Sunday, July 8, 2012


Cupcakes for Leeland's 3rd Birthday Party!

As a 'stay at home' mom, it can be hard keeping things updated and current when you are chasing two little guys who need your full attention. In the evenings, I like to relax with my hubby and enjoy a nice meal and just enjoy some quality time together or work on another project. I love this blog and have been doing it for the last two and a half years, but it is time to change some things up. 

I have a knack for baking, cooking, creating, food photography, entertaining, blogging and lots of other hobbies like couponing and at home projects which I enjoy doing on a daily basis. You might think, and I've been told, "How do you have time to do all these things and chase those boys?" The answer is, well, that's just me and who I am. I enjoy doing all those things (those who really know me know I get it from my mom). They are not really a big deal to me. I love to make over-the-top meals even if it's just for my toddlers who end up trashing it on the floor. To me, they are like my little guests. We also as a family don't eat out at a lot of restaurants and so I like to make meals at home and experiment with new recipes and above all share them with everyone!

Back in February of this year (2012) I had the opportunity with my best friend to audition for a show on Food Network called "Recipe to Riches" Season 2 and entered my pretzel bites which I named "Canadian Bacon Bites" and was able to snag a "Golden Ticket" which made me the top 15 in Canada in my category of savoury snacks. I did not get through to the top 3 and make it to the competition in Toronto, but being in that environment and among the celebrity judges sure gave me the confidence to know I can do more. I did end up having an opportunity through my blog to work with Maple Leaf Canada and their product Oliveri to create some meals using their pasta which they posted on their Facebook Fanpage to over 40,000 fans! They sent me a $50 gift card and 10 free product coupons to use to make these meals. There was also another opportunity with GoldSeal tuna after I submitted a recipe using their flavoured tuna. They sent me some free product coupons and some other gift items as well. All in all, a lot of confidence was built and put to use!

So, this is where I stand now. I want to further in my baking and creations to share with others on a different scale. This blog isn't just a blog to me, it's also my virtual cookbook and I will be updating it here and there. For now, the blog address is and will become something new, exciting, and hopefully produce a little extra money for this 'stay at home' mom!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Lemon Brownies

Lemon Brownies
When life gives you lemons... make Lemon Brownies! The taste of lemon is so refreshing and this makes a great summer dessert. It's quick and easy! If you love lemons, then you will love these! I doubled up on the lemon glaze since the recipe didn't give enough to spread around the top... well not enough for me anyways. Enjoy these squares of lemony goodness!

3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
2 large eggs
2 1/2 teaspoons lemon zest
2 tablespoons lemon juice

Lemon Glaze
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 teaspoons lemon zest

Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray an 8-by-8-inch baking dish with cooking spray and set aside. 

Zest and juice two small lemons; set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixture fitted with the paddle attachement, beat the flour, sugar, salt, and softened butter until combined. 

In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, lemon zest, and lemon juice until combined. Pour into the flour mixture and beat at medium speed until smooth and creamy, about 2 minutes. 

Pour into baking dish and bake for 25 minutes, or until just starting to turn golden around the edges and a toothpick inserted into the center of the brownies comes out clean. Allow to cool completely before glazing.

When brownies are cooled completely, make the glaze by whisking together all three ingredients. Spread over the brownies with a rubber spatula, cut into bars, and serve!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Olivieri Basil Pesto Chicken Legs & Pasta w/ a GIVEAWAY!

Olivieri Basil Pesto Chicken Leg w/ Spinach & Cheese Ravioli 
Olivieri Basil Pesto pasta sauce can be used for more than just on pasta. I spread some of the pesto on chicken legs and then baked them in the oven. I paired it up with some Olivieri Spinach and Cheese Ravioli  and some more of the Basil Pesto pasta sauce. It was a great meal with lots of flavour. Thanks Olivieri!

