Thanksgiving Lunch on the Fly: Maple Syrup & Mustard Turkey Legs With Sweet Potatoes & Green Beans

Thanksgiving Lunch on the Fly: Maple Syrup and Mustard Turkey Legs with Sweet Potatoes and Green Beans

I am still cooking and still writing, but, for various reasons, unfortunately, not for this wonderful blog. I have missed the comradery of the blogging community!

It can be sometimes be challenging to balance working, my children’s special needs and the dietary guidelines of the Jewish faith. In an age of instant gratification, teaching my children to say “No” to delicious non-kosher food is not simple.

I want my daughters to enjoy our faith and feel committed to following our culture, even though they are unable to attend a yeshiva and they are in an environment with very few other Jews.

They are teenagers, and at the age where they want to feel that they belong to a group of friends or peers. It is hard to be different and not do or eat what everyone else is doing or eating.

Raizel was talking about the Thanksgiving school menu for weeks.  Her teachers were concerned that she might feel left out or deprived that she could not eat what all the other children were eating. They are so kind, that they bought a microwave that would only be for kosher food!

I made this wonderful crockpot turkey with sweet potatoes for the first time in years. It is fast, easy, all natural and delicious.

Paired with a super simple frozen green beans, Raizel was able to have a delicious thanksgiving lunch on the fly.

It occurred to me that this is a perfect simple menu for anyone!

Maple Syrup and Mustard Turkey Legs with Sweet Potatoes

 Ingredients

3 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut in cubes

3 turkey legs, skinned

1/2 cup maple syrup

1/3 cup prepared mustard, of your choice

½ teaspoon garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, ginger

¼ teaspoon pepper, to taste

1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes

Salt to taste.

Optional: Thicken broth with 1 tablespoons of tapioca.

 Directions 

Put sweet potatoes in the bottom of the pot. Add the turkey legs on top. Mix together the maple syrup, mustard and spices and then pour over turkey.

Stove top: bring to boil and let simmer until done. Adjust seasonings to taste, if necessary.

Crockpot. Cover and cook on low-heat setting for 6 to 7 hours or on high-heat setting for to 3 to 3-1/2 hours.

In pressure cooker: 12 minutes to pressure and then use the quick release method by running cold water over the lid when done.

Easy Garlic Green Beans

 Ingredients

1 lbs. frozen green beans

3 cloves garlic, crushed

Salt and pepper to taste.

¼ cup water (approximately)

Optional: 1 tablespoon of olive oil or margarine.

 Directions 

Place frozen green beans in a skillet. Add 1/4 cup water. Cover the skillet, then steam the beans until tender. Add crushed garlic and season with salt and pepper to taste. For an extra rich flavor, add oil or margarine and mix well.

Since I was not originally planning on posting these recipes, unfortunately, I only have 2 pictures:

 

The final product. Delicious!

Simple and easy green beans. Add extra oil for a richer taste. Raizel added toasted sesame oil. Yum!

I am happy to say that it was a success! Both girls, and even my husband liked it very much.

 

Enjoy!

 

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

 

 

 

 

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!

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!

 

Shabbat In 2 Hours: Mashed Potatoes

Shabbat In 2 Hours: Mashed Potatoes

This is almost one of my non-recipe recipes.

My family loves mashed potatoes. However, mashed potatoes are something that need to be made fresh and served immediately. As I am time challenged, I find it difficult to make anything that requires precise timing. Up until now, I rarely made them.

This past week, I was so excited to have discovered cooking the potatoes in the crock pot. The potatoes cooked while I was at work. Then, when I came home, I mashed them just before Shabbat. In very little time, we had wonderful, fresh mashed potatoes.

I know that this seems like such a little thing. But, it was very exciting for everyone. Sometimes, it is the little things in life that count.

little_things

Ingredients

potatoes, whole and unpeeled

water to cover

salt, pepper to taste

olive oil, to taste

Optional: butter or margarine

Optional:sauteed onions

Optional: fresh crushed garlic

Optional: spices as desired

Optional: paprika, for added color

Instructions

Place whole potatoes in crock pot, and add water to cover. Since I made this early in the morning, I added more water than necessary, to avoid overcooking. However, overcooking is not a high risk proposition. Since they are going to be mashed, overcooking will not harm the final outcome.

When I got home, the potatoes were cooked, and not even over cooked!  I peeled them, and mashed them, adding the cooking water to desired consistency. As I mashed them, I added the salt, pepper and olive oil.

Placed whole in the crock pot, cover with water.

I peeled them after they were cooked.

Mashed and ready to serve!

The variations of mashed potatoes are endless. So far, I have not been too adventurous.

My plan was to leave some of the potatoes whole for a potato salad for lunch on Shabbat day. However, that turned out to be unnecessary.  Everyone in the family devoured the mashed potatoes! I actually ran out.  A definite hit!

Now, everyone is looking forward to having them for Shabbat dinner again.  I am so happy that it will be possible to make this dish more often.

