Category Archives: Recipes

Simple and Good Braised Chicken

Simple and Good Braised Chicken

This is such a simple chicken recipe, that it risked being called “Chicken With No Name.” It is endlessly adaptable, depending on available ingredients, personal preferences, time and circumstances. I have made it several times over the past few weeks, and it is always a hit.

Ingredients:

1 chicken cut in parts, skinned

Optional: leave skin on and sear the chicken pieces until browned for added flavor

2 -3 carrots, sliced

2 onions, sliced

2 celery stalks with leaves, cut in 1″ pieces

Optional: 1-2 parsnips, or other vegetables. Don’t add too many vegetables, or else the chicken will be overwhelmed. The more simple, the better the outcome.

Salt, to taste. Add the salt sparingly after it is cooked. Kosher chicken tends to be salty, and too much salt ruins the flavor.

1/2 teaspoon coarse black pepper, or to taste

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

Optional: paprika adds a nice flavor and color

2 bay leaves (I love bay leaves, so I like to add more)

1-2 cloves of garlic, crushed, near the end

1/2 cup water Optional: use chicken broth, or wine

Optional: 1 can crushed tomatoes or tomato paste for a thicker broth

Optional: 3-4 potatoes, peeled and cut in quarters

Optional: Thicken broth with 1-2 tablespoons of flour or starch. I usually dissolve the starch in a small amount of broth, and then add it to the dish and simmer until thickened.

Optional: If you REALLY want to be fancy, brown the starch or flour in fat, and then gradually add the liquid and stir or whisk until desired thickness. This takes a bit of time and skill, so I don’t recommend it if you are time challenged. It is something I do only for special occasions and for the right audience. My family does not like thicken sauce, and I find that it makes the leftovers “gloppy.”

Instructions 

Place carrots, onions, and celery in the bottom of the pot. If you have the time, you could saute the vegetables until browned, however, I did not. Add the chicken pieces on top of the vegetables and sprinkle with pepper, garlic powder, and if using, paprika or other desired spices. Then add the liquid, and, the (optional) tomato puree or paste.

I place the chicken on top of the vegetables so that the stock almost steams or roasts the chicken.

The secret is to cook the chicken with only a minimal amount of liquid or stock. And, only add a minimal amount of salt after it is cooked. Too much salt, or liquid, and the taste is altered. I also only add crushed fresh garlic at the end. In general, less is more with this chicken recipe. The beauty is in its simplicity.

Stove top: bring to boil and let simmer until done. Add crushed garlic, salt and adjust seasonings to taste.

Crockpot. Cook on low until done. Add crushed garlic, salt and adjust seasonings to taste.

In pressure cooker: 7 minutes to pressure and then use the quick release method by running cold water over the lid when done. Add crushed garlic, salt and adjust seasonings to taste.

This week, I made it in the crockpot overnight. I adjusted the seasonings when I got up this morning before going to work. I forgot to take a picture of it in the crockpot. So, I only have pictures when I made it on the stove top.

Here are the pictures:

Layered in the pot before cooking. I see I added parsnips too.


The first time around, my husband ate straight from the pot!


Another live action shot of Jay eating from the pot.


Everyone was soooooo happy! Raizel said, “I am obsessed with this chicken. It is scary good!”  My husband said, “This chicken is killer!” It is one of the few times that there were actually no leftovers.

It is fast, easy, all natural and simple — cooking for the time challenged at its best.

Enjoy!

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Challah Kugel

Challah Kugel 


ואל תאמר לכשאפנה אשנה, שמא לא תפנה

It is written in Perkei Avot (Ethics of the Fathers): Do not say, “When I have leisure time, I will study,” for you may never have leisure. (2:4)

According to the commentaries, this means that “one must consciously set aside time for study and spiritual growth.”

Now, I would not like to imply that blogging is on the same spiritual level as learning Torah.

But, with respect to blogging, I have extrapolated the above quote to mean: If I wait for things to calm down to blog, I will never blog.

As I shared in May, I am a big believer in the importance of rigorous self-care. As the primary caregiver for my family, I find blogging to be a fun and wonderfully creative outlet. Since blogging helps me cope, it’s time to post!

Challah kugel is a great way to use up leftover challah. Kugel in general is one of Yaffa’s favorite dishes, and this kugel in particular is especially yummy.

