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

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Pan Sauteed Chicken with Veggies and Herbs

Four reasons why I love this dinner... 1. It's really healthy 2. It's SOOOO good (and the smell of your house is even better!) 3. You can really play with the recipe... making as little, or as much as your family needs and changing up the veggies to your liking or what you have on hand. 4. It's really easy to make!

I came across this recipe because I had a bag of potatoes, some carrots and tons of fresh herbs in my fridge that I wanted to use before they went bad. I also had some chicken and was wanting a healthy, chicken and veggie meal. I found this recipe in a Taste of Home magazine. It was actually on an ad for Swanson Chicken Stock. I changed up a few things, but mostly followed what they did.

I think the only thing I would change next time I make this would be to add some minced garlic along with the olive oil before adding the onions and potatoes. I would also probably use a tad more lemon juice because I am a BIG fan of lemon!


* 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
* 1/4 tsp paprika
* 2 T all-purpose flour
* 4 bone-in chicken breast halves (I used 2 organic, boneless skinless chicken breasts that were huge... together they weighed 1 1/5 lbs)
* 2 T olive oil (I also used 1 T butter)
* 2 small red onions, cut into quarters (I used 1 medium sized onion)
* 1 lb new potatoes, cut into quarters (I used 5 medium size russet potatoes because I had them on hand)
* 8 oz fresh whole baby carrots (about 16), green tops trimmed to 1 inch (I used one bunch (6) of baby carrots and 2 regular carrots, again because I had them on hand)
* 2 cups Chicken Stock (I used Free Ranch Chicken Broth- not sure what exactly the difference is between stock and broth, but I always have broth on hand) (I also made steamed rice on the side that I used half water and half chicken broth for)
* 3 T lemon juice (I used the juice of one large lemon plus I cleaned and sliced a second lemon and put the slices in while baking)
* 1 T chopped fresh oregano leaves (I just threw in 3-4 branches- I didn't chop. I think it added good flavor to the broth. Next time I may throw in 2-3 branches and chop some in as well)
* 1 Branch fresh Rosemary (Optional- I had this on hand so I used it, but recipe didn't call for it.)
* 1 T chopped fresh thyme leaves

1. Heat the oven to 350. Combine black pepper, paprika and flour. Coat the chicken with the flour mixture.

2. Heat the oil in a 12-inch oven safe skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and cook until it's well browned on all sides (around 3-4 minutes per side). Remove chicken from skillet and set aside.

3. Add the onions and potatoes to the skillet and cook for 5-7 minutes. I seasoned these with some pepper and salt and Nature Seasonings. Add the carrots (I also added 1 T of butter here) and cook a few more minutes. Then add stock (broth), lemon juice and oregano (and rosemary if you are using it) and heat to a boil. Return the chicken to the skillet (I then added the sliced lemon on top). Cover the skillet.

4. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes. Take out, stir and put back in, uncovered, for another 15 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through and the vegetables are tender. Sprinkle with the thyme. Serve!

I served this along side of jasmine rice that I put in my rice cooker. For the liquid, I used 1 part water to 1 part chicken broth. Once it was done, I stirred (fluffed) and added a drizzle of olive oil and some kosher salt. Stir again. I served the chicken and veggies on the side of the rice. I then ladled the juice from chicken/veggie dish over everything.


My ingredients

Noticed how I chopped off most of the green leafy part, leaving about an inch of green.

Lemon slices

Fresh oregano and rosemary branches

chopped fresh thyme

Coat chicken and put in pan with hot oil to brown both sides

Remove chicken, add veggies

Add broth, lemon juice, oregano, (rosemary and lemon slices if you are using them)

After cooking

Served alongside rice and pouring the "gravy" over the top of everything

Mmm Mmm Good!

Red Onion Marmalade

I attended a cooking class last week, at Whisked Away (Maggie ROCKS),  and we made a bunch of recipes from "Cowgirl Cuisine" cookbook. We made this red onion marmalade along with Cowgirl Peppercorn Steak and I LOVED the onions. The steak was a bit too peppery for me. I will definitely make this marmalade with any steak I make. We tweaked the recipe a little bit, so this is a little different than the cookbook.  I also cut the recipe in half when I make it for the family since I'm really the only one in my family that loves onions. This recipe makes enough for 8 servings.

* 4 T olive oil
* 4 large red onions, thinly sliced
* kosher salt
* generous pinch of red chile flakes
* 2 thyme branches
* 2 fresh bay leaves
* 4 garlic cloves, minced
* 1 bottle red wine
* 6 T honey
* 4 T unsalted butter
* Freshly ground pepper

Heat oil in large skillet (sauce pan) over medium-high heat. Add the onions and a pinch of salt and saute, stirring, until softened. (about 6-8 minutes). Add the chile flakes, thyme, bay leaves, and garlic and saute a few more minutes. Add the wine and honey and bring to a boil. Keep at a boil and stir occasionally until the wine reduces almost all the way. Mixture should be thick and sticky. Stir in butter and some pepper and salt.


