Category Archives: Holiday

Sweet and Spicy Nuts – Perfect for Thanksgiving

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My inspiration for this recipe came from Barefoot Contessa. These are my go-to nuts for Thanksgiving. Just a little something to nosh on before the big meal.  These last for a while so you can make ahead and keep them in a baggie or an air tight container.  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 with more or less cayenne pepper or chipotle powder.

And they make a lovely edible gift to bring to dinner if you’re arriving as a guest. ( check for nut allergies first though)

Enjoy and Happy Thanksgiving from our house to yours. Also a most perfect addition for Christmas so hold on to this recipe –I only post it 1x a year!

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 you can use salted but be sure to 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. You can also use cayenne pepper and sometimes I use a little of both.

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!

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 Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting–Fall Treats

photo (4)photo (16) photo (17) photo (18) photo (19)There are a few things I really love to eat. Mostly anything sweet and mostly dessert. Anyone who knows me well knows that I have an incredible sweet tooth. Funny that my name is Candi and I love candy, cookies, cakes and ice cream so very much. I would probably pass on most entrees and just cut to dessert if I had my way . When I was a kid I would gladly trade a sandwich for dessert any day of the week. Some things never change. I’d like to believe that my tastes in dessert have changed a wee bit and that I have a bit more of a sophisticated palate now but not when it comes to candy,  I still love junk candy as much as I did when I was 6. However my taste in cake has definitely improved with age. I don’t think I would have enjoyed pumpkin cake as a kid but I really love it now. Anything baked with pumpkin gets high marks in my book and if you put cream cheese frosting on it it’s off the charts.   It’s just the right amount of sugar and spice! A most perfect Fall Cake or cupcake.   It really is a very easy recipe to follow ,  I made cupcakes but you can easily make this in a Pyrex 9 x13 inch pan as a sheet cake and frost it and decorate with candy corn or those little candy pumpkins! Nice little treat for those little trick or treaters in your house.

Now you can make these without frosting and just eat like muffins with a little smear of cream cheese which wouldn’t be too bad either.

Happy Halloween Everyone!!!

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Shopping List:

1 can Pumpkin ( not pumpkin pie filling just Pumpkin) 15 oz. size

cream cheese  and paper liners for cupcakes

Staples: (things you should have in your Pantry and fridge all the time)

all-purpose flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ground cloves, salt, vegetable oil, eggs, confectioner’s sugar, unsalted butter, vanilla extract, and milk

Ingredients:

2 cups of all-purpose flour

1 cup of sugar

2 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. cinnamon

1 tsp. ground cloves if no ground cloves you can substitute with pumpkin pie spice or nutmeg. I prefer cloves.

1 tsp. salt (regular table salt)

1 cup vegetable oil

1 can Pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling) Pure Pumpkin

4 eggs ( room temperature please)

Cream Cheese Frosting:

2 cups of confectioner’s sugar

1/3 cup softened butter ( unsalted)

1 tsp. vanilla extract

4 oz. softened cream cheese ( soften in microwave) not melted just softened or you can leave it out for a bit and it will soften up.  I actually used light cream cheese not fat free please. I mean the amount of calories is staggering, but you’re only going to eat 1 cupcake right? how many calories can possibly be in that????? Don’t tell me , I don’t want to know.

1 Tbsp. Milk ( I used skim plus)

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. I mixed all dry ingredients together then mixed in eggs ( one at a time) and can of pumpkin and vegetable oil. Mix till combined, don’t overmix. No need to sift, just put dry ingredients in a bowl first and whisk together with a whisk , get some air in there.

Pour into a greased muffin pan about 3/4 full.  I always use little paper liners and bake at 35o degrees for 20 – 30 minutes . Be careful not to over bake so the cake stays moist.  I baked for 26 minutes. I started checking on them after 20 minutes.

Allow cupcakes to cool completely before frosting. I made my frosting in my electric mixer while cupcakes were cooling.

Frost Cupcakes / Cake  and if you’d like decorate with some of those little Halloween Candies like candy corn or those little pumpkin shaped candies sold this time of year. Enjoy!

*should make about 16 cupcakes , I made 12 and a mini loaf.

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

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DSCN4294I posted this recipe 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 at sundown on October 4th and ends the following evening on October 5th

For those of you who fast — have a good fast.

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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Apricot Noodle Pudding

I’ve tried so many noodle puddings, but keep coming back to the same old , same old. they’ve been passed down in so many different incarnations. i don’t even know what the original one is anymore. this is my most favorite. also a perfect break fast food for Yom Kippur. this noodle pudding can and should be made ahead of time, they hold together better.

Ingredients:

1 lb. noodles ( i use extra wide egg noodles, you’ll need a bag and 1/4 app. just eyeball it)

1 cup sugar

6 eggs ( I use extra large and at room temp. just make sure they are not right out of fridge) they work much better when they are not right out of fridge in baking.

1 tbsp. vanilla

1 stick unsalted sweet butter(melted)

6 oz. cream cheese (softened at room temp)

1 1/2 cups milk ( I use skim plus) would not use regular skim milk

2 cups apricot nectar (available in most supermarkets)

Topping:

1 1/2 cups cornflake crumbs

2 tsp. cinnamon

1/2 cup sugar

1 stick butter (melted)–you can try using a little less butter and add more if needed

1/2-1 jar apricot preserves –I used about 1/2 a jar you can always add a little more.

Directions:

 cook noodles and allow to drain till noodles are dry (don’t work with wet noodles)  mix 6 beaten eggs with the tablespoon of vanilla in one bowl. in another bowl melt 1 stick sweet butter(unsalted)softened cream cheese, and milk. add the apricot nectar . mix all ingredients together and put in large pyrex type baking dish which you have sprayed first with cooking spray. mix topping ingredients together, put on top of noodle pudding. cook at 350 degrees for one hour.   i usually cook this ahead of time, cook for 1/2 hour and then freeze it till i am ready to use, take out of fridge bring to room temperature and bake it for another hour till brown on top and cooked through. noodle puddings are best if you let it sit a while (at least 15 minutes before serving) they hold together better that way. can be served at room temperature.

*serves about 12 people

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 just substitute vegetable broth for chicken broth.

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 last 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

Honey Roasted Chicken – Holiday Chicken

DSCN4234DSCN4234This recipe was actually given to me by my daughter Jennifer.  She has made it numerous times as I have and it’s always to raves from the family.  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.  Remember to pay attention to cooking directions as you will not be preheating oven!!!!!!

Obviously this recipe can be cut in 1/2 for a smaller group.

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 or you can cut recipe in 1/2 and use 1 chicken and 1 roasting pan

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.

Chicken Prep

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 from my Kitchen to Yours

Old School Meatballs (sweet and sour)

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 the sauce so they cook and plump up. Probably a 1/4 cup per 1 lb. should be fine. The raisins are for the sauce.

Judy’s Apple Matzoh Kugel for Passover

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If 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!

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.

Classic Potato Pancakes –Latkes

This year we’re rolling right into Chanukah from Thanksgiving with 2 days in between. The first night of Chanukah is November 28th.

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. I do have a delicious recipe for homemade apple sauce on my blog if you’re feeling inspired to make it along side the potato pancakes. Homemade Apple Sauce is it’s title and just put that into the search bar or google homemade apple sauce cooking with Candi .

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.