Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The Secret to Great Matzoh Balls!!

Shhhhhhhh. No, really. This is a secret. Just between me and you. Promise you wont tell?

This is a compilation of the secrets I got from one very kind cousin who went out on a limb for me. (I mean it, no one else would help me. My cousins are all wonderful women, some of whom read this blog, but they can be tight lipped when it comes to Matzoh balls.) Oh, yes, a compilation of Cousin Susan's tips, some tips I read online, and some of my own ideas....

2 boxes Streits Matzoh Ball and Soup mix
2 boxes Streits Matzoh Ball mix (without soup)
Vegetable oil

Prepare the mixes according to the box, but add one extra tablespoon of oil for each box. (this is the trick... the secret... shhhhh....)

Make the mix, let it sit over night in the fridge. In the morning, make the balls. I used my large cookie scoop and did two scoops per ball. Don't over handle the balls. I know I know. Heat up a big pot of water and add the two soup packets. Taste and add some bouillon if you think it needs it. It should be on the salty side for chicken broth. Drop the balls in and cook for 30 minutes (this will leave them slightly undercooked.) Remove the balls from the broth and cool on a cookie sheet. When cool, put in a Tupperware and refrigerate over night. (I did two nights).

The next day heat up your chicken soup (not the salty boxed broth of course, make your own. I have a few recipes on the blog, but it is easy to make it up yourself. I had made and frozen mine last week), and add some carrots and cook until they are tender. Bring the balls to room temp (this is important, the longer they are in the soup the more they will fall apart), drop the balls into the soup, cover, and heat for about 30 minutes at a simmer.

They were declared the best balls anyone had ever eaten.

Oh, as an extra bonus, and this is not necessary, I fry chicken fingers more often than I should. I save the oil I use and reuse it for a while, until it gets too salty. I used that oil in the balls (I didn't have enough, so I used some fresh oil as well) I am sure that adds even more flavor. So start using and saving your oil a few months before passover. ;)

Friday, March 26, 2010

Linguini with White Clam Sauce and Love

I am in the mood for decadent. This is not a healthy version, but it is soooo good.

1 pound fresh linguine
2 cans minced clams, with their juice
2 cans chopped clams, drained
1/2 cup good quality salted butter
2 T olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 sweet onion, finely chopped
2 anchovy fillets, finely chopped
2 T fresh parsley, chopped
1 t crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 freshly grated Parmigiana Reggiano
1/2 cup dry white wine

In cast iron skillet heat olive oil and saute onion until translucent. Add anchovy and saute another 2 or 3 minutes. Add garlic and saute another minute. Add wine and reduce about 50%. Add the clams and the juice from the two cans, the butter, the grated cheese and the red pepper flakes and bring to a boil. Then reduce heat and simmer about 5 minutes. Add fresh parsley.

Meanwhile, boil the fresh pasta for about 1 minute in salted water. Drain and place in skillet with the sauce. Cook for about 1 more minute together and serve with additional grated cheese and garlic bread.

I am sorry I haven't been more verbose lately, I have been so busy and tired, and when I am not busy and tired and I training for a 5K. I hope your family is enjoying the start of spring, and this recipe is a great one for lent, so dig in!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Boneless Buffalo Nuggets

Boneless Buffalo Nuggets

2 packages of chicken tenders
2 cups buttermilk
2 cups flour
2 eggs beaten with one 1/2 cup water
chicken seasoning
2 cups seasoned bread crumbs
1 stick salted butter
1 or 2 cups of hot sauce

Cut tenders into thirds. Marinade in buttermilk and a few spoonfuls of chicken seasoning for a few hours.

Drain in a colander.

Dredge each piece in flour mixed with some more seasoning.

Dip in egg wash.

Coat in bread crumbs.

Heat Canola Oil in a deep pot on the stove.

Fry each piece for a few minutes. Keep the oil hot enough to sizzle, but not so hot that the chicken burns before it is cooked. Usually a small nugget only takes around4 or 5 minutes to fry up. Work in small batches, don't crowd the nuggets.

Melt the butter and mix with desired amount of hot sauce. When chicken is all done drop in the sauce and mix around. Serve with blue cheese or ranch dipping sauce. I think I am going to serve them with some blue cheese mashed potatoes and some kind of veggie.

Also, I am leaving some without sauce for the kids. ;)

Sunday, March 21, 2010

St Patricks Day Dinner- Corned beef and Cabbage

2- 2 1/2 pound corned beefs with spice packets included
10 red potatoes, rinsed
10 carrots, pealed and halved
2 heads of cabbage, quartered
1 yellow onion, halved
2 T Yellow Mustard
2 T ketchup
4 T cider vinegar
1/3 c brown sugar

Trim corned beefs of most of the visible fat. Place in a pot and cover with cold water. Add spice packets. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer for 2 1/2 hours.

For the final hour add the potatoes and carrots.

