Melissa's Cuisine: February 2014

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Lemon Crinkle Cookies

These Lemon Crinkle Cookies are made with just 4 ingredients. They're quick, simple, and delicious!
Melissa's Cuisine: Lemon Crinkle Cookies
I love to browse Pinterest to find recipe inspiration.  A while back, I was showing Mike a recipe for some chocolate cookies that looked delicious.  He didn't think they looked as good as I thought, but he pointed to a picture for some lemon cookies and said they looked better.  I told him I would make them for him.

A couple weeks later I had freshly baked cookies waiting for Mike when he got home from work.  He enjoyed them, but commented that I still hadn't made his lemon cookies.  Oops...
Melissa's Cuisine: Lemon Crinkle Cookies
Last week I decided to make good on my promise to make these cookies for him.  I picked up the necessary ingredients at the store.  Not a problem:  there are only 4 ingredients in this cookie!  It took just a few minutes to whip up the dough and before we knew it, I had a fresh batch of cookies cooling on the counter.

Mike typically prefers day old cookies.  Something about them not being so gooey...  I know, how could he not love a fresh from the oven cookie?  Anyway, he didn't wait a day to eat these cookies.  In fact, I don't think he even waited an hour.  After I told him which cookies he could eat (I had to keep the best ones for pictures, of course!), he dug in.  I think he ate about 5 cookies. He just couldn't get enough!

These Lemon Crinkle Cookies are some of the easiest cookies you'll ever make.  They start with a box of lemon cake mix.  Then you add in an egg and a container of cool whip.  Stir it up, and roll the dough into balls.  Please note, this dough is very sticky!  I refrigerated mine for 30 minutes to make it more manageable.  Then I just scooped spoonfuls of the dough into a bowl of powdered sugar and rolled them into balls in the sugar.

The lemon flavor is just right: not too overpowering, but more than just a hint.  I think you could use just about any flavor of cake mix for these cookies, and I'm looking forward to experimenting!
Melissa's Cuisine: Lemon Crinkle Cookies
Lemon Crinkle Cookies

Makes about 3 dozen cookies

1 box lemon cake mix
1 egg
1 8 ounce container Cool Whip, thawed
1/2 cup powdered sugar

1.  In a large mixing bowl, combine the cake mix, egg, and Cool Whip.

2.  Chill the dough for 30 minutes.  (You can skip this step, but it does make the dough easier to handle.)

3.  Scoop Tablespoonfuls of the dough into a bowl of powdered sugar and roll into balls.  Place cookies on a greased cookie sheet.

4.  Bake at 350 for 8-10 minutes, until the bottoms are golden brown.

5.  Allow the cookies to cool on the cookie sheet for 1 minute before transferring to a wire rack to completely cool.

Store in an airtight container.

Source:  Frugal Antics of a Harried Homemaker

Monday, February 24, 2014

Pan Fried Cinnamon Sugar Bananas

Magic happens when you fry these cinnamon sugar bananas.  The sugar caramelizes around the bananas, leaving you with a delicious treat!
Melissa's Cuisine:  Pan Fried Cinnamon Sugar Bananas
It's a common problem: too many bananas in the house and not enough time (or people) to eat them!  Typically when I am found with too many bananas, I'll whip up a loaf or two of banana bread.  Lately, I've been pureeing the over ripe bananas and making food for Summer.  Girl loves her fruit!

Last week I had just one lonely banana that needed to be eaten.  I had recently seen a recipe that looked delicious, and so I decided to give it a whirl.  These pan fried bananas were amazing!  They're coated in a small amount of cinnamon and sugar.  When you fry them, the sugar caramelizes and turns the bananas into something amazing!

