In the Kitchen

*This post is not sponsored, and all opinions are my own*

I was flipping through a magazine last month when I came upon this recipe, and I immediately tore the page out to save it. It just looked like the perfect fall meal–comforting, easy, and hearty. I’ve just been waiting for the perfect opportunity to try it out.

In the Kitchen via Imperfect Chevron

Luckily, this weekend was my mom’s birthday! So I pulled out the dutch oven and made this one-pot, amazingly easy, delicious stew. It turned out so good! Definitely better than I expected. Everyone in my family was impressed with the stew, and presented me with the “Cooking Genius” award (Ok, they didn’t. But they did really love this meal!).

In the Kitchen via Imperfect Chevron

Anyway, add this awesome chicken stew to your fall/winter meals! It is easily dairy free (just don’t add the optional parmesan cheese over your individual serving), so it gets bonus points for that. Your family and friends will love it! If you’re serving a big group, I’d definitely double the recipe.

In the Kitchen via Imperfect Chevron

For her birthday, my mom requested this lemon bundt, which was SO GOOD AND LEMONY. I used this glaze (And had a total emergency because it was so liquidy and instantly rolled off the cake and spilled all over the floor and table. Frosting everywhere, frosting flood. But we’ll just ignore that doofy part!) and it was the perfect frosting to compliment the cake. Let us eat cake! (:


In the Kitchen

If you follow me on Instagram, you know I love food. Pretty much my whole grid is made up of food (and my pets, of course!). But I don’t share my love of eating and cooking on the blog very often, and I want to change that. So today I’m introducing a little mini-series called “In the Kitchen,” where I’ll share some of the recipes I’ve been making lately.

This year, I’ve really gotten back into trying new recipes and experimenting in the kitchen, and this first “In the Kitchen” is going to be a fun mix of different things!

  1. First up, a lemon orzo salad! I went to lunch with my grandma early in the summer and ordered the most delicious, light but filling, lemon-y orzo salad served over spinach. I couldn’t stop thinking about the salad for days…literally, I dreamed about it. So I searched the internet for recipes and ended up with this one, which is the recipe that orzo dreams are made of. Seriously, my entire family loved it, and it’s my new go-to recipe for parties or having friends over. It’s really easy to make, and it’s also easy to just cut back on the amount of cheese for my fellow lactose-intolerant friends out there (the recipe calls for feta, but I actually used a bit of parmesan instead). Plus, it makes a TON, so it’s perfect for a large group of people, or you can have leftovers for days (which is my jam). I like to serve it over fresh spinach or lettuce! In the Kitchen via Imperfect Chevron
  2. To make my brother’s birthday extra special, I decided to make chicken coconut curry — a task that seemed a little ambitious considering I’ve never made curry before, but luckily it turned out great! I made this recipe, and made a few alterations. The recipe calls for poppy seeds, but I used a little extra thick coconut milk instead. I also added cooked potato chunks, salt, and a little curry powder to make it a little more flavorful. All in all, I felt like this recipe is a winner, and kind of a no-fail way to make a really impressive dish to wow your relatives into thinking you’re a cooking genius. Side note, this recipe is not spicy *as is* so if you want a little heat, add some of your favorite spicy spices (cayanne, red chili powder, etc.). Next time I make it, I’m going to add some spicier chili peppers.
  3. The team at A Beautiful Mess always has inspiring and creative vegetarian meal ideas, and when I saw their recipe for Polenta Pizza Bites I was salivating. I finally got around to making them this fall, and they were both easy and tasty. I liked them as a meal, but they’d make excellent appetizers as well. The polenta gets nice and crispy on the outside, and stays soft inside. I didn’t need to cook my polenta for as long as the recipe stated, but I sliced it fairly thin…just keep an eye on your polenta while baking so you don’t accidentally burn it.
  4. I’d been wanting to make this Spaghetti Squash Bake for a long time, and a few weeks back I went for it (even though 2 members of my family don’t care for spaghetti squash and have made their opinions loudly heard). Everybody tried it, and ended up really liking it, which was a major “I told you so!” moment. The biggest thing with this recipe is it takes a little prep work (you have to cook the squash in advance, which is really easy but takes upward of 40 mins usually). But it’s the perfect casserole to cook while you’re watching football or hanging around the house this fall. And, it’s a recipe that you can customize for your eating needs, i.e. you can add mozzarella or parmesan cheese, you can use lactose-free cheese, or you could skip the cheese altogether. Up to you!

