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?

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Lentils

If you're looking for a dish that is tasty, filling, hot, and full of fiber, then this is the perfect dish to try.  Lentils are wonderful because you can fix them in so many different ways.  They can remain a vegetarian dish or you can add meat if you wish.  You can also make them in a variety of flavors, depending on what you add to them.

Ingredients
lentils (8 oz., dry)
1 large yellow onion, chopped
1 veggie sausage(13 oz.), cut into bite-sized pieces
4 cups boiled water
2 OXO cubes (or beef bullion cubes)
2 Tbsp. olive oil

Directions
Soak lentils in cold water for 3-4 hours, then drain and set aside just before cooking.
Boil 4 cups of water, remove from heat and add OXO cubes. Stir and set aside. 
In a couple tablespoons of olive oil, brown the sausage and onion (~5-10 min).
Add the drained lentils and stir.  Add the OXO mixture.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and cook for ~2 hours, stirring every 15 minutes.
Once most of the water has evaporated out and the lentils are soft, it's ready! 

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Spinach Cheese Pastry Swirls

This is a fairly simple appetizer, which is great for parties.  I have added bacon to mine, but you could simply leave it out to make it vegetarian.  This is also a savory version.  I'll be making a sweet version of these swirls, as well.  Because it's just a pastry base, you could put anything you wanted inside and make it your own.



Ingredients:
1 egg
1 Tbsp. water
1/2 cup shredded Muenster cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1.4 cup bacon pieces (cooked)
1 green onion, chopped (~2 Tbps)
1/8 tsp. garlic powder
all purpose flour
1/2 of  a 17.3 oz. package Pepperidge Farm Puff Pastry (1 sheet), thawed for 40 min.
1 pkg. (10 oz) frozen, chopped spinach, thawed and WELL drained of water

Directions
Beat egg and water together in a small bowl.
Mix together cheeses, bacon, onion, and garlic powder in a medium bowl.
On a floured surface, lay out the pastry.
Brush with egg mixture.
Sprinkle on a layer of cheese mixture, then spinach.
Roll up and cut, seam-side down, in 1/2 inch sections.
Place cut-side down and brush with egg mixture again on the top.
Bake at 400 for 15 minutes or until the pastries are golden brown.
Let cool for 10 minutes before serving.

Cherry and Cream Cheese Pastry Rolls

This yummy treat is great for parties or get-togethers.  They are easy to make, and there isn't a lot of clean-up.  The cream cheese in the pastry almost makes them taste like danishes.  You can add  any kind of pie filler or jam that you wish, of course.  I chose cherry because I made them close to Christmas and was trying to go for a festive color.  

Ingredients:
1 egg
1 Tbsp. water
all purpose flour
2 sheets (17.3 oz. package) Pepperidge Farm Puff Pastry, thawed for 40 min.
1 (8 oz) package of cream cheese
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 cup confectioner's sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 (16  oz) can of cherry pie filling

Directions
Beat egg and water together in a small bowl.
Mix together cream cheese, butter, vanilla, and sugar in a medium bowl.
On a floured surface, lay out the pastry.
Brush with egg mixture.
Spread on a layer of cream cheese mixture.
Spoon on and spread a layer of pie filling.
Roll up and cut, seam-side down, in 1/2 inch sections.
Place cut-side down and brush with egg mixture again on the top.
Bake at 400 for 15 minutes or until the pastries are golden brown.
Let cool for 10 minutes before serving.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Southern Buttermilk Biscuits

Southern Buttermilk Biscuits are one of the most difficult things to master, and I have not mastered them, but when you really want apple butter and there are no biscuit tins in the house, you'll learn how to make biscuits pretty quickly!   At least, that is what happened to me. 

Ingredients
2 cups self-rising flour
1 Tbsp sugar
1/4 cup Crisco All-Vegetable shortening, chilled
3/4 cup buttermilk

Directions
In a large mixing bowl, blend the flour and sugar. Cut in shortening with a fork until the crumbs are pea-sized.  Blend in milk with a fork until dough leaves the sides of bowl
On a floured surface, turn out the dough and knead gently 2-3 times.  Roll dough to 1/2 inch thickness and cut out circles with a glass dipped in flour or a biscuit cutter.  
Place on a greased baking sheet and bake at 500 for 8-10 min.
Makes 12 biscuits.


Monday, November 28, 2011

Chicken Pot Pie

Chicken pot pie is a staple in my house, especially in the colder months.  It's such a great comfort food, and it doesn't have to be as full of fat and calories if you use reduced calorie/reduced fat ingredients.  I always like to cut down on those things whenever I can.  

