Melissa's Cuisine: June 2011

Thursday, June 30, 2011


I recently had an opportunity to host a Breakstone's Sour Cream house party.  I had a lot of fun trying their  new Zesty Blends Sour Cream and Sour Cream Dips.  I made 3 appetizer recipes with the Zesty Blends and we dipped veggies, bread, and chips in the dips.  All my friends were impressed the flavors, and we loved the food. Over the next couple days I'll share some of the recipes with you.  First up, Pinwheels!

You will need: (I'm not giving you exact measuments because you can use this recipe to make just one wrap, or multiples)

BREAKSTONE'S Zesty Blends Roasted Garlic and Herb Sour Cream
Flour tortillas
Bacon bits
Lettuce leaves
Thin cut turkey breast
Tomato, diced

1.  Spread each tortilla with Zesty Blends Sour Cream.

2.  Top with 4 slices of turkey, bacon bits, lettuce, and tomato.

3.  Roll up and refrigerate until 5 minutes before serving.

4.  Remove wrap from fridge and cut into 1 inch slices, forming pinwheels.  If desired, you could just eat this as a wrap and not cut into slices.

Adapted from: Breakstone's Facebook Page

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Cookie Dough Marshmallow Treats

Remember when I posted these?  Well, this recipe was the original inspiration.  Mike and I really liked the scotcheroos with cookie dough, but we wondered how marshmallow treats with cookie dough would be.  The verdict?  These were delicious too!  Go ahead, give them both a try and let me know which you like better!

You will need:
3 Tablespoons margarine
1 10-ounce bag of marshmallows
6 cups Rice Krispies cereal
1 recipe "ready-to-eat cookie dough"

1.  Roll cookie dough into 1/2 inch balls.  Refrigerate until you're ready to use them. 

2.  Place margarine and marshmallows in a microwave-safe bowl.  Microwave on high for 3 minutes, stirring after 2 minutes.

3.  Remove from microwave and stir until smooth.

4.  Add cereal and stir until well coated.

5.  Press half the mixture into a well greased 9x13 pan.  Place cookie dough balls over mixture.  Top with remaining mixture and cool before cutting.

Adapted from: Culinary Concoctions by Peabody

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Tortellini Salad

I've completed my series on grillin' foods, but this is a salad we really enjoy eating with our grilled items.  It's easy to make, and is the perfect side of a grilled steak or chicken breast.  You can serve it warm or cold, but we prefer it cold in the summer!
You will need:

1/8 cup olive oil
1 T. lemon juice
1 teaspoon garlic salt
Parmesan cheese
1 package cheese tortellini
cherry tomatoes, quartered

1.  Boil tortellini for about 8 minutes until the noodle is soft and the filling is warm.  Drain and set aside.

2.  In a small bowl combine olive oil, lemon juice, and garlic salt.

3.  Pour dressing over tortellini and stir until well distributed.

4.  Stir in cherry tomatoes.

5.  Refrigerate at least 2 hours.  Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese before serving.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Grillin' Season -- Grilled Marinated Chicken

Do you love grilling as much as I do?  If I could, I would do nothing but grill all summer, but I think we'd miss a lot of the non-grilling food I make too much.  Instead we grill a couple times a week.  Grilling is just so simple and I love not having to use my stove or oven and heating up the house!  This chicken is one of our favorite items to grill.

You will need:
1/4 c. lemon juice
1/4 c. vinegar
1 T. dijon mustard
1 T. honey
1 t. garlic powder
4 chicken breasts

1.  Combine lemon juice, vinegar, dijon mustard, honey, and garlic powder in a large ziploc bag.  Squish around to combine marinade.

2.  Place chicken breasts in marinade and seal bag.  Refrigerate at least 4 hours (over night is even better!).

3.  Remove chicken from marinade and discard remaining marinade.  Grill over medium heat for 8-10 minutes per side, until juices run clear.

