Tuesday, August 30, 2011

8-30-2011 Barbecue and Buffalo Chicken Tacos

A few weeks ago, I discovered Frank's hot wing sauce is kosher. I immediately bought it, and ever since I have been trying to figure out how I was going to use it.

Tonight, I finally used it when I made buffalo chicken tacos. I also made barbecue chicken tacos. These are no ordinary tacos, they are nothing like the Mexican variety you are probably imagining.

The buffalo chicken tacos were amazing, they were topped with shredded lettuce, avocadoes, diced tomatoes, and homemade ranch dressing.

The barbecue chicken tacos were also amazing, and they were topped with shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes, avocado pieces, and French's fried onion strings.

It would be really hard to choose which one I liked better. I couldn't get enough of either one of them, I ate way past the point of my brain telling me I was overstuffed, and I am still dreaming about them.

These were super easy to make, you must try for yourself.

Buffalo and/or Barbecue Chicken Tacos

4 boneless skinless chicken breast
1 T. paprika
1 T. oregano
1 1/2 t. brown sugar
1/2 t. cayenne pepper
3/4 t. salt
2 T. olive oil

bottle Frank's Hot Wing Sauce
bottle favorite BBQ sauce
flour tortillas, warmed either on the stove or in the microwave
diced tomatoes
shredded iceberg lettuce
diced avocado
Homemade Ranch Dressing, recipe below

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a small bowl mix together the paprika, oregano, brown sugar, cayenne pepper, and salt. Place the chicken on a baking sheet, and drizzle with olive oil. Use your hands and completely coat all sides. Sprinkle on the spice mixture and rub it into all sides of the chicken. Bake for 22-25 minutes until cooked through.

Remove chicken from the oven, and let stand for 5 minutes. Cut chicken into small cubes. Place into either one bowl or 2 depending if you are going to make both bbq and buffalo.

Pour some of the sauce of your choice over the diced chicken, and toss with a spoon.

To assemble the taco: Lay out a flour tortilla, spoon over on some of the chicken. Sprinkle some lettuce, tomatoes, avocadoes, and ranch. For the bbq chicken, you can also use French's fried onion strings, found at the grocery store in the canned vegetable aisle near the canned green beans.

Feel free to drizzle over the top some extra bbq or hot wing sauce, I did.


Ranch Dressing (parve)

1 C. mayonaise
1/2 C. soy sour cream, such as Tofutti
1/2 t. dried dill
1/2 t. dried chives
1/2 t. dried parsley
1/2 t. onion powder
1/2 t. garlic powder
2 T. water
pinch of salt, and pepper, or to taste

Place all of the above ingredients into a jar with a lid. Screw on the lid and shake until completely mixed. Taste and adjust salt and pepper to your liking. Store in the refrigerator until ready to use.

Have a great night!

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Monday, August 29, 2011

8-29-2011 Meatball Subs and House Salad

In high school I worked at an Italian Pizza Joint as a waitress. I have so many great memories of working there, it was a blast.  The food was delicious, they had everything you would imagine pasta, pizza, subs, and salads.

At the end of every night, I was able to order anything off of the menu. I would without a doubt always order the tossed salad with house dressing, and one other dish: sometimes lasagna, sometimes meatball subs, ravioli, onion pizza, chicken marsala, or chicken parmigiana. Awww, those were the days when I didn't keep kosher.

I love to recreate many of those dishes at home now. I actually still remember how they would make it in the kitchen there. Yes, I was a waitress, but of course I was drawn to the kitchen.

The owners of this restaurant pretended to be Italian, although they were actually Albanian. If you have ever been to one of these "Italian" restaurants, then you for sure have had the amazing Albanian red house dressing or tomato vinaigrette.

 If you were to ask for this salad dressing recipe, they would never ever ever share it with you. Lucky for you, I happen to know the secret recipe. I witnessed them making huge batches of it some 11 years ago.

My other favorite thing I would eat there was the meatball subs. Yum! Below, you will find my recipe for meatball subs (theirs were good, but they used premade meatballs).

Meatball Subs

I can't wait to make this for dinner again, it was excellent. In the words of Prince Hock, "You make the best dinner Mommy, I love you!"

4 mini French Bread loaves, or 1 large loaf cut into 4 rolls

1- 1.5 lbs. ground beef
1 egg
1/4 C. plain soymilk, unsweetened preferable
1/2 C. bread crumbs, I used Italian flavored
1 clove garlic
1/4 t. black pepper
1/4 t. salt
1/2 t. dried oregano
1/2 t. dried parsley
1 jar Marinara, I used Emerils which I highly recommend for this recipe
1/2 C. water

Mix together the meat, egg, soymilk, bread crumbs,  garlic, black pepper, salt, oregano, and parsley.

Pour the marinara sauce and water into a large pot. Make golf ball or smaller sized meatballs.  Place the meatballs into the sauce. Place over the stove and bring to a simmer, lower heat to lowest setting, but still simmering gently. Cover with a lid, and simmer for 2-3 hours. Stirring every so often making sure the sauce isn't burning.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Cut the bread in half, but not all the way through. Place meatballs with sauce inside. Place the filled rolls on a sheet pan. Bake for 5 minutes or until nicely toasted.


"House Dressing" Tomato Vinaigrette

You must make this, you will be in love.

