Thursday, February 28, 2013
Pizza is no longer the pizza, we drooled over, in past years. It can be healthier and much more interesting. I like to serve pizza, at least, once a month. I had some pre-baked pizzas, in the freezer, so I happily withdrew them from their cold home and went to work on a topping.
I mentioned, recently, with Passover approaching, I am attempting clean out the cupboards and freezer and I am using whatever, I find. This time, it is my pizza crusts and frozen broccoli. The Ricotta was also without a planned purpose. I make a habit of keeping Ricotta or cottage cheese on hand if I decide to make lasagna or stuffed shells. I was in pretty good shape in terms of ingredients, on hand.
Since my crusts were ready to be put in the oven, I mixed the topping. I combined a few ingredients with the Ricotta cheese and spread it on the crust, topping it with three cheeses and the broccoli. I went heavy on the Ricotta and broccoli. It was more like a casserole on top of a pizza crust.
Ricotta Pizza with Broccoli
12 ounces of broccoli florets, chopped
1 1/4 cups Ricotta cheese
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
Salt and pepper to taste
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons cream cheese
1/4 cup chopped yellow pepper
1 tablespoon chopped basil and parsley
1 large pizza crust
1/2 cup mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup cheddar cheese
1/4 cup Parmesan
Preheat oven to 450 degrees and bake pizza crust for 10 minutes.
While crust is baking, mix together in a medium bowl, the Ricotta, olive oil, garlic powder, salt and pepper, red pepper flakes and cream cheese. Add the basil and parsley.
Spread Ricotta mixture on crust.
Spread broccoli and yellow bell pepper over the Ricotta mixture.
Sprinkle mozzarella and cheddar and top with Parmesan.
Lower oven to 400 degrees and bake for an additional 5 - 8 minutes.
Cut into triangles and enjoy.
Tuesday, February 26, 2013
Last week, while I was preparing for Purim, the rest of the group (Power Foods) was cooking with Flax Seed. I was baking cookies and although, I could have added flax seed meal, I didn't. I waited until, this week and I made these delicious Spinach Patties. Instead of the bread crumbs, used in the recipe, I subbed in the flax meal and Tortilla crumbs. You could use any crumbly mixture.
At first, I was going to spice this up and add other vegetables but my gut told me to leave it, as is. I am glad, I made that decision because the natural spinach taste, is one we like. The first bite brought an, "Aha." from hubby.
I would make a change, next time I make these, and either chop the spinach very small or put it through the food processor, not fine but into smaller pieces. The patties would have been better blended and easier to work with. I am thinking that some cauliflower would be a good addition and perhaps, some cheese.
Sephardic Spinach Patties (adapted from Epicurious)
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 pounds fresh spinach, stemmed, cooked, chopped, and squeezed dry,
1/2 cup crumbs (I used Tortilla crumbs)
1/4 cup flax seed meal
Ground black pepper to taste
1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
Olive oil for frying
1. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and, sauté until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and add the spinach, crumbs and flax meal, pepper, and the nutmeg. Stir in the eggs. If the mixture is too loose, add a little more matza meal. The mixture can be stored in the refrigerator for a day.
2. Shape the spinach mixture into patties 2 inches round. In a large skillet, heat a thin layer of oil over medium heat. In batches, fry the patties, turning, until golden brown, about 3 minutes per side. Drain on paper towels.
Looking back: Quinoa Broccoli Casserole
Classic Patty Melts
High Protein Coconut Cookies
Linked to Mealtime Monday
Monday, February 25, 2013
Yesterday, was the Jewish holiday of Purim. Purim starts at sundown when we go to shul to listen to the Book of Esther being read aloud. We return in the morning to hear it again. While there are a number of specific customs and laws for this holiday, I want to focus on the dressing up and the giving of food.
