Friday, July 29, 2011

7-29-2011 A Beautiful Shabbat Lunch

Originally we had planned on having a big group of friends over for Shabbat lunch tomorrow. I sadly had to cancel this plan because my 2 year, CJ, spiked a fever today. Always something!

I had already planned an elaborate menu, and I was super excited about it. I am still going to make a very similar lunch for just us, but it will be somewhat scaled down.

Here is my menu for tomorrow:

First Course:

1. Challah
2. Poached Salmon, recipe below, served with
3. Green Goddess Sauce, recipe below
4. Kittencal's Greek Salad, recipe below

Second Course:

5. Crock Pot Meat Roast with potatoes

Third Course:

6. Brownies and Fruit


Poached Salmon

Salmon filet  
1 carrot, sliced
1 small onion, sliced
1 stalk celery, sliced
2 slices lemon
Several sprigs of parsley
1-2 bay leaves
salt to taste
1 cup dry white wine
Juice of half a lemon
Fill a large skillet with the carrot, onion, sliced celery, lemon, parsley and bay leaves.

Add the fish, cold water to cover, salt to taste, the wine and the lemon juice. Bring the water to a boil, uncovered.

Adjust heat to simmer and let fish cook for 5 minutes.

Turn off the heat and leave fish undisturbed for 10 minutes. Then remove it carefully to a serving platter; the salmon will be perfectly done. It is delish served either hot or cold, although I'm serving it cold at lunch tomorrow.


Green Goddess Sauce

This sauce/dressing gets it's name from it's green color. It goes great with an iceberg wedge, or can be used as a salad dressing for any salad.
2 cups mayonnaise
4 anchovy fillets, minced
1 green onion, chopped
2 t. chopped fresh parsley
2 t. chopped fresh chives
1 T. tarragon vinegar
1 t. chopped fresh tarragon (or 1/4 t. dried tarragon)

Place all of the above ingredients into a food processor or blender, or use an immersion blender. Mix until smooth and all blended.


Kittencal's Greek Salad

If you are wondering who Kittencal is, she is a famous recipe contributor on (formerly She now has her own website:
All of the recipes she has contributed have been rated 5 stars by thousands of people, including this Greek Salad. I'm leaving out the feta cheese since I'm serving a meat meal.

1 C. olive oil
2 lemons, juiced
2 t. dried oregano (use up to 2 t. more if you like)
2 cloves garlic
1 t. dried basil
2 T. red wine vinegar
1/2 t. salt
1 t. sugar
1/2 t. freshly ground black pepper

1 large head romaine lettuce, chopped
1 large tomato, diced
1 cucumber, peeled, seeded and sliced
1 bell pepper, cut into thin rings
1/4 red onion, very thinly sliced
1 C. Kalamata olives
8 oz. feta cheese, crumbled

To make the dressing: place the olive oil, lemon juice, oregano, garlic, basil, red wine vinegar, salt, sugar,  and pepper in a jar with a lid, screw on the lid, shake to emulsify. Even better would be to use an immersion blender until it is emulsified. Chill in the fridge for a few hours before serving to allow the flavors to mingle.

In a large salad bowl place the romaine lettuce, tomato, cucumber, bell pepper, onion, olives, and feta. Pour some of the dressing over and toss to combine. Serve immeadiately.


I hope you have a nice weekend!

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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

7-27-2011 Delish Dinner in under 30

Going to the grocery store with the kiddos in tow is sure to make a fast trip a long one. I try to avoid it all cost by going when they are in camp or school. Every so often I have no choice, but to bring them along. That happened this afternoon when I was about to start cooking our dinner, and I realized I didn't have any onions. (What kind of chef runs out of onions?!)

When I broke the news that we had to make a quick trip to the store, the boys were less than excited and frankly did not want to go. I hate to admit it, but I had to do the ol' bribery trick, I promised them each a toy to come along. We compromised by going to Super Target. Bad idea...we were there until almost 6 moseying around.  Luckily the dinner I had planned on making was a quick one.

We had turkey picadillo over jasmine rice, and steamed green beans. I highly suggest making this meal, you are going to love it!

Here's how to pull off this meal in 30 minutos.

First make the turkey picadillo.

Turkey Picadillo (10 minutes prep time, 20 minutes cook time)

2 T. olive oil
1/2 onion, chopped
1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 lb. ground turkey
1/4 C. red wine
1 can tomato sauce (6 or 8 oz.)
2 t. adobo seasoning
1/2 t. oregano
pinch salt, or to taste
pinch of freshly ground black pepper
1 bay leaf
handful of raisins
handful of pimento stuffed green olives, plus 1 T. of the olive juice

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the onions and the bell pepper, and cook for a few minutes until the onions become slightly translucent. If they start to brown, turn the heat down a bit.

Add the garlic, and stir for a minute more until fragrant. Add  the ground turkey, and cook until cooked through, chopping with a spatula. Add the wine, tomato sauce, adobo seasoning, oregano, bay leaf, and salt and pepper to taste. Then, add the raisins and olives with the juice.

Cover with a lid, turn heat to low, and simmer until ready to serve. Discard the bay leaf before serving.

Serve over rice.

Once you have the picadillo covered and simmering, put up the rice. The rice I made took 20 minutes to cook. You could also make the rice before the picadillo.

While the rice and picadillo are cooking, steam the green beans.

