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, December 30, 2012

Texas Caviar

It's not what you're thinking.  There are no fish eggs in this New Year's recipe.  It's an all-natural cold salad that is great for parties or family gatherings.  If you've never eaten black-eyed-peas before, now would be a good time to start.  In this recipe, everything comes together so nicely and it tastes delicious! If you like salsa, you'll love this cilantro-laced dish.

Ingredients:
1/2 onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 bunch green onions, chopped
1 Tbsp. minced garlic\
1 (8 oz.) bottle zesty Italian dressing
1 (14.5 oz.) can diced tomatoes
1 (15 oz.) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 (15 oz.) can black-eyed peas, drained
1/2 tsp. coriander 
1 bunch chopped, fresh cilantro 

Directions:
In a large bowl, mix together onion, green bell pepper, green onions, garlic, cherry tomatoes, zesty Italian dressing, black beans, black-eyed peas and coriander. Cover and chill in the refrigerator approximately 2 hours. Toss with desired amount of fresh cilantro to serve.

 

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Why I've Been Away

I just wanted you all to know that I haven't given up my cooking blog. There is a reason I haven't been on here in the last few months.  I have been going through a separation and divorce.  I have moved into a new house with a new kitchen that I am not familiar with yet, but I will be.  I will be putting up a blog for the New Year that has black-eyed peas called Texas Caviar.  Thank you for being patient with me as I go through this difficult period in my life.  I promise to get back on track and get cooking again.  It's one of my passions, and I have missed it.  Thank you for your support.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Greek Burger

Who doesn't like to spruce up their burgers every now and then?  It's always fun to add things to your burgers so you don't have the same old thing every time.  These Greek burgers are easy and are very flavorful.

Ingredients:
1 1/2 lbs. ground beef or turkey
1 small red onion, finely chopped
zest of one lemon
1 tsp. oregano
4 oz. tomato-basil feta cheese crumbles
buns
lettuce
tomato 
condiments

Combine the first 5 ingredients and make into patties.  Grill until done (~15 min. on each side).  Place on bun with condiments, tomato, and lettuce.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Black-eyed Pea Salad (or dip if you over-cook the beans like I did)

I had never tried black-eyed peas before this, and I have to say that I was a little afraid.  I don't really know why I was afraid to try this particular legume, but I was.  The smell took me back to when I was little, running through my Great Granny Caraway's house.  *If you overcook your beans like I did, this still makes a fantastic dip!  (ha ha)











Ingredients:
2 cups cooked black-eyed peas or one 15 oz. can black-eyed peas, rinsed and drained
1 1/2 cups chopped, peeled tomatoes or one 15 oz. can diced tomatoes, drained
1 1/2 cups cooked corn or one 15 oz. can corn, drained
1/4 cup thinly sliced green onion
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
2 Tbsp lemon juice
1 Tbsp dried thyme, crushed
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
1/4 tsp pepper

Cooking black-eyed peas:
1. Cover in 2 inches of cold water.  Boil for 2 minutes.
2. Remove from heat, cover, and let soak for 4 - 24 hours.
3. Drain soak water.  Cover with 2 inches of cold water and boil on low heat for 2 hours, stirring frequently to prevent sticking.
4. Drain and rinse several times with cold water until beans are cool.

Salad
1. In a large mixing bowl, stir together black-eyed peas, tomatoes, corn, green onion.  
2. Cover and chill for several hours (I admit that I didn't do this step..... I couldn't wait "several hours")

Dressing:
1. In a screw-top jar, combine oil, red wine vinegar, lemon juice, thyme, mustard, and pepper.
2. Cover and shake well.
3. Chill dressing for several hours (again...I didn't wait "several hours".  I just broke the rules and put it straight on the salad.)
4.  Just before serving, shake dressing well and pour over the vegetable mixture.
5.  Toss gently to coat.


Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Individual White Pizzas

This was an experiment I fell into because when I went to buy phyllo dough, all they had were puff pastry shells.  Knowing how they puff up, I thawed them, rolled them out into circles twice their original size, and found I had individually-sized pizza doughs!  And let me just say that they are DELICIOUS!!! 