I thoroughly enjoyed creating these wonderful meals using Olivieri products over the past week. They are quick and easy to prepare. You can also pair these meals up with one of their garlic breads too! Here is a giveaway for 2 free product coupons for you to try some of Olivieri's gourmet pastas and sauces. They have an amazing selection to choose from in the deli section of your grocery store. As a bonus, I am also including an Olivieri BOGO coupon too!

Please be sure to check out my lastest blog posts using Olivieri products in some fun and invented ways your whole family will enjoy.

Lasagna Enchiladas
Fried 3 Cheese Tortellini

(Disclosure: "I am a member of the Maple Leaf Foods Connects Program. As a part of my participation, I have been compensated both monetarily and with free product, however, all opinions and ideas shared on this blog remain my own.")

To enter this contest, all you need to do is:

 1) Leave a comment on this blog post about which Olivieri recipe you would be interested in trying out from Meals with Michelle, the Lasagna Enchiliadas, Fried 3 Cheese Tortellini, or Basil Pesto Chicken Legs. 

2) For an extra entry, follow Meals with Michelle on Facebook 

3) For another extra entry, follow Olivieri on Facebook

The deadline for the contest will be May 16th, 2012 at 10pm (Atlantic time). This is for CANADA residents only. Winner will be announced on the Meals with Michelle website and on the fan Facebook page (so make sure you are following!). Thank you and good luck! ~Michelle

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Lasagna Enchiladas by Olivieri

Lasagna Enchiladas 
 Instead of creating just a good ole regular lasagna out of the Olivieri lasagna sheets, I thought of another way to use them. It's a play on enchiladas by using the noodles instead of tortilla wraps. There are six noodle sheets in a 360 gram package so enough for six servings. As far as what to put inside of the lasagna is really up to you. I used extra lean ground beef with some added chili seasonings and pasta sauce and also 1% Cottage Cheese mixed with some grated Parmesan cheese and chopped up fresh parsley. I topped it off with some pasta sauce, grated cheese, chopped fresh parsley, and I sprinkled some Reggiano Parmesan cheese too. A very inventive way to use lasagna sheets if you ask me! Here is the recipe:

1 lb. extra lean ground beef
1 tbsp. chili seasoning
2-3 cups pasta sauce
1 cup Cottage Cheese (I used 1%)
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 tbsp fresh chopped parsley (some for the cottage cheese mixture and some for the topping)
1 cup shredded cheese
1 package Olivieri Oven Ready Lasagna Sheets

Turn oven to 350 degrees. Cook beef until done then add chili seasoning and about 2 cups of pasta sauce. In another small bowl, combine Cottage cheese, Parmesan, and parsley. Take an 8" x 11" baking dish and line it with some of the pasta sauce. Take a lasagna sheet and add some of the beef mixture and cheese mixture then roll it up and place it in the baking dish. When finished with all the sheets, top with pasta sauce (cover all over the top), shredded cheese, and parsley. Bake in the oven for 35 minutes. 

(Disclosure: "I am a member of the Maple Leaf Foods Connects Program. As a part of my participation, I have been compensated both monetarily and with free product, however, all opinions and ideas shared on this blog remain my own.")

Fried 3 Cheese Herb Tortellini by Olivieri

Fried 3 Cheese Herb Tortellini
Being creative is one thing, but being creative with a product that is already on its own fantastic is another. Olivieri has given me the opportunity to try out some of their amazing pastas and sauces in order to create something new. As part of their Connects Program, "I am a member of the Maple Leaf Foods Connects Program. As a part of my participation, I have been compensated both monetarily and with free product, however, all opinions and ideas shared on this blog remain my own."

The first product I am blogging is for their 3 Cheese Herb Tortellini. I decided to bread them and fry to get crispy morsels of cheesy goodness. Then I added them on a skewer stick with some sauteed mushroom halves and some cubed up pieces of cooked dill salmon. You could also use pieces of chicken, pork, beef or just make it all veggies! The fried Tortellini is great on it's own as an appetizer and dipped in Olivieri's Alfredo sauce too. Here is the recipe for the Fried 3 Cheese Herb Tortellini by Olivieri and Meals with Michelle!

