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.

Easy Chicken Soup with Orzo and Lemon

photo 4 (24) photo 5 (27)photo 2 (33)I literally started this soup at 5 p.m. and app. one hour later I was eating it.  Now that’s always a good thing in my book. Usually I slow cook my broth etc. and it takes hours ( Homemade Chicken Soup ) but this time there was no time, I wasn’t feeling great and wanted that homemade flavor without all the work . You can certainly cook your own chicken if it works out for you time wise. This would also be perfect with leftover chicken. I bought a rotisserie chicken and this is what I did. For those of you who saw it on Instagram and Facebook–this one’s for you. One more little thing, the fresh dill is the secret ingredient and gives it that wonderful layer of flavor, don’t skip it. I also squeezed fresh lemon into each bowl of soup , this added yet another wonderful layer of flavor to this soup. This is also a fairly low-calorie soup because whole soup is made with only 1/2 cup of orzo and it was plenty. I used these vegetables this time but feel free to add parsnips, mushrooms, kale or any other veggies you like.

Ingredients:

1 Rotisserie Chicken, skin removed and shredded .

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 leek, white and pale green parts only, halved lengthwise, then sliced crosswise about 1/2″ thick

2 stalks celery, sliced into 1/2″ thick slices (app.)

2 large carrots cut into 1/2″ rounds. I found beautiful organic baby carrots and used them, it’s about 2 large carrots but feel free to use a little more or less.

1/2 cup of orzo

6 – 8 cups chicken broth, if you have homemade broth/stock good for you and use it. If not the box ones are awesome. Low-Sodium is good here if you’re concerned about the salt.

Kosher Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper

app. 1/4 cup of chopped fresh dill

*Lemon halves for serving

Directions:

Heat olive oil in a large heavy pot over medium heat. Add the leek, celery and carrots. Cook veggies, stirring often, until vegetables are soft, 10-15 minutes. I threw a little salt and pepper in to vegetables during this period, you can taste for salt and pepper again.

Add 6 cups of chicken broth and bring to a boil. Then lower to a simmer for about 20 minutes, just till carrots are soft.

After about 20 minutes, I added 1/2 cup of orzo and cooked for 8- 10 minutes. Taste for Salt and Pepper.

I then added the shredded chicken and dill and I also added a bit more of the chicken stock at this point since broth cooked down a bit. You can always add a little water if you’ve run out of broth.  I heated soup a bit more and served with lemon halves, squeezing a bit of lemon into each bowl of chicken soup before serving.

Sheet Pan Chicken with Peppers and Potatoes

I cooked up this easy sheet pan dinner last night with chicken thighs and peppers and small red potatoes. It was very easy and it was prepped and ready in practically no time. I started cooking late and was worried that we weren’t going to ever sit down and eat and before I knew it we were eating this delicious chicken. A few simple ingredients helped to make this delicious dinner in no-time. I love that it is a complete meal on a sheet pan helping to make clean-up pretty snappy as well.

I asked the butcher to remove the bones from the chicken thighs –leaving on the skin . You can use bone-in thighs if you’d like, I was just experimenting with this recipe and liked the fact that the bones were removed. I find the dark meat more flavorful than your typical boneless chicken breasts. So this recipe worked out beautifully with the skin on bone removed chicken thighs and obviously would work out well with bone-in chicken thighs as well.

Another Day Another Sheet Pan Dinner!

Enjoy!

Ingredients:

this recipe as is should serve 4 — I adjusted accordingly for 2

2 pounds skin-on chicken thighs, bones removed–I used 3 thighs and they were 1 1/2 lbs. You’ll probably get 4 large thighs or 6 small. You can always add a little more . I would say 6 thighs for 4 people which will probably be more than 2 lbs.

1 pound small red potatoes , cut in half

Kosher Salt

Freshly Ground Black Pepper

2 Tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice , app. 2 lemons

Olive Oil–probably about 2-3 Tablespoons — and you may use more –you’ll have to play with it as you go .

2 Tablespoons dried Oregano

1 Tablespoon dried Basil

1 clove garlic minced

4 peppers, I like the mix of colors red, yellow or orange –cored, seeded and sliced in 1/2 ” strips

Directions:

Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat to 400 degrees. Place a large rimmed baking sheet in the oven while the oven is heating.

