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

Friday, January 28, 2011

Chicken Mango Curry

Ok, this is one of MY favorite meals. My husband doesn't care for it... he'll eat it once, but won't take seconds or eat it as left overs. It makes a TON so i end up eating it for days... and I never get sick of it. I try to make it when I know friends will be over. Everyone really seems to like it except my picky husband and kids.

I got the recipe from a friend who had this dish at a Thai restaurant and loved it and ended up duplicating it. The key for this recipe is in the curry you buy. You need to get the Mae Ploy yellow curry paste! I had to drive 40 minutes to a local store to get it. I know you can get it on amazon or you can buy it on line at this site: http://grocerythai.com/ploy-yellow-curry-paste-ploy-p-492.html . I show pictures below... others just aren't the same. This seems like a fussy recipe, but it's really not at all. I use my dutch oven for this recipe. So does my friend. If you don't have one, i'm sure you could just do it over a large sauce pan... I've just never tried and cooking times may vary...

Thank you Marty and Lindsay for this amazing recipe!!

*2-3T EVOO
*2 medium zucchini- cut in half moons
*1 yellow squash- cut in half moons
*1 onion- lg chop
*1/2 bag of carrot chips (optional... i add these but my friend doesn't)
*1 red bell pepper- chopped into 1 inch pieces
*2 bunches green onion- cut into 2 inch slices
*1-2 lg jalapeno's - finely chopped (two if you like spice like me. I also get a third to chop up and put on
          top raw for the extra heat and crunch)
*3-4 T (or to taste) Mae Ploy yellow curry paste
*1 can coconut milk
*1 can chicken broth (14 oz)
*1 large handful fresh basil- roll stacked leaves into cigar shape and slice thin (chiffonade)
*1 can bamboo shoots- drained
*1 can water chesnuts- drained
*3 T Thai fish sauce
*2 T Brown Sugar
*2 Cans (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes
*3/4 rotisserie chicken- shredded into bite size chunks
*2 fresh mangos- peeled and sliced (or a large bag of frozed mango- defrosted)
*Sticky rice

  1. In your large pot, put in the EVOO, zucchini, squash, onion, red bell pepper, green onion, carrots, jalapeno, and some salt and pepper. Saute until almost done- not mushy.  I show this above.
  2. Add the curry and the coconut milk. Mix well. 

In the container is the bag of curry... this is what it looks like.
Putting the curry in

   3. Add chicken broth. Stir some more. Then add the basil, bamboo shoots, water chesnuts, thai fish sauce, brown sugar and tomotoes

This is after adding curry, coconut milk and broth

This is the fish sauce i use. Stays good in pantry for awhile.

Chiffonading the Basil

After adding all the above.

    4. When all is heated through, add the chicken and the mango.

    5. Serve in large Bowls over rice

** I like to add fresh jalapeno and lime to the top as I'm eating it. It's pretty healthy and it's restaurant quality! Enjoy!!

***To save time, I always cut all the veggies either the night before after kids are in bed, or during the day when I can find time. Put them in zip lock baggy or tupperware in fridge until ready to start cooking. I also always shred the chicken before hand and put in fridge. The only prep work i do while cooking is cutting the mango if I buy it fresh and cutting the basil.

This is the Dutch Oven I have... I LOVE it. Not only does it cook evenly and you can use it both on the stove top and in the oven, but the clean up is my favorite part. No need to soak these for days and scrub as hard as you can... this comes clean by just running water over it... no joke! I want his whole line! (The lasagna pan in on my wish list :) )

Here is another good one that is a little easier on the budget.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Homemade Sloppy, Sloppy Joes

I HATE Manwich. Always have... I was given this recipe about 7 years ago and make it often. About 90% of people who try it get the recipe and can't go back to the canned version of Sloppy Joes. I've even been told by people that they didn't like sloppy joes before trying these!