Voila! A tasty meal on the table in 30 minutes.

Have a good night! Pin It

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

7-26-2011 Lasagna Night Take 2

My mom is out of town this week which means my dad and brother are left to their own devices. Of course I came to the rescue by having them over for dinner tonight. The food and company were excellent. I'll tell you more about the food in a moment.

While were finishing up our meal, JR, my almost 4 year old, was feeling like a big boy because we allowed him to drink from a glass cup. He was proudly walking all around the kitchen drinking from his glass, when, our dinner came to a screeching halt.

It seemed as though JR dropped his glass. The only witness was Bubba (my father), and when questioned if the glass was dropped or thrown, his answer was "thrown with gusto!"

We cleaned up the shards in a frenzy, and reprimanded while trying not to smile or laugh (a problem I often face while disciplining). Lesson learned: do not give anything glass to inquisitive small children.

Now I'll tell you about our dinner. We had Meat Lasagna, Squash Tomato Gratin, and a Salad.

The lasagna I made tonight was a slightly different version of my ususal lasagna because it also had a parve cheese sauce layer. I got the idea to make it this way from my friend Jodi. She so kindly shared her version with me, and I will now share it with you. I will forever make the lasagna this way. Although it is a few extra steps, it's very well worth it. The end result is a gooier yummier lasagna. Thank you Jodi!

I also made a delish dish I have made many times before, Squash Tomato Gratin. I felt very succesful because I got Drew to taste squash for the first time ever. He actually liked it! Woo Hoo! The recipe is loosely based off of one from Kosher by Design.  Keep this in mind for a nice Shabbat side dish too.

Here are the pics and recipes:

Meat Lasagna
Meat Layer:
1 ½ lbs ground beef
¼ cup olive oil
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 onion, finely chopped
1-28 oz. can chopped tomatoes, Italian Style
2 cans tomato paste
1 t. salt
1 t. dried oregano
1/2 t. onion powder
½ t. pepper
Brown meat with onion and garlic. Mix in tomatoes and paste. Add seasonings. Cook sauce covered anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours on a low simmer, stir every so often  to make sure bottom of pot isnt burning .
"Cheese" Sauce Layer
3 T. margarine
1 onion, chopped
3 T. flour
1/2 t. salt, or to taste
3 C. chicken broth, or vegetable broth
2 yolks, beaten mixed with 1/2 C. of the above broth
Melt the margarine in a medium pan over medium. Add the onions and sautee until translucent. Add the flour, and salt stirring constanstly 1 minute. Slowly whisk in the chicken broth, and in a steady stream the egg yolks mixed with broth, whisking constantly. Keep whisking until the sauce is smooth. turn the heat down to low and cook until the sauce has thickened, stirring, about 10 minutes.
Noodle Layer:
1 package Barilla no boil lasagna noodles, or other brand of no boil lasagna noodles 
 Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Spray a 9x13 pyrex or baking dish with non stick spray. Start by ladling in some of the meat sauce, and spreading to cover the bottom, and then, layer a small portion of the cheese sauce on top of the meat. Make a layer or the noodles ontop of the cheese sauce.
Next ladle and spread more meatsauce, then cheese sauce, then noodles. Repeat these steps until you use all of the noodles and sauces. End with meat sauce. I had 3 layers of noodles, and 4 layers of sauces.
Cover tightly with foil. Bake for an hour. Remove from oven and let stand covered for 10 minutes. Remove Foil and Enjoy.
Here is a picture of the layering:
Squash Tomato Gratin
2 T. margarine
1 T. olive oil
3 medium yellow squash, thinly sliced
1 onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
4 medium Roma tomatoes, roughly chopped
salt and pepper, to taste
1/3 C. Italian bread crumbs

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray a medium size baking dish or pyrex with non stick spray.

In a large pan, heat the margarine and oil over medium heat. Add the onions, and cook until translucent. Add the squash and garlic, and cook covered with a lid 5-6 minutes until squash is tender. Stirring every so often.

Add the tomatoes. Recover and cook 15 minutes. Season will salt and pepper to taste. Pour into the baking dish. Sprinkle the top with the bread crumbs. Bake for 25-30 minutes uncovered, until top is crisp and golden.


I hope you have a great night! Pin It

Sunday, July 24, 2011

7-24-2011 Cinnamon Swirl Bundt Cake

I'm going to let you in on a little secret about me, I love to eat in bed. As I am sitting on my bed right now typing this blog post, I am annoyed by the crumbs I feel rolling around under my legs. This is definitely one of the downsides. Being in bed as well as eating are two comforting things, and the combo of the two takes it to a whole new level.

I'm trying to figure out where these pesky crumbs came from. Hmmmmm.... maybe it was from the piece of cinnamon swirl bundt cake I enjoyed in my bed this afternoon?

The cake I mentioned above is one of the desserts I made for this past shabbat. I've made it many times before because it's so easy to make, and it is always moist and delish. Everyone who ate the cake loved it, and asked for the recipe. Therefore, I am going to share the recipe with you here.

Cinnamon Swirl Bundt Cake

1 box yellow cake mix, Duncan Hines
1 box Jello Pudding, instant Vanilla 3.4 oz.
4 eggs
1 C. water
1/2 C. vegetable oil

1/3 C. brown sugar
2 t. cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a bundt pan with non stick spray, and set aside.

