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?

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Super Fast and Easy Baked Chicken & Veggies

We all know that it's hard to pull together tasty homemade dishes during the work week. Well, this is a really fast and simple way to have dinner ready and on the table in no time with very little prep work! Hurray for that!


3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 (6 oz.) bag of sweet baby carrots with green caps
4-6 new potatoes, cut in half
1/2 a large red onion, sliced
extra virgin olive oil
Mrs. Dash original blend spice (salt-free)


Trim your chicken breasts of any fat that may be on them, then cut them half and brush them with oil. Sprinkle with Mrs. Dash.


Put your carrots, halved potatoes, and sliced onion in a large ziplock back with ~3 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil and a couple of shakes of Mrs. Dash. Seal bag and shake until well-coated, then place in a casserole dish that has been sprayed with non-stick cooking spray.


Place chicken breast halves on top of veggies and lightly tent with foil. Bake at 350 for 15 minutes. Increase heat to 400 and heat uncovered for 15-20 mintues. Remove and cover lightly with foil. Let rest under foil tent for 5 minutes before serving.


I've posted another recipe similar to this one, but it is more labor intensive. This one is my favorites for week nights because it's so easy to pull together with less than 15 minutes of prep time. This is also a salt-free dish for those watching your salt intake!

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Strawberry Pastry with Vanilla Custard

This was so pretty, we didn't want to eat it! It's light and not too sweet. The recipe is for 12 desserts, but I cut it down to just two when I made it. They're perfect for a ladies' luncheon!

6 sheets frozen puff pastry (thawed)
powdered sugar
2 pints strawberries (thinly sliced)

For the vanilla custard, you'll need
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup half-and-half
2 eggs
2 Tbs. granulated sugar
1/2 cup whipping cream

Cut each puff pastry sheet into four equal rectangles. Place on a baking sheet that has been lined with wax paper. Bake at 425 for 5 minutes, then raise the temperature to 450 and bake for 3-5 minutes longer until light, golden, and puffed. Let cook on a wire rack. (You'll want to gently remove these from the baking sheet with a spatula because they're very delicate.)

In a heavy, medium saucepan, add half-and-half and vanilla. Bring to a boil, then cook over medium-low heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

In a medium bowl, beat eggs and sugar until smooth and creamy (~2 minutes). Add a little of the hot half-and half, whisking. Pour this mixture back into the saucepan. Bring to a boil, whisking constantly until thick and creamy. Be sure to remove the saucepan from the heat as soon as it starts to boil, but while you're still whisking. Otherwise, the custard will curdle. Now, pour the custard into a medium bowl and beat with a mixer until cool (~3-4 minutes).

In a small bowl, whip the cream until stiff peaks form. Gently mix the whipped cream into the custard mix.

Spread a layer of custard cream onto the bottom piece of your dessert, then put 2 layers of sliced strawberries on top of the custard cream. Spread another layer of custard cream on the top piece of your puffed pastry (like you would spread mayo on a sandwich) and place it on top of the strawberries. Lightly sift powdered sugar on top of your finished dessert and serve!

I just love this dessert, but if you've never made custard before, it's not the easiest dessert in the world to make. It's not terribly difficult, but just keep your eye on the custard and don't let it curdle! If you're in a hurry, you can always buy vanilla custard at a specialty store or even use vanilla pudding (although.... I would encourage you to try making homemade custard). You can do it!

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Bulgur Breakfast with Brown Sugar & Dried Cranberries

Never tried bulgur? Well, don't be afraid to try this yummy dish. If you've had steel cut oatmeal, it's very similar to that. With a little added sweetness, this is the perfect heart-healthy breakfast, and it's LOADED with fiber. Just 1/4 cup of bulgar has 7 g fiber and only 0.5 g fat. It's perfect AND yummy!

1 cup bulgur (this serves 4, so you may want to cut it in half)
2 cups water
1 Tbs. Promise butter
1 Tbs. brown sugar or sugar subsitute
dried cranberries (or other fruit)

Bring bulgur and water to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occassionally. Remove from heat and add butter, brown sugar, and cranberries. Enjoy!

This is a very filling breakfast, which I love! I like dried cranberries, but you can always change it to make it how you like it. You can even make this a savory side dish for dinner. It's versital, healthy, and good, too! 



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Saturday, January 29, 2011

Sweet Potato Fries with a Honey-Lemon Dill Dip

I have tried to like sweet potatoes for a long time, and I have finally found a yummy way to include them into my diet! These 'fries' are so addictive, you'll have eaten them all before you even realize it!

For the Sweet Potato Fries
2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 'fries'
1/2 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. sea salt or Kosher salt
1/4 tsp. red pepper
1/2 tsp. oregano
1/2 tsp. coriander
2-3 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil

For the Dip
6 oz. plain Greek yogurt (2 % or fat-free)
1 Tbs. light mayo
1/2 Tsp. honey
1/4 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. onion powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. parsley
1/2 tsp. dill
1 Tbs. lemon juice

Put all the cut fries into a large ziplock bag along with the oil and spices. Shake until well-coated. Place fries onto a baking sheet sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Make sure they are spread out and not on top of each other. Now sprinkle each of the spices over the fries again with the same amount you used for the ziplock bag shake up, with the exception of the oil, to give them an extra coat. Bake at 400 for ~30 minutes.

For the dip, mix all dip ingredients together in a small bowl. Refrigerate until ready to use.