Season the chicken and the cut potatoes with 1-2 teaspoons of the salt and about a teaspoon or 2 of olive oil just to get a glaze over everything . Obviously if you’re using 2 lbs. of chicken you’ll need more oil and salt.

When oven reaches 400 degrees –remove pan and place chicken-skin side down in the center of the pan and potatoes , cut side down, around the edges of the baking sheet. Roast for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, place the lemon juice, 1 Tablespoon of Olive Oil, garlic, oregano and basil in a small bowl and whisk to combine, set aside. Place the cut up peppers with another teaspoon of olive oil and app. 1/4 teaspoon of kosher salt and a little freshly ground pepper in a medium bowl and toss to combine. I like a light glaze of oil over the peppers so if you need a little more use it– just go sparingly because you can always add but you can’t take away.

Flip the chicken over after 15 minutes to skin side up. Using a brush ( I love the silicone ones) brush the chicken with the lemon-herb mixture. Scatter the peppers around the chicken and if there is more of the lemon-herb mixture brush on potatoes as well. ( I did)

I cooked for another 20 minutes and then put under the broiler for a few minutes. If using the broiler keep an eye on it. Remember all ovens are different and all chicken thighs are different sizes, mine were a little larger. You’ll want to bake until the chicken and potatoes are crispy and peppers are tender and a little browned around edges.

 

 

Couscous and Butternut Squash Salad with Kale or Arugula –Perfect Autumn Salad

This salad always makes me think of the Fall, I suppose it’s due to the butternut squash . This salad would really be delicious anytime of the year and if you added a protein it would make a delicious dinner salad. I made this salad the other evening and it was just perfection on a plate. Beautiful to look at and delicious to eat. Fairly Healthy and you can keep it vegan without any dairy or add cheese for a delicious vegetarian salad .  It takes a bit of prep work but you can prep a few hours ahead and be done with it prior to the meal which is always a good thing in my book.

I prepped butternut squash and couscous and used baby arugula this time. I dressed the salad and let it sit , Kale is better when it’s soft and broken down so if you’re using Kale I suggest chopping it.  I love Kale but don’t want to feel like I’m eating my front lawn. It is delicious with kale or arugula or really any greens you prefer.

If you like a heavier dressed salad I would definitely double up the salad dressing. Or just pour a little over it and leave extra for individual dressing.

This is what I did. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

1 lb . butternut squash – 1 package of pre-cut squash and then I cut into small 1/2 inch cubes

2 Tablespoons olive oil

Kosher Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper – to taste

1 cup dry Pearl Couscous , cook in water according to package directions

app. 2 cups chopped Kale Leaves or Arugula is also a great choice if you’re not a kale fan or really 2 cups of any kind of greens you like.

1/3-1/2  cup dried cherries–you can use craisins, raisins, cranberries whatever dried fruit you like -if you like less use 1/3 cup I tend to use more

1/3-1/2  cup chopped walnuts–same as above and you can obviously omit if you don’t like or use chopped pecans or other nuts

*app. 2 oz. crumbled goat or feta cheese if you’d like– I like the creaminess that goat cheese delivers so I use it over feta in this but use whichever you prefer

Orange Vinaigrette Dressing:

2 Tbsp. Apple Cider Vinegar

2 Tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil

2 Tbsp. Freshly-Squeezed Orange Juice –this is a must

pinch of salt and black pepper, to taste

Directions:

To make the salad:

Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees and cut butternut squash into 1/2 inch cubes.

Spread the butternut squash out in an even layer on a baking sheet that’s been sprayed with cooking spray add 2 Tbsp. Olive Oil to squash to coat, sprinkle a little kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to the squash .  Bake for 15 minutes then flip squash over (as best you can) Bake for an additional 10-15 minutes or until the squash is tender and slightly browned around the edges. Remove from oven and transfer back to the large mixing bowl. Depending on your oven the squash could take a little longer to cook, you just want it soft enough that it’s cooked through and a little browned up

Couscous: buy pearled Israeli Couscous –available everywhere Bring 1 1/4 cups water to a boil add 1 cup Couscous a sprinkle of salt and return to a boil . Reduce heat and simmer covered till tender about 15 minutes.

