Archive for the ‘What's Cooking?’ Category

I’m a huge fan of Gina’s Skinny Taste recipes. When I saw her recipe for slow cooker pernil, I knew I had to try it. A really simple and delicious meal. I paired it with her avocado, black bean and cucumber salsa and a package of La Preferida Spanish rice.

Really the hardest part (if there is a hard part) is remembering that the meat needs to marinate for a day ahead of time. I turned on the crock pot before leaving for work and started salivating when I walked in the door when I got home.

This was my first time trying pernil and I was a little unsure of how to eat it. I guess I’m used to putting something like that in a tortilla instead of a bunch of it on my plate by itself. Actually, I just kind of mixed everything together as I was eating it and it tasted great! Never even missed the tortilla (ok, but what I did miss was my trusty Corona w/ lime). The best part? It’s not even that spicy, so S got to enjoy it, too!

LOL! I’m going to claim my first case of “pregnancy brain”. I forgot to post the recipe! OMG. Here ya go!

Gina’s Slow Cooker Pernil

Read Full Post »

Snazzy Snowmen

As I glance down at the archives on my blog, I can’t believe this is only my third post of December. Well, actually I CAN believe it, considering that December has been filled with its usual whirlwind of activities. Then pile on working full time, holiday get togethers, snow storms that interfere with my last minute gift shopping, a sick toddler, a holiday concert and you get…well, a busy momma with not much time to blog.

I wanted to post these cute snowmen cookies that I made today with S. I took the easy way out and used the Pillsbury ready-made dough and frosting in a tub. Any less mess I can make in my kitchen this time of year, the better. Who has time to wash dishes??

All you need for this recipe is:

  • premade sugar cookie dough
  • white frosting
  • mini M&Ms (pick out the brown ones…eat the rest)
  • licorice (I used the pull & peel Twizzlers and snipped with a kitchen schears for the earmuff band and mouth)
  • candy orange slices (cut into little triangles for the nose)
  • lifesavers (I used the gummy kind)

Bake and frost the cookies and decorate the snowman face. Easy and fun!

Read Full Post »

I have to admit, I didn’t jump on the ‘early fall decorating’ bandwagon this year. I saw my neighbors put up their pumpkins and cornstalks in September and I just admired quietly from my car as I drove by. I didn’t rush home and pull out our fall boxes from the basement. All I did was fix our wreath. But then the calendar turned from September to October and the need for orange and red around my house took over. I even had some help this year from Miss S. She had a blast going through the boxes and pulling out all the pumpkins. Then she went outside and helped Daddy with the outdoor display.




And after our house looked a little more festive, it was time for our annual apple picking and pie baking fest.  S had a blast picking apples this year.

I loved this sign with the apple that said “How Tall This Fall?” S was just under 3 this year.

And then it was pie time. We made 8 pies this year, which was actually kind of nice compared to last year’s 18!

And some cute little pies for you know who!

Happy Fall, Y’all!

Read Full Post »


Last week, J and I headed downtown Madison to take in a Concert on the Square. It had been a few years since we attended this event, but these free outdoor concerts on the capitol grounds still remain one of the many things we love about living here.

And what is an outdoor concert without food (and wine!), right? Well, I have found the perfect sandwich to bring along for any summer outdoor event or picnic. I found it on epicurious.com a few years ago and was eager to recreate one of these delectable sandwiches for our concert.

Here’s the recipe which makes 4 sandwiches:

Artichoke, Fresh Mozzarella and Salami Sandwiches


  • 2 6-ounce jars marinated artichoke hearts, drained, chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped drained oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 5-inch-diameter or 6-inch-long Italian rolls, split in half lengthwise (I used four ciabatta rolls from my grocery store’s bakery and they worked out nicely)
  • 12 ounces fresh water-packed mozzarella, drained, sliced (I have now made these with both mozzarella and provalone, both taste great!) 
  • 6 ounces salami, thinly sliced
  • 8 tablespoons green olivada (go easy on this, can make your sandwich a little too salty)
  • Preparation

    Mix first 5 ingredients in medium bowl to blend. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Divide artichoke mixture among bottom halves of rolls. Top with cheese, then salami. Spread top half of each roll with 2 tablespoons olivada. Place atop salami. Press sandwiches lightly to compact and wrap each tightly in plastic wrap. Refrigerate sandwiches at least 4 hours and up to 1 day.

    I could seriously eat those first 5 ingredients mixed together all by themselves without adding them to the sandwich…hmmm…might just have to experiment with a new pasta salad! 😉

    Hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we do! Any wild guesses on which wine goes great with this sandwich??

