Monday, October 31, 2011

10-31-2011 Sheperd's Pie

We are back after a fun filled week in the dizzying Disney World. We managed to ride, see, and eat everything possible. We had our fill of Mickey Mouse shaped ice cream bars, ice cream sandwiches, pancakes and waffles. I looked everywhere to bring home my own Mickey Mouse waffle iron, but had no luck.

Now it's back to real life, back to the kitchen. I'm not sure if I was happier in the happiest place on earth, or when I was moseying around the grocery store today deciding what to make for dinner. One thing is for sure though, it was nice to have a home cooked meal.

I was really in the mood for some comfort food, which led me to make Sheperd's Pie, Rolls, and a Romaine Salad with French Dressing.

Here are the recipes:

Sheperd's Pie

This is a hodge podge of a few different recipes tailored to my liking. You can totally get away with making only this for your meal.

Potato Layer

1.5 lbs. Russet Potatoes, peeled and diced
1/2 C. unsweetened plain soy milk
2 T. margarine, I used tub Smart Balance Light
3/4 t. salt
1/4 t. pepper

Place the peeled and cut potatoes in a medium pot, and cover with cold water. Put the pot onto the stove and bring the water to a boil. Boil until the potatoes are tender (test by piercing with a fork). Drain over sink into a colander. Place cooked potatoes back into pot, add the soy milk, margarine, salt, and pepper. Use a potato masher, and mash until smooth.

While the potatoes are cooking, prepare the meat layer.

Meat Layer

2 T. olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
1 large (or 2 small) carrot, peeled and diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1.5 lbs. ground beef
1/2-1 t. salt
1/2 t. pepper
2 T. flour
2 T. tomato paste
2 T. ketchup
1 C. vegetable or chicken broth
1 (14.5 oz.) can diced tomatoes, drained
1 pinch dried rosemary
1/2 t. dried thyme
1/2 C. frozen corn kernels
1/2 C. frozen peas

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Heat the oil in a large pot. Add the onion and cook until translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the carrots, and cook another few minutes. Add the ground beef and garlic. Cook stirring every so often, until the meat is browned. Add the salt, and pepper, and flour. Stir until combined. Cook for a minute or two, stirring constantly.

Stir in the tomato paste, ketchup, broth, diced tomatoes, rosemary, and thyme. Bring to a simmer, and cook for 10 minutes until the sauce is slightly thickened. Stir in the corn and peas.Taste to check for seasoning, may need more salt or pepper.

Place in a large baking dish, I used a round dutch oven. Place dollops of the mashed potatoes ontop, and then gently spread so the entire meat layer is covered with mashed potatoes. Feel free to sprinkle the top with paprika and pepper.

Place in the oven and bake for 25 minutes. Remove, and let stand at least 10 minutes before serving.


French Salad Dressing

This is a favorite in my house. Goes great on any type of lettuce, with cucumbers, tomatoes, avocado, etc.

3/8 C. vegetable oil
1/4 C. ketchup
2 1/2 T. sugar
2 T. vinegar
1-2 T. chopped onion
a few drops fresh lemon juice
1/4 t. paprika
pinch of salt

Place all of the above ingredients in a container. Use an immersion blender to blend until the onion is grated and the dressing thick and emulsified, about 1 minute. Taste to check if it needs more salt. Store in the refrigerator until ready to use.


I hope you have a great night! Pin It

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

10-19-2011 Hoshana Raba in the Sukkah

Atlast! The never ending holidays are coming to a close. Even I, who loves copious menu planning and cooking, am happy to get back to normal.

Tonight starts Hoshana Raba, and then we have Shemini Artzeret, and lastly Simchat Torah, it's the final marathon of the holidays.

We eat dinner tonight in our sukkah for the last time. All I have to say is, King Hock better take our sukkah down as soon as possible, I'm cracking the whip. I swear last year (2010) he didn't get our sukkah down until March 2011. Ask our neighbors to verify.

My menu tonight is filled with recipes I got from one of my closest friends. She got the recipes from her shul in Baltimore's cookbook "America Cooks Kosher." 
America Cooks Kosher: The All-Season All-Reason Kosher Cookbook
Here is the menu:

1. Whole wheat challah
2. Maple Glazed Salmon, recipe below
3. Crunchy Romaine Toss, recipe below
4. Assorted Sushi (for my 4 year old sushi addict)
5. Chicken Matzah Ball Soup
6. Peachy Persian Chicken, recipe below
7. Boring Rice
8. Boring Asparagus
9. Hummingbird Bundt Cake, recipe below

Here are the recipes:

Crunchy Romaine Toss

Love, love, love this salad, and you will too.

