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

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Guinness Braised Short Ribs

I found another great recipe in my "Cook This, Not That" cook book by David Zinczenko and Matt Goulding. I had never made short ribs before but I've always liked them at restaurants. They compare this recipe to the Chianti Braised Short Ribs they serve at Olive Garden. I don't think these taste like those much, I think these are much better! I definitely recommend serving these over some garlic mash potatoes and with some dinner rolls, or better yet, my Cheesy Rolls! :)

This was a fairly easy recipe to make and my whole family, including my mom, loved them! The adults all had seconds and the kids cleaned their plates! My favorite thing about it was the tenderness of the meat and the gremolata really gave it great flavor and aroma! Below is the recipe that is in the cookbook, and I add a few changes...

*1 T canola oil
*2 lbs boneless (beef) short ribs
*Salt and black pepper to taste (I also used Nature Seasonings)
*2 cans/bottles (12 oz each) Guinness Draught
*2 cups low-sodium beef broth (I used a 14.5 oz can and added about 1/2 cup of water)
*3 large carrots, cut into thirds (I used half a bag of peeled baby carrots since I had them on hand)
*2 sweet onions, cut into quarters. (I used 2 large onions and I thought it was a tad too much onion...and I LOVE onions. Next time I will use two small onions or one large one)
*2 stalks celery, cut into large chunks. (I used 3 and cut them into four pieces each.)
*8 cloves garlic, peeled
*2 bay leaves

Gremolata (optional but recommended!)
*1/2 cup chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
*2 cloves garlic, minced
*grated zest of 2 oranges or lemons (I did one lemon and one orange)

1) Heat oil in large skillet over high heat. Season ribs with salt and pepper. Once oil is hot, place ribs in pan and cook them on all sides until a rich brown crust develops on outside. Remove ribs and place them in a slow cooker.

2) While pan is still hot, pour the beer in pan and scrape up any bits stuck to the bottom with a spatula or wooden spoon. Pour beer over short ribs in crock pot.

3) Add broth, carrots, onions, celery, garlic, and bay leaves to the pot and set crock pot to high. Cook for 4 hours, until beef is fork tender and falls apart. Discard bay leaves (and I discarded garlic cloves). Note: After 4 hours, the ribs still looked tough. I cooked on high for 6 hours and they were fall apart tender!

4)If using gremolata, mix parsley, garlic and zest. Serve beef (along with some of the sauce) over your mash potatoes (or polenta). Sprinkle the gremolata over the top. Ahhh... mazing!
I got 2 packs of short ribs (a little over 2 lbs... 10 ribs in all)

brown them in pan with oil and seasoning

add everything to crockpot and turn to high... I recommend 6 hours.


Almost done!

Served over garlic mash potatoes and sprinkled with gremolata on top.

Notice the fork tenderness... if they don't do this, keep them cooking till they do. Every crockpot varies in heat and cooking time. 

This is the 5th recipe I've made from this book. So far all of them have been a hit!

Chocolate Chip and Peanut Butter Chip Oatmeal Cookies

My husband loves homemade cookies. I am NOT a baker! He has tried many recipes and finally came up with one on his own using a a few different recipes as a guideline. We love these and we hope you will too!!

*1 cup all-purpose flour
*1/2 tsp baking powder
*1/2 tsp baking soda
*1/4 tsp salt
*1 1/4 cup rolled oats (old-fashioned oats)
*8 T unsalted butter (1 stick) at room temp
*1/2 cup lightly packed light brown sugar
*1/2 cup granulated sugar
*1 large egg
*1/4 cup maple syrup (we added a tad more than 1/4 cup)
*1/2 tsp vanilla extract
*1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
*1/2 cup peanut butter chips

1) Set 2 racks in middle and upper thirds of oven and preheat to 350. Line cookie sheet with non-stick parchment paper.

2) In medium bowl, stir in flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and oats together with a whisk.

3) In a large bowl, beat butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar together for half a minute until blended. Beat in egg until smooth and barely fluffy. With mixer running on medium high, drizzle in maple syrup and vanilla until mixed well.

4) Turn mixer down to lowest setting and gradually add flour-oat mixture. Blend just to combine. Then fold (stir) in the chocolate and peanut butter chips.

5) Place ping pong size balls of dough onto the lined cookie sheet at 3 inch intervals.

6) With moistened fingers, flatten and round out cookies a little. Bake for 9 minutes (turn pan once for even baking). Cookies are done when lightly brown on top. They will still be very gooey until they sit a bit to cool. Set cookie sheet on rack to cool.


Monday, September 12, 2011

Whole Grain Waffles

My kids are obsessed with Eggo waffle, and since we are a family that is on the go in the am, we don't typically have time for a long, sit down breakfast on school days. I wanted to make waffles in a big batch that I could freeze and take them out to toast as needed. (Kind of the idea of the eggo, but I wanted to use healthier ingredients). A friend gave me this recipe she got from All Recipe's website and said she loved it. I have to warn you, my husband was not a fan. I thought they were good with butter and syrup, and the kids gobbled them up plain. The key to remember, these aren't your to be your fluffy waffles you get at a waffle house. These are replacing EGGOS. And they are HEALTHY. My kids ate them. I enjoy them. And I like the ingredients in them. For those reasons, I am posting this recipe and I will make them again! If you are making waffles for a special breakfast and ONLY looking for taste... these aren't the right ones... in my opinion.

I tripled this recipe. We ate them fresh that morning and I put the rest in large zip locks to freeze and use for the next month.

*2 eggs, beaten
*1 3/4 Cup skim Milk (I used 1% organic milk because I had it on hand)
*1/4 Cup canola oil (or coconut oil)
*1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
*1 tsp vanilla extract
*1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
*1/2 cup flax seed meal
*1/4 cup wheat germ
*1/4 cup all-purpose flour (I used whole wheat flour, which is probably why they didn't taste as good to my husband who doesn't like wheat bread)
*4 tsp baking powder (aluminum-free)
*1 T sugar
*1/4 tsp salt
*1 tsp cinnamon

I also added some fresh blueberries.

1) In large bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, oil, applesauce, vanilla and cinnamon. Beat in whole wheat pastry flour, flax seed meal, wheat germ, whole wheat flour (or all purpose), baking powder, sugar, and salt until batter is smooth. Fold in blueberries if you are adding them.
2) Preheat waffle iron and coat with cooking spray. Pour batter into waffle iron in batches and cook until crisp and golden brown.

(we tried two different waffle irons. These are MUCH better when made in one that makes thinner waffles. We didn't care for the thick, belgian waffle)

mixture looks grainy

Pour ladle full into center of waffle iron

Makes thin, crisp waffles. Perfect for freezing and re-toasting!