Lemon Couscous with Chicken and Peas

photo (11)  Lemony couscous with grilled chicken and peas!!! Love it!!! It was so easy using very few ingredients and very yummy!   I used chicken breasts and threw them on the grill pan with a little olive oil , salt and pepper. If you really want to make this easy you can use a store-bought rotisserie chicken. You can also substitute any grain of your choice. I happen to love the Israeli couscous ( pearl couscous), it’s not as mushy and has a better texture for this dish especially. I also like to use organic lemons when I’m using the zest of a lemon. If it’s just the juice of a lemon I don’t get as nuts but I have to say I prefer the organic ones when I know I’ll be eating the skin of the vegetable or fruit.  The flavor of the fresh lemon is just wonderful . 

Enjoy this one!

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 1/3 cups Israeli couscous ( pearl)

2 1/2 cups chicken broth

Zest of 2 large lemons ( organic)

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

1/2 – 1 teaspoon kosher salt ( start with less and you may need to add a little more) the parmesan is salty, and you’re salting the chicken.

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/2 cup grated Parmesan

4 green onions, chopped

1 cup frozen peas

1 lb. thin chicken breasts, a little olive oil and salt and pepper or use a rotisserie chicken breast

Directions:

On a baking sheet, brush chicken breasts with a little olive oil and lightly salt and pepper. The thin cutlets grill up very quickly app. 3 minutes per side. Grill and set aside . I cut chicken up into small pieces before adding them to couscous. You can also cut up thicker chicken cutlets into 2 inch pieces and using a grill pan or frying pan cook them the same way ( olive oil salt and pepper) I like to put chicken in a bowl glaze them with olive oil and s and p and then cook them.

In a large saucepan, heat the 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium high heat. Add the couscous and cook until lightly toasted , 2-3 minutes. Add the broth, lemon zest, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer uncovered until the couscous is tender but still firm to the bite, app. 8 minutes.

I then stirred parmesan cheese into couscous along with the green onions, peas and cut up chicken. Taste for salt and pepper.

I plated it up and we totally enjoyed!

Chicken Rigatoni a la Vodka

This was one delicious pasta meal made with ground chicken this time around. Pretty easy to make and the only special tool I used was an immersion stick blender but a blender will work as well. Easy ingredients and easy prep and came out just perfectly. Most perfect weeknight meal.

Enjoy!

Ingredients:

1 pound ground chicken

1 teaspoon Italian Seasoning

1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

2 Tablespoons Extra-Virgin Olive Oil plus 2 teaspoons of Oil for cooking the meat

2 Tablespoons Un-Salted Butter

1 Medium yellow onion — small dice

5 Medium Garlic Cloves minced

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes– use to your own liking — we like a little kick

1 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes

1/2 cup heavy cream

1/4 cup Vodka

12 oz. box Rigatoni or Penne

Kosher Salt and Coarse Black Pepper

Fresh Basil for garnish

Grated Parmigiano-Reggiano Cheese for garnish

Directions:

Cook the ground chicken in a large saucepan with 2 teaspoons olive oil and italian seasoning and 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes. Season with a bit of Salt and Pepper. Cook till crumbly and fully cooked. Remove and set aside in a bowl.

Heat the 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil and butter in the same saucepan over medium high heat . Once the butter has melted, add the onion and cook the onions down stirring frequently, until softened and translucent but not browned, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, oregano and crushed red pepper flakes ( 1 Teaspoon ) cook stirring for another minute or so. Add the crushed tomatoes with their juices. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to medium-low so the mixture is barely bubbling — a simmer and cook for another 1/2 hour or so. Sauce will thicken and reduce somewhat. Season to taste with Salt and Pepper.

After sauce has cooked for 1/2 hour or so I turn off the heat and add the vodka and cream and then I use my immersion stick blender to blend the sauce till I like the consistency. I blended till completely smooth . You can use the blender just let sauce cool down first and work in batches. I then let sauce simmer for about 10 minutes to cook off the vodka. Taste for Salt and Pepper. 

Cook the pasta until al dente. Drain the pasta and reserve a cup of pasta water to thin out the sauce — I did because it thickened up a lot. Add the chicken to the sauce. Stir to combine and add water if too thick, stirring frequently. Let it cook for a little bit and then I plated up pasta added sauce and topped with fresh basil and grated cheese .

I froze leftover sauce.

This would probably serve 4 nicely.

 

 

 

 

 

Matzo Brei –Savory Style

This is a delicious way to make a meal with eggs and matzo. Sometimes we eat it for dinner and it’s just sort of perfect. Real comfort food for us.  I always loved Matzo Brei since I was a little girl, and I always wondered why it is that we only eat this delicious concoction during Passover.  It’s such a delicious treat why don’t we eat it more often? In our house we usually eat it till the matzo runs out. Usually for the week of Passover, then we stop. It’s so good. Everyone has their own little special spin on it.  Before I met Joel I always ate my matzo brei sweet with maple syrup sort of a matzo french toast. Joel loves it crispy and salty with a lot of pepper and since I know him he always asks for it this way , I sort of grew to love it this way as well. What’s not to love?  You definitely don’t have to be Jewish to love Matzo Brei. This is how we make it around our house.

