Melissa's Cuisine: January 2013

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Superbowl Foods Round-up

If you are anything like me, when you think of the Superbowl, you think of food.  Lots and lots of food.  And commercials.  I mean really, isn't that what the Superbowl is all about, food and commercials?  Oh, and maybe some football, if you're really into that sort of thing :) 

In the past, Mike and I have hosted a Superbowl party at our house.  It's filled with food, friends, and laughter.  This year, we're not having a party, but you better believe we'll still be enjoying delicious food.  Here is a round-up of my favorites:
Baked "Fried" Pickles:
 
What are your must-have foods for Superbowl?

Monday, January 28, 2013

Cheesy Ham and Potato Soup

This weekend was filled with adventures.  I was at a camp up north with my youth group teens for a weekend retreat.  Here are some of the "highlights":

*Driving through a horrible winter storm, taking the wrong exit, and driving out of our way.  A normally 1-1/2 hour trip took nearly 3!

*Sliding backwards down a steep hill because halfway up my car couldn't make it anymore!

*Watching the kids brave their fears and climb up an ice-wall.

*Spending one-on-one time with the kids and getting to know them better.

*Bursting out in random songs like, "I'm a Barbie Girl".  Oh yes, they did!

*The speaker making up yoga poses like the "dirty lion."

*Playing games like Family Feud and Citadel.

*Jones Soda and sour candies.

*Eating way more food in the 3 days we were there than I normally eat in a week!

We had a ton of fun, got way too little sleep, ate way too much food, laughed until our stomachs hurt, walked miles in the snow.  Most of all we grew closer to God and to each other.  We really have a great group of kids.

This soup has nothing to do with this weekend, but that's okay.  It's cold outside and that means it's soup weather.  This was another of the recipes that Alecia and I made on our freezer cooking day.  It makes enough for dinner, plus leftovers for lunch or to freeze.
Cheesy Ham and Potato Soup

Serves 8

Ingredients:
2 cups water
2 cups peeled and cubed potatoes
1/2 cup sliced carrots
1/2 cup sliced celery
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup margarine
1/4 cup flour
2 cups milk
2 cups shredded cheddar
2 cups frozen sweet corn
1-1/2 cup cooked ham, cubed

1.  In a large saucepan over high heat, bring water, potatoes, carrots, celery, onion, salt and pepper to a boil.  Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 8-10 minutes.

2.  Meanwhile, in a medium pot over low heat, melt the butter. 
 
3.  Blend in flour. 
 
4.  Add milk all at once.  Cook and stir over medium heat until thickened and bubbly. 
 
5.  Add cheese and stir until melted.

6.  Stir cheese mixture into the un-drained veggies and return large saucepan to burner. 
 
7.  Add corn and ham.  Heat over medium heat, stirring occasionally.

Source: Alecia

Friday, January 25, 2013

Bacon Appetizers

Bacon.  Cheese.  Crackers.  Any of those three are absolutely delicious on their own, but when you combine the three the results are out of this world!

I made these for our New Year's Eve get together this past year.  They were a hit with everyone.  Now the Superbowl is just over a week away, and these would make a great Superbowl appetizer.

The great thing about these appetizers is how versatile they are.  I topped some of the crackers with brown sugar, and others with grated Parmesan cheese, before wrapping with bacon.  I think apricot jam would be delicious as well.
Bacon Appetizers

Ingredients:

1 package Town House crackers
1 pound thin sliced bacon, cut in half
grated Parmesan cheese
brown sugar

1.  Lay crackers face up on a baking sheet with a cooking rack on it.

2.  Top each cracker with either a teaspoon of Parmesan cheese or a teaspoon of brown sugar.

3.  Carefully wrap the half slice of bacon around each cracker, making sure the topping doesn't fall off.  The bacon should completely cover the cracker.

4.  Place the bacon wrapped crackers back on the cooking rack.

5.  Place in a 250 degree oven for 2 hours, until the bacon is crispy.

Serve hot or at room temperature.