In a large bowl mix together the cake mix, pudding, eggs, water, and vegetable oil. Use a hand mixer or stand mixer and mix for 30 seconds until moistened. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula. Beat on medium for 2 minutes more.

In a small bowl mix together the brown sugar and cinnamon.

Pour half of the batter into the bottom of the cake pan. Sprinkle the sugar cinnamon mixture on top of the batter all the way around. Pour the rest of the batter over the cinnamon sugar, and spread to cover completely.

Bake for 50-60 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let stand in pan for 10 mintes. Remove to a cooling rack.


I gotta go change my sheets now. Hope you had a good weekend! Pin It

Friday, July 22, 2011

7-22-2011 Shabbat Dinner and Lunch

Can you smell that? It's too bad there is no such thing as smell-o-vision on computers. My house right now smells like heaven. The challah is in the oven baking, mmmmmm!!!

I've been in the kitchen all day cooking up a storm. I really must be cuckoo for attempting to make so much food. I don't have a choice though because I invited friends for dinner tonight, and for lunch tomorrow, and we are having friends stay with us for the whole shabbat. Don't get me wrong, I am not complaining, this is one of my biggest joys.

Here is whats on the menus:


1. Challah
2. Tomato Gefilte Fish with assorted spicy sauces: horseradish with beets, srichacha, schug, wasabi mayo
3. Tossed Green Salad
4. 3 Bean Salad
5. Duck Chicken
6. Sweet-n-sour Meatballs
7. Scalloped Potatoes, recipe below
8. Zesty Green Beans
9. Cinnamon Coffee Cake
10. Fruit Salad


1. Challah
2. Tomato Gefilte Fish with assorted sauces
3. Cranberry Spinach Salad, recipe below
4. Asian Peanut Noodle Salad
5. Nean's Deviled Eggs, recipe below
6. Chicken Salad
7. Turkey Roll ups and Deli Meat Roll ups
8. Hummus, and assorted pickles
9. Tortilla Chips with Salsa, Potato Chips
10. Brownies and Fruit


Scalloped Potatoes

I distinctly remember the first time I made these beyond delicious potatoes. It was about 4 or 5 years ago, we had some good friends over, and everyone could not get enough. The image of everyone serving themselves seconds, thirds, and fourths of these potatoes is carved in my mind forever. I warn you, they are not the healthiest potatoes, but they're oh so good.
This recipe is adapted from Kosher by Design, the "Green One"

6 T. margarine
1/2 C. flour
1 1/2 large onions, chopped
1/2 C. mayo
1/2 t. salt
28 oz. chicken or vegetable broth (although I hate it with a passion, can use chicken boullion powder and water)
9-10 large Russet potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced about 1/4 inch thick
fresh ground pepper

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9x13 baking dish with non stick spray.

Melt the margarine in a large pot, over medium heat. Add the flour, and stir constantly. Add the onions, mayo, salt, and chicken broth. Stir until smooth. Boil 5-10 minutes more until the sauce has thickened.

Use a ladle and spread a layer of the sauce in the bottom of the 9x13 baking dish. Spread a layer of potatoes overlapping them. Top with a layer or sauce, then a layer of overlapping potatoes. Finish with a layer of sauce, for a total of 2 potato layers, and 3 sauce layers.

Sprinkle with paprika and black pepper.

Bake uncovered 1 1/2 hours, until the top is completely golden. Do not undercook, the crustier the better.


Cranberry Spinach Salad

1 lb. baby spinach
1/2 C. slivered almonds, toasted
1 C. dried cranberries
1 apple, skin on or off and diced
1 recipe dressing

Place the spinach in a large salad bowl. Sprinkle on the almonds, cranberries, and apples. Just before serving, pour over some of the dressing and toss to coat.


2 T. toasted sesame seeds
1 T. poppy seeds
1/2 C. white sugar
1 T. onion, grated
1/4 t. paprika
1/4 C. white wine vinegar
1/4 C. cider vinegar
1/2 C. vegetable oil

In a large jar place the sugar, onion, paprika, vinegars, and vegetable oil. Use an immersion blender and blend until emulsified. Stir in the sesame seeds and poppy seeds.


Nean's Deviled Eggs

Corrine "Nean" worked for my mom's family for like a 100 years. Think of the book The Help, but she was treated much nicer. She was the most amazing cook. She would cook dinner for my mom's family almost everyday.  She loved to bake anything from cakes to cookies to pies. Everything she made was fabulous. According to my mom, this is how she made deviled eggs. She didn't really use a recipe, so this is just an estimation.
I could go on and on about Nean, I'll do it soon in another blog post.
Also, I must mention the paprika is just for looks, my mom said Nean would only use it when she wanted to be fancy.

6 eggs
1/4 cup Miracle Whip (YES MIRACLE WHIP!, my mom is from the South!)
1 T. sweet pickle relish
1/8 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper
paprika, for garnish

Place the eggs in a small pot, and cover with cold water. Place on the stove and bring to a boil. Turn the heat down to simmer for 12 minutes. Remove from heat, and run under cold water for a few minutes.

Crack egg shells and carefully peel under cool running water. Gently dry with paper towels. Slice the eggs in half lengthwise, removing yolks to a medium bowl, and placing the whites on a serving platter.

Mash the yolks into a fine crumble using a fork. Add the miracle whip, relish, salt, and pepper.