So, that wraps up the first “In the Kitchen” with 4 tried and true recipes to add to your arsenal. Now go forth and cook well. (:


Chocolate-Dipped Bananas

Have you guys tried chocolate-dipped bananas yet? I’ve seen them lots of times at Costco but never bought them…my grandma told me a few weeks ago that she makes hers at home using chocolate bars, and I decided I’d try making some.

Oh, my gosh, you guys. So good!

It’s super easy, too, and it feels like you’re eating ice cream or some yummy frozen treat. It’s a great way to eat dessert and still feel satisfied while you’re dieting or trying to eat healthier.

chocolate bananas

All you do is slice your bananas and freeze them in a single layer on a cookie/baking sheet for a couple of hours (or until they’re frozen enough). Then, I chopped up my chocolate bar (I used a 72% dark chocolate bar) and melted it in the microwave using this video. And then, you dip the bottoms of the bananas in the melted chocolate and pop them back in the freezer for a few minutes before putting them in a zip-lock bag to store. See, really easy? And even my mom, who isn’t the world’s biggest banana fan, loves them!

I’ve already made a second batch, since we ate them so quickly. It’s a fun and easy summer treat that you won’t feel too guilty about eating! I hope you’ll try making these, you won’t regret it.

(mmm, chocolate)


Easy Italian Stir-Fry

One of my favorite dinners to cook are stir-fry’s — they’re both versatile and quick. I love that you can make an Asian-inspired stir-fry just as easily as an Italian stir-fry. Plus, you can pack in tons of veggies, and if you serve with a meat and either pasta or rice, you’ve got yourself a meal! My mom taught me how to make a great stir-fry, and I continue to make it at least once a week when I’m at school because it’s so quick and a pretty healthy meal.

Today, I’m going to share the secret to how I make a flavorful, veggie-packed, Italian stir-fry.
Cooking up the veggies. 

The secret ingredient is Italian dressing!!! I like to use the make-your-own-mix kind that they sell in a box at the grocery store, it just seems to have a good flavor.

To make the stir-fry, you just need to pick whatever veggies you like and chop them. I like to use broccoli, kale or spinach, mushrooms, peppers, carrots, etc. Basically you can throw in any vegetables you have on hand. I would definitely recommend using spinach or kale as a kind of “filler” vegetable — you won’t really notice it’s there, and you can pack in a lot more vitamins and minerals that way.

I usually cook my meat (chicken) first, all I do is put a little Italian dressing in a hot skillet and cook the chicken until it’s no longer pink. I take the chicken out of the skillet and set it out of the way.

Then, I add more Italian dressing to the pan and cook the vegetables, stirring to coat them with the dressing lightly. I cook them until they’re soft, and then I add the chicken back to the pan and mix it all together.

I like to serve it with pasta, so I put my pasta on the plate and then top it with the stir-fry and a little Parmesan cheese. And that’s it! Easy and delicious. I think that even people who aren’t crazy about vegetables would probably like this, because it’s so flavorful and fresh!

I hope you try this easy stir-fry, I’d love to hear about it if you do! Enjoy (:


Happy Weekend

Now that the second week of the semester is over, school is starting to pick up serious momentum and I can tell I’m going to get busier every day. So this weekend, I’m making it a point to spend some of my lingering free time doing things I want to do. Some of the things on my list include painting, trying to take a walk in the park, and getting lots of relaxation time.

Last night, I had some friends over for dinner and cards against humanity. My friend made homemade pho (it was amazing, you guys!) and I made some spring rolls, and we had a really fun night! Here are some pictures of the dinner:

Pho 1

The pho boiling on the stove. My house smells so good still! Lots of spices and herbs.

Pho 2

Pho. So good.

Pho 3

My little spring rolls with peanut sauce.

We had a great night! Pho is one of my favorite foods, and Pittsburgh doesn’t seem to have many good spots for pho, so it was really nice of my friend to make some for us. I wish I could have pho every time I get sick–it has the best healing taste. Hope you have a great weekend!