Pasta Cordon Bleu It's a Keeper

Pasta Cordon Bleu

Pasta Cordon Bleu It's a Keeper

I hope everyone had a happy Easter!  One of the things I love about holidays is leftovers!  I have my favorite go-to recipes that are great for leftovers, but I’m always on the look out for new things to try.  I found this recipe for Pasta Cordon Bleu on Pinterest and thought it would be a good way to use up leftover Easter ham.  It seemed to be a fun take on Chicken Cordon Bleu only in a casserole! 

It's a Keeper Pomegranate Martini

Pomegranate Martinis

It’s not often that I get a chance to relax with a mouth watering cocktail. But, when I do, my drink of choice is a Pomegranate Martini! I discovered this yummy concoction a few months ago while at a conference in Los Angeles. And, ever since, I’ve been searching for the perfect recipe to make these bad boys at home.

But, before I get to the recipe, let me tell you a little about my trip to LA! I had the AMAZING opportunity to visit the set of The Office — you know, the quirky NBC sitcom?! The fictional company, Dunder Mifflin, is set in Scranton, PA and that’s where I’m from! So, it was an awesome experience to visit the set and meet some of the actors! And, my friends and I even had an unbelievable opportunity to be extras in one of the scenes! We even had to visit the wardrobe trailer because we “weren’t Scranton enough”! How funny is that?!? Ultimately, our appearance was cut from the episode, but I’ll get to keep the experience forever! It was truly awesome! Here are some photos from my trip…

Ina Garten's Spicy Turkey Meatballs

Spicy Turkey Meatballs

OK folks, I know I’ve been a way for quite some time.   Over the last few months, we had a lot going on in the H. household!  We *FINALLY* moved into our new home (with my awesome new kitchen)!  I’ll be sure to post some new photos — as soon as I finish unpacking all of the boxes!  Between the packing, moving and the holidays it’s been a zoo around here.  For the past 2 months or so we’ve been eating out almost every night.  And, not only is that expensive, but it gets old…really quick!  I missed my stove.  I would actually lay in bed at night thinking about all of the dishes I wanted to cook when my kitchen was ready.

One thing I noticed as I unpacked my pantry items was that I had waaaay too much pasta!  So, that meant spaghetti and meatballs!  And, I knew right where to look to find a new recipe to try….Ina Garten’s (the Barefoot Contessa) newest cookbook, How Easy is That?  I had that amazing opportunity to meet Ina in person at a book signing (you can read about it here)!  I absolutely adore her!  What I wouldn’t give to watch a living taping of her show!  This recipe is the first recipe I’m testing from her newest book!

Weight Watchers Pork Tenderloin

Seasoned Pork Tenderloin: A Super Fast Supper

Everywhere I go, I find myself in conversations about food.  I also find myself scribbling down recipes on scraps of paper, backs of envelopes or, even napkins.  I can’t help myself.  I think I have an addiction.

This recipe is from one of those instances.  I was at church and, as usual, engrossed in a conversation about food.  We were going back and forth about our go-to recipes.  You know, the ones that you end up making about once a week!  My friend was telling me about a great pork tenderloin recipe that was super simple and packed with flavor.   That sure got my attention! 

Homemade Mac & cheese it's a keeper

My Favorite Mac & Cheese

There is nothing more perfect (in my 5 year old’s opinion) than macaroni and cheese.  He would eat it with everything meal — including breakfast if I let him!  It goes with everything — chicken, beef, fish, pancakes (he actually tried to convince me of that once!).

While my son loves mac and cheese from a box, he loves my homemade version even more.  Making homemade mac & cheese is not as daunting of a task as you might think.  It’s really quite simple.   And, this recipe tastes sooo much better than the stuff from a box.  Trust me on this.  Years ago I found a recipe in the Ultimate Southern Living Cookbook that seemed to work perfectly for me.  I’ve since adapted the recipe a bit to suit our tastes, and now it’s just right!

