What’s Cooking

Blueberry Upside Down Cake

Blueberry Upside Down Cake
For topping:
2 1/2 tbsp. butter
1/3 cup light brown sugar
1 pint blueberries, washed
For Cake:
2 large eggs, separated
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened to room temperature
1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 cups flour (gluten free cup for cup works perfectly)
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Put 2-1/2 tbsp butter in 9 inch round cake pan and melt in preheating oven. When butter is melted, remove from oven and swirl pan around so sides get coated or use a paper towel to carefully grease the sides of the pan. Next sprinkle brown sugar over butter in pan and gently stir. Put blueberries in pan.

Beat egg whites on high speed until stiff peaks form, set aside. In a large bowl cream together softened butter and sugar, then add egg yolks and vanilla; beat well. In another bowl stir together, flour, baking powder and salt. Add flour mixture to the butter alternately with the milk. Fold egg whites into batter. Pour into pan and spread over top of blueberries. Batter will be very thick. Bake for 45 minutes or until golden brown on top and knife inserted in center of cake comes out clean. Cool cake in pan for about 15 minutes, then flip cake onto large serving plate.
Enjoy and Happy Father’s Day! 

What’s Cooking with Melissa?

Lately some days have been so hot that it’s hard to think about cooking a large dinner. Even if I cook the main dish I like to make cold salads for side dishes. This week I’d like to share a recipe that is one of my favorites, Cabbage Salad. Hope you enjoy it!


Cabbage Salad

1 10 oz. can mandarin oranges, drained

1 14 oz. bag coleslaw

1/3 cup red onion, chopped small

1/4 cup dried cranberries

1/4 cup sunflower seeds

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1 1/2-2 tbsp. sugar

1/8 tsp. black pepper

1/4 tsp. salt


Put mandarin oranges, coleslaw mix, red onion, dried cranberries and sunflower seeds in a large bowl. Set aside. In a small bowl mix together balsamic vinegar, extra virgin olive oil, sugar, black pepper and salt. Pour dressing over top salad and toss to coat. Refrigerate for several hours before serving. Stir before serving. (I like to stir a couple of times while it’s in the refrigerator “marinating.”)


What’s Cooking with Melissa?

On weeknights I’m usually trying to prepare a meal that doesn’t involve hours of preparation, and/or I’m trying to avoid the heat of the oven. Salads may not always be filling UNLESS you add pasta! Try this week’s recipe for Chicken Caesar Salad with Pasta and see how often your family wants you to prepare it for them.


Chicken Caesar Salad with Pasta

1 1/2 cups mayonnaise

1/2 cup sour cream

2 tsp. minced garlic

3 tbsp. lemon juice

1 1/2 – 2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce

2-3 anchovies, chopped small and Optional (I don’t use these)

1 lb. pasta (penne, elbow, rotini), cooked and rinsed with cold water

1 1/2 cup grape tomatoes, halved

6 large romaine leaves, sliced in thin strips

1/4 cup green onions, sliced

2/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1/2 tsp. black pepper

1 1/2 cups croutons

2 cups chicken breasts, cooked and cut into bite size pieces


In a bowl mix together mayonnaise, sour cream, garlic, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce and anchovies (if using them). Pour half the dressing over the pasta, toss to coat, cover and refrigerate for at least half an hour. Also refrigerate remaining dressing. When ready to serve, pour and coat the pasta with the rest of the dressing. Gently stir in the grape tomato halves, romaine lettuce, green onions, Parmesan cheese, black pepper and chicken. Put croutons on top of entire salad or individual salads.

What’s Cooking with Melissa?

With Memorial Day coming up, I thought I’d share some quick recipes with you. Most of us have our traditional recipes, but by doing a different marinade or sauce the recipe can be a great change.  

Shrimp or Chicken Marinade 

2 tbsp. olive oil

2 tsp. minced garlic

2 tbsp. lime juice

2 tbsp. orange juice

2 tsp. dried Italian seasoning

1/2 tsp. black pepper

1/2 tsp. salt

Mix marinade in a container or large plastic bag.  Add shrimp or chicken, toss to coat and refrigerate for at least an hour before cooking.