Ingredients:
3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cubed
2 Tbs butter or margarine
2 (10 3/4 oz) cans condensed cream of chicken soup, reduced fat
1 cup frozen peas (thawed)
1 cup frozen carrots (thawed)
1 chicken boullion cube
3/4 cup sour cream, light
2 large (8 oz)  cans crescent rolls (refrigerated, reduced fat)

Directions:
Brown chicken in butter.
Stir in soup, veggies, and bouillon cube (crushed).
Cook until bubbling, stirring frequently for 5 minutes.
Add sour cream and cook for 2 min, stirring frequently.
Arrange cresent roll pieces around the sides of 2 pie dishes, so that they're draped over the sides.
Divide chicken mixture between the two pie dishes, fold the crescent roll pieces up over the pies, and bake at 375 for 20 minutes.

Enjoy!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Bacon from the Oven

Want an easy, no mess, hands free way to cook your bacon all at once?  This method is, in my opinion, the best.  The bacon comes out perfectly crispy and straight, you don't get grease popping all over your stove, and to clean up, all you have to do is throw the foil away!








Directions:
Line a baking sheet with foil.
Line the bacon, side by side, along the tray.
Bake at 400 for 20-25 min.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Stuffing (Dressing)

Not my picture.  Misplaced my camera. =(

What would the holidays be without stuffing?  I know that in my family, the stuffing is one of the highlights of any holiday dinner.  There are so many different ways you can make stuffing your own, so tweak it all you want.  Any way you  make it, it'll be fabulous as long as you don't make it too dry.



Ingredients: 
10 cups Pepperidge Farms herb stuffing (substitute with dried bread crumbs)
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 tsp. salt
ground pepper
1 tsp. thyme 
1 tsp. rosemary
1 tsp. parsley
1 Tbsp. minced garlic

1/4 cup margarine or butter (melted) (substitute with applesauce)
2 slightly beaten eggs (substitute with EggBeaters)
1+ cup chicken broth (substitute with water or veggie broth)

Directions
In a large bowl, mix all the dry ingredients.  In a small bowl, mix all of the wet ingredients.  Mix the wet ingredients with the dry ingredients.  Mix well with your hands or with a large wooden spoon.  Add a bit more chicken broth if the mixture is too dry.  Better to be too wet and bake out the moisture than too dry.
Spoon into a 3 quart casserole, cover with foil, and bake at 325 for 45-50 minutes.  Take the foil off in the last ten minutes to get the top a crispy, golden brown.  

Enjoy with your favorite meal, especially around the holidays! 

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Peanut Butter-Chocolate Chip-Bacon Cookies

This is the pic from the magazine. 
I have misplaced my camera.  =(
The newest thing last year was to add kosher salt to your chocolate chip cookies to get a salty-sweet effect.  This puts a WHOLE new spin on things.  Some people say that bacon makes everything better.  Well, I don't know about EVERYTHING, but these cookies are out of this world!!!!  At least try them so you can say you did.

Ingredients:
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp baking poweder
1/8 tsp. ground cinnamon
pinch of chili powder
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
5 strips bacon
4 Tbs. unsalted butter at room temperature
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed, light brown sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate

Directions
Combine the flour, baking soda, baking power, cinnamon, chil powder, and salt in a large bowl.
Cook the bacon in the oven in a foil-lined pan at 400 for 20 minutes or until crispy. Drain and crumble.
Beat butter and reserved bacon drippings in a large bowl at med-high speed until smooth.
Beat in the peanut butter for about 1 minute.
Beat in the sugars until creamy (about 4 min)
Add the egg and vanilla and beat until fluffy (about 2 min)
Add flour mixture and mix on low speed until just combined.
Stir in all but 2 Tbps. of the chocolate and the bacon.
Form dough balls and put two inches apart on a prepared baking sheet.  Flatten with fingers a bit and add the reserved chocolate chips and bacon.
Back until golden (about 12-14 min)

Enjoy!!!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Tex-Mex Casserole

This casserole reminds me of a Mexican version of lasagna.  It's just meat, beans, rice, and cheese layered with tortillas.  It's really easy to make, just like any other casserole, but this one is very flavorful.  It would be good to take to a drop-in or office party, too!


Ingredients
1 lb. ground beef
2/3 cup water
1/2 packet taco seasoning 
1 (15 oz.) can of chili with beans
1 packet of 90 second Spanish rice
4 oz. sour cream
2 packages of shredded Mexican cheese
4 large tortillas
a few crumbled tortilla chips

Directions
Brown the ground beef, strain, put back on heat and add water and taco seasoning, stirring well.  Heat 90 second rice in the microwave.  Mix ground beef, rice, and chili with beans in a bowl.  Mix in the sour cream and mix well with a spoon.  

Spray a 9x11 casserole dish with non-stick cooking spray.  Put two tortillas on the bottom, lining the pan.  Put in half the meat mixture and spread evenly on top of the tortillas.  Layer with a good amount of shredded cheese.  Put on two more tortillas and repeat.  Crumble on a few tortilla chips, cover with foil and bake at 350 for 30 minutes.

