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, September 25, 2008

Apple (Challahs) for the Teachers

Instead of the obvious gift of an apple for the kids' teachers, I made Apple Challahs. I was inspired by this recipe from Epicurious. I used my regular challah recipe and just stuffed it with apples, as suggested in the recipe. They came out very simple, not an overwhelming apple taste, but just enough and the sugar crust was nice, except that it made my bottoms burn a little (which I had suspected). I only got two out of the four that had presentable bottoms, so I am making another batch tonight for the rest of the teachers. I am going to try to keep the sugar off of the pan or wipe it away before it goes in the oven.
The first stuffing of apples...

The second stuffing...

Rolled and ready to rest in the fridge overnight...

Chilled and ready to proof before baking...

Crusty and yummy from the oven...

Since they came out of the oven only minutes before I had to leave for the day, I took them in my "challah carrier" when I dropped off the big kids to allow a little while longer to cool...

Right before I made sure they came out ok....good thing they did since I had already delivered them to Leo's teachers!

Dinner and Dancing

Last night, I had promised the kids that they could stay up "late" and watch Dancing with the Stars with us. Danny ended up coming home later than usual so I fed the kids early and made dinner for the two of us later, to eat while watching. For the kids, I made Stove Top Mac-N-Cheese and was going to have that as a side dish for our pan fried tilapia. The kids didn't really love the macaroni, especially Amelia and noone ate much of anything. When we sat down to watch Dancing with the Stars and mine and Danny's plates were revealed, both Amelia and Leo were suddenly starving. In the end, I think I managed a crumb or two from my tilapia...and Danny shared his mac-n-cheese. Of course, I could have just had challah garlic bread and have been satisfied. Next time, I will skip the mac-n-cheese and we will all have a simple fish dinner. And, no, I can't believe that those words just came out of my mouth!

Monday, September 22, 2008

I know very well that I have a problem...

Today was one of the most exhausting days I have had in a while and the last thing I should have wanted to do was prepare dinner. Why couldn't I just boil some pasta and open a jar of sauce?? Why?? The truth is, no matter how much easier that would have been, it would only have made my day worse - not better. After a day like today - and Danny's long work days - I really look forward to dinner. Cheerios for breakfast and PB for lunch doesn't always satisfy, ya know? That being said, I searched for something simple - a pasta frittata. I've got tons of eggs and tons of pasta (thanks, SAMS Club!) and not much else in the house. I have made frittatas before, but not with pasta and I have made pasta pies before, but not with so many eggs. By far, this was my favorite. The recipe came from Cooking Light and here are the ingredient modifications I made:

5 eggs
1/4 c. flavored bread crumbs
1/4 c. shredded mozzerella
1/2 chopped onion
NO mushrooms
3 small ears of corn - didn't measure
1 c. cooked spaghetti
sprinkled the parm on top, didn't measure

Oh, and by the time I came down to blog, I had finished that lonely piece left in the pan...it was too sad to leave there. And it was only Danny and me eating...the kids had plain pasta, Leo with parmesan and Amelia with red sauce ;)

Friday, September 19, 2008

This week in dinners...

Monday night, Danny had a work thing and I couldn't tell you - even if you paid me - what we ate that night. Tuesday is Hebrew School so it was PB sandwiches for the kids and Danny and I scarfed down our tilapia dinner so fast, there was no time for pictures. Wednesday night we had BBQ chicken and fries and last night was macaroni and cheese and corn bread. Yummy :)
BBQ Chicken (same as last week...)
Honey BBQ sauce, orange or apricot preserves, dried rosemary and some Ore Ida fries on the side

Mac N' Cheese - from my files
1 lb macaroni pasta - cooked al dente, 8 minutes
1/3 c. flour
3 c. fat free milk
1 1/2 c. shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 c. parmesan (divided)
1 tbsp. dijon mustard
1/2 tsp salt (I used 3/4-1 tsp)
1/2 tsp hot sauce
1/2 c. fresh bread crumbs (I used flavored dried breadcrumbs)
In saucepan, combine flour and milk and simmer, stirring, for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and add 2 tbsp parmesan, cheddar, mustard, salt and hot pepper sauce (I added some ground pepper also). Drain pasta and add it to the sauce. Cover mac with breadcrumbs mixed with 2 tbsp parmesan (and more cheese if you want) and bake for 20 minutes at 375F, until bubbly and brown.

Corn Bread - from Cooking Thin cookbook
Mix dry together in one bowl:
1 c. flour
1 c. corn meal (calls for yellow, I had white in the house)
3 tbsp sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 coarse salt
Mix wet together in another bowl:
1 c. skim milk
1/4 c. canola or veggie oil
1 large egg or 2 large egg whites, lightly beaten
Right before baking, combine everything together and stir just to combine. I added a couple of handfuls of frozen corn and a handful of scallions. Bake at 400F in 9in square pan for 20-25 minutes, until toothpick comes out clean. I finished it off for "lunch" today ;)

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Freezer to the Rescue

Tonight was going to be pasta and jarred sauce, but Danny asked for something a little "more". Here's what I did:
1. Took the Ghana Meatball Stew out of the freezer and defrosted it
2. Boiled some spaghetti and drained it
3. In the same pot, smooshed the meatballs and added jarred sauce
4. Served it with some challah and Smart Balance and enjoyed a late night dinner with Danny
5. And, ofcourse - apple, plum, peach, cranberry crisp for dessert ;)

Thursday, September 11, 2008

My Idea of Chinese...tonight, atleast

Right before bed last night, I asked Danny what he felt like for dinner tonight. Sometimes I get a classic like, "something good," but I was fortunate to hear "Chinese" come out of his mouth. I ok'ed the idea, but really had no clue what to make since I had no beef or chicken breast in the freezer to do a nice stiry fry with. I did remember that I had two bone-in chicken breasts with the wing and decided to do something "chinesey"...I think it worked out well ;)

1/4 c. sugar
1/4 c. canola oil
1/8 c. soy sauce
1/8 c. rice wine vinegar (recipe did not call for this, but it was waaay to soy saucy without it)

Oven Fried Sesame Chicken: This recipe comes from the Mother & Daughter Jewish Cooking cookbook and is actually quite involved. I simplified it alot...if you want the entire recipe, let me know.

