Welcome to my food blog! I am your average home cook and I want to share my love of food with the world. I'll divulge my recipes as often as possible. Feel free to comment or to email me at nodessertpodcast@gmail.com! Don' forget to come by often for new posts... I love having you visit me!

August 27, 2013

We Made Room For Dessert 10 - Chocolate Crinkle Cookies

As I am sure you know by now, I am a big fan of the show The Chew.  Previously I have brought you a recipe from one of the hosts, Clinton Kelly, for delicious chicken.  Today I want to bring you a recipe from another host, Carla Hall (former Top Chef contestant).  And this recipe is for dessert!  They are a delicious, sweet, chocolaty treat.
You can find the original recipe at:  Carla Hall's Crinkle Cookies

Chocolate Crinkle Cookies

4 tbs butter
1 egg

1tsp vanilla
1/4 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 tsp salt

1 cup flour
1/3 cup cocoa powder (unsweetened)
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/3 cup mini chocolate chips
1/4 cup powdered sugar (confectioners sugar)

Preheat oven to 350.  Microwave butter and cocoa powder in a bowl together for 45 seconds.  Whisk until smooth and then set aside.
Whisk together egg, brown sugar, white sugar, vanilla, and salt in a bowl until mixture is well-blended.  Gradually add this mixture to the cocoa mixture until completely integrated.
Whisk flour and baking powder together.  Stir in chocolate mixture until fully incorporated.  Fold in chocolate chips.  Refrigerate for 30 minutes, or until dough is firm.
Place powder sugar in a shallow pan.  Form dough in to small balls and roll in powdered sugar.  Place balls on baking sheet and bake for 5-8 minutes.  Allow to cool for 1 minute then transfer to wire cooling rack to finish cooling.


August 20, 2013

Simply Sides 5 - Oven Roasted Tomatoes

Summer is the time for tomatoes!  They are out in abundance, and are juicy and fresh.  A lot of people can them at the end of the summer so they can have them all winter long.  I decided to go with another approach, and that is to roast them in the oven.  You know I'm obsessed with roasting this year!  Roasting tomatoes gives them another dimension of flavor.  By caramelizing them a layer of sweetness and depth comes out.  Use them as a side dish with a nice fish or chicken dish.  You can puree them to make sauces or add them to sauces.  They are great toppings for wraps/sandwiches. And they make a nice healthy snack!
Here's how I made them:

Oven Roasted Tomatoes

3 large tomatoes quartered (don't cut them any smaller or they shrivel up too much)
1 head of garlic, separated into cloves and peeled
Olive oil

Salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 325.
Line a baking sheet with foil.

Place garlic cloves and tomatoes on sheet, drizzle with olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and toss so tomatoes and garlic are covered with olive oil and spices.
Roast for 1 hour, then check every 10 minutes after that until tomatoes are done.  See picture below as guideline.


Special Post #5 - Blue Cheese Dressing

Every once in awhile I enjoy making a new sauce.  I recently made a homemade blue cheese dressing and wanted to share the recipe with my readers!

Tangy Blue Cheese
2 oz blue cheese (I used Treasure Cave Buffalo Blue Wing Cheese)

pinch of sugar
dash of hot sauce 
dash of Worcestershire sauce
2 tbs white vinegar
salt and pepper to taste 
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 sour cream (I only use Breakstone's)
1/2 cup mayo (I only use Hellmann's)


Mix all ingredients together and pour into a container (such as a mason jar).  Let sit at least an hour, but preferably overnight to let flavors meld together.  Use on salads, chicken wings, or as a dip for veggies.  Enjoy!

August 12, 2013

Baked Chimis - Home Cooked Recipe 39

I LOVE Mexican food.  LOVE it!  Salsa, corn tortillas, guacamole... These are a few of my favorite things.  Freshly made salsa with a bit of a kick can brighten any day.  Enchiladas make me smile, quesadillas are a great quick snack, and tacos make for a fun dinner.
I was scanning through Pinterest (big surprise, right?!?) and I came across some interesting recipes for chimichangas.  I usually don't like to go through the hassle of deep frying, so when I saw that some of the recipes were for baking I immediately pinned a couple.

Talk about easy! Making these baked chimichangas does not take a lot of time, and the ingredient list is fairly simple.  Plus, they are easy to customize, and you can use just about any filling you prefer.  I looked for recipes using ground beef (always need new ground beef ideas!), but you could fill yours with chicken, pork, steak, or veggie items.  Really, anything you want!  You could probably even make dessert ones!
Here is the original recipe I used as my basis:  
k99 Recipe Rescue - Baked Beef Chimichangas
Then you'll be able to see from reading my recipe how I customized them for my own ingredients/needs.  I will also give you some ideas for additional fillings I think would be yummy.

Melissa's Baked Chimis

1 lb ground beef (shredded chicken, pulled pork, roasted veggies, mixed cheeses also make good fillings)
4 large burrito-size flour tortillas
4oz shredded cheddar
2 10oz cans of enchilada sauce (I use Old El Paso, I used both their mild red and their mild green chile, but you could use their spicier versions, only all of one kind, or your other favorite sauce - also, you can omit the sauce and use taco seasoning to flavor the meat)
1 small onion, diced

***Toppings (optional) - lettuce, tomatoes, salsa, sour cream, guacamole, diced onion, lime

Preheat oven to 425.  Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray (I put foil down first then spray).
Brown up ground beef and onion (drain if necessary). Let cool for 5 minutes or so.