*2 lbs lean ground beef
*Small sweet onion chopped
*1/4 Cup distilled white vinegar
*1/4 Cup Brown Sugar
*1/4 Cup white sugar
* 1.5 Cups of Ketchup

When I make this recipe I never even measure anymore... you can add more vinegar to make it extra tangy or extra sugar to make it sweeter, or extra ketchup to make it sloppier... it's your call

1. I first start by sauteing the onions in a little bit of EVOO and some nature seasonings (or just salt and pepper will do)
2. Add meat and brown till done.
3. Add all the other ingredients, stir well, and simmer for about 10-15 minutes. Taste and add more of what ever you'd like depending on the taste you are going for.
4. Serve on hamburger buns. Some like with cheese on them. I like served along side chips and a pickle.

**One friend adds a little less ketchup and about 1/4 cup of BBQ sauce. Another friend adds a few stalks of chopped celery at the end to give it a little crunch as well as a few dashes of lawry's salt.  Make it your own and enjoy!! Let me know how you like yours!!

chop onions finely
saute onion with a little olive oil and seasonings (Nature seasonings or salt and pepper)

Add Ground beef once onions are sauted. Brown till done. Add any other seasonings you wish (Lawry's season salt, garlic powder...). Then add your vinegar, sugars and ketchup. Simmer. Taste and add anything else you think it needs!

Served on a bun (with or without cheese). Also shown here is my parmesan crusted zucchini. http://realmomsrealdinners.blogspot.com/2011/06/parmesan-crusted-zucchini.html

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

S'more's Brownies

I made these the other day and they were a HUGE hit! Actually I made 2 batches since the first one I burnt to a crisp!!! (Tip: when they are done... Don't put them under broil to toast marshmallows more and then walk away and forget about them for 5+ minutes... your house will be full of smoke and the smoke alarms will wake your kids up from their naps!)

*Brownie Mix (and any ingredients that the brownie mix calls for)
*2 cups mini marshmallows
*8 1.5oz Chocolate Bars, chopped into about 1/2 inch squares
*6 Graham Crackers broken into 1 inch pieces

*Prepare Brownie Mix. Pour into greased 9x13 baking pan and cook at 350 for 15 minutes.
*While Brownies are cooking, toss the marshmallows, chocolate chunks, and Graham crackers pieces in a large bowl.
*Sprinkle the S'mores mixture over brownies evenly
*Continue to cook for another 15 minutes. Marshmallows should be slightly golden.

Gingersnap Pot Roast

I LOVE Pot Roast in the Fall and winter. It smells better than lighting a candle and it's the perfect comfort food. A friend made this recipe for me after having my son. We've made it at LEAST once a month since. This recipe is sure to get your kids and even picky husbands asking for seconds. The best part is... the left over roast tastes great the next day as Pot Roast Sandwiches... served on buns with melted cheese:)


  • 3-4 lbs beef chuck roast
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 2 cups water
  • 8 gingersnap cookies, crumbled
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon beef bouillon, granules
  • 1/8 teaspoon red pepper, ground
  • 2 medium yams and 2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled & quartered (or you can do 4 of one or the other)
  • 4 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 3 inch pieces
  • 1 bay leaf 


  1. Trim fat from roast. Cut if necessary to fit crock-pot.
  2. In large skillet brown roast on all sides in hot oil.
  3. In a small bowl combine water, gingersnaps, vinegar, bouillon, and red pepper.
  4. In crock-pot, place potatoes, carrots or parsnips, and bay leaf. Place meat on top of vegetables.
  5. Pour gingersnap mixture over meat.
  6. Cover; cook on low-heat setting for 10-12 hours or high-heat setting for 5-6 hours.

    **** There are 2 things I do a bit differently. First, I cook on medium heat for about 8 hours. Second, I wait till the roast has only about 2 hours left before adding the potatoes. If you are gone all day, you don't have to do this... I just think the potatoes get too mushy if they cook all day, but it's good either way. 
Always serve with a fresh loaf of french bread or buttermilk biscuits... and possibly a glass of Pinot Noir :)  Enjoy!