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

Monday, December 30, 2013

Cheese Tortellini & Butternut Squash in a Brown Butter and Sage Sauce

Not only was this an extremely easy meal to make, but it was surprisingly very good too! The family all really liked it and it got the kids to eat some butternut squash! The tortellini really pairs well with the sweetness of the squash and the saltiness of the pancetta. I will be making this again for an easy, quick weekday meal! 

I found the recipe in the magazine "Cuisine for two". It is great when you are cooking for 2 adults (or 2 adults and 2 small kids if you just tweek the ingredients a tad). 
* 1 1/2 c peeled and cubed butternut squash (I used half a large squash, around 2 cups)
* 1/2 lb refrigerated cheese-filled tortellini (about 2 cups) (I used a whole lb container)
* 2 tsp olive oil
* 2 slices prosciutto or ham, cut into thin ribbons (I went to my deli and had them slice me 3 NOT THIN slices of pancetta). 
* 4 T unsalted butter (I used closer to 5 1/2 T)
* 1 lg sprig fresh sage
* 2 T dry sherry
* juice of 1/2 lemon
* chopped fresh parsley (optional- hubby and I used on ours and left off the kids. If you have it on hand, great... if not, save on ingredients and this is really not essential).
* freshly ground black pepper

Directions (right from magazine):
*Cook squash in large saucepan of boiling salted water for 3 minutes. Add tortellini; cook according to package directions until squash and tortellini are both tender (after I added the tortellini I cooked for another 6 mins or so). Drain Tortellini and squash and set aside. (I left sit in colander in my sink).

*Heat oil in saute pan over medium high heat. Add prosciutto, cook until crisp, then drain on a paper towel-lined plate. Return skillet to burner and reduce to medium heat.

*Melt butter in same pan over medium heat. Once melted, add sage and cook until butter browns, about 4 minutes; discard sage sprig. Stir in sherry and cook another 30 seconds while stirring. Add the squash, tortellini and prosciutto back in and toss to heat through.

*Off heat, drizzle tortellini mixture with the lemon juice, and sprinkle with parsley and pepper. 

*Serve and enjoy while warm! We served with side salads for the adults and fruit salad for the kiddos:)

boiling tortellini with the squash (Squash is under tortellini)

Drain and set aside

cook prosciutto till crisp (like bacon)

Brown butter while scraping the sides of pan to get leftover prosciutto bits

add the sherry and cook for another 30 seconds or so

Toss back in the squash, tortellini and prosciutto


Monday, June 17, 2013

Bruschetta Dip

I had this at a birthday party not to long ago. I've also been told Trader Joe's has sampled this recipe in their stores. It is amazing!! I could eat the whole thing in one day. So far I've only tried it on pita chips, wheat thins and baguette bread. I think it be really good on top of grilled chicken as well!!

This is a semi-homemade recipe since I don't actually "make" any of it. You do need to have a Trader Joes near you to make this. All I do is get 3 ingredients (all found in fridge section near hummas at TJs) and mix them all together!! Great for a party or just made and store in your fridge and it's a good quick snack to eat over the next week! It's not the prettiest dish in the world and when I first went to try it I was hesitant. But after that first dip, you can't stop!

Trader Joe's Products (pictures of each below)

*2 Tubs of the Bruschetta Sauce
*1 Tub of Crumbled Ricotta Salata (Cheese)
*1 Packate of Steamed (precooked) Lentils

Mix all three together in a big bowl breaking apart the lentils and let the cheese crumble into small pieces. Serve with your favorite cracker or bread... or try it on Chicken! Let me know if you try it any new way! I love this stuff!!

2 Tubs of Bruschetta Sauce

1 Tub Ricotta Salata

1 pkg (box) lentils

Mix in bowl and serve!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Pork Tenderloin with Pan Sauce

Ok, I'm not a huge pork fan. I think it's a texture thing. But I'm trying to eat healthier and there is only so much chicken and ground turkey you can eat and I really don't like cooking fish at home. I found this recipe on pintrest from Chef Mommy blog. I copied recipe as is and it was seriously SO good!! I got excited for it as soon as I mixed the marinade together. It smelt amazing!! You have to marinate it for at LEAST 4 hours. I marinated mine overnight and it was perfect! I reserved a little more than it called for (around 1/4 cup) and I'm glad I did because I put that sauce over my smashed fingerling potatoes as well. I also made roasted asparagus and acorn squash. The kids, my husband and I ate it all!!

1⁄2 cups olive oil
1⁄3 cup soy sauce
1⁄4 cup red wine vinegar
Juice of 1 lemon
1-2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1-2 tbsp fresh flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
2 tsp dry mustard
Freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1 lb. pork tenderloin (silver skin removed)

1. Combine all marinade ingredients and reserve 2-3 Tbsp. (I did a little more). Place the pork tenderloin and marinade in a Ziplock bag and let marinate for at least 3-4 hours. (I marinated around 20 hours).
2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a hot skillet over medium-high heat, sear each side of tenderloin for 2-3 minutes. Place in the oven and cook for 30-40 minutes or until the meat has reached 160 degrees. Let rest for at least 5 minutes before slicing. (I used one pan for everything... my dutch oven. I seared roast over stove top in the dutch oven (discard all of the marinade). Then place dutch oven into oven till the pork reaches 150-155 (It will continue to cook while resting so don't over cook.)

