Melissa's Cuisine

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Skinny Brownies

These skinny brownies have just 3 ingredients and come together quickly! You'd never guess they're actually healthy!
Melissa's Cuisine: Skinny Brownies
I love trying new things.  As I mentioned a few weeks ago when I did my Avocado: Tips and Tricks post, avocados are a relatively new-to-me fruit.  I first purchased a few to try as a first food for Summer.  My basic rule of thumb is that if I won't eat it, she doesn't have to.  So I had to try a bit of avocado before giving it to her.  I've had guacamole in the past but I've never been a big fan of it, so I really wasn't expecting to like avocados.  I was pleasantly surprised when I did like them, and I've made a few recipes using avocados since then.

So why am I talking about avocados?  Isn't this a brownie post?  Well, remember I told you this recipe had only 3 ingredients?  One of them is avocado!  The other two are water and a box of brownie mix.  Does water even count?  I love recipes that use a boxed mix because it makes it so easy.  (Like these Lemon Crinkle Cookies!)
Melissa's Cuisine: Skinny Brownies
You just take 2 avocados and mash them up really good.  I used my food processor to make sure there weren't any chunks.  Avocado in brownies is weird enough, but chunks of avocado is brownies, no thank you!  Then mix in a bit of water and the brownie mix.  And that's it!  Pour it into a pan and bake.

These brownies are extremely fudgey!  I think their texture is similar to a Lara bar (if you've had one of those before).  They're dense and gooey.  I opted to store them in the fridge since I wasn't sure how avocado would do sitting out on the counter.  I loved eating the brownies cold.

I would consider these brownies to be pretty healthy.  The fat from the typical eggs and oil is replaced by good fats from the avocado.  A large piece of brownie came out to be just under 200 calories.  I figure that's pretty good for such a decadent snack! 
Melissa's Cuisine: Skinny Brownies

These brownies are skinny, unless you eat half a pan...

Not that I would know or anything!

Skinny Brownies

Makes 1 9x13" pan, about 12 servings

Ingredients:
2 avocados (about 1 cup of puree)
1/3 cup water
1 boxed brownie mix

1.  Remove the flesh from the avocado (directions here) and place in your food processor.  Add water and process until smooth.  (If you don't have a food processor, you can also use a blender or mash the avocado with a fork.)

2.  In a large mixing bowl, combine the avocado and brownie mix.  (If your food processor is large enough, you can mix everything in there.)

3.  Pour into a greased 9x13" pan.

4.  Bake a 350 for 27-30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center of the brownies comes out clean.

Source: JelliBean Journals 

Monday, April 14, 2014

Sausage and Egg Breakfast Boat

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, so it should be filling and bursting with flavor!  This breakfast boat is stuffed with sausage and eggs and is sure to be a favorite.
Melissa's Cuisine:  Sausage and Egg Breakfast Boat
It's no secret that I love breakfast.  I could eat it every meal of the day.  And sometimes I do!

For instance, this recipe.  I made it for dinner one night.   Then I enjoyed it the next morning for breakfast, and Mike had it for lunch.  That's the beauty of breakfast food, you can eat it for every meal.  Other meals?  Not so much.  Anyone want a stir fry for breakfast?
Melissa's Cuisine:  Sausage and Egg Breakfast Boat
This recipe was inspired by a recipe my friend Becky posted on her blog, Eliorah.  She made an Italian Sausage Boat and was telling me about it one night when we were at their house.  Her husband loved the meal and requested her to make it again.  You know meals are great when your husband can't stop talking about it!