Cut and serve with salsa or pico.  Enjoy!!! 

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Breakfast Quesadilla

This poll winner was SO GOOD and it was healthy, too, which is always a nice bonus.  I have always loved quesadillas, and I love breakfast food, so this was perfect.  One of my favorite things about quesadillas is that each person can decide what they want in theirs to make it their own.  You can do a vegetarian version, as well!

Ingredients:  
Tortillas, 2 per quesadilla (whole wheat, high fiber, low carb)
Scrambled eggs or egg beaters
bell peppers, chopped
onion, chopped
shredded cheese (low-fat)
turkey sausage (crumbled, cooked, and drained)
mushrooms, sauteed
pico de gallo
sour cream, low-fat

Directions:
  • Lay out one tortilla on the counter
  • put a thin layer of egg, peppers, onion, cheese, mushrooms, and sausage
  • Put the other tortilla as a topper
  • Cook in the quesadilla press for 2-3 minutes
  • Remove and cut into triangles
  • Top with pico de gallo and sour cream

    Enjoy this healthy breakfast!  I loved it, and my family loved it.  They always get excited when they can decide what and how much to add, like with pizza or omlettes.   This is a great food to make if you have guests staying over, as well. 

    Saturday, November 12, 2011

    Cranberry Granola Bars with Marshmallows

    These yummy treats are perfect for lunches, parties, dessert, or a snack.  They are healthy, too!  They are like granola bars, but made like rice crispy treats.


    Ingredients: 
    3 Tbs. butter
    1 (10.5 oz.) bag of miniature marshmallows
    1 (15 oz) box of low-fat granola cluster cereal
    1 1/4 cup dried cranberries
    non-stick baking spray


    Directions
    • Melt butter in a large saucepan until completely melted
    • Add marshmallows and cook, stirring constantly until melted and smooth.
    • Remove from heat and add cereal and cranberries
    • Press mixture into a 13 x 9 inch pan and let stand 10-15 minutes
    • Cut into 24 pieces
    *TIP 1- When pressing the mixture into the pan, spray your hands with baking spray so they won't stick to the mixture.
    *TIP 2 - Switch it up and use dried blueberries, nuts, or chocolate chips for your next batch.  You can put many different things in the bars!

    Thursday, September 1, 2011

    S'mores Dip

    And just when you thought S'mores couldn't get any better, along comes S'mores DIP!!  This yummy, chocolaty, decadent treat is TO DIE FOR!  It's quick and easy to make, too!  No cooking necessary.  All you need is a mixer and a bowl, and you're set. 








    Ingredients
    3 (8 oz.) packages of Philadelphia cream cheese (softened)
    1 1/4 cups of Hershey's chocolate syrup
    2 (7 oz.) jars of marshmallow fluff
    graham crackers or graham sticks for dipping
    extra marshmallows

    In a large bowl, mix together the cream cheese and chocolate syrup on low-to-medium speed for about 3-5 minutes until well blended.  
    Stir in marshmallow fluff with a large spoon until well blended.
    Refrigerate until ready to eat.  Stir before serving.

    Some people will like to simply dip the graham crackers in the dip, while others will enjoy making a faux-S'more by taking a graham cracker, spooning some dip on top, placing a marshmallow on top of the dip, then topping it off with another graham cracker.  

    On thing is for SURE....any way you eat this fabulous dip, you cannot go wrong!!  YUM YUM YUM!

    To print this recipe, click on the box below.



    Sunday, August 28, 2011

    Huevos Rancheros (my version)

    I love this spicy Mexican favorite, and it's healthy, too!  You can't beat veggies, beans, and eggs for a meal packed with protein and vitamins!  You can also make this as a veggie version by just leaving out the chorizo!




    Ingredients
    2 links of chorizo (Mexican pork sausage)
    ~10 new potatoes
    3 bell peppers (red, green, and orange), diced
    5 medium mushrooms, diced
    2 eggs
    1 can fat-free refried beans
    pico de gallo to top
    shredded Mexican cheese (low-fat) to top
    2 Tbsp butter to fry potatoes 
    non-stick cooking spray to fry eggs

    Crumble and fry chorizo until done (~4-5 minutes).  Drain and pat off excess grease.  Set aside.

    Boil potatoes for 20 minutes. Remove from water and let dry and cool.  Dice.  Melt butter in a frying pan and brown potatoes (~10 minutes).  Add peppers, mushrooms, and chorizo.  Mix and continue to saute for ~5-7 minutes.  

    Meanwhile, fry eggs (sunny side up) and set aside.  Also, heat up the refried beans and plate, dividing the beans between two plates.