Strawberry/Banana Compote 

1 quart strawberries, washed and halved

3 large bananas, cut into bite size pieces

1 small box strawberry jello

1/2 cup sugar

3 tbsp. cornstarch

1 cup water

Cut up fruit into a bowl and set aside. In a small saucepan whisk together the remaining ingredients. Turn heat on high and boil for 5 minutes or until desired thickness is reached. Stir while boiling then remove from heat. Pour sauce over fruit, stir well to coat.  Refrigerate 1 hour or longer before serving.

Happy Memorial Day!  Enjoy and Be safe!

What’s Cooking with Melissa?

Sometimes after I’ve thawed out meat like chicken or pork, I don’t feel like having the same old, same old. I’m sure many of you understand. On those nights I like to prepare sauces to spruce up the meat. Today’s recipe is for one of those sauces.

Polynesian Sauce

1 cup barbecue sauce (I use our favorite original recipe bbq sauce)

1 cup crushed pineapple with juice

1/4 cup onion, chopped fine

1/4 cup red/green bell peppers, chopped

1 tsp. soy sauce

1 tsp. minced garlic

1/2 tsp. salt

1 tbsp. cornstarch

1/4 cup cold water

1/4 cup sweetened shredded coconut (optional)

In a medium size saucepan on low heat, mix together barbecue sauce, crushed pineapple with juice, onion, peppers, soy sauce, minced garlic and salt. In a small bowl whisk together cold water and cornstarch until completely dissolved, then stir into barbecue mixture. Increase heat to medium and cook until thickened, stir occasionally.

*I like to serve this over chicken or pork and with rice. Add some veggies and it makes a great, tasty, quick supper! 

**I listed coconut as optional because our family prefers this sauce without it, and I wanted people to know it’s great with or without!

What’s Cooking with Melissa?

Since Mother’s Day is coming up, I thought I’d search for a recipe that would be easy for children to help with. The recipe I’d like to share is great for breakfast or dessert. I revised a recipe that I found online at twopeasandtheirpod.com for Nutella Drop Biscuits and they turned out great!

Nutella Drop Biscuits by Two Peas & Their Pod

2 1/4 cups flour

2 1/2 tsp. baking powder

2 tsp. sugar

3/4 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. salt

6 tbsp. unsalted butter, cubed

1 cup buttermilk

1/2 cup Nutella

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and set aside. In a large bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, sugar, baking soda and salt. Mix with fingers or pastry cutter until mixture resembles a coarse meal. Add buttermilk and stir until combined. Spoon Nutella over biscuit dough and cut through with a knife to swirl Nutella throughout the dough. Drop mixture onto parchment paper to make biscuits. Bake for 15-17 minutes or until light golden brown. Remove from oven and cool. Serve with breakfast or as a dessert with berries and whipped cream. Makes about 12 biscuits.

*My changes to make a delicious gluten free version:

– 2 cups Bob’s Red Mill gluten free 1 to 1 flour.

– Buttermilk substitute-1 tbsp. lemon juice plus regular milk to make 1 cup.

– Nutella substitute-Reese’s spreads peanut butter chocolate.

– Salt substitute-1/4 tsp. pink Himalayan Salt.

Enjoy and Happy Mother’s Day!

What’s Cooking with Melissa?

Little ones always seem to love snacking, and I know mine love to help prepare their snacks. My children have always liked to help me in the kitchen and now I’m blessed to have grandbabies that love to be in the kitchen with me. Sometimes it’s a challenge to find things for them to help with, so I’ve found some recipes that are great for little helpers.

Banana Chocolate Quesadillas

6-8 small corn or flour tortillas (I use gluten free corn tortillas)

1/3 cup chocolate nut spread (my favorite is Reese’s)

2 bananas, sliced

Spread chocolate nut spread on tortillas. Place banana slices on each. Top each with another tortilla, with chocolate nut spread side down. One at a time, place in a preheated skillet. Cook for about 1 to 2 minutes and carefully flip and cook for another 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from skillet and let cool. Slice in half or quarters.