Evenly disperse heaping teaspoons of the yolk mixture into the egg whites. Sprinkle with paprika and serve.


The climax to my day of being in the kitchen is when we all sit down and enjoy the meal. Delighting friends with delish food, having great conversations, and finally relaxing feels really good.

I hope you have a good shabbat and or weekend.
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Wednesday, July 20, 2011

7-20-2011 Drew's Birthday, Kobe's Ginger Dressing

Today is my baby brother Drew's 23rd birthday. Well, he's definitely not a baby anymore, but he will always be a baby to me. To celebrate his birthday, the whole family got together to enjoy a dinner with Drew's favorite foods, marinated flank steak, sesame noodles, and ginger salad.

My sister made the sesame noodles, which were awesome! Drew has loved sesame noodles since he was a baby. When Drew was very young, we found out he had a severe peanut allergy, among many other food allergies. My family used to frequent a Chinese restaurant that had the most delicious sesame noodles (called Dan Dan noodles). We would always order them, and I remember Drew could eat them because they were made without peanuts. This was a big deal because there wasn't much he could eat.

I made the ginger salad and it was so so so delish, we were all slurping up the leftover salad dressing at the bottom of our salad bowls.

I have posted the recipe for a ginger dressing before that was adapted from Benihana's recipe. A few people have requested the Kobe Steak's recipe. I scoured the internet looking for this recipe. I will say, the one I made was pretty darn close.

Here it is:

Kobe Steak's Ginger Salad Dressing

I found this recipe on, it was submitted by Juliana, thanks Juliana!

1/2 small onion, roughly chopped
1/2 C. vegetable oil
1/2 C. vinegar
1 T. mustard
1/4 C. + 1 T. teriyaki sauce
1 inch piece ginger, peeled
salt and pepper, to taste

Place the ginger and onion in a food processor. Pulse until it is a smooth paste. Add the other ingredients and blend until combined. Store in a jar with a lid in the refrigerator. Shake or stir before pouring over the salad.

This dressing is great served exactly like Kobe's does with chopped iceberg lettuce, cucumbers, tomatoes, and packaged croutons.

Sesame Noodles

This recipe is a winner every time. It comes from the Kosher Palette.

1 (16oz) package linguine, or spaghetti, whole wheat works nicely too
6 cloves garlic, minced, (Ashley used only 2 cloves, I think that's better)
6 Tablespoons Sugar
6 Tablespoons vegetable oil
6 Tablespoons rice vinegar
6 Tablespoons soy sauce
2 Tablespoons sesame oil
1-2 teaspoons Chinese chili sauce or crushed red pepper flakes
6 scallions, sliced
1 teaspoon sesame seeds toasted
Cook linguine according to packages instructions, drain and transfer to a large serving bowl.
Combine garlic, sugar, oil, vinegar, soy sauce, sesame oil, chili sauce in a saucepan over medium high heat, stir constantly, until mixture comes to a boil and the sugar is dissolved.
Pour over linguine tossing to coat, sprinkle with sesame seeds and scallions.
Ashley says, "This dish tastes the best if made the day before you serve it, to allow the flavor to develop."
Happy Birthday Drew, I love you so much! I hope you had a great day!
P.S. I also made Drew his favorite cake, Coffee Angel Food Cake. I must share that recipe with you one day soon.
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Monday, July 18, 2011

7-18-2011 Sloppy Joes

We had quite a meal tonight. King Hock, a true meat lover, made a little meat order from a kosher website:

Being the good wife that I am, I prepared him and my family an Argentinean asado. We had: grilled bone in ribeye, grilled skirt steak, grilled sweet breads (these are the glands that surround a cow's heart, they're a huge delicacy for King Hock, no one else ventured to try them), chimichurri sauce, salsa golf, palmitos a.k.a. hearts of palm, green salad with beets, mango, and cucumber, puree de calabaza (mashed butternut squash), baked potatoes, and last but not least sloppy joes.

Yes, I did say sloppy joes. I was worried there wasn't going to be anything for the little ones to eat, and just in case there wasn't enough food, everyone could always eat some of the slop.

Now at this point, I am sure you are expecting me to go into great detail about cooking all of the above. But, I will spare you. Here is a past post where I made many of the same things:

 I do want to tell you about my sloppy joes. For one, I have always loved them. I remember eating them in elementary school from the cafeteria, they were always served with tator tots. My mom frequently made them as well.

There is no real secret to them. Here's the process: brown ground beef, drain the fat, open a can of Manwich, and pour it over and stir, serve in a hamburger bun. I promise you, this is the best way. I know this for sure. I have tried a few different from scratch sloppy joe recipes, all yielding different flavors. Not a single one was ever as good as Manwich.

So, now you know my secret to making this true culinary delight.


Everyone definitely enjoyed the Argentinean fare, and everyone also enjoyed the sloppy joes. My mom put sloppy joes in her baked potato, then I quickly copied her (nice idea!). That right there could be it's own blog post subject matter, sloppy joe stuffed baked potatoes.

I hope you have a great night! Pin It

Friday, July 15, 2011

7-15-2011 Shabbat

I'm not feeling that great right now, I have a cold and I lost my speaking voice ( happens everytime). The good news for you, is that I still have my written voice, and even though I'm feeling lousy, I still find the need to cook a beautiful shabbat dinner.  I know I must be crazy.

