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

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Parmigiano-Reggiano Crusted Chicken Piccata

This is a Rachael Ray recipe that I found pinned on Pinterest. I LOVE anything lemony and made with Parmigiano-Reggiano so I wanted to give it a try. I followed the recipe exactly, by only adding italian seasoning, and I really liked it. I think the key is really getting the chicken thin. I used 2 big breasts and butterflied them and pounded them even more to make them as thin as possible. My husband said it was a tad too lemony, but I LOVE lemon so I didn't think there was enough:) Kids ate it and liked it as well so I will definitely make it again! We made this with Ina-Garten's Sauteed Broccolini recipe.

1/4 cup flour 
1 tsp Italian Seasonings2 eggs 
1 1/4 cups grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, divided 
4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, pounded 1/4-inch thick 
1/2 pound angel hair pasta 
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), divided 
Juice of 1 lemon, plus 1 sliced lemon 
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped 
1/4 cup capers, drained and patted dry, or 12 caper berries, sliced 
1/2 cup dry white wine (eyeball it) 
1/4 cup flat leaf parsley leaves, chopped 
1/2 cup chicken stock 
2 tablespoons butter, chilled and cut into small pieces 
One package baby spinach (5 ounces) 

1. Place the flour and italian seasonings on a plate (mixed together). In a shallow bowl, beat the eggs; place 1 cup cheese on another plate. Working with one cutlet at a time, coat the chicken with the flour, then egg and then cheese, pressing to adhere. I also added pepper to each side of the chicken. Transfer to a plate.

2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Salt it, add the pasta and cook to al dente, 3 minutes. Drain, reserving a ladleful of water.

3. In a large nonstick skillet, heat 2 tablespoons EVOO, two turns of the pan, over medium heat. Add the chicken and cook, turning once, until deeply golden, 10 minutes. Transfer to a platter and cover with foil. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon EVOO, one turn of the pan, to the skillet. Add the sliced lemon, garlic and capers and cook for 2 minutes. Stir in the wine and parsley and cook until reduced, 1 minute. Lower the heat and bring to a simmer.

4. Stir the chicken stock into the sauce for 1 minute. Stir in the butter until melted, then stir in the lemon juice. Spoon a little sauce over the chicken. Add the spinach to the remaining sauce in the skillet and cook until wilted. Add the reserved pasta cooking water. Stir in the pasta and toss to coat; season with salt and pepper. Add the remaining cheese and toss. Serve the pasta with the chicken.

Butterflied chicken breast and then pounded even thinner

flour on a plate (mix with italian seasoning

Fresh grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

Dip Chicken first in flour, then egg wash, then coat in cheese. 

I add fresh ground pepper as well to each side of chicken

Rest of ingredients, Lemon juice, chopped flat leaf parsley, chopped garlic, chicken stock (broth), wine, capers.

Pan fry chicken in olive oil

Flip after 5-7 minutes and cook till cooked through

Add your lemon slice, capers and garlic

Add parsley and wine. Then add chicken broth, butter and lemon juice. Spoon some sauce over chicken. To the rest of the sauce, add the spinach and saute.

Once spinach is wilted add reserved pasta water and noodles. Stir and then add remaining cheese and pepper.

I put noodles down first, then chicken on top. Served with side of broccolini. YUM

Friday, February 10, 2012

Chicken, Mushroom, Broccoli and Rice Casserole

This is another recipe I can thank Pinterest for... Originating from For the Love of Cooking. I followed the recipe almost exactly, except I added shredded cheddar cheese to the top before baking. This is a great, easy recipe for a weekday meal. Great for pot lucks. Kids and husbands love it too! It's a whole meal all in one! I will say, this dish tastes much better than it looks!


