It’s nice to meet you!

My name is Melanie Mendelson, and I live in a suburb of Chicago with my husband and 3 school-age children.

I’ve always loved to cook, and I certainly get to do a lot of cooking to feed our hungry household of five.  In my free time, I also enjoy spending time in nature, traveling, reading, decorating, gardening and playing tennis.

No matter how busy life gets, I try not to compromise on the taste and quality of our meals.  However, I also don’t want to spend more time in the kitchen then necessary, so I always streamline and simplify each recipe until it can take no more.  My motto is “simple recipes with maximum flavor” – I simplify my cooking until it hits that sweet spot of best taste with minimum possible effort.

I try to eat reasonably healthy without following any particular diet.  More natural ingredients and less processed foods is always our goal, and sensible portion sizes are key.  Food is one of the greatest pleasures in life, so go ahead, eat your slice of cake and live life to the fullest!

You will not find the “fancy chef” stuff here.  What you will find is the recipes that you can actually make – real food for real people… and food is something that we all have in common :)

Like my stuff? Click here to follow by e-mail.

Latest posts:

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30 replies
  1. Lisa @ Chocolate Meets Strawberry
    Lisa @ Chocolate Meets Strawberry says:

    I love this bio, Melanie – I can most definitely relate to your way of approaching food! The “real food for real people” motto is one I like to stick to when I’m cooking, too. I’m definitely not into elaborate dishes, either. One of the reasons I much prefer reading food blogs to cookbooks or cooking magazines is the human element. When a blogger makes something the recipe seems so much more realistic, because you know someone has actually made it for themselves and their family, rather than in a test kitchen where everything is tightly controlled! :)

    • Debra
      Debra says:

      That is the truest statement that I have ever heard! So many times I have made a recipe from a magazine and it did not work out. I LOVE food blogs!!! I love them soo much, that I am making more new desserts than I have ever made! My kids are very happy, because it is not the usual chocolate chip cookies, but great apple pies ( with a crust that gets eaten!), amazing cinnamon rolls, and other wonderful recipes. The best part is often having pictures of the preparation process or videos.

  2. Debzuraidah
    Debzuraidah says:

    I’m so glad to have found you , it started with your Epic Brownies recipe. Hi I’m Deb ,from sunny Penang, Malaysia . I love food and don’t want to forego good ,yummy goodness ..just love how you make cooking easy. Thank goodness , bless you for sharing your delightful blog & recipes .

  3. Royston Walters
    Royston Walters says:

    Hi Melanie

    We had friends around for Easter Sunday lunch and I served roast rib if beef but we have lots left over and I was looking for inspiring recipes when I found your blog. I’m very excited to be making your Mongolian Beef recipe for dinner this evening. In our house my wife Linda does all the cleaning and ironing, I do all the shopping and cooking so we are a great team. Cooking for friends is a particular joy for me and an easy way to show that ‘we love you’. Thank you for your time and effort in producing
    your lovely website.

  4. Sjoerd Houweling
    Sjoerd Houweling says:

    Melanie, thank you for your nice website!
    I ended up here because I was looking for ideas on how to use smoked sprat, and instead of just finding ideas for that, I found a whole website with simple, good, efficient and nice recipes! Thank you!

  5. Kelly
    Kelly says:

    Thank you Melanie for sharing such real, simple and delicious recipes with us!
    I just found your website and loved the recipes – tried a couple already!

  6. Chadd
    Chadd says:

    I LOVE this site! It is so CUTE :) The recipes seem very easy to follow and I totally subscribed to your mailing list. <3 from SF

  7. Shikiah
    Shikiah says:

    I just purchased my instant pot and am so grateful to find this site. I’ll be using many of your recipes and easy to follow directions.
    Thank you so much

  8. Joel J. Carlson
    Joel J. Carlson says:

    These are the foods I grew up with!!! Nice to be able to get back to eating them!! Thanks and keep up the GREAT WORK!

  9. Natasha @ Natasha's Kitchen
    Natasha @ Natasha's Kitchen says:

    I always made buckwheat on the stove or in the rice cooker, but never in the instant pot. I found your recipe on Google and buckwheat turned out delicious, not mushy. I doubled the recipe and proportions worked perfectly. Thank you for the simple recipe ?

  10. Brad Warren
    Brad Warren says:

    I subscribed because on looking at the photo I thought, “here is a woman with a humble heart who cooks with love.” Fortunate are we who partake of her creations.