*Kids can help spread the chocolate nut spread, slice the bananas with a plastic knife and assemble before putting them in the skillet.

**If the skillet is not nonstick use a little butter when preheating.

 Breakfast “Pizzas”

2 English muffins (plain, cinnamon raisin or blueberry)

1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt

1 tsp. honey

1/4 tsp. vanilla extract (optional)

Pizza toppings: sliced strawberries or kiwi, blackberries, blueberries, raspberries

halved grapes, mandarin oranges, pineapple chunks, sliced almonds

Toast English muffins and set aside to cool. In a small bowl mix together yogurt, honey and vanilla extract. Spoon yogurt onto each muffin half and spread. Top with favorite fruit toppings. Slice in half or in quarters and serve.

*This is a great recipe for children to mix, spread and top their own pizzas for breakfast.

What’s Cooking with Melissa?

Recently when I made a mashed potato casserole I thought, what a great side dish for Easter. I also thought it would be a great recipe to share with you. Happy Easter and enjoy! 

Mashed Potato and Broccoli Casserole

8 small or 5 large potatoes (peeled, boiled and mashed)

1/4 cup sour cream

1/4 cup milk

3 oz. cream cheese

2 tbsp. butter

1/4 tsp. salt and pepper

1/4 tsp. garlic powder

1/4 tsp. onion powder

1 12 oz. package frozen broccoli, cooked

2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Peel, boil and mash potatoes. Add all ingredients, except broccoli and shredded cheese, and stir until well combined. Spread mashed potatoes in a well greased casserole dish. Put broccoli on top of mashed potatoes and sprinkle shredded cheese on broccoli. Bake for 20-25 minutes.

What’s Cooking with Melissa?

Since Easter is coming up I’ve been thinking about what desserts to have. I’ve decided to make an oldie but goodie, Blondies. Blondies are like brownies but not chocolately. They do have a great vanilla, buttery goodness to them though. One great thing to Blondies is you can make them your own and add whatever you like or leave them plain. 

Easter Blondies

1 cup unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled

1 3/4 cups brown sugar, packed

2 large eggs, room temperature

2 tsp. vanilla extract

2 1/4 cups flour

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 cup butterscotch chips (optional)

1/2 cup M&Ms, Easter edition (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9×13 baking dish and set aside. In a large bowl thoroughly stir together butter and brown sugar. Next add eggs, one at a time and mixing well. Then stir in vanilla. Gradually add dry ingredients to wet ingredients until completely combined. Fold in butterscotch chips and M&Ms. Pour into greased baking dish. Bake for 30 minutes or until light golden brown. Cool completely then cut into squares.

*Cup for cup or 1 to 1 gluten free flour works well in this recipe.

**Other ideas:  chocolate chips, mini chocolate chips, M&Ms, chopped pecans or walnuts, white chocolate or cinnamon chips, flaked coconut.

What’s Cooking with Melissa?

Breakfast muffins are a favorite of mine, especially if they involve chocolate. I especially love this recipe for Chocolate Banana Muffins and hope you enjoy them too! These muffins are so quick to make and bake that they can be made on school mornings.  

Chocolate Banana Muffins

1 3/4 cups oat flour 

1 tbsp. baking powder

1 tsp. baking soda

1/2 cup cocoa powder

1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp. salt

1/4 cup peanut butter (or nut butter of your choice)

1/3 cup brown sugar

2 tsp. vanilla extract

1/2 cup buttermilk (or milk of your choice with 2 tbsp. white vinegar mixed in)

1 cup mashed bananas

3/4 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Put paper liners in a 12 muffin tin, lightly spray with cooking spray and set aside. Place all of the ingredients in a blender, except chocolate chips, and pulse until blended well. Fold in chocolate chips. Scoop 1/4 cup batter into each muffin cup. Bake in preheated oven for 5 minutes then lower oven temperature to 350 degrees, bake 5 minutes longer. Best served warm!

*I like to add a tablespoon or two of ground flaxseed meal to mine batter.

**If you don’t have oat flour just add 2 cups old fashioned oats into a food processor and pulse until it resembles flour.