Chicken with Roasted Red Pepper-Garlic Sauce

Chicken with Roasted Red Pepper-Garlic Sauce

Raise your hand if you LOVE garlic! Me! Me! Me! That must be what initially drew me to this recipe. Just look at the first ingredient….20 cloves of garlic. It’s a good thing my husband and son really love garlic too, considering how much we go through in this house. I love garlic in any way, shape or form. I’m curious though…I’ve never had black garlic. I’m wondering what it’s like, but the grocery stores in my area don’t carry it. Have any of you tried black garlic?

Burger with caramelized onions

Burgers with Caramelized Onions

Don’t tell my husband, but I’m having a love affair.  I’m obsessed.  I just can’t seem to get enough…..of onions!  Yes.  Onions.  It’s nothing that sordid, but oh, so wonderful, nonetheless!

I seriously, can’t seem to get enough.  I like them roasted, sauteed, grilled, raw.  Basically, any way imaginable.  So, it only makes sense that when I watched The Pioneer Woman a few weeks ago on Food Network, my mouth started watering when she made her sliders with caramelized onions!  I mean, c’mon!  A big pan full of golden-brown strands, glistening from the butter…all tender and silky.  I can almost taste them!  There was only one thing left to do…slap a pan on the stove and melt some butter…honey, we’re gonna caramelize some onions!

Peach Cake 1 It's a Keeper

Summer Peach Cake

The other night, my mother called and asked if she could come over…with dessert!  Uh, duh!  She had found a recipe in the newspaper for a fresh peach cake and, since her peach tree has produced a lot of fresh peaches she thought she would give it a whirl!

Our local newspaper, The Scranton Times Tribune, has a weekly feature where they select two recipes to showcase in Wednesday’s edition.  About a year ago, I was lucky enough to be selected and have my recipe for Braciole featured!  It was quite exciting — my 15 seconds of “fame”! So, I was excited to try a recipe from another local cook! The recipe below is from Marilyn Altomare.

Wegman's Grilled Orzo Salad

Grilled Orzo Salad

A few years ago I went to a cooking class at my local Wegman’s supermarket.  It was a great class on grilling.  I learned a log of great tips and techniques.  One of the recipes they made that night was a Grilled Orzo Salad.  I must have liked the recipe, because I found it buried deep in my recipe stash. 

Grilled Salad with Strawberry Balsamic Reduction

Grilled Salad with Strawberry Balsamic Reduction

During the hot, sticky summer months, I’m always on the lookout for new salad ideas. Maybe it’s because I’m not in the mood for heavy dishes. Or, maybe it’s because my garden is always so plentiful during the dog-days of summer. Whatever the reason, my recipe pile is full of contenders — everything from slaws, pasta salads and mayo-based concoctions to plates full of leafy goodness.

Broccoli Coleslaw

Broccoli Coleslaw

My family loves broccoli slaw! This is one of those recipes that I’m always asked to make. And, I really don’t mind at all! I came up with this idea after visiting with some family. My cousin brought a broccoli slaw made at a local deli and it was fantastic! So, I took my regular coleslaw recipe and swapped out the cabbage for broccoli and….viola! Broccoli slaw!

S'mores Bars

S’mores Bars

One of my favorite parts of summer is sitting by a roaring fire outside as the sun sets and disappears behind the mountains.  Maybe it’s the peepers and crickets chirping…or the cozy feeling of the warm fire and soft blanket around my shoulders.  Maybe it’s the conversation and storytelling?  Or, maybe….it’s the marshmallows! 

Beach Cup Cakes

Beach Inspired Cupcakes

Last week, my son’s preschool had a beach themed party to celebrate the end of the school year.   I wanted to bring something cute and fun for the kids to enjoy.  So, I came up with these uber cute beach-inspired cupcakes! Aren’t they adorable?  And, they were so easy to make!

