Butternut Squash Soup

I wanted a different soup for our celebration of Purim, so I adapted this one. Pinterest inspired, it turned out wonderfully and was so easy to make.

1 diced celery

1 diced carrot

1 bag frozen butternut squash cubes

1 diced apple

1 bay leaf

1/2 tsp garlic

1 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

1 tbsp canola oil

6 cup water

Place canola oil in soup pot. Sauté vegetables until soft. Add water and spices (except bay leaf). Bring to boil and turn down. Use immersion blender to blend. Add bay leaf and let simmer for 1 – 2 hours. Serve with croutons.

Perogies

Dough recipe:

Filling:

5 medium potatoes

1/2 medium onion, diced

4 tbsp canola oil

1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Salt and pepper for flavour

Stuffing. 5 medium potatoes boiled then drain. Mash with no liquid added. Sauté 1/2 diced onion in canola oil. Add onion to potatoes along with 4 tblsp oil. Stir in 1/2 cp shredded cheddar cheese until melted and fully combined. If mixture seems too dry, add milk one tablespoon at a time until smooth. Make sure you keep the potatoes a smooth consistency, but not as soft as mashed potatoes. You don’t want them too runny, or they wont stick in the centre’s of the dough. Keep the potatoes like a play dough consistency if that makes sense. Add salt and pepper for flavor. Cut dough into circles with glass. Hold dough in palm of one hand. Take tsp of potato mixture and put in middle of circle dough. Moisten edges of circle and fold dough in half keeping, potato mixture in centre. You may have to use thumb to push potato mixture back into dough. Seal by pinching edges. Place perogies on clean tea towel. Cover with another clean tea towel until all perogies are done. Bring large pot of water to boil. Add perogies by gently lowering them down into water. Boil until they raise to top and then let boil for 2 minutes more

Fry chopped onions in butter and serve with sour cream.

Quick and Easy Beet Soup (Borscht)

I love the smell of borscht cooking on a cold day. My grandmother used to make it for me at lunch along with a sandwich, and it was the warmest feeling knowing she put so much work and love into a meal for me. Borscht doesn’t have to be so difficult to make, though. This is my quick borscht recipe. In hard times, it’s easy to make.

2 carrots chopped

1 celery chopped (I peel mine to remove the strings)

1 can sliced beets

1/2 medium onion diced

1 tablespoon ketchup

1 bay leaf

1 tsp dill

1 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp salt

1/4 tsp ground pepper

1 tablespoon olive oil for sautéing

6 cups vegetable broth

Sauté vegetables and spices in olive oil until tender. Add bay leaf and liquid. Bring to boil and turn down to simmer. Let simmer for one hour to one and half hours.

Passover Friendly Chicken Nuggets

This makes a yummy kids meal. It’s also a great gluten free recipe.

1 package skinless and boneless chicken thighs (2 pounds)

Three beaten eggs

1/2 cup potato starch

1/2 bag crushed Passover potato chips

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1/4 tsp pepper

Dry chicken thighs and break into small pieces. Dip each piece into egg mixture and then into potato starch mixed with spices. Redip into egg mixture then dip into crushed potato chips.

Pour 1/3 cup cottonseed oil into 9” skillet and a bring to a sizzle. Turn down because oil can easily catch fire. Place 4-5 pieces of coated chicken into oil. Allow to cook for 9 minutes and then turn. and repeat. Chicken should be brown. Keep repeating until all chicken is done. You may have to raise heat and decrease as oil gets too hot. Place all pieces on paper towel to absorb grease. Serve with sweet and sour sauce.

Painted background

Amazing! A great idea, especially when food backgrounds are so pricey now.

Cooking Without Limits

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Together with my son (6 years old) I made this background for my food photos. Very cheap and easy to make, this background helped us spending quality time.

With a piece of hard cardboard and some paint sky is the limit. I already use it for a few photos.

I hope you like it.

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I start to like it more and more. For a few years I only used dark backgrounds, but now, I am thinking to go for colored ones too.

So, paint your own backgrounds because is fun and easy and not expensive at all.

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Bubby’s P’tcha (Meat Jelly)

My Bubby alwats made p’tcha (galarita) and kept it in an enamel pan in the basement fridge. I was the only grandchild who enjoyed it, but she used to make it when she knew my Uncle was coming to visit. He LOVED her meat jelly and she loved him. He was the only boy of three girls.

Her recipe was from years of trying different tastes, but she brought it with her from Galicia

Basically you either love this or you hate it. The way of enjoying it (for me) is with a thick piece of toasted challah.

1 package p’tcha bones (cut up cows knees basically. Ask your butcher)

1 package stew meat

1 medium cooking onion

1 large carrot

1 large celery

2 tbsp vinegar

1 tsp salt

Ground pepper

1-2 dried bay leaves

1 tsp garlic powder

Boil the cows feet for about 5 minutes and thoroughly rinse the bones and discard the foamy guck that comes to the surface. Place back in pan with stew meat, other vegetables and spices. Add water to JUST cover bones. (Use a medium saucepan that the bones will cover the bottom completely and not be on top of one another with no room in between). Bring to boil and then turn down to simmer for 4-6 hours.

Take out bones and pull off all meat and cartilage from them then throw away the bones. Dice stew meat and cut up cartilage and meat into fine pieces. Put into Pyrex pan (metal does something weird with this so it has to be Pyrex). Drain broth into pan and refrigerate over night. I cut up the carrot and put it in and discard everything else but if you want plain jelly you don’t have to keep the carrot. Scrape off layer of fat and discard.