    Read Full Post »


    I could barely wait to make this pie! I’ve never even had rhubarb pie, much less STRAWBERRY rhubarb pie, but for some reason, I was dying to make it. After picking fresh strawberries, I had to have fresh rhubarb to add to the pie, so I headed to the farmer’s market this morning. I bought 4 pounds of rhubarb! (making pies for the neighbors as well…don’t you wish you were my neighbor? I thought so.)

    This pie is a breeze to make. Really. I whipped it up with a toddler running around the kitchen, it was that easy. Chop up the rhubarb and the strawberries, mix with flour and sugar and dump into pie pan. Easy peasy. Here’s the recipe I used.

    I let it cool for a bit and tried a slice. It was fantastic. The perfect summer pie. Just to warn you, it is a tad runny, but the reviews said it should firm up if left to completely cool. Props to those who are able to wait that long. I think a big scoop of vanilla ice cream would go perfectly with this! I plan to run out and get some as soon as S wakes up from her nap (which is now going on 3 hours. Awesome.) Happy Summer!

    Read Full Post »

    Summer has officially started at our house, and with the warm temps I’ve been trying to come up with a tasty lunch that didn’t involve a lot of cooking. The great prices on strawberries led me to try a strawberry spinach salad. Not only does this recipe taste awesome, it is a great way to get some fresh fruits and vegetables into your diet (which is a new goal I added to my 100 Things list). I found a whole bunch of recipes for this salad at allrecipes.com and combined a few to come up with this:

    Salad Ingredients:

    Large package/bag of washed spinach (I used the family sized carton of OrganicGirl spinach, which yielded about 6 salads)

    1 package of washed, hulled and sliced strawberries

    2 kiwifruit, peeled and sliced (if desired)

    Dressing Ingredients:

    1/4 C balsamic vinegar (could also use red wine vinegar or raspberry vinegar, depending on your preference)

    1/4 C Extra Virgin Olive Oil

    1 T sesame seeds

    1-2 tsp sugar (to your liking)

    1 tsp sesame seed oil

    1/4 tsp paprika

    pinch of salt and fresh cracked pepper


    To make whole salad all at once:

    Mix first three ingredients in large bowl.

    In separate smaller bowl, whisk dressing ingredients together. Pour over salad and toss.

    To make lunch-sized portions:

    Divide spinach, strawberries and kiwis into 6 small lunch containers (I use the ziploc brand).

    In medium bowl, whisk salad dressing ingredients together. Portion into 6 small liquid containers (ziploc/glad/whatever).

    Place everything in the fridge and grab and go when you need a quick and easy lunch! Keeping the dressing separate will prevent the greens from getting soggy.

    Read Full Post »

    One of my favorite summertime desserts is Strawberry Shortcake. My mom used to make this for us a lot when we were kids, so it brings back fun childhood memories. Strawberries and angel food cake cups were on sale last week, so I thought what better time to make some! The weather has been awesome in WI as of late, so this was the perfect treat to eat outside. S dug it, too!

    mmmm….these are those stawbeebees I like so much…

    Passing finger test…

    Bib and fork work much better…

    Yup, she’s down with the shortcake. Good, ’cause I’ll be making a lot more this summer!

    Read Full Post »


    I know I’ve raved about Gina’s recipes before, but these two are probably the best ones I’ve made from her website so far. If you’ve never tried roasted broccoli before, you should. And if your toddler is like mine and turns up a nose at the sight of anything green, you should try this out on them. S LOVES her roasted broccoli. She even asked for MORE!

    Here’s the Turkey Cutlet recipe:

    Turkey Cutlets with Parmesan Bread-Crumb Crust
    Gina’s Weight Watcher Recipes
    Servings: 8 • Serving Size: 1 cutlet • Calories: 192 • Points: 4 pts each

    • 8 (4 oz) turkey breast cutlets
    • 4 egg whites, beat
    • 3/4 cup seasoned breadcrumbs
    • 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese
    • salt and fresh pepper
    • 2 tbsp butter
    • 2 tsp olive oil
    • lemon wedges for serving

    Heat oven to 250°.

    Season cutlets with salt and pepper. Combine bread crumbs and Parmesan cheese in a medium bowl. In another bowl beat egg whites. Dip turkey cutlets in egg whites, then breadcrumb mixture, shaking off excess.

