Melissa's Cuisine

Monday, July 21, 2014

S'mores Candy

All the components of s'mores, graham crackers, chocolate and marshmallows are combined in this sinfully delicious candy!
Melissa's Cuisine: S'mores Candy
I have to admit, this month's Secret Recipe Club reveal really snuck up on me!  I was excited when I got my assignment and almost immediately headed over to check out Desi's site, Steak N Potatoes Kinda Gurl.  I've been reading Desi's blog for a long time, and a couple months ago she made one of my recipes for reveal day.  I love to read about the restaurants she goes to and her recipes are delicious!

I picked out a few recipes that caught my eye...and then forgot about it.  Oops!  Then I got an email on Friday reminding me that my reveal day was on Monday!  I knew it was the 21st, I just hadn't realized that it was so close.

Anyway, I looked back over my list of recipes I'd chosen from Desi's blog, and was drawn back to these Graham Cracker S'mores Candies.  We are camping this week, and so my mind is on packing and camp food.  You have to have s'mores when you're camping, so this snack was absolutely perfect.

These candies are so easy to make.  They were done in about 15 minutes.  I could hardly wait for them to cool down enough so I could try one!  The caramel mixture seeps into the graham cracker transforming it into a delicious toffee.  Then the marshmallows and chocolate melt and get all gooey.  The only change I made was to use chocolate chips instead of pieces of a chocolate bar, because my chocolate bars were packed for camping. This candy is perfection!
Melissa's Cuisine: S'mores Candy
S'mores Candy

Ingredients:
12 graham crackers
3/4 cup butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
3 cups mini marshmallows
1 cup chocolate chips

1.  In a small saucepan, melt the butter.  Add the brown sugar and stir until the mixture comes to a boil, about 4-6 minutes.

2.  While the caramel is heating, line a baking sheet with foil.  Place graham crackers evenly on the foil, covering the bottom of the pan.

3.  Pour the caramel evenly over the crackers.

4.  Bake at 350 for 5-6 minutes, until bubbly.

5.  Remove from oven and top with marshmallows and then chocolate chips.

6.  Return to oven for 2-3 minutes, until marshmallows soften and puff up.

Cool completely and cut into squares.  Store in an airtight container with waxed paper between the layers of candy.

Source: Steak N Potatoes Kinda Gurl

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Funfetti Crinkle Cookies-Juggling Act Mama

I'm a new contributor over at Juggling Act Mama and my first recipe post is up today!  Please jump over and take a look!
Melissa's Cuisine: Funfetti Crinkle Cookies
These Funfetti Crinkle Cookies are a fun twist on my favorite kind of cake.  Mike and I are kind of addicted to crinkle cookies right now because there are so many different options for flavors; if it's a cake mix, it's a cookie flavor option!  Since we loved the Lemon Crinkle Cookies I posted a couple months ago, I knew we'd love these funfetti ones too.

You don't want to miss this recipe, so click on over to view it!


Monday, July 14, 2014

Rubber Ducky First Birthday Party

Time flies when you're having fun!  And this year certainly has flown by.  It's hard to believe that we are celebrating Summer's first birthday already!  It seems like just yesterday that I was announcing her arrival...

Mike came up with the theme for Summer's birthday party.  I was brainstorming out loud and asked him if he had any ideas.  Immediately he said that we should do a rubber ducky theme because Summer loves ducks.  It didn't take any convincing for me to agree!

I designed the invitations myself and had them printed out as 5x7" cards.