Jewish Shabbos Cholent

If you are lucky enough to live in a high rise when you first get married, as you walk up the stairs after going to shul (synagogue) you will invariably smell cholent on each floor. The thing I noted was no two cholents smelled the same. One smelled sweet, one smelled spicy, one smelled of beans, one of barley. As Jews we all shared in the afternoon meal yet no two cholents were ever alike. It seems it’s a lot like us as a people. We all share the same experience yet each of us brings something different to our “table”.

The above picture was taken of my cholent before Shabbos (because on Shabbos I refrain from all work including turning on my phone). The end product is a warm brown colour with soft beans and perfect flavour.

Ingredients:

Package of beef marrow bones

Two strips flanken (fattier the better)

2/3 cup pearl Barley washed and checked

1/2 cup Cholent beans washed and checked (use kidney, pinto and navy beans if you can’t find the mix)

Two large potatoes cut in quarters

One medium whole onion

Half of a sweet potato layered in slices

1 tsp paprika

1 tsp garlic

3 tbsp ketchup

2 tbsp brown sugar

1/4 tsp pepper

Salt to taste (kosher meat is pretty salty)

Directions:

Add some canola oil to the bottom of your slow cooker recipe sauce pan. Add marrow bones and flanken. Add spices and ketchup directly to meat. Top with beans/barley and finish with potatoes and slices of sweet potato. Fill pot until water JUST covers everything.

If using a slow cooker, turn on high for three hours and reduce heat until Shabbos lunch. For stove top method, bring to boil and then simmer until Erev Shabbos. Before Shabbos place a “blech” (metal separation) between the heat source and pot and leave on the blech on a very low burner until Shabbos lunch. For my oven, the burner is set to 2 ( where 1 on my burner is the lowest) for the blech to have a slow heat.

You can alter the ingredients depending upon the amount of guests you have. More guests, add more potatoes or more barley. It doesn’t have to be expensive. People come for your company, not your meat. Before Shabbos if you find your water has gone down, add more and give it a stir. The water should be sitting at the top of the mixture before Shabbos so it doesn’t dry out.

Note: this is NOT for Pesach (Passover)

Bubby’s Old Fashioned Chicken Soup

Chicken soup was a staple in our house. My grandmother could make a batch in no time and the smell was amazing. It was one of those things I took for granted until one day my mother was sick and couldn’t make the soup and it was left to me. I was terrified it wouldn’t turn out, but honestly it’s such an easy thing to make. After you get through all the cleaning and chopping, it just looks after itself until dinner time. I guess what I’m saying is don’t be afraid to try new things. You don’t have to use chemicals to get that old fashioned taste in your food when there are so many healthy ingredients out there.

2 carrots, peeled and washed

1 celery

1 parsnip

1 cooking onion

2 inches piece of sweet potato (can be omitted but we like this for flavour)

1 small potato

1 large RAW chicken breast

Package of chicken bones

1 tsp dill weed

1/2 tsp garlic powder

Salt and pepper to taste

12 cups water

Peel and wash all vegetables well and cut tips off. ( for people who want vegetables served with their soup, dice vegetables into small pieces. I leave mine whole and serve the broth) Place info large soup pot. Wash chicken breast and bones under water. Wrap chicken bones in cheese cloth, tie the end securely and place chicken into pot. Add spices, salt and pepper. Add water. Turn pot into high and bring to boil. Let boil for 15 minutes and turn to simmer. Leave pot partially covered and let simmer for 6-8 hours. It’s not a fast process if you want the good taste. When done, remove cheese cloth. Serve chicken soup broth with some parsley for garnish.

(The above soup is pictured with “kreplach” which is a meat filled dumpling)

Easy Baked Ziti

I’ve been sick lately and craving soft, yummy, easy to prepare recipes. This one really works for me. Being Jewish, I skip all the stress of the “holiday season” but I’m sure you could add this to any meal as a side in your hectic time. It’s a great kids meal and if you need something quick to serve a crowd it works perfectly.

Ingredients:

Half bag of ziti (penne) noodles prepared as directed on bag

1/2 container of cottage cheese (about 1 cup)

1/4 cup sour cream (use plain yogurt if you want to cut down on calories)

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

1 small can tomato sauce (1 & 1/4 cups)

1/2 tsp garlic

Salt and pepper to taste

Preheated oven at 350F

Prepare and drain ziti noodles as directed on package. Mix cheese, tomato sauce and spices in 9×11 inch pan holding 1/2 shredded cheese for topping. Add ziti noodles and mix thoroughly. Press the noodles down with spoon so everything is flat in pan. Top off with 1/2 cup of shredded cheese. Bake in oven at 350F for twenty minutes or until cheese on top is bubbly and slightly brown. Serves 6-8. Double it if you want for more people

This recipe is so good even the second day. Easily warmed in microwave and great to freeze.

Kosher Habitant Pea Soup

The Canadian in me still appreciates good Canadian dishes and one of those is the thick Habitant Split Pea Soup from Quebec. I have not found any kosher canned version available. The key to the flavour is finding a good smoked kosher meat and dry yellow split peas. It’s such an affordable meal. Great for a cool rainy fall day or anytime. If you have a large gang, double the recipe. It duplicates so well.

Canola oil for sautéing

1 medium carrot diced

1 celery diced

1 medium onion diced

3 turkey franks diced

2 cups dry yellow split peas

2 tsp chicken soup mix

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

1 bay leaf

6-8 cups water

Sauté all ingredients until onions look translucent. Add water and bring soup to boil for 10 minutes. Turn down to medium low and let simmer for 4-5 hours. You can use a hand blender to mix this but I used a potato masher to keep the meat pieces in tact. (You can add more water if soup is too thick)