Category Archives: Holiday Recipes

One Very Easy Kugel

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Uncooked Noodles in Glass Pyrex Baking Dish

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Uncooked Noodles in Custard before topping

IMG_5330 My Sister in Law Susan found this recipe and told me to try it a while ago. I finally got around to making it, writing it up and photographing it. Perfect timing for the Jewish Holidays. I think this is a perfect recipe for everyone, both beginners and experienced cooks alike.

The awesome thing about this kugel is that you don’t have to cook the noodles before you use them.  I love the one pot meals and have posted a few on my blog already. The noodles will cook in the liquid perfectly. I probably took the kugel out of the oven after 50 minutes. Of course we will heat it up again before we serve it.

I used whole milk but you can probably use 2%. You can probably get away with a little less butter but I used a whole stick and I used reduced fat not fat-free sour cream. I mean this is Noodle Pudding we’re talking about , the calories are off the charts! At least I will be fasting on Saturday so I can rationalize the amount of calories in this insanely delicious noodle kugel once I sit down to eat it.

This is not a cloyingly sweet kugel, you can add an additional teaspoon of vanilla to egg mixture if you’d like

Thanks to Susan for turning me on to this delicious concoction. I always appreciate a new recipe.

Ingredients:

1 bag of wide egg noodles ( 12 oz. bag)

1 cup dark raisins

5 large eggs ( at room temperature please)

1 cup sour cream ( reduced fat OK no fat free please)

1/2 up ( 1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled

1/3 cup sugar

4 cups whole milk ( 2% would probably be fine)

*tsp of vanilla extract ( optional)

topping

3 cups cornflakes, coarsely crushed

1/4 cup (packed) dark brown sugar

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees ( I sprayed a 9 x 13 glass baking dish with Bakers Joy Spray ( love).

Spread uncooked noodles over bottom of prepared dish and sprinkle with raisins.

Whisk eggs, sour cream, butter and sugar in a large bowl until smooth. Whisk in milk and pour over noodles. Let kugel stand for about 5 minutes.

I put cornflakes in a large plastic bag and crushed them up with the back of a wooden spoon. Mixed the crushed cornflakes with the 1/4 cup of dark brown sugar and sprinkled evenly over the kugel.

Bake kugel until set in center, app. 1 hour. I baked for less and just until kugel was set. Be careful that it doesn’t burn on top, if you see that happening throw a piece of tin foil over it for the last few minutes.

Cut kugel into squares, serve warm or at room temperature.

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Finished Product

Break Fast Food – Blintz Souffle

Here we go again…another holiday to cook for. Most of breaking the fast is taking in bagels, fish, etc. Easy to do. But I still try to make a few dishes and this recipe is an oldie but a goodie. I have been making this recipe since 1975 and it never gets old.  This dish can be assembled ahead of time, kept in the refrigerator and baked right before eating. This is a keeper and a tradition in my house. Always delicious. You can buy almost any of the frozen blintzes. Some stores have homemade ones, but it doesn’t really make that big of a difference with this recipe. Enjoy! This is super easy, with excellent results.

INGREDIENTS:

6 blintzes (you can use cheese or fruit-filled, whichever you like. Depending on how many people I’m feeding, I usually make 1 fruit and 1 cheese tray)

2 eggs

1/4 cup sugar

1 tbsp. unsalted butter or margarine

3/4 cup sour cream (lite is fine but I wouldn’t use fat-free)

1 tsp. vanilla

Dash of cinnamon

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Melt butter or margarine in saucepan. Spray baking dish with Pam spray (Original). Mix remaining ingredients in a bowl together. Place frozen blintzes in baking dish. I usually use a 9×13 size dish but anything close to that will work. You can double the recipe, in which case you’d obviously need a larger baking dish (you need room for the blintzes to expand a little and for the egg mixture to rise around it. Don’t spread it too thin.) Pour the melted butter on top of the frozen blintzes, followed by the sour cream mixture. Bake at 350 degrees for approx. 30-40 minutes. Let it sit for a few minutes out of the oven before cutting into it.