I ate my fried bananas on their own with my breakfast, but I think they would also taste amazing on top of pancakes, waffles, oatmeal, or even as an ice-cream topping!
Melissa's Cuisine:  Pan Fried Cinnamon Sugar Bananas
Pan Fried Cinnamon Sugar Bananas

Serves 1

1 banana
1 Tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
Butter or olive oil flavored cooking spray

1.  Slice banana into 1/4" slices.

2.  Combine the sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl.  

3.  Coat a small frying pan with cooking spray.  Warm over medium heat.

4.  Add the banana slices and cook for 2 minutes.  Then sprinkle the bananas with the cinnamon sugar mixture.

5.  Flip bananas, sprinkle with remaining cinnamon sugar, and cook for 2 more minutes. 

Serve bananas warm.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake {Flashback Friday}

Melissa's Cuisine: Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake
This Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake is the base for my most popular recipe on this blog, my Cookie Dough Ice Cream Cake.  You'll want to check it out if you haven't before!  This cookie cake is basically my mom's Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe baked in a cake pan.  I decided to bake the cookies in cake form for Mike, who doesn't like cake.  It's hard to make a birthday cake for someone who doesn't enjoy cake you know!  Thus, the Cookie Dough Ice Cream Cake was born.  It's his favorite, and apparently yours too...

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Healthier Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

These Healthier Oatmeal Raisin Cookies are perfect for new moms.  They are healthy enough for breakfast, fit into a balanced diet, and help promote lactation!
Melissa's Cuisine:  Healthier Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

They say everything changes when you become a parent.  It's true, but if you're like me, you probably didn't realize how drastically everything really would change.  Life simply isn't about you anymore, in fact the world now revolves around a tiny little human.

No more late nights out with friends.  Instead, we're in by 7 to get the little lady to bed.

No more being out the door in 5 minutes.  Instead, we're changing a diaper, putting the baby in her car seat, double checking the diaper bag, grabbing an extra set of clothes...

No more carrying a purse.  Instead, I carry a bottom-less (seemingly) diaper bag.

No more quick running to the grocery store to pick something up.  Instead, going without or packing up the baby and all her accessories...mostly just going without :)

No more getting up at 5am to go to the gym to workout.  Instead, enjoying every minute of precious sleep I can get and focusing on working out when I can.

No more cooking an elaborate dinner.  Instead, making what is possible with a baby on my hip!

No more adult conversations.  Instead, you're talking baby talk and discussing baby poop.  (Did I just mention poop on a food blog?  Oops!  Just another sign of being a mommy!)

Don't get me wrong, I love Summer more than anything, and this post is written in jest, but a baby really does change everything!  But I wouldn't trade her for the world...
Melissa's Cuisine:  Healthier Oatmeal Raisin Cookies
Don't even get me started on what a baby does to your body!  Pre-pregnancy, I was in half-marathon training mode and in the greatest shape of my life.  Post-pregnancy, I don't recognize my belly.  Seriously, what happened to it?!?!

These cookies are great for new moms.  They're full of healthy ingredients: oatmeal, flax seed, fruit.  And devoid of the unhealthier stuff like butter.  They are the perfect cookie to grab for a quick snack or even breakfast in a pinch.  I substituted pureed prunes for the butter, reducing the fat in the cookies and increasing the fruit.  These cookies bake up nice and thick, and you'd never miss the butter.

The oatmeal in these cookies is great for nursing moms as oatmeal is said to help lactation.  As a nursing mom, I'm trying to keep my supply up so I can continue to nurse Summer as long as possible.  I have baby weight that I'm trying to lose, so I'm trying to watch my calories but also get the nutrients my baby and I need.  These cookies fit perfectly into my nutritional goals.

If you know a new mom, make her a batch of these cookies and pass along the recipe--she'll appreciate it more than you know!
Melissa's Cuisine:  Healthier Oatmeal Raisin Cookies
Healthier Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

Makes 20 cookies

5 ounces pureed prunes (2 Gerber 1st Foods Prunes containers)
1 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon almond extract
1-1/2 cups quick cooking oats
1 cup flour
3 Tablespoons ground flax seed
2 Tablespoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup raisins

1.  In a medium bowl, blend together the pureed prunes and brown sugar until fluffy.

2.  Beat in the egg and almond extract.

3.  Add in the oats, flour, flax seed, cinnamon, baking soda, salt, and baking powder and stir until combined.

4.  Fold in the raisins.

5.  Drop cookie dough by the tablespoons onto greased cookie sheets.

6.  Bake at 350 for 8-10 minutes, until golden brown and the centers are set.

Store in an airtight container.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Pizza Sticks

It's pizza, but in a stick! All the pizza flavor you love, without the mess!
Melissa's Cuisine: Pizza Sticks
I always look forward to finding out my monthly assignment for the Secret Recipe Club.  Some months I am assigned to a blog I am already familiar with, but other times I get the chance to discover a new blog.  This month, I was assigned to Manuela's blog, Manu's Menu.  I've heard of her blog before, but after browsing it to find recipes, I will now be a regular reader!

