Why this blog??

Why this blog?? I often find myself stressing over what to make for my family for dinner. We live a busy life and some meals need time to prep, cook and let's not forget shopping for everything you need. I love cookbooks and websites, but there are so many recipe's at times it is overwhelming. The recipe's I will be posting are things I actually made. I will tell you if they are easy or more time consuming. I will also tell you if they are good. Most of these are recipe's I have made for years and continue to make because they are easy or quick and my family loves them and i know yours will too! I will also try to at least once in a whlie try a new recipe I've found on line or in a book and honestly rate it. I always encourage others to send me their favorite recipe's as well! I am a mom... not a chef. But I am a mom who enjoys cooking for her family and making a somewhat healthy meal (some days more healthy than others:) ) In each recipe I will share how I recommend serving it, any substitutions I can think of that are also good, or ways to prepare ahead of time to make the cooking part seem quicker! I am not a photographer, as you can see... most of these pictures are taken from my phone camera, so may not be the best! I love to hear from others who have made these recipes and what they have done to change the recipe... please post comments! Thank you! To "like" me on facebook, go to this link... It's What's Cookin

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Pork Chops Florentine with herb oil, broccolini and savory tomatoes



Here is another meal out of the magazine I love, Cuisine for two. In order to make it for my family of four, 2 adults and 2 kids, I just added an extra pork chop, used a whole tomato and whole package of broccolini and also added a side of sliced roasted potatoes. It was the perfect amount. This recipe is right out of the magazine. I didn't alter recipe at all besides just adding a bit more. These italian pork chops really get their flavor from the fresh herbs. I wouldn't use dried herbs if at all possible. You are making 3 different things, but they will all end up on grill so it makes this a quick, easy weekday meal. 
INGREDIENTS:

For the herb oil-
* 1/4 c olive oil
* 6 torn fresh sage leaves 
* 1 T chopped fresh rosemary
* 1 T chopped fresh oregano
* 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

For the Broccolini-
* 6 oz broccolini
* olive oil, salt and pepper

For the Chops- 
* 2 bone-in pork loin chops, 1 inch thick (about 8 oz each) seasoned with salt and pepper (I used 3)

For the Tomato-
* 1/4 c panko crumbs
* salt and pepper to taste
* 2 tomato slices (I used one medium tomato cut into 4 slices and added a bit more panko crumbs)
* 2 slices goat cheese, cut 1/2 inch thick (I used shredded mozz cheese because I had it on hand, but if I didn't I would have bought a fresh Mozzarella ball and sliced that to use since my family doesn't like goat cheese.
* Herb oil from above

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat grill to medium High

Combine 1/4 cup oil, sage, rosemary, oregano and garlic for herb oil in a shallow serving dish/plate. Set aside. 

Toss Broccolini with olive oil, salt and pepper; set aside. 

Grill Chops over direct heat, covered, 5 minutes per side, or to internal temp of 155. (I did season the chops with a little pepper/salt first). 

While chops are grilling, toss panko salt and pepper in shallow dish. Dip each tomato and cheese slice into the herbed oil you made above and then it says to dredge both sides of goat cheese slices into panko mixture, but since I used shredded cheese, I just dipped the tomato slices to coat them in the panko mixture instead. Place cheese on tomatoes. 

Transfer grilled chops to herb oil plate and let rest for 3 minutes; turn after 3 minutes. I covered plate with tinfoil to keep warm. 

While you are letting chops sit in oil, grill the broccolini and tomato slices on the grill. (Broccolini 3-4 minutes turning once) (Tomatoes around 5 minutes, until panko crumbs are golden). 

To serve, place one pork chop on each plate and some broccolini and tomato slice on each plate. Drizzle remaining herb oil over chops, broccolini and savory tomatoes. Enjoy! 

Herb oil in shallow plate

I dipped my tomato slices in the oil and then coated them with the panko crumbs. 

I then topped tomatoes with shredded mozz cheese. 