Challah Kugel

Ingredients:

16 oz challah

1 ½ cups water

1 ½  cups milk (I used rice milk)

Optional: use apple or orange juice for either or all of the liquid instead

4 eggs

1/2 – 1 cup sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 teaspoon cinnamon

2 tablespoons oil

Optional: ½ to 1 cup raisins, crushed pineapple or sliced apples

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 375* F.

Crumble or break up challah into small pieces into bowl. Combine water (or juice) and milk and pour over challah. Mix until challah is soft, but not too mushy. Add remaining ingredients and mix well.

Pour into pan and bake for approximately 1 hour or until done.

The texture is particularly creamy when it is baked in a deeper pan containing about 1 inch of water.

When I do not used a hot water bath, I bake it in a 350* F oven instead. It depends on how time challenged I am at that moment.

Variations: This recipe is really my basic formula for any sweet kugel. During Passover, I used crushed matzah instead of bread. To make it gluten free, I use rice, and blend with an immersion blender until smooth.

All the ingredients mixed in the pot.

 

In the pan, ready to bake.

Final outcome.

 

I consider this to be one of my signature kugel recipes. It is always a hit!

Enjoy!

 

Chocolate Chip Dot Cookies & Prayer Before Taking Medicine

Chocolate Chip Dot Cookies

 

I have been very quiet lately because unfortunately, Raizel has been very sick.  I am trying to visualize the positive and praying for her to receive a complete and speedy recovery.

However, I am happy to say that today was the first day in a very long time that Raizel was actually feeling somewhat like her old self.

To celebrate, I agreed to make “Chocolate Chip Dot Cookies.” This is something that Raizel has wanted me to make for the longest time.

Since I am time challenged, I usually, prefer to make Chocolate Chip Cookie Squares. But, Raizel REALLY wanted to make “dot cookies,” so I agreed.

In exchange, Raizel agreed to let me take lots of pictures and post this recipe because, “I know that blogging makes you happy.” A sure sign that she is feeling better!

Chocolate Chip Dot Cookies 

Ingredients:

1 cup oil

1 cup brown sugar

1 cup sugar

2-3 eggs (depends on if you like your cookies chewy or crisp)

2 teaspoons vanilla

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

3 cups flour (spelt or wheat)

12 oz. chocolate chips

Optional: 1 cup nuts

Instructions:

By hand or with a mixer: Mix sugars, oil, and vanilla a large bowl until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, until blended. . Stir in flour, baking soda and salt.  Stir in nuts and chocolate chips.

With only 2 eggs, the dough will be quite stiff. We made a second batch with 3 eggs, and the dough was much easier to manage. The stiffer dough made crispier cookies. The softer dough made chewier cookies.

Drop cookie dough by rounded teaspoons about 2 inches apart onto parchment lined cookie sheet.

Bake in a 375°F preheated oven for 8 to 10 minutes or until light brown.

When slightly cool, remove from cookie sheet and place on wire rack.

Food processor directions

Cream together the sugars, oil, eggs and vanilla.  Add the flour, salt and baking soda and gently pulse until just blended. Mix in by hand the nuts and chocolate chips.

Drop cookie dough by rounded teaspoons about 2 inches apart onto parchment lined cookie sheet.

Bake in a 375°F preheated oven for 8 to 10 minutes or until light brown.

When slightly cool, remove from cookie sheet and place on wire rack.

Tips: Initially, I made this recipe using only 2 eggs. I found the dough very stiff, and it was difficult to incorporate all of the chocolate chips. Since I had so many chocolate chips left in the bowl, Raizel, Yaffa and I made a second batch with 3 eggs. The dough was much softer and easier to manage.

I have discovered that chocolate chip cookies are a very forgiving recipe.

My husband and Raizel both declared that “these cookies are killer!” My husband actually ate 3, which is very unusual for him and a true vote of confidence.

However, Jay liked the batch with 2 eggs, which was crispier, and Raizel liked the one with 3 eggs that was chewier. So, either way, they were a hit.

I even think that they could easily be baked at 350*F and still come good.

Here are the pictures. Both girls wanted to have their pictures taken making the cookies.

First try, only using 2 eggs

blending in the flour, with a more stiff dough.


Trying to blend in all the chocolate chips.