Manuela is an Italian, whose husband is of Indian descent, living in Australia.  As you can imagine, she features a wide variety of cuisines on her blog.  She specializes in Italian foods though, and I came across many intriguing recipes that I'd never heard of before like Cabbuci and Arancine.  While her Italian cuisine interested me, the recipe that really caught my eye was one for Pizza Sticks.  (Don't worry, I'll be trying plenty of other recipes too!)

I was looking for an easy recipe to make while Summer was napping, but I also wanted something fun that both Mike and I would enjoy.  These Pizza Sticks were perfect!  They have all the delicious flavors of pizza, but in a mess free and portable snack.

Manuela's original recipe gave the ingredient measurements by weight, but since that's not how I typically bake, I weighed my ingredients and then took the cup measurements.  I've written my measurements in the recipe below, but you can visit her recipe for the weights.  The dough was easy to work with and came together quickly.  I cut my dough into sticks, but I think these would also be fun cut into squares, like Cheez-its.  These sticks are best enjoyed fresh from the oven, or at least the same day they are baked.  If you eat them the next day, you may want to crisp them in the oven for a few minutes firs.

Mike and I both enjoyed these sticks and Mike has already requested that I make them again!
Melissa's Cuisine: Pizza Sticks

Pizza Sticks 

Makes 16-18 sticks

1-1/4 cup flour
3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
5 Tablespoons butter, cut into pieces
1/2 cup ketchup
1 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon oregano

1.  In the bowl of your stand mixer, combine the ingredients using the dough hook.  Add additional ketchup if necessary to form a ball of dough.

2.  Refrigerate dough for at least 20 minutes.

3.  Place dough on a floured surface and roll into a rectangle about 10x16", dough should be about 1/4" thick.

4.  Using a pizza cutter, cut the dough into 1" sticks.

4.  Place sticks on a parchment lined baking sheet.  Bake at 350 for 17-20 minutes, until lightly golden brown around the edges.

These are best eaten the day they are baked, but can be stored overnight in an airtight container.

Source:  Manu's Menu

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Banana Bread Pancakes

Nothing says breakfast like a stack of hot fresh pancakes.  These fluffy banana bread pancakes are sure to please!
Melissa's Cuisine: Banana Bread Pancakes
I don't make a lot of recipes more than once.  It drives Mike crazy!  A few weeks ago, I asked him what kind of rolls he wanted me to make to go with our soup.  He said "my favorite ones."  Uh...I need a little more information than that!  He couldn't remember any details about the rolls, other than that they were his favorite.  He said it wouldn't be so hard to remember if I didn't make so many different types of rolls!  Oh the joys of being married to a food blogger...

Anyway, you know that I love breakfast, and I have shared a variety of pancake recipes.  I typically make a different recipe each time I make pancakes, but with this recipe I have hit the jackpot!  The last 3 times I have made pancakes, I have made these Banana Bread Pancakes.  They are thick and fluffy with just the right amount of banana flavor.  I also add in a few chocolate chips (or peanut butter chips) for a touch of sweetness.  These pancakes are so delicious, you won't need syrup!

Typically I will make a double batch of these pancakes.  Then I freeze what I don't eat.  When I want pancakes for breakfast, I'll grab a couple from the freezer and pop them into the toaster.   A few minutes later I have "fresh baked" pancakes!

Banana Bread Pancakes

Makes 12 pancakes

2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon brown sugar
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 cup buttermilk
2 Tablespoons butter, melted
1 Tablespoon vanilla
2-3 bananas, mashed
1/2 cup chocolate chips

1.  In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, brown sugar, sugar, and cinnamon.

2.  In a small bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, melted butter, vanilla, and mashed bananas.

3.  Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until just combined.

4.  Gently fold in chocolate chips.

5.  Scoop batter in 1/4 cup scoops onto a hot griddle.  Cook until golden brown, about 2-3 minutes per side.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Chocolate Covered Biscoff Oreos

This traditional Oreo cookie is far from the usual!  Topped with Biscoff spread and coated in milk chocolate, this sweet treat is sure to please!
Melissa's Cuisine: Chocolate Covered Biscoff Oreos
Mike is obsessed with Biscoff Spread.  Obsessed, I tell you!  If you know Mike, you know how impressive this is for him.  First off, he is not a big snacker.  Secondly, when he does have a snack, it is rarely something sweet--he is a chip guy!  So for him to love Biscoff spread means it really is something special.