Chocolate Covered Strawberry Pie

Chocolate Covered Strawberry Pie

A few weeks ago, Mrs. Happy Homemaker linked up this delightful recipe. The minute I saw it, I had to give it a try. I literally dropped everything, threw my son in the car (well not really threw, but quickly ushered him) and headed to the grocery store to pick up the ingredients I didn’t already have.

Once I got home I was able to whip this pie up in no time flat! And, it’s a good thing. Because I had a peanut gallery that was drooling over my shoulder!

Girl Scout Samoa Cookies

Samoa Cookie Bars

A few weeks ago, I featured this recipe a homemade version of my FAVORITE Girl Scout cookies….Samoas! They looked so good that I just had to make them! I mean, what’s not to love? Chocolate? Coconut? Caramel? Shortbread? And, put it all together and you’ve got one super, duper yummy cookie! Every year, when the neighborhood girls camp out in front of the grocery store, I have to buy a box. And then…I hide it! I want them all to myself! And, I know it sounds silly, but I ration them. I want to extend the bliss as long as possible.

Roasted Roma Tomatoes

Roasted Roma Tomatoes

A few weeks ago, I featured Crock Pot Chicken Parm by The Rickett Chronicles on my weekly recipe and craft linky — It’s a Keeper Thursday.  Nestled inside her recipe for Chicken Parmesan, was another recipe for Roasted Roma Tomatoes.  My test of her Slow Cooker Chicken Parm recipe turned out pretty good! And, since I was already planning on roasting some green beans for Parmesan Roasted Green Beans (are you noticing a theme here?!?), I thought why not give the tomatoes a try too! 

Slow Cooker Chicken Parm

A few weeks ago, I featured Crock Pot Chicken Parm by The Rickett Chronicles on my weekly recipe and craft linky — It’s a Keeper Thursday. It looked so good, and I’m a sucker for a new slow cooker recipe!  I’m determined to build up a good stock of delicious recipes that use Big Red (my slow cooker).

Her recipe included a second recipe for Roasted Roma Tomatoes.  I just had to give that a try too!  I’ll be posting that recipe in a day or so — be sure to check back! Trust me…you won’t be sorry you did!

Roasted shrimp cocktail

Roasted Shrimp Cocktail

I thought it would be fun to host a cookbook review on It’s a Keeper (IAK).  Some of my readers and Facebook/Twitter followers who wanted to participate don’t have blogs of their own to share their recipes on, so I offered up a guest post on IAK to give all of my readers the opportunity to share their reviews.  This one is from my good friend, Jill.  She made this recipe (and two other Ina Garten recipes) for our weekly play date.  While the kids dined on mummy dogs and mac-n-cheese, we were treated with Roasted Shrimp Cocktail, Mâche with Warm Brie and Apples and Truffled Fillet of Beef Sandwiches.  Yum, right?!?  Jill’s recipe is below and my commentary is underneath.

Caramel Apple Dip

Caramel Apple Dip

Happy Easter!   Today was a whirl wind day!  We’ve been on the go since 9 am — enjoy not one, but TWO holiday dinners!  One at my parent’s house and one at my sister-in-law Cathy’s.  There were so many uber delicious things.  I love holidays!

One thing in particular that caught my eye (or should I say tickled my taste buds?) was this great caramel apple dip that Cathy made.  I’m going to apologize right now for the poor quality of the photos here….it’s the best that my cell phone could provide!

Pioneer Woman Chili

Simple, Perfect Chili

I read cookbooks like other people read romance novels — cover to cover, absorbing every delicious measurement and instruction as if it were the feud between Edward and Jacob (sorry, I had to throw in the Twilight reference).

As soon as I received my copy of The Pioneer Woman Cooks by Ree Drummond (thank you, Mr. UPS guy), it was no different.  As soon as my son was in bed, I settled down on the couch with a cup of tea to read my new book.  Bliss.

