What’s Cooking

Weekly’s What’s Cooking with Melissa

Cabbage, corned beef and/or ham are a staple at our house on St. Patrick’s Day. I used to cook them on the stove, and then I developed the love of putting everything into a casserole. This week’s recipe for Baked Cabbage can be served as a main or side dish.

Baked Cabbage

1 medium sized cabbage, 2-3 lbs.

1/4 cup chopped onions

1 1/2 cup chopped ham or corned beef

1/3 cup butter

2 tbsp. cornstarch

2 cup milk

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. black pepper

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Cut cabbage into large wedges, put in a large pot of boiling water with the chopped onions and boil for 10 minutes. Drain, then put into a greased 9 x 13 baking dish. Sprinkle ham or corned beef on top. In a large saucepan, melt butter, stir in salt and pepper. With a fork stir cornstarch into the milk. Slowly pour milk and cornstarch into mixture and whisk over medium heat until thickened. Pour mixture into dish with cabbage. Sprinkle shredded cheese over top. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

Weekly What’s Cooking with Melissa

Sometimes recipes call for canned creamed soups and most of those soups contain flour. I can’t have those soups so I have to make my own. This week I’d like to share homemade cream of celery soup.

Cream of Celery Soup

1 1/2 cups celery, diced

1 cup water

1 chicken bouillon cube or small packet

2 cups milk

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. onion powder

1/2 tsp. celery salt

2 tbsp. cornstarch

1 cup milk

In a large saucepan combine diced celery, water and chicken bouillon. Bring to a boil and simmer until the celery is tender. When tender, remove from heat and use an immersion blender to puree celery. If you don’t have an immersion blender, put the celery mixture in a regular blender to puree but be careful, you may have to let it cool down a little first. Add a little of the 2 cups of milk to puree if needed. Add the rest of the 2 cups of milk, salt, onion powder and celery salt. Heat to a simmer. Mix the cornstarch in the remaining 1 cup of milk, stir until smooth. Add to the celery mixture, cook and stir until thickened. There now you have homemade cream of celery soup to use in recipes.

Weekly What’s Cooking with Melissa

Are you ever watching a race on TV or have friends over and wish you had something to snack on? I do that all the time. Ranch Pretzels are an easy snack to fix up quick.

Ranch Pretzels

1 15-20 oz. bag of pretzels

1 dry Ranch dressing mix packet

1/2 cup canola oil

1/2 tsp. garlic powder (optional but I like it)

Preheat oven to 250 degrees. In a large mixing bowl combine ranch dressing mix, canola oil and garlic powder. Put the pretzels in the bowl and toss to coat with the ranch mixture. Pour pretzels onto a large cookie sheet and bake for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and cool completely before storing in an airtight container.

*I like to add about 1 1/4 c. of peanuts when I add the pretzels.

Weekly What’s Cooking with Melissa

I have a large family so most of my recipes are for four or more people. Since I have eating restrictions and my family doesn’t, sometimes I need smaller portion recipes. I know a lot of people need recipes for one or two, so if you’re one of them I hope you enjoy this week’s recipe for Tuscan Chicken.


Tuscan Chicken

2 chicken breasts, boneless and skinless

2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

2/3 cup mushrooms, sliced

1/4 cup onions, chopped

1 tsp. garlic, minced

1/4 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. pepper

1/2 tsp. rosemary, dried and crushed

1/4 tsp. thyme, dried and crushed

1/4 tsp. oregano

Pound chicken breasts to flatten a bit so they are even thickness, season with salt and pepper. In a very hot skillet, brown chicken breast on each side for one minute. Reduce heat to low-medium and cover pan, cook chicken breasts for about 10 minutes. Remove lid and chicken breasts (check to be sure juices run clear and chicken is cooked through). Add garlic, mushrooms, onions, rosemary, thyme and oregano to the pan. Toss and sauté for about 3 minutes. To serve, top chicken breasts with onion and mushroom sauté.

*Two cups of fresh spinach sautéed with the mushrooms and onions is very tasty too!

Weekly What’s Cooking with Melissa

I like making recipes where I don’t need expensive gluten free ingredients. This week’s recipe for Blueberry Oat Muffins needs nothing special besides blueberries! I created this recipe one day when my granddaughter wanted to have a tea party so of course we needed to bake something first! We loved these and I hope you do too!

Blueberry Oat Muffins

2 tbsp. butter, melted

2 eggs

1 tbsp. vanilla extract

1/4 cup raw sugar

1/4 cup maple syrup

1/4 cup water

2 cup oat flour

1 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. cinnamon

2/3 cup blueberries


Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease muffin pan for 9 good size muffins or 12 smaller muffins and set aside. Mix together melted butter, eggs, vanilla, raw sugar, maple syrup and water. In another bowl, mix together oat flour, baking soda and cinnamon. Stir dry ingredients into wet ingredients, then gently fold in blueberries. Spoon into muffin pan and bake for 15 minutes for 12 muffins or 20 minutes for 9 muffins.

*I make my oat flour by putting about 2 1/2 cups of gluten free oats, or any oats if gluten free are not needed, into a food processor and grinding until I have oat flour.

