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. 

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.

Asian Salad

Asian Salad

A few weeks ago, I had a great lunch at the Glen Oak Country Club.  They served this amazing Asian Salad that was absolutely to die for!  Oh, and the little peanut butter bites weren’t too bad either!  During lunch, I found a scrap of paper in my purse and quickly jotted down the ingredients I could identify in the salad (and the peanut butter bites).

I had to find a way to recreate this dish!  I couldn’t stop talking about this salad all afternoon.  I was obsessed.  A friend of mine, Alicia, said she had a recipe that was pretty similar to Glen Oaks.  So here we go…taste-testing Alicia’s recipe.

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

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.

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!

Chicken Cacciatore

My son loves Chicken Catch-en-torry!  And, I love to make it.  This is one of those recipes that tastes like it simmered all day, when in reality, it’s done in about 3o minutes!

I love the sweetness of the tomatoes and the tenderness of the chicken.  And, you definitely need some good garlic bread to sop up the extra sauce!

This is one of my family’s favorite dinners!  I hope that it becomes one of your family’s favorites too!

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

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:

Grilled Garlic Corn on the Cob

I just got home from my friend Jill’s house tonight and, not only did we have great conversation but she had the BEST corn on the cob that I’ve ever had!

They say that a great hostess makes her guests feel right at home and gives the impression that nothing is too much trouble for her guests.  This is Jill.

It was a simple cookout.  The kids swimming in the pool.  Hot dogs and hamburgers on the grill.  Big wedges of watermelon on the table.   And, corn on the cob.   A perfect, warm June evening. 

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. 

Creamy Coleslaw and Remembering Bingham’s

Coleslaw is one of those foods that I either love or hate.  If it’s made well (translation: to my particular liking), I can’t enough of the stuff.   I think the best coleslaw I have ever tasted was at Bingham’s Family Restaurant in Lenox, PA.  It was perfectly creamy with a hint of sweetness and a little kick.  Of course, I’m not surprised that their coleslaw was fabulous.  Everything I’ve ever ordered from Bingham’s was wonderful.

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:

Birdseed Biscuits

I was looking for a fun project that Joey and I could make for his grandmothers and great-grandmother for Mother’s Day.  I came across this recipe for Birdseed Biscuits in Family Fun Magazine. Since our families love our feathered friends, I thought this would be the perfect hand-made gift!

And, since we had to mix the “biscuits” and bake them, I thought I would share our experience on my blog!

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! 

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.

Three Cheese Garden Pizza

My sister recently became a Pampered Chef consultant and wanted to try out some of the new recipes she will have to make at the parties she’s having.

This afternoon, she unexpectedly brought me a slice of her Three Cheese Garden Pizza ala Dina! 

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. 

Homemade Takeout: 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. 

Chicken Stew with Balsamic Roasted Vegetables

Photo taken by my husband!

For this week’s taste test, I pulled out a recipe that I’ve been dying to try for some time — Chicken Stew with Balsamic Roasted Vegetables.  I came across this recipe in a Taste of Home magazine (October/November 2009) and it found its way into “my pile”!  It appeared that this recipe would take a bit of time to make since I had to roast the vegetables before making the stew.  My plan was to have this as a weeknight dinner so I did a little prep work on Sunday afternoon.