December 31, 2008
December 30, 2008
Here are photos of some of the other dishes we enjoyed:
December 28, 2008
Latkes were made all over last week:
Ruth at Once Upon a Feast made Potato, Zucchini and Curried Sweet Potato Latkes.
Prudence Pennywise made her Latkes with carrots and green onions in them. Yum!
Over at Aggie's Kitchen, she not only shared her Sweet Potato Latkes, but also her Sweet Noodle Kugel!
Latkes (Potato Pancakes)
Adapted from The Complete Passover Cookbook
About 3 cups potatoes - shredded
1/2 of a large onion - shredded
1 to 2 heaping tablespoons matzah meal
2 to 3 eggs
1 teaspoon salt
Using a food processor, shred both the potatoes and the onion. When transferring to a mixing bowl, squeeze out the excess into another bowl.
Add the matzah meal, 2 eggs and salt to the potato and onion mixture. Mix thoroughly - go ahead, get your hands in there it's easier to mix that way. If the mixture does not appear to have enough egg to bind it a little bit together, add the 3rd egg.
Heat enough canola oil in a large frying pan to measure approximately 1/4 inch or so high. Allow to heat up on medium-high setting on your stove top. Once the oil starts to crackle, form the mixture into patties. My skillet can accomodate about 5 patties, but mine measure no bigger than about 2-3 inches across. Do not overcrowd the pan or the oil temperature will be brought down too far and it will take a lot longer to fry them up. Allow to cook on one side until the edges start to become brown and crispy looking, then use a spatula to flip over. Once both sides are cooked up, place on several layers of paper towels. Serve hot with applesauce and sour cream.
December 26, 2008
I first discovered this recipe when I was a member of my local MOMS Club. Every year, we had a cookie exchange and one of our members brought this a few years back. I fell in love immediately. She adds a bit of peppermint extract to the chocolate as it’s melting so that the flavor is distributed throughout each and every bite. If you aren’t a huge peppermint fan, then skip that part of the recipe.
It’s such a pretty holiday treat to give or receive. I like to store mine in the freezer after I have broken it into pieces so that it has that extra “cool” touch to it when nibbling.
Confections of a Foodie Bride also made Peppermint Bark for the holidays, but she opted to make it more swirly. Her's is so pretty!
HoneyB made pretty dipped pretzels, that were so festive and a hit with her co-workers.
If I had more time, I would have made the Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Truffles from Weekend Cook. Of course, I did make a truffle type dessert for tomorrow night that I'll be sharing soon.
Source: Harriet K.
1 pound dark chocolate
1 pound white chocolate
About 30 mini peppermint candy canes (broken into bits)
1 teaspoon peppermint extract
Place a sheet of wax paper on the bottom on of a rimmed baking sheet.
Melt dark chocolate in a double boiler. Once it has melted, add 1 teaspoon peppermint extract
and stir to ensure it is well distributed. Immediately pour into the rimmed baking sheet. Using a spatula, spread to ensure it is even. Place in the freezer for about 1 hour to ensure it has hardened.
Once dark chocolate is back to solid form, melt white chocolate in a double boiler. Once melted, pour over the dark chocolate, but work quickly so that it does not melt the dark chocolate. Spread with a spatula to ensure that it is even over the top. Then, sprinkle the candy cane bits over the top. Place in the freezer for at least 1 hour.
Break into pieces and serve.
December 25, 2008
There are a couple of different ways you can make your own broth. The traditional way is to get a big pot out and put it on the stove. Then fill your pot with your chicken bones that you’ve saved from your roasted chicken dinners. You cover the chicken with water and add your carrots, onions, fresh or dried herbs. Then you proceed to let the whole thing simmer quietly on your stovetop for several hours. The way I’ve been doing it recently is similar, but a bit faster since I use my Pressure Cooker. I haven’t been talking about it as much lately and really do need to break it out more often. When I make broth in my pressure cooker, it’s done in just about 1 hour. That includes time to bring it up to high pressure, allowing it to cook at high pressure and then using the natural release method.