1/2 C. Chili Sauce, I used Heinz (found in the same area as the ketchup)
1/4 C. white vinegar
1/4 C. vegetable oil
1/2 t. dried basil
1/2 t. dried oregano
1 t. sugar
1/2 t. salt
1/4 t. pepper
1 clove garlic, minced
2 T. water

Whisk together the chili sauce, vinegar, and oil until emulsified. Add the remaining ingredients, and mix until thoroughly combined. Can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

If you want to serve it identical to the restaurant I worked at, chop up some iceberg lettuce, slice cucumber, and tomatoes, and place it all on a salad plate with a few pepperoncinis.


Have a good night!
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Friday, August 26, 2011

8-26-2011 Mexicanish Shabbat

I was looking to change up our Shabbat dinner this week. I always have fun working within a theme, it's my cheesy side coming through. I've been wanting to do an Asian shabbat for some time now, but the work would be too time consuming. So, for tonight we are going to have a Mexicanish Shabbat Dinner, with minimal work, got to love that.

We are having:

1. Challah (Shoot! Just realized I should of made jalapeno jallah!)
2. Salad Tostadas
3. Mexican Gefilte Fish, I'm trying a new recipe, I'll let you know...
4. Gazpacho with avocado
5. Mexican Roast
6. Roasted Squash, Zucchini, Onion, and Brocolli
7. Mexican Potato Kugel
8. Mexican Rice
9. Bananas Flambe Cake

I'm making the salad tostadas for a couple of reasons. First, one of my favorite restaurants in the world, Ediths in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, always serves these when you are first seated. Basically, it's a tostada or crisp tortilla with refried beans, shredded cabbbage with lime juice, salsa, sour cream, and cheese (which I have to leave off for kosher reasons).  They are simply amazing.

The other thing I absolutely love to eat at Edith's is the bananas flambeado, I always get my own order, I WILL NOT SHARE! That is why I'm making the bananas flambe cake. At Edith's they give you a whole show as they prepare this treat tableside, I can hardly wait for the next time.

I have been making a lot of roasts lately in place of chicken. The price of whole cut up chickens has become outrageous, and the chuck roast is a hair more expensive. Why not go all out and have meat? I slow cook it at 250 degrees for 4 hours, and slice it thinly like a brisket. The results are outstanding, many people have said it's better than brisket.

Here is the bananas flambe cake recipe:

Bananas Flambe Cake

1/3 C. margarine
1 C. light brown sugar, tightly packed
1/2 t. cinnamon
2 T. light rum
3 large bananas, sliced 1/3 inch thick on the diagonal
1 yellow cake mix
1 stick margarine, melted
1 1/2 C. soy milk
2 eggs
4 t. fresh lemon juice

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Grease a bundt pan with non stick spray. Place the 1/3 C. margarine in a small pan, and heat over low to melt. Remove from the stove and add the brown sugar, cinnamon, and rum. Use a fork and mix well, and pour into the bottom of the bundt pan. Arrange the banana slices over the sugar mixture.

In a bowl mix together the cake mix, melted margarine stick, soy milk, eggs, and lemon juice. Use a hand mixer and mix on medium for 2 minutes. Pour batter over the bananas.

Place cake in the oven, and bake for 50-60 minutes until center springs back when lightly pressed. Run a knife around the edge of the cake pan, and then carefully invert onto a heatproof serving plate. If the cake does not release, run the knife around the edges again, and let the cake rest on the plate until the cake releases.


Have a bueno shabbat and weekend.

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Thursday, August 25, 2011

8-25-2011 Rainbow Pancakes

Today is Prince Hock #1's 4 th birthday! Happy birthday to one of my favorite people. I wanted to make him an extra special breakfast, and I knew that had to include singing him happy birthday with a lit candle and all.

I asked him what he wanted for breakfast, and he requested pancakes. I suprised him with rainbow pancakes. He went crazy, he and Prince Hock #2 loved them.

I first saw rainbow pancakes on another blog, I wish I could give them credit, but I can't remember what blog.

These are so easy to create. Just make your normal pancake batter. Split it evenly into 6 bowls. Tint each bowl with food coloring, red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple. I had to mix colors to make the orange and purple.

Then make the pancakes as usual. Stack in the order listed above, on the plate. I topped them with pure maple syrup (I would never use anything but real maple syrup). I decorated them with sprinkles too.

Here is the beautiful masterpiece:


Happy birthday to my not so little boy!

Have a good night!

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Wednesday, August 24, 2011

8-24-2011 Balsamic Chicken

Sorry for the lack of reading material over the last few days. I have been beyond busy. I've had/have doctors appointments, school starting, birthdays, and tons of errands getting in the way of my cooking.

You can imagine that it was nice for us to have our first home cooked meal of the week tonight. I made balsamic chicken, roasted brussels sprouts, rice pilaf, and a salad with avocado dressing.

The boys were playing a little game with me as I was cooking. I didn't realize we were playing a game, until I went to make the salad. I thought I was going crazy, I couldn't find the cucumber, tomato, and avocadoes I had sitting on the counter. I looked everywhere, and had no luck. Prince Hock came in the kitchen as I was tearing it apart, and said, "Mommy, what are you doing?" I said, "I can't find the cucumber." He started laughing, and then I realized he was the culprit. He told me I had to find it.

I then went on a scavenger hunt around my house looking for the hidden produce. The cucumber was behind the couch pillows, and the tomato and avocadoes were in my bed. How fun! There is never a dull moment.

