What’s Cooking

Weekly What’s Cooking with Melissa

Since school has started and fall is finally in the air, I’ve been canning applesauce and making more recipes with apples. I eat gluten free so quinoa is a grain I eat often and enjoy. This week I’d like to share this old recipe that I have for Apple Walnut Quinoa breakfast cereal. Hope you enjoy!


Apple Walnut Quinoa

3 tbsp. butter

2 apples, diced

1 cup red quinoa, uncooked

1/4 cup orange juice

3 cups water

1/2 tsp. cinnamon

1/4 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. nutmeg

1/4 cups walnuts, chopped


Melt butter in a large pot. Add apples, cinnamon, nutmeg and orange juice. Cook apples on medium/low heat until they caramelize, stirring often so apples don’t burn. After about 10 minutes, add quinoa and toast for a minute or two, stirring constantly. Add water and salt, turn heat on high and bring to a boil. Stir, reduce heat to low and simmer about 15 minutes or until all of the water is absorbed. When ready, stir in walnuts and serve.

*If you like it sweet you can add some brown sugar and even some golden raisins.

Weekly What’s Cooking with Melissa

School’s in! Can you believe it? It seems like summer just started. During the school year I’m always looking for fast weeknight dinners to make. This week I’d like to share a really versatile pasta dish that’s fast, easy and delicious!


Broccoli Chickpea Pasta

1/4 cup olive oil or canola oil

2 tsp. garlic, minced

1/4 cup onions, minced

1/4 cup mushrooms, chopped

1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper

1/2 tsp. onion powder

Dash of salt

1 lb. box pasta (elbow, penne or rotini), gluten free works great

4 cup broccoli florets (frozen, thawed and drained)

1/4 cup chicken broth

1 15 oz. can chickpeas, drained


Over medium heat, warm oil and saute garlic, onions and mushrooms. Add crushed red pepper, onion powder and salt. Saute for two to three minutes, remove from heat. In a large pot of boiling water, cook pasta according to box directions and add broccoli to the pot a couple of minutes before the pasta is done. Cook until both are tender. Put pasta and broccoli back in the pot then stir in chicken broth and chickpeas. Return to heat for a couple of minutes and toss mushroom mixture into pasta. Stir a few times to heat through.  *I like to add shredded chicken or a drained can of tuna to this recipe.

Weekly What’s Cooking with Melissa

Since the Labor Day holiday is coming up, I thought I’d share a recipe for it this week and next week to help you prepare. I know I’m already planning to grill for the holiday, and this recipe for Mushroom Bacon Cheddar Stuffed Hamburgers are on my menu. The following recipe will make four hamburgers.


Mushroom Bacon Cheddar Stuffed Hamburgers

1 1/2 pounds 80/20 ground beef

1 tsp. minced garlic

1 tsp. hot sauce

1/4 tsp. black pepper

1/4 cup onion, diced

1/4 cup mushrooms, diced

1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, grated

4 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled

After heating the grill, mix together the ground beef, garlic, hot sauce and pepper. Form 8 flat patties and set aside. Sauté the onions in any leftover bacon grease or in a tablespoon or two of butter until tender. Put onions, mushrooms, bacon and cheese in a bowl. Place a spoonful of the bacon mixture in the middle of 4 patties. Top each with another patty and squeeze the edges shut to seal. Grill burgers on each side until desired doneness. Try not to flip more than once. Let set for about five minutes and serve with your favorite toppings!

Weekly What’s Cooking with Melissa

One summer fruit that I haven’t showcased yet is the blackberry. Blackberries are great to bake with and are very versatile. If you like no-bake desserts, keep reading!  I’d like to share a really refreshing blackberry pie recipe. Enjoy!

Frozen Blackberry Pie


2 cups graham cracker crumbs (about 14 full sheets), gluten free works well too

3 tbsp. sugar

1/2 cup melted butter


1 already made graham cracker crust


2 cups heavy whipping cream

1 8 oz. pkg. cream cheese, softened (light cr. cheese works also)

3/4 cup sugar

1 1/2 cups blackberries (slightly smashed)

1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

To make the crust mix together graham cracker crumbs, sugar and melted butter. Press mixture into a greased pie dish. In a small bowl smash blackberries slightly with a fork and set aside. In a large bowl whip together the heavy whipping cream until soft peaks form, set aside. In another bowl combine cream cheese, sugar, blackberries and vanilla until smooth.  Gently fold in the whipped heavy cream. Pour into the prepared crust. Freeze at least 4 hours but overnight is better. Allow to thaw for about 15 minutes before cutting and serving.

Weekly What’s Cooking with Melissa

Now that peaches are in season, I’ve canned peaches and peach/orange jam and baked with them. Since I’ve made so many sweet recipes with peaches, I had to find a way to make something savory with them. This week’s recipe is for Peach Chicken, and I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

Peach Chicken
6-8 chicken breasts, boneless & skinless
1/2 cup light brown sugar
5 peaches, peeled and sliced
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1 tbsp. soy sauce
2 tbsp. lemon juice
1 tbsp. cornstarch
1/2 cup water, cold

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place chicken in a greased 9 x 13 baking dish. Mix together light brown sugar, salt, pepper, cinnamon, soy sauce and lemon juice. In a small bowl mix together cornstarch and cold water; then pour it into the brown sugar mixture, mix well. Put peach slices on top of chicken breasts. Next pour sauce over top. Cover with foil and bake for 35-40 minutes, until chicken is cooked through.