 I know I have told you this before, but I am a huge germphobe. You can't pay me to eat off my kid's plates, or share a drink with them. But, there was no avoiding germs after my sick son sneezed in my face a few times.

Here is what we are having tonight:

1. Challah
2. Salmon Cakes
3. Bonnie's Caesar Salad, recipe below
4. Whole Roasted Chicken
5. Roasted Potatoes
6. Garlic String Beans with Mango, recipe below
7. Best Chocolate Chip Cookies EVER!, recipe below

The Caesar salad recipe comes from my sister's mother in law, Bonnie. In my eyes she is most famous for her pickles, "Bonnie Pickles." Over the years we have had many festive meals over at Bonnie's house, and I always look forward to her pickles.

I'm going to let you in on the secret of how to make these pickles, I hope Bonnie doesn't mind. First of all, you must buy Vlassic Kosher Dills, the big ones. Then, cut each pickle in half longwise, and half again, making spears. If you just buy the Vlasic kosher dill spears, they will not be the same.

This caesar recipe is not a creamy one like I usually make. It is more of a vinaigrette and it's nice and light. I left out the parmesan cheese because we are having a meat meal. Feel free to add parmesan if you would like.

Here is the recipe:

Bonnie's Caesar Salad Dressing

Serve this dressing over chopped romaine lettuce and croutons

1/2 C. extra virgin olive oil
1 clove of garlic, use 2 if you like it really garlicky
1 t. salt
1/4 t. dried mustard, I prefer Coleman's in the yellow tin
pinch of pepper
5 drops Worcestershire sauce
2 1/2 T. red wine vinegar
1 lemon, juiced

Place the oil in a jar with a lid. Take the clove of garlic and smash it with a meat mallet or a frying pan. Place the garlic in the oil, it should still be somewhat 1 piece. Add the rest of the ingredients. Shake to emulsify. Store in the refrigerate for at least a few hours to let the garlic flavor penetrate, remove the garlic when ready to serve.


Garlic String Beans with Mango

This recipe is adapted from Kosher By Design, by Susie Fishbein

2 lbs. green beans, trimmed
5 green onions, roughly chopped and ends trimmed
7 cloves garlic, peeled
1/4 C. balsamic vinegar
3 T. water
1/2 C. olive oil
1 (.92 oz.) packet garlic dry salad dressing mix, found in the salad dressing aisle at the supermarket
2 T. dijon mustard
3 T. honey
1 large mango, peeled and diced
2 handfuls sunflower seeds, optional
2 handfuls chopped walnuts, optional

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the green beans and cook for 5-7 minutes until crisp tender. Drain the green beans and run under cold water to stop the cooking.

In a bowl place the scallions, garlic, balsamic vingear, water, oil, dressing packet, honey, and mustard. Using an immersion blender, blend until smooth. Store in the refrigerator. Remove from the fridge at least 30 minutes before serving, and shake well.

Pour dressing over green beans right before serving, add the mango, and if you using, the sunflower seeds and or walnuts.  Mix well.


The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies EVER!

The blog world is going bonkers over this recipe right now. I saw it on several blogs over the last few days, every single one was raving about these cookies. I had to give them try. I used chocolate chips, because I needed to make them pareve, but if you want to use M and M's, that is even better. Make 28 large cookies.

1 1/2 sticks salted butter or margarine (12 T.) I just found this new parve margarine at Walmart, Best Life brand, it's wonderful
1 C. brown sugar
1/2 C. white sugar
1 egg and 1 yolk, room temperature
2 t. vanilla extract
2 C. + 2 T. all purpose flour
1/2 t. baking soda
1 C. chocolate chips or M and M's

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Cover a sheet pan with parchment paper, and set aside.

Melt the margarine or butter in the microwave about 1 minute. Let stand at room temperature for 10-20 minutes until no longer warm.

In a large bowl mix together the melted butter or margarine and the brown and white sugar. Add the egg, egg yolk, and vanilla. Mix until combined.

In a medium bowl combine the flour and baking soda.

Add the flour and soda to the bowl with the dough. Mix until combined. Mix in the chocolate chips.

Scoop out heaping tablespoon sized balls of dough. Pull apart into 2 pieces. Place one piece on the baking sheet and stack the second piece ontop, making a sloppy looking snowman (see pic). Repeat this process with more dough, placing the cookies 1-2 inches apart.

Bake for 10 minutes until the edges are golden brown, do not over bake.

Let cool on sheet pan for 10 minutes, then move to a cooling rack.


Be well. Have a good Shabbat and weekend. Pin It

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

7-12-2011 Fish Tacos

This post tonight will not be nearly as entertaining as last night, which is a good thing. Poor King Hock is sitting next to me on the bed right now with his swollen leg propped up.

I had some laughs this afternoon as my boys dramatically reenacted the attic falling scene over and over again. The funny part is that they were downstairs and didn't even see it. The older one also tried to recreate the noise KH's fall made, first he clapped his hands (not loud enough), then stomped his feet (still not loud enough), and finally he picked up a toy and banged it on a table. I'm worried they might be scarred for life.

With all of this hot weather outside and hot inside my house (the A.C. peeps are coming tomorrow!), I wanted to make something light and refreshing for our dinner tonight. Hence, I made Fish Tacos. They were absolutely delish.

