Melissa D., Recipe Tester

A list of all the recipes Melissa D. has tested.

A bowl of Puerto Rican-style ropa vieja with rice and cilantro on a green mesh serving tray with a linen napkin beside it.

Puerto Rican-Style Ropa Vieja

Ropa vieja is a magic act of sorts. Slowly braised beef and a handful of ingredients become more sumptuous than the sum of its parts.

  • Quick Glance
  • 30 M
  • 3 H, 30 M
  • 2
A white plate topped with chunky ranch-style home fries topped with a fried egg.

Chunky Ranch-Style Home Fries

Just like what you’d find at your local diner. Swear. Just simple ingredients cooked slow and patiently until they’re crisp on the outside, tender on the inside, and tempting through and through.

  • Quick Glance
  • 25 M
  • 1 H, 20 M
  • 0
A green plate topped with a few garlicky chicken wings, a bowl of salt, and a lemon wedge.

Garlicky Chicken Wings With Sumac

An enticing example of just how exquisite Middle Eastern food is. And, for the uninitiated, it’s the perfect vehicle for trying sumac, a tangy red spice that flaunts a tartness much like lemon.

  • Quick Glance
  • 10 M
  • 2 H, 30 M
  • 0
Four pumpkin swirl cheesecake bars on a white surface.

Pumpkin Swirl Cheesecake Bars

Pumpkin pie. Cheesecake. And no, that’s not a choice you have to make. You get both. You’re welcome. (New Thanksgiving tradition, anyone?)

  • (3)
  • 40 M
  • 2 H
  • 12
Nine glazed soft maple cookies with a Pyrex container of glaze behind them.

Glazed Soft Maple Cookies

Soft and tender and almost cake-like—some would say even pancake-like. A lovely reminder that yes, maple cookies are completely appropriate at the breakfast table.

  • Quick Glance
  • 30 M
  • 1 H, 30 M
  • 2
Six salmon cakes on rectangular platters with bowls of avocado spread and chimichurri beside.

Salmon Cakes

Looking to elevate canned salmon beyond recognition? Maybe banish all recollections (nightmares?!) of Lenten Fridays from childhood? Here’s your answer.

  • Quick Glance
  • 45 M
  • 1 H, 15 M
  • 0
A blue and white platter filled with couscous salad with fennel and almonds with a torn baguette and a couple of glasses of white wine beside it.

Couscous Salad with Fennel and Almonds

You could, of course, serve couscous plain. But why?! Makes little sense when you can quickly and easily toss in almonds and lemon and tuna and shaved fennel and literally be astounded.

  • Quick Glance
  • 20 M
  • 20 M
  • 2
A pastrami burger with Russian dressing and iceberg lettuce.

Pastrami Burgers with Russian Dressing

A make-at-home version of your fave diner-style burger but with the added smokiness from just the blissful amount of chopped pastrami mixed in with the beef.

  • Quick Glance
  • 15 M
  • 30 M
  • 0
A white bowl filled with soft peanut butter cookies.

Soft Peanut Butter Cookies

We’ll demolish almost any version of peanut butter cookies. But these, with their slightly crisp edges and oh-so-soft, melt-in-your-mouth center, are among the best we’ve ever experienced.

  • (1)
  • 20 M
  • 40 M
  • 4
A panettone studded with dried fruit on a silver platter with a couple of wedges cut from it.

Panettone

Panettone, which makes its traditional Italian Christmas appearance, is gussied up here with any dried fruit you fancy. An ever so slight twist on a classic.

  • (1)
  • 1 H, 30 M
  • 5 H
  • 2