To make the vinaigrette:

Whisk all ingredients, (orange juice, olive oil, apple cider vinegar and pinch of salt and pepper to taste. I used all of the vinaigrette and it was very lightly dressed and rather tasty. If you prefer more dressing on the side , double the recipe.

Add cooked couscous, kale, cherries, walnuts, goat cheese* and vinaigrette,  toss to combine. Taste for Salt and Pepper after all combined.img_2936img_2933img_2929img_2928

Serve Warm, or refrigerate and this will keep for app. 3 days in fridge.

It’s a very light salad dressing so the kale absorbs it and it will keep nicely in fridge.

Italian Wedding Soup with Chicken Balls

It is soup season again. the chill in the air makes it the most perfect time of year to start making soup for dinner again. even if you live in a warmer climate this is a most wonderful meal. paired with a salad and some crusty bread you have a very heartwarming meal.

Italian Wedding Soup with Chicken Balls

this is one of my absolute favorite recipes. It is a soup , which is also a full meal. It is hearty and pretty healthy.  It is one of my staples from September through April. It freezes well and you can just take it out of the freezer the night before, and you’ll have a wonderful meal the next evening. When you defrost it you will probably want to add broth/water to it. add a little at a time till you get the consisitency you like. Enjoy:)

Ingredients: chicken balls

1 lb. ground chicken

1/2 lb chicken sausage, casings removed

3 slices whole wheat bread for bread crumbs ( I put into food proccesor with steel blade for crumbs) i remove crusts . should be app. 1 cup of bread crumbs

2 teaspoons minced garlic ( 2 – 3 cloves)

1/4 cup grated Pecorino Romano ( fresh is best) but whatever you have will do

1/4 cup grated Parmesan ( again nothing beats fresh) but whatever you have will do here as well

3 tablespoons milk

1 extra large egg, lightly beaten

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Soup Ingredients:

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 small -medium yellow onion minced

1 cup diced carrots ( 3 )

1 cup diced celery (2 stalks)

10 cups chicken stock

1/2 cup dry white wine( use whatever you have open)

1 cup small pasta tubetini, ditalini, stars, etc.

5 ounces fresh spinach, washed and trimmed

*fresh dill ( I love the flavor) add at your own discretion about 1/4 cup minced fresh dill.

Directions:

preheat the oven to 350 degrees  put parchment paper on a cookie sheet.

for the meatballs, place the ground chicken, sausage,bread crumbs, garlic, Pecorino, Parmesan, milk, egg, salt and pepper  all in a bowl and mix well with a fork.  I use a teaspoon, and make 1 to 1 1/2 inch balls and drop onto parchment paper lined cookie sheet. you should have about 30 to 40 small balls. bake for 25 – 30 minutes, until cooked through and lightly browned. set them aside. (I made about 30 balls, they were a little larger this time out)

For the Soup:

 heat the olive oil over medium – low heat in a large heavy bottomed soup pot ( Le Creuset type pot) Add the onion, carrots, and celery and saute until softened, about 10 minutes, don’t brown. Add the chicken stock and wine and bring to a boil, at this point I let soup cook a while to soften the vegetables, app. 1 hour. ( a low simmer) if you’re in a hurry you can probably do the whole soup in 1/2 hour , veggies will be soft enough to eat. if some of the liquid evaporates you can always add a little more broth.

chicken balls out of the ovenItalian Wedding Soup cooking

 Add the pasta to the simmering broth and cook another 6 – 8 minutes, until the pasta is tender. Add the meatballs and simmer for another minute or so. taste for salt and pepper. Stir in the fresh spinach and cook for another minute or so, the spinach will just wilt. Ladle into soup bowls and serve with freshly grated Parmesan cheese.

