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?

Friday, December 2, 2016

Roasted Vegetables, Apples, and Harvest Grains Blend

This plant-based blend of roasted vegetables and apples mixed with harvest whole grains is savory with the perfect hint of natural sweetness.  It's colorful, flavorful, filling, and loaded with protein, potassium, iron, fiber, and Vitamin C.


Ingredients:
8 red new potatoes (cut in half)
1 medium red onion (cut in 1-inch pieces)
2 red apples (sliced)
4 large parsnips (thickly sliced)
2 large purple carrots (thickly sliced)
1 Tbsp grape seed or coconut oil
Trader Joe's Harvest Grains Blend (orzo, Israeli couscous, red quinoa, and baby garbonzo beans) prepared according to the directions



Directions:  
Toss all of the vegetables and apples sliced lightly in about 1 Tbsp of oil.  Arrange evenly on a baking sheet, and bake for 30 minutes at 400 degrees F.  

Meanwhile, cook the whole grain blend according to the directions.

Gently blend the roasted veggies and apples with the grains and serve warm.  Enjoy!

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Quinoa Breakfast

Have leftover quinoa from cooking last night?  Use it for breakfast!  I often times use my leftover, cooked plain grains for breakfast, taking them from being used in a savory dish to being used in a sweet feast.  I have used bulgar and rice before, but quinoa is much lighter.  You can add anything you want, but this is one of my favorites.





Ingredients
1 cup cooked quinoa
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1 banana, sliced
1 tsp agave nectar
1 dollop coconut milk vanilla yogurt (non-dairy)
a dash of cinnamon

Directions
Heat up quinoa for a couple of minutes in the microwave or on the stove until warm.  Mix in all other ingredients and enjoy! :) 

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Vegetable Stew

This is perfect for anyone on a plant-based diet! Finding killer recipes that are flavorful and filling is a must. This dish reminds me SO much of beef stew that I didn't miss the meat at ALL, which made me very, very happy!  I hope you enjoy it, as well.

*This recipe uses no oil.

*Substitute any veggies for others, and substitute  quinoa for brown or wild rice.



Ingredients:
1 cup dry lentils (let soak for 5 hours)
1/2 cup dry quinoa (cooked as directed and put aside)
1/2 large red onion (diced)
2 medium carrots (sliced)
1/2 medium eggplant (diced)
1 small zucchini (sliced and diced)
1 small yellow squash (sliced and diced)
10 small red potatoes (boiled and quartered)
32 oz. low-sodium vegetable broth
1/2 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp whole cumin seeds
1 tsp celery salt
cracked pepper to taste

Directions
In a large saucepan, add all of the ingredients except the cooked quinoa.  Stir together well and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and let simmer on low-med heat for 2 hours, stirring every 20 minutes or so.  You may have to add half a cup of water if the broth gets too low. Just keep and eye on it. 

Add the cooked quinoa, stir well, and let simmer for 15 minutes.  Serve hot and enjoy! :)

*You can add or take away any of the ingredients to make it your own.  I used to add turkey Kielbasa, so you could make it either way. 

#forksoverknives

Sunday, September 11, 2016

One-Skillet Santa Fe Chicken

I am still trying to find easy, healthy, one-skillet meals that will make my life simpler, and this is a great one!  The use of cilantro, lime, and Tajin spice gives it a beautiful, flavorful taste that will make your palate sing.  As always, I try to use the freshest ingredients I can find to bring out the flavor even more.






Ingredients

3 boneless chicken breasts (cubed)
1-2 Tbsp grape seed oil
1/4 cup local honey
1 large lime (cut in half)
ground pepper and salt to taste
1 1/2 Tbsp  Tajin Mexican fruit seasoning 
1 red bell pepper (diced)
1 orange bell pepper (diced)
1 cup cooked corn
1 cup cooked black beans (rinsed)
3 cups of brown & wild rice (cooked)
3/4 cup chopped cilantro 

Directions
In a large saucepan, saute chicken in grape seed oil until it is browned or cooked through.  Once cooked, add honey, lime, salt & pepper, and Tajin seasoning.  Stir over medium heat until mixed well, approximately 3-5 minutes.  

Add the bell peppers, corn, black bean, and rice. Stir over medium heat until mixed well, approximately 5 minutes.

Fold in the cilantro and cook over low heat, stirring gently for approximately 3-5 minutes.

Plate and serve hot. Enjoy!

Monday, June 27, 2016

Mexican Pizza

Taco Bell makes a Mexican Pizza, which is 31 grams of fat.  This super easy recipe allows you to make it at home using lighter ingredients with only 18.5 grams of fat.  At home, you'll know exactly what goes into your food when you make it, especially when you use fresh or homemade ingredients.





Ingredients (makes 1 pizza)


2 tortillas (Mission, Carb Balance)
cooking spray
2 Tbsp fat-free refried beans
1/2 cup shredded rotisery chicken
1/4 cup salsa 
2 Tbsp enchillada sauce
1/3 cup shredded cheese (Sargento, Reduced fat, 4 Cheese Mexican)
3 Tbsp pico de gallo



Directions

Spray each side of a tortilla and lightly brown both sides in a skillet. Repeat with the other tortilla.
Lay one tortilla on a baking sheet and spread a layer of refried beans.  
In a small bowl, mix the shredded chicken and salsa together until well blended.
Spread out the shredded chicken & salsa mixture on top of the refried beans.
Put the remaining tortilla on top of the pizza, then spread a thin layer of enchillda sauce on top.  Top with a thin layer of cheese and bake at 350 for about 7 minutes.
Remove pizza from oven, slice, and top with pico.  Serve hot! :D

*You may also want to add freshly chopped green onions and a dollop of light sour cream if you wish. As always, make it you own! ;)

 

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

One-Skillet Chicken & Vegetables Meal

Right now, I am all about simplifying, so I have been trying some one-skillet meals.  This one combines chicken with loads of fresh vegetables.  You can always make it your own by changing the chicken to beef, sausage, tofu, or whichever protein you have on hand at the moment. You can also change out the veggies for the ones you prefer.







