Melissa's Cuisine: October 2011

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Strawberry Fluff

Over the past few years, it has become a tradition for Mike's mom, sister, and I to visit various craft shows in our area around Christmas time.  Some of my favorite booths are the ones that sell foods--go figure!  Last year, I discovered a new (to me) product, fruit flavored dips!  You could buy a little packet of powder and then mix it with Cool-Whip and cream cheese for a delicious dip.  I served the strawberry dip I bought at our Superbowl party, and it went over really well.  I decide that if other people could make a dip mix, I'm sure I could too; I had an idea for what I thought would work well, and it did!  Now I don't have to wait for craft fairs to make this dip!

I'm sharing this pink dip as part of a blog hop, Project Pink, which is dedicated to Breast Cancer Awareness.  While I have been blessed to not have any family members affected by breast cancer, I do know some people (both fellow bloggers and "real-life" acquaintances) who have been affected by breast cancer.  The people who I know are survivors, they fought hard, and they won the battle.  This recipe is in honor of them, a recipe you might serve at a celebration, because it's a celebration of life!

Strawberry Fluff

Serves 8-10

You will need:
1 box sugar free strawberry Jell-O
1 (8 oz) container Cool Whip
8 oz Neufchatel cheese (you can use regular cream cheese too!)

In a mixing bowl, combine the Jell-O powder, Cool Whip, and Neufchatel cheese until smooth and fluffy.  Refrigerate until you're ready to serve.

This dip is great with animal cracker, graham crackers, and sliced apples.

ButtonMouthwatering MondaysLark's Country HeartWCWjpg Cast Party WednesdayIt's a KeeperParty Button

Friday, October 28, 2011

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Muffins

I hope you're not completely sick of apple and pumpkin recipes!  I'm having so much fun coming up with fall-inspired recipes, and I can't wait to continue sharing them with you.  I'm going to try to space them out with some non-apple or pumpkin recipes though, so that you don't get tired of the fall recipes before I share them all.  Today though, I want to share these chocolate chip pumpkin muffins...

I brought a plate of these muffins to work, to my in-laws, and to my parents.  They got rave reviews.  I love the added sweetness from the chocolate chips and the slightly crunchy streusel topping puts these over the top...literally!

Before we get to the recipe, I have a little announcement.  Since I didn't celebrate my blogiversary this year, or a significant post number, I have decided to celebrate my followers.  You all are what makes blogging so much fun--I love the feedback I get from posts and the new friends I've made through blogging.  That being said, I am so close to hitting 200 followers, so when I do hit that milestone, I have a giveaway planned for you!  I think we can hit 200 by the end of the year, so stay tuned!
Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Muffins

Makes 16 muffins

You will need:
2 cups flour
3/4 cup sugar
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup canned pumpkin
1/2 cup butter, melted
2 eggs
3/4 cup chocolate chips

Streusel topping:
2 Tablespoons margarine, cold
2 teaspoons brown sugar
2 Tablespoons flour

1.  Combine flour, 3/4 cup sugar, baking powder, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, nutmeg and salt in large bowl; set aside.

2.  Combine pumpkin, 1/2 cup melted butter and eggs in small bowl; stir until well mixed.

3.  Stir pumpkin mixture into flour mixture just until combined. Fold in chocolate chips.

4.  Spoon batter into greased muffin tins (or use cupcake liners).  Fill each tin about 3/4 of the way full.

5.  In a small bowl, cut the flour and brown sugar into the margarine until it resembles coarse crumbs.  Sprinkle on top of the muffins.

6.  Bake at 400 degrres for 22 to 23 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Adapted from: A Well Seasoned Life
Secret Recipe Club

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Chicken, Apple, and Caramelized Walnut Salad

I think I nearly drove Mike insane last week.  Every day I would text him to see if a package had arrived for me.  Each time the UPS man drove by, I'd look out the window to see if he was bringing me a package.  What was I so excited about?  This, my friends...

6 incredibly delicious products from Newman's Own through the Foodbuzz Tastemakers program.  Along with these products came a challenge:  create a family-friendly recipe that can be prepared in 30 minutes or less.  Since the day I received the list of products headed my way, I knew what I wanted to make!

I love salads and I'm constantly on the look-out for ways to incorporate more vegetables into our daily diets.  I also love fruity dressings; in fact, I've been known to thing out jam with water so I can use it for a salad dressing.  (Don't knock it til you've tried it!)  And of course, I have a plethora of apples around the house from apple picking last month.  I used so many things I love in this salad, so it's no surprise that this is definitely a new favorite for me!

