Potato – Zucchini Latkes for Chanukah

It’s Chanukah if you can believe it!  These tasty little pancakes are perfect for the holiday and really any day.   Most perfect of all is that you can cook them, freeze them and have them for whenever you want. They make a great appetizer or side dish. My experience with latkes is that they never really taste as good as when you first fry them, but that’s such an impossible task with people waiting to eat and having fifty million other things to do. Latkes are the ultimate comfort food. This is just a little twist on the traditional potato latke .  Usually about 2 – 2 1/2 inches in diameter is the right size, but it’s up to you. Not sure where this recipe hails from. The original from my Grandmother, but the zucchini was added later. My grandmother didn’t own a food processor and it’s a game changer, just makes it so much simpler to do.  I loved my Grandmother’s latkes and not quite sure what she did to make them so delicious but I try my best.

Happy Chanukah!

If you’re not into the zucchini thing just add 2 more potatoes and omit the zucchini.

Delicious served with applesauce , that’s how we do it here.

Ingredients:

6 russet potatoes, peeled and quartered (for food processor)

2 zucchini, cut into large chunks (for food processor)

1 spanish onion, peeled, and cut into quarters (for food processor)

4 eggs, beaten

1 – 2 teaspoons kosher salt ( more to taste) tasting is key here , potatoes can be very bland

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2/3 cup matzoh meal or bread crumbs ( if you’re making for Passover it’s perfect with matzoh meal)

Vegetable oil for frying

*applesauce for dipping ( optional) this is what we use

* sour cream ( optional) if you like

Directions:

Using the grater blade for the food processor, grate the onions, potatoes, and zucchini. A little trick to these latkes is to drain out as much of the liquid as possible, so I literally squeeze out every drop of liquid with my hands. I let each vegetable sit in a colander to drain as I grate the next one.

In a separate bowl, beat together the eggs, salt and pepper. Add it to the potato mixture and combine well. Next, add the matzoh meal or bread crumbs.  Taste for salt (start with 1 teaspoon and add more if needed, this is very important for flavor.

Heat oil in a large, heavy skillet or cast iron skillet, over a high flame. You want the oil very hot. I test the oil with a drop of water–when it sizzles, it is ready to fry. I put about 2 inches of oil in the pan, you may need to add more as you start frying. Form pancakes about 2 inches in diameter, place (very) carefully into the oil, and when the edges start to crisp up, turn them over and continue cooking until golden. If you like them flat and crispier, then flatten them out with a spatula while cooking and start with a little less.

*I like the oil to be clean as I fry so if it starts to run down I usually pour it out, wipe pan with paper towel and add fresh new oil. This is only in the event the oil starts to get very dark from the potatoes. It may not be necessary but sometimes it is. They will just fry up better.

Let the pancakes cool off, and serve plain or with sour cream or applesauce on the side. If you are freezing them, let cool completely first, then I usually use a Hefty Ziploc freezer bag. Mark them with the date, and take them out the night before you need them. They should stay for at least a month in freezer, and probably longer.

*to re-heat I like to use the oven at 350 degrees on a cookie sheet for about 15 mins. depending on how thick they are. Spray the cookie sheet with Pam Spray and you may want to flip them over 1/2 way through. Make sure they are heated throughout. Serve with some of that homemade applesauce on my blog. Enjoy!

Sheet Pan Shrimp with Vegetables and Rice

We have been on a roll of eating out lately and as wonderful as all the food is we just wanted a night home with no take-out and some home-cooked food. IMG_6861IMG_6863 I decided to try this recipe and it came out perfectly. I so seldom use the broiler to cook but it worked out so well I must pass this one on. Sheet Pan cooking has become one of my most favorite ways to cook for so many reasons most obviously the speed in which everything cooks together in one pan!!!! So amazing.

The whole prep , cook and plate was under an hour! Actually way under an hour. Simple ingredients and pretty light in the calorie department. Give this one a try soon — you’ll thank me for it.

This is what I did. You’ll need a large rimmed sheet pan.

Happy Cooking.

Ingredients:

2 Tablespoons Olive Oil

1 Tablespoon Minced Garlic –app. 3 cloves garlic

1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper

1 lb. raw large shrimp, peeled and deveined ( remove tails)

1 pint grape tomatoes

1 medium zucchini, cut on the diagonal into 1/2 inch slices

1 medium size yellow squash, cut on the diagonal into 1/2 inch slices

1 Lemon, cut into quarters

1 1/2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves, divided

 

1/2 to 1 teaspoon kosher salt – I used almost a teaspoon ( mix well with salt and pepper and give it a taste)

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

I used a pouch of Jasmine Rice — you can cook up whatever kind of rice you’d like. I had a pouch in the house and the Jasmine Rice is so delicious not to mention how easy the pouch is. For 2 people 1 pouch for 4 people 2 pouches

Directions:

I sprayed the sheet pan with Pam Cooking Spray.