Tossed broccolini with olive oil, salt and pepper.

Place chops in oil after they are grilled to rest. 

Flip them after 3 mins (and during this time you will be grilling the broccolini and tomatoes.


Serve up each plate with a little of each and then drizzle remaining oil over top of it all. I also served a side of roasted sliced potatoes. 




Monday, December 30, 2013

Cheese Tortellini & Butternut Squash in a Brown Butter and Sage Sauce



Not only was this an extremely easy meal to make, but it was surprisingly very good too! The family all really liked it and it got the kids to eat some butternut squash! The tortellini really pairs well with the sweetness of the squash and the saltiness of the pancetta. I will be making this again for an easy, quick weekday meal! 

I found the recipe in the magazine "Cuisine for two". It is great when you are cooking for 2 adults (or 2 adults and 2 small kids if you just tweek the ingredients a tad). 
Ingredients:
* 1 1/2 c peeled and cubed butternut squash (I used half a large squash, around 2 cups)
* 1/2 lb refrigerated cheese-filled tortellini (about 2 cups) (I used a whole lb container)
* 2 tsp olive oil
* 2 slices prosciutto or ham, cut into thin ribbons (I went to my deli and had them slice me 3 NOT THIN slices of pancetta). 
* 4 T unsalted butter (I used closer to 5 1/2 T)
* 1 lg sprig fresh sage
* 2 T dry sherry
* juice of 1/2 lemon
* chopped fresh parsley (optional- hubby and I used on ours and left off the kids. If you have it on hand, great... if not, save on ingredients and this is really not essential).
* freshly ground black pepper



Directions (right from magazine):
*Cook squash in large saucepan of boiling salted water for 3 minutes. Add tortellini; cook according to package directions until squash and tortellini are both tender (after I added the tortellini I cooked for another 6 mins or so). Drain Tortellini and squash and set aside. (I left sit in colander in my sink).

*Heat oil in saute pan over medium high heat. Add prosciutto, cook until crisp, then drain on a paper towel-lined plate. Return skillet to burner and reduce to medium heat.

*Melt butter in same pan over medium heat. Once melted, add sage and cook until butter browns, about 4 minutes; discard sage sprig. Stir in sherry and cook another 30 seconds while stirring. Add the squash, tortellini and prosciutto back in and toss to heat through.

*Off heat, drizzle tortellini mixture with the lemon juice, and sprinkle with parsley and pepper. 

*Serve and enjoy while warm! We served with side salads for the adults and fruit salad for the kiddos:)

boiling tortellini with the squash (Squash is under tortellini)

Drain and set aside

cook prosciutto till crisp (like bacon)

Brown butter while scraping the sides of pan to get leftover prosciutto bits

add the sherry and cook for another 30 seconds or so

Toss back in the squash, tortellini and prosciutto


Delicious! 


Monday, June 17, 2013

Bruschetta Dip


I had this at a birthday party not to long ago. I've also been told Trader Joe's has sampled this recipe in their stores. It is amazing!! I could eat the whole thing in one day. So far I've only tried it on pita chips, wheat thins and baguette bread. I think it be really good on top of grilled chicken as well!!

This is a semi-homemade recipe since I don't actually "make" any of it. You do need to have a Trader Joes near you to make this. All I do is get 3 ingredients (all found in fridge section near hummas at TJs) and mix them all together!! Great for a party or just made and store in your fridge and it's a good quick snack to eat over the next week! It's not the prettiest dish in the world and when I first went to try it I was hesitant. But after that first dip, you can't stop!

Trader Joe's Products (pictures of each below)

*2 Tubs of the Bruschetta Sauce
*1 Tub of Crumbled Ricotta Salata (Cheese)
*1 Packate of Steamed (precooked) Lentils

Mix all three together in a big bowl breaking apart the lentils and let the cheese crumble into small pieces. Serve with your favorite cracker or bread... or try it on Chicken! Let me know if you try it any new way! I love this stuff!!

