What’s Cooking

What’s Cooking with Melissa?

Salads can be very ordinary and right down boring if we always prepare our same old recipes. This week’s recipe for Cornbread Salad is easy, filling and very flavorful. 

Cornbread Salad

Prepared Cornbread, cubed (about 4-5 cups)

1 envelope dry ranch dressing mix

1 cup mayonnaise

1 cup sour cream

1 14 oz. can pinto beans, drained and rinsed

1 14 oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed

2 15 oz. cans corn, drained (Mexican corn can be used)

1 pkg. bacon bits or 1 1/2 cups bacon, cooked and crumbled

3/4 cup red/green bell peppers, chopped

2/3 cup onion, chopped

3 tomatoes, chopped

1 8 oz. bag shredded cheddar cheese or any other shredded cheese

Place cubed cornbread in the bottom of a trifle bowl or large container with a lid if needed for transporting. Mix together dry ranch dressing mix, mayonnaise and sour cream. (This can be doubled if you want more dressing. Also bottled salad dressing can be substituted.) Next layer beans, corn, bacon (except for 2 tbsp.), chopped peppers, onions and tomatoes.  (All of these ingredients can be mixed together then put on the cornbread.) Sprinkle on shredded cheese (all except 1/3 cup) then evenly spoon ranch dressing on top. Sprinkle remaining shredded cheese and bacon on top. Cover and refrigerate for 3 hours to overnight before serving.

*If you want to add meat to this salad, brown 1 lb. of ground beef or turkey and mix in 1 packet of taco seasoning, cool then spread over top of beans.

What’s Cooking with Melissa?

Honey Mustard Chicken and Veggies

3-4 Chicken breasts, skinless and boneless, cut in half

1 lb. small red potatoes, quartered

1 lb. bag baby carrots, cut in half

8 oz. green beans, fresh and cut into bite size pieces

1 medium onion, roughly chopped

1 large red bell pepper, cut into bite size pieces

2 tsp. minced garlic

salt and pepper to taste

1 tsp. each garlic & onion powder

1/4 cup honey

2 tbsp. Dijon mustard

3 tbsp. whole grain mustard

2 tbsp. water

3 tbsp. olive oil

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Season chicken breast with salt and pepper to taste. In a small bowl mix together honey, the two mustards and water, set aside. Place potatoes, carrots, onion, red pepper and minced garlic in a bowl. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, onion and garlic powder and drizzle with 2 tbsp. of olive oil. Toss to coat. Place the chicken breast halves and vegetables mixture on a lightly greased large baking sheet. Spoon honey mustard over all. Bake for 25 minutes. Remove from oven. Coat green beans with 1 tbsp olive oil, season to taste and add to pan. Cook for another 5-10 minutes or until chicken and all veggies are done.

*Use your favorite veggies. If using mushrooms add them when adding green beans. 

 

What’s Cooking with Melissa?

3-4 Chicken breasts, skinless and boneless, cut in half

1 lb. small red potatoes, quartered

1 lb. bag baby carrots, cut in half

8 oz. green beans, fresh and cut into bite size pieces

1 medium onion, roughly chopped

1 large red bell pepper, cut into bite size pieces

2 tsp. minced garlic

salt and pepper to taste

1 tsp. each garlic & onion powder

1/4 cup honey

2 tbsp. Dijon mustard

3 tbsp. whole grain mustard

2 tbsp. water

3 tbsp. olive oil

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Season chicken breast with salt and pepper to taste. In a small bowl mix together honey, the two mustards and water, set aside. Place potatoes, carrots, onion, red pepper and minced garlic in a bowl. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, onion and garlic powder and drizzle with 2 tbsp. of olive oil. Toss to coat. Place the chicken breast halves and vegetables mixture on a lightly greased large baking sheet. Spoon honey mustard over all. Bake for 25 minutes. Remove from oven. Coat green beans with 1 tbsp olive oil, season to taste and add to pan. Cook for another 5-10 minutes or until chicken and all veggies are done.

*Use your favorite veggies. If using mushrooms add them when adding green beans. 

What’s Cooking with Melissa?

Back to school! Now that the kiddos are back in school preparing breakfasts and snacks are a must. Sometimes they need to be quick, but I still want them nutritious.  This week’s recipe is great for everyone, enjoy!

Apples & Banana Peanut Butter Snacks 

Peanut Butter Spread

1/2 cup Peanut butter or nut butter of choice

1 tbsp.  Cocoa powder 

Maple Peanut Butter Spread:

1/2 cup Peanut butter or nut butter of choice

1-2 tsp. Pure maple syrup 

Stir peanut butter with cocoa powder and peanut butter with maple syrup… set aside. 

Apples, cored and sliced into rings (if not serving immediately, soak for 10 minutes in 2 cups of water with 2 tbsp. of lemon juice to prevent browning) 

Bananas, peeled and cut in half 

Spread either of the peanut butter spreads on one side of apple rings and sprinkle with desired toppings. If using bananas spread over the entire half of the banana and then roll the bananas in the your topping of choice.

Topping Ideas

Sprinkles, mini chocolate chips, mini M&Ms

Chopped nuts, raisins, dried cranberries 

Granola, sunflower seeds, flax seeds, hemp seeds 

The ideas are endless and the best thing is you can make them with your favorites.

What’s cooking with Melissa?