1 large egg
1 tbsp. sesame oil

1 c. flavored bread crumbs
20 grinds pepper
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 c. sesame seeds
1/2 tsp. paprika

I cut the chicken off the bone and into large chunks. 400F until they look done...really! Parchment paper is a dream for anything breaded. Love it!

Fried Rice: really easy recipe from Spice and Spirit (this is from memory, so cross your fingers)

1 onion, diced and sauteed until translucent
2 eggs, stirred around until totally done
1 Tbsp soy sauce
2 1/2 c. cooked rice
I added peas (for Danny) and some extra soy sauce at the end

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Dinner for One

Tuesdays we have Hebrew School so the kids eat at school and Danny and I usually eat later, after bedtime. Tonight, Danny picked up a sandwich because he was late getting home and I took out a piece of talapia to defrost before I left for school, looking forward to a good dinner after a long day. I looked for a minute online to see what to do with it and this is what resulted. I put a little sesame oil on it and sprinkled sesame seeds and lemon-pepper seasoning (maybe the 2nd time I have ever used it) and let it sit for a minute. I pan "fried" it in non-stick spray and had leftover mashed potatoes and corn. Yum :)

Simple Shabbat Dinner

This past Shabbat, I made a very simple dinner - chicken and kugel - but I made up for it with lots of flavor. For the kugel, I started with the Potato Zucchini kugel recipe from Spice and Spirit, but totally modifed it to be more like a regular potato kugel. Turns out that the "zucchini" that my mom brought over was actually a mexican squash, but it worked out really nicely in the kugel. Here's the recipe I created (and, thankfully, wrote down):

5 medium potatoes (I thought it was 6, but later found 1 on the floor!) - pureed in food processor, this is a "no shredded kugel" household
1/2 of a HUGE squash/zucchini - pureed
1 onion - pureed
4 eggs
1/3 c. bread crumbs or flour (I had some flavored bread crumbs and it came out to half of those and 1/2 flour to make up the 1/3 c.)
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper

350F for 1 - 1 1/2 hours. Enjoy! and stick some in the freezer for another time like I did :)

I was out of pots (literally), so I did a simple roasted chicken that I could keep in the oven with the kugel. I took a few tablespoons of orange marmalade, a few "whatevers" of my favorite mango bbq sauce and some dried rosemary. It was yummy ;)

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

If you want to get funny looks from your butcher - buy a Lamb Breast for dinner

I have always wondered what it feels like to stop at the butcher "to pick something up for dinner", rather than always grabbing from the freezer and planning ahead. Tonight was the night and Lamb Breast was what caught my eye. Ok, the price tag and bright "Managers Special" sticker was what really did it. It was after 5pm and I was not close to home, but I still wanted to see if someone at Hungarian could give me some pointers on cooking the darn thing. One deli guy told me that he is a chef, but has never cooked lamb and the other one looked at me sideways and said the only thing I could really do was broil it. When I got home and saw just how much fat there was, I decided to dig for whatever meat I could find and do some sort of stir fry. When all was said and done, I got a little more than 10 oz of meat and a lovely bunch of soup bones. I marinated it in peanut oil, sesame oil, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, a pinch of ground ginger and maybe six red pepper flakes. After the meat sat for a while in the fridge, I put a little peanut oil in the pan with some garlic and browned the meat. I took it out and added red and yellow pepper (for Danny) and corn (for me). Had I planned better, I would have bought baby corn and broccoli (both for Danny)...that's next time. There was only one serving for each of us, but the results were really good and sometimes it is nice not to have the tempation for seconds...or thirds. Not bad for $3.38 :)

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Pizza Night

Homemade pizza is one of my favorite things to make, but I haven't made it in a while due to the crazy heat and the unfavorable results I was having. I decided to double the dough, making thicker pizzas in the end, and finding a really great sauce. Dough and sauce - that's all a pizza needs to be amazing, right? That's exactly right. I used my favorite pizza dough recipe and this new pizza sauce recipe and the results were perfect. For the sauce, I only used 1 TBSP olive oil, no butter and no bay leaf or fennel seed. I added 2 TBSP of water when it was simmering and only simmered it for about 10 minutes because it started sticking. Next time I will make more sauce to freeze, this recipe just made enough for our three pizzas. I had a little issue with the cooking time because I made the smaller pizzas in cake pans that are heavily constructed, so the cooking time was longer (30 minutes) and the bottom crust wasn't as crunchy as I would have liked. I will have to buy smaller pans for the next time. And, I am sure you can guess what Danny's having for lunch tomorrow ;)
I love the rising process - so cool...

Homemade pizza sauce, so easy and so yummy!

Danny's red pepper pizza, my onion pizza, and the kids' cheese pizza...

The finished products :)

Smiles at the table are all I need to know this dinner was a hit!