I look at the day as one of exaggeration. We dress up and get together for a festive meal and to party. It is customary to give our gifts of food and usually we receive and give all kinds of packages. I am sorry, I did not think to take a picture of the packages, we received but I did take one of what we gave to our neighbors and to my students. For family members and other friends, I used fancy bags to pack the goodies in.
We received everything from homemade apple pie to sesame chicken and everything in between. We received all kinds of drinks from soda to wine. Lots of candy bars, snack bags and fruit crossed our doorway.
There is no obligation to give so many packages but it has become a custom and a wonderful way of sharing and demonstrating friendship. The law is to give to at least one person and include two food items. Another purpose of this gift is to make sure that everyone has food for the special meal which is why food for a meal is more appropriate than candy and snacks.
For my class, I made 4 different treats and added a box of sugarless gum. I gave the block the makings of salad with a small bottle of apple juice. The family was catered to according to their likes.
The party was fine. This is how one of my kid's families dressed. We had butterflies, Harry Potter characters, and Hawaiian beauties. Dressed like this, how could it not be fun?
I made a yummy salad which I plan to share at another time.
Sunday, February 24, 2013
You may remember how much I like Cooking Light. I often, forget that they are working hard to make healthy food, at Cooking Light. Their recipes are usually as tempting, to me, as Paula Deen or Ina Garten's.minutes or until almost firm. Remove cookies from pans; cool on wire racks.
This recipe called for whole wheat flour and AP flour but not having any whole wheat flour, I used only all purpose flour. I had a container of candy that I certainly did not need to eat and my husband would not eat so I cut up the chocolate fudge and replaced the chocolate chunks with it. I did run into a problem. Some of the chocolate ran out of the cookies, during baking. That was the best part of the cookie.
Chocolate Fudge Cherry Cookies
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon margarine
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1 cup dried cherries
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg, lightly beaten
almost 1 cup of chopped candy
Preheat oven to 350°.
Weigh or lightly spoon flours into dry measuring cups; level with a knife.
Combine flours and next 3 ingredients (through salt) in a large bowl; stir with a whisk.
Melt butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Remove from heat; add brown sugar, stirring until smooth.
Add sugar mixture to flour mixture; beat with a mixer at medium speed until well blended.
Add cherries, vanilla, and egg; beat until combined. Fold in candy pieces.
Drop dough by tablespoonfuls 2 inches apart onto baking sheets coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350° for 12 minutes.
Cool on pans 3 minutes or until almost firm. Remove cookies from pans; cool on wire racks.
ooking Light (adapted) JANUARY 2010
Thursday, February 21, 2013
Should We Quit?
Life brings along many difficult situations. Sometimes, we can walk away and others, we have no choice but to face them and do something. The question - Should quitting be an option?
This brings me to the logical topic, for me, today - commitments and quitting with the emphasis on the latter. This is going to be free-flowing and most likely dig into my memories. As an example, going back and asking myself, when did you quit and finding more times than I like.
The first one was when I left a management training job for one of the local department stores. Through college, I worked part-time in a department store. Even as a minor player in this store, I rose to heights, I never expected. I was selected by one of the floor managers to work, when needed, in the personnel office (that is what it was called then). Instead of standing on my feet for hours, selling toys, I would be called and got to sit and help out with whatever was needed. I also was taken from the toy department to work on commission elsewhere. For example, back to school, selling children's shoes paid on a commission basis. All in all, I was successful and went into my next job, a full-time one, running the Christmas shop, in another department store.
I walked in with confidence until I met my manager. I am not sure if she did not like me or if I was super-sensitive or she was just a bad manager or I a bad worker. What I do know, is that I cried much too often for a grown up and ended up leaving this position after a short while because, I could not stand up to the pressure. Not a realistic way to handle this situation but I chose to do it. I quit.
I know it was the wrong decision because I never felt right about it. Even looking back now, I get a little twinge of regret. There is the side that says, I was miserable and no one should be in such a position and then there is the side that says I avoided facing it and standing up to her. It is much too late to agonize over this one.
