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, February 18, 2011

Mexican Crockpot Chicken

This has to be the easiest recipe out there! I think it's great.

*3-4 Chicken Breasts (they can even be frozen!)
*2 cans corn nibblets
*2 cans black beans
*1 pkg taco seasonings
*Large jar of salsa

Optional Toppings include: sour cream, avocado, chopped onion, shredded lettuce, hot sauce- my fav is cholula sauce, shredded cheese, cilantro, lime slices... and of course tortillas or taco shells for filling or tortilla chips for dipping.

Lightly spray crock with non-stick spray. Put corn in bottom of crockpot. Place chicken breasts on top of corn. Sprinkle taco seasoning on chicken. Pour in beans then Salsa. Cook on medium for 5-6 hours. Remove chicken pieces to shred and return back to crock to mix all together. (I usually just do this in the crock with two forks).

Alot can be done with this recipe. We have done it by itself like chili, as a filler for corn tortillas, as taco's in shells (I love Mission Brand white corn shells) or even as an appetizer with tortilla chips. And it makes yummy leftovers too!!

Enjoy! I am making these as I write this!

Layer all ingredients in crock pot

When done cooking, shred chicken in pot with other ingredients


Served on shell with cheese, sour cream, cilantro, lime juice and hot sauce:)

Made into Nacho's... deLISH!! Just put chips on bottom. Add some cheese. Microwave 10 secs. Add the Chicken mixture. Top with any toppings you wish! (I did pico, avocado, cilantro and sour cream)

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Asian influenced Butterfish, rice pilaf, and veggies

We love going to Roy's for date night. I am obsessed with their Butterfish. A while back I decided it can't be that hard to make at home so we've been making this dish on occasion. It's still pretty pricy (I think a pound of the fish is around $20 +)

This will serve 2 people:

*3/4-1lb of Butterfish (also known as Black Cod or Sable fish- I get it at Whole foods and it's sold there as
          Black Cod)
*1 1/2 cups yoshida's gourmet sauce
*additional 1/4 cup yoshida's gourmet sauce
*2 T soy sauce
*2 tsp fresh minced garlic
*1 tsp Chinese Five Spice (optional)
*1/2 cup sweet onion- chopped
*1 bay leaf
*2 cups water
*1 cup sticky rice (i like calrose rice)
*1/4 cup chopped green onion
*1 medium zucchini- julienne
*3 carrots- julienne  or 1/2 cup carrot chips
*1 or 2 bok chow

I marinate the fish for at least 4 hours in a zip lock with 1 1/2 cups yoshida's, the soy sauce, garlic and five spice.

RICE: I start my rice first. On a sauce pan I saute the onion in the EVOO with salt and pepper. Once sauteed, i add a bay leaf, the rice and water. Bring to a boil and simmer till rice is done. Fluff with fork and add hand full of the green onions just before serving. Sometimes i splash a LITTLE soy over top too.

FISH: I made a little pan out of tinfoil, folding up sides. I place fish on it with 1/4 of the marinade. I grill it skin up first. After about 5 minutes I flip it so skin is down. Grill till done. Fish will become very flaky. Skin should just come off (and most likely stick to tin foil)

VEGGIES: I use my mandoline to julienne my veggies. I make another pan from tin foil. I place the julienne carrot's and zucchini on it. (sometimes I add more chopped sweet and green onion to this too and garlic, salt and pepper.) I add the remaining 1/4 cup yoshida's. I place this on grill a few minutes before the fish since the carrots take a tad longer than the fish.  The bok chow I steam. I just place it in my steamer for about 5-10 mins and pour a little olive oil over top.

PRESENTATION: Put scoop of rice on each plate. Lay bok chow over that. Place fish so it leans against rice and bok chow. Place other veggies on side.  (Pictures below show this along with a bowl of lemon butter we use for an artichoke I made)

Great for date night in when you have small kids and they are in bed. I recommend with Cunundrum white wine or Asian beer:)

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Mexican Enchilada Casserole

My husband wasn't sure about this when I told him what I was making tonight, however he helped himself to seconds and said he really liked it! My 10 month old son ate a whole piece as well!! I loved it. It's simple and tastes great! Thanks to my good friend for another awesome, simple recipe!

