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!

 

Brazilian Black Beans

Brazilian Black Beans

This is something that my husband has been requesting for a while. I think I finally perfected it!


Ingredients
:

1 lbs. black beans

2 onions, chopped 

2-3 of garlic, crushed

3-4 bay leaves

Water: 3:1 ratio of water to beans if using pressure cooker; or to cover

1 can crushed or diced tomatoes 

1 tablespoon salt, to taste

Red hot pepper flakes to taste

Optional: pepper

Optional: meat

Instructions

Sauté onions with spices and beans, until fragrant. Add the tomatoes with the juice and water.

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

In pressure cooker: 24 minutes to pressure and then released the pressure quickly by running cold water over the lid when done.

Add crushed garlic and adjust seasoning when cooked.

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

Add crushed garlic and adjust seasoning when cooked.

Here are the pictures:

  
  
  
  
 
I served the beans with rice and taco shells. 

Everyone loved it. 

My husband happily said, “I think you finally nailed it!”

Both girls ate second helpings!

Enjoy!

North African Meatballs 

This is something that I made for the first time last night. Raizel is in love with cumin, so this is my attempt to satisfy her growing gourmet tastebuds.

Ingredients 

Meatballs:

2 lbs. ground meat

1/2 cup oatmeal 

1 egg

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 cups water or broth 

1 can diced tomatoes 

3 oz tomatoe paste

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.

In a pot, bring to a boil and then simmer until done. Adjust seasonings to taste.

Last night, I cooked the meatballs in a crockpot on low. I adjusted the seasonings when I got up this morning before going to work.

Fresh herbs always add a gourmet touch, but I did not use any.

Here are the pictures:

  

 

  
Raizel tasted it and promptly ate some for breakfast. She said, “this is good!” 

Even Yaffa said, “the meatballs are so good, Mommy!” That is a true vote of confidence!

Enjoy!

Shawarma Chicken

Raizel and I are crazy about the Schwarma Spice blend. I have been experimenting with it in everything! 

My friend Malka, a chef par excellence, made me aware that Schwarma Spice also goes well with chicken too.

This recipe is adapted from my basic roasted chicken recipe posted earlier this week.

Shawarma Chicken

Ingredients 

1 chicken, cut up

2 onions, sliced

2 lemons, juiced (about ½ cup)

Season with Shawarma Spice Mix to taste

Optional: 1-2 cloves fresh garlic, crushed 

Shawarma Spice Blend

1 Tablespoon cumin, coriander, garlic powder

1.5 teaspoons paprika

1 teaspoon turmeric, pepper

½ teaspoon cloves, cayenne pepper and cinnamon.

Instructions 

Slice onions and place chicken over onions in large pan. Season chicken with Season with Shawarma Spice Mix to taste and if possible, let marinate prior to cooking.

Preheat oven to 425*F.

Roast in oven for 1.5 hours, or until cooked, turning over for last 30 minutes.

Although I haven’t made it in a crockpot or pressure cooker, I think it is possible to make it in one. The method would be the same as for the roasted chicken.

Crockpot:
Skin chicken and place over onions in crockpot. Season and add 1/2 cup lemon juice. Cook on low.

Pressure Cooker 

Follow directions for the crockpot and cook 7 minutes to pressure, using quick release method.

OR: Season chicken and brown in pressure cooker with onions. Cook for 7 minutes to pressure, using quick release method.

This also can be made on top of the stove, using water or broth as the liquid.

Fast and easy and becoming one of our favorites. (I have Raizel giving me recipe and menu ideas now.)

Here are the pictures, which look very similar to the basic roasted chicken:

   

Final product:

   
Raizel liked it so much, she ate half the chicken at dinner! So, this was a hit!

My friend Malka made it with chicken cutlets and a red onion, with great success.

Malka was kind enough to send me pictures of hers. She made it with chicken cutlets, and it looks awesome!

   

Malka’s final product:
 

Thank you Malka!!

Enjoy!