About Johanna

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Chicago/Aurora, IL, United States
I am just like so many busy moms out there. I want to create great meals for me and my family where the food brings us together at the end of a long and hectic day. I want to empower moms to feel like they are able to make Great Everyday Meals by using simple, accessible, and inexpensive ingredients and basic cooking techniques. It’s more about family and less about slaving away in the kitchen cooking. I have been a restaurant industry professional for about 10 years and have a great passion for cooking. I will share tips, recipes and techniques that I have learned to arm everyday cooks with the foundation to simple yet great tasting cooking! Johanna M. Cook

Friday, February 26, 2010

Refrigerator Staples - Mini Fusili w/ Bacon & Peas in a Cream Sauce

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate in Jan 2010 was 14.8 million. 14.8 MILLION PEOPLE WITHOUT JOBS! I am so grateful to God that me and my family are not one of those families. However, even though we are a two income household, just like everyone else in this country, we are definitely feeling the pinch financially. Saving money is so detrimental to our financial success and we are doing everything we can to save every penny whenever possible. In saving money, I am learning to become savvier in my grocery shopping habits. Buying food is a must for everybody and I want to save money, but I don't want to sacrifice good food in doing so. So I'm sharing a recipe made from refrigerator and pantry staples. Not only are these items easy to find, they are also extremely inexpensive and easy to make for family and friends.


1 lb. mini fusili (or any other pasta of your liking)
1 pack of bacon
Frozed Peas
Parmesan Cheese
1 pint of heavy whipping cream
Salt & Pepper

Cut the bacon into about 1 inch pieces and fry until golden. Drain on papertowels.

Boil water in a pot and salt the water once in comes to a rolling boil. This is only chance you get to season the pasta. Cook the pasta from 6-8 minutes until al dente.

In a large saucepan, in medium heat, heat the heavy whipping cream. Once it is in a slow simmer, add 1/4 cup of parmesan cheese until sauce thickens. Add 2 tsp of salt and 1 tsp of pepper. Drain pasta and toss in cream sauce. Immediately add 1 cup of frozen peas (add more or less to your liking), another 1/4 cup of parmesan cheese and bacon. Toss until peas are fully heated through and serve.


Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Newborn = New Life

Hello everyone! I am proud to announce that Samantha Nevya M. Cook was born on February 5th, at approximately 12:15 P.M. in Aurora, IL. I am so extremely glad this pregnancy is over and I can start my new life. And about this new life...

I must say that I am a lot more anxious about having to juggle a career, and raising 3 kids (and a husband ;P) much more than when I only had 2 kids running around. First off, it's more expensive. Second, the time management aspect of it all has just got me pinned to the wall. Can I really do this? Work full time? Be a mom and wife full time? Have time for myself? Have time with friends? Have time to cook and clean? The list is long and tedious and I just don't know. Everyone is telling me, "You're just going to make it happen." Am I really? I know for sure that I'm not the only woman having to do EVERYTHING, and I do find comfort in knowing that so many have done it successfully before me. But, can I?

I pride myself in making great food for my friends and family. I also take pride in knowing that great food doesn't mean it always has to be fancy-schmancy and out of the pages of a magazine. This is one area where I can show my loved ones how much I care and love them by putting the love in the food I make. Sounds cheesy, I know. But anyone can tell, even when eating in a restaurant, when the food was just slapped on the plate and brought to you to eat. There's just a certain something that makes the food taste better, simple or elegant, cheap or expensive, when there's thought and care put into it. So, you all can imagine how useless I've felt over the past couple of weeks being stuck in bed recovering and unable to cook for my beloved. I know, I know, I shouldn't beat myself up for it, I was recovering from delivering a baby for crying out loud! However, there is just something personally satisfying in knowing that I am feeding my family, that we're gathering together at the dinner table and sharing quality time together that many families (and even friends) are lacking these days. This is probably the reason why I love doing what I do and have made working in a restaurant a career. I love the idea that something so simple as food is something that is so incredibly necessary in everyday lives and brings people together, gives good health, and brings immediate and lasting satisfaction.

Over these next couple of months, I am very interested how my cooking style will change with this new life of mine. I am eager to share more experiences and recipes with you all soon.