Ingredients:

*serves 2 just barely (can and should be doubled)

3 Sheets of Matzo broken into little pieces

2 Large Eggs

Salt and Pepper

2 Tablespoons Vegetable Oil to cover bottom of pan — but usually 2 Tablespoons is about right

Directions:

Break the matzo into little pieces and place in a bowl. Cover with very hot water from tap. Let it stand for a couple of minutes, and then drain it. ( I usually put a plate over bowl and pour out all the water) Beat Eggs in another bowl, season with salt and pepper. Use your own discretion here, Joel likes it with a lot of salt and pepper. Wait a few minutes so matzo isn’t very hot before adding the eggs then combine the eggs with the drained Matzo till a batter forms. Heat the vegetable oil in a large frying pan over medium -high heat — make sure oil is very hot . I carefully  add the matzo mixture to the hot oil  and start to fry it up scrambling it as I go, we like it in little pieces. ( you can make this batter into small pancakes as well and just fry up until golden brown) I cook it till it is all fryed up and crispy. It should cook up pretty quickly if the oil is hot enough. You can serve it with less salt and pepper and put jam on the side, maple syrup on it, cinnamon , whatever you like! Matzo Brei is awesome even when you feel like you can’t face another piece of matzo.

Salmon with a Mustard Glaze

Here is another delicious Salmon recipe and so super easy. This is a light easy to make dinner perfect Spring Time Meal.  I made this for dinner last night and it was ready in no time and tasted truly delicious.It is light and easy, it doesn’t get much easier than this. The whole recipe took less than 1/2 hour to prep and cook! Depending on how thick your salmon is it could take no more than 10 minutes to fully cook right in the oven. Very few ingredients and a perfect dinner casual enough for just you and your family and can be bumped up to serve to guests. This is a winner.  Almost any side dish will do alongside this.

Roasted Brussels on another night were also perfect.

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Enjoy!

Ingredients:

3 Tablespoons Olive Oil

1 heaping Tablespoon Dijon Mustard

1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice (app. 1 average size lemon)

Kosher Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper ( about 1/4 tsp. of each)

4 pieces Salmon fillets ( app. 6 oz. each) with skin on

*sprinkle a little fresh thyme if you’d like!!!

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Spray a baking dish with cooking spray to facilitate removal of fish not to mention clean-up.

In a small bowl, mix together olive oil, mustard, lemon juice, and 1/4 teaspoon each kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. I used a mini whisk and it came together beautifully.

Place Salmon, skin side down in a baking dish , and spoon mustard glaze over each piece of fish. Bake until salmon is just cooked through and no longer red, 6 – 10 minutes depending on the thickness of your fillet. I added a sprinkle of some fresh thyme right before I cooked and it added some more delicious flavor, this is totally optional.

Voila! done and enjoy. I served this time with a delicious lentil side dish.

Easy Israeli Salad

This salad is so delicious and fresh and works so well with grilled chicken, fish or really any protein. It’s a perfect accompaniment to a BBQ.

I just love it for lunch or dinner and it’s so easy that anyone can do it. Add in feta cheese, olives, or canned chick peas to add to this wonderful deliciousness.

Whatever and whenever you decide to serve this it will be most wonderful.

Just a word about making ahead… I chopped and diced all the vegetables and put in a bowl and put in the fridge. I juiced my lemon and had it set aside. Right before serving I added olive oil and lemon juice stirred it up well and tasted for salt and pepper.

If you add oil and lemon juice too soon it will be very soggy and I don’t like it that way at all. So just have it all ready to serve and add dressing right before.

Ingredients;

this is what I used feel free to substitute or add in whatever you’d like. ( Canned Chick Peas are also delicious in this) Olives, Scallions, Feta Cheese, whatever you feel like.

1 Large Seedless Cucumber or remove the seeds from a seeded one or just keep the seeds if you don’t care

1 box grape tomatoes halved

1 yellow pepper, diced or an orange one. I used orange and yellow about 1/2 and 1/2

1/2 cup diced red onion

2 Tbsp. Fresh Parsley , chopped

3 Tablespoons Lemon Juice

2-3 Tablespoons Olive Oil– I used 3 but you can start with 2 add the salt and pepper and add for more flavor after

Kosher Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper

*I love chick peas so I always add about 1/2 can of rinsed and drained chickpeas and of course a little feta never hurt anyone either — use as much or as little as you’d like and of course some Kalamata olives work very well here as well– obviously you can make this delicious salad your way

Directions:

In a large bowl, toss together all the vegetables. Add the lemon juice, olive oil and chopped parsley and mix thoroughly to coat.

Season with Salt and Pepper to your liking. Serve cold or at room temperature. I like it cold but it’s delicious either way.

Brisket made very easy–in the slow cooker

This Brisket recipe is probably the easiest recipe I have ever made . I like my Brisket made in the slow cooker and this recipe makes it so very easy , you don’t even have to brown it first on the stove top.