The balsamic chicken is quick and simple. To go with the chicken, I made Near East rice pilaf because I love the flavor and it doesn't get easier than that. Click on the word roasted brussels sprouts to see the recipe in a past post. Finally, the avocado salad dressing is a delish invention of mine, I feel as though it makes eating salad a treat.

Here are pics and recipes:


Balsamic Chicken

This recipe is from allrecipes.com, it can definitely be halved

6 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
ground black pepper to taste
1 t. garlic salt
2 T. olive oil
1 onion, thinly sliced
1/2 c. balsamic vinegar
1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 t. dried basil
1 t. dried oregano
1 t. dried rosemary
1/2 t. dried thyme

To cut the breast in half, I freeze the breast for 30 minutes, or until they are partially frozen, and then they are much easier to cut.

Season chicken breasts with ground black pepper and garlic salt. Heat olive oil in a medium skillet, and brown the onion and seasoned chicken breasts.

Pour tomatoes and balsamic vinegar over chicken, and season with basil, oregano, rosemary and thyme. Simmer until chicken is no longer pink and the juices run clear, about 15-20 minutes.


Avocado Salad Dressing

I served this tossed with mixed green, cucumber slices, chopped tomato, and diced avocado. So yum!

1/2 avocado
1 T. vegetable oil
1 T. lemon juice
1 T. water
1/4 t. salt
1/4 t. freshly cracked black pepper
1/4 t. sugar
1/4 t. worcestershire sauce
1/4 t. dry mustard powder
1/2 clove garlic, minced

Mash the avocado. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix until creamy and smooth.


Have a good night!

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Friday, August 19, 2011

8-19-2011 Family Shabbat

My grandparents are in town visiting from Shreveport, Louisiana this weekend, and so we are having a shabbat dinner with the whole family. Having them over is always a special occasion.

My 93 year old grandfather, Papa, loves sharing his amazing life stories. My grandfather's grandfather, Grandpa Willard, immigrated in the 1870s from Eastern Europe to Louisiana, where he made a succesful plantation and farm store. As a boy, my grandfather would help work on the farm. He recounts how his grandparents were orthodox Jews, and how it gives him joy to come to our shabbat dinners and see us follow the same traditions.

 Papa also fought in World War 2, and his war stories are endless. When he returned from the war at 17, he went to work for Louisiana Paper company for 35 cents an hour, 50 years later he retired as Chairman of the board and an owner.

I also must mention my 86 year old grandmother, Nonnie.  You have never seen someone with a memory like hers. She was the first woman in Texas to be the president of a synagogue. She decided late in life that since she had never had a bat mitzvah, that she must. So, when she was 73, she had her bat mitzvah.

There is going to be a lot of people tonight, my policy for this is to keep it simple. Here is what we are having:

1. Challah
2. Caesar Salad
3. Brushetta, recipe below
4. Tomato Gefilte Fish with assorted spicy sauces
5. Meat Roast
6. Baked Potatoes, everyone makes their own with soy sour cream, parve margarine, and green onions
7. Green Beans
8. The Best Carrot Cake Ever, recipe below

Here are recipes and pics:


This is one of my all time favorite recipes.

1 small loaf French bread, sliced into 1 inch slices
olive oil
4 large roma tomatoes, chopped
2-3 T. fresh basil, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 T. balsamic vinegar
1 t. olive oil
1/4 t. freshly cracked black pepper
1/4 t. salt

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Brush the French bread slices with olive oil. Place on a baking sheet.

Place the bread in the oven until toasted, about 10 minutes, keep an eye.

In a large bowl mix together the tomatoes, basil, garlic, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, pepper,and salt. Let rest for at least 15 minutes to allow the flavors to develop. Spoon over toasted slices of French bread.


The Best Carrot Cake Ever (Parve)

The name says it all.

3/4 C. vegetable oil
3/4 C. soy milk mixed with 2 t. lemon juice
3 eggs
1 1/2 C. white sugar
2 t. vanilla extract
2 C. all-purpose flour
2 t. ground cinnamon
1/4 t. salt
2 t. baking soda
2 C. shredded carrots
1 C.sweetened flaked coconut
1 (8 oz.) can crushed pineapple with juice
1 C. raisins

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

In a large bowl mix together the oil, soy milk mixed with lemon juice, eggs, sugar, and vanilla. Add the flour, cinnamon, salt, and baking soda. Mix until well combined. Add the shredded carrots, coconut, pineapple, and raisins. Stir to mix together well.

Pour the cake batter into the pan and place into the oven. Bake for 1 hour.

Frost the top with White Icing.

White Icing

4 oz. (1/2 container) Tofutti Cream Cheese
4 T. margarine
1/2 t. almond extract
1/2 t. vanilla extract
2 C. powdered sugar

Using a hand mixer whip the cream cheese and margarine together. Add the extracts, and mix. Add the powdered sugar 1 cup at a time. Mix until smooth. Spread over the top of the cake.


The doorbell is going to ring any minute, and I have about 100 things left to do. AHHHHHH!

Have a great shabbat and great weekend.

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Wednesday, August 17, 2011

8-17-2011 Dinner for Friends with New Baby

Our good friends just had a baby girl. Anyone who has ever been in their shoes knows how great it is to receive meals prepared by friends. I always jump at the chance to make friends dinner because I will never forget when I had newborns and how helpful it was to not worry about dinner.

I doubled what I made tonight, and we had the same dinner. Here is what I made: Chicken Piccata over Sauteed Spinach, Whole Wheat Penne with Homemade Marinara Sauce, Green Salad, and Chocolate Chip Cookies.