  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 onion- chopped
  • 1 lb mushrooms quartered
  • 1 stalk of celery diced (I love celery so I used 2 stalks)
  • 1 box of Farmhouse Long Grain & Wild Rice (or your favorite brand), prepared per instructions (I used a 6oz box of Near East Long Grain and Wild Rice- Original)
  • 2 cooked chicken breasts, cubed (You can use left over chicken, rotisserie chicken or what I did was I put 2 chicken breasts in a Fry pan with olive oil and Montreal Chicken Seasonings. Seared both sides and then placed chicken in 400 degree oven until just done. Then I shredded with two forks. I prefer shredded chicken over diced)
  • 1 6-8 oz can of sliced water chestnuts, diced
  • 1 cup of broccoli florets
  • 1 10 3/4 oz can of Cream of Chicken soup
  • 1 10 3/4 oz can of Cream of Celery soup
  • 1/4 cup light mayonnaise (I used Kraft Mayo with Olive Oil)
  • Salt and pepper to taste     

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare rice per instructions. In a heated pan add 1/2 tbsp oil and cook mushrooms until golden brown – remove from pan. Add the other 1/2 tbsp of oil to the pan and cook onions and celery until soft. Using a steamer, steam broccoli until just fork tender, then cool. (I added fresh broccoli florets to a big bowl with 1T of water. Placed paper towel over bowl and microwaved for 3 minutes.  In a large bowl, combine all ingredients and mix well.
  2. Put into a baking dish and cover with cheese. Bake uncovered for 30 minutes. Let cool for a few minutes prior to serving. Enjoy.

I seared and then baked chicken I seasoned well and then shredded it.

Steamed broccoli, chopped onion, diced celery, can of sliced water chestnuts (that I diced), and quartered mushrooms

Brown mushrooms in some olive oil

Make rice per package instructions

Saute onion and celery in olive oil

Diced water chestnuts

Put all ingredients into a big bowl

Mix well

Put mixture into casserole/baking dish (either a 9x13 or I did two smaller casserole dishes and made one for a party and put the other in the fridge to make for dinner tomorrow night. I could probably freeze it too, but I'm looking forward to it again:)

I added cheese to the top. Cheese makes EVERYTHING better!

Bake at 350 for 30 mins

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Monster Juice Smoothies

I saw this recipe posted on pinterest as a Green Smoothie for weight loss. My son and husband are obsessed with smoothies and I thought it be a good quick breakfast for those mornings with little time. Plus I just loved the green color and since my kids have seen Shrek lately, I told them it was Shrek Monster juice and they loved it! Here is the link the recipe came from. All you need is a blender and the following...

* 1-2 fresh bananas
* 1/2 cup frozen peaches
* 1/2 cup frozen mango
* handful of fresh spinach (the kids won't even taste this in it and it makes it the vibrant green color + adding all the extra vitamins to your smoothie!)
* water
* Ice (if desired)

You can always add fat free yogurt or change up the fruit according to what your family likes.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Sweet and Savory Flank Steak with Cilantro-Lime rice with Pineapple

Again... found this recipe off pinterest... I know, I'm obsessed! But it hasn't steered me wrong yet! This may be my new favorite recipe. Well, the marinade is anyway. I will definitely use this marinade for tri-tip, chicken and shrimp in the future as well.

This is actually two different recipes, but they go SO well together I didn't want to post them as two different recipes. Both recipes originally came from this blog, "Our Best Bites". I recommend clicking on it to see her pictures and description as well!

My family loved the flavor of this steak... it was a great combination of sweet and salty. I wanted to lick my plate when I was done. Don't worry, I refrained:) The rice was awesome and I loved the steak served right on top of the rice. I recommend serving with broccoli, green beans or an artichoke!

Ingredients for steak:
1/2 C brown sugar

* 1/2 C olive oil
* 1/2 C soy sauce
* 1 C pineapple juice (I sqeezed out the juice from a can of crushed pineapple, set pineapple aside to use in rice)
* 1 T freshly grated giner
* 4-5 garlic cloves, finely minced
* up to 2 lbs flank steak (I think the one I used was a little over a pound... I wish I would have done a bigger one. NO left overs:(

1. Combine first 6 ingredients in a bowl and mix well.  Remove 1/4 cup and set aside. Place rest of the marinade in a gallon size zip lock bag. 