    Once the veggies and chorizo are heated through and cooked, plate them on top of the refried beans.  Sprinkle a little shredded cheese on top, gentle place the egg on the mound, then sprinkle on the pico de gallo to taste.

    This meal is very filling and packed with fiber and protein.  You could also serve this on a tortilla, add sour cream, or scoop it with tortilla chips.  You could even use the veggies, chorrizo, and cheese inside a quesadilla!  YUM!

    To print this recipe, click the box below. 



    Thursday, July 21, 2011

    Roasted Kale Chips/Crisps

    After joining NutriMirror and after being turned away from giving blood, I found out that I'm not getting nearly enough iron.  One of the things my friends and the NM site recommended was kale.  At first, I was thinking, "NO WAY," but I decided to try it in the end.  They're delicious!




    Ingredients
    Kale (preferably organic), rinsed well and shaken dry
    ~1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
    Cracked pepper to taste
    1 tsp. sea salt

    Using only the leaves, not the stems, break off the kale leave into smaller, chip/crisp-size pieces.  Toss them in olive oil.  Spread out evenly on a lined baking sheet.  Season with salt and pepper.  Bake at 350 for ~15 minutes.  The chips/crisps will be done when they turn crispy and the edges brown.  Let cool, add a little freshly grated Parmesan cheese if you want, and enjoy!

    6 servings (Per serving without Parmesan cheese (About 1.5oz/42g-wt.): 50 calories (40 from fat), 4.5g total fat, 0.75g saturated fat, 1.5g protein, 2.5g total carbohydrate (1g dietary fiber, 0g sugar), 0mg cholesterol, 80mg sodium

    To print this recipe, click on the box below.


    Tuesday, July 19, 2011

    Healthy Grilled Chicken Lunch Tortillas

    I'm trying to be healthy, and right now I'm in love with grilled anything, along with pico de gallo.  I'll put pico on just about anything at the moment.  I searched the grocery store for something I could make at home that would be fast AND healthy and not straight out of a frozen box.  Found it and it's only 330 calories!!!


    Ingredients
    3 oz. Tyson Grilled & Ready Frozen Chicken Strips
    2 (7 inch) La Tortilla Low Carb/High Fiber tortillas
    2 Tbsp. pico de gallo
    2 crispy leaves of lettuce
    1/4 cup Fat-Free 4 Mexican shredded cheese (Sargento)
    2 Tbsp. Fat-Free Honey Dijon salad dressing (Maple Grove Farms)

    Measure out 3 oz. of chicken and cook it in the microwave according to the directions (~3 min.).  Divide the chicken strips between two tortillas.  Top the hot chicken strips with cheese (1/4 divided between the two tortillas).  Then add the lettuce, pico (1 Tbsp. for each tortilla), and dressing (1 Tbsp. for each tortilla).  

    And....you're done!  Just fold them up and eat them like a soft taco. 

    These take less than five minutes to put together, they're only 330 calories for BOTH of them, and they're super filling and healthy!  Perfect for those of us on the go and who don't have a whole lot of time for lunch but still want to be healthy.  

    To print this recipe, click on the box below.

    Thursday, July 7, 2011

    Grilled Bananas Foster with Vanilla Ice Cream & Melted Chocolate

    It's summertime, and I love to grill out.  I've noticed more and more grilled desserts popping up on the web and on cooking shows, so I thought I would test one out myself.  This recipe was the poll winner, really, how can you go wrong with bananas, chocolate, and ice cream?  Yum!


    Ingredients
    4 Tbsp butter
    1/2 cup brown sugar
    1/4 tsp salt
    1/2 tsp cinnamon
    1 tsp vanilla extract
    1/4 cup chocolate chips or disks
    2 medium ripe bananas
    vanilla ice cream or frozen yogurt

    Preheat a grill over medium heat.
    Melt butter in a small sauce pan over medium heat. Add the brown sugar, salt, and cinnamon. Bring to a boil, stirring until the sugar has completely dissolved.  Simmer until mixture thickens about 3 minutes. Remove from heat, stir in the vanilla and set aside.

    Cut each banana lengthwise, leaving the skin on Carefully cut a slit down the cent of each banana half, making sure not to cut all the way through the skin.  This is so you can have somewhere to insert the chocolate disks later.

    Brush banana halves with butter and brown sugar sauce. Spray the grill with non-stick cooking spray and arrange the bananas, cut side down, on the pan. Grill until caramelized, about 4 minutes. Turn the bananas and grill until the skins are blackened bananas are soft and warmed through, about 5 minutes more. Baste frequently with the sauce during the cooking process. Place chocolate chips or disks along the tops of the bananas for the final two minutes of grilling so that they melt.

    Remove from grill to a serving platter and serve with a scoop of vanilla ice-cream, drizzled with remaining sauce.


     


    To print this recipe, click the box above.