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 20, 2012

Sesame Ginger Stir Fry

This was a last minute meal idea. I had some left over chicken from previous dinners this week that I had to cook up. I also had the water chestnuts, rice, carrots, onions, zucchini and squash on hand along with all the seasonings and the marinade. All I needed was broccoli! I just kind of made it up as I went along and my sister-in-law, daughter and I loved it! It was healthy, quick and easy and I REALLY loved this Lawry's marinade!!

You can change up this recipe according to what veggies you have on hand or what your family likes. You could even make it a vegetarian meal by omitting the chicken.

* 4 T Lawry's Sesame Ginger Marinade (3T for marinading Chicken + 1T for stir frying veggies)
* 1 T Stir Fry Oil (you can also use olive oil, but i would saute some fresh minced garlic in it first)
* 1-2 boneless skinless chicken breasts- pounded thin
* 1 small zucchini- cut into half moons
* 1 small yellow squash- cut into half moons
* 3 green onions- cut into 2 inch pieces
* 1 cup broccoli florets (I steam these first and add last few minutes to stirfry)
* 1 small can of sliced water chesnuts
* small handful carrot chips (I took baby carrots and sliced them thin)
* 1 tsp Chinese Five Spice
* 2 cups jasmine or calrose rice- made per instructions (I make mine in rice maker)
* soy sauce or tamari sauce to taste... I put mine on my rice before adding stirfry

1. Marinate Chicken for a whole day in 3T of Lawry's Sesame Ginger Marinade in a zip lock baggie in the fridge.

2. Heat up oil in sauce pan on medium-high heat. Add chicken with about 1T of the marinade (Discard rest of marinade) and cook till chicken is cooked through. Add water chestnuts and cook an additional 2 minutes.  Remove chicken to a platter and set aside.

3. Add all veggies + 1T of Sesame Ginger Marinade to pan and saute till fork tender. Season the veggies with the Chinese Five Spice and some salt and pepper.  (I like to put the broccoli in a bowl with 1T of water. Cover with a paper towel and microwave for 3 minutes until tender). Once other veggies are done, add broccoli to it. Stir together well.

3. Add chicken and water chestnuts back to the pan. Turn heat to low and cover for a few minutes.  Serve over rice with soy sauce to taste.
My ingredients  
Cooking up Chicken and water chestnuts. 

Add your veggies and 1T of the marinade and season veggies. Saute till fork tender but not mushy.

Add the chicken and water chestnuts back into the pan with the veggies

Serve over rice with a touch of soy sauce or tamari sauce. 

Parmesan-Garlic Biscuits

These were pretty good and simple. I make monkey bread like this a lot where I dip the bread first in melted butter and then in cinnamon/sugar. I figured, why not make a dinner biscuit the same way. You can alter recipe using what you have on hand. I will put recipe how I made it but also let you know suggestions on how to alter recipe.


* 1 tub pillsbury grand biscuits (10 per roll)
* 3 T butter
* 1 garlic clove minced (or you could use garlic salt)
* small handful flat leaf parsley- chopped (optional- i used because i had some on hand)
* italian seasonings
* 1/4 cup fresh grated parmesan cheese (or parmigiano reggiano)

Spray muffin tin with pam. Preheat oven to 425. I added a pinch of parm cheese to the bottom of each as well.

Take biscuit dough and using your kitchen shears or a sharp knife, cut each piece into 4ths (or 6ths if you get biscuits that come 8 per roll). Tip, spray pam on your shears or knife before cutting so they don't stick to the dough and it makes it easier to cut.

Put your garlic and butter in a bowl and melt. Mix in any fresh herbs (parsley).

Dip each piece of dough in the butter mixture and place them all on a cutting board or cookie sheet. Sprinkle your cheese over them. Place 4-5 pieces in each muffin tin.

Sprinkle tops with some italian seasoning and more cheese if desired. Bake 8-10 minutes or until golden.
Spray pan with Pam. Add a pinch of grated cheese to the bottom of each.

Cut into smaller pices
chopping fresh parsley

added parsley to melted garlic butter

dip each piece in butter and then sprinkle with cheese

place pieces in muffin tin (my roll of 10 biscuits made 7 muffins)

I added more cheese and italian seasonings to top


Spiked Pasta (Spaghetti in a Vodka Cream Sauce)

This recipe freaking rules! I loved it! I love creamy, cheesy pasta and since this one is much healthier, what's not to love??!! This originated from Cooking Light magazine, but I found the recipe on pinterest. Here is the blog I got it from. This recipe was very simple, the hardest part (which isn't hard, just time consuming if you don't have hand held) was you need to use a hand held blender to puree sauce. If you don't have one, you'll have to transfer sauce to a blender, blend well, and then transfer back to pan.