Preheat the oven on the broiler setting with oven rack at least 6 inches from the heat.

Stir together the olive oil, garlic, crushed red pepper and 3/4 teaspoon of fresh thyme in a small bowl. Place Shrimp and Tomatoes in 2 separate bowls. Combine zucchini and yellow squash in a third bowl. Toss each with one-third of the oil mixture.

Heat a rimmed baking sheet in the oven for 2 minutes. Add zucchini, squash and lemon quarters (flesh side up) to hot baking sheet and bake until squash begins to soften, about 5 more minutes. Add the tomatoes after the initial 5 minutes and bake for another 5 minutes until tomatoes begin to burst. Stir in Shrimp and bake until shrimp are cooked through and zucchini is tender and lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Squeeze juice from the roasted lemon over veggies and stir to combine.

Cook rice according to package directions. Divide rice, shrimp and veggies among your plates. Top evenly with remaining thyme if you wish. Yummy!!!!

 

Winter Veggie Soup with Barley and Turkey Sausage (optional)

photo 1 (29)photo 3 (17)photo 5 (14)It’s beginning to feel a lot like winter here in the Northeast. What better way to warm up then with a bowl of soup? Helps warm the body and soul. I  went totally crazy with the vegetables and I cut up everything that was in my fridge and what I bought in the supermarket. I realize that this is a lot of vegetables and a lot of cleaning and chopping but so worthwhile. I added spicy turkey sausage but if you would like you can keep this totally vegetarian, and vegan if you leave out the cheese rinds. The magic ingredient in this soup is the “cheese rind” it adds another dimension to this soup for sure. I just cut off the end (rind) of the parmesan cheese hunk of cheese! Amazing flavor!!!!

I used vegetable broth because I had it, you can use chicken broth as well.

This is what I did.

Don’t be put off by the shopping list and the chopping. You, your family and friends will be forever grateful.

Ingredients:

2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2 sweet or spicy turkey sausages ( large ones)

1 cup pearled barley

8 cups vegetable or chicken broth

2 medium carrots, peeled and sliced into app. 1/2″ thick rounds, cut however you like, I just like to taste a piece of carrot in my soup

2 medium parsnips, peeled and sliced into 1/2″ thick rounds as well

2 medium zucchini, halved lengthwise and cut into 1/2 inch slices , leave the skin on

1 fennel bulb, thinly sliced ( don’t omit this , it adds amazing flavor)

1 medium leek, thinly sliced and washed well

One bunch of Swiss Chard, remove the center stem and chop leaves

1 Parmesan Cheese rind, optional

1 dried bay leaf

2 teaspoons kosher salt

3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/4 cup chopped chives , I didn’t have fresh which I recommend but I used dried, it’s really OK if you omit , just adds one more layer of flavor to the soup.

Directions:

In a large stockpot ( Le Creuset), heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the sausage and cook breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon into small pieces, I like to brown the sausage, about 5 minutes. Remove the sausage with a slotted spoon and set aside.

Add the barley and stir constantly until it is lightly browned, app. 3 – 4 minutes. Add the broth, carrots, parsnips, zucchini, fennel, leeks, chard , bay leaf and cheese rind. About 1 teaspoon kosher salt and about 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper. You will taste for salt and pepper again at the end. Bring the whole thing to a boil, reduce the heat to a simmer and cook, uncovered until the barley is tender . I cooked for about an hour.

Remove the rind and bay leaf and discard after the first hour. Season the soup with remaining S & P if desired. You may also want to add a little liquid if it’s too thick, you can add more broth or just some water will work as well.

Ladle the soup into bowls and garnish with the cooked sausage and chopped chives.

Tuscan Shrimp with White Beans

Misc. dinners and New Years Eve 071Misc. dinners and New Years Eve 073Misc. dinners and New Years Eve 074  This is a wonderful and very simple meal and perfect for the upcoming Holidays or any time of the year. By very simple, I mean the ingredients are as simple as the preparation. I cooked this whole recipe up in a 1/2 hour–very little prep and you’ll look like a chef! So great. This is my kind of recipe. The original recipe comes from Michael Chiarello and I highly recommend it.
The beans are a perfectly healthy alternative to pasta.

Ingredients:

*this is for 4 servings

3 cups canned Cannellini white beans

1/4 cup plus tablespoons olive oil

app. 16 large shrimp ( this would be 4 per person, so adjust depending on size of shrimp) cleaned and deveined — I sometimes like to leave the tail on the shrimp –as you can see but it is totally up to you.