Baked French Toast — all time best

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DSCN4294I posted this originally back in October 2011 for Yom Kippur break fast. It is truly one of the best French toast recipes I’ve ever made.  I include it every year since my friend Ilene Stern gave it to me. I never have a single piece left. Delicious and decadent, perfect brunch and breakfast food. I almost always include it in my Mother’s Day Brunch as well. Once you’ve made this recipe there is no turning back, your whole family will love it and you’ll have to make it every time.

The only downside is that you must prepare and refrigerate the night before without cooking it, you cannot cook this dish till you’re ready to eat it, the bottom will get hard like a caramel candy would. So cook right before you’re going to serve. Enjoy!

*recipe as is should serve 6- 8 if you have more people make 2 trays!

Ingredients:

1 cup packed light brown sugar

1 stick unsalted butter

2 tbsp. corn syrup ( I use Karo Original light corn syrup)

5 eggs (room temperature please)

1 1/2 cups milk ( you can use low-fat, I use Skim Plus)

1 tbsp. vanilla

1 package of sliced cinnamon bread. ( Pepperidge Farm is fine) if you can get thick slices it’s great , but the thin kind will work just double stack them it will be fine) You probably will use 12 slices of bread per tray. You will have 6 stacks of 2 slices each, 12 slices total, or 6 thick slices of cinnamon bread. If you can’t find just cinnamon bread use raisin cinnamon bread it’s easier to find .

Directions:

Melt butter, add brown sugar and corn syrup and combine well. Spray a 9×13 baking dish, Pyrex works well here. Pour butter mixture into baking dish and arrange bread slices flat in the mixture ( you will double stack the thin sliced bread) Unless the bread is 1″thick you will be doubling the standard sliced bread. Squeeze the bread to fit–it should hold 12 slices ( 6 double stacks), 3 on each side of a 9×13 baking dish.

In a blender mix the eggs, milk and vanilla and pour over the bread slices, covering them completely. Cover and refrigerate overnight. The bread will absorb all the liquid by the morning, so if you need to travel with it will be fine.

Uncover and bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 30 minutes. Once it’s out of the oven you can dust with powdered sugar, but not necessary. Serve right from the baking dish.

*if you let this sit out too long before serving, the bottom may get hard like a praline candy. It never ever lasts long enough for this to happen at my table.

Look at my original recipe post on October 5 2011. More Break Fast: the all-time best Baked French Toast, I swear.

Old School Meatballs (sweet and sour)

       Here is a last minute addition for Rosh Hashana. They are “old school” but still hold up.  If you’re looking for an easy addition to your menu this could be it.  L’Shana Tova from our house to yours. Enjoy!

Sweet and Sour MBalls with Turkey

I have been making this recipe since I got married in 1975. It is really a perfect recipe for holidays or any time. You can use these meatballs with rice or anything like that. They are good for a big crowd when you have poultry and want another main. A lot of you are probably very familiar with this one and have different versions of it. Believe it or not, I still have the very original recipe. I’ve made a few changes to it: I now add my own bread crumbs, which I always make from whole wheat bread but feel free to use store-bought seasoned bread crumbs; If you want you can make these for* Passover by substituting matzo meal for bread crumbs.  I also grate in a little onion (spanish); and my mother taught me to grate in a little potato so I always do that, as well. Now and then I’ll use turkey in this recipe too. Otherwise, this is  the original and it’s super easy. I  used turkey this time out, and they came out perfectly.

INGREDIENTS: (This is for one pound but you can definitely double and these freeze beautifully.)

1 lb. ground beef (Whatever kind you like. I sometimes use ground turkey. In 1975, we all ate beef, but today you might want to use ground turkey or ground chicken.

1 egg (room temp. works best)

1/4 cup bread crumbs (if you’re using from the can) I use 3 slices of whole wheat bread crusts removed. (when I doubled I used 5 slices and it was enough)

*For Passover – omit the bread crumbs and replace with matzo meal

Kosher Salt,  app. 1 teaspoon

Freshly ground black pepper to taste (1/4 teaspoon)

1 clove garlic, minced (the original calls for garlic powder but I’ve changed this as well. If you prefer, try 1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon)

1/8 cup warm water (just to moisten it) when you double just add up to 1/4 , I don’t usually use the whole 1/4 cup.

