Saturday, December 31, 2011

12-31-2011 The 11 Best of 2011

Here is a list of my top 2011 moments (good and bad)

1. Potty training Prince Hock #2, before he turned 2.  I wouldn't of done it so early, but he was potty training himself at 15 months. Lots and lots of accidents...

2. Going to Disney World, Prince Hock #1 wanting to ride every ride including Tower of Terror, and being too short by 1/4 inch, and then that same brave little boy was petrified off the costumed characters.

3. Accidentally submerging my iPhone in water (2 seperate occasions), drying it out with rice, and it actually somewhat functioning afterwards.

4. Getting bows in our boy dog Charlie's hair was adorable! King Hock coming home and flipping out, had to remove them immediately.

5. King Hock falling through the roof in the attic. Enough said.

6. Going to Europe: having tea at Fortnum and Masons in London, seeing Budapest on a Segway, Walking the Charles Bridge in Prague at night, and eating Sacher Torte at the Sacher Hotel in Vienna

7.  Having a raspberry souffle on our wedding Anniversary, the best!

8. Hosting my first ever cooking demonstration, so fun!

9. Playing in the snow in a city that rarely snows in February.

10.  King Hock having knee surgery not 1, but 2 times. Now both his knees are working good.

11. Cherishing every moment spent cooking for and entertaining our family and friends.

Here are 11 of your and my favorite recipes from 2011. Enjoy!

Meat Lasagna

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
1 package Barilla no boil lasagna noodles
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 . Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Layer in a baking pan (I use one a 2.5 qt., but a medium pyrex will do): layer sauce, noodles, sauce, noodles…until you use up all the noodles and the pan looks ful, ending with sauce. Cover tightly with foil. Bake for an hour. Remove from oven and let stand covered for 10 minutes. Remove Foil and serve.

Pumpkin Muffins

1 C. all purpose flour
1 C. sugar
1 t. baking soda
1 t. baking powder
1 t. cinnamon
1/2 t. salt
1 can pumpkin puree (15 oz.)
2 eggs
1/2 C. vegetable oil
1 t. vanilla
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a muffin cup with muffin papers.
In a large bowl mix together all of the above ingredients, until combined. Pour muffin batter into the muffin cups, filling them almost to the top.
Bake for 25 minutes, or until when you press the middle of one of the muffins, it springs back.

Balsamic Portobello Mushrooms

3 Portobello mushrooms, sliced into strips
1-2 T. olive oil
1/4 red onion, thinly sliced
1 clove, garlic
3 T. balsamic vinegar
1/2 t. dried basil
1/4 t. salt, or to taste
1/4 t. pepper, or to taste

In a large skillet, pour in the olive oil to coat the bottom of the pan, and turn heat onto medium. Add the onion and sautee 2-4 minutes, until starting to soften, add the garlic, and cook another 1 minute.
Add the mushrooms, balsamic, basil, salt and pepper. Lower heat and cook for 7-12 minutes, until the mushrooms are completely cooked.

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.
Caesar Salad Perfected

Dressing: Makes enough for 2 large salads

1 C. Mayo
3 T. water
2 T. olive oil
1 1/2 T. lemon juice, freshly squeezed
2-3 cloves garlic, depending on how garlicky you like it
2 t. sugar
1/2 t. black pepper
1/2 t. salt
1/4 t. dried parsley
1 T. worcestershire sauce
1 T. dijon mustard
1 T. red wine vinegar
1/2 t. onion powder

2 heads of hearts of Romaine, washed, dried, and cut in small pieces

1 recipe croutons:

5 slices, day old bread, I used challah, great way to use up leftover challah
1/2 t. dried oregano
1/2 t. dried parsley
1/2 t. onion powder
1/2 t. garlic powder
1/2 t. kosher salt
1/4 c. olive oil

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Cut the bread into cubes. Toss in a large bowl with all of the ingredient.

Place on a sheet pan. Bake for 8-10 minutes, until crisp. Let croutons cool at room temp before using

Place the lettuce and croutons in a large bowl. Pour some of the dressing over, and toss to coat. Serve immediately.

Arroz Con Pollo

1 (3 to 4-pound) chicken, cut in 8 serving pieces
1 medium yellow onion, quartered, plus 1/2 yellow onion, thinly sliced
4 cups chicken broth, homemade or canned low-sodium broth (can use veggie broth)
1 cup light beer, such as lager
3 tablespoons Adobo Seasoning, (I found it at Whole Foods, prob have it at Fiesta too)
3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce ( if you don't have parve use 1 T. soy sauce instead)
1 cup fresh chopped cilantro leaves
6 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
3 cups white rice
1 cup frozen peas
2 medium carrots, finely diced
8 ounces green beans, trimmed and quartered
1 cup ketchup
1 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons margarine
1/2 red bell pepper, cored, seeded, ribbed and thinly sliced
1/2 green bell pepper, cored, seeded, ribbed and thinly sliced
1 cup pimento stuffed olives

Place the chicken, quartered onions, 1 cup of chicken broth, beer,  adobo, Worcestershire sauce, 1/2 of the cilantro, and garlic in a large pot or skillet over high heat. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until the chicken is cooked through, 30 to 45 minutes. Remove the chicken to a plate and set aside to cool; once cool shred and set aside. Strain the broth into a bowl through a fine-mesh sieve discarding the onion pieces.