  11. June Allen
    June Allen says:

    Thank you it’s so amazing the things that the simple air fryer does. As a Nurse especially in this time I’m really really busy at times and hardly have time to prepare food so with this air fryer It is my little comfort when I want to make a quick meal on the go such as corn ? chicken ? and many other things.

  12. Avril
    Avril says:

    I am so happy to have found your site. I am new to Instant Pot and found many of the cookery sites associated with it to be much glitter and less substance. Your picture is actually what caught my eye first, as I clicked my way through the many sites looking for a chicken thigh recipe….I thought, ok, here is a decent , normal person who likes to cook and you just were quite refreshing that way. Your recipes are great… far I have done the chicken thighs, frozen chicken breasts, brisket and I have pumpkin pie in the IP at the moment. If you are ever around up here in the Southern Gulf Islands, give me a shout…I will put the kettle on !

  13. David Wallace
    David Wallace says:

    Looking to cook a whole
    sea bass in my instant pot,
    and came across your web
    site. You have explained how to do it very well, I will
    be trying it out tonight for
    myself and my wife Susan.
    I have read some of the
    comments and have signed
    up immediately.
    Dave in the (U.K)

  14. Bob
    Bob says:

    I love your easy-to-do cooking with a pressure cooker and an air fryer. Today I was wanting to make a simple and easy recipe for Chili using the pressure cooker. I was saddened that you haven’t made a simple and easy chili meal yet. I hope you brighten my day in the future with a simple chile meal.

  15. Ciaran
    Ciaran says:

    Hi Melanie. I love your blog and emails. Please post how to air fry vegan sausages. Thank you for all of your wonderful ways to make cooking faster and easier.

  16. Brian Ansorge
    Brian Ansorge says:

    I don’t always check out every new post or video, but when I do, I am glad I did.

    You don’t overwhelm my Inbox.

    So, when I *do* get an email, I am glad, not “mad!”

    Keep doing these videos and such. You have gotten really good at them and they capture your joy and light of being!

    Blessings to you and your loved ones!

  17. Ilona
    Ilona says:

    Thank you for sharing and giving recipes for the Air Fryer. Being single and working two jobs, this helps me with quick snacks and meals.

  18. david arthur lamb
    david arthur lamb says:

    hi melanie, love your air fryer recipes, the last one = a/f/ oatmeal, is good, but in england we call it PORRIDGE, just one point i would like to make is, could you include celsius or as the old word centigrade temperatures to your recipes, as in england most cooking appliances are in C, and not F. THANKS KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK

  19. Andrew
    Andrew says:

    Hi Melanie,
    I love your philosophy of cooking simply with a minimum of fuss. Please, if you can, tell me what Air Fryer you use on the show and for your recipes. Your link leads to Amazon with a plethora of choices, brands, and sizes. I would like a machine exactly like yours to avoid mistakes in the kitchen.
    Thanks in advance
    Andrew Nelson

  20. BigV trucker
    BigV trucker says:

    Dear Melanie,

    Your recipes and methods are delicious and prefect for my 3qt instantpot dual mini. After trucking for 8 to 10 hours, there’s nothing better than a delicious hot meal. Your recipes are practical, easy, delicious, and fast. You are my number one, and fast becoming the only, website for my cooking needs.
    Thank you and God Bless you and your family, Vince

  21. Chuck
    Chuck says:

    Hi Melanie! You don’t know how thrilled I am to discover your site on YouTube, as well as the Melanie Cooks site. A few days ago I realized I am 81-years-old, and had better get busy if I am going to learn how to cook anything in this life. I am a total neophyte when it comes to kitchen skills, AND your wonderful site(s) have given me hope of changing all that! My goal is to cook every one of the 80 recipes you presently have on-line. I have already prepared a few and I felt like I should don a chef’s hat or something. Thank you so much for your approach to cooking, and for keeping things easy to understand. On top of that, your videos are really enjoyable and fun to watch! All my best to you.

  22. Chuck
    Chuck says:

    Chuck again, Melanie. In my previous post I said I wanted to prepare all 80 recipes you have on-line. Forgive me for my inaccuracy. I know you have hundreds and hundreds of recipes on-line. Since I am focusing on the Instant Pot, I was only referring to recipes for it. Cheers!


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