Take the meat out, add the cabbage and simmer for 40 minutes while the meat rests.

Mix the sauce ingredients together.

After resting for 20 minutes, place the corned beef pieces in a pan and cover with sauce. Bake in the oven at 350 for about 20 minutes.

Slice the corned beef and arrange on a platter with the sauce poured over the top.

Place veggies in a bowl with a few cups of the cooking liquid.

Serve with yellow mustard, rye bread and Irish soda bread.

Today I am thinking of my Father in Law, who passed away last April. I miss him so much. I miss him cooking this meal, but in his honor and for my husband, I will do it each and every year.

Where ever you may be Bill, we love you, and we honor your memory today.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Green Cookies!

Tax season is taking it's toll on us these days. Sophia is home sick. I am tired. Nate is crabby. Paul is busy, and stressed. I haven't been posting much, but I am gearing up for three holidays. I am making Corned beef and cabbage on Sunday, the second night of Passover, and Easter. It's a lot to plan and a lot to cook. I am starting to get in the green spirit. Today at the supermarket I bought green grapes and green juice for my daughters class on Wednesday. I hope she is ready to go back to school for it. These cookies are really just for us. I am in the mood for a sugar cookie. I will make a few for me, without rolling them in sugar.

Luck O the Irish Cookies

1 1/4 cups white sugar
1 cup butter
3 egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
a few spoons of green sanding sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Lightly grease 2 cookie sheets or line with silpat or parchment.
Cream together sugar and butter.
Beat in egg yolks and vanilla.
Add flour, baking soda, and cream of tartar. Stir.

Form dough into walnut size balls and place 2 inches apart on cookie sheet. Roll in green sanding sugar. Flatten slightly with the back of a glass. Bake 9-10 minutes and cool for a few minutes on the cookie sheet.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Crumb Cake

My Mother in Law's birthday is today. My Aunt is coming over and she doesn't like too much chocolate. Can you imagine?? In any case, I decided to go with a crumb cake. I adapted this from

Chocolate Chip Crumb Cake

For the crumb topping:
1/3 cup dark brown sugar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground fresh nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 stick plus two tablespoons butter, melted
1 3/4 cups AP flour

For the cake:
1/3 cup sour cream
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup AP flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons softened butter, cut into 8 pieces.
3/4 cup mini chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease an 8-inch-square baking pan. (I use the baking pam)

2. To make crumbs in a large bowl, whisk sugars, spices and salt into melted butter until smooth. Then, add flour with a spatula or wooden spoon. Push it down into the bottom of the bowl. It will look and feel like a solid dough.

3. To prepare cake, in a small bowl, stir together the sour cream, egg, egg yolk and vanilla. Using a mixer fitted with paddle attachment, mix together flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. Add butter and a spoonful of sour cream mixture and mix on medium speed until flour is moistened. Increase speed and beat for 30 seconds. Add remaining sour cream mixture in two batches, beating for 20 seconds after each addition, and scraping down the sides of bowl with a spatula. Add chips and mix for 20 seconds.

4. Spread batter into prepared pan.

5. Using your fingers, break topping mixture into big crumbs.

6. Sprinkle over cake. Bake cake until a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean, 45 to 55 minutes. While warm you can sprinkle with more chocolate chips. Cool completely before serving.

I also made some chicken parmesan and a baked ziti. I don't think I feel like baking bread now, so I guess it will be canned bread and steamed broccoli to go with it.

Happy Birthday Nanny!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Vanilla Oatmeal Cookies

Before we get to the cookies, have you noticed how much I love ziplock bags? I am addicted. They make new greener ones which I am trying to use, but really... the no clean aspect is addictive.

Speaking of addictive, Vanilla Oatmeal Cookies.... can I just say, YUM!

Adapted from

Vanilla Oatmeal Cookies
Yield: 32 cookies

1½ cup unbleached all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
teaspoon salt
2 sticks unsalted butter, room temp
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1 vanilla bean, scraped

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper or silpat

Whisk the flour, baking powder, nutmeg, and salt together in a medium bowl.

In your electric mixer, with the paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium speed until creamy. Add the sugars; beat until fluffy. Add the scraping of the vanilla bean and beat in the eggs, 1 at a time.

Add the flour mixture and stir in on low speed until just incorporated. Stir in the oats with a wooden spoon.

Scoop out a large tablespoon full of dough at a time and roll into balls. Place on cookie sheet at least 1 1/2 inches apart.

Bake until the cookie edges turn golden brown, 18-20 minutes. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheets for 2 minutes. Transfer the cookies to a wire rack to finish cooling.

How I am making Chicken Stock today.

There are so many ways, in fact, I never do it the same way twice.

Today my Doctor put me on liquids for a week. A week. This weight loss surgery thing....not easy. But liquids for a week should be effective in my weight loss, though that isn't it's purpose. Long story short... liquids... for a week.