Pour the broth into a measuring cup and add water to make 4 cups of liquid. Return it to the pot or skillet and add the rice, peas, carrots, green beans, ketchup, and salt. Stir well and bring to a boil. Let the liquid evaporate to just below the level of the rice, about 10 minutes, and then reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook until the rice is tender and fully cooked, 25 minutes.

Meanwhile, melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the peppers and the remaining sliced onions and cook until they're tender, 8 minutes. Shred the cooked chicken meat discarding the skin and bones, and add the chicken to the vegetables. Cook until it is heated through, 2 to 3 minutes. Fluff the rice with a fork and add the chicken and vegetables to the rice mixture. Stir in the olives, sprinkle with the remaining cilantro and serve.
Best Ever Carrot Cake

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.

Let cool and frost 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.

Meatball Subs

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.


Carrot Souffle

2 lb. bag baby carrots
1/2 C. melted margarine
1/2 C. white sugar (can use up to 1 C. of sugar if you like it very sweet)
3 T. all-purpose flour
1 t. baking powder
1 t. vanilla extract
3 eggs, beaten

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add carrots and cook until tender, about 30 minutes. Drain and use an immersion blender to puree, you can leave some texture if you that's how you like it. Can also mash by hand, but won't be as smooth.

To the carrots add melted margarine, white sugar, flour, baking powder, vanilla extract and eggs. Mix well and transfer to a 2 quart casserole dish. Bake for 45-60 minutes until set and slightly carmelized on top.


1/2 C. raw spaghetti, broken into 1 inch pieces
3/4 C. raw white rice
14.5 oz broth (I use Imagine Vegetable)
2 T. margarine

In a medium pot, melt the margarine. Add the spaghetti pieces, and stir until they start to brown. Add the rice, and continue stirring until the pasta has browned a bit more. Add the broth and  lower heat to simmer, cover with lid, and cook until the liquid is absorbed.


Artichoke Hummus

1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 can artichoke hearts, drained
¼ cup lemon juice (approx. 1 lemon)
1 T tahini
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ t ground cumin
1/3 - ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
3/4 t salt

Place all of the above ingredients into a Cuisinart or Food processor. Run the machine for a few minutes until you have a smooth and creamy mixture. Stop the machine every so often to scrape down the sides. Taste and adjust seasoning, might want to add more salt or lemon juice.

HAPPY NEW YEARS!!!! 2012!! Pin It

Friday, December 23, 2011

12-23-2011 Sufganiyot (Doughnuts!)

We are already knee deep in Hanukkah, lighting menorahs, celebrating with family and friends, and of course can't forget the presents. Ughhh the presents, the kids are driving me crazy. Yesterday they both got new shoes (ugly light up ones they picked out), you should of seen them when I tried to tell them that was their Hanukkah present. Who gets shoes for Hanukkah?

On Hanukah, we customarily eat foods fried in oil to commerate the miracle of the holiday (basically one week a year I have a fried food binge, there's no telling the total number of latkes I have already consumed). Tonight will be my first taste of sufganiyot, so I am super excited.

Attention: if you own a bread machine, you are in luck because I am about to share with you an outrageously easy and delicious way to make sufganiyot. If you don't own a mixer, you could make this dough in a Kitchenaid mixer with the dough hook, then let it rise and double in size one time before shaping into doughnuts. Also, I make mine parve so they can be served with a meat meal, feel free to sub the soy milk for regular milk if it doesn't make a difference to you.

Here is the recipe:

Bread Machine Doughnuts

I got this recipe from, and this is the 3rd year I've made it.

1 1/4 C. soy milk
1 egg
1/4 C. shortening, I used crisco
1 t. salt
1/4 C. sugar
3 1/2 C. all purpose flour
1 1/2 t. dried yeast

Raspberry Jam (seedless)
Powdered Sugar

Place the above ingredients in the order listed above starting with the soy milk, or according to your bread maker's instructions.

Turn on the dough cycle. When dough cycle is over, remove the dough from the pan, and roll out to 1/2 inch thick. Cut out 2 1/2 inch circles, using a round glass, cookie cutter, or a doughnut cutter.