It has a sort of barbecue flavor rather than the traditional brisket flavor. If you have a slow cooker and can order a few very simple ingredients this one is for you.

Please stay safe and stay home and keep on cooking along with me.

Ingredients:

5 lbs Brisket–if you use a larger brisket adjust the seasonings and maybe add another 1/2 cup of sauce

Kosher Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper

1 tsp. Onion Powder

1/2 tsp . Garlic Powder

1/2 tsp Paprika — you can use Smoked Paprika but I used regular

1/2 tsp. Cumin

1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper– I used 1/2 tsp. because we like the heat

1 1/2 cups Honey Barbecue Sauce — I used Sweet Baby Rays (any sauce will do but this is very good and available at most supermarkets)

1/3 cup brown sugar

1/2 Tbsp. Cornstarch

Directions:

Pat Brisket dry with some paper towels . I take out a large baking sheet and place the brisket on this to do this next step.

Sprinkle brisket generously with Salt and Pepper. Mix all other dry spices in a small bowl . Dry rub both sides of the brisket with this mixture

Stir together the Barbecue Sauce and brown sugar

Spray your slow cooker with cooking spray and then pour half the of the sauce into the bottom of your slow cooker. Place the seasoned brisket fatty side up into the slow cooker. Don’t worry if it’s very big for the cooker because it shrinks down considerably. Cover the top of the brisket with the remaining sauce.

Cover the slow cooker and set heat to low for 9 hours, or until fork tender

When the brisket is finished cooking, remove it carefully from the slow cooker and put on a cutting board

Pour the sauce from the slow cooker into a large bowl and let it cool

Slice off the fat cap from the top of the brisket and discard

Flip the brisket over so the leaner side faces up. You can see the grain of the meat this way. Slice the brisket against the grain at a slight diagonal. Thin slices are best– I use an electric knife which really helps here.

Skim the fat that has risen to the top of the sauce in the large bowl. I actually have a measuring cup that filters out the fat — if you can get one of these it’s great. I didn’t have that much fat so don’t worry too much about this unless it looks very fatty which it probably won’t

In a small bowl , stir together the cornstarch and 1 Tbsp. of Water till completely smooth. Pour the cornstarch mixture into the bowl of sauce and stir to combine

Pour 1/2 the sauce back into the slow cooker. Layer the sliced meat on top of the sauce. Pour the remaining sauce over the brisket

Turn slow cooker to high for about an hour till the meat and sauce are heated through and the sauce is bubbling and it thickens. Keep on warm setting if you’re serving that day.

the leftovers were great for a few days

Total cooking time is 10 hours so you can get up early like I did and get it in the slow cooker early enough to have for dinner depending on what time you like dinner

Or make ahead of time and refrigerate or freeze with the sauce and heat it up the day you want to eat it.

 

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 softened (feel free to go lite but not fat-free please) I’ve been using 1 bar which is 8 oz. and works fine. 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 in the event that it is isn’t softened — if you leave it out for a few hours it may be softened enough but if not use this microwave method (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.

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.

Marcy’s Matzoh Crunch ( like candy)

Marcy gave me this recipe a long time ago and it’s one of those recipes that I have made every Passover since. We all love it –it’s very easy with simple ingredients and you can make it your way. I make a few days before and you can even make a week before and store in an airtight container or ziplock plastic bag that’s  sealed tightly. This recipe may be fun to do with your kids and Grands .
My friend Marcy ( who is a great cook) says she must always supply it for her kids, and she keeps in tins in refrigerator and sends them home with it ( even better) this is the stuff that I find deadly to keep around. It’s candy, and fun to make with your kids or grandkids. You can use white chocolate, M & M’s , or toasted almonds/pecans /walnuts etc. or stick with recipe as it is. You would add the nuts and or candy sprinkled on top as chocolate is setting. Thanks for sharing  the recipe Marcy.

Don’t say I didn’t warn you about how good this is.

Enjoy and Have a Happy Passover.

Ingredients:

4 – 6 unsalted matzoh sheets

1 cup unsalted butter or margarine

1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed

3/4 cup chocolate chips or semi-sweet chips you can use white chips as well

*nuts if you’d like sprinkled on top (almonds/walnuts etc.) or colored sprinkles are fun !

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees

Line a cookie sheet with foil and cover bottom of pan with baking parchment on top of foil. ( this is important b/c mixture is very very sticky) Line bottom of pan evenly with matzoh sheets, cutting extra pieces of matzoh to fit on the cookie sheet as even as possible. Combine margarine/butter and brown sugar in a heavy bottomed saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and pour over matzoh. Place in oven and reduce heat to 350 degrees.  Bake for 15 minutes watching to make sure the mixture is not burning. Remove from oven and sprinkle chocolate chips on top. Let stand 5 minutes, then spread melted chocolate over matzoh. Then add your toppings– sprinkles , nuts whatever you’d like. While still warm, cut into squares or odd shapes and put in refrigerator until set. Chocolate will get hard. I think it’s better to go with the “odd shapes” as it may be hard to cut perfectly square. You can use white chocolate, and if you’d like sprinkle nuts on top as I mentioned above.