About Johanna

My photo
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

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

How to Cut a Bell Pepper

Getting the most out of expensive bell peppers could be tricky! Watch the video for a great trick on how to get the most out of our pricey, and delicious peppers.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

How to wrap baked fish in foil

Baked Tilipia in foil

4 Tilapia Fillets
1 Zuchinni - julienne
1 Yellow Bell Pepper - julienne
1 Roma tomato - cut into 4 wedges
Parsley leaves
Lemon Juice
Garlic Olive Oil
Salt & Pepper
Splash of white wine - optional (Pinot Grigio)

Wrap each fillet in tin foil or parchment paper. Bake in the oven at 350* for about 20 minutes.

If using frozen fish, cook time increases to 30 minutes.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Recipe: Smothered Chicken

Comfort food is something that just makes people feel good. It's satisfying, heart-warming, and is plain ol' good.

This recipe for smothered chicken uses lean chicken breasts, fresh mushrooms and fresh flat leaf spinach and baked in the oven. It's simple to make and is great with a side of egg noodles and steamed broccoli.


4-6 skinless boneless organic chicken breasts
1 package of sliced mushrooms
1 bag of pre-washed spinach (salad isle)
2 cans of organic cream of mushroom condensed soup
1/2 cup of low-sodium organic chicken broth
3 TBL of olive oil

Heat a saute pan on medium/high heat. Season the chicken breasts with Paprika and brown. You do not need to cook the chicken all the way, it will finish cooking in the oven. Set aside in a baking dish.

Once all the chicken breasts have been browned, lower the heat to medium heat and toss in the fresh mushrooms and spinach. After sauteeing for about 1 minute add the 2 cans of cream of mushroom and chicken stock. Mix the ingredients for about 2-3 minutes and scrape the bottom of the pan, taking all the browned bits.

Transfer the sauce to the baking dish, over the brown chicken. Cover with foil and bake in a pre-heated oven at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes, until the chicken is fully cooked.

Serve with steamed vegetables and egg noodles.

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Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Recipe: Easy Pad Thai

Pad Thai is a noodle dish from Thailand. Tradionally, it is made with peanuts, egg, fish sauce, tamarind paste, lime, rice noodles and Thai chillies.

This recipe is a mid-week and "great everyday meal" version using readily availble ingredients. I took out the tamarind paste and fish sauce and substituted rice noodles with spaghettini.

I also used a go-to staple in my kitchen, rotiserrie chicken. I took one breast and shreddded the meat. To add a healthier ingredient, I also used cubed, extra-firm tofu that I pan fried until golden brown and sprinkled with Paprika. Your kids will think it's chicken…mine did!
The result is great restaurant style meal to spruce up your midweek dinner menu.

TIP: Add as much or as little vegetables you want to this dish. Bean sprouts, cilantro leaves, and red cabagge are also traditional ingredients you add. But feel free to get creative and experiment with zucchini, yellow squash, bell peppers, asparagus and eggplant. You can use whatever you want!


1/2 lb of spaghettini pasta – cooked to al dente
1 cup of salted peanuts – roughly chopped
1/2 head of green cabbage – slice
2 cups shredded carrots
1/2 cup yellow onions – sliced
1 rotisserie chicken breast – shredded
1 package of cubed extra-firm tofu – pan fried
2 tsp of Serrano Pepper – finely diced
5 eggs – scrambled


1/3 cup of low sodium soy sauce
2 TBL brown sugar
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp red chili flakes
1 cup of low sodium chicken stock
Juice of 1 lemon

Wisk all ingredients in a large bowl and set aside.

In a large saute pan, eat 2 TBL of canola oil (or peanut oil) on medium/high heat. Add the onion and diced Serrano Peppers and saute for 2 minutes. Add rotisserie chicken, cabbage and shredded carrots. Toss around for about 1 minute and add the sauce mixture. Toss the vegetables around for about 1 minute.

In a large mixing bowl, put in the cooked spaghettini. When the vegetable mixture is done, toss it in with the noodles until all the ingredients are fully mixed together.

Top with chopped peanuts and serve.


Johanna M. Cook

COOKING SHOW: http://www.youtube.com/mommacuisineshow
FACEBOOK: http://www.facebook.com/mommacuisine

Momma Cuisine is about empowering moms to create "Great Everyday Meals" by using simple ingredients and basic cooking techniques.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

June Newsletter



June is the time of year where the pools are packed and barbeques
are in full swing! The weather is hot and most people are looking to
eat lighter and maintain their weight.