Greek Chicken–Sheet Pan Style with Potatoes and Lemons

This recipe kept coming my way through a friend and for some reason I hadn’t made it till the other night. Let me just say that it worth the wait. It was so delicious and it’s one of those recipes I will definitely make again and again. Thank you Eliza for continuing to tell me about it and for your input always. A big thank you to Pamela Salzman for this wonderful recipe and you should all check out her blog @pamalasalzman.com

I pretty much followed the recipe as is and the marination is key to it’s success so don’t skimp on that part. Just keep in mind when cooking on a sheet pan all together –the pieces all need to be as uniform in size as possible so that they cook together at the same approximate time. So meat needs to be the same size and the veggies should be as uniform as possible.

So thanks again to Eliza and Pamela Salzman for this wonderful recipe.

Ingredients:

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil plus a little extra

1/4 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice (app. 2 large lemons) plus 1 lemon thinly sliced

1 Tablespoon Red Wine Vinegar

1 Tablespoon minced garlic — app. 2 large cloves

2 Tablespoons dried oregano plus extra for sprinkling

2 Teaspoons Kosher Salt or Sea Salt whichever you have on hand, plus extra for sprinkling–I used Kosher Salt and it was just fine

Freshly ground Black Pepper, to taste

I used 1 Chicken Breast split once and then cut in 1/2 which will give you 4 small pieces and I used 4 nice sized Chicken Thighs– any combo or just white meat or just dark meat — pieces just need to be app. the same size –8 thighs is fine as well or breasts but buy them split and then cut into 4 smaller pieces

1 Red Onion, sliced into 1/4 wedges — onion will fall apart and that’s fine

1 lb. Yukon Gold Potatoes, diced into 1 inch pieces — important that all the pieces cook at the same time so make sure they pieces are app. 1 inch and not too big or too small

Directions:

In a large bowl , whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, vinegar, garlic, oregano, salt and pepper.

Place the chicken in the bowl and toss to coat all the pieces. Allow to marinate overnight or at least 6-8 hours. I recommend overnight or first thing in the morning.

Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees and I sprayed my stainless sheet pan . You can use parchment paper but not necessary if you spray.

I took Chicken out of refrigerator and brought it to room temperature. Then I put potatoes and onions on the sheet pan sprinkled with a little olive to finely coat and then I added chicken and lemon slices and sprinkled with salt , pepper and a few pinches of dried oregano. This step was important for me as I felt the chicken needed a little more salt and the potatoes definitley did. I mixed around so the marinade got on everything as well.

Bake for about 35-45 minutes until chicken is cooked through and the internal temperature is 165 degrees. Breasts could take a little longer — mine didn’t. My chicken was also browned beautifully if you’re wanting it to be more browned stick under the broiler for a minute or two and keep your eye on it if it needs more time. Chicken should be cooked through before this step though.

I also roasted a mix of cauliflower and brussels sprouts which added a nice flavor . Plus a small green salad with mustard dressing. This was our dinner and I will be putting this on repeat for sure.

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Blintz Souffle–Break Fast Food

This is probably one of the oldest recipes on my blog. I remember my Mother making it and always loving it. Along with the baked French toast this is a wonderful breakfast and brunch staple. 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 our house. Always delicious and the ultimate in comfort food. You can buy almost any of the frozen blintzes, homemade ones are great but it doesn’t really make that big of a difference with this recipe. 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. Blintzes can be found frozen in many supermarkets or specialty stores.

2 eggs

1/4 cup sugar

1/8  unsalted butter or margarine –that’s 1/8 or 1 Tablespoon of butter

3/4 cup sour cream (lite is fine)

1 tsp. vanilla

Dash of cinnamon

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Melt butter or margarine in saucepan. Spray baking dish with Pam Spray. Mix remaining ingredients in a bowl together. Place frozen blintzes in baking dish. I usually use 9×13 size baking dish but anything close to that will work. You can double the recipe, in which case you’ll obviously need a larger baking dish. You need room for the blintzes to expand a little and for the egg mixture (custard)  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 approximately 30-40 minutes. Let it sit for a few minutes out of the oven before cutting into it.

Happy Healthy Sweet New Year!

Baked French Toast — all time best

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DSCN4294  Now that Rosh Hashana is over it’s time to think about Yom Kippur coming up on October 9. If you’re debating on what to make and have never made this delicious French Toast now may be a good time. Truly easy and everyone will thank you.