I always keep the carcass from every chicken I make in the freezer. In a ziplock. So I took one out, threw it in a pot, with some peeled carrots (Because I like to eat them after the soup is done. I guess I wont be eating these but maybe I can mix some into something I am making the kids), the leftovers from a bunch of celery (the stem piece and the flowery leafy parts), an onion (halved), 8 cloves of garlic (unpeeled), a handful of fresh thyme I had in the house, two tablespoons of dried dill, a tablespoon of kosher Salt, a teaspoon of black pepper, and 6 bullion cubes.

Boil and simmer for a few hours.

I strain it in a colander draped with cheese cloth.

This can be used for chicken noodle soup, frozen in two cup portions in ziplocks for use in future recipes, or drank straight up, as I intend to do.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Maple Butternut Squash Soup

Still with the soup. I know I know. And it really is nice outside today. But I had a squash in my fridge, all cut up and ready to cook.

1 T butter
1 carrot, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
1 green apple, peeled cored and cubed
1 butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cubed
4 cups chicken broth (or vegetable)
1/2 cup maple syrup
pinches of cinnamon and nutmeg
salt and pepper to taste

Melt butter in soup pot and saute onion, carrot and celery for around 5 minutes. Add squash, apple and broth and bring to a boil. Simmer for at least 10 minutes, until the squash is fork tender. Add spices. Blend with immersion blender until smooth. Then add the maple syrup and taste. I usually end up adding some mixed up salt or other seasoning at this point.

It goes well with my chicken tenders which I am frying with abandon. I mean, the soup is healthy, right?

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Creamy Baked Potato Soup

Winter is almost over, but just as it is digging in it's heals here in New York, so are my taste buds. Soon I will be ready for grilled chicken and veggies and marinated steaks on the grill, but for today, there is snow outside and I want soup.

This yummy creamy baked potato soup has taken me a few tries to get right. It is garlicy, creamy, cheesy and yummy. (Sorry Kelly, for all the food words, but it is just THAT good.) There are many variations, and you can do it to your taste, but this is my favorite. It is also very forgiving, so if you don't have something on this list, just substitute it with something similar. It's hard to mess this up.

6 medium sized yukon gold potatoes
1 onion, chopped
4 large cloves of garlic, minced
3 cups chicken stock or broth
3/4 cup milk
3/4 cup buttermilk
2 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon salt
Pepper to taste
3 cups grated cheddar cheese
6 slices well done bacon, crumbled

Wash the potatoes and prick them each a few times with a fork. Bake the potatoes at 450 for 15 minutes and set aside to cool slightly so that you can handle them. Once they are warm, cut them in half, peel away the skin (Use a knife for any stubborn pieces) and cube.

Meanwhile, cook 6 slices of bacon. Make them well done so they crumble easily. Set aside to cool. When cool, pop them in a ziplock and crumble.

In a large saucepan, melt the butter. Once it is melted add in two spoonfuls of the bacon grease. Saute the onion until soft, add the garlic and saute for another few minutes. add the cubed potatoes and the chicken stock and simmer until the potatoes are fork tender. At this point I add the salt and pepper, taste and see if you need to add any other spices. I like a few dashes of hot sauce and some garlic powder in mine.

In a pyrex measuring cup, mix the milk, buttermilk and flour.

Pour the milk mixture into the soup and simmer until thickened (be sure you reach a full boil for a few minutes so the flour will reach it's thickening potential and be fully cooked)

Using an immersion blender, blend the soup until smooth. Some people like it chunky, you can remove some potatoes with a slotted spoon before this step, cube them smaller and put them back in after. I like it silky smooth.

Add the cheese, simmer and stir till melted. Add the bacon. Stir.


Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Big Family Meat Ball

My kids like meatloaf, but most of the time the way it looks turns them off, or maybe it is just the name of it. I don't know. I make it in a similar way to the way I make meatballs, they should love it. But it often goes over like a ton of bricks. No pun intended.

So may I present to you, the family sized meatball! It is really just a round meatloaf, but shhhhh, I wont tell if you don't. Serve it with pasta if that helps.

2 pounds of chop meat (turkey, sirloin or the meatloaf mix you see in the store)
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1 small onion, sauteed to soften it up a bit.
1 sleeve of crushed saltines, or ritz or whatever crackers or breadcrumbs you have on hand, about 2 1/2 cups.
3/4 cup ketchup
1/4 cup brown sugar

Mush it all together in a medium sized bowl. When mixed, push into the bowl and flatten the top, then invert the bowl onto a cookie sheet and bake in a 350 f oven for one hour or until cooked through.

I like a glaze of 1 cup Ketchup, 1/2 cup brown sugar, 2 T mustard and 2 T vinegar, spread over the top for the last 10 minutes of cooking, but my kids don't like it that way, so I usually leave it off.

Serve with mashed potatoes, and a vegetable. Or with Pasta to sell it.