Category Archives: Holiday Recipes

Thanksgiving Corn Bread Pudding

Corn Bread Pudding out of the oven

My friend Audrey gave this to me many years ago, and it has become a staple on our thanksgiving table ever since. It just wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without it. It is a favorite in the Kolen household. Can be doubled easily just will need to cook a little longer. I cooked my double corn bread pudding for at least 45 minutes and sometimes a little longer. You’ll want to press down on the middle and make sure that it’s not too soft. If outside edges start to burn put a piece of aluminum foil over it if it’s not done. Usually another 10 – 15 minutes will work on a doubled recipe and it should look like picture. Outside edges will brown a slight bit.

*I really do think this recipe comes out best not doubled, you’d almost be best off finding a larger baking dish or using 2 9×12 dishes. You will not have the issue of it being too soft if it is in a larger baking dish or 2 9×12 baking dishes.


1/2 cup butter (unsalted) 1 stick

8 oz. sour cream (lite ok but not fat-free)

8 oz.  can sweet corn (drained)

8 oz. can creamed corn

8 oz. pkg. corn muffin mix

2 eggs, lightly beaten


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Melt butter, mix in beaten eggs, then add the rest of the ingredients.

Pour into glass baking dish (Pyrex is good and I spray it first.) 9 x 12 works fine, it’s not a very deep pudding.

Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes for single recipe and double recipe will probably cook for another 10 – 15 minutes. You’ll want middle to spring back to the touch and not be too mushy.

Marshmallow Sweet Potatoes (gotta have ’em)

1/2 eaten Sweet Potatoes with Marshmallows

1/2 eaten Sweet Potatoes with Marshmallows

pre marshmallow topping

We always have to have a sweet potato dish with those darn marshmallows! This has a little twist which makes it a bit more interesting. It’s easy, tasty and unique, because I make it with both marshmallows and pecan halves on top. There are probably a million different recipes for mashed sweet potatoes, but this one goes on my table this year.


3 lbs. sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 2 inch chunks. Cook Sweet Potatoes (If you want to cheat with the canned ones, I won’t tell anyone, and what’s more is no one will know with all the other stuff in it.) Just drain them well.

1/2 cup whole milk (no skim please)

4 tablespoons unsalted butter (when I double I just add 2 tblsp. butter no need to add 8)

1 can (8 ounces) crushed pineapple, drained

1/4 cup brown sugar, packed

1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

20 big marshmallows or mini marshmallows ( as many as you can fit on top)

*40 pecan halves to cover top (you can use only marshmallows if you want)


Cover sweet potatoes with cold water in a large pot and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for about 15 minutes or until potatoes are knife tender. Drain and return to pot. Mash potatoes with a masher, then stir in milk, butter, pineapple, brown sugar, pumpkin pie spice and salt.

Transfer mixture to a 2 1/2 quart oval casserole dish, smooth out on top. If you want to make a checkerboard top, start at the top left, and alternate one marshmallow with 2 pecan halves until the entire casserole is covered. Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes or until marshmallows are browned and puffed. If you don’t feel like doing the checkerboard, you can also sprinkle mini marshmallows on top, or some large ones. Whatever you like. This is pretty loose, but you gotta have marshmallows!

*one little tip when making a day ahead which is what I do. I assemble the sweet potatoes and I refrigerate as is till day of Thanksgiving. On Thanksgiving when I am ready to put in oven, I put in oven at 350 degrees for about 1/2 hour then add the marshmallows till they brown up. Also be careful with aluminum foil on top of cooked marshmallows because they tend to stick to the foil.

*this recipe serves about 8 – 10 as a side

Sweet and Spicy Nuts – Perfect for Thanksgiving

photo 4 (3)photo 1 (4)

My inspiration for this recipe came from Barefoot Contessa. I make these and keep them in a baggie or a container. Awesome, thanks Ina. These nuts make the perfect appetizers, no one who eats nuts can resist. I also like mine with a little “kick”, you can manage the heat on these.


vegetable oil

7 cups of nuts (you can break it up any way you want. You can do 7 cups of roasted mixed unsalted nuts or any other combination as long as they equal 7 cups. if you can’t find unsalted nuts, adjust the salt on this recipe as per direction below) 

1/3 cup pure maple syrup

1/4 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed

3 tablespoons orange juice (fresh or container. fresh is always best (and one orange will do the trick,) but honestly no biggie.)