4 cloves garlic, sliced

1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper depending on how spicy you want it

1 cup diced tomato from a can is fine. in the summer I would use fresh tomatoes

1 cup whole basil leaves

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Kosher Salt and Freshly ground black pepper

*you can use some extra-virgin olive oil for drizzling

* sprinkle of fresh chopped italian parsley if you like as well

Directions:

Drain the beans over a bowl and reserve the liquid. Put the white beans in a large skillet with just enough of their liquid to moisten them. Add 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and bring the beans to a low simmer. Keep them warm while you prepare the shrimp. Lay out the shrimp on some paper towels and sprinkle with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Heat 1/4 cup of oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the seasoned shrimp and cook , tossing frequently for a few minutes till shrimp turns pink , curls up and is cooked. ( don’t overcook) Remove the shrimp to a bowl with tongs. Add the garlic to the pan and saute until the garlic browns a little bit. Add the crushed red pepper flakes and cook for another minute. Add the tomatoes and basil and stir briefly, the add the lemon juice. Season with a little more Salt and Pepper. Cook for another minute or so, and then stir in the shrimp. Toss well and cook briefly to reheat the shrimp and make sure it’s fully cooked.

We placed beans on a large platter with shrimp over them. Drizzle with a little of the best olive oil you have on hand. Sprinkle with parsley if you’d like. Serve warm. You can also just serve shrimp with beans on the side. We thought it made a lovely presentation on the platter.

* leftovers were amazing

Easy Skillet Lasagna

This was truly one of the most epic meals! The whole meal in under an hour, and yes that’s lasagna folks. While I love a real lasagna I didn’t have the time to put the whole thing together and deal with it. Once you have the ingredients the prep time is minimal and you aren’t using store bought sauce , this is with sauce you make and I can’t say enough about the way it tasted! This can be done a few different ways and I invite you to play around with the ingredients and spices to your own liking. All I can say is Wow!  Delicious! Joel was very happy with our Sunday night dinner, I should have taken a picture of the big smile he had on his face when he saw this on his plate.  All in one pot is truly a great way to cook, no fuss, no muss and no having to deal with cooking lasagna noodles!!!!!! Yeah!

This can easily be made with ricotta cheese and spinach or any veggies you like. I would even try it with cut up eggplant!

*You’ll need a large oven proof skillet with lid

Ingredients:

1 to 1/2 Tablespoon Olive Oil–I used 1 1/2 you can start with 1 and add more to onions if you need it

1/2 lb. ground beef ( I used 80/20)

3 Italian sausage links, casings removed ( I used Hot Italian Sausage) use what you like , you can use turkey or chicken sausage as well

1 onion, diced

1 14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes

1 8oz.can tomato sauce

*Italian seasonings , if you have Italian seasonings in a jar that’s great if not use a little dried oregano and dried basil. Italian Seasonings is available in the spice department of all food stores.

*1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper

App. 1/4 tsp. Kosher Salt and more to taste

2-3 garlic cloves, minced

app. 10 lasagna noodles, broken into 1/4’s, if it breaks up differently don’t worry it’s a very loose recipe! 8 ounces Farfalle Pasta also works if you don’t feel like using the lasagna noodles. Un-cooked Noodles!!!!!

8 oz. mozzarella balls ( fresh) I used the small ones this time. Use whatever cheese you like but these worked out beautifully.  You can always use shredded mozzarella, or just cut a large ball of mozzarella into small pieces ( as much or as little as you’d like) if using shredded mozzarella, you’ll need about 1 cup

2 cups water

Freshly grated Parmesan Cheese for serving

*you can also use 1 cup Ricotta Cheese for a very cheesy version, I would use this if I was making it with spinach and going veggie.

Directions:

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions and cook till translucent, add garlic towards the end of onion process. Add ground beef to the onions, stirring occasionally till browned. I removed with slotted spoon and set aside in a bowl. I then cooked up the sausage making sure to crumble the sausage as it cooked.  I then removed sausage to bowl with meat , onions, and garlic and drained all excess fat from pan.

Pre-heat oven to Broil

Return meat to pan, add tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, spices, add 1/4 tsp. kosher salt to taste, if you need more add it. Add in the meat mixture and stir, bring to a simmer and add in broken lasagna pieces and 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat and simmer until pasta is cooked through, about 13- 15 minutes for al dente. I stirred it gently a few times just to make certain that the noodles cooked through and didn’t stick together.

Remove from the heat . I placed my Mozzarella on top and placed in oven under broiler for about 5 mins. Check on it because you don’t want it to blacken. All ovens are different, in mine it needed about 6 minutes to just start browning without burning, but you don’t want to burn this up so set timer and keep an eye on it!

Remove from the oven and let it sit out for a few minutes. Plate it up and let everyone add their own parmesan cheese! Enjoy! you will.

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Plated up and ready to eat

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Finished Product

 

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adding mozzarella before placing under broiler

 

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placing un-cooked noodles into sauce

 

 

This would serve 4. It’s tough to double because you would need a super large pan.

This makes for an amazing leftover!