*1/2 cup chopped sweet onion
*3/4 cup chopped green bell pepper
*2 garlic cloves minced
*1 1/2 cups cooked chicken- cubed (I took a rotisserie chicken and cut it into cubes)
        **to make this vegetarian, omit chicken and add extra beans
*1 small can corn nibblets
*1 can pinto beans
*1 can cream of celery soup (or cream of mushroom)
*1 can cream of chicken soup (or for vegetarian you can use a different cream soup)
*1/2 can milk
*1 can green chili's- (Macayo's brand)
*1 small can Rotel (I like the habanero kind, but i use the mild one if cooking for the family)
*Bag Shredded Mexican blend cheese
*yellow corn tortillas

*First saute the EVOO, onion, green bell pepper, garlic and seasoning in a pan. Once done add your chicken. Stir
*Add corn, beans, green chili's, rotel, soups, and milk. Stir and heat up (about 5 minutes) on stove top.
*In casserole pan layer as followes
    -thin layer of mixture (just enough to coat bottom of pan)
    -a layer of tortillas (ok if they over lap in places. I tore a few to cover in gaps)
    -layer of mixture
    -sprinkle cheese
    -layer of tortilla
    -layer of mixture
    -layer of cheese....
Repeat this till all mixture is done. (about 3-4 times i think). End with the layer of cheese.

Cover with foil and bake at 375 for 30 minutes.  When done, cut into squares and serve with favorite toppings!

I serve with fresh cilantro and lime slices. I also heat up a can of habanero rotel if I've made this with the mild and spoon that over the top of mine:) I'm sure sour cream and avocado slices would be great on it too as well as any hot sauce or freshly sliced jalapeno. We always serve Rice a Roni Mexican Rice on the side as well, although, the casserole itself is filling and could be a meal on its own!

cut chicken into cubes

Dice up your green peppers and onion

Saute green pepper, onion and garlic in your olive oil till tender.

Add chicken and corn and mix till heated

Add rotel, beans and green chili's

Add your soups and milk. Turn heat up and cook for 5 minutes.

start by putting a little of the mixture on the bottom of the pan. Then layer your tortillas on top of that.

Ready to put in the oven!

this is how I serve it- fresh cilantro and lime slice 
After cooked, i topped mine with habanero rotel

*** This could also be a vegetarian meal by omitting the chicken and adding extra beans

Macayo's Brand Green Chili's and hot sauce are the best with this dish. https://secure.macayo.com/shopdisplayproducts.asp?id=10&cat=Macayo%27s+Products

Monday, February 14, 2011

Chicken and Veggie Stir Fry

I love Asian food, but most places use too much oil and fat in cooking. I wanted to make something at home that was healthy and good. I've made stir fry before using frozen stir fry veggies you can find at many grocery stores... I never really liked it. I googled a bunch of stir fry recipes on line and made up my own recipe using a bunch of other ones that looked good. This was a good first attempt and I really liked it.

  • 4 (4 ounce) organic boneless skinless chicken breast halves- cut into strips or chunks
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch (+1 tsp for thicker sauce)
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons Szechuan Spicy Stir-Fry Sauce (for medium spice) (more or less to taste)
  • 1 tsp brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 tsp chinese five spice
  • 1 tsp minced fresh garlic
  • 3 tablespoons cooking oil, divided (I used stir fry oil found near asian food)
  • 1 cups broccoli florets
  • 1 cup sliced celery (1/2 inch pieces)
  • 1 cup thinly sliced carrots- I used half bag of carrot chips found in salad section of grocery store
  • 1 small sweet onion, large chop
  • bunch of green onions, cut in 2 inch pieces
  • 1 small orange or yellow pepper, large chop
  • 1 cup sliced mushrooms
  • 1 can sliced water chesnuts
  • 1 can bean sprouts
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon chicken bouillon granules
  • 2 cups rice (i like Calrose rice made in rice cooker. Jasmine rice is also very good. Or any brown rice would be the healthier option)

Optional ingredients
*Can bamboo shoots
*can baby corn
*Hot sauce to add to your bowl- my fav is Sriracha Hot Chili Sauce (rooster sauce)

  1. Place chicken in a resealable plastic bag. Add cornstarch and Chinese five spice and toss to coat. Combine 2 T of the soy sauce, ginger and garlic powder; add to bag and shake well. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  2. In a large skillet or wok, heat 2 tablespoons of oil; stir-fry chicken until no longer pink, about 3-5 minutes. Remove and keep warm. Add remaining oil; stir- fry all the veggies and the fresh garlic for 4-5 minutes or until crisp-tender. Add water and bouillon. Return chicken to pan. In small bowl add the szechuan spice stir fry sauce, the remaining soy sauce, and brown sugar. Stir and add to pan (you can also add another tsp of corn starch here if you prefer a thicker sauce. I did) Cook and stir until thickened and bubbly.
  3. Serve over sticky rice and add extra hot sauce to taste.