What’s Cooking with Melissa

On Super Bowl Sunday a lot of appetizers will be made and eaten. If you need something that a lot of people will like, look no further. Meatball sliders are bound to be a hit at any party!

Meatball Sliders

12 Hawaiian Rolls, any slider bun will work

12 Pre-cooked Meatballs, heated through

1 1/2 cup marinara sauce

2 cups Italian style shredded cheese

2 tsp. Italian seasoning

1/2 tsp. garlic powder

3 tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese

1/4 cup butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. On a cookie sheet, cook the meatballs until heated through. While meatballs are cooking, mix together the butter, Parmesan cheese, garlic powder and Italian seasoning, set aside. Grease a 9 x 13 casserole dish.  Place bottom of each bun in the casserole dish. Put a meatball on each and spoon a little marinara sauce over each one. Cover the meatballs with Italian shredded cheese. Put the top of the bun on the meatball. Generously brush the butter mixture on top of each bun. Cover with foil and bake for 10 minutes, then uncover and bake for an additional 7-10 minutes or until golden brown.

*If the meatballs are very small you may need 1 and a half for each.

Weekly What’s Cooking with Melissa

This week I’ll share my last casserole recipe for the month. I hope you’ve enjoyed these one-dish meals. The ones that I’ve shared with you have been my favorites!

Baked Chicken Parmesan and Pasta

1 12 oz. or 13 oz. box of Penne or Rotini pasta

1 1/2 lb. chicken breast tenderloins

1 24 oz. jar of marinara sauce (use you favorite brand)

3 cups water

1 cups sliced mushrooms

1/4 cup onion, diced

1/4 cup red bell pepper, chopped

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella or Italian blend cheese

1 cup Italian seasoned breadcrumbs


Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease a 9×13 casserole dish then add pasta, marinara sauce, water, diced onion mushrooms and red peppers, stir to combine. Place raw chicken breast tenderloins over top of pasta and cover with foil. Bake for 30 minutes. Uncover, stir and spread shredded cheese over top then sprinkle on breadcrumbs and Parmesan cheese. Return to oven and bake for 10 more minutes or until pasta and chicken are cooked through.

*I use gluten free pasta and the box is only 12 ounces.

**Low fat shredded cheeses can be used.

***Veggies do not have to be used in this recipe but add a lot of flavor.

Weekly What’s Cooking with Melissa

Another week, another casserole! I love casseroles that are made for dinner but are great for lunch too. This week’s Mexican Tater Tot Casserole is great for leftovers.

Mexican Tater Tot Casserole

1 lb. ground turkey

1 small onion, diced

1 red pepper, diced

2 15 oz. cans black beans, drained and rinsed

1 15 oz can of corn, drained

1/3 cup salsa (mild or medium)

1 tbsp. chili powder

2 cups shredded cheddar cheese (Colby Jack or taco cheeses work well too)

1 bag of frozen tater tots (32 oz. bag)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a large skillet heat a tablespoon or two of olive oil and saute the onions and peppers, remove from pan after about 5 minutes. Brown the ground turkey then add the onions, red peppers, black beans, corn, salsa and chili powder, mix well to combine. Mix in shredded cheese then dump into a greased 9×13 casserole dish. Top with tater tots. Bake for 40 minutes. Enjoy!

Weekly What’s Cooking with Melissa

Since I’ve committed myself to making more casseroles and sharing more recipes for them, I chose a breakfast casserole for this week. I hope you like this lighter version of French Toast Casserole.


French Toast Casserole (lighter)

1 whole loaf of bread (torn into 1 inch pieces)

1/4 cup raw sugar

1 tsp. ground cinnamon

1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg

4 eggs

2 egg whites

1 1/2 cup skim milk or 2% milk

1 tbsp. vanilla extract

Put bread pieces evenly in a greased 9×13 casserole dish. In a bowl mix together eggs, egg whites, raw sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, milk and vanilla.  Pour egg mixture over top of bread pieces. Cover and refrigerate overnight. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees and bake for 35-40 minutes, or until golden brown.

*I like to add a cup of blueberries when I place the bread pieces in the casserole dish.

Weekly What’s Cooking with Melissa

Happy New Year! I’m dedicating the month of January to casseroles. In keeping with a healthier new year, all of my comfort food casseroles will be low fat. I will mix it up for you so they won’t all be dinners. I hope you enjoy them!

Chicken Tortilla Casserole

1 large onion, chopped small

1 red pepper, chopped small

2 cups. chicken breasts, cooked and chopped into bite sized pieces

2 cans cream of mushroom soup (low fat or fat free version)

1 small can diced tomatoes and chilies, drained

1 15 oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed

1 15 oz. can corn, drained

1 tsp. garlic, minced

1 tsp. chili powder

1/2 tsp. pepper

3 cups baked tortilla chips, slightly crushed

2 cups reduced fat shredded cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a large skillet with cooking spray and saute onions and red peppers for about 5 minutes. Stir in chicken and next 7 ingredients, remove from heat. Spray a 9×13 casserole dish with cooking spray and cover bottom with half of the crushed tortilla chips, then spoon in half of the chicken mixture and sprinkle half of the shredded cheese. Repeat layers. Bake at 350 for 35 minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbly.