Chef at Home: Marlynn Schotland

Marlynn Schotland loves watching her kids build confidence in the kitchen. The creator of the popular website Urban Bliss Life, author of The Super Easy Teen Baking Cookbook, and mom to Ethan, 17, and Cate, 14, knows what kinds of recipes teens and tweens love (think pizza cups, sheet-pan nachos, and buffalo chicken phyllo bites). Schotland spent most of the pandemic in her newly remodeled kitchen in the Bull Mountain area, outside Portland, developing a book that will turn hungry kids into budding chefs. “Teens like these recipes because they can make them for dinner or impress their friends with afternoon or post-practice/game snacks,” Schotland says. The author shared with us two of her favorite winter recipes for when the kids take over the kitchen.


Mushroom Empanadas

From The Super Easy Teen Baking Cookbook by Marlynn Jayme Schotland

Makes 8 to 10 empanadas
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes


  • 1 (8-ounce) tube refrigerated or frozen crescent dough sheet, thawed if frozen
  • 1 cup finely chopped fresh baby bella or cremini mushrooms
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon fresh or dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 large egg, separated


1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

2. Prepare the dough. Unroll the sheet of crescent dough onto the prepared baking sheet. Using a large round cookie cutter (about 3” diameter), cut out 8 circles. Gather any extra dough into a ball, roll flat using a rolling pin, and cut out another 1 or 2 circles. Discard any leftover dough. Place the circles about 1 inch apart on the baking sheet.

3. Make the filling. Put the mushrooms, garlic, and the olive oil in a medium microwave-safe bowl and microwave for 1 minute. Add the thyme, salt, and pepper to the bowl and stir to combine. Place about 1 to 2 teaspoonfuls of filling on the center of each dough circle.

4. Shape the empanadas. Place the egg white in a small bowl, then put the egg yolk in another small bowl. Use a fork to lightly beat the egg white, then to lightly beat the egg yolk. With a pastry brush or your fingers, brush some of the egg white onto the outside edge of one half of each dough circle. Fold one side of the dough over to meet the other side, so that it forms a half-circle. Use a fork to press down and seal the edges, creating a nice pattern around the curved part of the half-circles. Dip the pastry brush into the beaten yolk and lightly brush the top of each empanada. This is what gives them their classic golden-brown top when they bake. Make sure the folded empanadas are about 2 inches apart on the baking sheet.

5. Bake the empanadas. Place the baking sheet in the oven and bake for 15 to 17 minutes, or until the tops are shiny and golden brown.


Pressure Cooker Cranberry Meatballs

From by Marlynn Jayme Schotland

Makes 24 meatball appetizers
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes


  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 cups cranberries
  • 1/2 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 jar of barbecue sauce
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 (22- ounce) package premade frozen meatballs (approximately 24 meatballs)


1. Turn your Instant Pot or other electric pressure cooker to Sauté. Add the water and sugar, and gently stir until the sugar has dissolved. Then add the cranberries and lemon juice. Sauté for 3 to 4 minutes, just until the cranberries “pop” and the sauce is slightly thickened. Turn off the Sauté mode.

2. Stir in the barbecue sauce and brown sugar until fully combined. Add the frozen meatballs and stir to coat in the sauce. Secure the lid and make sure the pressure valve is in the Seal position.

3. Select Pressure Cook/Manual, and set the time to 5 minutes.The Instant Pot will take a few minutes to come to pressure. Once it starts cooking it will count down from 5 minutes. Once cooking is complete, quick release the valve to the Vent position (use a wooden spoon or other utensil with a long handle to safely switch the valve over). Once all pressure is safely released and the pressure release pin has gone down, carefully open the lid, stir the meatballs, and serve.