Category Archives: Holiday Recipes

Old School Meatballs (sweet and sour)

       These meatballs 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! I cooked these last night and they cook up very fast and since the rules have changed dietary wise you can serve over rice if you’re observing Passover. If not use the bread crumbs. See notes at the bottom for adding raisins . I like to make these the week of Passover while we’re observing and not eating bread.

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 and don’t touch the meatballs till they actually are cooked , this will give them a chance . I use a sauce pan if only making 1 lb. and I just pile the meatballs in and after 45 minutes I gently stir them.  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

*you can also throw in some raisins if you’d like but throw them in when you put the meatballs in so they cook and plump up. Probably a 1/4 cup per 1 lb. should be fine

Traditional Ashkenazi Charoset–Apple/Walnut

DSCN2703This is my easiest Charoset and maybe this year we just have a little bit of this on the table for tradition sake.  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. Remember, while a reminder of the mortar used in making bricks for Pharaoh, charoset is really just a sweet condiment of apples and wine!

Have a Sweet Passover !

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.

Peach Farfel for Passover – crowd favorite

 
This is most definitely a “must have” Passover recipe.  It has been a winning recipe ever since my friend Audrey gave it to me many years ago. This one is probably one of the most favorite Passover staples. Recipes are funny in that -they tend to spread out to a wide group of people and people start passing them down to their people and so forth and so on and before you know it no one remembers where the original recipe came from , they just remember that it was on their Passover table and they can’t imagine a Seder dinner without it.  Enjoy this one; it is sweet and makes for a delicious side dish with poultry or beef. This has always been a crowd pleaser. I know, the amount of eggs is obscene on this holiday! This one has 7 eggs in it!!!!!

Make this part of your Passover tradition, you’ll be happy you did.

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Ingredients:

1 box matzoh farfel (I think it’s in a canister now) you will need 16 ounces of the farfel

2 15 oz. cans sliced peaches

7 eggs

2 cups sugar

1 tsp. salt

2 sticks margarine, melted

2 tsp. vanilla

4 cups hot water

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Place dry farfel in a bowl, then pour hot water over it. Let stand until absorbed.

In a separate bowl, combine eggs, syrup from peaches, salt, sugar, margarine, and vanilla. Add farfel and combine well. In a well sprayed 9 x 12 baking dish, pour 1/2 the mixture, then arrange a layer of peaches on top. Add remaining mixture on top, then top with remaining peaches. Sprinkle with just a bit of cinnamon if you’d like. Bake for 1 hour at 350 degrees. Serve hot out of oven, or room temp. It is quite delicious at room temperature, if you don’t have the room in your oven, and it makes for a pretty awesome leftover.

Can be assembled, cooked 1/2 way through, then cooked the rest of the way through on the day of the holiday.

Classic Potato Pancakes –Latkes

Chanukah is December 10 this year and even though we won’t be celebrating with anyone we will still have Latkes because after all what’s Chanukah without them? Please stay safe folks and stay home hopefully next Chanukah we can resume celebrations as they should be.

This is a delicious fairly easy recipe for simple latkes. If you eat them hot they’re best but that’s tough to do sometimes. They really are most delicious hot off the frying pan. Serve with Applesauce or Sour Cream . Enjoy and Happy Chanukah from my kitchen to yours.

If you make ahead of time you can re-heat in the oven on a baking sheet.

This is what I do.

This recipe should serve 4

Ingredients:

2 large Russet Potatoes — peeled and cut lengthwise into quarters

1 large Spanish Onion–peeled and cut into quarters

2 large eggs

1/2 cup all purpose flour

2 Teaspoons Kosher Salt

1/2 Teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 Teaspoon baking powder

Vegetable Oil for frying

Directions:

Using a food processor with a coarse grating disc, grate the potatoes and onion. Transfer the mixture to a clean dishtowel ( I prefer a thin one for this task) and squeeze out as much liquid as possible. This is key to a delicious latke.

Transfer the mixture to a large bowl. Add the eggs, flour, salt, pepper, and baking powder and pepper and mix until the flour is absorbed.