I served these with my parmesan-garlic rolls and a side salad. The whole family loved it and my almost 5 year old daughter told me it was the best spaghetti she'd ever had and I should make it every night:) I left the basil at the end off hers. This recipe serves 3-4 people. Next time I may double the recipe so I have more for left overs:)

* 1/2 pound dry thin spaghetti pasta
* 1T olive oil
* 1/2 cup finely chopped onion (I used one large shallot- I love the flavor of a shallot)
* 3/4 tsp salt, divided (I use coarse kosher salt)
* 1/8 tsp crushed red pepper (Just enough to give some flavor, but not enough to make too spicy for kids)
* 1 garlic clove, minced
* 1/2 cup plain vodka (use a medium grade... not the super cheap kind but not your most expensive either. I used Smirnoff)
* 1/4 cup chicken broth (you could also use vegetable broth if making vegetarian)
* 1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes, undrained- (I highly recommend using the Muir Glen Organic kind with Italian Herbs. I buy generic brand tomatoes for stews, roasts and chili, but this is the base of your whole sauce and where it really gets the flavor from. This is an awesome brand and since you only use one can, it's really worth the extra few cents!!)
* 1/4 cup whipping cream
* 3T thinly sliced fresh basil
* shaved or grated parmesan cheese to garnish (I used parmigiano-reggiano)


1. Heat oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and saute for 4 mins or until tender. Add 1/4 tsp salt, red pepper, and your garlic and saute another minute or so.

2. Add vodka and bring to a boil (careful not to let it catch fire). Once boiling, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 3 minutes or until liquid reduces by half. (I think I did around 5 minutes).

3. Stir in rest of salt, broth and tomatoes. Bring to a boil. Once boiling, cover and simmer for about 15 minutes. After simmers, remove from heat and let cool slightly.

4. While your sauce above is simmering for the 15 minutes, cook your pasta according to the package directions. Drain and keep warm.

5. If you have a stick blender (I show in picture below), you can now puree the sauce right in the pan. If you don't, place tomato mixture in conventional blender. Remove center piece of blender lid to allow steam to escape, and secure the lid on blender. Place clean towel over opening in blender lit to avoid splatters and process until smooth. Return tomato mixture back to pan.

6. Mix in cream, then cook sauce for 2 mins over medium heat, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Stir in cooked pasta. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.

7. Serve immediately. I toped mine with the basil and my cheese. YUM!
here are most of my ingredients... I highly recommend this tomato brand for this meal. I think next time I will try this recipe using whole grain pasta. 
shredded basil and chopped shallot

sauteing the onion in olive oil

add your vodka and bring to a boil. Then simmer for 3-5 minutes till liquid reduces by half

added tomatoes, broth and some salt and pepper

Boil noodles per package instructions

Using my hand blender to puree the sauce in the pan till smooth and creamy

adding the whipping cream. Stir well and heat another 2 mins

Add your pasta...

Serve with basil and parm cheese. 


Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Kaytucky Chicken

I found this recipe on pinterest and had to try it. What's not to like??! Chicken... good! Cream cheese... good! Bacon... great! Puff Pastry... awesome!!! I really liked this recipe, but even more, I liked the idea. Next time I make it I will play with it a bit. I may stuff the chicken with brie and thin sliced green apple!! Mmmmm!

Here is the link for the original recipe from someones blog... Kaytucky Chicken

* 4 chicken breasts- butterflied
* 2 boxes frozen puff pastry sheets (I used Pepperidge Farms brand)
* 4-6 oz cream cheese
* handfull flat-leaf parsley- chopped
* 1 green onion- diced thin
* 1 garlic clove- minced
* 4-6 strips of bacon- crispy. Torn into small pieces (you could fry up pancetta and use that too)
* 1 egg- beaten
* salt and pepper

1. Defrost pastry sheets in fridge for at least 6 hours before hand so they are easier to work with. (I didn't do this step and it was hard to work with, which is why mine didn't look as pretty. Still tasted great though!

2. Preheat oven to 400 and spray cookie sheet with Pam

3. In medium bowl, mix cream cheese, parsley, onion, garlic, bacon and some pepper.

4. Stuff 1/4 of the mixture into each butterflied chicken breast. Close chicken around mixture. Season each chicken breast with salt and pepper.

5. Take 2-3 sheets of the puff pastry and wrap around the chicken. Brush the beaten egg to the edges of the pastry- using it as a type of glue (the link to the recipe above gives good pictures on how to do this)

6. Place all 4 on a baking sheet and bake for 35 mins (or until chicken is cooked through... time will vary depending on thickness of chicken.)

Enjoy! I recommend serving this with some type of veggie... we love roasted broccoli or sauteed string beans!

**I originally was your to use pillsbury crescent rolls to wrap around the chicken. Then I realized the chicken would take 30+ minutes to cook through and the crescents only take 12 minutes. By the time the chicken would be cooked through, I was afraid the crescents would be burnt. The puff pastry sheets cooked nicely and were golden brown the same time as the chicken was done. It was nice and flaky too.

minced garlic and cream cheese 
cream cheese, bacon, green onion, parsley, garlic and fresh ground black pepper

Stuff Chicken

Close fold over

Season breasts with salt and pepper

Wrap in puff pastry sheets (mine were still frozen so didn't fold well making it hard to work with and not as pretty..)

Bake till golden and chicken cooked through

We cut them in half to serve. They were awesome!!