Cover, and let rise for 30 minutes until doubled.

Fill a soup pot 4 inches high with oil, I find peanut oil to be the best. Heat the oil to 375 degrees. Gently place the doughnuts in batches into the oil, flip when they float to the surface and one side is golden brown, fry until the other side is brown.

Remove from the oil to drain on paper towels. Let cool.

To fill the doughnuts with jam, you will need a hard icing tip, I have one that is extra long I found in the cake decorating area of a craft store. Put the tip into a ziploc or pastry bag and fill with the raspberry jam. Poke a hole in the side of the doughnut with a straw and pipe until filled to your liking. Sprinkle with powdered sugar. Serve as soon as possible. The fresher the better.

The piping bag and tip:


I hope you have a Happy Hanukkah or whatever holiday your celebrate.

P.S. here is a peak at the doughnuts I made with icing and sprinkles:
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Wednesday, December 14, 2011

12-14-2011 Hanukkah Cookies

Hanukkah is less than a week away, and the excitement over here in the Hock house is escalating. I'm excited to make the treats I only make once a year: latkes, sufiganyot (doughnuts), homemade applesauce, and of course decorated Hanukkah cookies.

This afternoon Prince Hock #1 and 2 helped me make the Hanukkah Cookies. What a fun project. The recipe I used for the sugar cookies are perfect to make with kids because there is no refrigeration time, so you can go straight from mixing the dough to rolling and cutting out shapes.

I used canned frosting to decorate them, which by the way, I just found out that Pillsbury frosting is parve! I divided it into seperate bowls and colored each one a different color. You could also buy cookie icing which dries much quicker. I have had good luck finding many colors of cookie icing at Wal Mart on the baking aisle.

Here is the recipe for the cookies:

No Refrigerate Cut Out Cookies

1 C. margarine
1 1/2 C. sugar
1 egg
1 t. vanilla extract
1 t. almond extract
2 3/4 C. all purpose flour
2 t. baking powder
1 t. salt

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, set aside.

In a mixing bowl (preferably a stand mixer like a Kitchenaid) cream the margarine with the sugar until fluffy. Beat in the egg. Mix in the vanilla and almond extract. Add the flour, baking powder, and salt. Mix until dough comes together and is no longer crumbly.

Take half of the dough and roll out with a rolling pin to 1/8 inch on a floured surface. Use cookie cutters to cut out shapes and place the cut out cookies on the baking sheet. Bake for 7 minutes, until edges just begin to lightly brown. Repeat with remaining dough. Also, the scraps can be formed into a ball an rerolled out several times, until all of the dough has been used.

Remove cookies from the oven and let cool on baking sheet for 10 minutes. Remove to a cooling rack and let cool completely. Decorate to your liking.


Have a good night! Pin It

Monday, December 12, 2011

12-12-2011 Pumpkin Ravioli and Crispy Chicken

I will admit it, I am a bookworm. I could sit 24 hours straight reading a book, and I have done it a time or two. My favorite types of book are fiction, and cookbooks. Some of my all time favorite books are: Memoirs of a Geisha, Secret Daughter, The Red Tent, The Tea Rose, Alicia, The Covenant, The Borgia Bride, Snowflower and the Secret Fan, A Thousand Splendid Suns, and City of Thieves.

Anyways the reason I'm telling you this is because I am in the middle of an amazing book right now. It is consuming my mind, I am having trouble concentrating on things because all I can think about is reading this book. I'm thinking about it now, so I need to hurry up and tell you about my dinner so I can get on with my reading.

For dinner I made a super easy pumpkin ravioli in which I loved. I am from the camp where it wouldn't be a proper meal without adequate protein, therefore I made a crispy chicken with it. We also had a spinach salad and steamed brocolli.

The inspiration for the pumpkin ravioli came from a dish I enjoyed recently at a restaurant. I took a shortcut and used wonton skins to make them.

The crispy chicken was very tasty and I ate way more than my fair share, I just couldn't stop. I got the recipe from my sister after she made it a few times and was raving about it. She got the recipe from the magazine Cuisine at Home.

Here are the recipes/pics:

Pumpkin Ravioli

1 shallot, finely diced
1 T. margarine
1 T. sherry wine
1 C. pumpkin puree from a can (not pumpkin pie mix)
1/2 C. parve cream cheese, I used Tofutti
1 egg
salt and pepper
1/4 t. dried sage, I used rubbed Dalmation Sage
1/4 t. nutmeg
44 wonton skins, usually found in produce refrigerated section at grocery stores

6 T. margarine, melted
1/4 C. pecans, toasted
dried sage

In a medium skillet, melt the 1 T. margarine over medium heat, add the shallot, and cook until translucent, being careful not to brown. Turn off the heat and add the sherry. Mix in the pumpkin, and cream cheese. Stir until combined. Stir in the egg. Add 1/2 t. salt, and a pinch of pepper. Add the sage and nutmeg. Stir until all combined.