In this newsletter, I want to share a couple really good salad recipes
that are not only beautiful, but hearty enough even for your husband to
want to indulge! Along with the salads are homemade salad dressing
recipes that will force you to ask why you even ever spent money on
the salty, preservative-packed, store bought kinds.
The featured article this month is from Andrew Stiles, Cinema Sommelier
of Reel Pour. Reel Pour is a Podcast pairing the latest movies with wine!
Andrew will be teaching us a few tips about decanting wine .

I hope you enjoy this newsletter!
COOKING QUESTIONS?? Email me at Johanna@mommacuisine.com and I will answer them!
MOMMA CUISINE SHOW Watch it @ www.youtube.com/mommacuisineshow


Momma's Waldorf Salad

The Waldorf Salad was made popular by Waldorf-Astoria Hotel
in New York City somewhere in between 1893-1896 (Wikipedia).
It was traditionally made with apples, celery and walnuts and
dressed in mayonaisse on top of lettuce. Today, there are plenty
of variations of this salad, and here is mine. I take one red and
one green apple (Granny Smith) and slice them in match-sticks.
I add grapes, candied-walnuts and gorgonzola cheese on a bed
of romainne lettuce. I also add my one Sherry-Dijon Vinaigrette
that is incredibily simple to make.

1 red apple & 1 Granny Smith apple - julienned
2 cups of red seedless grapes - halved
8 0z tub of gorgonzola cheese
3 cups of walnuts
1/2 cup of brown sugar
4 tablespoons of unsalted butter
2 heads of Romaine lettuce - wash & cut into strips

Heat the oven to 350 degrees. In a small saucepan, melt the butter and add
the brown sugar. Once the sugar has dissolved, turn off the heat and
in a large bowl toss it the mixture with the walnuts. Line a cookie sheet with
foil and bake in the oven for about 10 minutes. Take out and cool. When cool,

Take your shredded lettuce and first place the cheese on top of the lettuce.
Then add the grapes, apples and top with the candied walnuts. Drizzle with the
Sherry-Balsamic Vinaigrette and serve.

1 cup of white vinegar
1/2 cup of Sherry wine
2 tablespoons of Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons of granulated sugar
1/3 cup of extra virgin olive oil

In a large bowl, whish together sugar, dijon mustard, sherry wine and vinegar.
Once whisked, slowly drizzle the olive oil and serve with salad.
Also great as a marinade for pork, poultry of fish.

Berry Chicken Salad w/
Blackberry Balsamic Vinaigrette

2 bags pre-washed field greens mix
1 lb of ripe strawberries
1 pint of blueberries
3 chicken breasts
2 cups of coursely chopped walnuts
4 oz of crumbled gorgonzola cheese

Simple White Wine Marinade

1 cup of white wine
3 TBL of Kikkoman soy sauce
1 lemon for juicing
1 TBL oregano
1-2 chopped garlic cloves
2 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper

Blackberry Balsamic Vinaigrette

2 TBL of blackberry preserves
1/4 cup of fresh orange juice
1/4 cup of balsamic vinegar
1 cup of extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper

Take all the White Wine Marinade ingredients and wisk together. Place the
chicken breasts in a large Zip Lock bag and pour the marinade on top. Place
in the fridge for at least 20 minutes, but no more than 1 hour.
Grill the chicken breasts over meduim-high heat. Do not place it on the hottest
part of the grill as it will be cooked on the outside but raw in the inside.
Check that the internal temperature is 165 degrees and set aside.

Place the blackberry jam, orange juice, balsamic vinegar, salt & pepper
together in a mixing bowl. With one hand slowly drizzle the extra virgin oil
while whisking with the other hand until all the ingredients are throuroughly
combine and place aside.

Take both bags of field greens and place it in a large serving bowl. Take the
strawberries and cut them in quarters and place it on top of the lettuce. Then,
take the blueberries, walnuts and gorgonzola cheese and place them on top
of the salad as well, making sure that all the ingredients are spread throughout.
Take the chicken breasts and slice them at an angle and place them around the
bowl for a decorative touch. Drizzle the entire salad witht the Blackberry Balsamic
Vinaigrette and serve.


Chopped Salad

One of my favorite restaurant salads is Portillo's Chopped Salad. The problem it costs
over $8 for an order. For that much money I can show you how to feed enough for your
next gathering!!!