1 C. walnuts, chopped
1 (3 oz) package Ramen noodles, uncooked, broken up, discard flavor packet
1 T. olive oil
1 T. dark brown sugar
1 bunch broccoli, coarsely chopped
1 head romaine lettuce, chopped in small pieces
4 green onions, thinly sliced
1 cup Sweet and Sour Dressing (see recipe below)

Brown walnuts and noodles in olive oil over the stove. Cool on paper towels.
After sauteing, sprinkle on 1 tbsp of dark brown sugar to walnut-noodle mixture.

Combine noodles and walnuts with broccoli, romaine and green onions.

Pour dressing on top and toss to coat well.
Sweet and Sour Dressing
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 tbsp soy sauce
1/4 tsp salt
Dash of black pepper

Whisk together all dressing ingredients. Can be made in advance and refrigerated.
Salmon with Maple Balsamic Glaze
This delicious salmon goes well with anything. My friend serves it with horseradish mayo which is a great accompaniment.

1/4 cup maple syrup
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup orange juice
1 tsp minced garlic
2 tbsp olive oil
1/4 tsp pepper or to taste
1/2 tsp salt
1 pound salmon filets or steaks

In a small saucepan, mix maple syrup, balsamic vinegar, orange juice and garlic together. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes or until mixture is reduced. Remove from heat and stir in oil. Chill. Divide marinade in half.

Marinate salmon for 10 minutes in half of the marinade. Remove from marinade and discard marinade. Sprinkle salmon with salt and pepper. Liberally brush with remaining half of marinade.

Broil or grill 4 to 5 inches from heat on an uncovered grill directly over medium coals for 12 minutes per inch of thickness.

For filets, baste again halfway through cooking time. For steaks, turn halfway through cooking time and baste with marinade.

Serves 2-4


Peachy Persian Chicken

I know first glance at this recipe, and you are probably thinking that it looks nasty. It is absolutely delicious, a bit out of the ordinary, and I think you will like it. King Hock devours it.

3 tbsp flour
1/2 tsp oregano
1 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
3 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, thinly sliced
1 large onion, chopped
oil for sauteing
1 clove garlic, minced
1 cup minced fresh celery
3/4 cup shredded carrots
8 ounces tomato sauce
16 ounces canned peaches, drained, reserve juice
2 T. brown sugar
1 tbsp dry tarragon leaves, crushed
1 1/2 tsp chili powder

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Combine flour, oregano, salt and pepper in a plastic bag. Shake flour mixture with chicken pieces in bag to thoroughly coat. Brown chicken on both sides in a pan with some oil. Pat dry and place in a single layer in a 13x9x2 inch baking dish; set aside.

Saute onions, garlic, celery, and carrots in oil for about 10 minutes until just soft. Turn the heat to low and add the tomato sauce, peach juice, brown sugar, tarragon and chili powder. Heat, stirring often to just boiling.  Pour over chicken.

Bake, uncovered, for 35 minutes. Add peaches, either thinly sliced or cut into chunks, baste with some sauce and bake 10 minutes longer.

Serves 4-6


Hummingbird Bundt Cake

This phenomenal recipe is one that I adapted from the cookbook, The Cake Mix Doctor. I love making bundt cakes, they come out of the pan looking beautiful, and they don't require the extra step of icing. You can eat this cake the next day for breakfast, or have it with some coffee.

1 yellow cake mix, Duncan Hines
1 can (8 oz.) crushed pineapple
2 medium/large or 3 small/medium bananas, mashed
3 eggs
1/2 C. water
1/2 C. vegetable oil
1 t. vanilla
1 t. cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a bundt pan heavily with non stick spray.
Mix together all of the above ingredients in a large bowl with a hand mixer until moistened. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula, and then mix on medium for 2 minutes.
Pour batter into the prepared pan.
Bake for 50-60 minutes until done.
Let cool in pan for 15-20 minutes, and then remove from pan onto a cooling rack.

Sprinkle the top with powdered sugar before serving. Can also spread icing (duncan hines white whipped) over the top and sprinkle with chopped pecans.


Enjoy the remainder of the holidays. Have a nice weekend. Pin It

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

10-12-2011 Sukkot Meals

I know I've been slacking on the blog lately. These holidays are taking their toll. I feel as though I am constantly pressed for time, and I haven't been able to cook as much as usual. (Excuses, excuses!)

