Author Archives: Melissa

What’s For Dinner?


Monday- Sloppy Joes (requested by the hubs) & Parmesan Fries

Sloppy Joes

Our Best Bites

Parmesan Fries

Playing With Sugar

Tuesday- Beef Stew  (Update: This was amazing!)

Beef Stew

Once Upon a Chef

Wednesday- Honey Soy Chicken Drumsticks & Asian Noodle Salad

Honey Soy Drumsticks

Huffington Post

Asian Noodle Salad

The Pioneer Woman

Thursday- Chipotle Lime Fish Tacos (Update: Adding this recipe to our collection, the family loved it!)

Chipotle Lime Fish Tacos

Closet Cooking

Friday- Mini Pizza Bagels & Veggie Platter

Mini Pizza Bagels


Saturday- Chicken w/ Mustard Cream Sauce & Caesar Salad (Update: swap out the chicken stock for some white wine, yum!)

Chicken w/ Mustard Cream Sauce

Let’s Dish

Sauteed Croutons

Tammy Circeo

Sunday- French Dip Sammies

French Dip Sammies

Our Best Bites

New Breakfast Recipe- Muffin Melts (Update: Honestly I was a little disappointed with these.)

Muffin Melts

The Pioneer Woman

New Lunch Recipe- Caprese Grilled Chese

Caprese Grilled Cheese

Closet Cooking

New Snack Recipe- Granola Bars

Granola Bars

Back to the Cutting Board

New Dessert- Cappuccino Mousse (sorry no picture yet)


1/2 tsp unflavored gelatin

2-1/2 c cold heavy cream

4 large egg yolks

2 Tbl instant espresso powder

1/4 c granulated sugar

1 Tbl confectioners sugar

fine salt

unsweetened cocoa powder

  1. In a large bowl, sprinkle gelatin over 2 Tbl water. In a medium bowl, whisk together egg yolks, granulated sugar, and pinch of salt until pale, about 1 minute.

  2. In a small saucepan, heat 1 c cream and espresso powder over medium until warm, stirring occasionally with a silicone spatula. Gradually whisk warm cream mixture into egg mixture until combined, then return to saucepan. Stirring constantly, cook over medium until mixture thickens, about 8 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and whisk in gelatin mixture. Press plastic wrap onto surface of espresso mixture and let cool completely (do not refrigerate), about 45 minutes.

  3. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat 1 c cream until soft peaks form. With a spatula, gently fold cream into espresso mixture. Divide among six 4-oz containers. Cover and refrigerate until set, 1 hour (or up to 1 day). Before serving, whisk 1/2 c cream and confectioners sugar until soft peaks form. Top mousse with whipped cream and sprinkle with cocoa powder.


What’s For Dinner?


Getting ready to go to the store, but first I must meal plan and create a grocery list! Here are the recipes that made the cut this week:

Monday- Toscana Soup w/ Turkey Sun-dried Tomato Paninis

Toscana Soup

Turkey Sun-dried Tomato Panini

Tuesday- Chicken Chimichangas

Chicken Chimichangas

Wednesday- Spaghetti w/ Meat Sauce and Cheesy Garlic Swirls (Update: This sauce is a keeper!)

Spaghetti w/ Meat Sauce

Cheesy Garlic Swirls

Thursday- Buffalo Chicken Sandwiches w/ Apple Slaw (Update: Love the sandwiches, loved the slaw, will 1/2 the recipe next time.)

Buffalo Chicken Sandwiches

Apple Slaw

Friday- Steak & Veggie Rolls w/ Fried Rice (Update: These had wonderful potential, next time I’ll buy a more tender cut and not cook it as long. The filling is amazing The fried rice is a winner, but will need to 1/2 the recipe next time.)

Steak & Veggie Rolls

Fried Rice

Saturday- Crockpot BBQ w/ Jalapeno Cornbread (Update: the cornbread was dry, and under seasoned…oh well.) 

I don’t have a picture of my crockpot bbq, but it is delicious and so simple! Pick out your favorite bbq sauce and some different meats (chicken, ribs, kielbasa, beef brisket). This time I am using kielbasa and chicken. I like to cut up both into large chunks, then place in a crockpot. Cover liberally with bbq sauce (my favorite is a combo of Kraft Masterpiece and Dave’s Devil Spit), cover and cook on low all day. The longer you cook the kielbasa, the better it will be!

Jalapeno Cornbread

Sunday- Chicken Pot Pie

Chicken Pot Pie

Turkey and Stuffing Bake


Impatient for Thanksgiving to arrive? I know I am, so here is my little “Thanksgiving casserole”, with the turkey, stuffing, gravy and cranberries all in one easy dish. My husband was a little hesitant when I started cooking ground turkey (something that rarely makes an appearance at my house), but pleasantly went back for seconds!

