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, February 22, 2012

Italian Meatballs... Great for freezing

This recipe makes a huge batch. I halved the recipe and had enough to feed 4 adults and 2 kids and also had enough to freeze for another meal. I found this recipe on pinterest and they originated from the blog The Yummy Life. I made the meatballs during the day and put them in the fridge till later that night. I made a homemade sauce (you can use any sauce you prefer) and I simmered the meatballs in the sauce for 20 minutes until fully warm. I served over thin spaghetti and shredded fresh parmesan cheese over the top. The meatballs were moist and flavorful. I will definitely make these again, maybe next time I'll make a whole batch to freeze more for later use! These are great over pasta or on italian rolls as a sub!

  • 4 eggs, slightly beaten
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1-1/2 cup unseasoned bread crumbs (I use whole wheat)
  • 4 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 medium onion, finely minced or grated
  • 1 cup fresh Italian parsley, chopped
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon dried leaf oregano
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon ground black pepper
  • 1-1/2 lbs. ground pork
  • 3 lbs. ground beef
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Combine eggs, water, buttermilk, and breadcrumbs in a bowl; let rest for 10 minutes. The mixture will thicken as the bread crumbs absorb the liquid. To this thickened mixture, add garlic, onion, parsley, cheese, oregano, salt, and pepper; stir until combined. In separate large bowl, combine ground pork and beef. Mix meats with fingers or a large fork using a light touch until 2 meats are combined throughout. Add bread crumb mixture to meats. Mix these together, again using a light touch with fingers or large fork. Combine ingredients well, but do not overmix. Form meatballs with hands, or use a scoop. For larger meatballs, use 1/4 cup meat per meatball or use a generous 2" scoop. For mini meatballs, use 1 to 1-1/2 tablespoons per meatball or a generous 1-1/4" scoop. Place meatballs on baking sheets. Bake large meatballs for 30 minutes and mini meatballs for 15 minutes, until no longer pink in center.
Mixture of beaten eggs, water, buttermilk and breadcrumbs
I used cheese grater on onion and minced garlic

Chopped parsley

Add all to bread crumb mixture

Combine beef and pork

Add breadcrumb mixture to the meat and mix with hands well.

Form into meatballs. I made some bigger ones and some smaller ones. Key is to put all the same size on the same cookie sheet. So I did one sheet of big and one sheet of small. They cook for different amounts of time.

A little liquid will come out of them while they bake, especially if you use a fattier meat. If you go leaner on your beef you won't see as much of this.

Let cool a bit before putting them in zip lock bags (in a single layer) to freeze.

Tender and flavorful!

Simmered in sauce. Topped with cheese.


Chicken Tortilla Soup

This is a two part meal. I first make Shredded Chicken Tacos. Then, within the next few days, I use the remaining chicken for this soup. If you don't want to make the shredded chicken in the crock pot, you can probably still use this recipe by shredding a rotisserie chicken or cooked chicken breasts and season with taco seasonings on the stove top as well as the rotel before adding the other ingredients. I haven't tried it this way so I can't confirm taste.

I didn't get great pictures of it... It tasted much better than it looked:)


* Aprox 1 1/2 cups of chicken mixture (Use left over chicken from the Shredded Chicken Tacos)
* 32 oz box low sodium chicken broth
* 1 can of corn
* 1 can of rotel (I like the original or the cilantro lime flavor best)
* juice from half a lime
* spices (whatever you have on hand... black pepper, pinch of garlic powder...) I add a little and taste every 10-15 minutes and keep adding more spices little by little till I get it to my liking)
* handful of chopped fresh cilantro
* 1 avocado, diced 
* tortilla strips (I thinly sliced some corn tortillas I had and pan fried them till crispy in a little canola oil)
* optional toppings (shredded mexican cheese, lime slices, extra cilantro...)

1. In a pot, combine chicken broth, shredded chicken, corn, rotel (juices and all), juice from lime and any spices. Bring to a boil and simmer for 20+ minutes. (I think i did mine for about 45 minutes.)

2. 10 minutes before serving, add your fresh cilantro to the pan. Continue to simmer

3. Ladle out soup into bowls. Add small handful of diced avocado to bowl and top with your favorite toppings.

Here is the chicken I made in the crock pot the day before. 
This is after simmering for around 35 minutes. I've just added cilantro and put back on to simmer another 10 minutes. I also added a bunch more black pepper here. 

Served with avocado and cheese

Here i've also topped with my homemade tortilla strips.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Crock Pot Shredded Chicken Tacos

This is a super easy recipe. Only 3 ingredients go in to the crock pot and then add any fixing you wish. My favorite part about this recipe is you can do SO much with it! We made it tonight and made tacos and quesadillas with the chicken. With the left overs, I am going to make Chicken Tortilla Soup and Sour Cream Chicken Enchilada's with Green Chilies (using this chicken as the filling and not adding extra rotel or onions). I would love to hear any additional recipes you may come up with using this chicken! It makes a ton. I'm sure you could freeze for future use as well!

I have another recipe on this blog that is extremely similar. It's the same 3 ingredients but you also add black beans and corn to the crock pot. We like that a lot too, this is just simplified and I feel can be used in more recipes with the leftovers since I necessarily wouldn't want corn in my enchiladas.


*4-5 skinless boneless chicken breasts
*1 packet of taco seasoning
*1 lg jar of salsa (I like using a chuncky salsa. Aprox 25-30 oz)
*Any additional toppings (toppings we used included: Tortillas, shredded cheese, shredded lettuce, cilantro, sour cream, hot sauce, jalapenos, avocado, pico and lime slices!)

Cook in crock pot on low for 6-7 hours or on high for 4-5 hours. Once done, shred chicken with two forks right in crock pot mixing with all the juices from the salsa.


Shred chicken in Crock Pot 
The chicken is very tender and flavorful!