Category Archives: Holiday Recipes

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.

 

Passover Popovers

Sometimes I think I posted a recipe and for some inexplicable reason when I go back to find it I can’t. That’s what happened with these Passover Popovers. I made them last year ( see pics)  and thought I posted this wonderful easy recipe but couldn’t find it. Obviously I am re-writing and posting it since it is a wonderful addition to your Passover Table. Super easy and Super light and delicious. Give this one a try. These are also delicious during Passover with some preserves in the morning as well as with your Seder Meal. Enjoy and Happy Passover Cooking from my kitchen to yours. I used a muffin tin and it worked out perfectly. Bake these light airy treats for your Seder to rave reviews. One per person is perfect , this recipe yielded 9 popovers. photo20130321-113701.jpg photo

Ingredients:

1 cup cake meal

4 eggs — always work with room temperature eggs unless otherwise stated for best results

1 tsp. salt

1 Tbsp. sugar

1 cup water

1/2 cup peanut oil

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Mix the cake meal, salt and sugar in a bowl.

Bring oil and water to a boil, add cake meal mixture and remove from stove.

Beat in one egg at a time and mix a lot. It will be thick.

Allow to stand for 15 minutes.

Drop into a well-greased muffin or popover tin using a tablespoon to 3/4 full. I spray with cooking spray . I used a Canola Oil baking spray, or lightly grease pan with canola oil.

Bake at 400 degrees for 35 minutes till medium golden brown. I placed pan in the center of the oven .

Warm before serving if desired.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spinach Souffle for Passover-So Very Easy-Vegetarian/Dairy Side

Here we are again with all the matzoh meal and no flour for Passover, not to mention the 6 eggs that seem to be in every recipe.  I figured I’d be helpful for all of those looking for ways to reinvent the wheel. This recipe contains cinchy, easy ingredients, and its usually a crowd pleaser. So many variations of the same thing. This one can be made ahead and frozen, which is great. You will just cook it 1/2 way through before freezing, then defrost and cook at 350 degrees for about another 1/2 hour to 45 minutes later. This is a dairy side dish, so obviously won’t work for everyone but hold on to it because it is a keeper when looking for a vegetarian dairy side dish.

Ingredients: (can be doubled)

2 pkgs. frozen spinach (2 boxes) ( it’s app. 20 oz. of spinach, a bag and a half or 2 boxes)

1  bar of cream cheese (feel free to go lite but not fat-free please) *original recipe calls for 1 lb. I’ve been using 1 bar which is 8 oz. and works fine. Obiously it will be that much creamier but not necessary with 2 bars.(1 lb) and that much more fattening! you can leave out to soften or use microwave to soften, not melt.

2 lbs. cottage cheese (also not fat-free please) part skim is just fine

1 cup matzoh meal

6 eggs, well-beaten

Kosher salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a nice casserole or any baking dish you like to serve in (round souffle large ramekin is perfect) with Pam. Cook spinach thoroughly according to directions (you can microwave it) and drain well by squeezing out all the water–which is the most important tip. Melt the cream cheese in microwave (start out with about 20 seconds, which should do it; but if not, do a little more at a time until totally melted). Add all ingredients in bowl, salt and pepper to taste. Bake 1 hour until golden brown at 350 degrees. If you are making this ahead of time, as I said you can cook 1/2 way through and freeze. Then the day before you want to serve it, take it out of freezer, defrost, and cook the rest of the way through–another 1/2 hour to 45 minutes till golden brown, and bubbly.

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. Keep reading for my “secret matzo ball recipe”.

INGREDIENTS: CHICKEN STOCK:

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

DIRECTIONS FOR SOUP:

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).

MATZO BALLS:

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.

Traditional Ashkenazi Charoset–Apple/Walnut

DSCN2703Let’s start at the beginning of the meal. This is my easiest Charoset. It’s traditional in the sense that it’s an Ashkenazi (Eastern European) recipe. I add a little brown sugar instead of white sugar and it gives it just a bit more character. This makes about 4 cups, but you can easily double it. My family loves it, so I always make a double batch. Remember, while a reminder of the mortar used in making bricks for Pharaoh, charoset is really just a sweet condiment of apples and wine!