Ingredients
Puff pastry shells, thawed & rolled out
extra virgin olive oil
Alfredo sauce
Mozzarella cheese, finely shredded 
red onion, finely chopped
white mushrooms, sliced
roasted chicken, shredded

1. Thaw and roll out the puff pastry shells until they are about a 5-6 diameter.  Brush with oil.
2. Place on a baking sheet that is lined with foil and sprayed with non-stick cooking spray.  
3. Brush on a layer of Alfredo sauce on each rolled out dough.
4. Put on a nice layer of cheese, followed by onion, mushrooms, and chicken.
5. Top off with another layer of cheese.
6. Bake at 425 for ~20 min.

*You should be able to fit 3 pizzas on a baking sheet.  This recipe makes 6 individual pizzas. 

Monday, June 4, 2012

French Lemon Yogurt Cake

I'm not really sure what makes this cake French, but that's what it was called in Bon Appetite magazine.  It's really like a lemon pound cake made with Greek yogurt, and it's yummy and light.  It goes really well with a cold glass of milk or a hot cup of coffee!






Ingredients
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. kosher salt
1 cup sugar
1 Tbsp. finely grated lemon zest
3/4 cup Greek yogurt
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs
1/2 tsp. vanilla

1. Coat a standard (8 1/2 x 4 1/2) loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray. 
2. Dust with flour, tapping out excess.  
3. Combine flour, baking powder and kosher salt in a medium bowl.
4. Using your fingers, rub sugar with lemon zest in a large bowl until sugar is moist.
5. Add Greek yogurt, vegetable oil, eggs, and vanilla.  Whisk to blend.
6. Fold in dry ingredients just to blend.
7. Pour batter into prepared pan.  Smooth top.
8. Bake at 350 for 50-55 min. or until top of cake is golden brown and a tester inserted into the center comes out clean. 
9. Let cake cool for 15 minutes before inverting.  Let cool completely before serving.


Scotch Eggs (Oven-Style)

These cooked eggs wrapped in sausage  are just a tad healthier than traditional Scotch eggs in that they aren't fried in oil.  These are baked and give practically the same result.  For crispy outsides, spray them with cooking spray before you bake them.  






Ingredients
6 large eggs
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup finely crushed corn flakes
7 oz. fresh breakfast sausage

1. Boil 4 eggs, let cool, then peel them.
2. Flatten sausages into thin patties over the length of your hand.
3. Lay one boiled egg on top of sausage and wrap sausage around the egg, sealing to completely enclose.  Repeat with remaining eggs and sausage.
4. Whisk remaining 2 eggs in a medium bowl.  Also have a bowl for the flour and one for the crushed corn flakes.
5. Dip sausage-wrapped eggs into the flour, shaking off excess, then coat with egg wash.  Roll in corn flakes to coat.
6. Place eggs on a baking sheet that has been sprayed with cooking spray.  
7. Bake at 375 for 25-30 minutes, turning every ten minutes for even baking.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Sesame Crab and Brown Rice Cakes

This recipe came from the Sonoma Diet Cookbook, so it's fairly healthy.  These have a slightly different taste than regular crab cakes because of the soy sauce, rice vinegar, wine, and sesame oil.  They give your regular crab cakes a little kick!






Ingredients:
1 Tbsp soy sauce (low sodium, light)
1 Tbsp seasoned rice vinegar
2-3 tsp hot pepper sauce (optional)
1 tsp. honey
2 tsp. sweet rice wine (mirin)
1 tsp. toasted sesame oil
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
2 eggs (or equivalent of egg beaters)
1/4 cup chopped green onions
2 Tbsp toasted sesame seeds
2 Tbsp chopped, fresh cilantro
1 pound cooked crab meat
3 cups cooked brown rice
a pinch of all purpose flower
1-2 Tbsp olive oil

Directions:
In a large bowl, whisk together soy sauce, rice vinegar, hot pepper sauce, honey, rice wine, sesame oil, and kosher salt.  Add eggs and whisk lightly to combine.  Stir in green onions, sesame seeds, and cilantro.  Add crab meat and cook rice and sprinkle with flour.  Mix well

Form crab mixture into twelve 1-inch-thick patties, using about a 1/2 cup mixture for each patty.