As I was reading through P-Dub’s (cute, huh?!) recipes, artfully intertwined with great stories of her transition from big-city girl to a pioneer woman who works a ranch, I came across her recipe for Simple, Perfect Chili.  Ding! Ding! Ding!  I just found my recipe for the cookbook review!

Roast Chicken with Carmelized Shallots

Roast Chicken with Carmelized Shallots

I’m always on the look out for good chicken recipes that I can whip up on a weeknight.  And, I’m always drawn to recipes that have sauces, or other components, that I can assemble the night before so I can cut down my pre-dinner prep time!  I found this recipe in “the pile”.  I must have printed it from a website or blog, but I don’t know where — for some reason, the site didn’t print.  Maybe I cut and pasted?  Oh well.

Balsamic Quinoa Salad

Balsamic Quinoa Salad

I’ve been hearing so much about quinoa lately but I have to admit I’ve never had it. That is, until now. Quinoa (pronounced “keen-wa”) is a seed-like whole grain that cooks just like rice. It was first eaten by Incan warriors as their fuel for battle because it gave them such good energy and power. Quinoa is not only high in protein but is also:

Chicken Canzanese

Chicken Canzanese

A few weeks ago, we had a (much needed) lazy Saturday.  No birthday parties to go to.  No errands to run.  Nothing to do but putter around the house and catch up on some DVRed TV shows.  I wound up watching one of my favorite public television shows — America’s Test Kitchen from Cook’s Illustrated.  This is one of my favorite cooking shows, made by the folks who bring me 2 of my favorite cooking magazines — Cook’s Illustrated and Cook’s Country.  I love their scientific approach to all things food!

The episode that caught my eye was for Chicken Canzanese (can-zan-ay-see) — a classic slow cooked comfort food. 

Roasted Provencal Vegetables

Roasted Vegetables – Provencal Style

One night, we had dinner at my Uncle Carmen’s house and he made THE BEST roasted vegetables.  I couldn’t get enough.  I had seconds…and then I had thirds!  They were THAT good! Uncle Carmen and I are both lovers of all things food.  We talk about recipes and cooking and techniques.  He’s a great cook and we are always swapping recipes.   So, I managed to get his recipe for these heavenly roasted vegetables provencal style  and now I’m going to share it with you!

Buffalo Shrimp

Buffalo Shrimp

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of TABASCO® Original Red. All opinions are 100% mine.

Tonight, we decided we would try to make some of the dishes from one of our favorite restaurants.  First up was Buffalo Shrimp.  Basically, it’s breaded shrimp with a nice coating of hot wing sauce.  The sauce I made used a base of TABASCO® Original Red.  We love using the stuff on pizza, eggs and I like a few dashes on my mac and cheese.  YUM!  It doesn’t just add heat to a dish, it unlocks the flavor.

King Ranch Chicken Casserole

King Ranch Chicken Casserole

For months now (maybe even years), I’ve come across recipes for King Ranch Chicken Casserole in various magazines, cookbooks, websites, and blogs.  I even saved a few in my pile to make a later time.  But, for some reason, I’ve never made it.  I don’t know why.

I decided it was time to try this recipe.  I was in the mood for a casserole — there’s something about casseroles and comfort food — so I thought, “what the heck?!”

Is It a Keeper?

Why, oh why, did I wait so long to make this recipe?  Everyone loved it!  It was creamy and cheesy with just a little hint of heat.  Mmmmm!  I really loved the flavor that the corn tortillas added.  There was even a debate about who got to take the leftovers for lunch the next day!

Risotto with Sausage and peppers

Creamy Risotto with Sausage & Peppers

The other day, I had some Italian sausage and leftover bell peppers in my fridge that I wanted to use up.  I knew I didn’t want pasta, but I wasn’t sure what I wanted.  Then, as I was standing in front of my pantry closet and staring blankly into it, it hit me.  Risotto!

