What’s Cooking

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. 

Weekly What’s Cooking with Melissa

I’ve had a raspberry bush for three years, and this is the first year I’ve had a good harvest. We’ve been eating a lot of raspberries. This is also the first year I’ve actually baked with raspberries. I hope you enjoy this week’s recipe for Raspberry Crumb Muffins.

Raspberry Crumb Muffins
2 cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 1/4 cups sugar (I use raw sugar)
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 cup milk
1 tbsp. lemon juice
1 1/2 cups raspberries

Crumb topping:
3/4 cup flour
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
4 tbsp. butter, melted

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Grease a muffin pan or line with paper baking cups and set aside. Pour milk in a small bowl and add lemon juice, set aside. (This will “sour” the milk. Buttermilk can be used instead.) In a bowl whisk together, flour, baking powder and salt. In a large bowl cream together butter and sugar. Stir in eggs one at a time and then add vanilla extract. Stir dry ingredients into wet ingredients then add “soured milk.” When well mixed, fold in raspberries.

For the crumb topping mix together flour, brown sugar, cinnamon and butter with a fork. Use a 1/4 cup measuring cup to dip the batter into the muffin cups. Next spoon the crumb mixture on top of each, about 2 tsps each.

Place muffin pan in the oven and immediately reduce temperature to 375 degrees. Bake 30 minutes.
*To make these gluten free, I use Bob’s Red Mill 1 to 1 Baking Flour.

Weekly What’s Cooking with Melissa

If you like to have snacks while watching fireworks on July 4th, try this week’s White Chocolate Popcorn. Popcorn is one of my all time favorite snacks. I’m not a big fan of white chocolate on its own, but add it to popcorn with some sprinkles and I love it!


White Chocolate Popcorn

10 cups popcorn, lightly salted

1 12 oz. bag white chocolate chips

1 tbsp. shortening

red and blue sprinkles

Melt white chocolate chips in a double boiler with shortening, stir frequently. On a large baking sheet or two, spread out popcorn then pour white chocolate over top. Gently toss to coat then sprinkle on the sprinkles. Let set for about an hour or longer before storing in an airtight container or bag. You want the chocolate to harden.  Have fun, be safe and have a happy July 4th!

Weekly What’s Cooking with Melissa

Since another reason for a cookout is coming up, I thought this week’s recipe would be great! Perfect for a July 4th get together. Basic deviled eggs can be kicked up a notch to add a nice touch to your meal.

Deviled Eggs with Bacon & Cheese
12 eggs
1/2 cup mayonnaise
4 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
1/4 cup onion, chopped fine
1 tbsp. mustard
3-4 tbsp. shredded sharp cheddar cheese
salt and pepper to taste

Boil eggs for 12-14 minutes. I add a tsp. of baking soda and white vinegar to help them peel better. When done boiling, place eggs in ice water to cool quick and stop cooking. After eggs are peeled, washed off and cut in half, remove yolks into a bowl. Mash yolks with mayonnaise, mustard, salt and pepper. When smooth add in crumbled bacon, chopped onion and shredded cheese; stir until combined. Spoon into egg halves. Refrigerate until ready to enjoy.
*Optional:  Sprinkle with chopped chives and/or paprika.

Weekly What’s Cooking with Melissa

If you’re thinking about cooking dad breakfast or brunch for Father’s Day check out this week’s recipe! Baked Pancake Casserole is an easy alternative to making pancakes and less time consuming. This casserole can be baking while you’re cooking his favorite breakfast meat.

Baked Pancake Casserole

2 cups flour

3 tbsp. sugar

3 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. salt

1 1/2 cups milk (almond milk works well too)

3 tbsp. butter, melted

2 eggs

1 tsp. vanilla

1 1/4 cups blueberries (optional) or

1 cup mini chocolate chips (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9×13 baking dish and set aside. Whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.  In a large bowl whisk together, milk, eggs, and melted butter. Next stir the flour mixture into the milk mixture, just until combined.  Pour batter into greased baking dish. (If adding blueberries or chocolate chips do so right before pouring into the baking dish.) Bake for 25-30 minutes or until edges are slightly browned and toothpick inserted comes out clean.  Cool for a few minutes before cutting them into squares. Serve with dad’s favorites like fresh fruit, whipped topping, peanut butter and jelly, favorite syrup, etc. Possibilities are endless! Have a wonderful and Happy Father’s Day!

Weekly What’s Cooking with Melissa

I’m always looking for healthy snacks to make and take. It’s nice to have something healthy on hand when on the go with the kids. Homemade Snack Bars are cheaper and healthier than a fast food snack.


Healthy Snack Bars


1 cup dates

1 cup dried cranberries, raisins or combination of both

1 cup almonds, peanuts or combination of both

1 tbsp. chia seeds

1 tbsp. flax seeds

1/2 tsp. cinnamon (optional)

2 tbsp. honey or agave nectar


In a food processor, pulse the dates and nuts until small pieces but not too fine. Next add dried fruit, chia seeds, flax seeds and honey. Pulse until just combined. Line an 8×8 square baking dish with parchment paper and pour mixture into the dish. With a buttered spatula, press mixture down evenly. Refrigerate for 2-4 hours then cut into squares. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Weekly What’s Cooking with Melissa

It’s always nice to have side dishes that don’t have to be cooked, baked, boiled, etc. especially when it’s hot outside.  I’m sure you get what I mean and know how nice it is to have something on hand that you can even make a day ahead. This week’s recipe for Bean and Beet Salad is great for a side dish at dinner or lunch.

Bean and Beet Salad

2 15 oz. cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed

1 15 oz. can kidney beans, drained and rinsed

1 15 oz. can or jar sliced pickled beets

1/4 cup red onion, chopped

1/4 cup bell pepper, chopped

1/4 cup parsley, chopped

2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar

2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

1 tsp. garlic, minced

Put beans, onion, bell pepper and parsley in a large bowl. In a small bowl, whisk together apple cider vinegar, olive oil, salt, pepper and garlic. Pour over bean mixture and lightly toss. If serving immediately, fold in beets. If not add beets right before serving so the entire salad does not turn pink (if that matters to you).

*Another great addition is a can of garbanzo beans.

**I like to add a drained can of tuna to this salad for lunch.

Weekly What’s Cooking with Melissa

With Memorial Day coming up I’ve been looking at my dessert recipes. I’ve come across one that I’m making, and you just might want to try it too! Red, White and Blue Ambrosia is refreshing and very easy to prepare.


Red, White and Blue Ambrosia

1 pt. heavy cream, I use the light version

1 1/2 tbsp. powdered sugar

2 cups light sour cream

1 1/2 cups. shredded coconut

1 20 oz. can crushed pineapple, well drained

1 pint strawberries, washed and sliced

1 pint blueberries, washed and dried well

3 cups miniature marshmallows

Optional for garnish:

1/4 cup each of pecans (finely chopped), maraschino cherries (halved), blueberries


With an electric mixer, whip the heavy cream and powdered sugar until thick. Mix in sour cream. Fold in coconut, pineapple, strawberries, blueberries and marshmallows. Sprinkle pecans, maraschino cherries and/or blueberries on top to garnish. Cover and refrigerate overnight (at least chill 4-6 hours for best flavor).