2 teaspoons ground chipotle powder–I use 2 teaspoons but if you really like them mild use a little less.

4 tablespoons minced fresh rosemary leaves (divide 2 tablespoons for now and 2 tablespoons for later)

4 teaspoons Kosher salt (also divided 2 for now and 2 for later. don’t add second 2 teaspoons of salt if you bought salted nuts)

Preheat oven to 350

Brush a sheet pan (prefer one with sides) generously with vegetable oil (use a brush, love the silicone brushes)

First, combine nuts, 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil, maple syrup, brown sugar, orange juice, and chipotle powder in a large bowl (I prefer a large metal bowl). Toss to coat the nuts evenly.

Add 2 tablespoons of the minced rosemary and 2 teaspoons of the kosher salt and give it a good toss (a large metal spoon works the best b/c it can get a little sticky with a wooden spoon.)

Spread nuts in a single layer on sheet pan.

Roast nuts for 25 minutes, stirring twice. You will want to take them out of the oven to stir them b/c they may slide off the tray. Use a metal spatula. Roast for the rest of the 25 minutes until nuts are glazed .

Remove from the oven, and sprinkle with remaining 2 teaspoons of kosher salt (only if they were unsalted) and add the remaining 2 tablespoons of rosemary.

Toss well and set aside at room temp.

While they are cooling, stir them up a few times b/c they may stick together.

Taste for seasoning. They really don’t achieve full flavor until they fully cool. So you won’t know how spicy they are until they sit for a while. I’ve made these a million times and can tell you that this amount of chipotle has kick, but not psycho hot.

Serve warm, or let them cool. Put them in a container and serve whenever you like. They stay good for a long time.

*just a note: you can adjust salt, rosemary, and chipotle to your liking. I have recipe for Union Square Nuts and they don’t have chipotle and are also delish but I prefer these b/c I love the heat of the chipotle!


Break-the-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.


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


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







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!


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 .


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.

Applesauce and Raisin Cake – an Homage to the Bundt Queen

I always call my friend Susan the Queen of the Bundt Cake. It certainly seems to be her calling, as she is always coming up with new and delicious Bundt Cakes for all of us to try. I just hope I do her justice in trying to duplicate it. She made this cake for everyone last New Years  and I have been wanting to try it ever since.  I had to change one of the ingredients because I bought chunky applesauce instead of plain applesauce. Of course, if you’re so inclined you can make your own applesauce (I wasn’t so inclined today!).  The original recipe hails from The Silver Palate, and I have to say this is one cookbook you don’t want to be without. There are so very many wonderful recipes in it. This cake has a slightly spicy flavoring, and is just so darn good. I am very happy to report that this cake came out awesome! Super Delicious with the chunky applesauce. Very moist and delicious, cooked perfectly at 1 hour and 10 minutes. Thanks Suki and the Silver Palate!

This cake can be a wonderful addition to your holiday table, applesauce and raisins just so perfect for Rosh Hashana.


1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, plus a little extra for greasing the pan (Butter should be at room temperature.  I woke up early and didn’t have time to let it sit so I just put it in microwave to soften for 15 seconds.)

*if baking for the Jewish Holidays and don’t want to use butter you can use margarine

3 cups all-purpose flour

2 cups sugar

2 eggs (at room temperature)

2 cups applesauce (I used Chunky because probably didn’t have reading glasses in market and grabbed it.)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg, or 1 teaspoon freshly grated

2 teaspoons baking soda

1 cup raisins

Lemon/Orange Icing ingredients:

1 cup confectioner’s sugar

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1 1/2 tablespoons fresh orange juice


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a mixing bowl (electric mixer), cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in the applesauce and vanilla.

Sift the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg and baking soda together then add to applesauce mixture. Next, sprinkle in the raisins, and blend gently but thoroughly.

Pour the batter into the tube pan and set on a rack in the center of the oven. Bake until a cake tester inserted into the cake comes out clean. 1 hour and 10 – 15 minutes. I cooked it 1 hour and 10 minutes.

Cool in the pan for at least 15 minutes (I will leave it all day as I go out hiking, and turn it over when it is completely cool when I return.)  When it is completely cool, I will make the icing and drizzle over the top. A little trick is to poke little holes in the cake (on top, with cake tester or toothpick) and pour icing over the cake and it will go into cake and infuse some of the lemon/orange directly into cake.