Enjoy!

 

North African Meatball Stew 

 

North African Meatball Stew

We are slowly digging out from under with our boxes. I have yet to fully unpack and comfortably organize the kitchen.

In addition, the move has brought up many emotions in my family. 

Last week, I found myself writing more on my non-food blog, coffeeklatchinsight.wordpress.com.

So, if anyone is interested in knowing how my week was last week, please stop by and visit!

I am open to feedback: I periodically think I should only have blog. But, my understanding of blogging rules is that a blog is best suited to one subject. Many readers find it too disconcerting to keep switching gears.

What is other people’s experience?

In the meantime, my cooking is even more rudimentary than before the move.

I am slowly getting up to speed, much to my family’s delight.

This is a dish that was inspired by Mona at healthyindiancooking.wordpress.com’s recipe on Easy Meatball Stew. The link is here for anyone who would like to see the original:

https://healthyindiankitchen.wordpress.com/2016/05/01/easy-meatball-stew/

It is a wonderful blog, full of my favorite food. I highly recommend  that you stop by for a visit!

However, although I love the original recipe, I had already packed up most of my spices. What was left were my spice mixes and the very basic spices. So, I combined Mona’s recipe with my previously posted North African Meatballs recipe. I am happy to say that this version is much better. “The potatoes and carrots give more flavor and texture to the sauce,” according to Raizel, my budding gourmet.

Ingredients 

Meatballs:

2 lbs. ground meat

1 tablespoon North African Spice Mix, or to taste

1 clove garlic crushed 

North African Spice Mix:

1 tablespoon salt, ginger, turmeric, coriander, cumin, garlic powder 

2 tablespoons paprika 

1/2 teaspoon pepper, cayenne, cloves 

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg 

Sauce

1 onion, chopped 

3-4 potatoes, peeled and cut in quarters

4 carrots, peeled and sliced on the diagonal. I prefer to keep slices on the larger side.

3 cups water or broth 

1 can diced tomatoes 

3 oz. tomato paste

Alternative: I have only used 6 oz. tomato paste, with success. It all depends on what I have available.

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, or to taste

Salt and pepper to taste

2 cloves garlic, crushed 

Optional: chopped fresh parsley and/or cilantro 

Instructions 

Place all the ingredients for the sauce in a pot. I usually add the crushed garlic at the end.

Blend all ingredients for the meatballs together. Shape into balls and place in sauce.

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

Crockpot. Cook on low until done. Less water is required.

In pressure cooker: 4 minutes to pressure and then use the quick release method by running cold water over the lid when done.

This week, I made it in the crockpot overnight. I adjusted the seasonings when I got up this morning before going to work.

Fresh herbs always add a gourmet touch, but I am not up to that yet.

Here are the pictures:

 

all set and ready to go in the crockpot


voila! the final product.

Everyone was soooooo happy!

I made it for this past Shabbat, and everyone wanted to have some. It was a hit!

Thank you Mona at healthyindiancooking.wordpress.com! 

And thank you to all my fellow bloggers for sharing your wonderful recipes. I feel like I am able to have a virtual glimpse of the kitchens of so many, all over the world!

Bean There Done That – A simple and tasty Lima bean recipe 

Bean There Done That — A simple and tasty Lima bean recipe 

The title of this post was suggested by my husband, who seems to have a knack for creating funny and catchy titles. Thank you, Jay!

We made the somewhat stressful decision to move 2 days before the holiday of Shavuot. 


For those who may not know, Shavuot, “The Festival of Weeks” celebrates the giving of the Torah at Mount Sinai and is the second of the 3 major Jewish harvest festival holidays. It occurs 7 weeks after Passover, hence the name.

For some reason, this is one of the lesser known holidays. It is celebrated by many customs but few actual commandments. One of the more well known customs is to eat dairy foods, especially cheese cake and to stay up all night studying the Torah.

With so much in transition, I really did not have time to cook and prepare. 

Fortunately, we were invited out for half of the meals. I made this very simple bean dish for one of the days. Although simple, it is very tasty.

Ingredients 

1 onion, chopped 

3 carrots, sliced. 

2 cups Lima beans, but any white bean will also work

Water to cover

1 tablespoon salt, adjust to taste

1 teaspoon pepper, to taste

2 bays leaves

Optional: 1 clove fresh garlic, crushed. I used garlic powder 

Instructions 

Sauté onions. Then add the spices, carrots and beans, and continue to sauté until fragrant. Add water.

I made this on top of the stove, but it can easily be made in a pressure cooker or crockpot.

Stove top: bring to boil and let simmer until done. Add garlic and adjust seasoning.

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

Crockpot. Cook on low until done. Less water is required.

Since I made this during the holiday, I was only able to take this one picture:

The final product


By the next day, it was all gone!

Although it is a very simple and easy recipe, everyone thought it tasted great. This is one of my maximum taste for minimal time dishes.

Enjoy!