1/4 spanish onion, grated

1/4 potato, grated

1 bottle (12 oz.) Heinz chili sauce

6 oz. grape jelly

Directions:

Mix meat, egg, bread crumbs, salt, pepper, garlic, and water all together. I then grate in the onion and potato too. Next, shape into small balls about 3/4 inches in diameter. Heat the chili sauce and grape jelly until they blend and bring to a low boil. Then drop the raw meatballs into the sauce and simmer, covered, for approx. 45 minutes. Again, these can be made ahead and frozen. They are quick, easy, and so good. The larger the pot the more balls you’re able to get in, so a large dutch oven works out best for this.

* serves about 8 – 10

*Some people have been known to throw a can of sauerkraut in the sauce, which is also delicious, but you hafta like that flavor. (Just saying…)

Grandma Millie’s Cauliflower

I originally posted this recipe 2 years ago. My Father recently passed away so when I came across this photo of my parents on the recipe it was bittersweet . We will miss my Dad during this Holiday season.

Firstly, you should know that this dish is sort of famous around the Kolen/Topper household. My mother doesn’t cook a lot anymore, but for the holidays, she will still rally to make some of her signature dishes. I never even had this recipe in my possession before. Almost everyone loves this dish—even the cauliflower haters (although we can’t get Joel to even try it…his loss.) It is very tasty and a perfect side dish for meat. It is also perfect for the holidays. We always have it on our Thanksgiving table and usually for the Jewish holidays too. It will work anythime you need another vegetable side.  I always thought my mother used fresh cauliflower but as it turns out she’s been using frozen because it’s easier to handle, takes no time and works just as well. If you want to use fresh, just follow the recipe as it is but first cook the cauliflower in boiling water, as usual. Thanks, G’ma Mil. This recipe is a keeper.

INGREDIENTS:

1 jumbo onion (or 2 large onions)

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 cup vegetable oil–I know this is a lot of oil so you can try and start out with a little less. I am not arguing with my Mother about the amount of oil!!!! in her recipe

4 boxes frozen cauliflower

Kosher salt (start with 1 tsp.)

1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

A few shakes of paprika (for color)

Panko seasoned crumbs (3/4 to 1 cup) you’ll probably use the full cup for 4 boxes

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Slice onions and add to a large frying pan with the 1 cup of oil (heated). Add paprika, salt, pepper and garlic. Sauté onions until translucent and then let stand off the heat for about 15 minutes. Take frozen cauliflower out of boxes, put in microwave safe bowl, and microwave for 2 – 2 1/2 minutes, you want to get it defrosted and soft but not overly soft, should be firm, just to defrost and get all the water out of it. Drain and put cauliflower on paper towels. Trick is to get all water out, you want to start with cauliflower as dry as possible. That’s why frozen is easier to work with, you will be cooking it in the oven.  Next, add Panko crumbs (when adding the crumbs start with 3/4 cup and if it looks like you need more add a bit,  we used almost a full cup for the 4 boxes), mix well and then add the cauliflower. Bake for approx. 45 minutes, until heated through. (I place in one layer in a glass Pyrex until it gets very hot and a little crispy.) Taste for salt and pepper. Transfer to a serving dish.

*I usually taste for salt and pepper during the baking phase, remove from oven and take a taste, then season accordingly. Also, I know this is a lot of oil, so start out with 3/4 cup and add as you need it, for it to get crispy you will need a good amount of oil, the panko will absorb a good amount of it.

*You can prep this dish in advance and refrigerate in a container for up to 2 days prior to serving. Just take it out of the fridge, bring to room temp. and cook in oven until heated through (same as above.)

I hope you love this as much as we do.

Honey Roasted Chicken – Holiday Chicken

DSCN4234DSCN4234this recipe was actually given to me by my daughter, jennifer. she has made it numerous times. always to raves from the family. i am going to make it this year for rosh hashana and it is so perfect for Passover.  it is a delicious chicken dish made with honey so it so appropriate for the jewish new year! sweet and savory as our new year should be! enjoy it.  if anyone out there has some holiday ideas i’d love to hear about them. pay attention to cooking directions as you will not be preheating oven!!!!!!