For the breading:
1 cup of flour
3/4 cup Italian bread crumbs (or plain bread crumbs)
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
3 eggs lightly beaten
350 grams package of 3 Cheese Herb Tortellini by Olivieri
Vegetable oil for frying

Cook the Tortellini as directed on the package. Rinse in cold water. Add some oil to a frying pan and turn on low heat until the oil is ready to use (Stick a wooden spoon into the oil and hold it straight up while resting on the bottom of the frying pan and when it starts to bubble it's ready). You will need 3 bowls, 1 for the flour, 1 for the eggs, and 1 for the Italian bread crumbs combined with the Parmesan cheese. Dip the Tortellini into the flour (shake off excess flour), then into the egg mixture, then into the bread crumbs. Put them in another bowl until you are ready to fry up a bunch. Put them into the oil for about 1 minute or until crispy golden brown. Remove from oil and place on some papertowel.

Saute some mushroom halves with some butter in a small frying pan until tender. I used salmon trimmings cubed up then sprinkled with some dill, salt, and pepper then cooked in the oven at 350 degrees for about 10-15 minutes. The completed skewer was then placed on top of a Caesar salad with real bacon and shaved Reggiano Parmesan cheese. 

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Oreo & Cream Cookies

Oreo & Cream Cookies
It seems lately that I always have a package of Oreo cookies hanging out in my cupboard. There are so many different creations you can make with them! I came across a 'cookies and cream' white chocolate bar on sale at the grocery store and thought they would make the perfect chocolate chips in an 'Oreo & Cream' cookie. Here is the recipe for the cookie dough adapted from Picky Palate!

1 cup softened butter or margarine
3/4 Cup packed light brown sugar
1 Cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 Tablespoon pure vanilla
3 1/2 Cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 - 1 1/2 Cups chopped cookies and cream white chocolate
1 1/2 Cups chopped up Oreo cookies or about a row and a half

Preheat oven to 350 degrees, combine in a stand mixer or hand mixer butter and sugars then add the eggs and vanilla until combined. In another bowl sift flour, salt, and baking soda then add to wet mixture. Stir in chocolate and Oreo pieces. 1 round tablespoon of dough onto a greased baking sheet. Bake for about 10 minutes. 

Italian Primavera Tuna Bake

Italian Primavera Tuna Bake
Sometimes when it comes to making a great, quick, and inexpensive meal, you don't need 'buy' gourmet but you need to 'think' gourmet. Here is an inexpensive yet gourmet style meal that is full of all your daily nutritional needs that your whole family will enjoy! I picked up a can of GoldSeal 'Flaked Light Italian Pesto' tuna while getting my groceries the other day to try it out. Tuna has remained an inexpensive protein which is great and my kids love the flavoured tunas. I knew I wanted to make a tuna casserole out of it for a meal and then I came across the Knorr Primavera  sauce and knew then I had found a great match! 

Here is what you need for ingredients:

454 g box of penne (or other pasta noodles)
1 package of Knorr Primavera sauce prepared at directed on package
1 can of GoldSeal Flaked Light Tuna Italian Pesto 
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
Chopped parsley
Italian bread crumbs 

Here is the recipe:

Boil up a box of 454 grams of penne noodles (or which ever noodles you prefer) as directed on the box. In a sauce pan, make the Primavera sauce as directed on the package. As the sauce is starting to thicken, add about 1/4 cup of light Parmesan cheese, 1/2 cup of frozen peas, and the can of tuna to the sauce and combine. Drain noodles and return to the same pot and pour the sauce over the noodles. Transfer to a glass casserole dish and top off with some Italian bread crumbs, fresh chopped parsley, and bake in the oven at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes. 

This meal is full of flavour and is as gourmet as you can get with a can of tuna, a package of sauce, and a box of pasta noodles. This will feed a family of 4 as a main dish or will make 6 side dishes. In total, I spent $1.19 for the tuna, $1 for the pasta noodles, and $1.50 for the Primavera sauce. Not bad for such a gourmet meal! 

