Category Archives: Holiday

Baked French Toast — all time best

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

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

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

Ingredients:

1 cup packed light brown sugar

1 stick unsalted butter

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

5 eggs (room temperature please)

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

1 tbsp. vanilla

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

Directions:

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

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

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

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

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

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.

 

Un-Stuffed Cabbage

photo 3 (4)photo 2 (2)photo 3 (4)photo 3 (5)photo 4 (3)photo 2I love stuffed cabbage and my Grandmother made the most amazing stuffed cabbage ever . I love stuffed cabbage but do not feel like dealing with the actual stuffing of the cabbage, it is way too labor intensive for me.  I have made several variations of this and found this one to my liking the best. You can play with the ingredients which is what I did . Original recipe is from Kosher by Design and it is perfect for Passover by just leaving out the rice and substituting matzoh meal in its place. Basically this is meatballs in a sweet and sour sauce with cabbage . I doubt very much that Joel would ever eat real “stuffed cabbage” but he liked this. The cabbage cooks down so much that you don’t even realize you’re eating cabbage. I also used 1/2 chicken ground meat and 1/2 beef ground meat , this is entirely up to you. I wouldn’t do all chicken because it might be a bit dry, you can definitely make this with turkey but use dark meat turkey or the balls will also be very dry. You can also make this ahead for the holidays which is always a very good thing and feel free to freeze it.  This is the original recipe , adjust amounts for how much you’re making. I made 2 lbs. of meat but made full sauce as I was testing it out. You’ll want to use a large pot for this recipe. Enjoy!

This will be on our Rosh Hashana and Passover menu this year with raisins and meat , sweet and sour, oh so perfect!

Ingredients:

Meat

3 lbs. ground meat– I used chicken and beef (dark meat turkey is best here) white meat turkey tends to be very dry. Mixed with beef it’s fine but if using alone you’ll need to use dark meat ground turkey.

2 large eggs, lightly beaten. Use room temperature eggs they work best.*see my post about eggs–a little note on my blog.

3/4 cup uncooked long grain white rice, for Passover use matzoh meal and omit the rice

1/4 cup water

1 onion finely chopped

Kosher Salt to taste–app. 1/2 to 1 tablespoon

Pepper to taste–app. 10 grinds on a pepper mill, or app. 1/4 of a tablespoon

*garlic powder if you like

Sauce:

2 packages of shredded cabbage, probably about 1 head of cabbage finely shredded, no need to do it when you can buy it pre-shredded (not red cabbage)

1 Tablespoon Vegetable Oil

Kosher Salt to taste ( app. 1/2 tablespoon)

1 1/2 tablespoons Kosher Salt

1 1/2 cups tomato juice

4 8 ounce cans tomato sauce ( or 32 ounces)

1/2 cup brown sugar ( use whichever brown sugar you have in house , it won’t make a difference. Light or Dark, I actually used dark.

1 cup sugar

3 lemons squeezed , I got about 1/2 cup , they were smallish lemons

1/2 cup raisins

Directions:

In a large mixing bowl combine the meat, eggs, water, rice and onions. Season with Salt and Pepper , and if you like garlic powder. Gently mix by hand, and I do mean gently, if you over do it the meat will be like concrete. Set aside.

Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the shredded cabbage and about 1/2 tablespoon of kosher salt. Simmer for 10 minutes. Add the tomato juice, tomato sauce, brown sugar, sugar, lemon juice and the raisins. Stir till well combined and continue cooking sauce at simmer setting.

Gently form meatballs out of the meat mixture, I made a rather nice size meatball, not too large and not too small. Make whatever size you’d like. Just do not over-handle the meat because it will cause meat to toughen. Add to cabbage mixture, just drop into the hot sauce and do not stir, you can pile them on top of one another because they will cook down.

I left it to simmer for about 1 1/2 hours . I didn’t touch the meat balls for at least the first 1/2 hour, you’ll want them to cook through and form into nice balls before you stir, so just leave them to cook. After the first 1/2 hour or so you can gently stir and move the meatballs around. They don’t require a lot of stirring around .

This dish brought back memories of my childhood and was a most satisfying main dish.

Honey Roasted Chicken – Holiday Chicken

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

Ingredients:

1 stick butter or margarine

1/2 cup minced yellow onion

2 large cloves garlic, minced

1/4 cup Dijon Mustard

1/2 cup mild honey

1 teaspoon kosher salt

a rounded teaspoon curry powder

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

small handful of dried currants or chopped dark raisins

2 roasting chickens  cut up in 8’s

Directions:

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

to make sauce:

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

to prepeare chicken:

I would spray each baking sheet with pam cooking spray first

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

To Bake Chicken:

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

to serve:

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

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

Happy Holiday and Have a Very Sweet New Year

Passover Popovers

Super easy , super light and delicious. Give this one a try. These are delicious during Passover with some preserves for Breakfast 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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pumpkin Penne Bake

IMG_9874IMG_9875I love pumpkin as you all well know by now. That’s why it’s odd that I only make it in the fall and mostly only on Thanksgiving. I suppose that’s what keeps the ingredient so special plus it’s hard to find at the supermarket after Thanksgiving. I always buy a few extra cans of pumpkin so when that pumpkin urge hits I am ready.

I like to have a pasta dish every year at my Thanksgiving dinner. Usually I make my cremini mushroom and pumpkin lasagna. This year I am making this delicious baked pumpkin penne. I am going to make it Monday and cook and freeze. I will take out of freezer Wednesday night and Thursday will pop in oven just to re-heat. I will keep aluminum foil on it to re-heat and take off foil for last 10 minutes. To re-heat it will probably be 1/2 hour with aluminum foil on for the first 20 minutes. It should start bubbling and put a fork right in the middle to test for readiness. 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 will serve about 10-12, as a main dish figure about 8.

Ingredients:

1 lb. box of penne pasta, cooked and drained well

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

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.

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.

Break Fast Food – Blintz Souffle

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

INGREDIENTS:

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

2 eggs

1/4 cup sugar

1 tbsp. unsalted butter or margarine

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

1 tsp. vanilla

Dash of cinnamon

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

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

Baked French Toast — all time best

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

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

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

Ingredients:

1 cup packed light brown sugar

1 stick unsalted butter

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

5 eggs (room temperature please)

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

1 tbsp. vanilla

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

Directions:

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

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

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

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

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

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. What better time to make it than the Jewish New Year? it’s 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.

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 olive oil, you may need a  little more and may want a bit more to drizzle at the end. You can also use vegetable oil. I do use vegetable oil with this recipe.

Kosher Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper–to taste

1 box button mushrooms sliced 8 ounce box

1 cup kasha, medium or coarse granulation.

1 egg

2 Tbsp. Butter/Margarine–this can be omitted if you’d like. It adds another layer of richness to the flavor though.

2 cups vegetable or chicken stock ( obviously if you’re making vegetarian you’ll use vegetable )

Directions:

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

Saute’ the onions in olive 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.

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