Ingredients:

3 medium Fuji apples (or any other kind you like), peeled, cored and finely diced (use processor to make your life simpler) I usually use whatever is in the house, but on Passover I go through so many apples, so buy what you like (I always like Granny Smith because they are nice and tart)

1 1/2 cups walnuts, chopped (buy them pre-chopped)

1/2 cup sweet red wine such as Manischewitz Extra Heavy Malaga or just Concord Grape is fine

*20 pitted dates, chopped; or 1/2 cup golden raisins (optional)

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 tablespoon packed brown sugar

*for a bit of extra added flavor you can add 1/2 teaspoon of powdered ginger (optional)

Directions:

After chopping apples, stir all ingredients in a large bowl. Keep in refrigerator ’til ready to serve. Serve at room temperature. You can also pulse everything together in processor, just be very careful not to over-process. I often do this to save time. You don’t want it too fine, so just go gently with the processor if you go that route. I do it in the processor, and I know exactly how I like it to come out, so go easy with the chopping.  If it’s a little dry or too thick, you can always add more wine. I find this always tastes better after it sits and allows the wine  to really soak and ripen for 24 hours. Before serving, check for consistency and add a little more wine, if necessary.

Cranberry Walnut Stuffing–Perfect for Holidays

IMG_9947 IMG_9949 IMG_9963I love watching the Food Network and there are so very many cooking shows on at any given moment. I happened to catch Valerie Bertinelli’s new show “Valerie’s Home Cooking” and she was making this stuffing and it looked so easy and I am always on the look out for new recipes. I was having the family over for Sunday dinner and was making a turkey roast complete with cranberry, gravy and of course stuffing. I tried it and it was delicious and while I love my stuffing that I always make this one was easier and there are so many great recipes out there to try I figured why not? and who better to try it out on than my family who will always be honest with me.  I assembled the complete recipe the day before and left it in refrigerator over-night.  Cooked it before we ate dinner. Family loved it and this one will go into the rotation for sure.  Christmas dinner or any holiday/family/dinner give this a go and thanks to Valerie Bertinelli for this awesome recipe.

*I did take a few liberties with the recipe and you may want to as well.

Have a very Happy Healthy Holiday Season.

*see my other stuffing recipe “The Stuffing that will be on our Table” on cookingwithcandi.com

Ingredients:

3 Tablespoons unsalted butter

1 1/2 cups chopped walnuts

1/2 lb. Italian sausage removed from casing–I used 1/2 hot and 1/2 sweet use whichever you prefer

2 celery stalks, chopped

1 medium  onion, chopped

Kosher Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper

1 cup dried cranberries

One 14 oz. bag cornbread stuffing mix, such as Pepperidge Farm or Arnold. You can use any one you’d like I used the crumbled one because I had it in the house but you can use the cubed one as well.

1 Tablespoon finely chopped fresh sage

2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh thyme

2-3 cups turkey or chicken stock ( you will start out with 2 cups and I added in a little more the next day when I cooked it)

1 large egg, lightly beaten

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Spray a 2 – 3 quart baking dish.

In a dry sauté pan over medium heat, toast the walnuts until lightly golden brown, about 5 minutes but keep an eye on them. Remove from heat and let cool.

Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the sausage and cook, breaking up any clumps with a wooden spoon, until brown, about 5-8 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium and add the celery, onion and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt . Stir occasionally, until vegetables are very soft and onion is translucent , about 10 minutes. Stir in the cranberries and cook to just slightly plump them, about 2 minutes and then remove pan from the heat.

In a large mixing bowl, add the dry stuffing mix, sage, thyme and walnuts. Mix together the stock and beaten egg in a large measuring cup, then add it to the mixing bowl along with the sausage-vegetable mixture. Add 1/2 teaspoon of salt and pepper and stir gently to combine thoroughly. Taste for additional salt and pepper but this was enough for me.

Transfer the stuffing mixture to the baking dish and bake until hot and golden brown on top, 30-40 minutes. Serve Hot.

*I had assembled whole recipe the night before, I removed from fridge and brought it to room temperature about 2 hours before I cooked it. I thought it was a little dry so I added about 1/2 cup of broth . I then added a little bit more during the cooking process. You’ll have to feel this part out for yourself if you do it this way. If cooking right away and serving you should be fine with amount of broth (2 cups). Also if you’re using as left-overs you may want to heat it up with a little broth.

*this recipe would easily serve 8-10 as a side dish but feel free to double

 

 

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.

Ingredients:

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

Directions:

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.

Ingredients:

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)

Directions:

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

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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.

ingredients:

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!

Enjoy!

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.

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.