I like to buy big packages of foil baking containers at Costco to use specifically for these types of occasions. I package every dish in the foil bakers, cover them tightly with foil, and it makes for easy transportation.

Here are some pictures and recipes:


Chicken Piccata

This is for all you lemon lovers. Thanks Giada for your take on an Italian classic.

2 skinless and boneless chicken breasts,  butterflied and then cut in half
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Flour for dredging
6 tablespoons margarine
5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup chicken stock
1/4 cup brined capers, rinsed
1/3 cup fresh parsley, chopped, optional

Season chicken with salt and pepper. Dredge chicken in flour, I like to do this by placing 1/2 C. flour in a large ziploc bag. Then place the chicken inside, seal the bag and shake. Shake off excess flour.

In a large skillet over medium high heat, melt 2 tablespoons of margarine with 3 tablespoons olive oil. When margarine and oil start to sizzle, add 2 pieces of chicken and cook for 3 minutes. When chicken is browned, flip and cook other side for 3 minutes. Remove and transfer to plate. Melt 2 more tablespoons margarine and add another 2 tablespoons olive oil. When margarine and oil start to sizzle, add the other 2 pieces of chicken and brown both sides in same manner. Remove pan from heat and add chicken to the plate.

Into the pan add the lemon juice, stock and capers. Return to stove and bring to boil, scraping up brown bits from the pan for extra flavor. Check for seasoning add salt and pepper if necessary. Return all the chicken to the pan and simmer for 5 minutes covered. Remove chicken to platter. Add remaining 2 tablespoons margarine to sauce and whisk vigorously. Pour sauce over chicken and garnish with parsley if desired.


Quick Homemade Marinara

This recipe taste fresh and is a welcome change from jarred marinara. The original recipe comes from Mario Batalli, I have changed it to my liking.

6 T. olive oil
1 small onion, finely diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 t. dried thyme
1 t. dried basil
1 t. dried oregano
1 T. sugar
1 small or medium carrot, finely shredded
2 (28 oz.) cans tomatoes, crushed by hand and mixed well with juices
salt, to taste

Place oil into a sauce pan with onions, and cook over medium heat until translucent but not brown (about 10 minutes). Add the garlic and cook another 2 minutes.  Add the thyme, basil, oregano, sugar, and carrot; cook 5 minutes more. Add the tomatoes. Bring to a boil and then lower the heat to just bubbling, stirring occasionally for 30 minutes.

Season with salt to taste. Serve immediately. If you prefer chunky sauce leave it alone, but if you like a less chunky sauce, use an immersion blender and blend until smooth.


Have a good night!

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Tuesday, August 16, 2011

8-16-2011 Taco Tostadas

I have to say tonight's dinner ranked very high up there as one of my favorite dinners. I made taco tostadas with nada mas (nothing else). These are easy, quick, and not too messy.

The most important part is the layering. I started with premade tostada shells made by Mission. Next, I layered on homemade refried beans, sliced avocado, taco meat, salsa, shredded lettuce, chopped tomatoes, and a drizzle of soy sour cream. Last, I put on the secret ingredient, Wishbone Italian salad dressing. I know that may sound strange, but you have to trust me, it's amazing!

To drizzle sour cream, fill a sandwich baggy with 1/2 C. sour cream. Snip a small piece off one corner, and squeeze out onto the tostada in a thin stream.

Here are pics and recipes:


Easy Refried Beans

These are so yummy. If you are in a pinch you can substitute canned refried beans, which are difficult to find kosher.

1 can (15.5 oz.) pinto beans, I used Goya brand
1 T. vegetable oil
1/4 small onion, very finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
salt and pepper

Pour the can of beans including the liquid into a small or medium bowl. Use an immersion blender and blend until somewhat smooth, you can also try mashing with a fork, but that is too much work and won't get smooth enough.

Place the vegetable oil in a medium skillet and add the onion and garlic. Saute over medium heat until the onion is soft, do not let it start to brown, turn down the heat if this happens. Add the mashed beans and stir frequently cooking over medium heat for 5-10 minutes until the beans start to thicken. Remember the beans will thicken as they cool. Add salt and pepper to taste.


Lee Hock's Taco Meat Recipe

1 T. vegetable oil
1/2 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 lbs. ground beef
1 t. cumin
1 t. paprika
1/3 C. prepared salsa, like Pace Picante
1/4 t. pepper
pinch of salt

In a medium sized pan heat the vegetable oil over medium heat. Add the onion, and garlic. Saute until the onion is translucent. Add the ground beef, and cook until browned. Add the cumin, paprika, salsa, pepper, and salt. Stir to combine. Lower the heat and cook for 15 minutes.


I'll tell you the order I made the tostadas one more time:

Tostada, Beans, Sliced Avocado, Taco Meat, Salsa, Shredded Lettuce, Chopped Tomatoes, Drizzle Soy Sour Cream, and Wishbone Italian Salad Dressing. SO GOOD!

Here's another idea, make dairy tostadas by leaving off the taco meat and using black beans, shredded cheese, and real sour cream in addition to the other ingredients.

Have a good night!

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Monday, August 15, 2011

8-15-2011 Chicken Soup for the Patient

Poor King Hock-a-lock-a-ding-dong had knee surgery today (wasn't the leg he hurt when he fell through the attic, it was his other leg from a previous injury). Thank g-d the surgery went well, and he is recovering nicely.

What better dish to make for my patient than chicken soup with matzah balls and noodles? It has magical healing powers.