Heat canola oil in a skillet.  Cook patties in batches for around 10 minutes, turning once.  Add additional canola oil as needed during cooking.

Serve with Miso Vinaigrette.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Grilled Italian Sausage and Peppers

As summertime approaches, I find myself grilling out more and more.  For a really quick meal, try this sausage and peppers dish.  The peppers are sweet and the sausage is savory, which makes a delicious mix. 





Ingredients:
4 Italian sausages
3 bell peppers of various colors, sliced
olive oil
1 tsp. minced garlic
1/2 tsp. Italian seasoning

Grill the sausages on the grill on medium-high heat for 15-20 minutes, rolling them around every five minutes. 
While the sausages are heat the oil in a pan.  Once it's hot, dump in the peppers, garlic, and seasoning.  Sautee for ~15 minutes until the peppers are flimsy and and starting to burn a bit.
Put the peppers over the sausage and enjoy!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Coconut Shrimp and Grilled Scallops

Want a little 'surf and surf''?  Try these two yummy seafood treasures together.  The shrimp is beautifully seasoned with coconut, while the scallops have a taste of Old Bay to give them a bit of a kick.  This way of cooking both the shrimp and the scallops will save you LOADS of calories, as well.  


Ingredients for the Shrimp:
1 cup panko bread crumbs (or 2 bricks of shredded wheat cereal shredded up)
1/2 cup shredded sweetened coconut
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 cup flour
2 eggs, beaten (or egg beaters)
12 oz. large shrimp, peeled and deveined
Sweet Asian chili sauce for dipping

Ingredients for Scallops:
2 lbs scallops (15-20)
5 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
1 1/2 Tbsp. Old Bay Seasoning

Directions for the Shrimp:
1. Combine the panko or shredded wheat, coconut, salt, and pepper on a plate or shallow bowl.  Place the flour on a separate bowl and the egg in another bowl.  Working with a few at a time, coat the shrimp in flour, then egg, then finally the bread crumb mixture, rolling the shrimp around so that they are fully covered.
2. Place shrimp on a non-stick baking sheet and bake at 450 for 10 minutes, until the shrimp are firm and cooked through and the coating is brown and crispy.

Directions for the Scallops:
1. Pat dry each scallop and lay them on a tray. Sprinkle on some olive oil, coating scallops on all sides. Season the scallops with salt, black pepper, and Old Bay seasoning, making sure that the seasoning covers all sides. I like to do this all in a ziplock bag for easy clean up and to make sure all the scallops are well-coated. Refrigerate until ready to grill.

2. Grill for about 2 to 3 minutes on each side I had some sun-dried tomato marinade down on the grill for some chicken earlier, and just put the scallops right on top of the marinade, and they picked up the taste.  They were fabulous! Serve immediately.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Chicken and Sausage Gumbo

I know that there are a gazillion ways to fix gumbo.  Well, I've never had it until today, and I wanted to put in it what my family would eat, so there isn't any seafood (although I would have liked to have included shrimp, at least).  There also isn't any okra, from where the dish gets it's African name.  So, can I still call it gumbo?  Well, I'm going to, and I'm going to enjoy it!

Ingredients:
2/3 cup of olive oil
2/3 cup of all purpose flour
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 large onion, diced
ground black pepper
4 cloves minced  garlic
4 cups hot water
4 large, boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
12 oz smoked sausage, cut into 1/2 inch slices, then halved
Hot, cooked rice

1. In a deep, heavy pan stir together oil and flour until it's smooth.  Cook over medium-high heat for five minutes, stirring constantly.  Reduce heat to medium and continue stirring continuously for 15 minutes until a dark, reddish brown roux is formed.
2. Stir in vegetables, garlic, and pepper.  Cook for 3-5 minutes until the veggies are tender.  Slowly add the hot water.  Stir in chicken.  Bring mixture to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 40 minutes, stirring occasionally.
3. Add in the sausage and cook for 20 more minutes.*
4.  Serve over hot rice, which you should cook the last 20 minutes of the gumbo, so it will be ready at the same time.

