Mock Crab salad

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Get ready to make this your new, FAVORITE summer appetizer. Last week, my mother sent me a picture of a dish she made for her and my father, mock crab and sauteed peppers, and it looked fabulous! As always, my mother is my inspiration for so many things, including a number of dishes on My Wife The Chef. I wanted to use that inspiration and create a new Shabbos day entree, and it received rave reviews. I only wish I could have taken more pictures, because I don’t feel the above picture does this salad justice. Can’t win em’ all!

Mock Crab salad:

1 package of Smart Taste angel hair pasta, boiled and drained

1 cup diced white onion

1 orange pepper, chopped

2 stalks of scallions, diced

1 package of imitation crab sticks, chopped into 1 inch pieces

1 tablespoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon dried basil leaves

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon garlic salt

1 teaspoon ground black pepper

2 tablespoons olive oil ( plus olive oil to saute)

Directions:

  • Boil Smart Taste angel hair pasta, drain and set aside.
  • Saute onion in a little olive oil until soft. Add pepper and scallions and 1 teaspoon of garlic salt.
  • Stir in chopped imitation crab, cover and simmer for 5 minutes.
  • In a medium bowl ( I did this in the serving bowl), combine pasta and mock crab mixture, and add garlic powder, basil leaves, remaining garlic salt, salt, pepper and olive oil. Using tongs, toss salad until completely combined.

* This was the perfect appetizer before my chicken soup Friday night, and on Saturday, I served in along with a delicious gefilte fish loaf. Yay for trying new things in the kitchen!!!!

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Patriotic Peppermint Sandwich Cookies – Independence day special!

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If you know me at all, doesn’t have to be well, you know that I am a huge patriot and I absolutely love my country. When I was looking through my baking drawer, I noticed my unused heart shaped cookie cutters, and what better way to celebrate Independence Day than by showing my love for the USA through one of my other passions – baking! I wanted to bake something special for my parents annual Fourth of July BBQ. A BBQ means hamburgers, hotdogs and ribs, basically tons of delicious meat, but it also means I needed a fabulous NON-DAIRY dessert! Done! I made a huge batch of sugar cookie dough, rolled it out, used my adorable heart shaped cookie cutters, and went to town decorating!

Basic Sugar Cookie Dough recipe:

1 1/2 cups butter or margarine, softened

1 3/4 cup granulated sugar

4 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

5 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

Directions:

  • In a large bowl, cream together butter/margarine and sugar until smooth. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Stir in the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Cover, and chill dough for at least one hour (or overnight).
  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Roll out dough on floured surface about 1/2 inch thick. Cut into shapes using any cookie cutter. Place cookies 1 inch apart on parchment lined baking sheets.
  • Bake 7-10 minutes at 400 degrees F. Cookies should puff up a bit. Cool for 5 minutes before transferring to wire rack.

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I let my sugar cookies cool over night, I find that when decorating with royal icing, it’s best if the cookie is completely cool – a warm cookie will make the icing too liquidy!

I made a light blue royal icing, outlined and flooded my cookies ( I will explain what flooding is) and set them in the refrigerator to harden. After the light blue layer on my cookies hardened ( took about 1 hour) I prepared another batch of royal icing, separated it into 3 bowls, and dyed one portion red and the other dark blue- the remaining portion stayed white!. I may just be obsessed with this theme!

Royal Icing:

1 cup confectioners sugar

1 large eggwhite

Directions:

  • In a small bowl, combine confectioners sugar and egg-white. Using the paddle attachment of your mixer, mix at a medium speed for 3 minutes. Increase speed to high and mix for another 2 minutes.
  • To make my light blue royal icing, i added 2 drops of food coloring gel, and mixed on a low speed for about 15 seconds.
  • Using your preferred piping tool, pipe a thin line outlining your sugar cookie. If your icing is thick, add 2 tablespoons of water and mix for a few seconds to flood your cookies.
  • Flooding- Pipe the thinned out icing onto the center of your cookie, it should flow until it almost fills the entire outlined space. Even out using the back of a spoon.
  • Put cookies in refrigerator to harden.
  • Prepare another batch of royal icing, separate into 3 sections and dye one sections red and the other a darker blue. Drizzle in a zigzag pattern across each cookie. Refrigerate again.

For the creamy, whipped center, I used non-dairy whipped topping ( the equivalent to Cool Whip) and crushed red and white peppermint candies!

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Take 1 tablespoon of whipped topping, and spread it on the bottom side of one cookie. ” Sandwich” another decorated cookie, bottom side facing the whipped topping, and press crushed peppermint candies around the sides and into the topping.

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Best when refrigerated until serving. My husband and I had to test the recipe, obviously, and these are soooo refreshing and wonderful. Happy ( almost) Independence Day! We are truly blessed to live the best country in the world!

Pan roasted chicken with leeks

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Here is a quick pre-Shabbos post…juicy and savory pan roasted chicken ( bottoms and breast) with leeks. I made this the other night, because I had half a leek left over from a delicious soup that I keep meaning to blog about. This chicken is super easy, perfect for weeknight or Shabbos, and very low in WW points + if you’re into that sort of thing..;-).

Pan roasted chicken with leeks:

4 large pieces of chickens ( bottoms or breasts)

3 cups of low sodium-calorie free vegetable broth

1 cup cold water

1 cup leek, chopped

dash of pepper & salt

Directions:

Yields: 4 servings

Prep time: 3 minutes

Cook time: 65 minutes

  • Heat up a large skillet and add vegetable broth and water, reserving 1/2 cup broth.
  • Arrange cleaned chicken, bottom side facing down into the pan, pour remaining vegetable broth over chicken, followed by chopped leeks.
  • Sprinkle a dash of salt and pepper over the chicken, turn heat to a medium flame and cover.
  • Cook on medium for 45 minutes, turn flame to low and cook for another 25-30 minutes.