The global question is how do we determine what is the right path to take. The word, "quitter" has negative connotations but I am sure, there are times, that walking away is right. If another person is going to get hurt, it would take a long time before I would even considering quitting. That brings me to the answer - what is lost and what is gained and that is a personal decision. May we find the moral path in our lives and chose wisely.
Tuesday, February 19, 2013
I have a pile of cooking magazines to read but I can't a moment time to read them. When it comes time to select a recipe, I turn to a cookbook or the Internet, not a magazine. I have been giving thought to the value of these mags.
I am referring to the value for me based on how I use them. I keep two or three on my kitchen table so when I have a cup of coffee or sit down to lunch, I can go through them. I keep another one by my bed and it keeps me company, at night, if I am not reading a book. Usually, I am reading that book. Hubby and I are both readers and many the night, we both fall asleep with a book in hand.
That leaves the magazines to be read in short spurts. I see lots of recipes in them that I want to make. Unless, I mark them, at that moment, I don't usually go back to them. The permanence of a cookbook has me using them over and over. Magazines don't have the same value.
I have made a decision to use my magazines for general information and entertainment. Pick up a Food Network magazine and it is entertaining from cover to cover. It is also a way to get to know the chefs that many of us cook from.
Eating Well and Cooking Light are full of tips and information to make me a cook that is more aware of healthy eating. Considering the changes, we have made, in our meals, this is a real plus. Another one that I walk away from filled with ideas is Vegetarian.
I also receive Gluten-free magazines and a kosher one called Joy of Kosher. I love both for their specialties. They probably keep my attention the longest.
Share your favorite magazines in the comment section of this post. Time to look at last week's entries. I wonder how many of them come from magazines.
Fox in the Kitchen presents these Cocoa-Mocha Cupcakes.
Couponing and Cooking made this Guacamole Fresco.
Home Made Crackers with Cheese Ball from In Cindy's Kitichen
What will this new week bring? I hope lots of goodies. Please do comment on your favorite magazine. Thanks.
Sunday, February 17, 2013
Believe it or not; this is about a potato ricer.
Necessity is the mother of all inventions. "This means that solutions to problems (the invention bit) are born out of then need for a solution (the necessity). As coming up with an idea is said to be the birth of an idea, this leads to the mother reference in the quote i.e. the need is the mother that gives birth to the idea for a solution."
I think, we all have gotten ourselves into a pickle and had to find a way out, a solution or perhaps, a new "invention". I use the word invention, more as a new way of thinking, a new approach and in this case, a new use for a gadget.
In life, one door closes and another opens. Sometimes, it opens by divine providence and sometimes, we open it. As a teacher, I am opening that door, almost daily, because of the thinking of ten-year olds.
The mind of a child is truly delightful to explore and as a teacher, I am blessed to do this, when they are, at their best and at their worst.
I had a young man, in my class, last September, who made it clear, school was a battle. I was the enemy and he was going to defeat me. He didn't know me very well. After speaking with the parent who had already written him off, I realized, I was on my own. My very first "student oriented" goal was to reach this child so he could start to enjoy school and so I could run my class, efficiently.
I took a risk and put him in the back of the room. He would have to work harder to get our attention from there and he was not going to get mine. Sure enough, he gave up trying as well as giving up listening in class. First, I ignored him. When I noticed, he was quietly drawing pictures, I went over to him and told him how well-behaved, he is and that he could continue to draw, as long as he passed all his work. He agreed.
His behavior was fine but his acquired knowledge was not. I explained to him that he had not fulfilled his part of the deal and changed him to the front of the room, right in front of me. He paid attention and he learned and my thinking was that this is an intelligent child who could learn a lot more. Although, grades are not my real way of measuring, I know it is for the class, so I told him, a few times, he was able to do excellent work and from now on, that is what I expected.