 

 

 

 

Gallery

Chicken Tortilla Soup

This gallery contains 4 photos.

Originally posted on Cooking with Candi:
This soup has always been a favorite of mine and I usually try to order it when it’s offered on a menu. I am a big fan of Mexican Food and have always wanted to…

National French Toast Day!!!! Baked French Toast

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I just found out it’s National French Toast Day so I am posting my best French Toast Recipe!

I 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.

Couscous and Butternut Squash Salad with Kale or Arugula –Perfect Autumn Salad

It’s the Monday after Thanksgiving weekend and it seems like we all need a definite break from heavy eating. This is a most delicious alternative to a heavy meal and feel free to add a little protein if you must. Enjoy!

Cooking with Candi

This salad always makes me think of the Fall and the Winter.  I suppose it’s due to the butternut squash . This salad would really be delicious anytime of the year and if you added a protein it would make a delicious dinner salad. I made this salad the other evening and it was just perfection on a plate. Beautiful to look at and delicious to eat. Fairly Healthy and you can keep it vegan without any dairy or add cheese for a delicious vegetarian salad .  It takes a bit of prep work but you can prep a few hours ahead and be done with it prior to the meal which is always a good thing in my book.

I prepped butternut squash and couscous and used baby arugula this time. I dressed the salad and let it sit , Kale is better when it’s soft and broken down so…

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Candied Yam Souffle (Easy Peasy)

Everyone has to have these sweet potatoes on their Thanksgiving Table! Easy Peasy and a “must have” Thanksgiving staple.

Cooking with Candi

sweet potatoes pre marshmallows

I just found this recipe. I’ve made this souffle in the past. It is easy and I just felt I owed it to all of you to pass it along. It is especially good for those of you who need to bring something to someone’s house, and don’t have time for fuss and muss.  I am still not 100% sure which yam dish I am going to make, but will make a decision soon. So here you go. And those darn mini marshmallows which you just gotta have.

Ingredients:

1 stick unsalted butter

1 cup light brown sugar

1/2 cup chopped pecans

2 large cans of yams or app. 3 lbs. sweet potatoes, drained

1 small can (I like 8 oz.) crushed pineapple (optional)

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground nutmeg

mini-marshmallows (1 bag will more than cover it) or one jar of marshmallow topping

Directions:

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Melt butter in a saucepan…

View original post 164 more words

Creamy Mashed Potatoes

photo 3 (7) photo 2 (9)This is my go to recipe for the creamiest mashed potatoes around. I make them a few times a year and mostly on the holidays. Occasionally I’ll whip them up for dinner . They are rich and delicious and just the way mashed potatoes ought to be. I’d like to tell you that I don’t use butter and cream but I do. These are pretty easy to make, all I would say is to buy a good potato masher they come in pretty handy for a lot of other uses as well ( great for egg salad) .  I like to work with Yukon Gold Potatoes. This recipe is for 5 lbs. and feeds about 10 – 12 people , just perfect for a holiday dinner.

* see also Mashed Potato Casserole with Sour Cream and Chives for another way to go.

Ingredients:

5 pounds Yukon Gold Potatoes or Russet Potatoes

3/4 cup unsalted butter

1 8 oz. package of Cream Cheese, softened

1/2 to 3/4 cups half and half

1 /2 to 1 teaspoon Lawry’s Seasoned Salt ( more to taste) I used at least 1 teaspoon you’ll have to taste for yourself.

1/2 to 1 teaspoon crushed black pepper. ( more or less to taste)

Directions:

Peel and cut the potatoes into pieces that are generally the same size.

In a large enough pot to cook all of the potatoes fill pot with cold water to cover the potatoes. I bring to a boil and cook for about 30 – 35 minutes. When potatoes are cooked through, a fork should easily slide into the potatoes without resistance, potatoes should be soft but not falling apart.

Drain the potatoes in a colander. When the potatoes have finished draining, place them back into the dry pot and put the pot back on the stove. Mash the potatoes with masher over very low heat, allowing the steam to escape, before adding the other ingredients.

Turn off the stove and add 1 1/2 sticks of butter, an 8 oz. package of cream cheese and about 1/2 cup of half and half. Mash, mash and mash away.

Add about 1/2 teaspoon of Lawry’s Seasoning Salt and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper.

Stir well and place in a medium-sized baking dish and taste for salt and pepper. I ended up using at least a teaspoon of salt, and a bit more pepper.  Place a few pats of butter over the top of the potatoes and place them in a 350 degree oven and heat until butter is melted and potatoes have warmed through.

* if making a day or two in advance–place potatoes in baking dish,  leave covered in fridge. Take it out of the fridge about 2 – 3 hours before heating up to bring to room temperature. Place your butter pats on top and bake in a 350 degree oven for about 1/2 hour or so till completely warmed through.

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