Melissa's Cuisine: Rubber Ducky First Birthday Party
We chose to keep the food fairly simple because we were serving 25-30 guests.  I decided to do a hot dog bar with simple toppings like chili, cheese, ketchup, mustard, and relish.
Melissa's Cuisine: Rubber Ducky First Birthday Party
Fresh fruit and chips are always good sides for grilled food!  
Melissa's Cuisine: Rubber Ducky First Birthday Party
The rubber duck Jello was my favorite part and it was a hit with the kids, and the adults!  I just used blue raspberry jello and poured it into individual clear cups.  Then when the jello was set, I topped each cup with a little Rubber Ducky !  Everyone got to keep their ducks, so the kids loved that part.
Melissa's Cuisine: Rubber Ducky First Birthday Party
I opted for yellow and pink accents for the party.  Yellow for the ducks and pink because it's a girl's party and you have to have pink, right?  I served the drinks in Pint Jars along with Pink Polka Dots Paper Straws.  I floated a few rubber ducks in the punch bowl also.  The punch was pink lemonade and Sierra Mist, simple and delicious!
Melissa's Cuisine: Rubber Ducky First Birthday Party
I purchased a copy of "Happy Birthday to You! " by Dr. Seuss for the guests to sign.  This will be a fun keepsake for Summer when she is older as she can read the messages from her friends and family.
Melissa's Cuisine: Rubber Ducky First Birthday Party
I kept the decorations pretty simple and this was my favorite part!  I made copies of the monthly growth pictures I took of Summer from 1 month to 11 months old.  Then I used Mini Clothespins to pin them onto a string and hung them in front of the window.  The guests loved to see her growth!
Melissa's Cuisine: Rubber Ducky First Birthday Party
Outside I set up a kiddie pool with ducks in it for the kids to play with.  We also had bubbles out as party favors for each of the kids.  They loved the pool and a few of them got a little wet!  This picture is of Summer with her best friend who is just 6 days younger than her.
Melissa's Cuisine: Rubber Ducky First Birthday Party
What party is complete without cake?  Not ours!  I opted to make cupcakes instead of one large cake because I knew we would be eating outside and I thought they would be easier.
Melissa's Cuisine: Rubber Ducky First Birthday Party
Summer absolutely loved her cupcake, especially the frosting.  She ate the entire thing!  (Cupcake recipe coming soon...)
Melissa's Cuisine: Rubber Ducky First Birthday Party
After lunch we headed inside for the birthday girl to open her gifts.  She was so excited and had so much fun!
Melissa's Cuisine: Rubber Ducky First Birthday Party
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Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Pioneer Woman's Cinnamon Rolls

Fluffy, sweet, decadent, divine...all perfect adjectives to describe these delicious cinnamon rolls!
Melissa's Cuisine: Pioneer Woman's Cinnamon Rolls
Is there every a wrong time for a cinnamon roll?  They can be eaten for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or snack!  Or ever a wrong occasion?  I used to think that homemade cinnamon rolls were only for special occasions--Christmas morning, Mother's Day, my birthday...but now I've decided that any day is good for cinnamon rolls!
Melissa's Cuisine: Pioneer Woman's Cinnamon Rolls
I've made these cinnamon rolls dozens of times.  They're my go-to recipe and they always turn out delicious!  The cinnamon rolls are light and fluffy, but it's really the icing that puts them over the top.  I drizzle it on while the rolls are still warm and the bread soaks up the icing like a sponge.  The cinnamon rolls become gooey and absolutely divine!  They're best warm from the oven, but you could always re-heat in the microwave for a special snack.

Don't let the thought of baking with yeast scare you away from these rolls!  As long as you are using warm milk, you shouldn't have any problems.  This recipe makes a very large batch of cinnamon rolls, so prepare to stock your freezer or give some away.  Trust me, your friends will love you!
Melissa's Cuisine: Pioneer Woman's Cinnamon Rolls
Pioneer Woman's Cinnamon Rolls

Makes approximately 5 dozen rolls

Ingredients:
1 quart whole milk
1 cup vegetable oil
1 cup sugar
2 packages yeast (4.5 teaspoons)
9 cups flour, separated
1 heaping teaspoon baking powder
1 scant teaspoon baking soda
1 heaping Tablespoon salt
2 cups melted butter
2 cups sugar
1/4 cup (or more) cinnamon

1 pound powdered sugar
1/4 cup (or more) milk
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract

1.  Mix the milk, vegetable oil, and sugar in a large saucepan.  Heat until almost boiling (scald), stirring occasionally.  Then turn off the heat and let the mixture cool to lukewarm, about 45 minutes.

2.  When the mixture is lukewarm (not hot!), add the yeast and stir.  Let this sit for 5 minutes.

3.  If your pan is large enough, add 8 cups of flour to the milk mixture and stir.  If not, transfer the milk mixture to a large bowl first and then add the flour.

4.  Cover the dough and let it rise for an hour.

5.  After an hour, add the last cup of flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt to the dough and stir until combined.

6.  Sprinkle your rolling surface (counter) generously with flour.  Take half the dough and form a rough rectangle.  Roll the dough thinly into a large rectangle.

7.  Drizzle 1/2 to 1 cup of melted butter over the dough.  Sprinkle with 1 cup of sugar, and a generous sprinkling of cinnamon.