1 Tbl extra virgin olive oil

1/2 lb ground turkey

1/2 lb breakfast sausage

2 tsp ground sage

1/4 tsp thyme

1/4 tsp oregano

1/4 tsp rosemary

salt and pepper, to taste

3 Tbl flour

3-1/2 c chicken broth

3 Tbl butter

1 yellow onion, diced (a leek would be lovely as well)

3 celery stalks, diced

1 apple, diced

5-6 mushrooms, diced

1 loaf crusty bread, cut into large cubes (8 cups)

1/2 c dried cranberries

2 large eggs, lightly beaten


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spread the cubed bread on baking sheet, and bake for several minutes until bread is dried out. Take the bread out of the oven, and increase oven temperature to 425 degrees. In a large skillet, heat 1 Tbl oil over medium high heat. Remove sausage from casing, break up and cook with turkey, until browned, 8 to 10 minutes. Add seasonings and flour and stir to coat. Add 3 cups broth and cook, stirring and scraping up any browned bits, until liquid is thickened, about 3 minutes. Transfer ingredients to a large bowl. Pour cranberries into bowl, and stir into liquid.

Rinse out skillet; wipe dry. Return to heat and add  butter. Add onion, celery, apples, and mushrooms and cook until softened, 8 minutes. Remove from heat and add to the meat mixture, add most of the bread cubes (leave out about a cup); toss until combined. Stir in eggs. Spoon mixture into a casserole pan, sprinkle remaining bread cubes on top. Bake until juices are bubbling and bread is golden brown, 20-25 minutes. Let cool 10 minutes before serving.

Happy Halloween


This year I undertook the huge task of making the girls costumes. I gave myself a month, and still procrastinated until the last days to finish everything…when will I learn? After asking the girls what they wanted to be for Halloween, and not getting very much input, I decided to pick their current movies of choice: Tangled and Tinkerbell. After telling the girls this week what they would be dressed as, I knew I made the right choice.

I started with Tinkerbell, I found this wonderful homemade costume on Prudent Baby, and copied it almost exactly. The design was easy enough, the fabric I choose, however was not. After several frustrating tries, I was happy with the result. (Even though it already started to fall apart prior to pictures….oh well!)

I found some wings at Michaels, the shoes I painted green and glued a pom pom onto, and the wand was a dowel covered in ribbon and topped with a pom pom. All in all, one very happy Tinkerbell!

The next project had me a bit worried, I didn’t have a pattern and I had to make sleeves (something I’ve never done before). The first thing I did was go back to the fabric store and grab some better fabric, I wasn’t going to go through that again! I found some other Rapunzel creations online and decided to pick and choose what elements to incorporate. The dress came together very easily, the corset jacket was another story. After redoing the sleeves four times, I finally got it right…just in time (an hour prior to trick or treating)!

Of course I had to give my girl some accessories: a little hair extension and a frying pan!

Hope all your little ones had fun, Happy Halloween!

Lo Mein with Pork


Tonight I made Lo Mein with Pork, and it was delish! Everyone agrees that this is a new family favorite, maybe you’d like to add it to your recipe rotation? Here you go:

1 lb pork tenderloin

1 Tbl olive oil

salt and pepper

3/4 lb lo mein noodles or spaghetti

2 Tbl vegetable oil

7 garlic cloves, minced

8-10 cremini mushrooms, thinly sliced

10-12 snow peas, thinly sliced lengthwise

1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced

3 Tbl soy sauce

1/4 c oyster sauce

1/4 c water

1/4 tsp ground ginger

1/4 tsp black pepper

2 tsp sesame oil

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Heat 1 Tbl olive oil in a skillet, season pork with salt and pepper, then sear on both sides, about 8 minutes. Take tenderloin out of skillet and place in a baking dish and place in oven. Cook for 30-40 minutes, or until the pork reaches an internal temperature of 160 degrees. Take out of the oven and let the pork rest. Cook noodles according to package instructions; drain. Mix together soy sauce, oyster sauce, water, ginger, pepper, and sesame oil in a small bowl, set aside. Prep all the veggies and cut up the tenderloin into thin strips. In a large skillet or wok, heat 2 Tbl of vegetable oil over high heat. Add garlic and vegetables, stirring or tossing pan constantly. Cook until mushrooms are cooked, 4-5 minutes. Add sauce ingredients, lower heat to medium, and cook for 1 minute. Add noodles and pork, tossing all ingredients together until everything is coated with sauce and pork is warmed through, 2 minutes. Serve immediately.

Mummy Pops


I put together some halloween treats today, and surprisingly quickly. I love how they turned out! These came together using oreos, vanilla chips, and candy eyes (all the supplies can be found a Joanns except for the oreos).

Take a bag of Wilton vanilla candy melts, pour into a microwave safe bowl and microwave for 30 seconds. Take out and stir, then microwave for another 30 seconds. Mix again, if needed microwave another 10-20 seconds to finish melting, don’t overcook. Once the candy is smooth move to a hot pad (I like to use my rice bag after heating it for 1 minute) to keep warm.

Take the oreos and split in half. Dip the tip of a lollipop stick in the melted candy then stick in the frosting side of the oreo. Sandwich the cookie back together and set on a piece of wax or freezer paper. Continue with all the cookies (18-20), then take one cookie by the stick and dip in the melted candy. Use a spatula or spoon to coat the cookie completely, then gently tap the stick against the edge of the bowl to shake off the excess candy. Place two eyeballs on the oreo, then set the pop down on the paper to cool. Repeat this with remaining oreos.

Spoon the leftover melted chips into a sandwich baggie, cut off a small corner of the bag. Use this to create the bandages on your mummy, gently squeezing the candy out. If the candy is too hot it will come out too fast, just let it cool for a minute before trying to frost. Let everything dry, then package them up!