2 Tubs of Bruschetta Sauce

1 Tub Ricotta Salata

1 pkg (box) lentils

Mix in bowl and serve!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Pork Tenderloin with Pan Sauce

Ok, I'm not a huge pork fan. I think it's a texture thing. But I'm trying to eat healthier and there is only so much chicken and ground turkey you can eat and I really don't like cooking fish at home. I found this recipe on pintrest from Chef Mommy blog. I copied recipe as is and it was seriously SO good!! I got excited for it as soon as I mixed the marinade together. It smelt amazing!! You have to marinate it for at LEAST 4 hours. I marinated mine overnight and it was perfect! I reserved a little more than it called for (around 1/4 cup) and I'm glad I did because I put that sauce over my smashed fingerling potatoes as well. I also made roasted asparagus and acorn squash. The kids, my husband and I ate it all!!

Ingredients:
1⁄2 cups olive oil
1⁄3 cup soy sauce
1⁄4 cup red wine vinegar
Juice of 1 lemon
1-2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1-2 tbsp fresh flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
2 tsp dry mustard
Freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1 lb. pork tenderloin (silver skin removed)

Directions:
1. Combine all marinade ingredients and reserve 2-3 Tbsp. (I did a little more). Place the pork tenderloin and marinade in a Ziplock bag and let marinate for at least 3-4 hours. (I marinated around 20 hours).
2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a hot skillet over medium-high heat, sear each side of tenderloin for 2-3 minutes. Place in the oven and cook for 30-40 minutes or until the meat has reached 160 degrees. Let rest for at least 5 minutes before slicing. (I used one pan for everything... my dutch oven. I seared roast over stove top in the dutch oven (discard all of the marinade). Then place dutch oven into oven till the pork reaches 150-155 (It will continue to cook while resting so don't over cook.)

Pan Sauce:
Pan scrapings from pork tenderloin
1/2 cup of chicken broth
2-3 tbsp of reserved marinade (thoroughly mixed)
1-2 tsp butter

Meanwhile, place the skillet back on the stove over medium heat. Add the chicken broth and scrape up all the browned pieces from the bottom of the pan. Add the marinade and let it boil down for 2-3 minutes. Add the butter and remove from heat stirring until butter has melted. Pour over the pork tenderloin.


Pork resting after cooked

Making the Pan sauce in same dutch oven I cooked pork in

ready to slice... 

Slice and put back into pan sauce. Spoon sauce over top and serve with extra sauce on top. ENJOY!

Monday, February 4, 2013

Southwestern Loaded Baked Sweet Potato



This meal was surprisingly a HUGE hit in my family. Blew me away! I thought I was going to have to bribe and force my family to eat this. We will definitely make this again and again! I love Gina's Skinnytaste Blog. Here is the link to her recipe and below is what I did:) It's not a pretty dish (at least when I made it it wasn't) but it was very tasty! The original recipe is made to be vegetarian. You can keep it that way or add your favorite meat. I added pork from my southwestern green chili shredded pork but I think even shredded rotisserie chicken would be good in this too!

Ingredients:


  • 4 medium sized sweet potatoes
  • 1/2 cup fat free Greek yogurt 
  • 1 tsp taco seasoning (I make this recipe in large quantity and used 1 tsp of this)
  • 1 tsp olive or canola oil
  • 1 medium zucchini, cut into half moons 1 inch thick
  • 1 small green chili- diced
  • 1/2 sweet onion cut into rings
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp paprika or smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • a pinch of salt
  • 1/2 can low sodium black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 cup mild or spicy salsa
  • 1/2 cup reduced fat Mexican cheese blend (I used shredded cheddar since I had it on hand)
  • 1/4 cup chopped scallions or cilantro (I chopped up 2 green onions)
  • 1 cup of any cooked meat you have (pork, chicken- shredded) OPTIONAL

Directions:

Poke holes in the potato with a fork, cook on your microwave’s potato setting until potatoes are soft and cooked through (about 8-10 minutes on high for 4 potatoes). If you don't have a microwave, bake about 45 minutes at 400°F.

