Apple-Cinnamon-Walnut Spread.

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What is your favorite thing to eat for breakfast on Passover? If you’re like me..it’s Matzah with cream cheese & jelly. I have that for breakfast every-single-morning during those blissfully food-filled 8 days. I have been thinking a lot about Rosh Hashana, and about how there really is no designated Rosh Hashana breakfast in my house. That’s all about to change! Rosh Hashana is coming up very shortly, maybe TOO shortly for some of us still in Summer mode. For those of you who follow my blog, and countless other Kosher food bloggers, you know all about the Kosher Connection link up that we take part in. This month’s theme was none other than APPLES. I combined this link up with my first Rosh Hashana themed post..and I love it ;-).

While I was daydreaming about my Matzah with cream cheese & jelly addiction, I tried to think about what would make a yummy Rosh Hashana breakfast. I knew I wanted to incorporate apples somehow, so I first thought about making a syrup out of the tart apples I purchased. My husband gave me a kind of sideways squinty eyed look..so I went back to the drawing board. Then I realized what I really wanted to do was create something similar to my yummy Matzah breakfast..a delicious spread using apples ( of course) but now I could actually eat it with bread!!! I wrote down the steps as I created this experimental spread, and it was so good, fruity and creamy that I can’t wait to make it again in a few short weeks!

Apple-Cinnamon-Walnut spread:

2 Granny Smith apples, peeled and sliced

1 tablespoon butter

1/3 cup + 2 tablespoons white sugar

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon dark brown sugar

1 cup sour cream

4 tablespoons cream cheese

1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon ground walnuts

Directions:

Yields: 2 1/2 cups, spread

  • Bring 4 cups of water to a rolling boil. Wash, peel and slice Granny Smith apples, place in boiling water for 7 minutes.
  • Drain apples and place in blender.
  • In a small pot ( I used the same pot as I used for my apples), melt butter,  sugars and cinnamon together until smooth and combined. Add sugar mixture to apples, and blend for 30 seconds.
  • Add sour cream and cream cheese to apple mixture, blend until combined and add cream cheese 2 tablespoons at a time, blending with each addition.
  • Add 1 tablespoon ground walnuts to spread mixture, give a quick blend, and pour spread into a glass or Tupperware container. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving.

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^ Simple but delicious spread, pre-walnut sprinkling.

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^ YUM.

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* The best part about this spread is that you can make one batch erev ( the day before the holiday) Rosh Hashana, and have enough for the whole family for all 3 days. Yes, we have lots and lots of wonderful 3 day Yom Tovs this year.

Take a look at all of the other amazing, APPLE inspired blogs posts via The Kosher Connection Link Up. ;-)

Whole Roasted Chicken with Red Potatoes

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Serving this dinner, for some silly reason made me feel really fancy. Maybe it was the presentation, maybe it was the place mats, who knows..but if you want an easy to make, beautifully presented and delicious dinner, this is it!I usually never buy whole broiler chickens, because it’s just my husband, 1 year old and me, but this 4.5 pound whole chicken was a whopping $8.25!!!! How could I NOT buy it? If only I had stocked up and froze the others! I think my next random, but necessary purchase is going to be an extra freezer chest for times like these when I really want to buy beef our poultry on sale but just don’t have the freezer space.

Back to the chicken..I cooked this chicken with red potatoes, celery and onions, in the same pan. This was a ” one pan” operation, with no bowls to wash and barely any mess to clean up. Try it and let me know what you think ;-).