I filled a flour tortilla with Chili Tilapia, Mango Salsa, Guacamole, Shredded Cabbage with Lime, and sour cream. On the side I made Mexican rice, and roasted asparagus. I'm still licking my lips.

Here is the recipe:

Fish Tacos, serves 2

1 recipe Chili Tilapia
1 recipe Mango Salsa
1 recipe Guacamole
1/4 head Cabbage, finely shredded and sprinkled with juice from 1/2 lime
Sour Cream
4 Flour or Corn Tortillas

To Assemble: Lay out a tortilla, spread a dollop of sour cream in a line down the center, add a few dollops of guacamole. Add 1/2 piece of Tilapia, some mango salsa, and a small handful of cabbage.

Chili Tilapia

Adapted from Bobby Flay's Fish Tacos

1 lb. Tilapia, about 2-3 large fillets
1/4 C. vegetable oil
1/4 C. chopped cilantro
1 jalapeno, seeds removed and chopped
1 T. chili powder
1 lime, juiced
1/2 t. kosher salt

To make the marinade, place the oil, cilantro, jalapeno, chili powder, lime juice, and salt in a medium bowl. Mix to combine. Put the fish into a large Ziploc bag. Pour in the marinade. Marinate for 20 minutes to an hour in the refrigerator.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, and remove fish from baggy and place onto parchment. Bake for 30 minutes or until it is done and flakes easily with a fork.

Mango Salsa

1 ripe mango, diced
1 small jalapeno, seeds removed, finely chopped
1-2 T. red onion, finely chopped
2 T. cilanto, finely chopped
juice from 1/2 lime
pinch of salt

Mix all of the above ingredients together in a small bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to serve.



This is how I whip up guac on a whim. The most important part to making a yummy guac, is tasting it to see what it needs. Adjust the seasonings to your liking, just be sure to add a little at a time.

1 large ripe avocado, peeled, and seeded
juice of 1/2 large lime
pinch of salt and pepper
sprinkle of garlic and onion powder
1-2 drops of hot sauce, such as Cholula or Tabasco

Mash the avocado in a bowl. Add the lime juice, salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, and hot sauce. Mix until smooth and combined. Taste and check for seasonings.


Have a good night. Pin It

Monday, July 11, 2011

7-11-2011 Chicken Milanese

We had a colleague of King Hock's over for dinner tonight.  I really hope she will return for dinner another time, we may of scared her off.

Before she got there, I warned the boys not to make a mess. Next thing I know, toys are being dumped left and right, and pillows and blankets from my bed are being brought into the living room, the mess was beyond repair. I had to let it go even though it looked like a tornado swept through our house.

Next, I realize I am about to melt, there must be something wrong with the air conditioning. It doesn't help that it's over 100 degrees outside, and the boys keep leaving the door open as they go inside and outside. It also doesn't help that the oven and stove are both on.

King Hock arrives with our dinner guest. We both immediately start apologizing to her for the overwhelming heat inside our house. Dinner is promptly served, and thank G-d everything was delish, (not sure if anything else could go wrong until.....)

We are finishing up our dinner, and King Hock feels the need to go check the A.C. unit in the attic. He goes upstairs into the attic, and I am chit chatting with our guest, when we hear a loud bang followed by King Hock moaning.

I sprint up the stairs leaving our guest with 2 rowdy but very cute boys, and find mounds of pink insulation on the ground and a huge hole in the ceiling where King Hock's leg fell through.

The whole fiasco got quickly cleaned up and our dinner came to an end. In case you are wondering, King Hock is ok, his leg is swollen and hurting him, but no broken bones or anything bad like that. At least the food was good.

We had Chicken Milanese, Homemade Gnocci with Marinara Sauce, Garlic Bread, and Hoffbrau Salad.

I went all out with the Chicken Milanese because I fried it. Normally, I shy away from frying for health reasons, but with chicken milanese it isn't the same unless it is fried.

This scrumdidliumptious chicken dish is a real winner with it's crispy coating on the outside and tender chicken inside. It's great served with a lemon wedge to be freshly squeezed over the chicken before consuming.  See the recipe and pictures below.

Today, as I perused the grocery store, I stood in front of the packaged gnocci for a few minutes contemplating whether or not to buy it. I walked away without it, deciding homemade is the better way to go.

I am really happy to report I did that because it led me to make gnocci tonight. This was my second attempt, and this time it seemed much easier. It was still somewhat tedious, but still well worth the effort.

Finally, here is the recipe:

Chicken Milanese

4 boneless skinless chicken breast, tenders removed
2 eggs, beaten
1 C. all purpose flour
salt and pepper
2 C. Panko bread crumbs
1/2 t. oregano
1/2 t. dried parsley
1/2 t. Italian seasonings

2 T. margarine
4 T. vegetable oil
1 lemon cut into wedges

Make 2 long sheets of plastic wrap. Place 1 chicken breasts in the middle, spritz the chicken with a few drops of water, and cover with the second sheet of plastic wrap.

Use a meat mallet or a skillet, and pound the chicken until it is an even 1/4-3/8 inch thick. Repeat with the other breasts.

Place the flour in a shallow bowl. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper.

Place the eggs in a bowl, and beat.

Place the panko bread crumbs in a large bowl and add the seasonings. Also, add a pinch of salt and pepper.