Check out the other great recipes in my Grillin' Season! Series:

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Grillin' Season! -- Grilled Corn

I love corn, but especially corn on the cob!  To me, it just screams summer, so it had to be included in my Grillin' Season series.  Grilling the corn brings out the sweetness, and gives it so much flavor.  You can grill your corn longer than I did if you'd like it more charred.  I would have left mine a little longer, but I actually ran out of propane 3/4 of the way through grilling this meal so I had to make do with the heat left in the grill.  Note to self:  buy a propane gauge!

You will need:
Margarine/Butter, melted
Garlic salt (or minced garlic, I like both)

1.  Husk corn and remove all the strings.

2.  Rip a piece of foil big enough to wrap the corn in (1 piece per ear of corn).

3.  Place each ear of corn onto foil and brush with melted margarine.

4.  Sprinkle with garlic salt.  (I really like garlic, but you could also use salt, pepper, season salt, or other seasonings of your choice.)

5.  Wrap corn in foil.  Grill on medium-high heat for about 30 minutes, turning every 7-10 minutes. I prefer my corn to not be blackened, but you can leave it on longer if you'd like!  Serve hot.

Check out the other great recipes in my Grillin' Season! Series:


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Monday, June 20, 2011

Grillin' Season! -- Grilled Marinated Steak

Though one of the most commonly grilled items is steak, it can be one of the most challenging items to grill.  You don't want it to be grilled "too-done" where it's black and tough, but you don't want it to be "mooing" either!  I grew up disliking steaks, but later I found out it was because I had never had a good one.  I don't remember my first good steak, but I do remember that it completely changed my mind about steaks. 

I have posted this marinade once before, but I didn't have a picture for it.  It makes the steak so delicious, it's worth posting again!
Steak Rub

You will need:
4 Tablespoons sea salt
1 Tablespoon coarse ground black pepper
1 Tablespoon dried onion
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1-1/2 teaspoons dried thyme
1-1/2 teaspoons dried rosemary

Combine ingredients and rub into your steak (can also be used on chicken) before cooking.  Or, use the rub in the marinade.  Store extra rub in an airtight container.

Steak Marinade

You will need:
1/2 cup olive oil 
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons minced garlic
3 Tablespoons vinegar
4 teaspoons steak rub (recipe above)
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 cup Teriyaki sauce

1.  Combine ingredients in a large Ziploc bag, close the bag and gently squeeze to mix the ingredients.

2.  Add 4 medium steaks to the bag and seal. Place in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours or (better yet) overnight to marinate.

3.  When you're ready to grill, remove the steaks from the marinade and place on a hot grill.  Most steaks take about 7 minutes on each side, but of course it depends on how thick your steak is and how well-done you prefer.

Check out the other great recipes in my Grillin' Season! Series:

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Grillin' Season! -- Grilled Asparagus

It's summer!  And to me, summer just screams grilling season!  I love cooking outdoors and enjoying a delicious meal hot off the grill.  Over the next couple days, I'll share a few of my favorite grilling recipes.  This first one is something new to me, I've only had asparagus once before this meal and I thought it was delicious. When I saw fresh asparagus at the farmer's market, I just couldn't resist!

I don't have exact measurements for this recipe as you can adapt it to meet your needs for the amount of asparagus you have.

You will need:
Asparagus (I used 1 pound)
Olive oil
Garlic powder

1.  Wash asparagus and cut off the tough ends.

2.  Place on a cookie sheet and drizzle with olive oil.  Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and a small amount of garlic powder.

3.  Using your hands, roll the asparagus on the pan to make sure it's completely covered in oil and seasonings.

4.  Place a sheet of aluminum foil on your grill (You can skip this, but I used the foil to keep the asparagus from falling into my grill!) and place asparagus on the foil.

5.  Grill over medium-high heat for about 8 minutes, turning every 2 minutes until asparagus is cooked.  I like mine with a bit of a crunch.  Serve hot.