Whole Roasted Chicken with Red Potatoes:

1 whole broiler chicken, washed and patted dry

1/2 large white onion, chopped

2 stalks celery, washed and chopped

6 red potatoes, cubed ( not peeled)

1 tablespoon + 2 teaspoons salt

1/2 tablespoon + 2 teaspoons black pepper

1 tablespoon dried basil

1/2 tablespoon minced garlic

1 teaspoon fresh or dried parsley

1 teaspoon garlic salt

2 teaspoons paprika

1/4 cup water

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Wash chicken thoroughly ( pull out giblets if they have not already been removed). Pat chicken dry, and sprinkle and press 1 tablespoon each of salt and pepper inside the chicken cavity. Add a handful of chopped celery and onions to the cavity as well. Place chicken in pan.
  • Chop red potatoes and place around chicken. Evenly distribute chopped celery and onions over potatoes and sprinkle remaining salt and pepper over chicken and potatoes.
  • Sprinkle basil, garlic, parsley, garlic salt and paprika over the panned chicken and potatoes, and add water to the pan via the corners so as not to wash away spices.
  • Place chicken uncovered into a preheated oven and cook for 1 hour and 40 minutes. Gently mix potatoes after an hour.
  • Serve and enjoy!

* I had fabulous pictures of the chicken post carving, but unfortunately they were accidentally deleted :(. I guess I’ll just have to make this again!

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Chicken all spiced up and ready for the oven.

Cinnamon Roll in a Mug! – Microwaveable Dessert

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Going on vacation this Summer with no access to an oven? That’s the pickle I was in last week. We had delicious dinners of blintzes, vegetarian chili, Mac & Cheese, peanut butter pancakes…but without an oven, dessert was a little trickier! Enter these sweet and fantastic cinnamon roll filled mugs…HEAVEN. I found a recipe online from Cooking Classy, tweaked it a bit, and created this to die for dessert. I burnt the roof of my mouth because I scarfed it down so..yeah..it’s good. The recipe is good for 2 mugs worth, so feel free to double, triple, quadruple ..you get the idea!

Cinnamon Roll in a Mug:

4 tablespoons apple sauce

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

2 tablespoons buttermilk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

5 tablespoons packed brown sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

dash of salt

Cream Cheese Icing:

2 tablespoons cream cheese, softened

4 tablespoons powdered sugar

2 teaspoons milk

Directions:

  • Prepare cream cheese icing; set aside.
  • Combine all ingredients listed above ( except for the cream cheese icing), in a small bowl, whisking with a fork until smooth.
  • Distribute batter equally into mugs, and microwave on high for 1 minutes. Microwave an additional 10 seconds if you think it is not fully cooked.

For the Cream Cheese Icing – Combine all ingredients, whisk with a fork and when the mugs come out of the microwave, drizzle or pipe icing in a swirl or spoon it on top.

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TIP*- An easy recipe for buttermilk.

1 tablespoon white vinegar

1 cup milk

Stir to combine and let sit for 5 minutes.

Spice Roasted Potatoes

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These awesome roasted potatoes are smelling up my kitchen..in the best way possible ;-). I’m busy cleaning/cooking/chasing after my 1 year old, but I wanted to share these today in case anyone still was in need of Shabbos side dish inspiration. All you need in 6 Yukon Gold potatoes..the rest I can all but guarantee you have in your cabinets.

Good Shabbos!

Spice Roasted Potatoes:

6 Yukon Gold potatoes, washed & chopped ( large “chunks”)

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika

1 teaspoon garlic salt

1 heaping teaspoon dried parsley

1/2 teaspoon turmeric

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Washed and chop potatoes into large chunks. DON’T PEEL!
  • Drain potatoes and place in 9 x 13 pan.
  • Add oil, followed by sweet paprika, garlic salt, parsley and turmeric. Mix with a spoon until potatoes are coated evenly.

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  • Cover and bake for 1 hour, uncovering and gently mixing after 30 minutes. After the timer beeps, broil for 5 minutes.
  • ENJOY!!! These rock. And they are so colorful, they will be a beautiful addition to your Shabbos table. ;-)

Crock-Pot chicken with brown rice.