First, dip the chicken in the flour and shake off the excess. Then, dip in the egg and let the excess drip off. Next, dip in the bread crumbs. Place the breaded chicken onto a baker's cooling rack and let dry for 5-10 minutes.

Heat 2 T. oil and 1 T. margarine in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add 2 chicken pieces and fry 5 minutes until nicely browned. Flip over and cook another 5 minutes until golden brown.

Remove from the heat and place on a paper towel to drain. You may want to cut into the center to make sure the chicken is cooked though (there should be no pink whatsoever)

Repeat the cooking process with the remaining oil, margarine, and chicken. 

Serve with lemon wedges.


I hope you had a good night! We sure did ;) Pin It

Sunday, July 10, 2011

7-10-2011 Double Decker Burgers

My whole life I have eaten burgers on Sundays.  As a kid, when I would get home from Sunday school, there was always freshly grilled hamburgers waiting for us. To accompany the burgers, there always was a flimsy paper plate filled with all of the appropriate burger toppings.

Everyone in the house constructed their burgers in different forms or fashions. The construction process was an art form that possibly took longer than actually eating the burger.  I remember how my sister Ashley would perfectly cut her burger in half. To this day, I still try to cut my burgers like that.

I still enjoy having burgers on Sundays, but these days I have fun creating all different types. Tonight, I decided to make double decker burgers.

These delicious monstrosities consist of a bun that is cut into 3 parts, 2 very thin meat patties, and toppings of one's desire.

Here is how to create double decker burgers at home:

1. Place 1.5 lbs. ground beef in between 2 long sheets of plastic wrap

2. Use a rolling pin and flatten the meat evenly until it is very thin (about 1/4 inch or thinner)

3. Use something round (about the same size as the buns you have), and use a paring knife to trace around the round shape to create patties.

4. Place the patties on a plate, and seperate each patty either with wax paper or parchment paper. You will have leftover meat after you take out the circle patties, you can reroll and recut until all gone.

6. Heat your grill. Grill until cooked through or to your liking.

7. Take an unsliced bun (you can find these in the bakery section of the grocery store, you may have to ask for unsliced). Carefully slice it into 3 pieces. Place a grilled patty in between each piece and add your desired toppings.

8. Cut like Ashley does (however she does it?!) Eat it and enjoy!


I hope you had a great Sunday! Pin It

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

7-5-2011 Feta Crusted Salmon

There is a prohibition in the Jewish laws of kashrut (kosher) that one cannot mix any meat with any milk, i.e. cheeseburgers (obviously!). This does not hold true with fish and milk because fish is considered parve (not meat or milk). Think, bagels with cream cheese and lox.

I remember when King Hock and I first started dating, and he came over to my apartment one night after he got off of work. Since I had already eaten dinner and he hadn't, he brought along his dinner, a tuna melt.

When he kindly offered me a bite, I unkindly told him no thanks, and that I thought tuna melts were nasty. We then went on to have an in depth coversation about how he thought fish and dairy were the best combination ever, and how I strongly disagreed.

Oddly enough, every single time I have ever told King Hock that I thought whatever he was eating was nasty, I always end up loving it.  Case in point, the fish and dairy combo. I have to admit I now love tuna melts.

Tonight I made Feta Crusted Salmon, and it was the best salmon ever. King Hock affirmed my opinion, as he exclaimed, "this is amazing, unbelievable!"

To round out this awesome meal, I also made 2 delish side dishes: Balsamic Asparagus, and Greek Potatoes. All of tonight's recipes are from

Here are the pics and recipes:

Feta Crusted Salmon

1 (2 pound) salmon fillet, bones removed
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
1/3 cup light mayonnaise, or regular
1 tablespoon regular or light cream cheese
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon paprika, ground
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/3 cup panko (Japanese bread crumbs) or regular dry bread crumbs

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil, and lightly oil, or parchment paper. Place salmon onto foil and set aside.

Mix together feta cheese, mayonnaise, cream cheese, Dijon mustard, balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper, paprika, onion powder, and garlic powder in a bowl until smooth. Spread mixture over salmon, then sprinkle panko over top, covering completely.

Bake in preheated oven until easily flaked with a fork, about 35 to 45 minutes.


Balsamic Aspargus

1 1/2 pounds fresh asparagus, trimmed
2 teaspoons olive or canola oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon white pepper
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

Place the asparagus in a 13-in. x 9-in. x 2-in. baking dish. Sprinkle with oil, salt and pepper; toss to coat. Bake, uncovered, at 425 degrees F for 10-15 minutes or until lightly browned, watch carefully, do not overcook. Drizzle with vinegar just before serving.


Greek Roasted Potatoes serves 6-8, can be halved

8 baking potatoes, peeled and cut into wedges (7 wedges per potato)
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 C. olive oil
1 C. water
1 T. dried oregano
1 lemon, juiced
salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Spray a 9x13 baking dish or pan with nonstick spray.

Place the potatoes in the pan, and sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Then pour on the rest of the ingredients. Toss all together until completely combined.

Place in the oven for 40 minutes, after 40 minutes or after a golden brown crust has formed. , turn the potatoes over, to brown the other side, add 1/2 c. more water if necessary. Sprinkle with a bit more oregano, salt, and pepper.

Bake another approx. 40 minutes, until the other side is golden brown.


I can't wait to make this dinner again, it was that delicious.