Check out the other great recipes in my Grillin' Season! Series:

Mouthwatering Mondays


Lark's Country Heart

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Shredded Pork Quesadillas

What do you do with leftover pork ribs?  Improvise, of course!  Then discover you have approximately 1 Tablespoon of barbeque sauce left in the bottle, and improvise again!  Our whole meal was an improvisation (is that even a word?  It's is now...I like it!)

I grilled a bunch of pork ribs one night and we ate 2, leaving me with lots of leftovers.  A few nights later I planned to have pork ribs again, but I just didn't know what to do with them.  Sometime during the day, I decided I wanted to make shredded pork.  And of course I got home and discovered my lack of sauce, so I quick whipped up a batch.  Then I was faced with the dilemma of what to do with the shredded pork.  I was just going to do tacos, but then I saw my quesadilla maker and the wheels started turning!

Sometimes the meals made on the fly are the best, Mike loved this meal--he even mentioned it to my dad "when you see the "taco-things" on Melissa's blog, you've got to make them!"  What a compliment!  We'll definitely be making these again.

You will need:
Homemade Barbeque Sauce (recipe below)
3 cooked pork ribs, shredded
4 flour tortillas
1/2 cup mozzarella cheese

1.  Add shredded pork to barbeque sauce.  Cook on medium heat for about 10 minutes, until meat is heated through.

2.  Place a tortilla on the bottom of your quesadilla maker.  Top with barbeque pork and cheese.  Cover with another tortilla.

3.  Cook until the tortilla is brown (my quesadilla maker has a light that tells me when it's ready). 

4.  Remove from quesadilla maker and repeat steps 2 and 3 with the remaining tortillas.

The sauce recipe made about 1.5 cups of sauce, which was perfect for the amount of meat we had.  The shredded pork was enough for 2 quesadillas, plus we had a small amount left over.

You could also make this recipe without a quesadilla maker, just use a small frying pan and flip the tortilla to brown both sides.

Homemade Barbeque Sauce:
3/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup ketchup
2 Tablespoons white vinegar
1 teaspoon minced garlic
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

In a saucepan, combine all ingredients. Bring to a boil and let it simmer until the sauce thickens.

*This makes a sweet barbeque sauce, we loved it. You can reduce the amount of brown sugar if you think it might be too sweet for you!
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Sunday, June 12, 2011

Marshmallow Peanut Clusters

The other day my friend and I were talking about the new Dukan diet, a diet where you eat all protein and lose a ton of weight.  Supposedly.  It all sounds well and good, but then when I was watching the news one day they did a segment about how so much protein is actually bad for you and while you might lose the weight at first, it's something you have to continue for-ev-er to keep the weight off. 

That type of diet is way too extreme for me, I like food way too much but I'm trying to watch what I eat (though you wouldn't know by all the food on my blog, right?), so you might notice some slightly healthier recipes popping up here and there. A lot of the more indulgent food I make I end up bringing to a gathering or sending to work with Mike. If it's around the house, I eat it and that totally negates all the hard work I do at the gym (or on the road as it goes for running!)

So anyway, my mind was on getting more protein in my diet when I got home that night.  And this is what I whipped up.  Not exactly diet food...not even close actually.  But it does have protein in it, satisfies my chocolate cravings, and you know what?  It tastes good!
1 cup chocolate chips
1 Tablespoon peanut butter
1 cup peanuts
1 cup mini marshmallows

1.  Melt chocolate chips in a microwave-safe bowl.

2.  Mix in peanut butter until melted and well combined.

3.  Stir in peanuts and marshmallows.

4.  Drop by the spoonful (the bigger the spoon, the bigger the cluster) onto wax paper. 

Allow clusters to set and then store in an airtight container.  I keep mine in the fridge so they don't melt.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Strawberry Cheesecake

My mom asked me to bring dessert for Sunday dinner a while ago.  I had so many ideas of what to bring...seriously, most recipes I bookmark to try are desserts.  I was having trouble narrowing my choices down so I turned to Mike.  This is the dessert he picked.  I'm so glad he did, it was so yummy and no-one could tell that it's a healthier version of cheesecake!