1 lb of bacon - cooked & chopped
1- 8oz tub of gorgonzola cheese
4 Roma tomatoes - diced
1 bunch of scallions - chopped
2 cups of ditallini pasta - cooked
2 heads of Romaine lettuce - chopped
2 rotisserie chicken breasts - diced

In a large salad bowl, lay the bed of romaine lettuce down and toss all the ingredients
in with the lettuce, including the pasta. Drizzle with your homemade Honey-Mustard

1/4 cup yellow mustard
1 cup real mayonaise
3 TBL organic honey
1/3 cup vingar
Pinch of salt & pepper
Wisk all ingredients together and serve
Homemade Beauty Treatments -
Which Common Kitchen Items Can Get You Gorgeous Now
By Britney's Beauty Blog

Did you know that you can "cook up" some amazing beauty treatments with the items
contained in your kitchen? Check out the tips from Total Beauty.com and get started
on creating some new beauty concoctions!- "Does your tight budget make even
drugstore beauty products a luxury? Don't fret. You can still have beautiful skin and
hair without buying a ton of (or even any!) products. These bargain beauty tips will
show you how to turn kitchen leftovers and more into everything you need to look great.
Bonus: these tips all use natural ingredients -- good for you, good for the earth!"

10 Best Homemade Beauty Products
Those leftovers that even the family dog wouldn't eat are actually great ingredients for
homemade beauty products

These bargain beauty tips will show
you how to turn kitchen leftovers and
more into everything you need to look
great. Bonus: These tips all use
natural ingredients.


featured article:

Decanting, a quick and painless guide
by your local Cinema Sommelier Andrew Stiles from the Reel Pour Podcast

If wine is a movie, then a decanter is like the theater, it just improves
the experience. Aerating the wine is like having popcorn and a comfy seat.
Widening the surface area of the wine is like widening the screen you watch
it on. Of course, I prefer to have friends around at both so I can talk
about it and share the experience of both with them. I cannot recommend this
enough. Okay, back to the point, What is a decanter? Decanting is the term used
when pouring wine from one bottle into another container, usually fancy and
impressive looking. There are many different kinds of decanters, everything
from a super wide vase looking thing to a glass container that looks like
tree roots which I saw at the *San Francisco Museum of Modern Art* (*SFMOMA*)
earlier this year. But in a pinch a pancake mixing bowl that's been properly
cleaned also works just fine if you are willing to be cheap about it.

Really, it's true... I'm serious!

The idea of a decanter is three fold. the first is to infuse the wine
with a bit of air also known as aeration. Air "opens up" a wine. Infusing it
with air does a couple of things, but mostly it causes more of the flavors
to come forward. it's basically speeding up the process that would happen
anyway. With me usually the wine is devoured in my group of friends before
the wine is truly at it's tasting peak. So instead,you can decant it to
speed up that process. Just pour the wine against the side of a decanter
where the wine spreads out to a more thin sheen as it then cascades into the
bottom, churning the wine as it collects in the bottom and then collecting
into a pool with a larger surface area than you would have in the bottle
itself (just a small hole where the cork would be). Don't worry too much
about being delicate the point is to get as much air into it as possible. I
also like to swirl it in the decanter at this point, just like I would in
the glass. After letting it sit for a few minutes, you can then pour it into
a glass repeating the process. Then of course it's up to you to swirl your
wine in the glass letting more air touch the wine. or you could just drink
the wine because all this waiting is drying out your mouth... I understand

The 2nd reason for decanting a bottle of wine is that in some older
wines (mainly red wines) natural sediment
sometimes forms in the bottle as the wine ages,
usually more than 10 years from when it was bottled. The
older the bottle the more sediment and the thicker it is.
This sediment isn't hurtful to the wine but it is usually
bitter in taste and not really something you want included
in your wine as it rolls across your tongue. To separate it,
just hold a light source to the bottle as your pour it and you should be able to see if
there is sediment fairly quickly. Some decanters come with a little mesh basket that
you can pour the wine thru, or if you are really anal you can use a coffee filter. But if
you don't have either of those, don't despair just grab a flashlight, shine it at the bottle
and just watch for the sediment as you pour, stop pouring before it leaves the bottle.
It takes a little practice and a little patience but it makes for a better tasting wine. If
you have the time and you know the bottle has sediment in it, leave the bottle standing
up for a day or two and let the sediment settle and fall to the bottom of the bottle so
when you open it and pour it slowly it won't churn into the rest of the bottle therefore making
it easier to keep it out of the decanter.

The 3rd reason for using a decanter is showmanship. it's fun, it looks
interesting, and it gives you a little something to explain to your guests
at the next dinner party when you break out the wine. Like velvet ropes and
a snack bar by your TV. Plus it shows off your personal taste (just like
those vintage movie posters) even if it is a glass mixing bowl that held
pancake batter 7 hours ago...

