Bulgogi korean stir fry it's a keeper

Bulgogi: Korean Stir Fry

My new friend, Joohye “Rachel” Jung, has been telling me all about her native Korean culture.  It was fascinating to learn about her family, traditions and cuisine.   Of course, one of the first things I asked is what is the one dish that epitomizes the Korean culture?  Her answer was Bulgogi (pronounced BULL-GO-GEE) — a popular Korean Barbeque Beef recipe.

One afternoon, I pulled into my driveway after being out all day.  I noticed a bag on my front porch.  When I opened it, there was a bowl filled with marinating meat and vegetables.  Rachel had left me a Bulgogi care package for dinner!  All I needed to do was cook it.  Her instructions were simple — pan-fry the Bulgogi and serve it over rice.   I could do that!

Strawberry Trifle It's a Keeper

Strawberry Trifle

I love trifles.  It’s probably because I’m the world’s worst cake cutter and server.  Or, maybe it’s all of the pretty layers. My mom made this amazing strawberry trifle for my sister’s Memorial Day party. And, since I’m on a strawberry kick this week, I thought I would share her recipe with you.

There is just something about a dessert that isn’t fussy.  Trifles are the antithesis (good word, huh?!) of fussy.  You can’t really mess up when you make them.  And, you definitely can’t mess them up when serving them.  That’s my kind of dessert. 

Tomato and Asparagus Salad It's a Keeper

Fresh Tomato and Asparagus Salad

There is nothing like the taste of fresh asparagus to signify that spring is here.  As one of the first harvests of spring, there’s a small window of time when asparagus is at its finest. This tomato and asparagus salad, topped with a tangy balsamic vinaigrette is the perfect way to welcome warmer weather.

This crisp, light salad showcases all that tender asparagus has to offer.  It’s almost like you can taste spring-time in every bite.   It’s truly a beautiful salad.  The red, juicy tomatoes contrasted with the bright green asparagus and ribbons of fresh basil.  The whole thing glistening from the vinaigrette.   It’s a sight, I tell you.

10 Minute Easy Chocolate Cake It's a Keeper

Easy Chocolate Cake in 10 Minutes

Yes, you read that right.  Chocolate cake in 10 minutes.  Really!  This easy chocolate cake recipe completely impressed me the first time I made it.  I was blown away at how quick and easy it was to make and how good it was to eat!

10 Minute Easy Chocolate Cake It's a Keeper10 Minute Easy Chocolate Cake It's a Keeper

I discovered this recipe by accident.  I was having some guests over and realized that I completely forgot to plan a dessert.  Duh!  I found a few recipes online for mug cakes and took my favorite parts of each one to come up with this recipe.  As my friends started arriving, I was whipping this easy chocolate cake together.  It was ready in no time! 

Easy Cheesy Orzo It's a Keeper

Easy Cheesy Orzo

One of my favorite go-to side dish recipes is this Parmesan Orzo.  I love it because it’s super simple to make and it tastes so good.   The last time I made this recipe, I had some left over Velveeta cheese in the fridge.  I swapped out the Parmesan for the Velveeta.

The result?  A creamy, cheesy, deeeelicious side dish!  The fam was crazy about it.  It reminded them of my homemade mac and cheese.

I think this would be perfect pair with my meatloaf or Crispy Oven Fried Chicken!

What’s your favorite go-to side dish?

 

Italian Roasted Shrimp easy shrimp recipe It's a Keeper

Roasted Italian Shrimp

It’s no secret that one of my favorite cooking techniques is roasting.  It’s fairly easy and really deepens the flavor of whatever you’re roasting.  I love roasting vegetables like, Parmesan Roasted Green Beans, Rosemary Roasted Sweet Potatoes, Garlic Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Tuscan Roasted Asparagus.  And, of course there’s always roasted chicken – a classic.  But, this easy shrimp recipe has quickly become one of my favorites!

This recipe is so easy to make and it’s ready in less than 30 minutes.  It’s perfect for a quick weeknight meal.  You can serve it over rice or pasta.  Or, add it to a salad for a light dinner or easy lunch.  Or, you can eat it just as it is.   It would even make a nice appetizer. I love having options.  Don’t you?

Crispy Kale Chips 2 It's a Keeper

Kale Chips

If you are looking for a fun, healthy way to eat kale, then look no further!  These baked crispy kale chips are a light and tasty snack (or side dish).

Everyone has their cravings.  Some crave chocolate or sweets.  Others crave salty and crunchy.  Mine is ice cream.  If we have it in the house, it actually talks to me.  I hear it calling from the freezer.  And, no matter how hard I try to fight it, I find myself being led into the kitchen for “just a scoop”.  I even try to trick myself by putting the ice cream in a small drinking glass rather than a bowl. 

Soy Ginger Garlic Fish It's a Keeper

Soy Ginger Garlic Fish

Today, I have an easy fish recipe for you.  But first, let me tell you about how I came up with this recipe.

Last summer, while on vacation with our good friends, we went out for dinner at this little crab shack.  It was a hole-in-the-wall place that came very highly recommended by the locals.  It was the antithesis of fancy — paper table”cloths”, mismatched furniture and no air conditioning – just open windows and the warm ocean breeze.  Ordering was easy, just pick your protein (a selection of fish, shrimp and scallops) from the column on the left of the chalk-board menu and then choose your sauce from the column on the right.