The most time consuming part of this recipe is caramelizing the walnuts.  I like to make a big batch of walnuts (or peanuts) and store them until I need to use them.  If you don't have time, just skip the caramelizing and toss on plain will still taste good, just without the sweetness from the caramel coating.  I made a video of me caramelizing the walnuts with my new Flip Video Camera (thanks Newman's Own!), and I posted it below.  It's about 10 minutes, but I wanted to show you the entire process!

This salad was delicious paired with a crispy slice of Newman's Own uncured pepperoni pizza.  I took the other half for lunch the next day and it was fantastic! 

Chicken, Apple, and Caramelized Walnut Salad

Serves 2

You will need:
4 cups spinach
1 sweet apple (I used a Gala apple)
1 chicken breast, cooked
1/4 cup caramelized walnuts (recipe below)
4 Tablespoons Newman's Own Light Raspberry & Walnut dressing

1.  Divide the spinach between 2 plates.

2.  Core apple and cut into thin wedges.  Place on top of spinach.

3.  Top with sliced chicken breast and sprinkle with caramelized walnuts.

4.  Drizzle with Newman's Own Light Raspberry & Walnut dressing just before serving.

Caramelized Walnuts

Makes 1-1/2 cups

1/4 cup sugar
1-1/2 Tablespoons water
1-1/2 cups walnuts

1.  In a small skillet, combine water and sugar. 

2.  Stir frequently over medium heat until sugar begins to turn brown.

3.  Add in the walnuts, continuing to stir.  At this point, the sugar will turn white and begin to clump together...don't worry, that's normal.

4.  Continue to stir as the sugar begins to brown again. 

5.  When the walnuts are completely covered in the caramel topping, remove from heat and cool.  Store in an airtight container.

As I mentioned before, here is an instructional video so you'll know what the sugar looks like at each point in the caramelization process.


I received products to feature as part of the Foodbuzz Tastemakers program, with Newman's Own.  All opinions expressed are mine and mine alone.

Lark's Country HeartWCWjpg Cast Party WednesdayIt's a KeeperParty Button

Monday, October 24, 2011

Pizza Rolls

Can you believe October is 3/4 of the way over?  It's like I blinked and the month just flew by!  It's the third Monday in October, and that means it's time for this month's Secret Recipe Club reveal. 

I love participating in the Secret Recipe Club.  It's fun to be introduced to a new blog that I might not have otherwise known about, and then search their blog for "that" recipe! 

This month, I was assigned to From Apples To Zucchini.  Pam has an abundance of delicious looking recipes and you can be sure you'll be seeing more recipes from her blog around here!  One thing I really loved about Pam's blog is that she focuses on recipes that are as nutritious as possible. I bookmarked several of her recipes to make before I narrowed it down to just one. 

It was difficult to choose one recipe to highlight today, but Pam's recipe for Pizza Rolls caught my attention. (Does that surprise anyone?!)  You see,  Mike loves pizza rolls.  I think he'd eat them every day if I'd let him!  However, store-bought pizza rolls are not very healthy and full of empty calories.  When I saw Pam's recipe makeover, I knew this was the perfect way to provide Mike with a healthier version of one of his favorite foods!

Mike and I both thought these were delicious.  I made ours with a blend of Italian cheeses and pepperoni.  This recipe made enough for both of us to enjoy for dinner, as well as 2 lunches for Mike to take to work!  I loved having a healthier alternative to pack for his lunch.

I should add that you're getting lucky today--not only is this a recipe for pizza rolls, but for the wonton wrappers as well!  I don't think I'll ever buy wonton wrappers from the store again!
Pizza Rolls (and Wonton Wrappers)

Makes 24 rolls

For the Wonton Wrappers:
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 egg
3/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup water, plus a little more

Sift flour into a large bowl and make a well in the center. Whisk together egg, salt and 1/4 cup water. Pour into flour well. Mix together, adding additional water until the mixture will stay together in a ball. (Keep in mind that you do not want it to be sticky.)

Knead the dough until it becomes smooth and pliable.

Let rest for 30-60 min. (The longer it sits the easier it will be to roll out)

Divide dough in half. Keep one half covered while you roll out the other one on a surface lightly coated with cornstarch (if you use flour it may toughen it up). Roll out as thin as you possibly can. (Melissa's note:  I rolled my dough out to 21 inches by 7 inches.)

Cut into 3.5 inch squares (You should be able to get approx. 12 wonton wrappers out of each half).

For the Pizza Rolls:
1/2 cup prepared pizza sauce
48 slices of pepperoni
1/2 -3/4 cup shredded reduced fat cheese
wonton wrappers (recipe above)

Place approximately a teaspoon of pizza sauce, 2 slices of pepperoni and a pinch of cheese in the center of each wrapper and fold over, sealing the edge by pressing them together with the tines of a fork.

Place in a single layer on a cookie sheet, and spray the tops with canola cooking spray

Bake at 400 for 12-17 minutes, or until browned.