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I was recently referred to as ” the crock-pot Queen”, by a good friend..so I think it’s  time I posted a new recipe for you all ;-). I always ALWAYS tell people to do this with white rice..and I almost always make my crock-pot chicken with white rice because, brown rice can be kind of tricky. Tonight I found myself fresh out of Carolina white rice ( the only kind worth buying in my opinion), so I had to adapt. My main issue with brown rice is that it doesn’t absorb as well or as quickly as white rice. I was reallllllly in the mood for crock pot chicken tonight, so I paid close attention to the amount of water I added, kept a close eye..and it turned out FABULOUS. Yum, I really could eat this every night..and I almost do!

Crock-Pot chicken with onions and carrots:

2 cups brown, whole grain rice

1 large carrot, peeled and chopped

1/2 white onion, chopped into large pieces

1 teaspoon oregano

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 1/2 cups water

3 large pieces of chicken ( 2 white meat breasts, 1 bottom)

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon oregano

1/2 tablespoon Turmeric

1/2 tablespoon low sodium soy sauce

Directions:

Yields: 3 large servings

  • Spray crock-pot dish with cooking spray. Add 2 cups brown rice to the bottom. Add carrot and onion, followed by oregano, salt and garlic powder.
  • Next, add the water and place chicken on top of vegetables, and sprinkle pepper, salt, oregano and turmeric. Drizzle soy sauce over the chicken.
  • Cover and cook on HIGH for 5 hours.

* The chicken looks SO yellow because turmeric is a very dominant spice. I have raved before about the health benefits…don’t skip it!

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My ” fork-kebob”.

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Creamy homemade Chummus- Blog Swap!

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Creamy-homemade-Chummus. My first attempt was a huge success! Well, this was really my second attempt. In high school I tried making Chummus with no recipe, and I ended up with a gallon of watered down, mashed chick peas. So my first REAL attempt turned out great!

This months Kosher Connection Link-up, the Great Blog Swap, enlisted me ( and many of the other fabulous, kosher bloggers out there) to “swap” recipes with another blogger. Since my best friend and fellow kosher food blogger, Rebecca Pliner of I want that for dinner, is part of the Kosher Connection club, we decided to swap recipes with each other! Rebecca introduced me to the Chummus recipe from Yotam Ottolenghi’s, Jerusalem: A cookbook. She brought some over one Shabbos to go with the lunch I prepared, and I was floored! I knew I had to make try and make it myself! As I do with most recipes, I had to give it my own spin. I added 1 teaspoon of lemon zest, for an extra zingy-kick! What a nice opportunity this was to cook outside of the box! Read below for the recipe and more pictures! ;)

Creamy homemade lemony Chummus:

1 1/2 cups dried chickpeas

1 teaspoon baking soda

6 1/2 cups water

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons tahini paste

4 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

4 cloves garlic, crushed

1 teaspoon fresh lemon zest

6 1/2 tablespoons ice cold water

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

Directions:

  • The night before you plan to prepare your Chummus, place chickpeas in a large bowl and cover them with water at least twice their volume. Leave to soak overnight.
  • The next day, drain the chickpeas. Place a medium saucepan over high heat and add the drained chickpeas and baking soda. Cook for about 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the water and bring to a boil. Cook, skimming off any foam and any skins that float to the surface.
  • Cook for 30 minutes.  Once done, they should be very tender, breaking up easily when pressed between your thumb and finger, almost but not quite mushy.
  • Drain the chickpeas. You should have roughly 3 2/3 cups now. Place the chickpeas in a food processor or blender and process until you get a stiff paste.
  • With the machine still running, add the tahini paste, lemon juice, garlic, lemon zest and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt. Finally, slowly drizzle in the iced water and allow it to mix for about 5 minutes, until you get a very smooth and creamy paste.
  • Transfer the hummus to a bowl, cover the surface with plastic wrap or tin foil, and let it rest for at least 30 minutes. If not using straightaway, refrigerate until needed.