When I think of matzah balls, I think of a funny story from my childhood:

My mom used to have garage sales, but she didn't like to do the work. There used to be a lady in our area who would do the garage sale for you, and charge you a percentage of the profits. She was talented.

The first time she came to our house to do a garage sale I was so intrigued by her. I spent the day watching her every move, and talking to her (I'm sure I annoyed her severely). For some reason, I became preoccupied with trying to figure out if she was Jewish. I thought and thought of ways to find the answer and then I came up with an idea.

I went inside, grabbed a piece of white bread and rolled it into a tight ball (I may of or may not of chewed it first). I took the ball outside and said to the garage sale lady, "do you know what this is?" She replied, "that's a matzah ball!" Then I said, "I knew you were Jewish!"

It's hard for me to make matzah balls without remembering the garage sale lady.

Tonight we also had a green salad with Russian dressing. All of the recipes are below.

Delish Chicken Soup

The secret to this soup, is first making the broth, and then making soup and using that broth. It's so flavorful and delish. Also, the carrots and celery aren't mushy.

1 chicken, giblets discarded
3 stalks celery, roughly chopped
2 onions, quartered
5 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 bay leaf
10 peppercorns

Place the chicken inside a soup pot. Add the celery, onions, carrots, bay leaf, and pepper corns. Fill with water until the pot is almost full, maybe 1 or 2 inches under the top of the pot. Put the pot on the stove and bring to a boil over high heat, immediately lower heat to a simmer. Simmer for 3-4 hours.

Drain broth into a large bowl with a strainer. Remove the chicken and when cool enough to handle, remove the meat from the bones and shred. Add the shredded chicken to the broth. Discard the bones, carrots, celery, peppercorns, bay leaf, and onions. Set aside the broth with the chicken.

1 T. vegetable oil
1 stalk celery, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
2 carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1/2 onion, diced
1/2 t. garlic powder
Broth and chicken from above
1/2 - 1 t. salt, to taste

In the same soup pot, heat the oil over medium. Add the celery, carrots, and onion. Saute for 10 minutes. Add the garlic powder, broth and chicken. Stir everything together. Start with 1/2 t. salt and decide whether it up to 1/2 t. needs more. Bring to a boil, and then lower heat to a simmer for 30 minutes. Serve with matzah balls and egg noodles.


Matzah Balls

This recipe make 12 small matzah balls.

2 eggs
2 T. vegetable oil
1/2 C. matzah meal
1 t. salt

In a small bowl lightly beat the eggs. Add the vegetable oil, matzah meal, and salt. Stir to combine. Place in the refrigerator for 20 minutes.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add 1 t. salt. Form tablespoon or smaller sized balls, should make about 12. Drop the balls into the boiling water. Cover tightly with a lid, and reduce to a simmer. Cook for 20 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to remove from the water.


Russian Salad Dressing

I love this dressing with chopped iceberg lettuce and avocado.

1/4 C. vegetable oil
1/4 C. ketchup
1 T. white vinegar
1 T. lemon juice
1 T. sugar
1 t. worcestershire sauce
1/2 t. paprika
1/4 t. salt
freshly cracked black pepper

Whisk together the above ingredients. Can be stored in the refrigerator for 1 week in a jar with a lid.


I need to go tend to my patient. I hope you have a good night.

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Sunday, August 14, 2011

8-14-2011 Watermelon Juice

I prepared brunch this morning in the company of King Hock's cousin who was visiting us from New York. As I was cutting the watermelon she filled me in on an amazing thing to do with watermelon, make juice.

I was suprised how easy it was to make. The result was delicious and very refreshing. If you like watermelon, definitely make this healthy treat. The only tool you need is a blender.

Here is how:

Watermelon Juice

1/2 seedless watermelon, rind removed and cut into chunks
1/3 C. water
agave, optional depending on how sweet your watermelon is

Fill the blender 3/4 full of watermelon. Add the water. Blend until liquefied. Taste to see if it needs agave, add according to your preference for sweetness, maybe 1 tablespoon. I didn't have to add any. Chill until ready to serve, best served immeadiately with or without ice.


I hope you had a great weekend! Pin It

Friday, August 12, 2011

8-12-2011 Vegan Gluten Free Shabbat

Business and busyness as usual in the kitchen today. We are very excited because King Hock's cousin and younger sister are coming to visit.

The hoopla of cooking for any guest is always a treat, but cooking for King Hock's cousin is a huge treat. You see, she is vegan and gluten free. I love coming up with things to make for her, it's a fun excercise for my brain.

Here is what I'm planning on making tonight: (she obviously will not be eating the challah, and london broil)

1. Challah
2. Homemade Hummus with carrots, and celery sticks
3. Heirloom Tomato Salad, recipe below
4. Mixed Green with Roasted Beets and Apples
5. Mushroom Soup, recipe below
6. Grilled London Broil
7. Steamed Green Beans
8. Za'atar Cauliflower, recipe below
9. Twice Baked Potato Casserole
10. Vegan Chocolate Mousse with Raspberries


Heirloom Tomato Salad

Heirloom tomatoes are phenomenal, beautiful, and are at their peak this very moment. I have fun picking out the tomatoes whenever I make this. I try to buy an assortment of colors, shapes, and sizes. This is such an easy thing to make, and it is very refreshing when it is in the triple digits outside.