Source: The Pioneer Woman

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Quinoa Cordon Bleu Casserole



It's cold outside.  Like really, really cold.  The high yesterday was 9 degrees, but the wind chill made it feel like 9 below.  Today isn't supposed to be much better.  We're in the midst of this Arctic blast, plus we're getting slammed with non-stop snow showers.  Most of the snow is lake effect, and since we live real close to the lakeshore, we're getting the brunt of the storm.  It's been snowing since Sunday night and there are no real signs of it letting up any time soon.  Most schools and a lot of businesses were closed yesterday, and after driving to work, it was obvious that no-one should be on the roads unless they had to be.  It's pretty nasty outside! 

When it's so cold out, I usually turn to warming foods, like soups and hot casseroles.  I actually created this recipe last year, and it's been waiting in my "to post" file for a long time.  Can any other bloggers relate?  Now that I've finally gotten around to posting this recipe, I feel bad that I haven't posted it before.  The pictures really don't do it justice (it looks like a blob of mush...oops!), but this casserole really is delicious. 

I've always loved Chicken Cordon Bleu.  It was one of my most requested dinners when I was a teenager.  I also love quinoa.  I had some leftover from another quinoa dish and decided to try a Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole.  It was so easy to make, and I really like it because it uses ingredients I already have in the house.  It's a warm and comforting meal, perfect for a frigid day like today!

Quinoa Chicken Cordon Bleu Bake

Serves 6

Ingredients:
3 cups cooked quinoa
2 cups cooked chicken, diced
1 can condensed cream of chicken soup
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup sour cream
1 cup cubed ham
4 slices Swiss cheese

1.  In a mixing bowl, combine the condense soup, milk, and sour cream until smooth.

2.  Stir in the quinoa and diced chicken.

3.  Pour into a greased 8x8" baking pan.

4.  Place cubed ham on top of the quinoa.

5.  Place the Swiss cheese slices on top of the ham.

6.  Bake at 350 for 30 minutes, until heated through.  Serve hot.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Buttermilk Pancakes

By now, you are well aware of my love for breakfast foods.  Especially pancakes!  So it's no surprise, when browsing through Julie's Eats and Treats to find a recipe to make for this month's Secret Recipe Club, that I was drawn to her mom's recipe for Buttermilk Pancakes

Julie's blog features Simple, Easy but Delicious Food. I was drawn to a number of her recipes.  My "short list" included a whopping 13 recipes, but I had a major craving for pancakes so they ended up winning out.  I'm sure I'll be making more of her recipes in the future.

I like to make pancakes as an easy but delicious supper.  Served with an omelet and fruit, this made for a filling meal.  I added a cup of chocolate and peanut butter chips.  (I'm not a fan of syrup, so I put the sweetness in my pancakes.)  I think these would also be great with some blueberries or any other add-ins you choose.  I made a double batch of pancakes so I would be able to have pancakes for breakfast through out the week.  I've enjoyed these pancakes nearly every day last week, and I'll certainly make them again!
Buttermilk Pancakes

Makes 9-5" pancakes

Ingredients:
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 egg, beaten
1-1/8 cup buttermilk
2 T
ablespoons butter, melted
1 cup chocolate chips (or other add-in of your choice)

1.  Preheat and lightly grease an electric griddle.

2.  Mix the flour, salt, and baking soda together in a bowl.

3.  Add the egg, buttermilk, and butter.  Stir until just combined, the batter may still have a few lumps.


4.  Drop 1/4 cup of the batter onto the griddle, spreading lightly with the bottom of the cup to even out the batter. 

5.  Cook until lightly browned on each side, about 2 minutes per side. Repeat with remaining batter.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Saturday Sweetness

What a week!  In case you haven't been around much, here's what you may have missed.

I started this week with a big announcement about something "I've Been Working Really Hard" on...



Then I shared with you a delicious and fun Swirl Cookie.  This is how I announced the news of our baby to my co-workers and youth group girls. 