Heat tortillas in microwave for 30 seconds (this is to soften them and make them more pliable and easy to work with).
Mix 1/2 of the shredded cheese and 1 can of enchilada sauce in to the beef and onions.  

***If you want to try other fillings, here are some of my suggestions.  1) shredded chicken with green chile enchilada sauce, 2) pulled pork with spicy red enchilada sauce, and 3) roasted veggies with monterey jack cheese and taco seasoning***
Spoon 1/4 of the beef mixture on to a torilla.  Fold tortilla; bring the 2 longest sides in to the middle, then fold each end in toward the middle.  Place seam side down on to baking sheet.
Repeat with remaining tortillas.
Spray tops of chimis with cooking spray, then bake for 10 minutes.  After 10 minutes, pour other can of enchilada sauce over chimis, and top with remaining cheddar.  Bake 5 more minutes.  Remove from oven.

Top with your favorite toppings.


August 6, 2013

Restaurant Review 14 - Sweet Tomatoes

My friend's salad creation
Ever since I have lived in FL (21 years now, holy cow!) my family has been eating at a restaurant called Sweet Tomatoes. They are a chain, and they also go by the name Soup Plantation in other regions of the country.  On the surface it seems like a large salad bar, but Sweet Tomatoes also serves a variety of soups (which change on a regular basis), fresh baked goods (including muffins, breads, and foccacias), a few different pastas (some change seasonally, others are standard like the macaroni and cheese), and frozen yogurt with different toppings choices.  Wholesome, health, made-from-scratch food that can cater to a variety of dietary needs like gluten free or vegetarian.  While meat is not predominant on the menus, you can add grilled chicken to your meal for a surcharge, and some of the soups contain meat, like the chicken noodle or the Mexican meatball soup.
My salad bar creation
The price is a fairly good value, and if you become a member of their Club Veg, they will email or mail you coupons on a regular basis.  Lunch prices are around $8 and dinner around $10, but with coupons you can usually get a reduced price.  Often they send me coupons where I get 20% off, lunch and dinner for $1 or $2 off the normal price, and sometimes they have coupons where 2 can dine for around $19, including beverages.  Not too bad for a healthy alternative to fast food or casual dining.
Bakery and Pasta options, including garlic cheese foccacia, Greek pasta, and Lemon Caper Pasta
Avgolemono Soup
When you walk in to Sweet Tomatoes you are sent down the main salad bar.  This bar feature 2-3 premade salads (made fresh several times a day).  One salad is usual a seasonal item, and the caesar salad is always present and my favorite premade item.  This month they have the caesar as usual, then they feature an Outrageous Orange Salad (vegetarian AND gluten free!), and then Wonton Happiness which has Asian flavors.  Then you get to make your own salad with a very large variety of items. You can put anything on it and you can make it as big or as small as you like.  Tip, I usually get 2 plates for my tray.  On one I put the premade salads (my caesar, and then they have pasta and specialty salads down the line, some of which change weekly or monthly), and on the other I put the salad I create myself. There are several kinds of lettuce, spinach, corn, peas, carrots, tomatoes, cucumbers, squashes, radishes, onion, chickpeas, pasta, cheeses, croutons, and many other toppings.  They also have several dressing choices, including fat free choices.  You then decide on a beverage, pick up your silverware, and then pay for your meal.
Bakery items - sourdough, blueberry muffin, lemon muffin
Depending on how busy they are, you can either seat yourself or they will seat you.
Once inside the dining area there are more food areas.  There is a soup bar, a place to make your own potato (fixings like sour cream, scallions, cheese, bacon, etc), and then the bakery.  The bakery always has a foccacia that is reminiscent of pizza, one that is like garlic bread, and sometimes a seasonal foccacia.  There are also bread choices (sourdough, delish!), muffins (blueberry is my favorite! Their seasonal choices are often very yummy too), and other baked goods.  As I mentioned earlier, there are also pasta choices.
Mexican Meatball Soup
For dessert they have sugar free options such as mousse or gelatin's, and there is fresh fruit.  I always opt for the frozen yogurt, three kinds and then a toppings bar that includes chocolate sauce, caramel sauce, sprinkles, nuts, etc.
I love that there are so many options for so many dietary needs.  Vegetarians, diabetics, and people who eat gluten-free will find a multitude of tasty choices to fill up on.
If you have a Sweet Tomatoes or Soup Plantation in your area, go eat there!  A great all-you-can-eat meal, at a good price with plenty of healthy options. They now have a breakfast buffet on Sunday mornings now, so if you're in the mood for brunch, not a bad option!  One of my favortite things about Sweet Tomatoes is that they have their standards but they also are constantly putting new things in according to the seasons.  For instance, in the spring, either April or May is lemon month and they have the best lemon pastas, soups, salads, and baked goods.  Sometime during the summer they do an "around the world theme" where 1/2 of a month will be Greece, the other 1/2 Mexico, then the next month will be 1/2 Italy and 1/2 something else.  Very cool!  For more information including what they are currently featuring, and their locations, visit their website at:
Sweet Tomatoes/Soup Plantation Website
Don't forget to sign up for Club Veg to get your discounts!

Breakfast Buffet on Sunday's!