It's ALMOST done here... I still boiled it down a for another 5 minutes or so after this.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Dutch Oven Braised Short Ribs- A Mario Batali recipe

We loved these Beef short ribs! I made this for 7 adults last night and they turned out awesome! They were very tender and tasty. They weren't hard to make either, just a bit time consuming with all the chopping. But you can always do that ahead of time. I definitely recommend using good quality ribs when making this. They will be a bit fatty, but I think that adds to the flavor:) I wouldn't recommend trimming them (or if you do, not too much). This wasn't the healthiest of meals, but I will for sure make it again!!! This is more of a special occasion, or dinner party, meal since it is a bit pricey. I think the meat was about $20 and then the wine and fresh herbs and veggies can run up the bill as well... and not to mention some delicious sides to go with... and maybe more wine to drink on the side:)


* 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil (or enough to coat bottom of pan)
* 4 16 oz spare ribs. (I used two packages- each package was around 2lbs and had 6 spare ribs in each)
* Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper
* 2 large carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
* 1 small-medium sweet onion, roughly chopped
* 2 celery stalks, roughly chopped (I used 3)
* 5 garlic cloves, thinly sliced (I used 3 big ones)
* 2 cups Barolo, or other full-bodied red wine. (I used 2 1/2 cups of a Zinfandel)
* 1 16 oz can of peeled, whole tomatoes, crushed by hand with their juices
* 1 cup brown chicken stock (I just used Swanson low sodium chicken broth I had on hand)
* 1/2 bunch Thyme
* 1/2 bunch Rosemary
* 1/2 bunch Oregano

1. Preheat oven to 375. Put dutch oven (or heavy-bottomed oven proof skillet) on stove top and heat up. (medium-high heat)

2. Once pan is heated, add your olive oil. While oil is heating, season your ribs with salt and pepper.

3. Cook ribs on each side until deep brown on all sides (around 15 minutes total.) Remove short ribs to a plate and set aside.

4. Add carrots, onion, celery and garlic to the pan and cook over high heat until browned and softened (5-6 minutes). Season with salt and pepper (and I added Nature Seasonings) and stir in red wine.

5. I let the wine cook on high for about 4-5 minutes and then I added the tomatoes and juices, chicken stock and herbs, scraping the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon to dislodge the brown bits. Bring mixture to a boil and return the short ribs to the pan.

6. Cover with aluminum foil (I just put the Dutch Oven lid on) and place in oven. Cook for 2 hours, or until meat is very tender and literally falling off the bones. Remove herb stems and discard.

Serve ribs and spoon over some of the sauce. We served ours with Scalloped Potato Gratin that I added zucchini and onion slices to, Baked beans, Buttermilk Biscuits, Red Onion Marmalade, and Caprese Salad.

Chop onions 
Chop carrots and celery

Thinly slice garlic

I used almost half of each- just throw whole stems in! Seems like a lot of herbs, but you remove the stems at the end... it's all for flavoring. 

Here is one package of the meat I used. One package was a little under 2 lbs and one package was a little over 2 lbs. (4 lbs total)

Notice there are 12 of them in all

I used 2/3 of the bottle (This is an $8 bottle- don't use your good stuff. I used the other 1/3 bottle to make my Red Onion Marmalade... or you can just drink it:) )

Brown ribs on all 6 sides until they are dark brown... then remove and place on a plate and set aside

saute your onion, carrot, celery and garlic with some seasonings until soft.

Add wine and cook on high for a few minutes before adding tomatoes with juices and your broth. Stir well with wooden spoon, scraping sides.

Add all your herbs.

Bring to a boil and put ribs back in pot. Make sure they are covered (or almost all covered) with the liquid. If not, add a little water or more broth or wine.

After cooking 2 hours and then letting sit 15 minutes outside of oven with cover still on.


I like to top with some of the juices and veggies! YUM


Sunday, October 23, 2011

Easy Breakfast Muffin Quiches

A friend of mine gave me an easy breakfast idea that she makes for her family. She uses Pillsbury crescent rolls, bell pepper, cheese and eggs. I used what I had on hand and adapted to my family's liking. The thing I liked best about this is you can customize each quiche to what your family likes. I like veggies in mine, my daughter and husband don't... I think they would be really good with bacon in them as well!!

(I could not find our muffin tin this morning. We have a tin we use for brownies that are more rectangular, (You can see in the pictures), so i had to play with the biscuits to make them fit.

*1 tub of pillsbury grande biscuits (I pulled them in half to make them thinner (so a tub of 8 will make 16    of these) Or you can use crescent rolls and cut into circles.
*4 eggs
*cheese (I used shredded cheddar for most of them, and crumbled feta for ones with the veggies)
*chopped veggies (I used chopped frozen spinach and chopped fresh broccoli)
*1/4 cup milk
*pepper and salt

1.Spray cupcake tin with pam and place biscuit in bottom (i pinched them up sides about 1/4 of the way)
2.Put eggs, milk, salt and pepper in a bowl and beat well.
3.Place your cheese and any veggies or bacon on top of the biscuit.
4.Pour egg mixture over tops, only filling to halfway mark.
5.Bake at 375 for 12 minutes, or until eggs are cooked though. Use a toothpick to see if they are cooked through.

I had to use a rectangle pan, so i did 2 1/2 biscuits per rectangle and flattened them and pinched dough up sides 1/4 way.

I added shredded cheddar cheese into the ones for my husband and daughter

Chopped spinach and broccoli

The two on left are chopped spinach and broccoli, bottom middle has the veggies and cheddar, others with just cheddar

I did one egg mixture plain and one with crumbled feta that i used for the ones with the veggies.

pour egg mixture in so it is filled half way (they will rise as they bake

Quiche with broccoli, spinach and fat free feta

Quiche with cheddar cheese