Ingredients:

1 stick butter or margarine

1/2 cup minced yellow onion

2 large cloves garlic, minced

1/4 cup Dijon Mustard

1/2 cup mild honey

1 teaspoon kosher salt

a rounded teaspoon curry powder

2 tablespoons peach or mango chutney ( available in most supermarkets)

small handful of dried currants or chopped dark raisins

2 roasting chickens  cut up in 8’s

Directions:

you will need 2 shallow baking sheets with 1 inch rims ( you may be able to get it on 1 large sheet)Spray baking sheets well with cooking spray.

to make sauce:

Melt butter/margarine in a heavy 2 quart saucepan over medium heat. while it is bubbling, saute onion and garlic until softened, about 3 – 5 minutes. add remaining ingredients except for chicken and stir until well combined. heat until warm throughout and set aside to cool slightly.

to prepeare chicken:

I would spray each baking sheet with pam cooking spray first

Rinse and pat chicken dry . (each piece) dip each piece in honey mixture, coating chicken completely. lay chicken pieces ( skin side up) on baking sheets. spoon any remaining sauce over chicken.

To Bake Chicken:

place chicken in a cold oven, turn heat to 400 degrees and bake for one hour. if you are using 2 baking sheets , roast in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and switch shelf positions 1/2 way through the cooking time.

to serve:

Transfer chicken to a warmed serving platter and serve . this chicken is good hot, at room temp. and cold out of fridge the next day.

*if you cannot find peach or mango chutney ( I found it at Whole Foods) Stonewall Kitchen Brand , you can use Peach Jam, Apricot Jam, etc. Probably Saucy Susan would work. Use your imagination and don’t kill yourself trying to find the chutney. I think the chutney would give it a bit more kick, and cut the sweet, but either one will be fine.

Happy Holiday and Have a Very Sweet New Year

Happy New Year Brisket

Brisket can definitely be an intimidating thing to make. I once made it as a young cook and it was perfectly inedible, I will never forget dumping the whole thing in the garbage and promising myself I would live to learn how to cook a good brisket.  Back then, I couldn’t believe how long it took to cook .  Now I sometimes make it in the slow cooker. This time I used my trusty Le Creuset, which worked out beautifully. I just finished cooking it and I will freeze it till we are going to be eating it.   A lot of people have some pretty awesome brisket recipes and I welcome you to send me yours. This really couldn’t be any easier and it’s super tasty. This original recipe came from my friend, Michele (with a few comments from Karyn too.) I did change a few things to the original recipe, but not a lot and I thank Michele for the recipe.

INGREDIENTS:

4 lb. brisket (I didn’t need larger but you can adjust this recipe for whatever size brisket you use)

Lawry’s seasoned salt (I’ve never used this before today but I found out it doesn’t contain MSG, as I had previously thought)

2 large Spanish onions (Karyn uses Vidalia, which is also good), sliced thickly

2 cans of tomato sauce , I used the 16 oz. size. You can also use the 1 can of 28 oz. size. It depends on you and how much sauce you like.

2 tbsp. brown sugar (this is my addition. It doesn’t really change the flavor so much as cut the salt a bit)

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

I sprinkled Lawry’s seasoned salt on both sides of the brisket (generously) then seared it in the Le Creuset pot with a little vegetable oil–probably about a tablespoon. (After the meat was seared, it shrunk to fit perfectly in my pot but I don’t think that a larger brisket would have fit.) Next, I added the tomato sauce and onions, covered the pot and put it in the oven. I cooked it for a total of 3 hours. I checked on it after each hour, which probably wasn’t even necessary. I then let it cool, off of the heat, for about an hour. Next, I sliced it with an electric knife, which came out beautifully. The meat was soft, but not falling apart at all. I then added the brown sugar to the gravy, put the brisket in a container with the gravy and froze it. I’ll take it out of freezer and start to defrost the night before in the refrigerator. Next morning I take it out and bring to room temperature. I heat it up at 350 degrees with the top on the pot till it starts to bubble. If you think you need a little more liquid you can just add a little water to gravy.  Karyn pulses her gravy with an immersion blender. I didn’t do this but I think it makes for a good suggestion.  Thanks again Michele and Karyn!