2. Score flank steak with a knife diagonally on both sides. This just means to run a sharp knife through it in the pattern below. You don’t want to actually cut through the steak, just lightly score- like 1/8 inch- into it. This will help tenderize the meat.3. Place the steak in the ziplock containing the marinade. Refrigerate 8 hours or overnight. 

4. Take out of fridge 30 minutes before grilling. Place steak on grill and cook for 5-10 minutes per side, depending on the size. 

5. When the steak is almost done, use the 1/4 C marinade you set aside to brush over steak. Flank steak should still be pink in the middle when done.

6. Remove from grill and let stand for 5 minutes before cutting so the juices can redistribute. Always cut flank steak against the grain, in thin slices to serve. (If you’re not sure what it means to cut against the grain, google it:)

*If you don’t have a grill, you could also broil on top rack of oven. I haven't tried this.

Ingredients for Rice:
* 1 cup dry white rice cooked in 2 cups water (I just used 1 1/2 cups jasmine rice that I cooked in my rice cooker)
* 2 T real butter
* Juice from 1 medium lime (more or less to taste)
* 1 small can crushed pineapple, drained. I use the pineapple leftover from the marinade above with the steak.
* ½ – ¾ C chopped fresh cilantro
* Salt and pepper to taste (I like using course Kosher salt)

1. Cook rice. Once done, toss in the butter and stir to melt. 

2. Just before serving, add your lime juice, pineapple, and cilantro. Stir well and season with salt and pepper.


cut steak on diagonal

Then throw in marinade for at least 8 hours

grill, I did about 10 minutes on first side and around 7 minutes on second side

Let rest 5 minutes or so before cutting

By this time your rice should be cooked

Cut the steak against grain

Put your ingredients in your rice

Mix well and season

I would serve steak right on top of the rice


Sunday, February 5, 2012

Pizza Bites

I found this recipe on pinterest and made a double batch for a super bowl party we went to. I doubled this recipe and I made one batch plain cheese and one batch pepperoni and cheese. These went SO fast I barely even got any! And we loved them so much my husband made them the next day for us for lunch! This recipe came from "Kristine's Kitchen" blog.

* 1 pizza dough (I used Pillsbury pizza crust)
* 4 oz mozzarella cheese, cubed (I used a pinch of shredded instead)
* Sliced pepperoni (I made some with and some without)

For Topping:
* Olive oil
* Italian seasoning and garlic salt
* Grated Parmesan Cheese

For Dipping:
* Jar of Pizza sauce (I used Ragu Pizza Sauce)


1. Preheat oven to 400. Lightly grease 9-inch pie plate or cake pan.

2. Divide dough into 20-24 roughly equal sized pieces. Top each dough piece with a slice or two of pepperoni and some of the cheese. Pull edges of dough around the fillings and pinch closed. Place seam-side down in baking dish. Repeat with each square.

3. Lightly brush tops of dough balls with olive oil. Sprinkle with seasonings and parmesan cheese. Bake for 20 minutes or until tops are golden brown. Serve warm with dipping sauce as desired. (I poured half my jar of Ragu into a glass bowl, placed a paper towel over the top, and microwaved 1-2 minutes until sauce is warm to hot. Serve on the side for dipping or people can spoon the sauce over theirs.)
Sorry for how sloppy this looks... I had the hubby helping me out in the kitchen today and he doesn't cook very pretty:) JUST KIDDING HONEY... You are great! Thanks for the help!
So... pictured here are about 6 of the squares topped with pepperoni and cheese. Pull them apart and then start folding sides up around topping...

Pinch sides of dough around topping

Make sure you pinch together good to close

Place balls in buttered (or use Pam) baking dish, seam side down

Here are my two batches... one with cheese only in the middle

I used a brush and brushed olive oil over the tops of them, Then I sprinkled with seasonings and generously sprinkled with fresh grated parmesan cheese. 
They are ready to pop in the oven at 400 for 20 minutes or until golden.

My husband made this batch for the kids and decided to get creative and put cheddar cheese on the top of half...