Check out our Radio Style podcast called Reel Pour where we pair wine and
movies together and talk about both. More information and previous shows can
be found at ReelPour.com or you can always find us on itunes.

Reel Pour: http://www.reelpour.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Reel-Pour/133676501593
Twitter: @ReelPour
May your Wine and your Movies, be moving, complex, sometimes sexy, and make
you smile relentlessly when they're done.


Facts on Ingredient Substitution By Jessica Pestka, eHow Contributor

Missing an ingredient for a recipe doesn't mean a ruined recipe or a trip to the grocery store. Many common ingredients can be substituted in a recipe without compromising the basic taste or composition of the final product. Knowing how to substitute ingredients can save time and frustration when cooking. Additionally, ingredients can be substituted to make a recipe healthier or replace an unwanted item.

Read more: Facts on Ingredient Substitution eHow.com http://www.ehow.com/facts_4706146_ingredient-substitution.html#ixzz1MAXldEjg


Going meatless once a week may reduce your risk of chronic
preventable conditions like cancer, cardiovascular disease,
diabetes and obesity. It can also help reduce your carbon
footprint and save precious resources like fresh water and
fossil fuel.
Click on the link picture to learn more about the
Meatless Monday movement and get recipes for you
and your family!

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Momma Cuisine Show

Watch Momma Cuisine's recipes come to life on the Momma Cuisine Show channel on You Tube.

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Contributing Columnist

Read articles and recipes contributed by Johanna.
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.

Things Parents And Grandparents Say That Can Cause Eating & Weight Problems
By Medical News Today

Parents can sometimes forget that they are raising adults, not children.
The goal is to equip kids with the skills and increasing responsibility for
managing their lives without constant vigilance, according to Michelle
May, M.D., author, board-certified family physician, and expert for TOPS
Club, Inc. (Take Off Pounds Sensibly), the nonprofit weight-loss support

One key life skill is the ability to navigate an abundant food environment
while maintaining optimal health. Here are seven things that well-meaning
parents commonly say that may have unintended consequences - and
what to say instead:

1. You are such a good eater! - Children want nothing more than to
please their parents. While mealtime should be a pleasant time to connect
with your children, eating should remain intrinsically driven to meet your
child's fuel needs, NOT to earn your praise.

What you could say instead: You must have been really hungry today!
Or, I love spending time with you while we have dinner.

2. You are such a picky eater! - All children (and adults) have some
foods that they just don't like. Some children are highly taste and/or texture
sensitive, but most will outgrow it. Picky eating becomes an entrenched
behavior when we berate, beg, bribe - or worse, feed kids only what
they say they'll eat.

What you could say instead: I know you didn't like it last time; tell me what
you think about it today after you have one polite bite. Or, Did you know
your taste buds grow up just like you do? I wonder if you like this big kid food

3. Clean your plate; there are starving children in . - Avoid teaching
children scarcity eating behaviors in our plentiful food environment.

What you could say instead: It's important to not be wasteful, so please
only take as much as you think you need. Or, If you're full, we can save
the rest for later.

4. You have to eat all your vegetables or there will be no dessert.
Kids are smart. When you bribe them for eating certain foods, they quickly
realize that those foods must be yucky and that dessert is the reward.
They also learn to hold out until a reward is offered.

What you could say instead: I love all kinds of different foods - some that
make me healthy and strong and some that are just for fun. What kinds of
foods do you like? Or, Enjoy your dinner. We'll be having dessert in a
couple hours.

5. Eat all your dinner or you don't get dessert. - This variation on the
threat above translates to "you must overeat and I will reward you by giving
you more to eat!" Children naturally love sweet foods, so they can learn to
override their fullness signals. As an adult, they might be temped to
order a 1,200-calorie salad to "earn" a 1,200-calorie piece of cheesecake.

What you could say instead: Save room for dessert tonight!

6. I was so bad at lunch today! Now I have to spend an extra hour
on the treadmill. Children are born to move. They naturally love exploring
their environment, challenging themselves, and playing actively. Unfortunately,
the messages they get from adults teach them that exercise is
punishment for eating.

What you could say instead: I ate more than I needed and now I feel too
full and uncomfortable. I think a walk would make me feel better. Want to
join me? Or, anybody up for a bike ride?

7. I am so gross and fat! Or, I can't believe has let herself go!
- Kids learn from us even when we think they aren't listening. Statements like
this teach kids that it's okay to put yourself and others down and judge people
for their weight or other physical attributes. Perhaps they also secretly wonder
what you really think about them.