Anyway, as she was telling me about her recipe, I had an idea forming in my head.  Mike and I love breakfast scrambles and I thought a bread boat would be the perfect vessel for a scramble.  It didn't take me long before I made this meal for our dinner.  It came together quickly, which made it a perfect meal after working all day.  I served it with a side of fresh strawberries and it was the perfect breakfast.  Or lunch.  Or dinner...
Melissa's Cuisine:  Sausage and Egg Breakfast Boat
Sausage and Egg Breakfast Boat

Serves 6-8

Ingredients:
1 loaf French bread
1 pound breakfast sausage
8 eggs
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese

1.  Cut the center of the loaf of bread out, leaving about 3/4" of bread on the sides.  Set the extra bread aside, you won't need it for this recipe.

2.  Cook breakfast sausage in a large skillet until no longer pink.  Drain grease.

3.  Whisk together eggs and milk.

4.  Pour eggs into the skillet with the sausage and cook until the eggs are scrambled and cooked thoroughly.

5.  Spoon egg and sausage mixture into the hollowed out bread.  Sprinkle with shredded cheese.

6.  Place in a 350 degree oven for 10 minutes, until the cheese is melted.  You could also put it under your broiler for 2-3 minutes.

Slice and serve warm.

Inspired by Eliorah.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Frosted Marshmallow Eggs

These adorable Frosted Marshmallow Eggs are the perfect Easter treat!  They're sugary, covered in sprinkles, and perfect for kids.
Melissa's Cuisine:  Frosted Marshmallow Eggs
It's that time of the year when we are surrounded by sweets, particularly sugar coated marshmallows.  Rather than attempt another peeps project, I decided to go with marshmallows that were already created.  However, if you want a good chuckle, feel free to check out my Homemade Marshmallow Walruses Peeps.  And then check out my Marshmallow Bird's Nests, just so you can see that my marshmallow piping skills have improved! :)

I purchased a bunch of spring sprinkles on clearance last year.  The good thing about sprinkles is that they last forever!  Since I purchased them at the end of the season, I didn't have much of a chance to use them last year, so I thought before I miss Easter again this year, I better get busy.

This recipe couldn't be any more simple!  Take your marshmallow egg (or regular marshmallow if you can't find shapes) and cover it with a layer of frosting.  I flavored mine with a packet of Duncan Hines frosting creations.  I used bubble gum flavor, because who doesn't want to go over the top sweet?  You can use any flavor you wish, or just use plain frosting.  Then cover the frosting with sprinkles.  Let the frosting harden and viola, you have a cute spring snack!
Melissa's Cuisine:  Frosted Marshmallow Eggs

Frosted Marshmallow Eggs

Ingredients:
1 bag of Marshmallow eggs
1 container of vanilla frosting
1 packet Duncan Hines frosting creations flavor mix
sprinkles

1.  Combine the frosting and frosting creations.

2.  Spread frosting on the marshmallows and cover with sprinkles.

3.  Place marshmallows on a piece of waxed paper and allow the frosting to dry.

Store in an airtight container.

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Homemade Baby Food: Fruits

Feeding your baby fruit and vegetables is a fun milestone for both baby and parents!  Making homemade baby food is a fun way for parents to save money and serve wholesome foods.  This post is the third in my homemade baby food series and focuses on fruits.
Melissa's Cuisine:  Homemade Baby Food: Fruits

Your baby is eating vegetables like a pro, now it's time to move on to fruits!  Most people recommend starting your baby on vegetables first so they don't prefer the sweeter taste of fruits and refuse vegetables in the future.  However, you must do what is best for you and your baby!

I love fruits, and I have definitely found that Summer shares that love!  When I am eating a banana she often opens her mouth for some too!  Since bananas are so soft, I just pinch off a small piece and feed it to her.  Most other fruits she gets in a puree for now.  I have a feeling it won't be long before she wants actual pieces instead though!

Melissa's Cuisine:  Homemade Baby Food: Fruits

I hope you're enjoying this series about homemade baby food.  I love making food for Summer and I've had a lot of fun trying new tastes and textures with her!  Not only does she get the benefit of fresh foods, I feel good about knowing exactly what is in the food she eats.  Plus, I am saving money by preparing food at home.  (Note: some fruits are cheaper to buy in baby food form versus making it yourself.  Purchasing in season fruit helps to cut down on the cost.)