4-6 assorted heirloom tomatoes, cut in half and thinly sliced
2 T. olive oil (use a good quality one)
2 T. balsamic vinegar
kosher or sea salt
freshly cracked black pepper
fresh basil, finely chopped

Don't make this until right before serving. Arrange the tomatoes on a large serving platter in lines of colors. Drizzle on the olive oil and the balsamic vinegar. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Sprinkle on the fresh basil.


Za'atar Cauliflower (warning: this is addictive, I can eat 1 recipe myself!)

The last time KH's cousin visited I made cauliflower, that she absolutely loved. I can't wait to introduce her to this recipe. Za'atar seasoning can be found in Israeli supermarkets or in some kosher sections of the grocery store. It is delicious sprinkled on hummus too.

This recipe is from Susie Fishbein's latest for teens and 20-somethings.

1 head cauliflower, cut into florets
2 T. olive oil
2 T. za'atar seasoning
2 T. vegetable broth
2 cloves fresh garlic

Place an empty sheet pan in the oven. Turn the oven 450 degree, and heat the pan as the oven heats.

In a large bowl, stir together the olive oil, za'atar spice, vegetable broth, and garlic. Add the cauliflower florets and toss to evenly coat.

Remove the hot sheet pan from the oven and pour the cauliflower on into a single layer. Use an oven mitt and place the sheet pan back into the oven immediately. Roast, uncovered for 30-40 minutes, until nicely browned.

Mushroom Soup

Anthony Bourdain had posted a similar recipe online, here is my spin.

4 T. margarine
2 T. olive oil
1 small onion, thinly sliced
1 8 oz. package white mushrooms, roughly chopped, set aside and save 2 mushrooms for garnish
2 large portobello mushrooms, chopped
4 C. vegetable broth
salt and pepper, to taste
1/4 C. white wine

Melt the  2 T. of the margarine and the olive oil in a soup pot over medium heat. Add the onions and sautee until translucent and soft. Add the mushrooms and the rest of the 2 T. margarine. Cook stirring occasionally for 8-10 minutes, until the mushrooms start to soften. Add the broth  and bring to a boil, turn down to a simmer. Let simmer for 1 hour.

 Use an immersion blender and blend until smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste. I usually add a bit, and then taste and keep adding and tasting (with several spoons) until the saltiness I like is achieved. Stir in the white wine. Thinly slice the 2 mushrooms you have set aside. Ladle the soup into the bowls, and sprinkle with a few fresh mushroom slices.


That is just our dinner. I'll let you use your imagination as to what I'm making for breakfast and lunch tomorrow.

I hope you have a good shabbat and weekend.

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Wednesday, August 10, 2011

8-10-2011 Coconut Chicken Strips

This is one of my all time favorite recipes. Enough said.

It goes well served with Pineapple Fried Rice, or just plain steamed rice, and a green salad or steamed green beans.

You might want to dip these yummy strips into Pineapple Chutney, duck sauce, or teriyaki sauce.

Here's the recipe:

Coconut Chicken

Heavily adapted from Kosher by Design Entertains

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1/2 C. all purpose flour
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. garlic powder
1/4 t. pepper
2 eggs
1 C. panko bread crumbs (could also use cornflake crumbs)
2 C. sweetened coconut flakes

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

Cut the breasts into 1/2 inch strips. Place the flour in a medium bowl and add the salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Place the eggs in a medium bowl, and beat until yolk and white are combined. Place the panko and coconut into another medium bowl and mix together.

Start by dipping each strip into the flour, shake off the excess. Then dip in the eggs, then into the bread crumb coconut mixture. Place breaded strip onto the baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining strips. Drizzle the strips lightly with honey.

Place the pan into the oven and bake for 20-30 minutes until the coconut is nicely browned and the chicken is cooked through.


I hope you make these, let me know if you do!

Have a good night.

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Monday, August 8, 2011

8-8-2011 Blueberry Lemon Cupcakes

Oh my word! I think I have a new obsession. I just made blueberry lemon cupcakes, and they are amazing. Adults and children alike will love these.

Kids will go crazy for their intense purple color, it's beautiful. They look like they have food coloring in them, but that is not the case. The color comes from roasting the blueberries before mixing them in. My boys just had one and are begging for another. Even though they probably just ruined their dinner, I caved and let them split one, (I know I'm a softy).

Everyone will go crazy for the intensely delicious lemon blueberry flavor. These don't even need icing.

All of the sudden I can't walk into the kitchen without the younger one offering to help me cook. Sometimes, I go in the kitchen just to grab water, and he runs in saying, "I help you cook Mommy." His favorite is to crack eggs.

Here is the recipe and pics:

Blueberry Lemon Cupcakes

I had a hard time capturing the color in the above picture, I need a professional camera and photography lessons. This recipe is adapted from the blog: www.howsweeteats.com

1 1/2 C. blueberries
1/2 C. margarine (1 stick)
1 C. sugar
2 eggs
1 t. pure vanilla extract
1 3/4 C. all purpose flour
1 1/4 t. baking powder
1/4 t. salt
1 large lemon, juiced ( you should get and will need 2-3 T. juice from 1 large lemon)
1 t. lemon zest

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a baking sheet with non stick spary and spread the blueberries on them. Bake them at 350 for 10-15 minutes, until they start to burst. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool until ready to use them.

Place the margarine in a large mixing bowl, and using a mixer, beat until fluffy. Add the sugar and beat 1 minute until fluffy. Add the eggs and vanilla, and mix another 2 minutes. Then add the flour, baking powder, salt, and lemon zest. Mix until combined. Next, add the cooled blueberries. Mix until combined again, the batter should be purple now. Add the lemon juice, and mix until the batter is formed.