Yes, risotto with sausage and peppers is what I was craving.  There’s just something about the creamy, rich, delicious-ness of risotto paired with zesty sausage and crisp, sweet peppers.  Is your mouth watering yet? Mine is. 

Chicken with Wild Rice Soup

Creamy Chicken and Wild Rice Soup

I don’t know about you, but here in northeastern PA, it’s downright FRIGID! With the temperatures dipping down into the teens (yes, that’s the HIGH temperature!), it seems to be the perfect time to try out some soup recipes.  I sifted through the pile and came up this recipe. 

Beef Bourguignon

Beef Bourguignon

Or, boeuf bourguignonne (said in my best Julia Child voice).  For those of you that have read my “About” page, you know that I started this blog after watching the movie Julie and Julia.  Except, instead of cooking my way through a cookbook, I’m cooking my way through my (ever growing) pile of collected recipes.  So, I thought it was only appropriate to make this recipe for my one-year-of-blogging milestone.

I read the recipe over and over.  It’s quite long and involved so I wanted to make sure that, A.) I had all of the ingredients and tools that I needed to make the dish and B.) I had an idea about what I was getting myself into.

Pork Chops in Creamy Shallot Sauce

Pork Chops in Creamy Shallot Sauce

Next to Ina Garten and Martha Stewart, Robin Miller (Quick Fix Meals with Robin Miller on the Food Network) is one of my favorite TV chefs.  I love the practicality of her “cook once, eat twice” and pre-fix meal philosophies.  If you work full time, you know how hard it is to rush home, pick up the kid(s) and get dinner on the table before the natives go ape-crazy!

I’ve found Robin’s concepts essential when preparing home cooked meals for my family after a long day at work.  I usually do a lot of my dinner prep work for the week on Sundays.  I find that if I invest 1-2 hours getting everything prepared and organized, I can get great dinners (like this Pork Chop recipe) on the table in no time flat! 

Apple Cake

Apple Cake

I found this recipe in the pile, scrawled on the back of a greeting card envelope!  Thinking back, I believe it was one of my mother’s recipes and I think she got it from her neighbor, years and years ago. I was looking to make some thing homey and I had a few apples that I wanted to use up so this was a perfect candidate!

It's a Keeper Recipes

Roasted Cinnamon Pear Bruschetta

When I came across this recipe in my in-box, I don’t know what I liked better — the “cinnamon pear” part or the “bruschetta” part!  Put both of those things together and it sounded like bliss!   The recipe came from The Pioneer Woman blog — if you’ve never checked it out, I highly recommend it!  She does a great job — great recipes (like this one!), great photos, just plain awesome! Oh, and check out her photo for this recipe…I had a camera mishap and don’t have a photo for this recipe. 

Honey and Spice-Glazed Pork Chops

We all have them.  You know…those days when you’ve got a million things going on, you’re running late and you haven’t even thought about what to have for dinner.

Well, that was my day.  So, it only makes sense to test out a new recipe…right?  Riiiiiight!

Call me crazy.   But I like to think of it as a testament to my dedication to It’s A Keeper! Originally, I think this recipe came from an old issue of Cooking Light magazine. 

Meeting Ina Garten!

Today, I had the pleasure of meeting the one…the only…Ina Garten!  You may know her as the Barefoot Contessa from her popular Food Network show.  Ina was on the last leg of her new book tour and we (my mom and I, because I always drag her with me to these things!) drove out to the Short Hills Mall in NJ to get our How Easy is That? cookbooks signed.

Savory Onion Chicken

My family loves chicken!  S0, I’m always on the look-out for quick and easy chicken recipes — something that can be whipped up after a long day at work and not wear me out so that I’m too tired to fold the three loads of laundry that are awaiting my attention.

I found this recipe in “the pile” and it looked promising.  It came from a Taste of Home email that I received. 