1/2 cup crushed graham cracker crumbs
1 Tablespoon light margarine, softened (I used "I Can't Believe It's Not Butter" spread)
1 package (8 oz.) Nuefchatel cheese, softened
1/4 cup sugar
6 oz fat-free vanilla Greek yogurt
2 egg whites
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 Tablespoon flour
1/4 cup strawberry jam

1.  Mix graham cracker crumbs and margarine with a fork until evenly moistened.  Press into the bottom of a greased 8-inch square pan.

2.  Gently beat Neufchatel cheese, sugar, and vanilla until smooth.

3.  Gradually beat in Greek yogurt, egg whites, lemon juice and flour.

4.  Pour over graham cracker crust.

5.  Drop jam by small spoon fulls over the surface of the cheesecake filling.  Using a knife, swirl jam through cheesecake filling to create a marbled effect.

6.  Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes, until center is almost set.  Cool and then chill in fridge at least 3 hours before serving.

Source: Gina's Skinny Recipes

Wednesday, June 08, 2011


Mike and I love Olive Garden, mainly for their insanely good breadsticks!  It's a good thing we don't have an Olive Garden in our town or we'd be there way too much!  When I saw this recipe that claimed to taste like Olive Garden's breadsticks, I was intrigued and knew I had to try it.  I first made these breadsticks for just Mike and I, we both liked them, so I made them again when we had everyone over for Mother's Day dinner.  They were a huge hit!  We all thought they were delicious, though I must say they were not quite as soft as Olive Garden's...maybe I need to put more butter on them!

You will need:
3/4 cup warm water (about 110 degrees)
1-1/8 teaspoon yeast
1 Tablespoon margarine, melted
1 Tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2-1/4 cups flour

1 Tablespoon margarine, melted
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon garlic powder

1.  In the bowl of your stand mixer, dissolve yeast in warm water.  Let it sit at least 5 minutes, until yeast bubbles. 

2.  Add melted margarine, sugar, and salt to the yeast mixture.  

3.  Mix in the flour using your dough hook.  Knead for 2-3 minutes.

4.  Cover the dough and let it rest for 45 minutes.  

5.  Shape into 8-10 breadsticks and place on greased cookie tray.

6.  Bake at 400 for 7 minutes.

7.  Meanwhile, mix together melted margarine, salt, and garlic powder.

8.  Remove breadsticks from oven (after 7 minutes) and brush with melted margarine.  Return to oven for 8 more minutes, until lightly browned.  

9.  Brush warm breadsticks with remaining margarine. 


Monday, June 06, 2011


Mike and I usually have pizza once a week; I typically make a batch of dough and divide it in half, using one half for that night's pizza and refrigerating the other half for the next week.  We have actually found that we like the taste of the week-old dough even better than freshly made dough.

Since we had the dough already made, I decided to mix things up slightly and make Stromboli instead of pizzas.  At lunch on Saturday with the women of Mike's family, we were talking about easy meals his Grandma could make and freeze.  His Aunt brought up the idea of making a bunch of small Strombolis and freezing them.  Then Grandma could just take them out of the freezer and reheat them before eating.  This sparked a major craving for Stromboli and so on pizza night, we had Stromboli instead.
You will need:

2-1/4 teaspoons yeast
1-3/8 cups water, 110 degrees
3 Tablespoons olive oil (or vegetable oil)
3/4 teaspoon salt
4 cups flour

Your choice of pizza toppings:
pizza sauce
mushrooms etc.

(You can put the dough ingredients in your bread machine, or you can make the dough by hand)

1. Mix water and yeast together until yeast dissolves. Let it stand about 5 minutes until yeast bubbles up.

2. Stir in salt, flour, and vegetable oil until dough forms.

3. Knead until dough is smooth and elastic, about 8-10 minutes by hand. You can also use a stand mixer to 
mix and knead the dough.