    Heat a large nonstick frying pan on medium heat. Add half of the butter and olive oil. When butter melts, add 4 cutlets and cook a few minutes on each side, until golden brown and cooked through. Set aside on a baking sheet and keep warm in oven. Add remaining butter and oil to frying pan. Cook remaining cutlets. Serve with lemon wedges.

    Here’s the Roasted Broccoli recipe:

    Roasted Broccoli with Smashed Garlic
    Gina’s Weight Watcher Recipes
    Servings: 4 • Serving Size: 1/4th of broccoli • Points: 2 pts
    Calories: 126 • Fat: 7.5g • Protein: 4.3 g • Carb: 13.7 g • Fiber: 5.7 g

    • 1 1/2 lbs broccoli florets, cut long with part of stem
    • 6 cloves garlic, smashed
    • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
    • kosher salt and fresh pepper

    Preheat oven to 450°. In a baking dish combine broccoli, olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper. Roast broccoli about 20 minutes, until broccoli is browned and tender.

    And here’s what your toddler might do after you make this. I’m curious if your kiddo loves this as much as mine does.

    Read Full Post »

    Yes, you read that correctly. A crunchy, sweet coating of Cap’n Crunch cereal covers the chicken. How fun and tasty is that? This is my husband’s copy cat recipe from our favorite restaurant when we were in college. I’m sharing this on the blog now because we made it last night and believe that we’ve finally mastered it! The secret is BAKING the chicken tenders in the oven instead of frying them in oil (the coating kept falling off when we did it this way).

    This is a great recipe to make when you are craving a change from the typical dinner fare. It’s hearty enough to stand in for any dinner meal! The dressing is what makes this salad pop. Brianna’s Dijon Honey Mustard goes perfectly with the sweetness of the chicken tenders. Don’t be confused by the avocado on the bottle. There are no avocados in the dressing. (not so sure about the marketing plan with that one!)

    Have I sold you on this yet? Here’s how to make it:

    Ingredients:(for one salad)

    1/2 head of romaine lettuce (washed and chopped)

    1 roma tomato

    1 half of a cucumber sliced

    a few thin slices of red onion

    Half a carrot, shredded with a veggie peeler

    2-3 chicken breast tenders

    1 egg

    1 C Cap’n Crunch cereal (crushed)


    Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with non-stick aluminum foil (or spray liberally with non-stick spray…trust me, you’ll be glad you did this). Crush cereal (food processor or my simple method of the ‘ol ziplock bag and a meat tenderizer) and place in glass pie pan (for easy assembly once you get to the coating part). Break egg in another pie pan and beat with a fork for a few seconds. Coat chicken with egg and then place in cereal. Press cereal onto chicken and place coated chicken on baking sheet. Repeat with remaining chicken pieces. Bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes.

    While chicken is cooking, assemble lettuce, tomato, cucumber, red onion and carrots on a large plate. Open a bottle of Pinot Grigio and have a few sips before the chicken is done. (Pinot Grigio goes great with this salad, BTW!)

    Remove chicken from oven and place pieces on cutting board. Slice diagonally into about 1/2 in. pieces. Arrange on top of prepared salads. Drizzle Brianna’s Dijon Honey Mustard salad dressing on top and add some cracked pepper and salt. Bon appetit!

    Read Full Post »

    As soon as I saw this cute idea on the Betty Crocker website, I knew I had to make them for Easter. Of course, my first thought was that S would love them, but I was also excited to see if I could pull these off. If these turned out, I would have a little something to give to my family when they come visit for Easter.

    Pretty basic ingredients, Betty Crocker yellow cake mix, vanilla frosting, coconut, yellow food coloring, brown mini M&M’s, orange gum drops (or candy orange slices…that’s what I used).

    After baking the cupcakes according to box directions, frost them!

    Then mix 8 drops of yellow food coloring in with some coconut in a resealable bag.

    As you can see, some of the coconut turned orange. Not sure how to avoid that.

    Then top each frosted cupcake with the colored coconut. (I found doing this over a layer of waxed paper helped with easy clean-up)

    Next it’s time to add the eyes.

    When adding the beaks, just cut the gumdrop into little triangle sized pieces.

    Beaks complete!

    I put some in these pastel colored takeout boxes with some shiny Easter grass.

    Such a cute idea and it really didn’t take too long to make. I can’t wait to make these someday when S can help me a little more than just sorting some of the paper cups (don’t worry, I didn’t use those to make them!)

    BTW…not only do they look cute, they taste yummy, too!

    Read Full Post »

    Older Posts »