Friday, March 9, 2012

Homemade 'Hamburger Helper'

Homemade 'Hamburger Helper'
Taking a classic 'boxed' type dinner and making it more healthful by using less sodium and adding more fibre will make you wonder why you buy those boxed noodle packages. Yes, it does take a little more effort in the kitchen to make your own sauce, but isn't it better knowing what you are putting into your food? I think so. Here is my version of 'Hamburger Helper' that I want to share that will feed a family of 4:

You will need:
- a frying pan to fry up the hamburger, a small sauce pot for making the cheese sauce, and medium pot for boiling pasta
- 1 lb. of extra lean ground beef
- 1 clove of garlic minced
- 1 box of whole grain rotini pasta noodles
- 2 tablespoons margarine
- 1 1/2 tablespoons corn starch / or 2 tablespoons flour
- 1 1/2 cups of skim milk
- 2 cups shredded light (40% less fat) marble cheese
- 1/2 cup light Cheese Whiz
- 1 tablespoon onion powder
- 2 teaspoons dried thyme
- cracked pepper

Here's what to do:

Boil the pasta until it's done and rinsed as directed on the box. Use any kind of noodle you prefer.
Fry up the hamburger with the minced up clove of garlic. Drain the fat. Set aside.
To make the sauce, over low heat melt the margarine then add the corn starch and whisk. Once combined, add the milk and whisk until it has been incorporated then add in all the other ingredients until you have a nice cheese sauce. If you find it is too thick, just add more milk and whisk over low heat. I use this same sauce for my homemade mac and cheese as well!
Combine noodles, hamburger, and cheese sauce into the medium pot and serve!

Healthy version of 'Hamburger Helper' the whole family will love!

Breakfast Skillet

Breakfast Skillet
Here is a thrown together type of oven skillet that I created for my hubby and I for lunch one day. Of course, I do realize it says 'Breakfast Skillet' but we love eating breakfast foods for any meal of the day! It's one of those recipes that you can 'make it your own' by adding whatever ingredients you have in your fridge. For this skillet, I first cut up some potatoes and minced a garlic clove then tossed them into a frying pan with some olive oil as well as some seasonings (roasted garlic seasonings, onion powder, chili powder, thyme, and cracked pepper) and fried them up till they were done. In another frying pan, I had my bacon cooking. Again, you could use sausage or just make it vegetarian by adding chopped up peppers, mushrooms, and onions. Your kitchen will smell divine when all this is cooking.

Turn your oven on to 350 degrees. Next, put a few eggs in a bowl and whisk them up. Add all your cooked ingredients to your baking dish then pour the egg mixture over top and add some grated cheese. Bake in the oven for about 20 minutes or until the eggs are cooked.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Pizza Rolls

Pizza Rolls
Pinterest is full of so many great ideas. I decided to try out these Pizza Rolls that looked super delicious and I knew my boys would love them. I made my own pizza dough and added some fresh chopped up rosemary to the dough (about a teaspoon). After the dough was done rising, I cut it in half to put in the freezer. The other half I rolled out on some flour and made it into a rectangle shape. Then added some Italian seasonings, Parmesan cheese, some shredded marble cheese, turkey pepperoni, and some more cheeses. Then rolled it up and put some olive oil over it and rolled in into some cornmeal. Then made slices and put them on a baking sheet. Preheat oven to about 400 degrees and let them cook for about 20 minutes. I didn't add any sauce to mine because you can dip it into any sauce when they are done! We had some creamy garlic sauce and it tasted so good. The toppings are endless that you can put on your pizza so be creative! Here is the recipe for the pizza rolls: 

  • 1 (13.8 ounce) can Pillsbury® refrigerated classic pizza crust
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

  • 1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup sliced pepperoni, chopped
  • 1 cup marinara or pizza sauce