I am a wife, a mom of three, and the kitchen is my favorite place in the house. I read cookbooks in my spare time and enjoy getting kitchen appliances for presents :) I love preparing delicious and healthy food for my family and here are a some of what graces our table each week.

Email Me for any of the recipes :)

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Sufganiyot, hold the jelly...

So, as it happens, I have time to bake and time to take pictures, but I cant find the time to write out all of these recipes. Somethings gotta give, you know? These donuts were amazing and I am definitely making them every Chanukah and maybe in between. I have never made donuts before and I am kind of an addict now. Amelia might just be getting donuts instead of a birthday cake this year and I dont think she will mind for a second. If anyone wants to make these tomorrow or Sunday, let me know and I will post the recipe.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Chanukah!

I will post the recipes tomorrow...it's hard to type in your sleep!
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Lots of Latkes! I made a ton last Sunday and whatever I could keep from the kids and Danny was frozen for later use. More to be fried up tomorrow and this time I will plan for the occasional swipe...



I had printed out a recipe for chocolate Chanukah cookies, but couldn't find it when I needed it (that's a first!), so I used the recipe for Chocolate Hamentaschen from the Panache cookbook and just made rolled cookies. I, literally, could not keep them out of Leo's (and Danny's) mouth.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Chinese Meatballs

I had a taste for meatballs, but not your average meatball. I asked Becca for her recipe for Chinese Meatballs, a dish she had made a while ago for Shabbat. Any recipe that can be made when Leo is having a "no tv/computer/movie" day has got to be an easy one.

Meatball mixture:
1 egg
1/2 c. water
1/2 c. breadcrumbs (I crumbled up some frozen challah)
1 c. minced water chestnuts
2 tbsp white horseradish (didn't have any)
1 lb. ground beef (I used ground turkey)

Mix everything together, make into balls and bake 30 minutes at 350F.

While baking, make sauce. Becca said to cook for 3 minutes, but I just microwaved it until everything was incorporated.

2/3 c. apricot jam
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 c. soy sauce
2/3 c. water
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp brown sugar (my own addition)

When meatballs are done, pour sauce over and bake 15 minutes. I did this and then let everything cool and reheated with rice and baby corn when Danny (finally!) got home. Leo was on a hunger strike, but Amelia loved them.



Monday, December 15, 2008

Chicken Teriyaki

Danny came home tonight with the fresh chicken breasts so I decided to do a quick stir fry. Too bad I had fed the kids early and they were already in bed because Amelia had asked for "chinese chicken and rice" for dinner. The very simple recipe came from Meal-Lean-I-Yumm, and included soy sauce, sesame oil, rice wine vinegar, ginger, etc. and I added some orange marmalade for a little extra yumminess. I think it was the perfect pre-hockey game meal.

Shabbat Dinner

It is always challenging getting dinner ready and challah baked before shabbat comes in at 4:00pm, but last Friday was almost impossible because I was at Amelia's school for the afternoon. With gymnastics in the morning, I was left with two hours in between to get everything done. I bought challah a few weeks ago when I was out all day with the kids and didn't want to do that again, so I had the Kitchenaid going at 7am and the slow cooker cookin' when we left the house at 8:45am. Needless to say, it was more than worth it.
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A must-have on Shabbat in the Weinberger house

Chicken Cholent:
All I had left in the freezer was a small pack of chicken thighs and 1 lb of ground turkey. I found a yummy looking recipe for Chicken Cholent, but knew that 3 chicken legs/thighs would not be enough, so I added plain meatballs to the pot. Although, I would give the recipe 4 out of 4 stars, the addition of lima beans would have brought it up to 5. Right before we ate, I pulled the chicken off the bone and added it back to the mix. Yum :)

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Shabbat Dinner

For dinner, I took some of the extra chili and made a Shephards Pie (boil a few potatoes and garlic, salt, pepper and margarine - top the chili and sprinkle paprika...bake 350F or so until bubbly).



I took my usual apple/peach/cranberry crisp recipe and made a crumble topping instead - 3/4 c. flour, 1/2 c. sugar and 1/3 c. Smart Balance Light - and made my new favorite dessert.

Chili for a Chilly Day

One minute I was emailing my parents that it was 40F here and the next day, in my capris, I discovered it was 15F and only getting colder. As unfair as it was, I took the weather as a great excuse to make a big pot of chili. I have tried a few chili recipes and have come up with a pretty simple version that I really like.