This is the dough with 3 eggs. Much soother!


Baking in the oven.


Voila! The final outcome.

Slightly off topic, but, I wanted to share the pictures that I made of the prayer to say prior to taking medication. Unfortunately, we have been saying this prayer very often lately.

 

This is a second version of the one above:

 

This picture is a personal prayer that I wrote to reinforce my desire for any medication to be effective and helpful.

This is my personal prayer.

Enjoy the cookies and may everyone in need be blessed with a speedy and complete recovery!

DIY Spice Blends — The Frugal Hausfrau

 

sharing-is-caring

I usually feel compelled to write one original post a week. However, the joy of blogging is that we all can benefit from each other too. Why reinvent the wheel?

I love to make my own DIY spice blends. Somehow, I feel like they taste better and that the food tastes better too.

So, I just had to share this wonderful post on making your own spice blends by The Frugal Hausfrau. I love it!

Please check out this wonderful blog The Frugal Hausfrau.com!

I am a fan.

<a href=”http://frugalhausfrau.com/2014/11/11/poultry-seasoning-make-your-own/”>http://frugalhausfrau.com/2014/11/11/poultry-seasoning-make-your-own/</a&gt;

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Cumin Beets

Cumin Beets

As I have shared in the past, I consider myself to be a pressure cooker and crockpot Queen, in addition to the Arch Duchess of the rice cooker. 

To save time, I am always looking for ways to make fast and easy recipes. 

I was very excited to make this new way to cook beets. It can easily be made in a crockpot, stove top, or in a pressure cooker.

Ingredients

Beets, sliced

1 onions, chopped

1 teaspoon cumin

3 cloves of garlic, crushed

1 can (14 oz.) chopped tomatoes, juice included

1 cup water

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

Optional: fresh chopped herbs such as cilantro or parsley 

Instructions:

Wash and scrub beets. Slice with a food processor. If desired, beets can be peeled or left whole. A longer cooking time will be needed for whole beets.

Saute onion, garlic, cumin, salt and pepper. Add beets, water and canned tomatoes.

In pressure cooker: bring to pressure for 2 minutes and release the pressure. Simmer if needed until done.

In crock pot: place in crockpot and cook on low until done. If a longer cooking time is needed, then leave beets whole, so that they can cook all day.

Stove pot: bring to a boil and let simmer until done.

Adjust seasoning as needed once fully cooked. 

Fresh herbs like cilantro or parsley add a special gourmet touch.

 I made this just before Shabbat, so unfortunately I have only one picture.

Freshly made, and without any adornment.

 

This is a fast and easy and super tasty way to cook beets. Everyone loved them, even my husband who is not a fan of cumin.

Enjoy!

 

Lima Beans and Carrots

Lima Beans and Carrots

I am very excited about this recipe. Since we try to have 1 plant based meal a day, I am always looking to create simple, fast and easy vegan recipes.

This is an adaption of my Chicken and Carrots recipe. Lima beans were easily substituted for the chicken with success!

Ingredients:

1 lbs. Lima beans (about 3 cups)

2 cups carrots, sliced on the diagonal, or use baby carrots. I personally do not like baby carrots, as I feel they are less flavorful and crisp.

12 cloves garlic, peeled and whole

6 cups wine, broth or water.

1 teaspoon thyme, or use fresh oregano at the end of the cooking

¾ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon pepper

Instructions:

Place beans, carrots and garlic in pot. Add salt, pepper, thyme and water water. Cook on low.

Crock pot: Cook on low until done. Less water is required. Adjust seasoning.

Stove top: bring to boil and let simmer until done. Adjust seasoning.

Pressure Cooker: 12 minutes to pressure and then release the pressure quickly by running cold water over the lid when done. Adjust seasoning.

I call this maximum taste for minimal effort. A winner!

Here are the pictures:

img_6270

Just completed, and in the crockpot.

I wanted people to see the actual beans. Yum!

I wanted people to see the actual beans. Yum!

Everyone liked it. I am so happy!

Enjoy!

 

Cinnamon Pull Aparts

Cinnamon Pull Aparts

Raizel’s obsession with cinnamon was not assuaged by the cinnamon muffins.  Although my cinnamon muffins were good, apparently, they still did not compare to Cinnamon Pull Aparts.