Mouthwatering Mondays

Friday, October 21, 2011

Belgian Waffles with Spiced Apples

As you know, I love having breakfast for dinner.  It's so quick and always delicious!  This meal combines the flavors of fall with one of my favorite breakfast items--Belgian Waffles.

One of the tops things on my "want" list when we registered for wedding gifts was a Belgian Waffle maker.  I was thrilled when I received it at a shower!  Our waffle maker has been used many times.  The waffle recipe I use makes 10 waffles, so I typically make a whole batch and freeze what Mike and I don't eat.  It makes for a simple and delicious breakfast on busy mornings!

Since it's fall and I have an abundance of apples, I thought I would make some spiced apples to top our waffles.  These spiced apples tasted so similar to the ones you can get at Cracker Barrel.  My apples were sliced thinly so they would cook quickly, but you can slice yours thicker.  The flavors went so well together and I think I have a new favorite breakfast!'re getting lucky today, 2 recipes in 1 post!

Belgian Waffles (*Note: the waffle batter needs to stand for an hour before being used)

Makes 10 waffles

You will need:
1-1/2 cups water
2-1/4 teaspoons yeast (1 packet)
3 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs, separated
1 egg white
1/3 cup sugar
1-1/2 cups milk
8 Tablespoons margarine, melted and cooled
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1.  In a small bowl, combine 3/4 cup lukewarm (105-110 degrees) water, yeast and a pinch of sugar.  Let it stand for 5 to 10 minutes, until the yeast begins to foam.

2.  Add the egg yolks, 1 egg white, and the sugar to the yeast mixture.  Stir until combined.

3.  Mix in the remaining 3/4 cup water, milk, melted margarine, vegetable oil, and vanilla. Stir until the mixture is smooth.

4.  Add flour and salt to liquid mixture and stir until smooth.

5. In a separate bowl, beat egg whites until stiff peaks form.  Gently fold the egg whites into the flour batter.

6.  Let the batter stand for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes.

7.  Preheat your waffle maker to the desired heat setting.  (I have a Waring Pro Belgian Waffle Maker and I've found setting #4 is best).

8.  Pour batter onto preheated waffle iron.  (Follow any other instructions your waffle iron might have.) 

9.  Bake waffle until done, remove from waffle iron, and repeat until all the batter is used. 

Serve with whipped cream, syrup, jam, powdered sugar, or fruit (see recipe below!)

Source:  Waring Pro Belgian Waffle Maker Recipe Guide

Spiced Apples

You will need:

2 cups apple cider, divided
5 apples, peeled and sliced
2 Tablespoons margarine
1 Tablespoon cornstarch
3 Tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon apple pie spice**

1.  Pour 1-1/2 cups of apple cider in a skillet.

2.  Add apple slices and cook until tender.

3.  Add margarine and heat until melted.

4.  Mix remaining 1/2 cup of apple cider, cornstarch, sugar, and apple pie spice in a small bowl.

5.  Pour into skillet and stir until thick.

6.  Remove from heat and serve warm.

Tastes great served over waffles or pancakes!

Source:  Add A Pinch

**If you don't have apple pie spice, you can make your own.  Just combine: 1/4 cup cinnamon, 2 teaspoons nutmeg, 1 teaspoon allspice, and 1 teaspoon ginger.  Store what you don't use in an airtight container. Nap-Time Creations

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Pumpkin Carrot Cake Bread

Let's take a break from apple recipes for a day and focus on pumpkin instead!  When I saw this recipe, I was imediately intrigued.  I was surprised because I am not typically a fan of pumpkin.  However, this recipe just seemed so perfect for fall and now that it's finally feeling like fall up here in Michigan, I thought pumpkin would be perfect!

This bread is very dense--probably more dense than you would expect from a fruit bread.  The slightly sticky and dense texture reminded me of some meal replacement or protein bars I've had in the past.  I think some diced apples or chocolate chips, or maybe even cinnamon chips, would be an excellent addition to this bread!

 Pumpkin Carrot Cake Bread

Makes 1 loaf, about 10 slices

You will need:
1-1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1-1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg
1 15oz can pumpkin
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 Tablespoons applesauce (I substituted applesauce for oil)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup grated carrots
1/4 cup mix-ins: chocolate chips, diced apples, walnuts, raisins etc.

1.  In a large mixing bowl, mix together flour, baking powder, pumpkin pie spice, and salt.

2.  In a separate bowl, combine egg, pumpkin, sugar, applesauce, and vanilla. 

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

4.  Fold in grated carrots and any other mix-ins.

5.  Pour into a greased bread pan. 

6.  Bake at 400 degrees for 25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Source:  Faith, Fitness, Fun

WCWjpgCast Party WednesdayIt's a KeeperParty Button
01 10 11 12
Blogging tips