He tried Biscoff for the first time probably about 2 years ago.  He thought it was good, but nothing special.  Then he tried it again more recently and he was hooked.  A few weeks ago he asked me to make him a snack.  His request?  Marshmallows dipped in Biscoff spread. I was shocked!  While he was eating his snack (which was delicious, by the way!), he commented that Oreos would probably taste really good with Biscoff spread.  I told him we'd be sure to try it, so here it is!
Melissa's Cuisine: Chocolate Covered Biscoff Oreos
This rich cookies are exactly what Mike and I were hoping for!  And they're so simple to make.  Just take an Oreo cookie, top it with a generous spoonful of Biscoff spread, and spoon a bit of melted chocolate over top.  I added a bit of coconut oil to the chocolate to aid it in melting and spreading.  Then allow the chocolate to set for a while and enjoy!

Though you'll want to eat more than one cookie because they're so delicious, they are extremely rich so Mike and I felt satisfied after just one.  But an hour or so later, I wasn't going to resist when I passed by the cookies on the counter!
Melissa's Cuisine: Chocolate Covered Biscoff Oreos
Chocolate Covered Biscoff Oreos

Makes 12

12 Oreo cookies
3/4 cup Biscoff Spread
1/2 cup milk chocolate chips
1 teaspoon Coconut Oil

1.  Place Oreos on a wax paper lined cookie sheet.

2.  Spoon about 1 Tablespoon of Biscoff spread on top of each Oreo.  Spread evenly with a knife.

3.  In a microwave safe bowl, melt the chocolate chips and coconut oil.  Stir smooth.

4.  Spoon melted chocolate over the Biscoff covered cookies.

5.  Allow the chocolate to harden before serving.

Cookies can be stored in an airtight container.

This post contains affiliate links.

Friday, February 07, 2014

Mozzarella Rolls {Flashback Friday}

Mozzarella Rolls are a delicious addition to your family's dinner. Add some chopped olives for a fun twist!
Melissa's Cuisine: Mozzarella Rolls {Flashback Friday}
Life is crazy sometimes!  I'm in the middle of training an office assistant at work, and while it's a lot to train someone new, it will be a huge blessing to have someone to share the work load with (and allow me to only work part-time!)  It's a little crazy at the office now.  Add to that the ridiculous amount of snow that we have been getting, making travel difficult and causing lots of plans to change.  Oh, and the Internet going all wonky at our house (thus, no post on Wednesday).  And you have a recipe for a very hectic week.  From the looks of it, this weekend isn't going to be any different!

One of the things I loved most about my family growing up is that we had dinner time together.  It was a very rare occasion that we didn't all sit down to eat together at the same time.  Even in high school when my schedule was crazy busy, I don't remember many missed meals.  Family dinners are a chance for everyone to relax and unwind a little bit, chat about the day, and get connected before rushing off to do the next task.  Mike and I have actually started eating dinner at the table now (instead of in front of the TV) because Summer is starting some solids and able to join us.  I look forward to dinner time as a chance for us to really talk, especially now, without the distraction of the television.

These rolls are one of our favorite dinner components.  The dough is pretty versatile and the first time I made them, I added some chopped olives to Mike's rolls.  He declared them the best rolls he has ever had.  I've made them several times since that day and each time we've enjoyed them.  The last time I made these rolls, I rolled them into balls and baked them in a 9x13" pan, and allowed them to touch each other.  In the past, I baked them as a drop biscuit.  I noticed that baking them in the 9x13 pan took longer and the texture was flakier than the other way.  I served these along with a bowl of Cheesy Potato Soup.  They are the perfect addition to our family dinner time!

Get the recipe: Mozzarella Rolls

Monday, February 03, 2014

Light and Fluffy Cinnamon Rolls

These sweet cinnamon rolls are light and fluffy; they are the perfect breakfast.  Everyone will want your recipe for them!
Melissa's Cuisine: Light and Fluffy Cinnamon Rolls

 Did you watch the Super Bowl last night?  As I admitted the other day, I was really in it for the snacks and the commercials.  The food was amazing; we enjoyed chili, pizza sliders, buffalo chicken dip, pickle dip, strawberry cheesecake, and puppy chow.  And the commercials?  There were a few good ones but that puppy commercial was the most adorable thing I've ever seen!  Anyone else want to go out and adopt a puppy?