What you could say instead: I'm not perfect, but I do my best to make
healthy choices.

And whatever else you say, remember to say often...
I love you just the way you are.

TOPS Club Inc. (Take Off Pounds Sensibly)

By Blissfully Domestic

Feeding kids healthy food was so simple when it only came pureed in tiny jars, wasn’t it? But from the time kids graduate to table food until the day they graduate from high school, it feels like it’s you against the world when it comes to their nutrition. Why? Because it is.

Family travel
5 Five beaches to enjoy
The Dallas Morning News
Read more:

By Sophistated Pie via Meatless Monday
Nutrition Information
•Servings per Recipe: 10
•Amount per Serving
•Calories: 137
•Calories from Fat: 33
•Total Fat: 3.7g
•Saturated Fat: 1.6g
•Cholesterol: 47mg
•Sodium: 231mg
•Potassium: 279mg
•Total Carbohydrates: 19.1g
•Dietary Fiber: 1.5g
•Protein: 7.3g
• Sugars: 7.1g

8 Tips to Throw a
Wedding Reception

By Organic Authority

Make your wedding
reception an event
that not only celebrates
your loved one and
yourself, but also the
food, the land and the
guests you are
bringing to the table.
Gone are the days of
stuffy hotel wedding
receptions with generic
“American” fare—sure,
we all love a good steak
and potatoes, but the
modern wedding is giving
its food a bit more
attention thesedays.

The farm-to-table movement,
which hit restaurants years
ago, has now made its way
into weddings. Brides and
grooms are ditching the
hotels and heading to the
countryside; they’re
kicking off their shoes in
the fields, working with
the farmers to make
a seasonal, local feast
and giving their guests an
experience almost as
memorable as it will be for
themselves. Here are 8
essential tips for making
your own wedding
reception a farm-to-table



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Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Foods to Satisfy and to Heal

As a self-proclaimed Foodie and cooking enthusiast, I have always been amazed by how people gather together over food. However, over the years, I have become even more intrigued with how food can heal or destroy the human body and soul.

Food, which is celebrated through bountiful harvests and the best restaurant reviews it town, can also become someone's arch nemesis. Weight gain, diabetes, heart disease and many more diseases have food to thank as part of the reason so many have the disease.

My first client for the Momma Cuisine - Prepared Meals Services has asked for me to help make dinners for her family as well as to keep her on a strict "diet" of low to no carbs, low fat, but high in taste, simple enough for her kids and easy to heat and eat. Now that's a request! But, isn't this what we are all looking for?

Also, my husband had a freak accident playing basketball and is now required to undergo major knee surgery. The whole idea of letting food heal your body instead of destroying it, became an even bigger and more personal task. In researching this, I hope to help my family and my clients by making them foods that are tasty and choosing ingredients and cooking techniques that will keep them healthy.

Green Vegetables, beans, tofu, sesame seeds, and even oranges contain lots of usable calcium, without the problems associated with dairy. Keep in mind that you retain the calcium better and just do not need as much when you don't consume a diet heavy in animal products and sodium, sugar, and caffeine.

The key to eating healthy is quite simple. Get away from processed foods, and concentrate on eating more fruits and vegetables. Sounds simple enough, right? Well, with giant M's at every street corner, and an extremely fast-paced lifestyle, it is very easy to succumb to the temptation.

Here are some ideas of great foods that also heal:

Tangerines - Prevent heart disease, Reduce the risk of cancer

Raisins - Improve digestion, Lower blood pressure, Keep blood healthy

- Aid in digestion, Prevent heart disease and cancer

Nuts - Protect against Heart disease, Lower Cholesterol, Prevent Cancer

Garlic - Prevent heart disease and stroke, Reduce the risk of stomach and colon cancers, Lower cholesterol

- Improve insulin sensitivity, Lower cholesterol and blood sugar, Reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer

Spices - Protect against cataracts, Prevent cancer, Lower cholesterol, Prevent blood clotting

Hot Tea - Control cholesterol, Prevent stroke and heart disease, Reduce tooth decay, Prevent intestinal cancer

Corn - Lower cholesterol, Boost energy levels

Cherries - Natural pain killer, Reduces inflamation, may help you sleep

Happy Eating (and cooking)!


Foods That Heal: http://www.foodsthatheal.blogspot.com

Disease Proof: http://www.diseaseproof.com/archives/healthy-food-the-best-foods-for-bones-fruits-and-vegetables.html