It may seem like this Chummus requires a lot of patience and time, but I prepared this while cooking the rest of my Shabbos food, checking on the boiling chickpeas every so often and leaving them processing while washing dishes. This is a pretty hands OFF recipe in many ways.The one stumbling block I ran into was in Stop & Shop. I had never before seen DRIED chickpeas! Rebecca, how many text messages did I send you during my search?? Finally, in the Mexican section, near the rices and tomato sauce, there it was! The rest was history!

I served this creamy Chummus with 2 different kind of pita bread, and on one platter I sprinkled Zahtar spice and the other diced olives. YUM! What a hit! Thanks for the great recipe Bec ;).

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^ Perfect with broiled Pita triangles!

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Baked Spaghetti. Pre-fast or break-the-fast perfection.

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BAKED SPAGHETTI. Enough said.

I made this dish last night, and thankfully have some left-overs to serve tonight before the fast of Tisha B’av, otherwise I would have to make a whole new tray! I love making pasta dishes. I make stuffed shells, manicotti, baked ziti, lasagna – you name it. A few days ago I was on Facebook, checking out Nina Safar’s pictures ( the most amazing kosher food blogger out there I might add), and she had this fabulous picture of baked spaghetti – I was hooked! I didn’t have the recipe, and rather than search online for another, I decided to just create what I thought baked spaghetti should be, and it rocked! It took me something like 3 minutes to prepare, once my thick angel hair pasta was boiled and drained, and my family was in heaven. Next time I think I will add some roasted peppers and onions for added color and flavor ;).

Baked Spaghetti:

1 box Ronzoni Thick Spaghetti, boiled and drained

1 3/4 cups marinara sauce ( Barilla)

5 tablespoons cottage cheese, whipped

1 1/2 teaspoons oregano

2 teaspoons parsley flakes

1 1/2 teaspoons garlic salt

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 cup shredded Mozzarella cheese

Directions:

Yields: 6-8 servings

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Boil spaghetti according to the directions on the box. 7-9 minutes ( until AL-dente). Drain and set aside.
  • In a medium bowl, combine marinara sauce, cottage cheese, 1 teaspoon oregano, parsley, garlic salt and pepper. Add drained pasta to sauce mixture and stir until thoroughly mixed.
  • Spray a 9 x 13 pan or baking dish with cooking spray, and pour in spaghetti evenly. Press noodles down and make sure there are no bare spots.
  • Sprinkle Mozzarella cheese over the top of the spaghetti, and add 1/2 teaspoon oregano in pinches over the cheese.
  • Bake at 350 degrees F for 28-30 minutes.

If you’re fasting, have a safe and easy fast, everyone!

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Homemade Mango Sorbet

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Homemade Mango Sorbet. It’s very refreshing! I cannot hear the word ” refreshing” without automatically thinking of Kramer in the Jr. Mint commercial episode on Seinfeld. But it is the perfect word to describe this cold & creamy dessert. There are a few different ways to make sorbet, some ways include milk, half & half, heavy whipping cream..you get the idea. I decided to make mine dairy-free. My husband’s Lactose allergy is taking a severe beating during the 9 days, so I wanted to cut it some slack by creating a sweet & REFRESHING treat that he could enjoy, stomach ache free! I sprinkled some ground walnuts on top for extra vitamins and crunch.

Mango Sorbet:

2 fresh ripe mangos

3/4 cup white sugar

3 tablespoons coconut milk

1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice

1 small container of Rich’s whip

Directions:

Yields: 6 medium servings

  • Slice mangos open and scoop out fruit using spoon or melon baller. ( Scoop as much fruit as you can).
  • Place scooped mango in blender, add sugar, and puree for 2 minutes.
  • Add coconut milk and lemon juice, puree for 10 seconds.
  • Pour mango puree into a bowl, make sure to scrape down the sides with a rubber spatula.
  • Pour the Rich’s whip, defrosted, into the blender and blend until the cream has started to form stiff peaks. Add mango puree to whipped cream and mix for 10 seconds, or until mango and cream are fully combined. Pour into a large Tupperware container or ice cream freezer can, and free for at least 6 hours.
  • Serve using an ice cream scoop, and top with fruit, nuts, chocolate…you name it!