On Friday, I shared with you a delicious variation of Mike's favorite pretzels, Pepperoni Pretzels.  You won't need to go to the mall for pretzels ever again!
























This week was a great week to find inspiration on Pinterest!  You can see everything that I've pinned here


Mike absolutely loves Kraft Macaroni & Cheese. It's one of his most requested recipes. When I saw this homemade version claiming to taste just like boxed Mac & Cheese, I knew I had to pin it!



A birthday tradition in Mike's family is that you get to choose what dessert you want. We're celebrating my birthday tonight and when I saw this Peanut Butter Eclair Cake, I knew it was perfect!


Hamburger, crescent rolls, cheese, and Doritos. This Taco Bake looks delicious!


I'm a sucker for bagels, especially those of the chocolate chunk variety. It's been a while since I've made bagels but these Chocolate Chunk Bagels have me wanted to bake them again!


Homemade candy is so fun to make. I've never made taffy before, but this Homemade Kool-Aid Taffy looks like fun!

Source: dvo.com via Melissa on Pinterest



What did you find on Pinterest this week?

Friday, January 18, 2013

Pepperoni Pretzels

It's the first thing you smell when you step foot into the mall.  It's like they pump the scent of freshly baked pretzels through the air systems to tantalize you until you give in and buy a pretzel.  Wait, that would be a great marketing tactic...maybe that is what they do!

Typically, I've been able to resist the temptation, but that hasn't been the case lately.  A couple months ago, Mike and I stopped by the mall to check on something.  It took a lot less time than we planned and we had time to kill before heading to our friend's house.  The smell of the fresh baked pretzels called to us and we had to give in.  We split a pepperoni pretzel that was absolutely delicious.  Mike talked for days about how good it was and how I would have to re-create it.  Then, a couple weeks ago we were at the mall again and the thought of a pepperoni pretzel was too much...we had to give in and buy one (or two...).

The other day, Mike requested that I make pepperoni pretzels.  Remember how much he loves homemade pretzels?  I sprinkled some cheese over the pretzel dough and then topped it with slices of pepperoni.  We both loved these pretzels and we'll certainly be making them again.  Goodbye mall pretzels, hello homemade pretzels!

German Style Soft Pretzels

Makes 4

Ingredients:
1 cup warm milk (about 110 degrees)
2-1/4 teaspoons yeast
3 tablespoons packed brown sugar
2-1/2 cups flour
2 Tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon salt
3 Tablespoons baking soda
shredded mozzarella cheese
pepperoni slices
butter for brushing on top

1.  Pour the warm milk into a large bowl and sprinkle with the yeast.  Let it sit for about 2 minutes.

2.  Mix in the brown sugar and 1 cup of flour.

3.  Melt the 2 Tablespoons of butter and stir into the mixture.

4.  Add the remaining flour and salt.  Mix to form a slightly sticky dough.

5.  Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead for about 5 minutes, until the dough is smooth but still slightly sticky.

6.  Shape the dough into a ball, place in a lightly greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap and place it in a warm place to rise until the dough doubles (about 1 hour). 

7.  Punch the dough down and turn out onto a lightly floured surface.

8.  Divide the dough into 4 pieces to make "mall-sized" pretzels.  Roll and stretch each piece into a 30 inch rope.

9.  Form each piece into a pretzel shape by forming a U-shape, then holding the ends of the rope, cross them over each other and press lightly onto the bottom of the pretzel.

10.  In a shallow baking dish (or pie tin), dissolve 3 Tablespoons baking soda into 1-1/2 cups water.

11.  Dip each pretzel into the baking soda water and place formed pretzels on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and lightly sprayed with cooking spray. 

12.  Sprinkle pretzels with mozzarella cheese and place pepperonis on top.

13.  Bake pretzels at 450 for 8-10 minutes, until golden.

14.  Remove pretzels from the oven and brush with melted butter while hot.

Store any leftovers in an airtight container.

Pretzel recipe from:  NYC Eats

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Swirl Cookies

Pink or blue?