Brown 2lbs ground turkey
Add spices while browning, it really gets them into the meat:
1/4 c. chili powder
1 tsp cumin
2 tsp paprika
Add:
2 cans tomatoes
2 cans tomatoe sauce
1 can water
2 cans light kidney beans
2 cans dark kidney beans
frozen corn

Cranberry Chicken

For Thanksgiving, I made cranberry sauce - a favorite of my dad's and Danny's. I took pictures, but didn't think I was going to upload them, so I deleted them. Believe me, it is a really beautiful cranberry sauce and very yummy - even for the jellied-cranberry sauce lovers out there. Anyway...I had some leftover (only because my dad left for a cruise) and wanted to make a cranberry chicken with it. I found a recipe in Panache, but it was for chicken breasts stuffed with cranberries, pine nuts and some other yummy things. I was making chicken legs and wasn't in the mood to stuff anything. I took some of the ingredients from the recipe and came up with one of the best chicken meals ever. Really.

Here is what (I think) I did.
1. Skinned a couple lbs of chicken (I always skin my chicken)
2. Chopped 1 med. onion and sauteed it with a couple of pinches of dried oregano.
3. Once the onions got soft (and a little brown cuz someone was crying), I seared the chicken legs in the onion mixture.
4. I removed the chicken to a plate.
5. Into the pan - the leftover cranberry sauce, maybe 1/3 c. and some water to thin it out, 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar, 1 tbsp dijon mustard, 2-3 heaping Tbsp brown sugar, salt and pepper.
6. I let this mixture reduce and concentrate before adding the chicken back in.
7. Once the chicken was back in, I added some more water so it almost covered the chicken.
8. I simmered everything until it was done (again, a little longer than I should have - that crying again...)
9. Made some egg noodles and corn and saved a couple of pieces for Danny's lunch.

Here's how I make the cranberry sauce, which is adapted from Meal-Lean-I-Yumm
Into a small pot:
1 12 oz. bag of fresh or frozen cranberries
1/2 c. white sugar
1/2 c. brown sugar
pinch of dried ginger (or to taste)
3/4 c. of the juice from a can of mandarin oranges
3 big spoonfuls of mandarin oranges
Simmer until the cranberries pop


Saturday, November 29, 2008

Daring Bakers Challenge - November 08 - Caramel Cake with Caramelized Butter Frosting



This is my second Daring Bakers Challenge and I waited until the last possible night to do it. I had intended to bake it early so that my mom and sister could help me test it out, but my nights have not been my own lately...(see evidence below) and that's why I love taking the time out to do the challenges. I can't wait till the next month!!

The recipe came from Shuna Fish Lydon and her blog can be found here: http://blogs.kqed.org/bayareabites/2006/12/24/caramel-cake-the-recipe/

The challenge was hosted this month by Alex (Brownie of the Blondie and Brownie duo: http://blondieandbrownie.blogspot.com/), Jenny of Foray into Food (http://forayintofood.blogspot.com/) and for assitance with alternative baking, Natalie of Gluten-a-Go-Go (http://glutenagogo.blogspot.com/).

I followed the directions exactly, except for one tiny substitution of Smart Balance Light for the unsalted butter, those baby pounds dont go away on their own. As Danny and I were tasting it (as I type), we were worried it was a bit dense, but when I looked at Shuna's page, it looks exactly like hers and the taste is pretty good. In terms of preparation, it was easy and I would definitely make it again. Yum!

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CARAMEL SYRUP
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup water
1 cup water (for "stopping" the caramelization process)
In a small stainless steel saucepan, with tall sides, mix water and sugar until mixture feels like wet sand. Brush down any stray sugar crystals with wet pastry brush. Turn on heat to highest flame. Cook until smoking slightly: dark amber.When color is achieved, very carefully pour in one cup of water. Caramel will jump and sputter about! It is very dangerous, so have long sleeves on and be prepared to step back.Whisk over medium heat until it has reduced slightly and feels sticky between two fingers. {Obviously wait for it to cool on a spoon before touching it.}

Note: For safety reasons, have ready a bowl of ice water to plunge your hands into if any caramel should land on your skin.

Danny was out with the big kids...and this was how Macie looked when I started the recipe. I brought a chair over and nursed her while I watched the stove...


...and this is how she looked after 2 minutes of nursing - milk coma

...and this was her until the kids came home!


CARAMEL CAKE
10 Tablespoons UNSALTED BUTTER, ROOM TEMP
1 1/4 Cups SUGAR
1/2 teaspoon KOSHER SALT
1/3 Cup CARAMEL SYRUP (recipe above)
2 EGGS, ROOM TEMP
splash VANILLA EXTRACT
2 Cups AP FLOUR
1/2 teaspoon BAKING POWDER
1C MILK, ROOM TEMP

Preheat oven to 350F, Butter one tall 9" cake pan.
1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream butter until smooth.
2. Add sugar and salt & cream until light and fluffy.
3. Slowly pour room temperature caramel syrup into bowl.
4. Scrape down bowl and increase speed. Add eggs/vanilla extract a little at a time, mixing well after each addition. Scrape down bowl again, beat mixture until light and uniform.
5. Sift flour and baking powder.
6. Turn mixer to lowest speed, and add one third of the dries.
7. When incorporated, add half of the milk, a little at a time.
8. Add another third of the dries, then the other half of the milk and finish with the dries. {This is called the dry, wet, dry, wet, drry method in cake making. It is often employed when there is a high proportion of liquid in the batter.}
9. Take off mixer and by hand, use a spatula to do a few last folds. making sure batter is uniform.