Combine yogurt and taco seasoning in a small bowl, mix well. (I just added the taco seasoning right to the cup of yogurt, shown below, and stirred in well.

Heat oil in a medium pot over medium heat. Add peppers, onions, zucchini, chili powder, paprika, cumin and salt; cook until the onions have caramelized slightly, about 5 minutes. Add black beans, stir to combine and heat through (about another 3 minutes). Add your cooked shredded meat. Cook till heated through. (I put a lid on this and cooked on low till I had everything else ready to go)

USE a fork to pierce the top in an oval shape, then remove the top of each potato. Top with 2 tbsp shredded cheese, 1/3 cup of black bean mixture, 2 tbsp Greek yogurt mixture and 2 tbsp salsa of salsa. Sprinkle any green onions or cilantro over the top.  Enjoy!

Greek Yogurt with taco seasoning mixed in (SO much better than sour cream!!)

Cut open top, add cheese and veggie/meat/black bean mixture...

Top with the yogurt and sprinkle on any other toppings. Dig in while hot!! 

Southwest Green Chili Shredded Pork

This is one of the simplest and best meals I made while on our 24 Advocare Challenge (diet). This makes a ton so it's best if you are making for a crowd or plan this meal as is for day one and use the left overs on top of nacho's, in a quesadilla or on top a loaded southwest sweet potato!

You will need a crockpot and the following ingredients:

*3-4lb Pork shoulder, trimmed of fat
*2 T Extra virgin Olive Oil
*small sweet onion, cut into half rings
*1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes, no salt added
*1 4 oz can diced green cili's
*1 can of your favorite flavor Rotel (I use the green chili and tomato)
*1-2 whole anaheim green chilies, sliced into strips (Or another large can of green chilies-drained)
*2 tsp ground cumin
*salt and pepper

Optional ingredients for making into tacos:
*Corn tortillas
*Salsa verde
*sliced avocado
*Low fat sour cream

Optional toppings if making a carb free meal as I did in these pictures
*lime slices
*salsa of any kind
*sliced avocado
*cilantro

Directions:
1. Heat oil in skillet over medium-high heat. Add pork and season with salt and pepper. Cook on all sides till browned (about 8-10 mins total)
2. Place pork in slow cooker. Add onion, tomatoes, green chilies, rotel and cumin. Add 1/2 cup- 1 cup water (I didn't do this, but I added the tomatoes and rotel with the juices)
3. Cook on low for 8-10 hours until fork tender. You can use two forks to shred pork right in the crock pot and mix will all the sauteed onions and peppers. YUM.

Serve either as is, in tacos, as quesadilla, nachos, or on a potato! Enjoy and invite some friends over to share! :) Sorry, no pictures below of this served in taco's... they were eaten WAY too quickly to snap a photo!





On top of fully loaded nachos! 

On a loaded sweet potato! HUGE hit in my house!


Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Roasted Fingerling Potatoes & Asparagus with Rosemary Olive Oil


I was making ribeye's for dinner so I wanted to get some asparagus and some potatoes for the sides. I found this cool looking bag of Restaurant Style Baby Fingerling Potatoes... they were tri-colored (golden, red and purple). So i got home and I was trying to think of how to make these and it just so happens there was a recipe using both the potatoes and the asparagus on the front of the bag!! BAM! That was easy!! Here is a picture of the bag...