Pan Sauce:
Pan scrapings from pork tenderloin
1/2 cup of chicken broth
2-3 tbsp of reserved marinade (thoroughly mixed)
1-2 tsp butter

Meanwhile, place the skillet back on the stove over medium heat. Add the chicken broth and scrape up all the browned pieces from the bottom of the pan. Add the marinade and let it boil down for 2-3 minutes. Add the butter and remove from heat stirring until butter has melted. Pour over the pork tenderloin.

Pork resting after cooked

Making the Pan sauce in same dutch oven I cooked pork in

ready to slice... 

Slice and put back into pan sauce. Spoon sauce over top and serve with extra sauce on top. ENJOY!

Monday, February 4, 2013

Southwestern Loaded Baked Sweet Potato

This meal was surprisingly a HUGE hit in my family. Blew me away! I thought I was going to have to bribe and force my family to eat this. We will definitely make this again and again! I love Gina's Skinnytaste Blog. Here is the link to her recipe and below is what I did:) It's not a pretty dish (at least when I made it it wasn't) but it was very tasty! The original recipe is made to be vegetarian. You can keep it that way or add your favorite meat. I added pork from my southwestern green chili shredded pork but I think even shredded rotisserie chicken would be good in this too!


  • 4 medium sized sweet potatoes
  • 1/2 cup fat free Greek yogurt 
  • 1 tsp taco seasoning (I make this recipe in large quantity and used 1 tsp of this)
  • 1 tsp olive or canola oil
  • 1 medium zucchini, cut into half moons 1 inch thick
  • 1 small green chili- diced
  • 1/2 sweet onion cut into rings
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp paprika or smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • a pinch of salt
  • 1/2 can low sodium black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 cup mild or spicy salsa
  • 1/2 cup reduced fat Mexican cheese blend (I used shredded cheddar since I had it on hand)
  • 1/4 cup chopped scallions or cilantro (I chopped up 2 green onions)
  • 1 cup of any cooked meat you have (pork, chicken- shredded) OPTIONAL


Poke holes in the potato with a fork, cook on your microwave’s potato setting until potatoes are soft and cooked through (about 8-10 minutes on high for 4 potatoes). If you don't have a microwave, bake about 45 minutes at 400°F.

Combine yogurt and taco seasoning in a small bowl, mix well. (I just added the taco seasoning right to the cup of yogurt, shown below, and stirred in well.

Heat oil in a medium pot over medium heat. Add peppers, onions, zucchini, chili powder, paprika, cumin and salt; cook until the onions have caramelized slightly, about 5 minutes. Add black beans, stir to combine and heat through (about another 3 minutes). Add your cooked shredded meat. Cook till heated through. (I put a lid on this and cooked on low till I had everything else ready to go)

USE a fork to pierce the top in an oval shape, then remove the top of each potato. Top with 2 tbsp shredded cheese, 1/3 cup of black bean mixture, 2 tbsp Greek yogurt mixture and 2 tbsp salsa of salsa. Sprinkle any green onions or cilantro over the top.  Enjoy!

Greek Yogurt with taco seasoning mixed in (SO much better than sour cream!!)

Cut open top, add cheese and veggie/meat/black bean mixture...

Top with the yogurt and sprinkle on any other toppings. Dig in while hot!! 

Southwest Green Chili Shredded Pork

This is one of the simplest and best meals I made while on our 24 Advocare Challenge (diet). This makes a ton so it's best if you are making for a crowd or plan this meal as is for day one and use the left overs on top of nacho's, in a quesadilla or on top a loaded southwest sweet potato!

You will need a crockpot and the following ingredients:

*3-4lb Pork shoulder, trimmed of fat
*2 T Extra virgin Olive Oil
*small sweet onion, cut into half rings
*1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes, no salt added
*1 4 oz can diced green cili's
*1 can of your favorite flavor Rotel (I use the green chili and tomato)
*1-2 whole anaheim green chilies, sliced into strips (Or another large can of green chilies-drained)
*2 tsp ground cumin
*salt and pepper

Optional ingredients for making into tacos:
*Corn tortillas
*Salsa verde
*sliced avocado
*Low fat sour cream

Optional toppings if making a carb free meal as I did in these pictures
*lime slices
*salsa of any kind
*sliced avocado

1. Heat oil in skillet over medium-high heat. Add pork and season with salt and pepper. Cook on all sides till browned (about 8-10 mins total)
2. Place pork in slow cooker. Add onion, tomatoes, green chilies, rotel and cumin. Add 1/2 cup- 1 cup water (I didn't do this, but I added the tomatoes and rotel with the juices)
3. Cook on low for 8-10 hours until fork tender. You can use two forks to shred pork right in the crock pot and mix will all the sauteed onions and peppers. YUM.

Serve either as is, in tacos, as quesadilla, nachos, or on a potato! Enjoy and invite some friends over to share! :) Sorry, no pictures below of this served in taco's... they were eaten WAY too quickly to snap a photo!

On top of fully loaded nachos! 

On a loaded sweet potato! HUGE hit in my house!