Cloth or disposable?

Nurse or bottle feed?

Crib or bassinet? 

Natural birth or assisted birth?

These are just a few of the questions that have been swirling through my head for the past 12 weeks.  (If you have no idea what I'm talking about, you might want to check out Monday's post.)  Thankfully Mike and I are on the same page for the decisions we've made so far.  I know these few questions are just the beginning.  Now that our news is out in the open, more questions pop up as our friends and family bring up their thoughts, opinions, and stories.  What is some of your best advice for a first time mom?

The first time I made these cookies was for a Christmas cookie swap.  I dyed half the dough red and left the other white.  The taste was fantastic, but I wasn't impressed with the swirls.  The directions I used didn't really tell how thick to roll out the dough and I went too thick.  As delicious as the cookies were, I knew I had to give them a second chance.

I decided to use these cookies to make our baby announcement to my co-workers and my youth group girls.  For work, I put the cookies in a container with a note that said "Guess what?"  The announcement was a huge success and my co-workers got the point quickly.  My youth group girls didn't catch on so quickly, actually, they didn't catch on at all.  I guess that's what I get for bringing treats so often...they just thought it was another snack.  Oh well...at least they loved the cookies!


Swirl Cookies

Makes approximately 3 dozen 1-1/2" cookies

Ingredients:

3 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1-1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

3 Tablespoons milk
1 tablespoon gel food coloring



1.  In a small bowl, mix together the flour, salt, and baking powder.  

2.  In the bowl of your stand mixer, cream together the butter and sugar.

3.  Add the egg, vanilla, and milk and beat until incorporated.

4.  Gradually add the dry mixture, beating until completely combined.

5.  Remove half the mixture from the bowl.  If you want to be precise, weigh the dough to ensure that each half is the same.  (I did the second time!)

6.  Add the food coloring to each half of dough, if desired.  You can also dye one half and leave the other plain.  

7.  On a sheet of waxed paper, roll out one ball of dough to form a large rectangle, about 1/8" thick.  (If the dough is too sticky to roll, refrigerate it for 30 minutes first.)

8.  Roll out the other half of the dough to a rectangle the same size as the first.

9.  Carefully slide the one of the dough rectangles on top of the other.  Trim to even edges if necessary.

10.  Roll the dough lengthwise into a log.  

11.  Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours.

12.  Unwrap the dough and slice it into 1/2" thick slices.  Place 1" apart on a parchment lined cookie sheet.  

13.  Bake at 375 for 10-12 minutes, until the center of the cookie is set.

Store cookies in an airtight container.   

Source:  My Shine Project 

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Saturday Sweetness

How was your week?  Mine was busy!  It was my first full week back to work after the holidays.  Getting back into the routine of things feels so good, but it's hard to believe that the holidays have come an gone already.  I'll admit, I wasn't ready to get back into my routine...I was enjoying the laid back nature of my time off.

Maybe that explains why I only managed to get 2 recipes up this week.  Oops!  I'm hoping to do some baking today, so I plan to do better next week.  Here's what I shared this week:

Stuffed Shells:  This dish is simple to prepare and absolutely delicious.  It can be served immediately or frozen for a quick meal in the future.  

Asiago Crusty Bread:  This bread is absolutely amazing!  The preparation method is different from your typical loaf of bread, and I love its free-form shape.  

Here are some of my favorite pins from this week:

Nutella S'mores Pulls: Nutella.  Marshmallows.  Bread.  Need I say more?


Biscoff Crescent Roll Cookies: I love Biscoff spread, but so far I've only enjoyed it straight off the spoon.  I think this recipe may convince me to use it to make something!


Strawberries and Cream Bundt Cake:  This is a stunning cake.  I'm throwing a baby shower for my friend this spring, and I'm sure this will make an appearance!


Churro Waffles:  Two of my favorite foods in one?  Genius!


Rice and Beans:  This may look simple, but there is something so comforting and delicious about a bowl of rice and beans!

What did you pin this week?
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