Patience was necessary but he finally got a hundred on a quiz. I called him up and told him, "See, you can do it and now you will do it. Right? Nothing under 80." He did that and better. In many tests, in all areas, he earned 90 - 100. He was glowing and a smile would break out, each time, he succeeded. As the year has progressed, wherever he sits, he achieves and usually behaves. It is his exuberance that someday will bring him great success, I believe. He is one of those kids who I can see as a future president.
For me, my technique was my invention. I was fortunate with this one. It doesn't always go that way. If a child understands you believe in him, he will live up to your expectations. I did believe in this child and never doubted he could achieve. I would not have told him, he could, if I had the slightest doubt. Necessity is the mother of all inventions.
Now to my potato ricer. I bought this recently and had not used it yet. I decided to make mashed potatoes so I could see what magical ability, it had. I do have a masher for potatoes which means, I did not actually need this. It had to be good.
For the potatoes, I found it took more strength than the other masher. The potatoes got stuck, in the bottom, and I found, I was moving it around to get it through the holes. I didn't really need this tool or did I? Here comes inventive thinking.
Later in the day, instead of using canned diced tomatoes, I put the tomatoes, on my window sill, through my ricer, leaving the skin behind and getting the meat and juice.
Then, I made chopped egg and I again took out my new toy and little swirls of egg came out. I also tried it on an avocado. Fabulous. I have a feeling, this ricer, is going to be my new best friend.
Mother of invention - yes. I am not spending money on a gadget, I can't use. I had to find a reason for having it.
Linked to Seasonal Inspiration
Linked to Seasonal Inspiration
Friday, February 15, 2013
The caterers gave us the food that was not used from our daughter's weddings. There were several trays and we gave most of them to a fund that is raising money to help those who were badly harmed from Sandy. In our area, there are still many who have not been able to return to their homes.Others are living in homes that are not complete and are being worked on.
We did keep a tray of salmon and a try of chicken strips. I used some of the strips to make the following recipe. Of course, there was no need to cook the chicken, just to heat it with the other ingredients.
Chicken with Grape Tomatoes and Mushrooms (adapted from Campbells)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/4 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, cut into thin strips
1 package (8 ounces) sliced fresh mushrooms (about 2 1/4 cups)
1/2 teaspoon garlic, minced
1 pint grape tomatoes (about 2 1/2 cups)
1 onion cut into 1-inch pieces (about 1/3 cup)
1/2 cup organic vegetable or chicken broth
Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and cook until well browned, stirring often. Remove the chicken from the skillet. (I browned the grilled chicken pieces.)
Heat the remaining oil in the skillet over medium heat. Add the mushrooms and cook until tender, stirring occasionally.
Add the garlic, tomatoes, and onions to the skillet; cook and stir for 1 minute. Return the chicken to the skillet. Stir in the soup and cook for a few more minutes.
Linked to: Keep it Real Thursdays Pint Sized Baker Mealtime Monday Gallery of Favorites
Thursday, February 14, 2013
I think, you will be seeing some odd dishes from now to the holiday of Passover (Pesach). I start to "use up", at this point. "Use up" means, clearing the freezer and cabinets of any food. It means, not buying more Parmesan when I run out.
I don't use a lot of canned goods but it is amazing how many cans collect, over time. They are my "just in case" food but I rarely have a "just in case. I was happy to see that I have been using them and they are diminishing quickly. Actually, Eden diced tomatoes is a popular can. I use the tomatoes in all kinds of dishes and usually keep up to 8 cans, on hand. Each week, I pick up one new can. You would be surprised how quickly they disappear even with my restocking, each week.
Since Hurricane Sandy, I replaced very little food in my freezer. I do have containers of chicken stock and beef stock from my giant soup making days. I use a container, each Friday night and change its character. I add different vegetables and spices. I may add rice or quinoa or serve it with the vegetables. I, sometimes serve egg drops or kneidlach.
As a result, I plan to mix and match, and hopefully turn out some tasty treats.