Uncle Carmen’s Sicilan Cauliflower

I have to admit it…I’m not a huge cauliflower fan.  Neither is my husband.  I don’t know if it’s the color, the texture, or the fact that for one of my 5th grade science projects, I used a head of cauliflower to represent a brain. Whatever it is, I’m just not a fan.

However, if you put my Uncle Carmen’s Sicilian Cauliflower on the table, you can consider it devoured!   In fact, whenever Uncle Carmen makes this dish for a family dinner, he usually has to double the recipe!  It’s gobbled up that quickly!

French Toast Cupcakes with Maple Frosting

Breakfast as a cupcake?  Sounds heavenly!  My good friend, Lisa, gave me this recipe and it sounded divine.  What’s not to love about French toast and maple syrup…and even a little bacon?!?!

I know what you’re thinking though — I thought the same thing too.  I have to admit, I was a little skeptical about the whole bacon as garnish thing, but I decided to take one for the team and give it a try – just as the recipe described.

Apple Bundles

While I enjoy the long, lazy summer days, it’s the cool, crisp days of fall that I really crave!  I wait all year long to enjoy the few short weeks, where the mountains are covered in orange, yellow and red patches and the days are cool and sunny.  You know…when you need to wear a sweatshirt but you can still get a sun burn!

This was the perfect autumn weekend!  Bright sun, colorful leaves, two whole days with nothing to do but visit the pumpkin patch and the apple orchard!  Bliss!

This weather always inspires me to cook and bake!  And, since we had just left the Ritter’s Cider Mill with all of our favorite finds (buckets of Jona Gold, Macoun and Gala apples, apple cider donuts and, of course, apple cider), I wanted to find some new apple recipes.

Mashed apples used to make apple cider

Pressing the mashed apples to make cider

I’m Gonna Be in a Cookbook!

Soooo….I’m going to take a second to toot my own horn.  I just found out this afternoon that my recipe for Braciole is going to be published in the “Local Flavor: Recipes We Love” cookbook!

Back in April, my recipe was published in the Scranton Times-TribuneLocal Flavor” feature.  It was such an exciting experience.

So, when I saw this ad in the Times-Tribune, I contacted Josh (the reporter who wrote the article) and that’s when I found my recipe would be one of the recipes included in the book!

Chicken Cobbler Casserole

The other day, I was looking through “the pile” for casserole recipes and I came across this little gem!  I think it originally came a Southern Living magazine.

You know, I was born and raised in northeastern Pennsylvania, but I’ve always thought that (deep down) that I was born on the wrong side of the Mason Dixon Line!  I love all things southern — the food, the hospitality.  I love it all.  And, I live vicariously through my Southern Living magazines!

OK, back the casserole…I pulled this recipe out with a few others (like Chicken Cannelloni with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce — which, if you haven’t already tried it, you MUST!) to try on a brisk fall day. 

Chicken Cannelloni with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce

So the weather’s getting cooler here in northeastern Pennsylvania and that means it’s time for things like football, the cider mill and warm comforting casseroles!  I sifted through “the pile” and came up with a couple of contenders for dinner tonight — Chicken Cobbler Casserole and Chicken Cannelloni with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce.

I decided to go with the cannelloni tonight, but, rest assured, the Chicken Cobbler will be tried and tested by my fearless taste-testers very soon!

Parmesan Roasted Green Beans

This year, my garden produced a TON of green beans!  There is nothing like fresh beans picked from the vine.  They’re perfect!  With so many on hand, I began searching for new green bean recipes.  That’s when I stumbled upon this great recipe for Parmesan Roasted Green Beans on a great blog I found —  Cooking Tip of the Day.

Easy Rustic Garlic Bread

I love garlic bread.  Actually, I love most anything that’s made with garlic!  What I don’t love, though, is garlic bread that is dripping in butter.  Ick.