On a sheet pan lay out 22 wonton skins, top each with 1 T. of the pumpkin mixture. Use your finger and dip in water and wet the edges of the skin. Top each with the remaining 22 skins. Seal the edges, pressing out the extra air. I would wet and seal one ravioli at a time.

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Working in batches, drop the ravioli into the boiling water. The ravioli is done when it is floating, about 3 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon.

To serve, pour the melted margarine over the raviolis. Top with the toasted pecans and sprinkle with sage.


Crispy Chicken

2 chicken breast, cut in half and pounded thin
2 egg whites
2 t. cornstarch
juice of 1/2 a lemon

1 C. panko bread crumbs
zest of 1 lemon
1 t. dried parsley
1 t. salt
1/4 t. pepper

3 T. olive or vegetable oil

To pound the chicken breasts, place in a large ziploc bag with a few drops of water. Use a meat mallet to pound to an even thickness.

Whisk together the egg whites, corn starch, and lemon juice. Mix together the bread crumbs, lemon zest, dried parsley, salt, and pepper.

Dip the chicken into the egg white mixture and then into the bread crumb mixture. Place on a rack (like a baker's cooling rack) and place into the refrigerator uncovered for 30 minutes, to dry.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Heat 3 T. oil in large skillet over medium high heat. Add the chicken and cook about 3 minutes per side until nicely browned. Remove to a sheet pan. Place in the oven for 8-10 minutes or until the center is cooked through.


Yay! Now I can go read my book, I am definitely going to have to set a bedtime tonight, so I don't stay up all night.

Have a good night. Pin It

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

12-7-2011 Apple Rum Croustade

Sorry guys, the blog has taken a back seat to about a million other things going on in my life right now. From the never ending to do lists and Hanukkah shopping, to Shabbat coming in at 5:00 p.m., things have been crazy around here. We've had more than our share of viruses, split chins, doctors visits and rounds of antibiotics lately. So as you can see cooking has not been my #1 priority.

Last Friday night, I made a beautiful Shabbat dinner, and I tried a few new recipes. Everything was good, but the dessert, Apple Rum Croustade, was by the far the best part of our meal. It was served warm out of the oven, oh my gosh just talking about it right now is making me want a piece. Sorry I don't have a picture for you to get a visual, you will just have to make it.

Apple Rum Croustade

I got this recipe from Kosher By Design Lightens Up, (thanks Colette for letting me borrow it.) I know this recipe looks semi hard, but don't fret, it is easier than you would think.

Nonstick cooking spray
1 T. margarine
2 large Granny Smith Apples, peeled, cored, and cut into 1/4 inch pieces
2 large McIntosh, Braeburn, or Gala Apples, peeled, cored, and cut into 1/4 inch pieces
1 T. orange juice
1/2 t. vanilla
3 T. dark brown sugar
1 t. ground cinnamon
2 T. cornstarch
2 T. rum (preferably dark)
12-14 sheets Phyllo Dough, sold in a box in the freezer section near puff pastry, defrost overnight in the refrigerator
1/2 C. chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Heavily spray a 9" spring form pan with non stick spray, or alternately line a 9" cake pan with parchment paper and spray with nonstick spray.

Melt the margarine in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the apples, vanilla, and orange juice, and saute for 3 minutes, then add the brown sugar and cinnamon, and stir. Cook for 4 minutes until the apples are softened, you do not want them to get mushy though.

In a small bowl use a fork and whisk together the cornstarch and rum. Carefully add this mixture to the apples, then cook until the apple mixture has thickened and looks carmelized. Remove from the heat.
(If the rum ingnites when you add it to the pan, don't worry, it will quickly die down.)

Unwrap the phyllo dough. Fold a sheet in half lengthwise. Spray with nonstick spray and lay in the prepared pan so one end touches the middle and the other end comes up the side and hangs over the edge of the pan. Repeat this with a second sheet and overlap the first sheet by 1 inch. Repat with remaining phyllo sheets all the way around in a spoke-like fashion. You want the pan to be completely covered.

Now pour the apples into the center of the pan. Sprinkle the chocolate chips evenly over the apples.
Starting with the last sheet of phyllo you placed in the pan, lift the end and twist it towards the center of the filling. Repeat all the way around (the original recipe leaves the center peeking through, although I closed mine up completely).

Bake for 30 minutes, until golden. Remove the sides of the springform pan, or slide out of the cake pan. Serve warm in slices. Would be good with parve ice cream.


I hope you have a nice day! Pin It