One recipe that has so many variations is BBQ sauce. There is sweet, savory, spicy, fruity, tangy, etc. It is really a personal preference. One version that has become a favorite at our house is a tangy Carolina style BBQ sauce. This is easy to make and can be used on any meats that BBQ sauce is used for. (Note this is my version of the sauce)

Carolina Style BBQ Sauce

1 cup apple cider vinegar

1 cup ketchup

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/3 cup prepared yellow mustard

2 tsp. onion powder

1 tsp. garlic powder

1/4 tsp. chili powder

1/4 tsp. salt

dash of ground black pepper

Whisk all of the ingredients together in a large sauce pan. Cook over high heat and bring to a boil. Boil for 5 minutes or until sauce is reduced by about one third. Stir frequently. Remove from heat and pour on your meat (chicken wings, pork, etc.) and toss to coat.  

*Sauce can be cooled and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

What’s Cooking with Melissa?

This week I’d like to share a hot dog recipe that is good for a one dish supper or an alternative to cooking out. To make this recipe really good be sure to use your favorite kind of hot dogs.  

Hot Dogs and Potatoes

3 cups potatoes (washed, dried and cubed; with or without skins)

1/2 cup onion, chopped (optional)

1/2 cup bell peppers, chopped (optional)

1 pkg. 8 hot dogs

2 tbsp. canola oil

salt and pepper to taste

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium/high heat. Add potatoes, onions and peppers, cover and stir frequently; add salt and pepper to taste. Cook about 20 minutes or until potatoes are slightly browned and softened. While potatoes are cooking slice hot dogs in bite size pieces. Add hot dogs to the potatoes and cook about 10 minutes or until hot dogs are cooked through.

*Serve with your favorite toppings like ketchup, mustard, shredded cheese, sauerkraut and/or chili.

What’s Cooking with Melissa?

 

Every year I can’t wait for peach season to get here for my canning and baking. This year I was able to get to the orchard early and the peaches are so good that I had to bake with them right away. Hope you enjoy this easy and delicious peach dessert.

Peach Streusel

8 peaches, peeled and sliced

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

3/4 cup flour (I use gluten free 1 to 1 flour)

3/4 cup sugar

1 tsp. baking powder

1/4 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. cinnamon

1 egg, beaten

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8×8 or 7×11 baking dish. Place peaches in baking dish and sprinkle with 1/2 cup sugar and 1/2 tsp. cinnamon, lightly toss to coat. In a bowl mix together flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and egg.  Mixture will be crumbly. Sprinkle over top of peaches. Bake for 50-60 minutes.

*It’s great served warm with whipped cream or ice cream.

What’s Cooking with Melissa?

Recently I had several bananas that needed to be used or thrown away. Instead of plain banana muffins, my granddaughter and I made Banana Blueberry Muffins. They turned out so well I wanted to share the recipe. Hope you enjoy them!

Banana Blueberry Muffins

3 bananas, very ripe

1/3 cup butter, melted

1 tsp. baking soda

1 1/2 cup flour

Dash of salt 

1/2 cup pure maple syrup

2 tbsp. ground flaxseed meal

1/2 tsp. cinnamon

2 Eggs, beaten

1 tsp. vanilla extract 

1 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place paper liners in a 12 muffin tin. In a large bowl, mash bananas well with a fork, and then stir in baking soda. Set aside for 2 minutes. Next mix into the banana mixture the melted butter, maple syrup, salt, eggs, and vanilla extract. Add the flour, ground flaxseed meal and cinnamon, mix well. Gently stir in blueberries. Scoop batter into muffin cups. Bake for 20 minutes or until a knife or cake tester comes out clean. Cool completely and store in an airtight container.  

* These muffins can be made using a gluten free flour blend that includes xanthan gum. (This is how I make them and they turn out perfect)

** Sugar can be used in place of maple syrup.

What’s Cooking with Melissa?

 

It’s really nice having fresh summer vegetables on hand. Zucchini is a unique vegetable in that it can be used in sweet or savory dishes.  

Chicken and Zucchini Noodles

1 lb. chicken breasts or tenderloins, cooked and cut into bite size pieces

3 tbsp. olive oil

2 tsp. minced garlic 

dash of red pepper flakes

3/4 cup grape tomatoes, halved

salt and pepper to taste

3 medium zucchini, spiralized  

In a large skillet, heat olive oil, and saute garlic for about 30 seconds. Add chicken pieces, red pepper flakes, salt, pepper and grape tomatoes, stir. Next toss in zucchini noodles and cook for a couple of minutes only.

*Optional:  Top with grated parmesan cheese and/or fresh basil.

**If you don’t have a spiralizer, use a vegetable peeler to make the zucchini noodles. Be sure to leave the skin on for a crunchy texture.

What’s Cooking with Melisa

Shark week starts Sunday and at our house it’s not just a television show, it’s a week- long event. I like to plan fun treats for the family to have while watching the shark shows. I’d like to share a couple of easy kid-friendly ideas with you.

 

Ocean Punch

1/2 gallon of Blue Hawaiian Punch

1/2 2 liter bottle of Lemon Lime Soda

1 1/2 cups pineapple juice

Mix together in a large pitcher and keep in refrigerator until ready to drink. To make fun ice cubes, freeze some leftover Blue Hawaiian Punch in ice cube trays with some gummy fish and gummy sharks in them. Use the ice cubes in the Ocean Punch.

 

Ocean Jell-O Mousse

3/4 cup boiling water

1 cup ice cubes

1 small package blue Jell-O (I use blue raspberry flavor)

2 cups cool whip topping, thawed

gummy fish and sharks (optional)

In a large bowl, pour boiling water into Jell-O powder and stir until it is completely dissolved. Add ice and stir until completely melted. Gently mix in 1 1/2 cups of cool whip. Spoon into dessert cups or bowls and refrigerate until firm, about 2 hours. When ready to serve top each one with a dollop of cool whip and some gummy fish and/or sharks.