With either method, it is still necessary to strain out all the solids from your delicious new broth. Once that is done, it is recommended to chill it overnight. If you live in an area of the country that has cold weather like we do, you can put your pot right out in the garage (I don’t like to put it outside since we have a few animals that visit overnight and would probably knock the lid off for a nibble). In the morning, simply spoon off the fat that collected on top.
The resulting broth will be perfect for your favorite chicken noodle soup or matzah ball soup recipe. It’s so worth the effort that you’ll want to keep some in the freezer all the time.
Looking for some fantastic soup recipes to use that homemade broth? Well, check out these blogs for inspiration:
The Crabby Cook made a Tuscan Bread Soup that would be a wonderful treat on any cold day.
Recipegirl uses up leftover turkey (or you can use leftover chicken) to make her Creamy Mexican Turkey (or chicken) Soup.
Go visit A Thousand Soups and you'll find step-by-step instructions on making your own Wonton Soup at home. Yum!
December 24, 2008
I want to take a moment and wish everyone a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah and Happy Holidays no matter what you are celebrating! I also want everyone to know how much appreciate that you take the time to read my blog and often take the time to comment. I never imagined when I started this blog a year ago, that I'd make so many new friends in the blogging world.
Today, I’m sharing another family recipe with you. I’m not even sure who made it originally since I came into the family some time after it became a favorite. It’s so simple, that when I told my friend what was in it she was surprised. She’s not much of a cook, so I think she might even give it a try herself.
This can be served along side almost any meat main dish – chicken, beef or pork. Orzo looks so much like rice that many people think that’s what you’ve used. We like to make sure it bakes for the entire amount of time so that it gets that little bit of crunch to the top. The original recipe calls for water chestnuts and almonds, but since My Husband likes it better without that’s what I do. Just keeping the family happy!
Source: MomK, Aunt Sylvia (family recipe)
1 box of orzo, cooked to package directions
3 tablespooons canola oil
1 to 1 1/2 packages onion soup mix
1 small can of sliced mushrooms
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Combine all ingredients into a baking dish. Bake, uncovered for about 30 minutes.
December 23, 2008
I’m about to share a secret with you. It’s a recipe that my mother-in-law makes every year for Rosh Hashanah. It’s a once a year thing she makes. I fell in love with her Stuffed Chicken in Phyllo the first time I tried it. It looks very impressive when it’s served and the chicken is moist and cooked perfectly. This is something that is perfect for a holiday meal or for serving to guests in the fall or early spring months.
Now, I had to have her actually show me how she rolls the chicken and then wraps it in phyllo dough as I had never worked with it before. Many people are intimidated by phyllo dough because it can rip very easily. She makes a special trip to The Greek Store (yes, that really is the name!) to get fresh phyllo rather than the frozen kind you buy at the regular grocery. If you can get fresh, that is the easiest to work with because it has not had to be frozen and defrosted. If you don’t have someplace that sells fresh, go ahead and work with the frozen dough, just buy a couple of extra boxes so that you will have plenty to work with when wrapping the chicken.
As for the stuffing, you could use your own homemade stuffing but we pick up a box of Stovetop to keep it simple. If you are making about 12-15 pieces one box should be more than enough for filling them adequately.
Now, don’t go by my picture because this time they didn’t brown up as much as I would have liked. After speaking to my mother-in-law, we came to the conclusion that I may not have melted the butter long enough to cook off some of the water (white stuff that appears when it’s melting).
I served these last Saturday when we had some friends over for dinner and they were well-liked by everyone – in spite of them not being as browned as I would have liked. They were cooked perfectly! I will be sharing another recipe from that evening later this week.
Check out these recipes from around the food blogging world:
The Dinner Rolls Judy made at No Fear Entertaining would be a wonderful addition to this meal.
A quick dinner of Rigatoni with Sausage and Smoked Mozzarella from Elly Says Opa! Looks like true comfort food.