Ingredients: 

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (cubed and sauteed)
2 Tbsp fresh, chopped basil
1 Tbsp minced garlic
8 button mushrooms, sliced
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp parsley
1 fresh tomato, chopped
2 handfuls fresh spinach
1/2 red onion, chopped
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 cup fresh corn
1 cup black beans (cooked)
2 Tbsp olive oil

Directions:
 Over medium heat, add 1 Tbsp olive oil and saute the onion for about 1-2 minutes. Add garlic and saute for about 1 more minute. Add the mushrooms and saute for ~5-7 minutes. Add a dash of salt and pepper to taste here if you wish.

Once the onions, garlic, and mushrooms are cooked, add 1 Tbsp olive oil and 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar, along with the tomatoes, corn, and black beans.  Saute for ~1-2 minutes.  Add in the parsley and oregano and stir for ~1minute.

Lastly, add the cooked chicken and spinach to the skillet and saute with all of the vegetables for ~2 minutes.  Add a dash more of salt and pepper to taste here if you wish.

Serve hot and garnish with fresh basil. Enjoy! :)


Friday, March 25, 2016

Naturally Dyed Easter Eggs

These Easter eggs were all dyed with fruits, vegetables, and spices from my kitchen!! It's a fairly easy process, and it's fun and educational for kids.  I was most impressed with the vibrant yellow I got from the turmeric and curry mixture.  I have never gotten store-bought dye to work well when making yellow eggs.  These were SO colorful!

What You'll Need:
2 cans of sliced beets with juice for red/pink

2 Tbsp turmeric and 2 Tbsp curry powder for yellow

4 cups grape juice and 2-3 cups roughly cut purple cabbage for purple

1 head of broccoli and 1-2 cups of spinach leaves for green

White, distilled vinegar (8-12 Tbsp)


What To Do:
For red/pink, pour the 2 cans of beets with the juices into a small saucepan, add 2-3 Tbsp of vinegar, and boil for ~10-15 minutes.  Strain and then dye your eggs.

For yellow, add turmeric and curry powder to 2 cups of water with 2-3 Tbsp of vinegar and boil for ~5 minutes while stirring.  Do NOT strain.  Just put your eggs straight into after it's boiled. 

For purple, add the cabbage and 2-3 Tbsp of vinegar to the grape juice and boil for ~10-15 minutes. Strain and dye your eggs.

For green, add broccoli and spinach with 2-3 Tbsp of vinegar to 2 cups of water.  Boil for ~15 minutes, strain, and then dye your eggs. 

*For darker eggs, let them soak longer.  Another tip is to remove them, let them dry, and then dye them again in the same dye.  Repeat as necessary until you get the desired color.  

I decorated my eggs with ink stippling.  Fine Sharpie or Micron pens work best.




Friday, March 18, 2016

Homemade Steak Street Tacos

Street tacos may not be available where you live, but you can certainly make your own version of them!! They are also a bit healthier when you make them at home. I live in an area where we can't buy them on the street, and I was sad about that....so I figured out a way to make them myself.  :)




Ingredients:
2 small flour tortillas
coconut oil spray
0.5 pound skirt steak (chopped into bite-size pieces)
1/2 bell pepper (chopped - red, yellow, orange, or green)
1 cup chunky salsa 
1 packet fajita sauce
cilantro (chopped)
green onions (chopped)
pico de gallo (I used 1-2 Tbsp per taco)
1/4 cup low-fat shredded Mexican blend cheese
1 Tbsp Mexican creama
grape seed oil

Directions:
Brown the tortillas in a pan on the stove over med-low heat by spraying the pan with a little coconut oil spray and browning each side for ~30 seconds.

Brown the steak (or chicken!) in a pan with a little grape seed oil.  

In a small bowl, mix together the fajita sauce, salsa, and chopped bell pepper. 

Once the steak is browned, add the fajita sauce, bell pepper, and salsa mixture.  ***You will only need about a 1/3 of this salsa mixture, so you will have some leftover for refrigerating and using again later OR dipping your tortilla chips in . Let simmer over med-low heat for ~5 minutes, stirring often.

Divide the mixture between the two tortillas.  Divide the cheese and creama between the two tacos, as well. Garnish with cilantro, green onion, and pico de gallo to taste.  

*If you can't get Mexican creama, you can always just use low-fat sour cream. :)

ENJOY!


Fruit Smoothie

There are SO many ways to make smoothies out there, but you can always use the same kind of base and add in whatever kinds of fruits and veggies you like.  This is just a banana and berry smoothie that I made with what I had in the fridge.  It's great for a snack OR a meal.  You could even freeze them into ice cubes or popsicles for a summertime treat!







Ingredients:
1 cup unsweetened coconut milk (Simple Truth)
1 container Sigi's vanilla yogurt (5.3 oz)
1 large banana
1/4 cup raspberries
1/4 cup blackberries
1/8 cup pomegranate seeds
1 Tbsp honey
dash of nutmeg or allspice
8 ice cubes

Directions:
Put it all in the blender and blend! ;)~
Enjoy!

Nutrition for 1/2 the pitcher:
Calories 163
Fat 1.5 g
Carbs 27 g
Protein 8.5 g