Along with this, I have decided to make Thursday nights, simple nights, with a minimum of effort, both cooking and cleanup. Since, I like to do some Shabbos cooking, on Thursday nights, I want to get the nightly cleaning, out of the way.
Tonight was only slightly ingenious. I used one saucepan and that is it. I did slice the bok choy and halved the brussels sprouts on a cutting board, the kind that is easy to clean.
Poached Salmon with Brussels Sprouts
2 salmon fillet
1 baby bok choy
1 box fresh brussels sprouts
1 cup soy sauce
1 - 2 cups water
Heat soy sauce and water in 3 quart saucepan. Add salmon and cook for 5 minutes.
Cut brussels sprouts into halves and add them to the pot and cook until tender (about 10 minutes), Add bok choy and cook for another 3 minutes, at most.
Use a slotted spoon to serve.
Linked to Beyond the Peel Saturday Dishes
Simple Living Wednesday Allergy Free WednesdayGluten Free Wednesday Real Food Wednesday Full Plate Thursdays
Tuesday, February 12, 2013
Monday, February 11, 2013
I didn't think, it would confuse me to change the week, I posted for SRC but it does. When I had the first week, a new month meant SRC. The second week means, I have to be a big girl and simply remember. Whatever the week, I do love the Secret Recipe Club.
This month, I had an interesting blog, Wholesome RD. OK, I did not know what RD stood for. I am ashamed of myself. The fun, I had though, making up RD titles.
Radish Daikon (backwards)
What else do I have to do in my spare time? Sure.
I always find recipes on any blog, I look at, so that in itself means little. The difference was that I found really interesting recipes that I liked and had not made before.
Soft Garlic Pretzels
Spinach Artichoke White Bean Crostini
Crock Pot Honey Sesame Chicken
Mexican Mac and Cheese
That is just the beginning. Erin is a Register Dietician (RD) who lives in Chicago with her husband and son. Surprise, she loves to cook. She also loves to run and travel and she has traveled extensively.
When it came time to select a recipe to make, it came easy because it was dinner and my hubby was walking around, mumbling 'soup", a clear signal, I could have a happy husband if I made soup.
I found the Black Bean Soup and yes, I had a happy hubby.
Black Bean Soup (adapted)
1 medium onions, chopped
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
1 cup reduced-sodium vegetable broth
1 (15 ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 Tablespoons ketchup
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 Tablespoon cumin
1 (15 ounce) cans black beans, drained but not rinsed
Freshly ground black pepper
1 bunch parsley
juice of 1/2 lime
Stir in the onions and cook, stirring, until they start to turn translucent, about 4 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook until you can smell it, about 1 minute.
Add the broth, tomatoes, ketchup, Worcestershire, and chili powder. Stir in the beans, turn the heat to high and bring to a boil. Adjust the heat so the soup is bubbling gently and cook 10 minutes. Season with pepper.
Meanwhile, chop the parsley coarsely and stir it into the soup when it has been simmering 10 minutes. Cook until the soup is thickened, about 5 minutes.
Linked to Ms. En Place Hearth and Soul Keep it Real Thursdays All My Blogger Friends
Sunday, February 10, 2013
Friday, February 8, 2013
I think, I should change my name to Chaya Bok Choy or Chaya Spinach. I buy both, each time I shop in the grocery store. They have joined the ranks of onions, bell pepper and romaine.
Both fit into all kinds of dishes, both hot and cold. I throw them into salads, into side dishes, with meat, poultry and fish. No, I have not used them in desserts.
Friday is "Cook for Shabbos" day and the food should be special. In the past years, I made roasted chicken, kugels, gefilte fish and salads plus of course, challah and dessert. Oops, can't forget soup.
This week, I made the pasta below, a cabbage and mushroom dish, salmon with spinach and mushrooms, lemon chicken, beef tomato soup, butternut squash, pistachio muffins, pound cake, and challah (which should be listed first).