4. Form the dough into a ball and place in an oiled bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let it rise until doubled, about 1.5 to 2 hours.

5. Deflate dough by punching down and knead for about 5 minutes. Allow dough to rest for 10 minutes 
before dividing into 4 equal pieces.

6. Flatten each piece of dough into a circle, about 9 inches in diameter and 1/2 inch thick.

7. Spread pizza sauce over half the dough.  Top with your choice of toppings.

8.  Fold dough over fillings and press tightly with your fingers to seal.  If desired, sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.  

9.  Bake at 400 for 17-19 minutes, until stromboli are golden brown.  Serve warm.

These also freeze well, just cool and then freeze in freezer bags.  To serve, just microwave for about 2 minutes, until filling is warm.

Mouthwatering Mondays

Hunk of Meat Mondays

Saturday, June 04, 2011

Cookie Dough Scotcheroos

When I saw these, I knew I had to make them!  The idea of cookie dough in another treat is something that intrigues me (as you may have noticed from my Cookie Dough Brownies).  I love my cookie dough: plain, baked, in other name it, I probably love it!  I asked Mike what he thought would be better, cookie dough balls in Scotcheroos or in Rice Krispy treats.  He thought the Scotcheroo base sounded better so that's what I went with!  Originally I was just going to drizzle chocolate on top of the bars, but when I tried, it was too thick so I ended up spreading it on top; I think it was perfect!  I sent a plateful of these to work with Mike and they were gone by 9am!
You will need: 
1 cup sugar
1 cup corn syrup
1 cup peanut butter
6 cups Rice Krispies cereal
1/2 cup chocolate chips

1.  Roll cookie dough into small bite-sized balls (mine were about 3/4 of an inch).  Refrigerate until you're ready to use them.

2.  Combine sugar and corn syrup in a medium pan until sugar is dissolved and mixture bubbles.

3.  Remove from heat and stir in peanut butter. 

4.  Stir in Rice Krispies until well coated.

5.  Spread half the cereal mixture into the bottom of a 9x13 pan.  

6.  Place cookie dough balls on top of cereal mixture.

7.  Top with remaining cereal mixture and press firmly.

8.  Melt chocolate chips and spread over bars.  


Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Strawberry Banana Muffins

What do you do when strawberries are on sale for $1 a pound?  Stock up, of course!  And then eat as many as possible before they start to go bad!  I bought about 6 pounds of strawberries with the intent of freezing a lot, and baking with the rest.  I froze the majority of the strawberries to use for smoothies.  Then I had to decide which recipes to try with my fresh strawberries.

I love the mix of strawberries and bananas, so when I saw this recipe, I knew I had to make it!  I thought they were delicious; they were like a banana bread muffin with strawberries mixed in.  This recipe made about 24 muffins, so I froze most of them and pull them out of the freezer when I want a quick breakfast.  A short time in the microwave and I have warm from the oven tasting muffins!

You will need:
1/2 cup (1 stick) margarine, melted
3/4 cup brown sugar 
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup bananas, mashed (I used 3 small bananas)

1 cup strawberries, cut into small pieces
2-1/4 cups flour
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder 
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon 
1/2 teaspoon salt

1.  Melt margarine in a small microwave-safe bowl and set aside.

2.  In a medium bowl, mix the brown sugar, eggs, vanilla, and bananas.

3.  Stir in the melted margarine.

4.  In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt.

5.  Gently fold in strawberries, making sure they are coated in flour. This will prevent them from sinking to the bottom of the muffins.

6.  Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until just combined.

7.  Scoop batter into greased muffin tins.  I like to use a 1/4 cup measuring cup to scoop the batter, it's the perfect size for my muffin tins. 

8.  Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes, until muffins are golden brown and a toothpick stuck in the middle comes out clean.

Source:  This Mommy Cooks



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