I posted this originally back in October 2011 for Yom Kippur break fast and every Break Fast it is on the table, it’s almost 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!

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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Grandma Sally’s Mandel Bread

photo (2) photo (4) photo (5) photo (6) photo (8) photo (9) photo (11) photo (12) photo (13)Now Grandma Sally was not my Grandma but she was my friend Joy’s Grandma. Joy is a friend of mine and has been such a great supporter of Cooking with Candi. I know what a good cook she is and she sent me this recipe and was kind enough to share her family’s secret to an awesome mandel bread. She sent it to me a while back and I haven’t been able to test it out until now. I highly recommend this delicious treat for anytime but why not for the New Year? Thanks again Joy for all your support, it is so appreciated and of course to Grandma Sally for this delicious recipe. Perfect for Break Fast during Yom Kippur or a perfectly crunchy dessert for Rosh Hashana or really anytime.

You can make 2 different mandel breads, one with nuts and one with chocolate or just mix them together . If you use them together use a little less nuts and a little less chocolate. If you like you can add the raisins as well . Use whatever you prefer. I used both chocolate and nuts.

If you love biscotti this is almost identical. There are so very many ways to make Mandel Bread but this one  was really worth the effort. Give it a try and let me know what you think. I think Joy gave me this recipe last year and I promised myself I would make it for this Rosh Hashana .  I did make a few tweeks to the actual baking but the ingredients and most of the recipe stayed the same as Grandma Sally’s . I love to dunk these crunchy cookies in tea or coffee. Yum!

P.S. woke up to these sitting in my kitchen and did a little dunking during breakfast with my morning coffee! They are hard to resist.

Follow Joy @homewithjoy

Ingredients:

2 heaping tablespoons of Crisco vegetable shortening

3/4 cup of sugar

3 eggs–always room temperature for baking unless otherwise stated

1 tsp. vanilla

2 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour

1 tsp. baking powder

2/3 cup of chopped walnuts* optional

2/3 cup of chocolate bits , chocolate chips are fine here , if using alone without nuts you may want a little more . You can always use raisins as well. Whatever you like will work. Raisins and Nuts are great.

For topping:

2 tablespoons granulated sugar and 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon, mix together for a cinnamon/sugar mixture.  Set aside.

Directions:

Cream together the shortening and sugar to mix well and add 3 eggs one at a time and continue beating in electric mixer, add in the vanilla on low speed until creamy. Then add in the dry ingredients, the flour and the baking powder and mix on low speed until just incorporated. ( don’t overmix)  Then stir in chocolate, nuts, and or raisins to the mixture. I took out dough and refrigerated it over night, you don’t have to but I recommend refrigerating dough for at least 1-2 hours. ( I find dough is easier to handle and holds together better) I had a time constraint and that’s why I did overnight, but just do till it gets cold at least.)

To bake cookies:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheet with parchment paper or Silpat liners which I swear by ( awesome). Shape the dough into 2 or 3 logs about 2 inches wide ( see photos) making sure logs aren’t too close together because they will spread. So 2″ from edges from each other and 2″ from the edges. I used 2 baking sheets for 3 logs, you can just use 1 for 2 longer ones. If dough is super sticky , dust your hands with a little flour.

Bake for 25-30 minutes at 350 degrees. Now lower the oven to 250 degrees. Let the baked logs cool down for about 15 minutes, then slice them diagonally about every 3/4 inch ( see picture) Flip the cookies on their sides back on baking sheet. Sprinkle 1/2 of the cinnamon-sugar mixture over top of cookies with a spoon. Flip the cookies over and repeat with the remaining cinnamon-sugar mixture. Place the cookies back in the oven ( be certain you turned temp. down to 250 degrees) I cooked for about 45 minutes ,you can cook anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour till they were golden and crisp. Let the cookies cool down, then store in an airtight container.

*cookies will get crunchier as they cool

Old School Meatballs (sweet and sour)

       Here is a last minute addition for Rosh Hashana. They 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!

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. 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

*Some people have been known to throw a can of sauerkraut in the sauce, which is also delicious, but you hafta like that flavor. (Just saying…)