*If you add oysters or shrimp, add them in after the sausage and let them go for 10 more minutes.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Roasted Rosemary Chicken and Eggplant

I try and cook healthy dishes as much as possible, and I'm always looking for tasty recipes because, let's face it, not all healthy dishes are tasty.  This one, however, is delicious.  I had never had eggplant before, so this was really new for me.  I loved it!  This was a really yummy recipe, and if you're a vegetarian, you don't even have to add the chicken.


Ingredients:
1/3 cup olive oil
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp. rosemary
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
1 clove garlic, minced
4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts 
1 green bell pepper, sliced
1 red bell pepper, sliced
1 red onion, quartered
3 carrots, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 eggplant, cut into 1/2 inch cubes

Directions:
  1. Line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil, and coat with cooking spray.
  2.  In a large bowl, combine olive oil, balsamic vinegar, rosemary, red pepper flakes, and garlic. Place green bell pepper, red bell pepper, red onion, carrots, and eggplant in the marinade, and toss to coat. Arrange in a single layer on the prepared cookie sheet. Bake at 400 for 15 minutes.
  3. While the veggies are cooking, combine olive oil, balsamic vinegar, rosemary, red pepper flakes, and garlic in the bowl again. Place chicken in the bowl, and marinate 5 minutes.  
  4. Add the chicken to the vegetables and bake for 20 more minutes, or until the chicken juices run clear.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Shrimp Quesadillas

These shrimp quesadillas are quick and easy to make, so they are perfect for those weeknights when you don't have a lot of time to spare.  If you aren't a fan of shrimp, you can always make them with just peppers and cheese. 

I use a quesadilla maker to make my quesadillas, but you can always just make them in a pan on the stove top.


Ingredients:
shrimp (about 30, deveined, tails removed)
Old Bay seasoning
olive oil
1 red bell pepper, diced
shredded, low-fat Mexican blend cheese
6 low carb, high fiber tortillas
pico de gallo for topping
sour cream for topping

Sautee the pepper and set aside.
Toss shrimp in olive oil and lay out on a foil-covered baking sheet.  Sprinkle Old Bay seasoning over the shrimp until well-coated.
Bake shrimp at 400 for 10 minutes. Set aside.
Sprinkle a tortilla with generous amounts of cheese.  Sprinkle with sauteed pepper.  Arrange shrimp around the tortilla so they are spaced out evenly (~10 per quesadilla)
Sprinkle a bit more cheese over the shrimp and cover with another tortilla.
Cook in the quesadilla maker for 8-10 minutes.  Cut with a pizza cutter, top with sour cream, pico de gallo, and enjoy!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Pumpkin Pancakes (Weight Watchers)

These fragrant, colorful pancakes don't need any syrup!  After making them, you can top them with a dab of fat-free whipped cream and warm apples.  The kids will love them, and for Weight Watchers, the Points Plus points are 9 including the fat-free whipped cream, apples, and currants.  That's as much as one of those frozen Smart Ones meals, except it's much better.

Makes 4 servings
Ingredients
1 cup + 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice (or allspice if you can't find it)
pinch of salt
1/2 cup currants
1/2 cup canned pumpkin puree
1/2 cup fat-free milk
2 eggs (or 1/2 cup egg beaters)
2 apples, peeled, cored, and diced

Sift the, the flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, pumpkin pie spice, and salt into a medium mixing bowl. Stir in the currants.

In another medium bowl, combine the pumpkin puree, milk, and eggs.  beat until smooth.  Add the flour mixture, stirring just until combined.

Spray a large, non-stick skillet with non-stick cooking spray and heat.  Pour batter by 1/4 cup measures into the skillet, making four pancakes.  Cook on medium heat until bubbles appear on the surface, 2-3 minutes.   Turn and cook for 2 minutes longer.  With a spatula, transfer pancakes and keep warm.  Repeat until batter is gone.

In a small microwavable dish, microwave the apples on high until tender, 1 minute.  Serve the pancakes with a dab of fat-free whipped cream and top with apples.