Bake for 18 minutes, until the center of the cupcake springs back when lightly touched.


Have a nice evening!

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Sunday, August 7, 2011

8-7-2011 Maggiano's Chop Salad

At this point, I'm sure you have been able to deduce that I am a salad freak. I love my salads! One of my all time favorites, is the chop salad from Maggiano's. Think: chopped lettuce, tomatoes, avocados, blue cheese, and a yummy vinaigrette.

I never attempted to recreate this recipe at home because I thought it would be impossible. But, after I found a copycat recipe online, I decided to give it a shot. I was skeptical it would taste like the real deal. I was shocked, it was spot on!

Here's how you can make this delish salad at your house too:

Maggiano's Chop Salad

1/2 head iceberg lettuce, chopped in 1/2 inch pieces
1 head romaine lettuce, chopped in 1/2 inch pieces
2 Roma tomatoes, 1/2 inch diced (can also use a regular tomato)
1 recipe of Vinaigrette Dressing
1/2 C. blue cheese (optional, omit for a meat meal or if you don't like blue cheese, you could use any cheese)
1-2 avocados, diced

In a large salad bowl, place the lettuces, and tomatoes. Pour on some of the salad dressing and toss, add more dressing if necessary. Sprinkle on the blue cheese, and avocado. Serve. I like to put fresh cracked pepper on mine before I serve it.

Vinaigrette Dressing

1 1/2 t. dried mustard powder, I prefer Coleman's
2 T. sugar
1/2 t. salt
1/2 freshly cracked black pepper
1/2 t. crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 t. dried oregano
3/4 C. vegetable oil
1/4 C. olive oil
1/4 C. water
2 T. red wine vinegar
1/4 C. white vinegar
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
3 green onion green part only, finely sliced

Place all of the above ingredients into a jar with a lid. Screw on the lid, and shake until emulsified. Can be made in advance, and stored in the refrigerator.


3 Very Important Salad Making Tips:


Wash each leaf of lettuce separately under running water. Shake off the excess water. Cut the lettuce for your salad and wrap the lettuce tightly inside a clean dish cloth.  Place the dish cloth with lettuce into the salad bowl you are going to use, and place that into the refrigerator until you will be ready to serve the salad.  This will make your lettuce perfect, dry, chilled, and crisp.

An easy way to wrap the lettuce, is to cover the inside of your salad bowl with a large clean dish cloth. Place the lettuce into the bowl, on top of the towel. Then bring together the sides of the dish cloth to tightly wrap. I then turn this "ball" upside down. That way, when I am ready to use the lettuce, all I do is pull off the dish towel.


Start by pouring some of the dressing over the salad and tossing it. You can then add more if necessary. It is always better to have to add more, than having too much and having a soggy salad.
P.S. This tip is also good for people who are watching their weight, and don't want extra calories and fat.


Along the same soggy salad lines above, I always wait until the last possible second to pour the dressing on, I make every component of the salad ready and waiting in the fridge.
Yes, there are a couple of salads that are good when they have been sitting in dressing for a while (like Hoffbrau), but the vast majority are just plain gross if dressed to early.


I hope you had a good weekend.

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Friday, August 5, 2011

8-5-2011 A Day in the life to make a Shabbat Dinner

Wow! This has been a crazy day.

Here is a peek into what happened in all of 5 minutes during my crazy loco morning:
Cleaning poop off my potty-trained 2 year old who pooped in his pants, then giving him a quick bath
Ironing my husbands t-shirts, he was getting ready to make a Talenti TV appearance!
Making scrambled eggs, toast, and sippy cups, all the while my 3 year old woke up and wanted me to bring him downstairs.
Fed the dog his breakfast too.

After the manic morning,, I managed to escape to the grocery store without the rascals, what a treat!

Then, the craziness never stopped.
 I took the boys to Chuck-e-Cheese, (the best part was my 3 year old clinging on to me for dear life when Chuck-e-Cheese came out, all I could do was laugh).
Even though Chuck-e-Cheese has new and improved pizza, I decided to skip it (based on previous experiences), and next, I took them for lunch at a restaurant.

After lunch, we came home, they napped, and I got to cooking. When they woke up, we went to a friend's house for a playdate. Next, we came home and I finished up the cooking. Now, I am sitting her blogging, as you can imagine I am about to collapse.

Here is what we are having tonight:

1. Challah
2. Roasted Beet Salad
3. Tomato Basil Caper Salad, recipe below
4. Tomato Gefilte Fish with condiments
5. Cranberry  Meat Roast
6. Lemon Pepper Roasted Whole Chicken
7. Parsnip Spinach Gratin, recipe below
8. Steamed Green Beans
9. Grandma Ople's Apple Pie, recipe below


Tomato Basil Caper Salad

Although this is a super easy salad to make, it appears very fancy!

4 tomatoes (assorted heirloom are great if you can find them)
1 T. capers
2 T. fresh basil, chiffonade (roll up several leaves like a cigar and slice them into thin strips)
balsamic vinegar
olive oil
salt and pepper

Thinly slice the tomatoes and arrange them on a serving dish. Sprinkle on the capers. Drizzle 2-3 T. balsamic over the tomatoes, and then 2-3 T. olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with the basil.


Parsnip Spinach Gratin

Parsnips look like white carrots. When they are cooked they have a sweet buttery taste. This recipe is from Kosher by Design Entertains. It makes enough for 12 people, I made a 1/2 recipe.