I am trying to look for healthier recipes, and this is a great one! I love eating these for a snack, as a side dish, or even as a meal! They're so good! I'm so glad I finally found a way to like sweet potatoes!

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Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Eggs Benedict with Orange Hollandaise Sauce

I was SO scared to make this because it is such a 'fancy' dish. I had only ever had a poached egg once at Biltmore Estates. I was very intimidated by this dish. However, it turns out there was nothing to be scared of! It was simple AND it was really delicious!!

1 whole wheat English muffin, sliced in half
4 slices of Canadian bacon

2 tsp instant chicken bouillon granules

2 eggs

parsley flakes to top dish with

For Orange Hollandaise Sauce
1/4 cup light sour cream
1/4 cup light mayonnaise

1 tsp grated orange peel

2 Tbs. orange juice

1/2 tsp. Dijon mustard


Toast the 2 English muffin halves in the toaster then place on plates. Bake Canadian bacon pieces at 350 for 15 minutes on a baking sheet. Keep warm. Put 2 pieces on each muffin when eggs and sauce are ready.

To poach the eggs

Fill a 2 quart saucepan half-way with water, put in the chicken bouillon, and bring to a boil. Lower heat to a simmer. Break ONE egg in a cup and gently slide the egg into the simmering water. Do the same with the second egg. Simmer ~3 minutes.
Remove eggs gently from the water with a slated ladle and gently place on bacon.

To prepare Orange Hollandaise Sauce
In a small saucepan, put in sour cream, mayo, orange peel, orange juice, and mustard. Cook and stir over low heat until just warm. Do not boil. Place sauce over eggs.

To serve, sprinkle a little parsley on top and serve with orange slices. When you cut into the poached egg, it's like a little bit of Heaven on a plate! The sauce really makes it! If you are not a fan of orange, simply leave off the orange peel and orange juice from the sauce. Make it your own! 

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Monday, January 17, 2011

Cranberry Crusted Tilapia

This is a recipe from Dr. Zorba Paster on NPR from January 16, 2011. It sounded so good on the radio, that I just had to try it. I know I just posted a fish dish for my last post, but this one was too good to pass up!

This is a terrible picture. I'll try and get a better one the next time I make this dish!

4 6oz. tilapia or salmon fillets
2 Tbs. Dijon mustard
Kosher salt and ground pepper to taste

2 Tbs. melted butter
3/4 cup breadcrumbs (I used herbed Pepperidge Farms)
1/2 cup chopped green onions
1/4 cup chopped, dried cranberries
2 Tbs. chopped, fresh thyme
2 tsp grated lemon peel

On a baking sheet sprayed with cooking spray, season fillets with salt and pepper. Rub a layer of mustard over each fillet. (If you have skin on your fillets, make sure the skin side is down.)

In a medium bowl, combine breadcrumbs, cranberries, green onion, thyme, lemon peel, and melted butter. Mix well. Divide crust mixture evenly over fillets. Bake around 20 minutes at 375 or until fillets flake well with a fork.

This is healthy AND delicious! We always enjoy our fish with either a side of wild, seasoned rice or with a salad, but as always, make it your own!


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Sunday, January 2, 2011

Tilapia en Papillote (fish in a bag)

This just means 'tilapia in paper' in French. It's an incredibly easy, healthy way to prepare your fish and veggies. There is little in the way of preparation or clean up, and the food is wonderful!

2 fillets of white fish (I used tilapia, but other common fishes to use are sole, hake, halibut, or flounder)
2 Tbs. dry white wine like Chardonnay
red onion, chopped
fennel bulb, chopped
red bell pepper, sliced
zucchini, sliced into discs
juice of half a lemon
fresh thyme, chopped (you'll use ~ 1 leveled Tbs. on each fillet)
fresh oregano, chopped (you'll use ~ 1 leveled Tbs. on each fillet)
fresh parsley, chopped (you'll use ~ 1 leveled Tbs. on each fillet)
fresh basil, chopped (you'll use ~ 1 leveled Tbs. on each fillet)
salt and ground pepper to taste
Mrs. Dash tomato basil seasoning (1/8 tsp. on each fillet)
parchment paper

Cut two pieces of parchment paper, each ~30x30 inches. Fold each in half and cut the edges to made a folded half-moon. Open each piece back up and place a fillet on each paper at the fold. Spoon 1 Tbs. of wine over each one of the fillets.
Evenly divide all of the veggies, herbs, and seasoning between the two fillets, placing the veggies around the fillets first, then sprinkling the herbs on the fish and veggies, followed by the seasonings.
Now fold the paper over and tightly roll the edges up to seal the 'bag'. Fold, roll, and crease the edges as tightly as possible in order to keep all of the steam inside the bag.
Bake at 375 for ~25 minutes. The paper will turn brown, and the bag, if tightly sealed, will puff up.
Once you take it out, cut the center of the bag right on the top and gently tear open. Watch out for the rising steam. You can eat it straight out of the bag or you can transfer it to a plate with a spatula.

I served this dish with a homemade Caesar salad and sun-dried tomato Florentine long grain and wild rice (Uncle Ben's), which went very nicely with the flavors of the fish, herbs, and veggies.

You can prepare this dish using whichever kinds of veggies you like. Just make sure that they are all going to be able to cook at the same speed. Those veggies that take longer to soften need to be thinly cut. There are many, many versions of this dish all over the Internet. Check them out and, as always, make it your own and have fun!


Tilapia en Papillote served with sun-dried tomato Florentine long grain and wild rice and a homemade Caesar salad.




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