Instructions for icing:

Sift the confectioner’s sugar and cinnamon into a small bowl.

Dribble in the juices, stirring constantly until the icing is smooth. Drizzle over completely cooled cake.

*should be enough icing for 1 Applesauce Raisin Cake

A Savory Noodle Kugel

I saw this recipe in the NY Times Food Section a few weeks ago. It is from Joan Nathan who I trust implicitly and she adapted it from “Regard Thy Table” a recipe book compiled by The Sisterhood of The Larchmont Temple from 1950. I am going to give this a shot since I always make sweet kugels this one looks like a nice change.


8 ounces medium egg noodles

1 1/2 cups cottage cheese or farmer cheese *cottage cheese with curds, not creamed or whipped

1 1/2 cups sour cream

1/2 medium onion, finely minced ( Spanish type onion)

1 Tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce ( secret ingredient)

Dash of Tabasco ( other secret ingredient)

1 teaspoon salt, and more to taste

Freshly ground black pepper , to taste

2 Tablespoons grated Parmesan

1/4 cup chives, sliced


Heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 2 – 2 1/2 quart casserole or gratin dish. You can use butter or use a baking spray whichever you prefer.

Bring a pot of water to a boil, add the noodles and cook until al dente, about 7 minutes. Drain the noodles, put in a medium bowl, and toss with cottage cheese or farmer cheese, sour cream , onion, garlic, Worcestershire Sauce, Tabasco and salt and pepper.

Spoon into the prepared dish and sprinkle with Parmesan and chives. Bake until golden and crusty on top, 35 – 40 minutes till golden.

Don’t Let the Apples Go Bad Cake

Apples are the kind of fruit we eat all year round. They are always in the fridge and if they don’t get eaten, I  feel guilty that they’re just sitting there and going to go bad.  I saw this recipe on Smitten Kitchen and decided since we were leaving for Colorado and I was not ditching perfectly good apples, I would make it and freeze it for when we come back.  (The cake would freeze well…the apples, not so much.) You’ll need a tube pan. You don’t need an electric mixer, so it’s pretty easy on the special equipment. Use those leftover apples–dont’ let them go bad. No butter in this recipe, lots of sugar though.  My house smelled divine.

*you can see in photos that I use a melon baller to get the pits out of the middle of the apple. I prefer this technique over the corer thingys which never really work. The melon baller works perfectly: first cut apple in half, then scoop out just the pits.


6 apples (I used what I had in the house: a combo of Granny Smith and Honey Crisp. Good old Macintosh will work, too.)

1 tablespoon cinnamon

5 tablespoons sugar

2 3/4 cups flour, sifted

1 tablespoon baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup vegetable oil

2 cups sugar

1/4 cup orange juice (try to use fresh but if not, Tropicana will do)

2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

4 eggs

1 cup walnuts, chopped (this is optional; I didn’t use them this time out)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a tube pan. Peel, core, and chop apples into chunks. Toss with cinnamon and sugar and set aside (I sprayed with a baking spray. There’s no need to add any butter here.)

Stir together flour, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together oil, orange juice, sugar and vanilla. This mixture will be rather thick.  Mix wet ingredients into the dry ones, then add eggs, one at a time. Scrape down the bowl to make sure all ingredients are incorporated. Use a rubber spatula to get it all out of the bowl.

Pour 1/2 the batter into prepared tube pan. Spread 1/2 the apples over this. Pour the remaining batter over the apples and arrange the remaining apples on top. Use your eye to halve  batter and apples (don’t worry if it’s not perfectly halved.) Bake for about 90 minutes, or until a cake tester (or toothpick) comes out clean. I would check cake after 1 hour 20 minutes. I baked for the full 90 minutes; it’s a rather thick cake.