In a medium heavy-bottomed pan over medium-high heat, pour in about 1/4 inch of the vegetable oil. Once the oil is hot use a heaping tablespoon to drop the batter into the hot pan, cooking in batches. Use a spatula to flatten and shape into round discs. When edges of the latkes start to brown and get crispy ( about 5 minutes) , transfer the latkes to a paper towel lined plate to drain . Repeat.

If you’re making double the recipe I would swap out the oil and wipe with paper towel and start with fresh oil. For one batch the oil was fine. Just control the heat on your stove.

Enjoy and Happy Chanukah.

 

 

 

Banana Pudding from Magnolia Bakery – One of my Top Ten Desserts that you don’t even bake

Since the first time my daughter Jenn made this dessert we have added it to our Thanksgiving Table. Just what you need after that big dinner is this dessert!!! We love it and can’t get enough of it. Whether you’ll be making it for Thanksgiving or anytime just be prepared to fall in love with it. Completely decadent and totally ridiculous in calories and richness it is love at first bite.

I was thinking perhaps you can cut this recipe in 1/2 for the much smaller Thanksgiving we’re all having this year. It can definitely be done. The pudding might be a little dicey to cut in 1/2 but measure it out into 2 measuring cups. All the other ingredients can easily be cut in 1/2.

It is actually a subtle taste of bananas, but I wouldn’t make this if I didn’t like bananas. I happen to just adore bananas and I absolutely love love this pudding. I cannot have it in the house because I will continually find an excuse to go into the fridge and eat it till it’s pretty much all gone.  As full as I was last year and swearing I wasn’t going to eat another thing for at least a week, when I saw this  pudding I knew I was going to eat it.  I find it impossible to resist, and I know others who suffer from this same fate. If you’re in the market for a purely decadent rich over the top dessert then this is it for you. Probably up there in my top ten desserts ever. This is from the More from Magnolia Cookbook so how could it be bad?

*this recipe really needs time , so you must start the day before to let initial pudding set, and then you’ll need at least 4 more hours minimum before serving. So you must factor time into your preparing of this awesome pudding but it’s so worth it.

Happy Thanksgiving from our house to yours.

Ingredients:

1 14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk

1 1 /2 cups ice-cold water

1 3.4 ounce package instant vanilla pudding mix ( preferably Jell-O brand)is there another brand?

3 cups heavy cream

1 12 ounce box Nabisco Nilla Wafers ( no substitutions) is there another brand?

4 cups sliced ripe banana

Directions:

In a small bowl, on the medium speed of an electric mixer, beat together the sweetened condensed milk and cold water until well combined, about 1 minute. Add the pudding mix and beat well, about 2 minutes more.* Cover and refrigerate for 3 – 4 hours or overnight, before continuing. It is very important to allow the proper amount of time for the pudding mixture to set.

In a large bowl, on the medium speed of an electric mixer , whip the heavy cream until stiff peaks form. Gently fold the pudding mixture into the whipped cream until well blended and no streaks of pudding remains.

To assemble the dessert, select a large, wide bowl ( preferably glass) with a 4 – 5 quart capacity. Arrange one-third of the wafers to cover the bottom of the bowl, over-lapping if necessary, then one-third of the bananas and one-third of the pudding. Repeat the layering twice more, garnishing with additional wafers or wafer crumbs on the top layer of the pudding . ( Just crush up a few remainder cookies in food processor) Cover tightly with plastic wrap and allow to chill in the refrigerator for *4 hours–or up to 8 hours, but no longer! Serve and behold the love!

Serves anywhere from 12- 15

It’s a large dessert and a substantial one. It stands alone beautifully!

Pumpkin Penne Bake

IMG_9874IMG_9875I love pumpkin as you all well know by now.  It’s a very seasonal ingredient and mostly because it’s really only available during the Fall. Sometimes I’ll buy a few extra cans to have for the winter because after Thanksgiving it becomes hard to find.

I like to have a pasta dish every year at my Thanksgiving dinner and it’s a good one for all the vegetarians out there.  This year I am making this delicious baked pumpkin penne. I am going to make it on the Monday before Thanksgiving and freeze it without putting the mozzarella cheese on top.  I will take it out of freezer Wednesday night and Thursday will  put cheese on top and bake till bubbly , you’ll want to make certain that it is completely defrosted and room temperature before putting it in the oven.  I will keep aluminum foil on it to re-heat and take off foil for last 20 minutes or so till it gets slightly brown.   It should start bubbling and to check for readiness put a fork right in the middle . If it needs more time and is getting too browned put foil back on and continue heating it up. You will cook it at 350 degrees as directions state.