So, last week, Raizel, her friend Cassy, and Cassy’s mother, Consolita and I had a bonding experience. We baked Cinnamon Pull Aparts together.

As I shared, originally, my niece,  “Yo-Yo,” gave me a great recipe for Cinnamon Pull Apart Buns. However, when the time came to make the recipe, it was too blury to read.

So, Consolita and I did a quick Google search and found this recipe, originally from the Fleishman’s Yeast Company. I altered it slightly, as I made the dough in a food processor, minimized the amount of margarine used, and rolled it out and baked them as a pinwheel slices, rather than as balls of dough.

Ingredients

3 cups all-purpose flour (I use spelt). Add up to 1/4 more to prevent it from being too sticky.

1/4 cup sugar

2.5 teaspoons RapidRise Yeast

1 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup milk (I used rice milk)

1/4 cup water

1/4 cup oil (original recipe called for margarine)

1 egg

Filling

1 cup sugar (I used Demerara, raw sugar)

1 tablespoon cinnamon

1/2 cup margarine, melted (I used Smart Balance)

Glaze:

1 cup icing sugar

3 tablespoons milk (I used rice milk)

Instructions:

Place flour, sugar, yeast and salt in food processor and pulse to blend. The original recipe called for warming the milk, but, I did not do that. Instead, I added hot water to the milk, together with the oil and the egg, and blended it until it formed a smooth dough.

Kneed dough on a lightly floured surface until well blended and slightly elastic. Cover and let the dough rest for 10 minutes.

Blend together the sugar, cinnamon and melted margarine.

Roll the dough into a rectangle, on a lightly floured surface or between 2 layers of parchment paper.

Spread the sugar, cinnamon and margarine over the dough.

Starting on the long side, roll up dough as tightly as possible, jelly-roll style.

With a serrated knife, slice into ½ inch slices and place pieces closely together cut side down on greased or parchment lined pan.

Bake in a preheated 375*F oven, until done and rolls are golden brown.

For glaze: Mix the icing sugar and milk in a bowl, adding the milk 1 teaspoon at a time. Stir until desired consistency.

Drizzle glaze over rolls while still warm.

These are the original instructions:

Combine 2 cups flour, sugar, dry yeast and salt in a large mixer bowl and stir until blended. Combine milk, water and butter in a microwave-safe bowl.  Microwave on HIGH in 15 second increments until very warm but not hot to the touch (120° to 130°F.  Butter won’t melt completely). Add to flour mixture with egg.

Beat 2 minutes at medium speed of electric mixer, scraping bowl occasionally. Add 1 cup flour; beat 2 minutes at high speed, scraping bowl occasionally. Stir in just enough remaining flour so that the dough will form into a ball.

Knead on lightly floured surface until smooth and elastic and dough springs back when lightly pressed with 2 fingers, about 6 to 8 minutes. Cover with a towel; let rest for 10 minutes.

For filling, combine sugar and cinnamon in a shallow bowl.

Cut dough into 36 pieces.   Dip each piece into the melted butter and then roll in the cinnamon sugar mixture.  Place in fluted tube pan that has been generously sprayed with cooking spray.  Combine any remaining butter and sugar and drizzle over rolls. Cover with towel; let rise in warm place until doubled in size, about 45 minutes.

Bake in preheated 375ºF oven for 25 to 30 minutes or until rolls are golden brown. Cool 5 minutes in pan, then invert on serving plate.

Making it it the food processor was much faster and easier!

Here are the pictures:

Mixing dough in the food processor. Much easier and faster!

 

 

dough fully blended.

dough fully blended.

 

 

Rolling out the dough between 2 layers of parchment.

Rolling out the dough between 2 layers of parchment.

Spreading out the filling over the dough.

Spreading out the filling over the dough.

Ready to bake.

Ready to bake.

Ready to be iced!

Ready to be iced!

I forgot to take a picture right away. Here are the leftovers.

Final outcome: Raizel and everyone else loved the rolls. The smell of cinnamon was heavenly too!

Overall, this was a successful culinary adventure, and fun too. It turns out that Consolita is a great cook, and she agreed to do this more often. I now have a cooking buddy!

Enjoy!

Reference:

http://www.breadworld.com/recipes/Beginners-Cinnamon-PullApart-Bread