Happy Holidays and Happy Cooking! More to come from the dinner from last weekend so, check back in to see what else I made!
Stuffed Chicken in Phyllo
Source: Family recipe, Momk
8 boneless skinless chicken breast halves - pounded flat
1 box of Stovetop Stuffing (prepared & cooled - or you can make your own)
Several boxes of fresh phyllo dough (if you can find it, I have only found frozen, and the extra boxes are key when the sheets rip!)
plain bread crumbs
Lay the chicken breast flat, and put about 2-3 tablespoons of the stuffing toward one end of it. Roll up the chicken breast and set aside in a dish. Repeat with all breasts.
Lay out one sheet of phyllo dough, brush with butter and sprinkle with bread crumbs. Put a 2nd sheet on top and repeat with the butter and bread crumbs. Put a 3rd sheet on top and only brush on the butter. Next, put one of the rolled chicken breasts at one end and carefully enclose it (kind of like making a paper envelope, just keep folding the ends in until you get to the end of the sheet).
Brush with butter one last time and place on a foil covered baking sheet.Bake in a pre-heated oven (350 degrees) for 25 minutes. Then cover with foil lightly to prevent over-browning and continue to bake for an additional 15-20 minutes.
December 21, 2008
Non-stick Cooking Spray
8 tablespoons butter (1 stick) - melted
2 cloves garlic - chopped
1 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
2 pounds fresh or frozen pizza dough
8 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese
2 tablespoons Parmesan Cheese
1 1/2 cups pizza sauce
December 19, 2008
I used a recipe I found in a holiday cookie magazine I picked up last year put out by Taste of Home. The recipe had only 5 ingredients, which is great because I have them all in the house. I wanted to take them up another notch, so I rolled the balls in a cinnamon sugar before baking them.
These cookies baked up beautifully. The cookie stayed soft inside, which is my preferred type of cookie.
I'm submitting these cookies to Susan at Foodblogga for her Eat Christmas Cookies round-up. She's had to start up a second post due to all of the amazing cookies being submitted. It's ok to look... no calories for looking!
You'll also want to check out these holiday treats... new one's are still popping up throughout the blogging world every day!
Amy at Nook & Pantry made a Brown Butter Gingersnap cookie that can be underbaked to give a nice chewy texture, or if you prefer a true "snap" bake them a bit longer... either way, they look positively yummy!
Head over to Fresh from the Oven and find out what the "secret" ingredient is in her Chocolate Peppermint Cookies.
Joy the Baker shares a Black and White Cookie recipe that will make your mouth water... just check out the pictures and you'll be trying to decide which side of the cookie to eat first, too... or perhaps you'll do it the way Joy does it.
Cinnamon Chocolate Kiss Cookies
Adapted from Taste of Home Cookies & Bars magazine
1 cup peanut butter
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup cinnamon sugar
24 milk chocolate kisses
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, cream together peanut butter and sugar. Add the vanilla and egg, beat until combined.
Roll into 3/4 inch balls, then roll in cinnamon sugar before placing on baking sheet about 2 inches apart. Bake for 12 minutes or until tops are slightly cracked. Immediately place on chocolate kiss in the center of each cookie. Allow to cool 5 minutes on pans before removing.
About 2 1/2 dozen cookies.
As I’ve mentioned before, I work outside the home so weeknights can be a bit of a challenge. Sometimes I get home and just don’t feel like pulling out a recipe I had marked for the night to make dinner. With My Husband working late the other night, I opted for a quick and simple dinner. When I say quick and simple, I’m talking about 3 ingredients and on the table in about 15 minutes at the most! Rachael Ray would be proud!