This weekend, we were having Chicken Parmigiana and I wanted garlic bread.  I sifted through “the pile” and came up with this recipe — it only called for 1 tablespoon of olive oil.  Not too shabby!  So I gave it a try. 

Banana Galette

The other night, it was just my son and I, since Daddy was working.  We both wanted a special treat so I searched through my “pile” to find a recipe that my 4 year old could help make.

These Banana Galettes, a recipe from Everyday Food magazine, looked easy enough (and tasty enough), plus there were plenty of tasks my little sous chef could handle! But, I have to say, I had no idea what a “galette” was…and, truth be told, I still don’t really know!

Cinnamon Biscuit Peach Cobbler

I was at my local Farmer’s Market the other day and the peaches looked (and smelled) fantastic!  They inspired me to dig in my “pile” for a recipe that would make these babies shine!

The contender…Cinnamon Biscuit Peach Cobbler!  Now, doesn’t that sound heavenly?!?!  The recipe came from Taste of Home magazine.

And, since today is the last day of National Peach Month, I thought it was appropriate to post this today!

Bread and Butter Pickles

For those of you that have been following my blog, you know that I’ve been dying to learn how to can!  A few weeks ago I sent out a plea for a little old lady to teach me!  I have to say, I was shocked (and touched) at how many people offered up their grandmas and aunts to me!

Well, I never did complete a canning apprenticeship with a little old lady.  But, this past weekend, my mother and I decided we were going to take the bull by the horns and teach ourselves! 

Chicken Orzo Salad with Goat Cheese

I’m always on the lookout for dishes that I can pre-make for my work lunches.  So when this recipe popped up in my inbox I thought I would give it a try. 

Open faced chicken caprese sandwich

Open Faced Chicken Caprese Sandwiches

My husband works a swing shift as a crime fighter so some nights, it’s just Joey (my 4 year old) and I for dinner.  Tonight was one of those nights.

My Mom’s 3 Bean Salad

Tonight, we had dinner at my grandparent’s house.  God love them….they’re 92 and still entertaining!  My grandmother made my favorite stuffed pork chops (with the stuffing on top so it gets all crispy and yummy!) and my mother brought a 3 bean salad.  It’s a new recipe that she tried.

Antipasta Platter

Antipasta Platter

My cousin, Donna, bring this great antipasta platter to all of our family get-togethers.  It’s one of my favorite appetizers ever! 

Molten Chocolate Cakes

Molten Chocolate Cakes

Recently, I asked you guys what you wanted me to make next.  Amy commented that she wanted a decadent dessert.  And, to me, nothing says decadence like CHOCOLATE!  When I flipped through my pile of recipes, I came across several different recipes for Molten Chocolate Cakes.  After reading through them all, I settled on one from Everyday Food magazine.

Molten Chocolate Cakes

Is it a Keeper?

These were really good!  Very rich, but very good!  Make sure you watch the baking time carefully.  I think I over baked mine.  Next time, I think I’ll start checking them at the 10 minute mark.

I also liked these cakes with raspberries.  I think it went very well together.  The only thing that was missing was a cup of coffee!  I think the coffee would have really intensified the chocolateliness!

These are easy to make and would make an elegant dessert for a dinner party or a special family treat!  Definitely a keeper!

Watch me make them on WNEP’s Home and Backyard:

Cinnamon Chip Scones

Cinnamon Chip Scones

I love cinnamon.  And, any recipe that starts with the word “cinnamon” grabs my attention.  I’ve been looking for a good scone recipe.  One that wasn’t too dry or too complicated to make.  When I came across this recipe, it seemed just right. 

Super Berry Smoothie

This afternoon, I had lunch at Panera Bread with my good friend, Lisa.  I don’t know why, but smoothies have become my new addiction.  I think part of it is due to the warmer weather, but I just seem to be craving berries.  I ordered a smoothie and was slightly appalled that it was $3.99.  Seriously?  $3.99?

