Category Archives: Recipes

Asian Napa Cabbage Slaw

Ingredients:napacabbage
1 large head Napa Cabbage, shredded
1 (3 ounce) package chicken ramen noodles
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup sesame seeds, toasted
1/2 cup slivered almonds
6 green onions, chopped
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1/8 cup white sugar

Directions:
Crush ramen noodles, place them in a medium skillet and brown in butter over medium heat. Add almonds and sesame seeds. Stir often to prevent burning and add powdered seasoning mix from ramen noodles. Toss in a large bowl with cabbage and onions.
Prepare the dressing by whisking together the vegetable oil, rice vinegar, soy sauce, sesame oil and sugar. Pour over salad, toss and serve.

Review:
This slaw is my current obsession (and a recipe that calls for ramen noodles-it has to be delicious)! Don’t freak out because of the ingredients just yet because there are a couple alterations we do when making this. In trying to still keep down the calories and carbs, we use one packet of sweet-n-low instead of the sugar, and some non-stick spray instead of the butter. Of course, you can play with using something different other than almonds if you prefer, as well as the oils and vinegar.
Enjoy this cold slaw/salad at your next BBQ or even as a quick side dish during the week. Try it out and let me know what you think!

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Spinach and Artichoke Dip

Ingredients:
2 (10-ounce) packages frozen, chopped Spinach
1 (13 3/4-ounce) can Artichoke Hearts
1 cup Mayonnaise
1 cup Sour Cream
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup grated Pepper Jack cheese

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease a casserole dish with nonstick spray. Heat the spinach in a microwave oven on high for 5 minutes and squeeze dry. Drain the artichoke hearts and coarsely chop. Combine all the ingredients except the jack cheese in a large bowl. Stir well. Scrape into the prepared casserole dish and sprinkle the jack cheese on top. Bake for 30 minutes. Serve with crackers, pita chips or tortilla chips.

Review:
Everyone has had Spinach Artichoke Dip over and over – at restaurants, at parties, or maybe you’ve even made it at home. This is a very easy recipe that takes no time to whip up, you might even have most of the ingredients at home already. I do like to add a little of the pepperjack cheese into the mixture so it is cheesy throughout; you can do to the same with the parmesan cheese but just be careful that you don’t put too much on top or there will be a hard layer that everyone will fight with. As with many of my recipes, I use low fat mayonnaise and low fat sour cream to cut down on the calories (now you can have a couple more chips)!


Broccoli, Tomato and Cheese Strata

In the past, we’ve made several variations of quiches and frittatas for breakfast and brunch get-togethers but Erin thought we should try something different this past weekend. Similar to a frittata or a quiche, this casserole has an egg base with several other ingredients to make an all-in-one meal.

Ingredients:
4 1/2 cups French Bread, cut into 1-inch cubes
6 oz. Shredded Cheddar Cheese
1 cup Grape Tomatoes, halved
1 cup Broccoli Florets
1 1/2 tbsp. Fresh Parsley, chopped
8 Eggs
3 cups Milk
1 1/2 tsp. Salt
1/8 tsp. Pepper
4 oz. Ricotta Cheese
1 tsp. Basil, chopped

Directions:
Place cubed bread in a buttered 9×13 inch baking dish. Top bread with 1 cup cheddar cheese, tomatoes, broccoli and 1 tbsp. parsley.

In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, salt, and pepper. Pour egg mixture over break and gently press to soak every cube. Add dollops of ricotta over top of dish. Sprinkle strata with basil and remaining cheddar cheese. Cover and refrigerate for several hours or overnight.

Remove strata from refrigerator and bring to room temperature (about 1 hour).

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees farenheit. Bake until strata is puffed and lightly golden brown, about 1 hour. Set aside to cool for 10 minutes before serving and garnish with remaining parsley.

Serve warm or at room temperature.

Review:
Think of this as a breakfast bread pudding; warm, rich, filling, and delicious! This was a huge hit at this past weekend’s brunch and was the first dish that was gone. There’s always room for a hot casserole-type dish whether your hosting or going to someone’s house; this recipe was very good and will definitely be used again for our breakfast/brunch outings.

This variation had several kinds of vegetables but it would be very easy to mix it up – you could make the same recipe with spinach and feta, or with onions, peppers, and mushrooms, or really any other variation that your family likes. In this variation, we didn’t add meat to keep the dish kosher, but it would be very easy to add breakfast sausage or chicken to really make this a one dish breakfast.