8.  Starting with the longest side, begin rolling the dough up toward you, jellyroll-style.  Pinch the seams to seal it.

9.  Drizzle about 1 Tablespoon of melted butter into each pan that you're using.  I used a 9x13" pan and then 4-5 7" round disposable cake pans (these are great for freezing and gifting to friends).

10.  Use a sharp knife or dental floss to cut the dough into 1" slices.  Place cut rolls into greased pans, leaving some space for the rolls to rise.

11.  Repeat these steps with the remaining half of the dough.

12.  Let the rolls rise for 20-30 minutes, while you preheat the oven to 350.

13.  Bake at 350 for 15-18 minutes, until lightly golden brown.

14.  While the rolls are baking, make the frosting by beating together the powdered sugar, milk, and vanilla.  Add more powdered sugar or milk to reach your desired consistency, it should be thick but pourable.

15.  After the rolls have been out of the oven for about 5 minutes, drizzle the icing over them.

Store rolls covered, at room temperature.  If you're freezing them, cover them tightly with foil first and then a layer of plastic wrap.  Thaw at room temperature before serving; you could also warm them in the oven for a few minutes after they're thawed.

Source:  The Pioneer Woman via Melissa's Cuisine (yes, this recipe was previously posted here!)

Monday, July 07, 2014

Stuffed Peppers

These sweet peppers are stuffed with corn, black beans, tomatoes, quinoa, and chicken.  It's clean eating at it's finest!
Melissa's Cuisine: Stuffed Peppers
Sorry I've been MIA lately.  The past few weeks my blog has been put on the back burner because of life.  Yes, life happens and some things just need to take priority.  You all know how it is...

First off, I've been eating only clean foods, so I haven't been baking at all.  I make a large batch of a meal and then eat it through out the week.  There hasn't been a ton of variety because I'm still learning about all this clean eating.  It's a journey well worth it though!  I have lots of ideas and new recipes to share with you soon!

Secondly, it's summertime and I'd much rather be outside enjoying the gorgeous weather we've been waiting months for than spending time in the kitchen or on my computer.  We recently got a swing and a baby pool for Summer and she loves to be outside!  She also just got a picnic table, slide, and sandbox for her birthday (more on that in a minute), so lots of time outdoors is in our future.

And third, we had Summer's first birthday party on Saturday.  She won't be one for a couple more weeks but since we'll be camping over her birthday and my Grandma was visiting from Canada this week, we decided to have an early celebration.  I spent a lot of time preparing for her party and I'm pleased to say it went beautifully!

Melissa's Cuisine: Stuffed Peppers

Anyway, on to the food.  The Stuffed Peppers are one of my new favorite foods.  I always thought that I didn't like peppers and so I always picked them out of my food and I never cooked with them.  Then a few weeks ago we had Kabobs at a friends house and they used red and yellow peppers.  I really enjoyed them and so I was motivated to pick up a few sweet peppers at the store.  Honestly, they sat in my crisper for a couple weeks because I got nervous that I wouldn't end up liking them as stuffed peppers.  I'm glad I decided to try anyway because like I said, these are one of my new favorite foods!

The filling is super simple and customizable.  I used diced chicken, quinoa, corn, black beans and tomatoes.  Combine the filling ingredients and then place the mixture in a hollowed out half of a pepper.  Warm them in the oven and you have a delicious and filling dinner!  This made more filling than I had peppers for, so I have also used the filling as a salad topping and inside a corn tortilla.  The peppers reheat well and made perfectly portioned lunches for me to take to work!

Stuffed Peppers

Serves 8

Ingredients:
1 large chicken breast
1 cup quinoa
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 bag frozen corn
1 can diced tomatoes
2 Tablespoons Cajun seasoning
4 red, yellow, or orange peppers

1.  Dice up chicken breast and cook in a frying pan.

2.  Cook quinoa according to package directions.

3.  Mix cooked quinoa, black beans, corn, tomatoes, and Cajun seasoning together.  You can also mix the chicken in if you want, I put mine on top of the filling because I needed to measure it separately.

4.  Wash peppers, cut them in half, and remove the seeds and white membranes.

5.  Place peppers, cut side up, on a baking sheet.  Fill with the quinoa and vegetable mixture.  Top with chicken if you haven't already added it in.

6.  Bake at 350 for 15 minutes, until heated through and the peppers are soft.

Serve hot.  Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge.

If you're doing the 21 Day Fix, fill a yellow container with the filling and place it in a pepper.  Measure the chicken in your red container and place on top of the filling.  This meal is 2 greens, 1 yellow and 1 red.
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