Now, this is not a gourmet meal by any means. It does use ingredients I had on hand and tend to have hanging around in one form or another all the time. I had some Barilla Spinach and Cheese Tortellini and some proscuitto. How can you go wrong with those two ingredients on their own? I chopped up the proscuitto and rendered it down in a skillet and some pieces even got to a nice crispy texture, Yum! I added about a ¼ cup of chicken broth to the proscuitto when it was nicely cooked, then threw in the cooked tortellini – figured a little moisture would be a good thing to bring it all together. I added a sprinkle of chopped parsley – but that was primarily to add some color.
The Boys practically inhaled it! Yep, simple works with them. This was good because it was one of those of nights where I needed to come up with something filling that they would enjoy. I had some for lunch the next day and it was still quite tasty. So, next time you have a night that nothing appeals to you… look in that pantry and fridge and see what’s there. I imagine you have a quick and easy meal ready to go in a matter of minutes!
Looking for some other dinner time options? Here are the latest recipes I’ve seen lately… there are TONS of desserts and cookies, so it took a bit of searching to find these! After New Year’s we may not find a sweet for a month since everyone will be working off those extra calories by then!
December 16, 2008
I know I’ve said over and over how I don’t like nuts in cookies, cakes or breads. This is THE ONLY cookie I’ve ever included nuts in and truly enjoy. I think it has to do with the almonds being finely ground and used as the coating for the cookie before it is baked. I still detest large chunks of nuts in all manner of baked goods, this is just the one exception for me.
This cookie has a soft interior and a slightly crisp exterior. They are finished off with a small dab of jam in the center of them after they bake. I like to use Trader Joe’s Organic Jams since I don’t make my own. Their raspberry jam is simply addictive, and I always have at least one jar of it hanging around.
I had a bit of help in the kitchen with my baking last weekend, and thought I’d share a couple of quick pictures of my junior chefs showing off their baking skills:
I've had a number of questions asking about freezing cookies and defrosting them, so I thought I'd share how I do it today. The Jam Thumbprint cookies do freeze well, just be sure to put a layer of wax paper in between each layer of cookies in your freezer tight container. Allow to come to room temperature when you are ready to give as gifts or to serve for dessert. I do this for all cookies that I freeze and so far they've all come out just as delicious after their time in the deep freeze. Not all cookies freeze well, so you may want to do a "test" by freezing just a couple and bringing back to room temperature to see how they hold up.
If you haven’t already, please take a moment to read about the New Jersey Food Bank’s need for donations click HERE to see yesterday’s post. You can also click on the button in the left sidebar and it will take you directly to their website. Please consider helping out in any way you can. As I mentioned yesterday, no amount of assistance is too small.
Of course, there are many more cookies and other great treats being made around the food blogging world right now. Check out these recipes… in case you were short on ideas for this year! If not, mark them to try for the next holiday season, or day of baking you have planned.Go on over to Dragon's Kitchen and you'll find Chocolate Almond Biscotti that will please any of your coffee or tea loving friends.
Stephanie's Kitchen recently made a decadent Oreo Fudge that may not make it into the gift basket because it's that irresistable.
And, what cookie tray would be complete without the stand-by, Peanut Butter Blossoms over at Delish?
December 15, 2008
Please read on to see how you can help. For those New Jersey citizens, you may have seen the ad campaign that Bruce Springsteen has been a part of recently, "We Can't Let This Bank Fail". The Food Bank is looking for people to help in any way possible to prevent the possibility of having to ration their food supplies in order to provide for all those who have requested assistance.
According to the Food Bank, "This is a state-wide crisis, with the unstable economy resulting in a 30 percent increase in those needing food. In years past, the Community FoodBank of New Jersey has provided assistance to more than 500,000 New Jerseyans, but expects to see a major uptick in need this year, especially during the winter months when people often struggle between paying heating and food bills."
Please visit The Statewide Emergency Food and Anti-Hunger Network site to find Food Pantries that are in your immediate area. They are all in need of assistance now more than ever.
As the state's key distributor of food to local banks – serving more than 500,000 people a year and providing assistance to nearly 1,700 non-profits in the state – the stability of replenishment of the CFBNJ is essential to ensuring that individuals in need have access to food.