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Mushroom, avocado, green chili & mozzarella quiche

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Presenting…dinner #1 from my 9 days menu. This morning I posted my Summery Fresh Fruit muffins, which served as the dessert to this creamy quiche, and I really must say – I have not enjoyed a meal as much in a long time. My husband took his first bite of this quiche and said, ” Oh my Gd this is so freakin’ good”. That made me smile ;-). I have never baked with avocado before, but have always wondered how the texture would change and what flavors would be brought out. I happen to have a plethora of avocados because my 1 year old can’t go a whole day with out a bowl of ‘avo’ as we call it. The creamy-ness of the avocado was NOT lost in the baking process, if anything it was enhanced dramatically. The green chili served up the perfect amount of spice, but didn’t overwhelm the quiche because there were so many other flavors. And when can you go wrong with mushrooms and mozzarella cheese? ( The answer is never). Below find my recipe for this quiche, and stay tuned  because tonight’s dinner is going to be a hit too, I can feel it!

Quiche:

1 frozen pie crust

4 eggs, beaten

1-1/2 cup chopped white mushrooms

1 green chili, diced

1 large Hass avocado, peeled and chopped

1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

1/4 cup skim milk

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon oregano

Directions:

Yields: 6 servings

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Prepare vegetable; chop mushrooms, dice green chili and slice avocado. Set aside.

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  • In a medium bowl, beat eggs, add milk, cheese, garlic powder, salt and oregano. Add chopped vegetables to egg mixture, stir to combine.
  • Pour batter into frozen, NOT thawed, pie crust and bake for 48-50 minutes in a preheated oven.
  • Crust will start to brown as the timer winds down.Let cool for 5 minutes before serving ( I find the crust stays together better).

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Summery fresh fruit muffins

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I’m usually not one to make dessert for a weeknight dinner. Don’t get me wrong..I do PLENTY of baking during the week. But I don’t usually feel as though week night dinners warrant dessert. Enter the 9 days. 9 days in which we refrain from eating Meat & Poultry. Since my family is the epitome of meat eaters ( ask around), I decided to spruce up my original 9 days menu, and add some fun and refreshing desserts. These fluffy and phenomenal muffins happen to contain NO dairy, which makes them a perfect Summer Shabbos dessert as well ;-).

This muffin recipe is brand spanking new. I bought blueberries on sale last week, and my mother gave me 3 over-ripe peaches this morning and said, ” DO something with these so I don’t have to throw them out”. I love a challenge! I made up this recipe as I went along, as I do with 95% of the recipes on my blog, using simple ingredients found in my kitchen cupboard, and I have to say – these Fresh Fruit Muffins were the fluffiest, most moist muffins I have ever baked. And I bake a lot of muffins. Enjoy! * These would be even better with a scoop of Greek yogurt on the side!

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Summery Fresh Fruit Muffins:

3 overripe Peaches

1/2 cup fresh Blueberries

1 egg, beaten

1/3 cup canola oil

1/3 cup water

2/3 cup granulated sugar

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon cornstarch

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

Directions:

Yields: 12 muffins

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray muffin tins with cooking spray ( no liners necessary).
  • Cut each Peach  in half, remove pit and slice into small pieces. Place in large bowl, add Blueberries and set aside.
  • In a small bowl, combine egg, oil, water and sugar. Add baking soda and cornstarch, mix until thoroughly combined. Add egg mixture to fruit mixture.

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  • Gradually add flour to fruit mixture, stir to combine and fill each muffin tin 3/4 full.
  • Bake for 22 minutes in a preheated oven. Let cool for 5 minutes before removing from tin.

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