One of the best things about baked pasta dishes is that they freeze so well. Making them some of the easiest dishes to prepare ahead. This whole thing including chopping up sage took maybe 1/2 hour to prep. My kind of dish!

As a side dish it should serve about 10-12 .

Ingredients:

1 box (1 lb.) penne pasta, cooked and drained well– cavatappi or rigatoni will work fine too.

1 15 ounce can pumpkin puree, not pumpkin pie filling

3 – 4  cups shredded mozzarella, divided , I used about 3 cups in pasta and another 1 cup on top. ( 2 packages 8 oz. shredded cheese) you’ll have a little left over

1/4 cup heavy cream

2 tablespoons fresh sage, chopped or 2 teaspoons dried sage

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

Directions:

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, combine cooked penne, pumpkin,  2  cup- 3 cups mozzarella, heavy cream, sage, salt and garlic powder. Stir to combine. Taste for salt.

Transfer mixture to a greased or well sprayed 3 quart baking dish and sprinkle with remaining 1 cup mozzarella.

Bake 20 to 30 minutes or until cheese is bubbly and melted. Since I was freezing I pulled it out after 20 minutes, cooled it down and wrapped it tightly and put in freezer.

Thanksgiving Corn Bread Pudding

This has to be one of my all time favorite side dishes for Thanksgiving. It really would be great any time of year but for some reason it only gets made for Thanksgiving. It’s super easy and super delicious. My friend Audrey gave this recipe 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 our family. Can be doubled easily, just make sure your baking dish is large enough.

Enjoy!

Ingredients:

1/2 cup butter (unsalted) 1 stick

1 8 oz. sour cream (lite is OK  but not fat-free)

1 8 oz.  can sweet corn (drained)

1 8 oz. can creamed corn

1 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 with a good cooking spray like Pam or Bakers Aid ) 9 x 12 works fine, it’s not a very deep pudding.

Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes.

Pumpkin Walnut Bread

Pumpkin Season is here and I love Pumpkin.   I love baking this bread because the smell in the house is beyond.  It’s hard to believe that there is no butter in this moist, delicious bread. You can  make this bread and freeze it because it will freeze so well. You can even double the recipe if you have two loaf pans, and eat one now and tuck one away for another day like Thanksgiving. It’s a nice thing to bring to someone’s house as a gift as well if you’re so inspired. Also, this bread is loaded with aromatic spices.   This recipe will make one perfect loaf.

*this bread freezes beautifully for up to 8 weeks. Double wrap it in plastic and put in a resealable plastic freezer bag, and put the date on it. Defrost, still wrapped in the plastic to avoid condensation on the bread. I take out of freezer the night before I’ll be using it.

Ingredients:

2 cups all-purpose flour (I sift)

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon allspice

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 large eggs, room temperature

1/3 cup water

1 1/2 cups sugar

1 cup canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)

1/2 cup canola oil

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 cup chopped walnuts (obviously this is optional)

You will need a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan, parchment paper, large bowl, medium bowl, whisk, silicone or rubber spatula.

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and position oven rack in the center of oven.

Lightly coat the loaf pan with melted butter and dust with flour, or spray with Pam. I line my loaf with a piece of parchment paper that extends one inch beyond the edge of the pan (this makes it easy to life the bread out. It is optional , just make sure you grease pan in one way or another first. If you’re not comfortable working with parchment paper, skip it. I like it but it can be tricky in a loaf pan. Just grease well, or give it a good spray.)

In a large bowl, sift the flour. Then, whisk together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, allspice, cloves, ginger, and salt until thoroughly blended. In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs and the water. Add the sugar and blend well. Add the pumpkin puree, vegetable oil, and vanilla extract and blend well. Add the pumpkin moisture to the dry ingredients and whisk until well blended and smooth. Add the walnuts and stir until they are well distributed. Use a spatula to scrape the batter into the prepared loaf pan.