If everyone could just do a little, it would help those in need a lot. To help, people can:
1. Make a monetary contribution: Visit www.njfoodbank.org.
2. Donate food: Drop off a bag of food at your local food pantry.
3. Organize a food drive: We can help explain the logistics of starting a food drive. Just call 908-355-FOOD.
4. Help "Check Out Hunger:" Look for the "Check Out Hunger" coupons at your local supermarket and donate. No donation is too small!
One thing that people commonly confuse is the role of the food bank. The CFBNJ is similar to a wholesale distributor, as they provide food to more than 1,600 charities throughout the state, which then give food directly to the hungry (the food bank does not give food directly to individuals). The food bank also does not accept small amounts of food, such as a cart of groceries. They encourage those donations go directly to a local food pantry or soup kitchen. Rather, the food bank accepts large quantity food donations, such as a truck full of groceries, as well as monetary donations which they stretch to purchase food at wholesale prices, such as 300 lb. bags of rice, for example.
As a group, the bloggers listed below have joined together to bring this dire situation to light. Please consider helping in any way you can. As mentioned above, no donation is too small. You can help by making a donation while doing your usual grocery shopping. Or purchase an extra bag of groceries and drop that by your local food pantry site. Whatever you can do, is appreciated and will help those families in our state who are in need. At this time of year, those of us who are lucky enough to have food in our kitchens can afford to share a bit of that with those who are struggling. You never know when you might be the one in need in the future.
Please visit the blogs (over 100 NJ bloggers!) below as they will all be focusing on the Food Bank's needs today. It is an incredible group of people who have come together to help those in need by getting the word out.
Participating Bloggers for “We Can’t Let This Bank Fail” campaign
3) Jersey Girl Cooks
4) Simply Sable
5) John and Lisa are eating in South Jersey
6) Padma's Kitchen
8) Life Lightly Salted
9) My Italian Grandmother
10) Cook Appeal
11) Crotchety Old Man Yells at Cars
12) Mommy Vents
13) This Full House
14) Paper Bridges
15) Motherhood Avenue
16) The Kamienski Chronicles
17) Down the Shore with Jen
18) Fits and Giggles
19) House Hubbies Home Cooking
20) Nourish Ourselves
23) Off the broiler
24) Mrs. Mo’s New Jersey Baby
28) Savy Source Newark
29) Momlogic New Jersey
33) Best of Roxy
34) Citizen Mom.net
36) Jersey Beat
37) Pop Vulture Phil
41) Mike Halfacres Blog
43) Family, Friends and Food
47) New Jersey Real Estate Report
49) More Monmouth Musings
50) Man of Infirmity
51) Another Delco Guy in South Jersey
53) Average Noone
54) Cleary’s Notebook
55) Welcome to my Planet
56) The Center of New Jersey Life
57) Sharon’s Food Blog
58) Morristown, Chatham, Summit, and Madison NJ Real Estate
59) Midtown Direct Real Estate News
60) New Jersey Real Estate
63) The Ridgewood Blog
64) Book a Week with Jen
67) Matawan Advocate
68) Take Back the Kitchen
69) The Joy of Toast
70) Route 55
71) Montclair Kids.com
74) Joe the Blogger
75) Environmental Republican
76) Stacey Snacks
77) Subversive Garden
78) New Jersey Pathfinder
79) Cooking With Friends Blog
80) Triple Venti
81) Read All About It
82) Rich Lee on Media
83) Likelihood of Success
84) Cape Cuisine
85) The Business At Hand
89) Caviar and Codfish
90) A Day in the Life
91) Mack’s Journey Through Life
92) Alice’s Restaurant
93) Tiger Hawk
94)Politics Patrol, The Bob Ingle Blog
95) The Food Chain
96) Henson’s Hell
97) Cranbury Conservative
99) New Jersey: Politics Unusual
100) Jersey Shore Blog
101) Plainfield Today
102) Beacon Bulletin
103) Journal Square Jersey City 07306