Unlike vegetables, most fruits do not need to be cooked before they are pureed and served to your baby.  If you're working with a hard fruit, like apples, I have found it's easier to cook them until soft before pureeing. Otherwise, as long as your fruit is ripe, it should puree without a problem.  After pureeing the fruit, reserve the amount you will be serving.  Then pour the remaining amount into your storage containers.

When you're ready to serve the fruit, thaw it at room temperature or microwave it for a few seconds.  If you're heating food for your baby, be sure to test it first to make sure the temperature is appropriate.  I usually feed Summer 3 or 4 blocks of food per meal.  Your baby may want more or less depending on their dietary needs.

Bananas

1 banana yields approximately 6 blocks of baby food.

Cut bananas into quarters and freeze in a freezer bag.  When you're ready to serve, allow the banana to thaw and mash with a fork.

Alternatively, cut bananas into quarters.  Puree in a blender or food processor.

Peaches

Peel and remove pit from the ripe fruit.  Cut into cubes.  Puree in a blender or food processor.

Pears

Peel and remove seeds from the ripe fruit.  Cut into cubes.  Puree in a blender or food processor.

Strawberries

Wash and hull strawberries.  Puree in a blender or food processor.

Mangoes

1 mango yields approximately 9 blocks of baby food.

Cut mangoes into cubes.  Directions here.  Puree in a blender or food processor.

Avocados

1 avocado yields approximately 8 blocks of baby food.

Cut avocado into cubes.  Directions here.  Puree in a blender or food processor.

Apples

Peel and core apples.  Cut into pieces and cook until soft.  Puree in a blender or food processor.

Homemade Baby Food Series
The Basics
Fruits

Monday, April 07, 2014

Cheesy Chicken Panini on Dill Pickle Bread

This Cheesy Chicken Panini is a delicious and quick lunch or dinner option.  It's made on Dill Pickle Bread which gives it an extra kick of flavor!
Melissa's Cuisine: Cheesy Chicken Panini on Dill Pickle Bread
A couple years ago I received a 5-in-1 Griddler for Christmas.  I had seen it advertised on television and decided it would be the perfect addition to my kitchen appliances.  Plus, it would allow me to get rid of a couple other appliances, creating more room in my (tiny) kitchen.  I love to use the grill for chicken, burgers, and hot dogs, and I often make pancakes on the griddle.  Until recently though, I had never used the griddler as a panini press.

I had a loaf of freshly baked Dill Pickle Bread on the counter and Mike and I needed a quick dinner.  I grilled a chicken breast and sliced it up.  I had also purchased a ball of fresh mozzarella cheese on a whim at the store.  Since I'd never purchased fresh cheese before, I wanted to use it in something that would really allow the flavor to shine through.  

This sandwich is simple, but it is packed with flavor.  The dill flavor of the bread is a delicious complement to the grilled chicken and melted cheese.  Mike and I both enjoyed this sandwich; it was easy to make and full of protein.  I know that now that we've created this sandwich, our panini press will be getting a lot more use!
Melissa's Cuisine: Cheesy Chicken Panini on Dill Pickle Bread
Cheesy Chicken Panini on Dill Pickle Bread

Serves 2

Ingredients:
4 slices Dill Pickle Bread
butter
1 chicken breast, cooked and sliced into strips
4 slices fresh mozzarella cheese

1.  Butter one side of each piece of bread.

2.  Place the buttered side of the bread down on a hot panini grill.

3.  Place half the chicken breast strips and two slices of mozzarella cheese on top of the bread.

4.  Top with another slice of bread, buttered side up.

5.  Repeat steps 2-4 to make the other sandwich.

6.  Close the panini grill and cook for 4-5 minutes, until the cheese is melted and the bread is golden brown.

7.  Remove the bread from the grill and slice in half.  Serve immediately.

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