For the cuts that can be made, you can always use Egg Beaters or Egg Whites (the kind that come in the pre-made container) that contain almost no calories, fat or carbs but still have protein, you can use fat-free milk or fat-free half and half, you can always use reduced fat cheeses, and you can even find whole grain French bread at grocery stores like Balducci’s or Whole Foods.

Regardless whether or not you make a couple calorie cuts, this dish is an easy way to prepare for a meal if you’re having company or even if you’d like to sleep in a little longer since all the prep work is done the night before. Enjoy the idea and share your family’s variations!


Brunch Kugel

One of my favorite brunch dishes is the Kugel that Erin’s Grandma makes on special occasions and for family gatherings. Since we were hosting brunch this weekend, I thought it would only be appropriate to make a variation of this delicious dish so everyone could experience this delicacy. For those of you who didn’t have this variation of Kugel at brunch over the weekend or don’t know what Kugel is, the easiest way to explain it is a sweet, creamy, egg noodle dish that is typically found at meals during Jewish holidays or Shabbat. This recipe wasn’t as good as Grandma’s, but it was definitely a good start…

Ingredients:
For Noodles-
16 oz. Egg Noodles
1/4 cup Unsalted Butter, but into 1/4 inch cubes
1 cup Lowfat Milk
5 Large Eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup Sugar
2 tsp. Vanilla
1/2 tsp. Kosher Salt
20 oz. Crushed Pineapple
16. oz. Sour Cream
16 oz. Small Curd Cottage Cheese

For Topping-
2 cups Cornflakes, coarsley crushed
2 tbsp. Sugar
1 tbsp. Cinnamon
2 tbsp. Unsalted Butter, cut into 1/4 inch cubes

Directions:
Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 350 degrees farenheit. Butter a 9×13 inch baking dish.

Cook noodles in a 6-8 quart pot of boiling, salted water until al dente. Drain well in a colander, then return to warm pot and add butter, tossing until noodles are coated.

Whisk together milk, eggs, sugar, vanilla, and salt until combined, then whisk in sour cream. Stir in cottage cheese and pineapple and add to noodles, stirring to coat well. Spoon entire noodle mixture into baking dish.

In a seperate bowl, stir together cornflakes, sugar, and cinnamon. Sprinkle evenly over noodles.

Dot with butter and bake until dish is set and edges are golden brown, about 1 hour. Let stand about 5 minutes before serving.

Review:
Well, there’s no nice way to say this… do not even think about making this if you’re worried about the calories. There are many dishes where you can cut out the fat, calories and sugar, but Kugel isn’t one of them. You have to treat yourself every once in a while through, right? This is truly a treat to save for a special occasion.

This recipe is pretty easy to make and tastes delicious. One of the modifications I would make would be to add about a half cup more milk to make the dish a little more moist and creamy; if you follow the directions and use the amount that it originally calls for, the dish will be fine but I think it’s always better to be a little moist. Also, for the topping, be sure that it gets pressed into the top layer of noodles so it isn’t just sitting on the top; you want this to be a crunchy topping but you don’t want it to seem like it’s just loose cereal on top of the noodles, it needs to be incorporated.

Erin says that she would add about a half cup more sugar to give it a little bit of a sweeter taste and would also add raisins. Many Kugel recipes call for raisins so add them to your liking.

Overall, this recipe is a good way to perfect your own variation of Kugel. You can add items that you and your family like and you can also take away some items that you may not like in this version. Experiment a little and let me know what your perfect ingredient list!


Crock Pot Korean Ribs

These Korean Beef Short Ribs are going to be one of your favorite dishes when you’re done — a little spicy, a little sweet, a little smoky and oh-so-tender. These are a must try!

Ingredients:
2-3 pounds of Beef Short Ribs
1 cup Soy Sauce
1 cup Brown Sugar
5 whole Jalapeno Peppers
1/2 cup Water

Directions:
Place either frozen or thawed beef short ribs into the crock pot. Combine soy sauce, water and brown sugar and add to the crock pot. Finally, add in the whole jalapenos and cover.

Cook on low for 8 hours or until meat is fall-of-the-bone tender.