Serving suggestions:
1) Serve over cooked rice.
2) I like to add 1/4 cup crushed pineapple to the sauce mixture.
3) Chicken can be cut into bite size pieces.

Weekly What’s Cooking with Melissa

Everyone knows I absolutely love casseroles. Summer vegetables are great for making casseroles, squash and zucchini especially.

Squash and Zucchini Casserole

3 lbs. squash and zucchini, sliced

1 onion, chopped

3 tbsp. butter

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

1 egg, lightly beaten

1/4 cup milk, 2 %

1/4 cup light mayonnaise

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. garlic powder

1/4 tsp. onion powder

1/2 tsp. Italian seasoning

25-30 crackers, crushed

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a large round or 11×7 rectangle casserole dish. Melt 2 tbsp. butter in a skillet and sauté squash, zucchini and onions about 8-10 minutes; put into casserole dish. In a bowl mix together cheese, egg, milk and mayonnaise then pour over the squash and zucchini. In a small saucepan or a microwave, melt the remaining 1 tbsp. butter and stir in cracker crumbs, salt and spices, mix well. Sprinkle crumb mixture over the entire casserole. Bake 35-40 minutes.

*I like to add other veggies like green peppers, mushrooms and tomatoes. I also like to sprinkle grated parmesan cheese on top before baking.

Weekly What’s Cooking with Melissa Cummins

Rhubarb is one of my favorite spring/summer treats. There are so many ways to cook and eat rhubarb. My latest favorite is to make a rhubarb “butter.” It is very good on bread, toast, pancakes, rice cakes, waffles, ice cream, etc. The list goes on and on depending on your own personal tastes.

Rhubarb “Butter”

6 cups rhubarb, chopped (about 2 lbs.)

1/2 cup water

1 cup honey

zest and juice of a small lemon

dash of nutmeg

1/4 tsp. cinnamon

Put all ingredients in a large saucepan and cook over medium/high heat. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until soft. May take up to 20 minutes. Use an immersion blender to puree the ingredients in the saucepan until smooth. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, on low for 2 hours or until thickened. Cool before refrigerating or freezing.  This can also be canned in a hot water bath.

Weekly What’s Cooking with Melissa

July seems to be my month for blueberries. I went to Godfrey’s farm in Sudlersville to pick blueberries on Monday and Wednesday of last week. Wow it was awesome, and I can say that because all my little helpers also thought so! Besides making blueberry jam and freezing a ton, I’ve made many recipes with them. This week I’d like to share with you the easiest blueberry pie I’ve ever made. Hope you like it!

Easy Blueberry Pie
4 1/2 cups blueberries
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 tbsp. lemon juice
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
dash of nutmeg
2 tbsp. cornstarch
2 tbsp. cold water
8 oz. whipped topping (optional)
1 prepared pie crust (I use gluten free graham cracker pie shell)

In a saucepan over medium heat, heat blueberries until they start to soften, about 10 minutes. Add brown sugar, lemon juice and spices, cook for 3 minutes. Using a fork, mix the cornstarch with the cold water until smooth. Pour into blueberries on the stove. Stir constantly until mixture becomes thick. Cook for one more minute, remove from heat and cool. Pour or spoon into prepared pie crust and refrigerate for at the least 2 hours. Spread whipped topping over top of pie before serving. Add a few mint leaves for garnish and your pie will look and taste amazing!

Weekly What’s Cooking with Melissa

For so many people the word “snack” means chips, popcorn or cookies, but not fruit or vegetables. I have to admit I’m guilty of that sometimes too. While trying to help my own family eat more fruits and vegetables for snacks, I came up with this recipe for a fruit salad. Hope your family enjoys this week’s recipe!

Fruit Salad with Peanut Butter Dressing

Peanut Butter Dressing

4 heaping tbsp. peanut butter (or sunflower seed butter)

4 tbsp. almond milk (or regular milk)

1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

2 tsp. pure maple syrup

Fruit Salad

2 red apples, cored and chopped  into bite size pieces

1 green apple, cored and chopped into bite size pieces

2 cups grapes, small ones or cut large ones in half

1 banana, sliced

1/2 cup golden raisins

Garnish (optional) – 1/2 cup sunflower kernels


In a small bowl, whisk together the dressing ingredients and set aside. Place apples, grapes, banana slices and golden raisins into a large bowl. Pour dressing over the fruit and toss gently to coat. Sprinkle sunflower kernels over top.  Serve immediately.


Weekly What’s Cooking with Melissa Cummins

The summer definitely has me looking for lighter recipes and dinner options. I am not a fan of heating up my kitchen too much. This week’s recipe for Summer Shrimp Couscous is fast, easy and versatile. It’s also great for lunch the next day!

Summer Shrimp Couscous

1 lb. Shrimp, cooked and cut into bite size pieces

1 box couscous

2 tsp. garlic, minced

2/3  cups black olives, chopped

10 grape tomatoes, halved

1 cup cucumbers, peeled and chopped

1/4 cup olive oil

2/3 cup Feta cheese, crumbled

1/2 tsp. black pepper

1/2 tsp. salt


Make couscous according to directions on box. In a hot skillet add olive oil, garlic, shrimp, chopped olives, tomatoes, feta cheese, cucumbers, salt and pepper. Toss a few times to coat and slightly warm everything. Place couscous on a serving plate and pour shrimp mixture over top.

*I like to add chopped onions, squash and/or zucchini.