Saturday, January 28, 2012

Orange-Flavored Chicken Fajitas (Weight Watchers)

This Weight Watchers recipe suggests looking for tortillas at your supermarket with flavors like spinach, red pepper, and tomato.  Just make sure they are high in fiber and low in carbs.  This recipe makes four servings, each at 5 point on the Weight Watcher Plus+ system! 

Ingredients
3/4 cup plain, non-fat yogurt
2 Tbsp. orange juice from an orange
1 Tbsp. grated orange zest
2 tsp. canola or extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp. ground cumin
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
3/4 pound skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into strips
1 red bell pepper, seeded and cut into strips
6 scallions, sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
4 six inch flour tortillas
salsa

Directions
In a medium bowl, combine the yogurt, orange juice, and orange zest.  In a large, non-stick skillet, heat the oil.  Saute the cumin and cayenne, stirring constantly for one minute. 
Add the chicken, bell pepper, scallions and garlic.  Saute until the chicken is cooked through, 6-8 minutes. 
Add the yogurt mixture.  Toss to coat.
Spoon salsa across each tortilla and top with chicken mixture. Roll up to enclose filling and enjoy!

If you add pico (zero points) and 2 Tbsp. of Light Sour Cream (1 point) on top of each fajita, it adds even more flavor for barely any points!  Woo hoo!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Rajma Masala (Kidney Bean Chili)

This is my favorite Indian dish!  It's very much like red bean chili, and it's vegetarian.  You'll need garam masala, which is an Indian spice.  You can find it at and Indian market or an international grocery store.  Believe me, it's worth finding it!  Also, be sure to get fresh ginger.  The smell is amazing!


Ingredients:
2 cups red kidney beans (rajma)
salt to taste
pinch of Turmeric powder
1 onion, chopped
5 garlic cloves, chopped
1 inch ginger, chopped
3 green chillies, chopped
3 tomatoes, chopped
1/2 tsp. Coriander powder
1 tsp. red chilli powder
1/2 tsp. garam masala
1 cup water
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Directions
Soak beans overnight, rinse, cook for 1 1/2 hours on low heat.
Heat oil in a pan and add ginger, garlic, and chillies.  Fry until they are brown.
Add onions and tomatoes.  Cook for ~5 minutes.
Add salt and turmeric powder and mix well.
Add beans, coriander, chilli powder, and garam masala and mix well.
Add water and simmer and cook, stirring frequently, until a thick gravy is formed (~10-15 min).
Remove from heat and serve with naan, crackers, or rice.  

NOTE: I was told that using tomato paste instead of diced tomatoes is better.  You should also mash the onions, so that the tomatoes and onions make a paste.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Indian Chicken Korma

This curry dish can be made with either chicken or vegetables.  If you want to make it a vegetarian dish, simply substitute potatoes, carrots, and peas for the chicken.  You will need a couple of ingredients from an Indian market in order to make this dish properly.  Both garam masala powder and butter ghee are usually not found in your regular grocery store.

Ingredients:
1 roasted chicken, shredded
1 medium yellow onion, minced
2 cups vegetable stock
1 cup medium cream
1 cup plain yogurt
1 cup tomato sauce
2 tsp. ginger puree
2tsp. garlic puree
1 cup butter ghee
2 tsp. turmeric 
8 tsp. mild curry powder
1 Tbsp. chili powder
4 egg whites
1 cup coconut cream (or milk)

You'll need three medium bowls for three different mixes before you get started.  

Paste Bowl:
Mix together garlic, ginger, butter ghee, turmeric, curry, and chili powder and set aside.

Coconut Bowl:
Mix together the four egg whites with the coconut cream and set aside.

Stock Bowl:
Mix together vegetable stock, tomato sauce, cream, and yogurt and set aside.
Saute onions in a bit of olive oil then add the paste bowl.  Let cook on high for 2 min.  Add chicken (or cooked veggies) and cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly.

Add the coconut bowl and cook for 2 minutes.
Add the stock bowl, boil, and let simmer for 20-40 min. 
Serve over rice and enjoy!