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, March 27, 2011

Healthy Apple Crumble

This is another recipe that came out of the Eat This, Not That book. It's only 290 calories! You can't beat that for a yummy, homemade treat!

2 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and cut into wedges
1/2 cup apple juice

4 Tbsp brown sugar
(halved)
1/4 tsp cinnamon
(halved)
1/4 tsp nutmeg
(halved)
1 cup rolled oats

pinch of salt

2 Tbsp chilled butter, cut into small pieces
1 Tbsp scoop of fat-free vanilla frozen yogurt or whipped cream


Combine apples, apple juice, 2 Tbsp brown sugar, 1/8 tsp cinnamon and 1/8 tsp nutmeg in a large bowl.


In a separate bowl, combine oats with remaining 2 Tbsp brown sugar, 1/8 tsp cinnamon, and 1/8 tsp nutmeg, plus a pinch of salt. Add the butter and work it into the mixture with your fingertips until it comes together in moist clumps. Divide the apples into 4 ramekins and top with oatmeal mixture. Bake on middle rack for around 25 minutes, until the apples are hot and bubbling, and the crumble has begun to brown. Let cool a little, then add your fat-free frozen yogurt or whipped cream on top.

Now, I'm not going to lie and say this is as good as the real thing your grandma makes, okay? BUT, since we're trying to be healthier, you really can't beat this version for only 290 calories.

The original recipe calls for 1/2 cup chopped almonds in the oats mixture, but I don't like nuts in my food, so I left them out. As always, I encourage you to play around with these recipes and make them your own!


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Oven "Fried" Chicken

This recipe came out of the Eat This, Not That book and was fashioned after KFC Extra Crispy Thighs (2 KFC pieces = 48 g fat and 680 cal). This recipe cuts the fat and calories to 7 g fat and 310 calories, and it's REALLY good, too!

1 lb chicken drumsticks and thighs (I also used boneless, skinless chicken.)
2 cups low-fat buttermilk

2 Tbsp Tabasco sauce

1 tsp poultry seasoning (I used Chef Paul Prudhomme's.)

2 cups panko bread crumbs

1/2 tsp garlic salt

1/2 tsp smoked paprika

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp pepper
1/8 tsp cayenne


Combine buttermilk and hot sauce and pour over chicken pieces in a large bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1-12 hours. This tenderizes and adds flavor to the meat. In a large bowl, combine panko and seasonings. Pull each piece of chicken out of the buttermilk, coat well with seasoned crumbs, and place on a non-stick baking sheet. Bake at 450 for around 20 minutes until brown and crispy and cooked all the way through.

Growing up in the South, I understand how important 'real' fried chicken is to the soul. However, with the current state of my beloved South's health, I am trying to change my ways and live a more healthful life. Trust me when I say that this 'fried' chicken recipe is a WONDERFUL substitute for the real thing. Add a little mashed taters and corn and the cob, and you'll be good to go!

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Saturday, March 19, 2011

Panna Cotta with Fresh Berries

This Italian custard dessert is fast and easy to make. It also can be dressed up however you like. If you're having several people over, this is perfect! I divided mine into ramekins, but you could put them in wine glasses, dessert cups, or even flip them over and slide them onto a plate like flan. SO many yummy options!

1 cup 2% milk
1 Tbs. unflavored powdered gelatin

3 cups whipping cream

1/3 cup honey

1 Tbs. sugar

pinch of salt
fresh berries

Place milk in a small bowl and sprinkle gelatin over. Don't mix. Let stand 3-5 minutes to soften gelatin. Pour mixture into a heavy saucepan over medium heat. Gently stir for ~5 minutes until gelatin dissolves. Be sure not to boil the milk. Add cream, honey, sugar, and salt. Stir 5-7 minutes until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and divide equally into 8 ramekins or 6 wine glasses. Refrigerate for at least 6 hours to set. Spoon berries on top of the panna cotta and serve.

If you can make jello, you can make panna cotta. If you want to fancy-up your dinner party or ladies luncheon, just whip these desserts up, and you'll be a hit with your friends and family. You could drizzle a little honey, caramel, or chocolate on top instead of or in addition to your berries. Make it your own and have fun eating!

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Friday, March 18, 2011

Lasagna Rolls

From Cook This, Not That!, I tried these little, mini lasagna rolls. SO CUTE!! These were SO much easier and faster to make than traditional lasagna. According to the cookbook, these were fashioned after the Olive Garden's Lasagna Rollata al Forno, which has 1, 170 calories and 68 g fat!!! YIKES!! But these have only 380 calories and 11 g fat. MUCH BETTER!!


Ingredients
15 lasagna noodles 
extra virgin olive oil 
salt
6 Italian-style turkey sausages, casing removed
1 cup fresh spinach, chopped
15 oz. container of low-fat ricotta cheese 
3/4 cup low-fat Parmesan cheese 
1 rounded Tbs. oregano 
1 rounded Tbs. basil 
~36 oz. marinara or pasta sauce 
1 bag shredded, 
low-fat mozzarella cheese

In a large pot, boil noodles with a little oil and salt for ~8-9 minutes, strain, shock with cold water, toss lightly with oil so they won't stick, and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, mix ricotta cheese, Parmesan cheese, oregano, and basil and set aside.

In a large saucepan, brown sausage, crumbling into little bits as it browns. Add spinach, salt, pepper, and nutmeg and cook, stirring constantly until spinach is warm (~2 minutes). Let cool slightly, then fold into the cheeses and spices in the mixing bowl until well blended.

Spray a 13 x 9 casserole dish with non-stick cooking spray. Spread a thin layer of marinara sauce on the bottom of the pan.


Lay out the noodles on a cutting board and cut them in half cross-wise. Put a spoonful of the sausage-cheese mixture at one end of a noodle, then carefully roll up. Lay seam-side down into the cooking dish. These should make three rows of about 10. 


Cover with remaining marinara sauce, sprinkle with mozzarella, and top off with ~1/2 cup Parmesan cheese. Cover with foil and bake at 400 for 15 minutes. Remove foil and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes or until the cheese and sauce are bubbling.

Now, I personally believe that you cannot call it lasagna until you add Parmesan cheese, oregano, and basil, which were NOT in the Cook This, Not That! recipe. However, I used low-fat Parmesan cheese, so not many more calories and fat grams were added. My mom chooses to use ground beef instead of Italian sausage in her version. As always, make it your own and enjoy!! 

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