Bake for 55 – 65 minutes, until the bread is firm to the touch and a toothpick or cake tester comes out clean from the center of loaf.  I let it cool for about 10 minutes, then I turn it out onto a rack to cool completely. I don’t freeze it until it is completely cool.

Kasha Varnishkes–Jewish Comfort Food

This is truly traditional Jewish comfort food made with buckwheat grains and bowtie noodles. I love it and grew up eating it and  try to make it a few times a year. It is super easy and super tasty. If you’ve never made it why not start now. It’s a wonderful side dish to any meal and it can be vegetarian for all of those who need some extra vegetarian dishes on their tables.

Kasha comes in a box. There are different types of Kasha and almost all will work. I use medium or coarse granulation.  Wolff’s brand is really wonderful so look for it and for this recipe I follow the directions on the Wolff’s box of Kasha. I actually had to order it on Amazon this year since I couldn’t find it in Colorado.

If you’re looking for an easy side dish to put together now is the time to look at this great recipe. This is also our go to the night before Yom Kippur. It’s tradition and delicious and comforting all at the same time.

Ingredients:

1 package bowtie ( farfalle ) noodles (app. 3/4 lb.)

1 white/yellow onion thinly sliced or you can use chopped onions , entirely up to you.

app. 2 tablespoons vegetable oil  you may need a  little more and may want a bit more to drizzle at the end plus more — probably 1/4 cup in total

Kosher Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper–to taste

*1 small box button mushrooms sliced 8 ounce box — mushrooms are totally optional but sometimes I feel like they add a little something

1 cup kasha, medium or coarse granulation– I use Wolffs Kasha and follow instructions on the box which I have written below

1 egg for kasha as per instructions on the box

2 cups chicken or vegetable broth as per box instructions

Directions:

Cook the pasta according to directions on box for al dente.

Saute’ the onions in vegetable oil , salt and pepper until they just start to soften, about 5 minutes. I use a medium size frying pan large enough to add in the pasta, and make sure you have a tight fitting lid.

Add the mushrooms and sauté until they start to soften as well, a few more minutes , set aside. Place mushrooms and onions in a bowl and you’ll use same frying pan to cook kasha.

Coat the kasha in a slightly beaten egg. You’ll just place kasha in a bowl and put beaten egg on grains. This will help the grains not to stick to themselves while you are cooking them. Make sure the grains are completely coated with egg.  Put the kasha in the same frying pan, set over a fairly high heat. Flatten, stir, and break up the egg-coated kasha with a fork or wooden spoon for a few minutes till toasted and the egg has dried on the kasha and kernels are brown and mostly separate. Kasha instructions for cooking are usually on the box as well. Then I pour in the broth that I am using, a little margarine/butter is OK as well ( app. 2 Tbsp) bring to a boil, cover tightly, lower flame to simmer and cook for 10 minutes till kasha is fluffy–these are the directions on the box that I follow .

Add back in the mushrooms and onions and combine with chicken broth. Cook box of Bow Tie Pasta according to directions on box al dente.

Bring to a boil and cook over low heat covered tightly. Check on it after 10 minutes or so to make sure the kernels are tender and the liquid has absorbed. If not, cover and continue steaming for another few minutes till all liquid is absorbed.

Adjust seasoning with more salt and pepper if you’d like, mix in cooked pasta, and if you’d like drizzle a little more oil on it. I like to do it all in a large enough frying pan to hold pasta . You can always mix in pasta in a large bowl separately. I like it in frying pan on stove top till I serve it. You can always make ahead and heat up in oven at 350 degrees in a pyrex dish,  you’ll most likely need to add a little oil if you do so.

*Wolff’s Kasha has directions for cooking kasha on the box. It’s pretty much the same , I just add in the mushrooms and onions for more flavor.

*should serve 8 people

Baked French Toast — all time best for Yom Kippur Break Fast

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DSCN4294I posted this originally back in October 2011 for Yom Kippur break fast and every Break Fast it is on the table, it’s practically a law in our family now! 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!

Yom Kippur begins in the evening of Sunday, September 27 and ends in the evening of Monday, September 28.

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.

Easy Fast to all .

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