Noodle Pudding with Apricot Nectar

I’ve tried so many noodle puddings, but keep coming back to the same old , same old. they’ve been passed down in so many different incarnations. i don’t even know what the original one is anymore. this is my most favorite. also a perfect break fast food. can and should be made ahead of time, they hold together better.  we used to add apricot jam, but it really was overkill. we omitted it, and it is perfect just the way it is. thanks to karyn r. for this noodle pudding and for being such a great cooking buddy for as far back as i can remember.

1 lb. noodles ( i use extra wide egg noodles, you’ll need a bag and 1/4 app. just eyeball it)

1 cup sugar

6 eggs ( I use extra large and at room temp. just make sure they are not right out of fridge) they work much better when they are not right out of fridge in baking.

1 tbsp. vanilla

1 stick unsalted sweet butter(melted)

6 oz. cream cheese (softened at room temp)

1 1/2 cups milk ( I use skim plus) would not use regular skim milk

2 cups apricot nectar (available in most supermarkets)

Topping:

1 1/2 cups cornflake crumbs

2 tsp. cinnamon

1/2 cup sugar

1 stick butter (melted)

Directions:

 cook noodles. mix 6 beaten eggs with the tablespoon of vanilla in one bowl. in another bowl melt 1 stick sweet butter(unsalted)softened cream cheese, and milk. add the apricot nectar and sugar. mix all ingredients together and put in large pyrex type baking dish. mix topping ingredients together, put on top of noodle pudding. cook at 350 degrees for one hour.   i usually cook this ahead of time, cook for 1/2 hour and then freeze it till i am ready to use, take out of fridge bring to room temperature and bake it for another hour till brown on top and cooked through. noodle puddings are best if you let it sit a while (at least 15 minutes before serving) they hold together better that way. can be served at room temperature.

*serves about 12 – 15 people doubled

Zesan Pesach–Happy Passover

photo 1 Just want to take a minute out of everyone’s very busy day to wish you all a very Happy Passover or as we say a Zesan Pesach. I hope you enjoyed some new recipes as well as the tried and true crowd favorites. Enjoy your Seder surrounded by those you love and make some lasting memories.

Judy’s Apple Matzoh Kugel for Passover

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photo (37)DSCN2642DSCN2539If you ask me, kugels are the best part of Passover. Put together in a casserole dish these sweet and savory dishes are my absolute favorite dish on the Seder table.  It was always about the kugel with me from the time I was a kid. This is an awesome recipe from a family friend which came to me via Karyn, so thanks Judy and thanks again Karyn. I used to make this recipe all the time and over the years I replaced it with something else and completely forgot about till another friend asked me for the recipe. Karyn came to the rescue. This is a delicious sweet addition to the table and if I remember correctly everyone loved it. It is easy and not too many ingredients and hardly any steps at all. Enjoy! Happy Passover.

Plan ahead:

Kugels can be made a day or two ahead. On the day of the serving, allow the dish to come to room temperature. Then heat it, covered in a preheated 350 degree oven until warm, 30 – 40 minutes. My experience has always been that the kugels hold together better when they are pre-made.

Ingredients:

12 sheets matzoh

9 eggs beaten, use eggs at room temperature

1 1/2 tsp. salt

1 1/2 cups sugar

6 large apples, peeled and sliced (any kind will do)

3/4 cup vegetable oil

3 Tsp. cinnamon

1 1/2 cups white raisins

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Break matzoh into colander and run warm water over it, just to soften, then drain and put in a large bowl. Add beaten eggs, add salt , sugar , apples, oil, cinnamon and raisins and pour into a pre-greased ( or cooking sprayed) baking dish . Bake at 350 degrees for 50 minutes.

Bake at 350 degrees for about 50 minutes. Enjoy!

*first time baking it keep it uncovered, when you re-heat you will cover it so it doesn’t dry out.