Recipes for Jewish New Year–Rosh Hashana

Finished Product Apple Cake

Finished Product Apple Cake

photo 1 (3)

Un-Stuffed Cabbage

DSCN2648DSCN4230DSCN2642DSCN4225DSCN4234photo (2)DSCN4230Summer is the most easy-going time of the year and then along comes the Jewish holidays right on the heels of Labor Day and just like that it is over. Before you know it,  it’s Thanksgiving! Oh well here we go again, for those of you who have been reading my blog you may have made a lot of these recipes. I am going to post a few new ones. I am sort of a traditionalist when it comes to holidays and my family always looks forward to the same things. If I introduce a new recipe it’s always hold your breath time and what was wrong with the old one looks on everyone’s face.  Final decisions haven’t been made but I know that there are some things I’d never leave out. Here is a list of suggestions and by all means cruise through my blog and see if there is anything else to your liking. These are just a list of suggestions. I will be posting a few new ones this week, so be on the lookout. Rosh Hashana recipes are tagged Rosh Hashana if you are trying to look them up on my blog. I may sneak in a recipe or two this week if I can get in the time. So sad summer is over but it’s time to move on .

For those who celebrate have a very Happy Healthy New Year!

Homemade Chicken Soup with not so Homemade Matzo Balls ( even though this is for Passover we eat it a lot on Rosh Hashana)

Happy New Year Brisket

Unstuffed Cabbage–a great alternative to meatballs

Chicken Marbella

Honey Roasted Chicken

Old School Meatballs

A Noodle Pudding from Ellen

Another Noodle Pudding from Marcy *kosher non dairy

Noodle Pudding with Apricot Nectar–probably one of the all time best kugels ever

Noodle Pudding from Julie

Mushroom Barley

Kasha Varnishkes

Grandma Millie’s Cauliflower

Applesauce and Raisin Cake

Don’t let the Apples go Bad Cake

Julie’s Honey Cake

Plum Torte

My farewell to Norah Ephron- her Tzimmes

Homemade Chicken Soup with Not-So-Homemade Matzo Balls

I always make my own chicken soup. It is delicious broth. I usually make a few batches and freeze them because it’s a great thing to have frozen in quart containers as stock and will last for up to six months frozen. When the holidays come—whether Rosh Hashanah or Passover—I always make my chicken soup with matzo balls. I make the soup a day ahead and skim whatever fat is on there before adding my matzo balls.


1 5lb. organic roasting chicken (I throw away the insides)

1 package of chicken wings (this was suggested to me a long time ago by my BFF Karyn and she was oh so right. It adds some fat, which translates into a lot of flavor and you will skim off the fat the next day. Thanks, Karyn…yes, I remembered!)

1 large, yellow Spanish onion; unpeeled and quartered

A big bunch of dill

4 celery stalks with leaves, cut into thirds

4 carrots, unpeeled and halved

Bunch of flat-leaf parsley (Use this only if you want. This time, I didn’t have it so I used only the dill.)

A bunch of thyme (if you wish)

1 head of garlic, cut in half cross-wise (skin and all)

2 tbsp. kosher salt

2 tsp. whole black peppercorns


I place the chicken, chicken wings, onion, carrots, celery, whatever herbs I’m using, garlic, salt and pepper in as large a  pot as I can find (usually about a 16-20 qt. stockpot.) Add cold water to cover chicken by at least 2 inches above the chicken but not to the top of the pot because it will boil over (very messy). Bring to a boil and then simmer, uncovered, for about 3 hours. I skim the soup skum (sounds lovely) off for the first half hour or so—after that, you shouldn’t have much more. I remove the chicken from the broth after an hour or so, because it is cooked and it will taste like a rubber chicken if you plan on eating it. Sometimes, I like to shred it and return it to the soup. If you are not using the chicken (what a waste of good chicken), just leave it in. It will fall apart in there. I leave the wings and discard them at the end of the 3 hours. Next, I strain all of the soup, discard all remnants, fill my containers and put in the fridge. The next day (or the day of the holiday), I usually skim off the fat that has risen to the top and make my matzo balls (recipe below).


This has always been my secret, but now it’s out. Okay, I own it. After years of making matzo balls from scratch, my mother (yes, my mother, the cook) turned me on to Manischewitz boxed matzo ball mix! It just wasn’t worth it. My balls weren’t as consistent as I would have liked, whereas these are always perfection! Light and fluffy and everyone always loves them. No sinkers here!

I follow the directions on the box carefully. They sell just the mix box. You will need vegetable oil and 2 eggs per box. I do add a little piece of dill inside each ball, but that’s it! Now my secret is out. Sometimes this is really the only way to go. It saves time and ingredients and is really good. No MSG or trans-fats either! So make the soup, cheat with the balls, and enjoy. There is no substitute for homemade chicken soup, though.

*You can also add thin soup noodles to this recipe, if you like.