Pasta with Bok Choy and Mushrooms Adapted from Epicurious
8 ounces gluten-free spaghetti
1 tablespoon olive or canola oil
1 large shallot, sliced
1 piece (about 1 inch) ginger, peeled and finely chopped
1 baby bok choy, leaves and stems separated, roughly chopped
1 orange bell pepper, sliced
3/4 cup low-sodium vegetable stock
2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon dark sesame oil
1 tablespoon garlic flavored rice vinegar
1/2 cup chopped unsalted roasted peanuts
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Cook pasta as directed on package until just tender. Drain and rinse pasta with cool water.
In a large nonstick skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Cook shallot and ginger, stirring, until just brown, 1 minute.
Add bok choy stems and bell pepper . Cook, stirring frequently, until peppers are crisp-tender, 1 to 2 minutes.
Transfer contents of skillet to a plate.
To same skillet, add bok choy leaves, stock, soy sauce, sesame oil and vinegar. Cook, stirring, until leaves are soft and bright green, 1 to 2 minutes.
Add bell pepper mixture, pasta, peanuts and pepper flakes to pan. Toss to combine; serve.
Tuesday, February 5, 2013
Better Homes and Gardens has a recipe, in this month's magazine for Spaghetti Squash with Tomatoes and Olives. I had taken a quick look and missed the word squash. There, I was with spaghetti boiling in the pot and I realized, my recipe had to change. I did a pretty good "copycat" using the spaghetti and it was delicious. It was so good, I want to try it with the spaghetti squash.
Spaghetti Squash with Tomatoes and Olives (adapted)
1 pound spaghetti
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon minced garlic
14 1/2 ounce can diced tomatoes with basil, garlic, and oregano (undrained)*
1/2 cup pimiento-stuffed green olives, coarsely chopped
1/3 cup golden raisins
2 ounces feta cheese, crumbled (1/2 cup)
ground black pepper
In a large saucepan heat oil over medium heat. Add garlic and cook 1 minute. Add tomatoes; bring to boiling. Boil gently, uncovered, for 15 minutes or until slightly thickened, stirring occasionally.
While the tomatoes cook, in a large pot, cook pasta according to package directions; drain and return to pot.
Add tomato sauce, olives, raisins and basil to pasta in the pot. Season to taste with ground pepper. Serve topped with feta cheese.
This was such an easy recipe and hubby liked it which was a surprise for me. He usually turns his nose up to olives. We may just have added a new food to our diet.
Looking back: This is All Dessert Week. Just look at these.
Winnie does it again with a Snickers Cake
Mocha Swirl Bread from Jam Hands.
Spiral Ice Box Cookies from Food is My Life
Linked to Gallery of Favorites
Once again, it is your turn. Thanks for sharing with us.
Saturday, February 2, 2013
Our new son-in-law eats a healthy diet. I did find that it is relatively easy to cook for him although the first time, I made him a meal, it was the most simple meal, I have ever made. I figured, I could not go wrong with plain quinoa, plain chicken and plain salad. It was boring, as well, and he likes good food.
As time has gone by, I discovered, it is not that much of a challenge to make food that tastes good and that will fit his needs and wants.
So when I came across the recipe from Meals the Heal, I knew it would be a great success.
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 pounds sweet potatoes, scrubbed and cut into 1" chunks
2 large red bell peppers, cut into 1" pieces "
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 pound spinach, torn into bite-size pieces (I used less spinach because, I only had a pound and I needed it for two different salads.)
Preheat the oven to 425°F.
In a large roasting pan, combine the oil, salt, and black pepper. Add the sweet potatoes and bell peppers and toss to coat well. Roast, stirring occasionally, for 40 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender. Remove from the oven and stir in the vinegar.
Place the spinach in a large serving bowl. Add the potato mixture and toss to coat well. Serve immediately.
Linked to Gallery of Favorites