4 T. margarine
2 large onions, diced
1 (10 oz.) box frozen spinach, thawed and drained
1/2 C. flour
1/4 C. Tofutti soy sour cream
1/4 C. mayo
1/4 t. salt
1/4 t. pepper
28 oz. chicken broth, (I used Imagine organic "No Chicken" broth)
3 lbs. large parsnips, peeled and thinly sliced about 1/4 inch

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

Melt the margarine in a large pot over medium. Add the onions and sautee until translucent and a little golden. Add the spinach and saute for 3 minutes.

Add the flour, and stir in the mayo, sour cream, salt and pepper. Stir until all combined.

Add the broth and stir until smooth. Bring to a simmer. Allow the sauce to thicken while simmering for a few minutes.

Ladle a layer of the spinach sauce in the bottom of the pan. Top with half of the parsnips, by making a layer of overlapping parsnips. Top with more sauce. Then another parsnip layer with the rest of the parsnips. Finally, end with one more layer of sauce. You should have 3 sauce layers and 2 parsnips layers.

Sprinkle with paprika and bake for 1 1/2 hours.


Grandma Ople's Apple Pie

Grandma Ople is not my grandma. I found this recipe on allrecipes.com, it got an average of 5 stars by 3,825 people, which is unbelievable. This is no ordinary apple pie recipe.

1 recipe pastry for a 9 inch double crust pie, I used a store bought one
1/2 cup unsalted butter
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
8 Granny Smith apples - peeled, cored and sliced

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Melt the butter in a saucepan. Stir in flour to form a paste. Add water, white sugar and brown sugar, and bring to a boil. Reduce temperature and let simmer.

Place the bottom crust in your pan. Fill with apples, mounded slightly. Cover with a lattice work crust. Gently pour the sugar and butter liquid over the crust. Pour slowly so that it does not run off.

Bake 15 minutes in the preheated oven. Reduce the temperature to 350 degrees. Continue baking for 35 to 45 minutes, until apples are soft.


Now, I have exactly 30 minutes to put the finishing touches on my dinner, before our guests arrive.

Have a good shabbat, and a good weekend. Pin It

Thursday, August 4, 2011

8-4-2011 Lee Likes 2

I've just returned from a swanky affair at the Ritz Carlton. My brother is a residential real estate agent, and he just formed a new group within the company he works for. To kick off this new group, he threw a big party complete with abundant alcohol and delish food. I am about to explode right now, I must of eaten 8 eggrolls, 8 spring rolls, and 8 wontons.

As you can see, I didn't make dinner. To make it up to you, I am going to share with you my newest likes/loves/and obsessions.

1. Justin's Almond Maple Butter

OMG! Have you tried this yet? You must. My favorite way to eat it is either with apples or pretzels, you can also eat it by itself.

2. Sensor Handsoap Dispenser by Simple Human

This was a birthday gift from one of my closest friends (who knows me really well (remember germphobe=handwashing). I have it next to my kitchen sink filled with hand soap, although it can be filled with dish soap or hand sanitizer. Best invention in the last 10 years. Now I need an automatic sensor faucet.

sensor pump
3.  Beano's Buffalo Sauce

See below: second from the left.
Last Friday night we were having Shabbat dinner at a friend's house when they whipped out this sauce. We ended up dipping every single thing they served into it from fish to chicken to pototoes, and even challah. I was close to just squirting it straight into my mouth.

4. Primigi Boy's Driving Moccasins

I got my boys each a pair of these adorable shoes in the Spring. The reason I'm posting them now is because I am trying to remind myself I need to order them new ones for the upcoming Jewish holidays. They come in all different colors and suede and leather.

Product Image
5. Cheese and Crackers with Pepper Jelly

I have been eating this combo of cheese, crackers, and this jelly every single day. I cannot get enough. The combination of salty, sweet, and spicy is ridiculously addictive. The hatch jalapeno flavor is great too.

Red Pepper Jelly 25818-x

6. Press Dough! Cookie Maker

My son and I were watching t.v. when the infomercial for this came on, we were both mesmerized (think playdough that is baked and eaten). He promptly asked if we could get it, and I said maybe. I haven't ordered it yet, but I am very tempted. Click on the link and you too will be mesmerized:

Little Kids: Press Dough Cookie Characters

7. Curling Iron Wand

I got my haircut last week, and my hair dresser used this tool to give me that movie star loose curl look. This is not a traditional curling iron, as you have to wrap strands of hair around it. My hair had never looked better. Not sure if I will be able to recreate the look at home, but going to give it a shot.

Conair CD117R Infiniti Series You Curl Tourmaline Ceramic Curling Iron
8. Onion Saver

I was so excited when my sister got me this nifty onion holder as part of my birthday gift. Loving it!

Gourmac Red <em>Onion Saver</em> with Airtight Lid

9. Silicon Brownie Pan

This is another one of the great birthday gifts from my sister. After having my sister's perfectly baked brownies from this pan for the last 5 years, I finally have my own!
KitchenAid Silicone Square Cake Pan, Red
10. Bimbo Honey Wheat Bread

This is the only kosher, spongy bread I have ever found (think Mrs. Baird's or Wonder Bread). This bread is perfect for cinnamon toast and grilled cheeses. At around 2 bucks a loaf, there is always a fresh loaf sitting on my counter.


Well, that should do it for now.

Have a good night! Pin It