Lemon Pull Apart Rolls 2 It's a Keeper

Lemon Pull Apart Bread

I have a confession to make.  I have a love affair with anything lemon.  Cakes, pies, drinks, you name it.   I came across this recipe for Lemon Pull Apart Bread on Pinterest.  Of course, I knew I had to try it.

The recipe has only 5 ingredients and only a few simple steps.  It also uses frozen bread dough which is perfect for me since I’m not much of a bread baker.  Frankly, yeast kind of scares me.

I made this recipe over the weekend and it was delicious!  It was a nice light dessert and it was even great for breakfast the next morning.  I loved the bright, tart flavor.  I think this will be perfect for Easter or Mother’s Day brunch! 

Party Lunch Meat It's a Keeper

Party Lunch Meat

This is a hard post for me to write.  This recipe is one of my husband’s all time favorite sandwiches.  His mother has made him these sandwiches since he was a little boy.   Now, he even has my son asking for them.  I, on the other hand, want no part of them.  I think they’re gross.  Nothing about this recipe is appealing to me.   That’s why this post is hard for me to write!

Before writing this post, I surveyed my friends and family to see what they thought of this recipe.  Some had never heard of it but thought it sounded good.  But, many of them loved it.  They remember their moms making it for them when they were younger.   It seems to be one of those old fashioned recipes that has been around for ages and it was the go-to sandwich for parties and gatherings.  My husband packs them in his lunch every year for hunting season.  Just for the record, he buys the ingredients, makes them and eats them.  I have nothing to do with them!

Potato Chip Cookies - an easy cookie recipe that is the perfect combination of salty and sweet

Potato Chip Cookies

Potato Chip Cookies It’s a KeeperAs I mentioned in a previous post, I hosted a holiday cookie exchange this past weekend. I love cookies exchanges because it’s a great way to get together with friends over the holidays while trying all sorts of new cookies! Plus, the recipe hoarder in me loves to collect all of the new recipes for said cookies!

This year, my mother brought these AWESOME Potato Chip Cookies to the party! It sounds weird, I know. But, trust me, you HAVE to try these!

Cinnamon French Toast Bake 2 It's a Keeper

Caramelized French Toast Bake

As you know, I absolutely love Christmas morning! It’s one of the times that I really enjoy making breakfast. Some of my favorite breakfast recipes are Christmas Morning Breakfast Braid and Red Velvet Pancakes with Cream Cheese Syrup. Oh, and Cowboy Sandwiches — how could I forget those?!?

Our plans have changed a bit for this Christmas morning. We are going to my sister’s house for brunch. I needed to find a recipe that would be easy to make and take with me. I came across this recipe for a French Toast Bake on Pinterest. It’s perfect for Christmas morning because I can assemble it all the day before and bake it when I’m ready.

Elf on the Shelf Food It's a Keeper

Elf Food (a.k.a. Peppermint Chex Mix)

Elf on the Shelf Food It's a KeeperWe’ve been very busy the past few weeks getting together with our good friends for some fun holiday parties!  First up was our Elf on the Shelf party!

This was the night that our Elf on the Shelf, Charlie, made his official appearance! He appeared on the roof of the car as we went to leave.  My 6 year old and his friends were ecstatic and ran screaming through the neighborhood!

We all got together with intentions of watching the Elf on the Shelf movie, but the kids had such a fun time playing with each other, we never got to watch the movie.  They also made a super cute hand-print snowman ornament.  Sadly, my son was so excited about Charlie that he tripped and smashed his ornament, so I don’t have the finished product to show you.

There were  also all kinds of fun treats, complete with a bag of Elf Food (a.k.a. Peppermint Chex Mix) for the kids to feed their elves. Try these fun cookies too. My Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies/

Red Velvet Pancakes It's a Keeper

Red Velvet Pancakes with Cream Cheese Syrup

I’m on a mission to find some new recipes for Christmas morning.  I think Christmas morning breakfast is my favorite time of the day.  It’s that peaceful time after all of the gifts have been opened and before the house is full of family and friends.  Sort of the lull between the storms.

I absolutely love this particular time of the day.  I can sit back and enjoy breakfast.  There’s no where to run off to.  No appointments or errands or expectations for the morning.  Except for maybe trying to free some toy from its Fort Knox style packaging.

Back to the recipe…I found this recipe for Red Velvet Pancakes in the December 2012 issue of Southern Living magazine (one of my favorite magazines!).  It promised to have all of the flavor of Red Velvet Cake just in a pancake form!  And, I just loved the festive color!

Steak Pizziaola It's a Keeper

Steak Pizzaiola

For years now, I’ve been dying to try Steak Pizzaiola.  I don’t know why…it just sounded interesting to me.  One afternoon, I was watching 30 Minute Meals and Rachel Ray made Pork Chops Pizzaiola.  So, I did what any girl would do…I pinned the recipe on my “Recipes to Try” board on Pinterest

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! 

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!

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! 

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.

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! 

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. 

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!

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.

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.

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. 

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. 

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.