I did make an excellent dinner before Yom Kippur, but didn't have time to blog it. Bummer. I made a spinach salad, chicken marsala, mashed potatoes, and asparagus. I'll post the chicken marsala recipe the next time I make it.

Over Sukkot, I am going to be cooking a few different meals here and there, and we will be going to some friend's houses as well.

For lunch one day, I am going to make Neiman Marcus's Tuna Pecan Salad. I've been eating this tuna from their restaurant my whole life, it's one of my favorite tunas. They always serve it with a side of corn relish, and black eyed pea relish, both of which are just as good as the tuna. I'll post the tuna and corn relish recipe below, definitely give them a try, they are amazing.

For one of the Dinners, here is the menu:

1. Challah
2. Salmon Croquettes
3. Asian Spinach Salad
4. Chipotle Butternut Squash Soup, recipe below
5. Roasted Chicken
6. Baked Potatoes with all the fixings
7. Green Bean Casserole, recipe below
8. Chocolate Cake and Fruit

Also, a friend of mine asked me what she should make for a Sukkot dairy dinner. I suggested, Cornflake Tilapia with a Greek Salad, both of those recipes I'm posting below as well.

Here are a bunch of recipes! Hopefully that will make up for the lack of over the last several days.


Neiman Marcus Tuna Pecan Salad

3 cans (6 oz. each) chunk white albacore tuna in spring water, drained

1/2 C finely diced celery

1/2 C sliced (1/4 inch) water chestnuts, drained

1 C. mayonnaise

3/4 C. coarsely chopped pecan pieces, toasted

Salt and pepper to taste

In a large bowl, break up the tuna with a fork.

Add the celery, water chestnuts, and mayo, and stir well to combine.

Fold in the pecan pieces, and season to taste with salt, pepper. If you like a little bit more zing, add a few drops of fresh squeezed lemon juice.


Neiman Marcus Corn Relish

4 C. Corn Kernels, fresh or frozen 
1 1/2 C. Onion, finely diced
1/2 C. Red bell pepper, seeded and finely diced
1/2 C. sugar
1 C. cider vinegar
1 1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. celery seed
1/2 t. mustard powder
2 T. parsley, chopped (flat-leaf preferred)

Place the corn, onions, and bell pepper in a heavy-bottomed saucepan. In a mixing bowl, whisk together the sugar, vinegar, salt, celery seed, and mustard powder until the sugar and mustard are dissolved.

Pour the vinegar mixture over the vegetables in the pan and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat.

 Turn the heat down to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, for about 1 hour, until the liquid has just evaporated and the relish has an attractive sheen; be careful not to allow it to burn.

Let the relish cool. Add the parsley and mix well. Serve immediately or cover the bowl and keep refrigerated until ready to use.


Chipotle Butternut Squash Soup

I got this recipe from Fresh Everyday by Sara Foster, it looked yummy, although I can't guarantee it will be good, this is my first time to make it. If it isn't great, I will remove it from this post.

1 butternut squash (2 to 2 1/2 pounds), halved and seeds removed
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons margarine
1 large yellow onion, chopped
2 large carrots, chopped
1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
2 chipotle chiles in adobo, seeded and chopped
2 teaspoons sea salt, plus more to taste
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary, or to your liking
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds, toasted and salted, for garnish, optional

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Place the squash, cut side down, on a baking sheet with sides. Add 1 cup water and 1 tablespoon of the olive oil to the pan and roast the squash until it is soft to the touch, 40 to 45 minutes.

Meanwhile, melt the margarine and the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil together in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion, reduce the heat to low and cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 to 15 minutes, until the onion is very soft and light brown. Add the carrots and bell pepper and continue to cook and stir until the carrots are soft, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 to 2 minutes, until it is fragrant but not brown.

Add the broth, chipotle chiles, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and bring the soup to a low boil over medium-high heat. While the soup is coming to a boil, scoop out the squash flesh with a large spoon. Discard the skin and add the flesh to the soup. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, uncovered, for 25 to 30 minutes.

 Remove the soup from the heat and stir in the rosemary. Allow the soup to cool slightly before pureeing. Working in batches if necessary, pour the soup into the bowl of a food brocessor fitted with a metal blade and puree until it is smooth, or puree the soup directly in the pot using an immersion blender. Reheat if necessary and serve warm, garnished with toasted, salted pumpkin seeds.


