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

Monday, February 28, 2011

TribLocal by Chicago Tribune Event at Whole Foods with Momma Cuisine

I was recently invited by Trib Local of Chicago Tribune to participate in an free event going to be held at Whole Foods Market on Thursday, March 24 at 7 p.m. to demonstrate, Healthy Eating on a Budget.

"Launched in 2007, TribLocal provides a unique mix of professional and user-generated content online along with a weekly digest of local news printed in our Thursday newspaper. Combine all that with a history of award-winning traditional journalism at the Chicago Tribune and you have a forward-thinking and trusted news product."

It is such an honor to be invited to be a part of an event such as this. My passion for teaching busy moms (and dads) about how to create Great Everyday Meals is something that runs deep in my veins. Food is more than just a simple need. It brings people together, and in some countries, apart. It is the highlight of a party, the most memorable part of a vacation, the main event on a holiday, and a tool to bring friends and family together to spend time over. To me food is more than just items on a plate. Food and how cook it, is how I express my love, gratitude and feelings to and for my family and friends. I use it as a tool to meet new friends, as well as to help me reconnect with old ones.

My love and enthusiasm for food and cooking is something I want to share with everyone, especially mothers. Mother's have it tough in the kithen. Unlike in restaurants, we are our own dishwashers, bussers, prep cooks, executive chef and servers. Let's not even start with the discriminating diners we have to feed everyday!! Showing busy, modern moms how to create Great Everyday Meals using only simple ingredients and basic cooking techniques is what Momma Cuisine is all about.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Recipe: Angel Hair w/ Roasted Chicken & Bacon

Having guests over is sometimes cause for mild panic attacks for hosts. The idea of trying to impress guests with your fabulous (and impeccably clean) home, and your outstanding sense of great food can be a lot of work and money. This recipe is a quick meal yet doesn't lack in flavor, style and pizzaz. It only calls for a few simple ingredients, and one of my favorite go-to's…store bought organic rotisserie chicken!



1 lb of angel hair pasta
1 lb of thick sliced bacon – diced into large chunks
2 breasts of fully cooked organic rotisserie chicken – diced
1 pint of cherry tomatoes – halved
1/2 cup parsely
6 oz of shredded parmesan cheese
olive oil

Cook the bacon in the oven, on a lined baking sheet, at 375 degrees until crispy. Let cool and cut into large pieces. Carve the breasts of a store-bought organic rotisserie chicken and dice. Set ingredients aside.

Cook the angel hair in boiling, salted water for about 12-15 minutes or until al dente. Drain the pasta and place in a large bowl and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and 2 tsp of kosher salt. Toss in the tomatoes, parmesan cheese and parsely. Then, toss in the bacon and chicken. Garnish with more parsely and parmesan cheese and serve alongside tomato foccacia bread or a french baguette.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Chicago Restaurant Week 2011


"Chicago Restaurant Week, produced by the Chicago Convention & Tourism Bureau (CCTB) is Chicago’s celebration as a world-class dining destination. Supported by the CCTB’s restaurant members, the promotion runs for ten days with prix fixe lunch and/or dinner menus at more than 200 restaurants throughout the Chicago area (and suburbs)."

Chicago is a wonderful food town and argueably goes toe-to-toe with big cities like New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco as having some of the best chefs and restaurants the food world has to offer. With more than 200 restaurant participating, this yearly event is highly anticipated by foodies all over town and suburbs. It's a great way sample new restaurants, as well as eat in some of the most expensive establishments for a portion of the regular menu price.

"Reservations are strongly recommended. To make a reservation, visit EatItUpChicago.com or call your restaurant of choice. Participating restaurants should provide you with their special Restaurant Week Menus upon seating. If a Restaurant Week menu is not provided at that time, you should request it."

And do not fret if you cannot make it to the city. Downtown Naperville's very own Catch 35 is participating in Restaurant Week, as well as Mon Ami Gabi, Capital Grille, Carlucci, Benihana, and Wildfire in our neighboring cities, Oakbrook and Lombard. To view a complete list of participating restaurants visit,

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Recipe: Coconut Tapioca Pudding

Tapioca pudding is classic Americana. This recipe has an Asian twist using coconut milk instead of milk (or cream)and eggs. This pudding is also dairy free and great for those who are lactose intolerant.

The key to this dish is to continually stir the tapioca to prevent it from sticking to the bottom of pan, much like risotto. The ingredients, although seemingly exotic, can be found in most grocery stores international food isle. And mini tapioca pearls are found in the bakery section of your local grocer. This is a great comforting dessert that my son loves!


2 cans of coconut milk
2 cans of coconut water (can contain coconut bits)
1/2 cup of brown sugar
1/2 tsp of cinnamon
Pinch of ground ginger
Toasted coconut flakes for garnish

In a large sauce pan, heat the coconut milk on medium heat. Add the tapioca when the coconut milk starts to steam, not boiling. Continue to stir genlty until the tapioca is cooked all the way. As the coconut milk starts to thicken, slowly add coconut water and stir again. Be careful not to make the pudding too thick or too runny. You may not have to use all the coconut water.

Once the tapioca is cooked all the way through and consistency of the pudding is what you like, add the brown sugar, cinnamon and ginger and stir in. Serve in large ramekins and garnish with toasted coconut flakes.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Black Eyed Peas w/ Hamhocks

With all this snow and "snowpocalypse" conditions, there's nothing like piling up the blankets on the couch, with a steaming hot bowl of soup with the TV remote on the other hand. This dish is such a heart-warming, southern classic that is perfect for the type of weather we've been experiencing.

This dish only has a handful of easy-to-find ingredients. However, many stay clear of it because of the very long cook time. To soften the hamhocks takes at least 2 hours. In addition, uncooked black eyed peas takes another couple hours to cook all the way through as well. The key to making this dish a little less time consuming is to use quick cook black eyed peas. I found mine at Meijer, in the produce section. Also, if you had a pressure cooker, that too would speed up the process of softening the hocks. But if not, simply use a slow cooker and let it go while you run errands or check emails. You won't even notice that a couple hours has gone by!


1 medium onion – diced
2 cloves of garlice – minced
1 bay leaf
1 tbl of kosher salt
pinch of red pepper flakes
1 lb of smoked hamhocks
4 cups of low sodium organic chicken broth
4 cups of water

2 – 12 oz packages of quick cook black eyed peas

Heat a large pot with 2 tablespoons of canola oil on medium-high heat. Saute the onions and garlic until the onions have become translucent. Add the bay leaf, salt and pepper. Add the hamhocks and saute just for a couple minutes to release some of the flavor and render a little of the fat. Then add the chicken broth and water. Let boil until the hamhocks are tender, about 2 hours.

When the hamhocks are fork tender, add the black eyed peas and cook for 20-25 minutes, until the peas are softened. Serve hot!