough. Bake at 350 for 26 minutes. Slice with a bread knife and serve!

What I love most about this recipe (beside it being SO easy) is that you can make it however you want. You could make a pizza version, a sausage, pepper, and onion version, a veggie version, and the list goes on and on! Have fun with this one!! 

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Vanilla Rice Pudding

Nothing says Christmastime like a steaming, sweet, creamy cup of homemade vanilla rice pudding! This is an excellent dessert to warm you up after playing in the snow or shopping in the cold winter weather! YUM!!!

1 1/2 cups water
3/4 cup rice (Uncle Ben's Original)
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 cups 2% milk
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

In a large, heavy skillet, bring water, rice, and salt to a simmer over high heat. Reduce heat to low. Simmer for ~10 minutes until water is absorbed.
Add milk, cream, sugar, and vanilla. Increase heat to high until it just comes to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and cook uncovered ~45 minutes until mixture is thickened to a soft and creamy consistency. Stir occasionally and more frequently in the last 15 minutes.

Remove pudding from heat, divide into cups, and sprinkle very lightly with ground nutmeg. Nutmeg can be very overpowering, so be mindful not to put too much. Just a tiny sprinkle will do. Enjoy!!

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