So, luckily I had fresh rosemary in my garden and I followed the recipe exactly... it was amazing!! I highly recommend!! If you can't find these cool tri-colored potatoes at your store, just do a mixture of golden and red fingerling potatoes... it just won't be as pretty as mine! :)

INGREDIENTS:
*2 T fresh Rosemary- minced
*1/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
*1 lb fresh Asparagus- trimmed
*1/2 lb Pacific Gold fingerling potatoes (I used half of the 1.5lb bag) Cleaned and cut in half vertically
*1/4 tsp sea salt
*fresh ground black pepper to taste
*lemon wedges (I used 1 lemon cut into 6 wedges)

1. Preheat oven to 400.
2. Toss potatoes with 2 T olive oil. Roast in oven for 20-30 mins on a roasting pan (or cookie sheet) until potatoes are slightly browned. Remove from oven.
3. Toss asparagus with remaining olive oil. Add them to the roasting pan with the potatoes. Place back in oven for 15-20 mins, turning frequently, until potatoes are fork tender.
4. Arrange potatoes and asparagus on a platter. Drizzle some lemon juice over the top and sprinkle with the fresh rosemary, salt and pepper. (I used the juice of 3-4 wedges and used other 2 as garnish on the platter.
5. Serve and enjoy!!


Thank you Progressiverecipes.com for an amazing recipe that I will make again and again!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Cheesy Potato Soup


This is a perfect soup for the cooler days that are coming up. I love making a big batch of this on Football Sunday and eating it for lunch and dinner. I make mine vegetarian, but it'd also be good with some ham or bacon in it!! GO PACK GO!!

Ingredients:
* 2 T Butter
* 2 T Olive Oil
* 1 small sweet onion- chopped
* 2 leeks- cut in 1/2 rounds only using white and light green parts
* 3 large carrots- diced
* 2-3 fresh garlic cloves- minced (Or garlic powder would do too)
* Seasonings (Kosher salt, Black pepper, nature seasonings)
* 10 potatoes (around 5-6 lbs) I used half red potatoes and half golden-Take most skin off. Diced
* 32 oz box of chicken STOCK (I used Kitchen Basic brand)
* 1 bouillon cute (I have the granules so I used 1 T)
* 1/2-1 cup water (enough so all potatoes are covered with liquid)
* 2-4 oz velveeta cheese- diced (more or less depending on how cheesy you like it)
* 1-2 cups of half n half

Other Optional ingredients:
*1 T flour plus 1 T melted butter if needs thickening
*Crusty bread (Sour dough round cut into chunks)
*Shredded cheddar cheese for topping soup
*green onion diced for topping
*any other toppings you like on a baked potato would go good!


  1. Use a large stock pot.  Put the oil and butter in the bottom of pan on medium heat. Add onions, carrots and leeks. Cook on medium till onions are translucent (around 10-15 minutes).  
  2. Add some seasonings (I used lots of pepper and nature seasonings and a little salt.. you can always add more later). And add your garlic or garlic powder. Stir well.
  3. Add diced potatoes, chicken stock, bouillon and stir well. Add your water till it covers the potatoes completely. Cook on medium uncovered for about 20 minutes. Stir well and cover and continue simmering for another 20-30 minutes until potatoes are fork tender (not mushy).
  4. Take half the soup (veggies and broth) out and put in blender. (Or if you have a hand blender like me, i just put half the soup into a bowl and use my hand blender to mix well.). Blend well and pour the blended mixture back into the soup. Mix well.
  5. If you like your soup a little thicker you can melt some butter and mix with flour. Add a little at a time of this mixture until it reaches the consistency you want. (I only used 1/2 of the mixture I made)
  6. Add your diced up velveeta cheese and mix. Cook on medium stirring every so often until cheese has completely melted and mixed into the soup.
  7. Add your cream. The amount you use depends on how creamy you like your soup. I used about a cups worth. 
  8. Serve in a bowl (or a bread bowl would be yummy!). Top with shredded cheese and any other toppings that sound good to you! Enjoy!
Not a great picture, but here I'm sauteing all my veggies. 
Adding my diced potatoes

I didn't get great pictures on making it this time around. Here is after I added the blended portion back to soup and just added the velveeta. 


Add your favorite toppings and serve with some crusty bread. DeLISH!