Green Bean Casserole

Green bean casserole is a classic American recipe, and it is usually made with canned condensed mushroom soup, which isn't kosher. Here is the kosher parve version I created.

3 T. margarine
1/2 small onion, finely chopped
8 ounces white mushrooms, sliced
1 1/2 T. flour
1 C. soymilk, unsweetened and unflavored, can also use non dairy creamer
1/2 t. garlic powder
1 pinch salt (more to taste)
1 pinch pepper
2 (14 1/2 ounce) cans French style green beans, drained
1 C. French-fried onions

Melt margarine over medium heat. add onion and sauté until translucent. Add mushrooms and sauté until soft. Stir in flour. Cook for a few minutes, stirring constantly. Add the soy milk or non dairy creamer little by little, letting the flour-mushroom mixture absorb it. You should now have what looks similar to a creamy mushroom soup.

 Remove from heat and mix in garlic, salt, pepper, and green beans (be sure and taste it to check the seasoning, you want it to be tasty). Place green beans in a greased 8 inch square baking dish. Pour over the mushroom mixture. Mix to combine a little bit. Top with French fried onions. Bake at 350 uncovered for 30 minutes, watch to make sure the onions on top don’t burn


Corn Flake Tilapia

This is my sister Ashley's recipe, so easy, so good.

1 C. plain cornflake cereal
2 T. flour
1 T. Cajun Seasoning
1 pinch dried dill
1 T. margarine, I use tub smart balance
4 thin tilapia fillets
Fresh lemon

Pour the cereal flakes in a large Ziploc bag.  Crush them with a rolling pin to make fine crumbs.  Add the flour and cajun seasonings and dried dill, shake well to mix.
Melt the margarine in a skillet over medium heat.  Add the fillets to the bag one at a time, close the bag and shake to coat with crumbs.  Add each coated fillet to the pan.
Cook the fish until it is golden brown, about 5 minutes on each side.  Squeeze fresh lemon juice on top just before removing from the pan.  Serve with lemon wedges.


Greek Salad

This recipe is adapted from the well known restaurant Longhi's in Lahaina Maui. I got it from my sister who makes this salad all the time.

1 head romaine lettuce, chopped
1 head iceberg lettuce, chopped
1 English Cucumber, thinly sliced
2 large tomatoes, diced
1 green bell pepper, sliced in thin strips
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
handful of Kalamata olives

2 T. lemon juice
2. T red wine vinegar
4 oil-packed anchovies
1/2 C. crumbled feta cheese (you will only use 2 T. in the dressing itself)
1 t. oregano (dried)
Fresh ground black pepper
12 T. olive oil

Place lemon juice and vinegar in large wooden salad bowl, and whisk to mix well. With a fork mash the anchovies into the lemon juice and vinegar. Add 2 tablespoons feta cheese, the oregano, and pepper and mix well. Whisk in the olive oil.

Add the chopped lettuce, veggies, and olives. Toss to coat. Sprinkle with the remaining feta cheese. Serve immediately.


I hope you have a very Happy Sukkot!

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Tuesday, October 4, 2011

10-4-2011 Mini Carrot Snack Muffins

So we were hanging out at home this afternoon at 4:00 p.m., when the inevitable happened, the boys were hungry and wanted a snack. Sometimes, I let them eat junk like chips, pretzels, cookies, etc. And sometimes, I give them healthy snacks, like carrot sticks, apple slices, apple sauce, or Mini Carrot Snack Muffins.

These little muffins are so delish, you and your kids will love them. I ate mine smeared with Justin's Almond Maple Butter, yum!

Mini Carrot Muffins

makes 18

The tools you need for this are: mini muffin pan, box grater (I prefer Oxo), bowl, and whisk

1/2 C. flour
1/2 C. sugar
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. baking soda
1/2 t. cinnamon
1 jar carrot baby food (4 oz.)
1/4 C.+ 2 T. vegetable oil
1 egg
1 carrot, peeled and grated

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a mini muffin tin with non stick spray, and set aside.

In a mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, salt, baking soda, and cinnamon. Add the carrot baby food, vegetable oil, egg, and grated carrot. Mix until combined. Scoop into the muffin tin, filling each 3/4 full. Place in the oven and bake for 15 minutes, or until done.


These muffins would be good if you doubled the recipe to serve at Break Fast. Tomorrow, I'm hoping to post some more good Break Fast recipes.

Have a good night! Pin It