Place cake pan on cookie sheet or 1/2 sheet pan. Set first timer for 30 minutes, rotate pan and set timer for another 15-20 minutes. Your own oven will set the pace. Bake until sides pull away from the pan and skewer inserted in middle comes out clean. Cool cake completely before icing it. Cake will keep for three days unrefrigerated.



CARAMELIZED BUTTER FROSTING
12 tablespoons UNSALTED BUTTER
1 Pound CONFECTIONER'S SUGAR, SIFTED
4-6 Tablespoons HEAVY CREAM
2 teaspoons VANILLA EXTRACT
2-4 Tablespoons CARAMEL SYRUP
Kosher or sea salt to taste

1. Cook butter until brown.
2. Pour through a fine meshed sieve into a heatproof bowl, set aside to cool.
3. Pour cooled brown butter into mixer bowl.
4. In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle or whisk attachment, add confectioner's sugar a little at a time. When mixture looks too chunky to take any more, add a bit of cream and or caramel syrup. Repeat until mixture looks smooth and all confectioner's sugar has been incorporated. Add salt to taste.

Caramelized butter frosting will keep in fridge for up to a month.To smooth out from cold, microwave a bit, then mix with paddle attachment until smooth and light.



I took some of the frosting and mixed it with my favorite Wilton dyes - brown - and made some cute designs. That is the extent of my frosting abilities, but I think it works.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Pumpkin Muffins

In the cooler months, I make alot of muffins. Zucchini, banana, and pumpkin muffins are the favorite in this house. When Danny came home the other night with a large can of pumpkin puree, I knew that I had to get crankin with the muffins again. Here is the recipe I use, which is modified from the one in the Panache cookbook.
Mix together y hand or in stand mixer:
2 1/2 c. sugar (it calles for 2 3/4 c.)
1/3 c. oil (calls for 2/3 c.)
1/3 c. unsweetened applesauce (doesn't call for it at all)
3 eggs
2 c. solid pureed pumpkin (freeze any extra from the large can)
In a small bowl, mix together:
3 c. flour
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon (calls for 1 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp cloves)
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
In two additions, mix flour, etc. into pumpkin batter.
Bake at 350F for 18-20 minutes (I never time it, I just just watch them). Makes 24 muffins and a small loaf. The kids love them :)


Peanut Butter Sauce

Peanut Butter Sauce: Mix everything together, I do it on the stove so the PB melts nicely...
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 c. smooth peanut butter
3 tbsp soy sauce
1/4 c. sugar (brown or white)
2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
1 tsp minced ginger, optional
6 drops tabasco sauce
2 tsp sesame oil
1/4 c. cold water

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Sweet Potato/Turkey Peanut Butter Dumplings

Before Danny and I were married, he ate out ALOT and Montreal has some really good eats. One of Danny's favorite appetizers when eating Chinese food out was peanut butter dumplings. Apparently, alot of Montrealians enjoy them because there is a recipe in Noreen Giletz's Meal-Lean-I-Yumm cookbook for them. I usually make a simple chinese dumpling, filled with everything from ground turkey to tofu and seasoned up with soy sauce, scallions, ginger and whatever else I have around. What makes this dish over the top (I think I have been watching too much Food Network) is the peanut sauce which comes straight from the cookbook and will be posted later. For the dumplings, I used some mashed sweet potatoes I had in the fridge (1 1/2 c.), 1 lb of ground turkey, some fresh ginger, dried chives, shredded carrot and thats all. They were really good, except I found the filling a bit mushy and I would have liked the meat to be a bit firmer. I have left over filling and wrappers and I am going to make them for a Shabbat dinner side dish. Before filling the wrappers, I am going to sautee some onions and garlic and then brown the filling a little before using it. I think it will come out a bit firmer and will contrast nicely with the soft won ton wrappers.

Some additional info: After I saw the post, I realize that some people have never made dumplings before. There are a couple of ways to cook them, the leanest of which is to boil them, 3-4 minutes and then are done. Dont pile them on top of each other (like I did). Lay them out in a single layer once they are cooked until you are ready to heat them with the sauce. In a large skillet, layer the dumplings with the sauce and then they wont stick when you are ready to serve them.