Croissant French Toast It's a Keeper

Croissant French Toast

Since our Saturday’s are usually pretty hectic, we like to start our Sundays off slowly and have a big family breakfast.  Usually, we have pancakes. omelets or french toast.  Recently, however, I thought I would put a spin on our traditional french toast. I found this recipe for Croissant on an episode of WNEP’s Home and Backyard.  It’s a great locally produced show that’s on our local ABC affiliate.  You can watch the episodes featuring yours truly here.

Carrot Apple Ginger Slaw It's a Keeper

Carrot Apple Ginger Slaw

In my humble opinion, coleslaws are the quintessential summer salad.  They are perfect for cookouts and picnics.   Some are sweet and creamy while others can be tangy and bright.  One thing I adore about slaws is their versatility.   Gone are the days of the boring coleslaw.  Why go with boring when you can tinker around with different veggies and sauces?  Some of my favorites are  my Creamy Broccoli Slaw, Sriracha Coleslaw, California Citrus Slaw and this delightful Carrot Apple Ginger Slaw.

I love the flavor combination of this salad.  The apples and carrots are crisp and fresh.  While the ginger-infused sauce has a tart, slightly sweet flavor.  When all of these flavors and textures come together, you have a refreshing summer salad that is just bursting with flavor!  It goes perfectly with fish – providing some acidity to balance out the flavors.  Or, I love it on top of a good turkey burger!

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! 

Hassleback Cheesy Potatoes It's a Keeper

Hassleback Cheesy Potatoes

Just what is a Hassleback Potato, you ask?  Fanned out like an accordion, these spuds were named after the Restaurant Hasselbacken in Stockholm, Sweden.  It was here that these delicious cheesy potatoes were created.

While these little gems may look intricate and difficult to make, they aren’t. They are just a few simple steps away from traditional, every day, run-of-the-mill baked potatoes.   All it takes is a few swipes of your knife (be sure to take note of the wooden spoon trick below) and some scrumptious toppings.  And viola!  Hassleback Cheesy Potatoes!

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?

 

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.

Oven Fries with Horseradish Cream It's a Keeper

Oven Fries with Horseradish Cream

I have a confession to make. I have never deep fried anything. Nothing. Ever. Frankly, I think the whole idea of a big pan of hot grease scares me.

Don’t get me wrong. That doesn’t mean my family doesn’t love french fries or fried chicken. It just means that I have to come up with other ways to give them what they want. I’m a big fan of “oven-frying”. It’s not really frying. It’s more like trying to simulate the fried flavor and texture in the oven.

I think oven-frying is a great alternative and this recipe for Oven Fries is one of my favorites. They are the perfect side dish for Crunchy Onion Bourbon Burgers, Burgers with Caramelized Onions or any kind of sandwich. The Horseradish Cream makes a great dipping sauce, too.

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! 

Rum Cake It's a Keeper

Rum Cake

In December, my grandfather passed away.  He lived 92 very full years and was surrounded by family and good friends.   I’m so grateful that my son had the opportunity to spend so much quality time with him.  I know that he has many fond memories of his Pop Pop, as do I.

Now, If you’ve read my About page, you’ll know that I’m self proclaimed recipe hoarder.  Somehow, someway I end up walking away from every gathering, trip to the grocery store, dentist or salon with recipes.  Sometimes they are scribbled on the backs of envelopes, on paper plates or in my check book.  Sometimes, they aren’t even recipes – just a list of ingredients.  And, if I’m lucky, I even score bona fide recipe cards – complete with a recipe!

You’re probably wondering where I’m going with all of this.  Well, my grandfather’s wake was no different from most other functions I’m at.  Here I was, standing between my mother and my sister in the receiving line (I’m not even sure if that’s what you call it at a wake), when one of my parent’s friends comes through.  And, wouldn’t you know it…he hands me a recipe card with his wife’s Rum Cake recipe!  

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!

Creamy Chicken Tortellini Bake 2 It's a Keeper

Chicken and Broccoli Tortellini Casserole

Baby it’s cold outside!  This week it hasn’t gotten over 7 degrees here.  And, when you factor in the wind chill factor it’s bone chilling cold!   It’s the kind of weather that makes you want to snuggle in and not leave your warm house.  It also makes me crave comfort food.  I found this recipe for Chicken and Broccoli Tortellini Casserole in a magazine.  It looked so good and sounded even better.  And, since we’re on a broccoli kick this week, I thought it would be perfect for a frigid day.

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.

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!

Cinnamon Crusted Pecans It's a Keeper

Cinnamon Crusted Pecans

These pecans are one of my favorite recipes to make during the holidays. I can’t remember where I got the recipe from, initially. I’ve been making them for years. In fact, we included this recipe in our first cookbook, “Hitchcock Family Favorites”.

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

Baked Pierogi Casserole

Baked Pierogi Casserole

This recipe is pure, unadulterated comfort food! I’m going to warn you right now…there is absolutely NOTHING healthy about this recipe. While it may not be very nutritious, it is one of those recipes that just makes you feel cozy. It’s warm and comforting and oh so good!

And, it reminds of my childhood! My mom used to make this recipe for us when we were kids. If I remember correctly (it’s been a while now!), my mother made this for one of my first sleep-over parties. We must have been pretty hungry girls because we polished off an entire pan of the stuff and asked her to make more! It is THAT good!

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?

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.

Lemon Orzo Salad in a clear bowl.

Lemon 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.

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!

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! 

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.

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.