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, 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!