When I came home, I scoured my (100+) cookbooks and the internet to find a suitable recipe.  Here’s what I came up with:

Shrimp with Orzo and Peas

I found this recipe (well sort of!) in my new 29 Minutes to Dinner cookbook from the Pampered Chef.  The original recipe was a little different.  I immediately swapped out ingredients I wasn’t crazy about (clam juice) and I knew my family would not eat (mint).

Tonight was t-ball practice so I measured out all of the ingredients before leaving the house.  This way when I came home, everything was ready to go for a quick dinner.

Copycat Ruth's Chris Vanilla Cream with Berries

Copycat Ruth’s Chris Sweet Vanilla Cream with Berries

A few weeks ago, I had a wonderful birthday dinner at Ruth’s Chris Steak House.  The food was absolutely to-die-for!  I remember feeling a little bit sad when I took my last bite of filet mignon.  It was heavenly!  Just when I thought I couldn’t eat another bite, the waiter brought our dessert.  It was a small dish of vanilla cream with fresh berries on top.

Oh…my…god!  Words cannot describe how good that stuff was!  I knew I had to figure out to make this for myself! 

My inspiration

Tonight, my mother and I went to see Julie Powell, author of the book Julie & Julia and featured guest for the Lackawanna County Library Lecture Series.

I was eager to meet the woman who inspired this blog. I didn’t know what to expect.  I’ve never been to anything like this before.

Roast Chicken with Balsamic Bell Peppers

Photo by Jim Hitchcock

I found this recipe in one of the many cooking e-newsletters that I receive.  It sounded and looked great so I thought I would give it a try. 

Cherry Jubilee Cheesecake Squares

My sister-in-law, Cathy, make this dessert for Easter dinner.  She found the recipe on the back of a cake mix box.  While I didn’t make the recipe, per se.  I was an active taste-tester! And, that’s what this blog is about.

Raspberry French Toast Bake

I’m always looking for new recipes to make breakfast more special.  When I came across this recipe, it looked divine!  I couldn’t wait to try it!  So, I assembled everything and took it over to my parent’s house for Sunday brunch.

Southwest Salad

My favorite salad of all time is the Cobb Salad at Brixx Grille and Tavern in Scranton!  The other night for dinner, I was craving this salad but couldn’t run out and pick one up.  Fortunately, I had most of the ingredients on hand so I tried to re-create it at home. 

Kung Pao Chicken

I absolutely love Chinese food!  But everytime I tried to make it at home, the results were mediocre at best.  In my previous attempts, I would use chicken, various vegetables and bottled stir fry sauces.  Not impressed.  Not even a little.  When I found this recipe for Kung Pao Chicken I thought I would give it one more try. 

Cinnamon-Pecan Muffins

I am always looking for great muffin and quick bread recipes.  So, when I came across this recipe for Cinnamon-Pecan muffins, I had to give it a try!  At first glance, it seemed easy enough — common ingredients that are already in my pantry, simple instructions and, most importantly, cinnamon!  I love cinnamon anything! 

Pork Chops Oreganata

Who says that just because you’re working late, you have to order out?  Or, have leftovers for dinner?  I knew I was going to be working late, so I needed to find a recipe that 1.) had a few elements that I could make in advance and, 2.) did not take long to get on the table.   That’s where Pork Chops Oreganata comes in.

Penne Gorgonzola with Chicken

Photo by my husband!

After a stressful day at work, the mere thought of having to cook dinner is exhausting.  It’s nights like these that I like to have a few simple dinner ideas up my sleeve.  You know…the ones that you can usually pull together from basic ingredients in your pantry and the ones that don’t make a kitchen full of dirty dishes.

Crunchy Onion Bourbon Burger

crunchy onion bourbon burger on a white plate.Thursday night is play group  night.  For the past three years, my two friends and I have been meeting on Thursdays so that our sons (all born in February 2006) could get together to play.  These nights are usually very informal — pizza, subs, no stress, no fuss.