Have a great night!
Pin It

Sunday, July 3, 2011

7-3-2011 Mom's Flag Birthday Cake

Today is my mom's birthday. Happy birthday to the best mom in the world. I know everyone says that about their mom, but my mom is unbelievably awesome.

Mom, you are the best mother anyone could ever ask for. You are always there for me, you are my best friend, my partner in crime, you always listen to every crazy thing I have to say, you always help me solve my problems, and you are my favorite person to shop with.

The ironic thing about the date of my mom's birthday, is that when her mom was pregnant with her, her due date was June 29th, and she was born on July 3rd. When my mom was pregnant with me, her due date was July 3rd, and I was born on June 29th. Something to think about.

In honor of my mom's birthday we had a pool party and lunch for her. I made a flag cake, being that July 4th is tomorrow (the theme of my mom's birthday her whole life). I was not suprised when we showed up at her house today, and her table was set with July 4th plates, napkins, and decorations.

Here is a picture of the cake:

If you want to make something similar, but a bit easier...

Bake a cake in a 9x13 pan. Leave the cake in the pan, and let it cool completely. Then ice the top with either white icing, or whipped cream.

Thinly slice several strawberry. Then make a rectangle with blueberries and fill the rectangle in by staggering them to create the stars.

To make the stripes, start at the top of the cake and make a line of the strawberry slices, and then leave an equal distance of white and make another row of strawberries. Continue the process with the stripes until the cake is covered with stripes of strawberries.

Happy Birthday Mom!

I love you!

Happy July 3rd! Pin It

Friday, July 1, 2011

7-1-2011 Puxa Vida Shabbat

This week has had a lot of ups and downs, from celebrating my birthday to attending my Grandmother's funeral. Friday snuck up on me, and I realized I hadn't planned a Shabbat menu or invited anyone over.

I decided to forgo having dinner guests because I always feel it is rude to invite friends last minute. Now, I am kind of regretting my decision, my dinner turned out amazing, and I wish we were having friends to share it with.

We are starting our meal with a Cabbage Vegetable Soup. A friend told me how much she loves this soup, suprisingly it is a Weight Watchers recipe.

For our main course: I have had my eye on this Puxa Vida Tilapia recipe for over a week now, and tonight I gave it a shot. Puxa Vida means "WOW!" in Brazil. This tilapia definitely has the wow factor. As an accompaniment, I made black beans and rice.

To finish our meal, I made Strawberry Cookies with Cream Cheese Glaze. These cookies are so so so easy to make.

Here are recipes and pics:

Cabbage Vegetable Soup

3 cups broth, beef, chicken, or vegetable
2 garlic cloves, minced  
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 cups chopped cabbage
1/2 yellow onion
1/2 cup chopped carrot
1 stalk celery, chopped
1/2 cup chopped yellow squash
1/2 cup chopped zucchini
1/2 teaspoon basil
1/2 teaspoon oregano
salt & pepper

Heat 1 T. olive oil in a soup pot. Saute onions, carrots, celery, and garlic for 5 minutes.

Add broth, Tomato paste, cabbage, yellow squash, zucchini, basil, oregano and Salt & Pepper to taste.

Simmer for a about 5-10 minutes until all vegetables are tender. Simmer for 30 minutes.


Puxa Vida Tilapia

This recipe is from the blog

1 red bell pepper
1/2 onion
1 jalapeno, seeds removed
5 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 (13.5 ounce) can coconut milk
2 (15 ounce) cans fireroasted diced tomatoes
2 tablespoons honey
Juice of 1 lime
2 pounds tilapia
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Finely chop the red bell pepper, onion, jalapeno, and garlic in a food processor. Drizzle the olive oil in a large saucepan and cook the chopped vegetable mixture in the oil until softened, about 4-5 minutes. Add the coconut milk, diced tomatoes, and honey to the mixture. Bring sauce to a boil, then reduce heat and allow the sauce to simmer until it thickens, about 8-10 minutes. Add lime juice to the sauce and remove from heat.

Place the tilapia in a deep baking dish. Pour the sauce over the fish, making sure it's all well coated. Bake in preheated oven for 40-45 minutes, or until the fish flakes easily when pulled with a fork. Serve over rice with black beans on the side. Garnish with chopped cilantro.


Strawberry Cookies

I spotted these cookies on's bake sale. I use to make these cookies when I was in my late teens all the time. They are nice and chewy and nothing beats the flavor of strawberry cake mix.
This recipe is from the blog

1 box of strawberry-flavored cake mix (Duncan Hines)
1 large egg
1/4 cup oil
1/3 cup water

Betty Crocker Cookie Icing, Cream Cheese Flavor (It is parve believe it or not!)
Sprinkles (I used mini pearls)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, and set aside.

In a medium bowl, mix together the cake mix, egg, oil, and water. Mix until thoroughly combined.
Scoop out tablespoon size balls of the dough onto the cookie sheet 1 inch apart. Bake 12-15 minutes until done.

Remove from the oven, let cool on the baking sheet a few minutes. Remove to a cooling rack.

Decorate tops with icing and sprinkles.


Here is a great idea for some adorable July 4th cookies, make the above recipe with a Red Velvet cake mix, use the same icing, and sprinkle on blue sprinkles or blue sugar to decorate.

I hope you have a puxa vida weekend! Pin It