Review:
I have to say, the name of this dish isn’t too explanatory and I wouldn’t want you to think this is an Asian dish (don’t think General Tso or Sesame Chicken) but a meat-lover’s dinner with a twist! Don’t be scared… this was absolutely delicious.

Erin whipped up this meal one morning before she left for work and (Viola!) it was ready when she got home. Like the directions say, it’s just a matter of mixing everything together, putting it in the crock pot and letting it cook low and slow – or is it long and low?? (Erin!) – at any rate, the results were amazing. The beef was so tender that it was falling off the bone and was flavored so well! The sauce is pretty thin, but it’s perfect if you want to add a little on top as you’re making your dinner plate; it’s almost like a smoky, and a little sweet, BBQ sauce.

Don’t worry about the jalapeno adding a spicy-heat to the dish. Once they are cooked, they add a nice smoky flavor to the dish, but they don’t add any spicy heat. If you want a little kick (this is what I did), cut up the pepper and eat it with meat… Mmmm. It was not at hot as you think eating a whole jalapeno would be; I don’t even think my eyes watered and I can be a wimp when it comes to spicy things. To compliment to delicious short ribs, we had a salad and white asparagus (one of our favorite vegetables); if you’re not looking to cut out carbs, this would have been great with mashed potatoes, a sweet potato, or even rice.

If you don’t use beef short ribs regularly, you should find a way to work them into your meals – they are absolutely delicious and are so flavorful and tender. I would have never thought to use this cut of meat unless someone told me about it… that’s why I’m sharing this with you! Try it out and let me know what you think.


Crock Pot Beef Stew

Ingredients:
2 pounds beef stew meat, cut into 1-inch pieces
5 cups cut-up fresh vegetables, such as potatoes, carrots, celery and onions
3 cups water
1 package Beef Stew Seasoning Mix
1/4 cup flour

Directions:
Mix vegetables, water and Seasoning Mix in crock pot.
Coat beef with flour and stir into ingredients already in the crock pot. Cover and cook for 8 hours on low or 5 hours on high until beef is tender.

Review:
This is a great meal if you’re looking for something hearty, pretty healthy and you’re short on time. Erin and I have been trying really hard to eat healthy and we’ve realized that it takes a lot of planning; she had the great idea of using the crock pot to throw things in before she leaves for work and then there’s nothing to be done when we get home. One night last week, she whipped this up and it was great.

Erin didn’t use potatoes but added extra carrots and celery and this dish was great and it felt really healthy. I’m sure you could use different seasonings than the mix that we bought at the grocery store, but it was a quick and easy start, and we’ll certainly build on the recipe next time. Also, to cut down on the calories and carbs, I’m sure you could skip the flour, but using it will make the broth a little thicker and will create the difference between a stew and a soup.

Overall, the flavor was really delicious and the beef was tender – a great, warm, hearty dish that’s pretty easy to put together and that’s still easy on the waistband.

Enjoy!!


Cream Cheese Chipped Beef Ball

Ingredients:
2 (8 oz) packages cream cheese
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 tablespoons mustard
1 medium yellow onion minced
2 (4 oz) packages chipped beef

Directions:
Put cream cheese in large bowl, add in mayo, mustard, and onion. Grind chipped beef in a food processor until finely chopped. Add 2/3 of chipped beef to mix (keep remaining chipped beef to cover cheese ball). Use hands to mix ingredients. Mix well. Form into a ball and pat remaining chipped beef around ball. Place on the plate that you plan to serve on and cover with plastic wrap. Serve with crackers.

Review:
Thank you, Aunt Karen, for this recipe. The Chipped Beef Ball is something that has been in the family for as long as I can remember and you’ll usually find it on the table at any Main (my mom’s side of the family) family event. It’s a great recipe that is easy to make, that’s great for snacking, and something that you can make ahead of time (it actually tastes better if you let it sit in the refrigerator for a couple days before serving). I made the appetizer this week for a party on Saturday night at my family’s house and thought I’d share it with all of you.

As always, I used fat free cream cheese and low sodium chipped beef so it’s a little healthier (let’s get the new year started out right!!). As the directions state, use your hands to mix all of the ingredients together; if you use a food processor, the texture will become too soft. The softness will become an issue when you are ready to form the ball, but it will still be good for a spread that you can place in a dish.

Unfortunately, this is not kosher but I’m going to be trying other ingredients, instead of chipped beef, and will keep you posted on the results.