Now the game itself.... that was absolutely brutal to watch.  I feel bad for the Broncos, they got swept off the field.   But the Seahawks played well and they deserved to win.  Hey, they're the only team that really showed up to the game last night, right?

Anyway, these fluffy yeasted cinnamon rolls are the perfect post-game-day breakfast.  Perfect for Seahawks fans to celebrate their victory, and perfect for Broncos fans to drown their sorrows in an indulgent breakfast.  Because sometimes food does make things better!
Melissa's Cuisine: Light and Fluffy Cinnamon Rolls

I set out on a mission to find the best soft yeasty cinnamon rolls after going out for brunch with some of my friends.  We went to a local restaurant and had some of the best cinnamon rolls I've ever tasted.  They were light and fluffy and squished down when I cut into it with a fork.  If you ask me, that's the sign of a perfect cinnamon roll.  I've made my fair share of cinnamon rolls, like these, these, and these.  Each of those are delicious, but they are sturdier rolls and just not what I have been looking for.

This recipe was the first I tried, and was right on target.  Not quite a bulls eye, but certainly close!  They were too delicious not to share with you!  The dough was some of the easiest dough I have ever worked with.  It was incredibly smooth and fuss-free.  The dough is kneaded for an extended period of time, making the dough smooth and resulting in the light and fluffy rolls.  Instead of being baked in a 9x13" cake pan, the cinnamon rolls are baked on a cookie sheet.  The extra space allows the rolls to really rise and spread out.  Additionally, the rolls are placed in a cold oven and then baked.  Placing the rolls in a hot oven stops the yeast from working, but allowing the rolls to heat up with the oven gives the yeast a few extra minutes to work.  The extended kneading, extra space to rise, and cold oven all work together to create these light and fluffy cinnamon rolls. These rolls are time consuming to make, but I certainly think that the hard works pays off in the end!
Melissa's Cuisine: Light and Fluffy Cinnamon Rolls

Light and Fluffy Cinnamon Rolls

Makes 18 rolls

For the dough:
2 teaspoons yeast
1/2 cup warm water
1 cup butter
2/3 cup sugar
1 cup milk
1-1/2 teaspoons salt
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla
4 eggs
6-7 cups flour

For the filling:
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
3 Tablespoons cinnamon
3/4 cup butter, melted

For the icing:
2 cups powdered sugar
1 Tablespoon butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla
2-3 Tablespoons water

1.  Sprinkle yeast over warm water and set aside.

2.  In the bowl of your stand mixer, beat together the butter and sugar until the mixture is light and fluffy.

3.  Switch to the dough hook and mix in the yeast mixture, milk, salt, vanilla, eggs, and 5 cups of flour.

4.  Continue mixing and add in additional flour, 1/4 cup at a time, until the dough forms a ball.

5.  Knead the dough for 15 minutes.

6.  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place it in a warm area to rise until double, about 1-1/2 hours.

7.  While the dough is rising, prepare the filling.  In a small bowl, stir together the sugar, brown sugar, and cinnamon.

8.  Roll dough into a 12x18" rectangle.

9.  Brush with melted butter and sprinkle with the filling.

10.  Roll the dough up length-wise.

11.  Cut the dough into 1" slices using a sharp knife or dental floss.

12.  Place rolls at least 2" apart on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet.

13.  Cover the rolls with plastic wrap and place in a warm area to rise again, about 45 minutes.

14.  Place rolls in a cold oven. **Do not preheat!

15.  Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes, until golden brown.  (Check the rolls at 15 minutes, the time to bake may differ depending on how quickly your oven heats up.)

16.  While the rolls are baking, prepare the icing.  In a small bowl, stir together the powdered sugar, butter, and vanilla.  Add the water in until you reach your desired consistency.

17.  Cool rolls for about 5 minutes before drizzling the icing on top.

Store cooled cinnamon rolls in an airtight container.  Baked rolls may also be frozen in a freezer bag and then brought to room temperature before serving.

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