* The leftover broth and leeks in the pan make for a delicious cup of soup!!!

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^ Before and after.

Good Shabbos!!!

Rich double chocolate cake with vanilla frosting

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Before I wrote up this blog post, I decided I needed one more bite of cake first – done and done! Yesterday was the Fast of the 17th day of Tammuz, (Shiva assar b’tammuz), which commemorates five tragic events in Jewish history that occurred on that same date. I don’t plan on giving a history lesson, that was just my segue into CAKE TALK! I have never been a big chocolate fan, I’m sure I have discussed this in other posts- but my husband IS. As you all know, my husband has been on a dairy-free diet for some time, but every once in a while he indulges as long as he has his Lactaid pill close by!. I decided to make him something special for the break-fast last night ( meal after the fast has ended), because he has been working so hard lately and deserves a treat. This cake was that and more.

I love allrecipes.com. I have never actually followed one of their recipes before, but I have used their pictures as inspiration for my own recipes. This time, I followed their One Bowl Chocolate Cake III recipe almost to a T, and it was fabulous. I ended up pouring the batter into 2 9inch spring form pans, and making a double layer cake with a fudge center..because when can you go wrong with more layers of cake? Recipe below !

Double Chocolate cake with vanilla frosting:

2 cups white sugar

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder ( allrecipes said to use 3/4 cup)

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

2 eggs

1 cup 1 % milk ( or low fat)

1/2 cup vegetable oil

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 cup boiling water

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease and flour two 9 inch round pans ( or spring-form).
  • In a large bowl, stir together the sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add the eggs, milk, oil and vanilla, mix for 2 minutes on medium speed of mixer. Stir in boiling water last. Batter WILL be thin.
  • Pour evenly into prepared pans.

Bake 30-35 minutes at 350 F, until a toothpick test comes out clean. Cool in pans for 10 minutes, then transfer to wire rack.

Fudge for center:

1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1/4 cup milk

1/4 cup powdered sugar

Combine all 3 ingredients, stirring for about 5 minutes. After cakes have cooled, prepare fudge for center, spread evenly on one side of one 9 inch round cake, lay bottom side of other cake on top of fudge, press firmly to seal.

Vanilla Frosting:

3 1/2 cups powdered sugar

2 sticks butter, softened

2 tablespoons milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Beat butter until smooth, then gradually add powdered sugar until combined. Add milk and mix until desired consistency is reach. Fold in vanilla.

* Drizzle with chocolate syrup, refrigerate until serving.

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Hearts of palm dip

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If you are looking for a delicious new dip, and are sick of the usual chummus or olive dip, please try my Hearts of Palm Dip! I created this recipe for my most recent Joy of Kosher entry, and I have already made it twice since! This dip is dairy, but I have a few ideas of how to substitute the Parmesan cheese to make it parve.

To display this dip, I decided to buy a large round loaf of sour dough bread ( stop drooling if you can), carve out a 4 inch X 4 inch well in the center, and place the dip in the well instead of in a serving bowl as you see in the above picture. When we finished the dip, the bread-bowl was like a carbohydrate dream! Don’t forget..it’s OK to splurge sometimes!

Hearts of Palm dip:

Yields: 2 cups

Prep time: 5 minutes

Ready time: 5 minutes

1 can ( 15 oz) hearts of palm, drained and chopped
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1 cup diced scallions
3/4 cup real mayonnaise
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Directions:

Get ready for the easiest cooking directions you will ever see:

  • 1. Place all ingredients in your blender ( I used my magic bullet), blend for 20 seconds, shake or scrape down sides, blend for another 20 seconds. Repeat again if you prefer a thinner consistency.
  • Done!

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^ Beautiful bread-bowl ( Devoured!).

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Perfect with tortilla chips, crudites…or a giant spoon ;).

* Try using 1/4 cup toffuti cream cheese in place of the Parmesan cheese for a parve alternative.

Grilled tilapia with creamy linguini

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I love my new grill pan! I have been putting off buying one, really for no reason, and the other day as I was walking through the pots and pans aisle in Bed Bath & Beyond (best section ever), I spotted the perfect one. One side is a grill pan, the other a griddle. I’m in heaven. Last night and tonight I made good use out of it, incredible dinners that we scarfed down. YUM! This is the simplest tilapia recipe ever, and my new favorite.

Grilled Tilapia:

4 tilapia fillets

1/4 teaspoon salt ( for each fillet)

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper ( for each fillet)

1/2 lime

Grill panΒ  & cooking spray

Directions:

  • Heat up your grill pan on a high flame, generously spray with cooking/olive oil spray.
  • For each fillet, press into 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and spread spices with your fingers so the fillet is evenly coated.
  • Lay each fillet on the grill pan and reduce to medium heat or medium flame.
  • Slice 1/2 lime into 4 even wedges, squeeze the juice from each wedge onto each piece of tilapia and lay juiced wedge on top of fillet.
  • Cook for 12 minutes on each side, or until cooked all the way through. Image

Creamy Linguini:

1/2 box Ronzoni Whole Grain Linguini

6 tablespoons butter/margarine

1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

1 teaspoon deli style mustard

1 teaspoon salt

Directions:

  • Boil linguini according to the directions on the box. Drain and set aside.
  • In the pot you boiled the pasta in, melt butter or margarine on a low heat. Add cheese and stir until creamy.
  • Add mustard and salt, stir quickly and add drained linguini. Toss until evenly coated. Serve immediately.

tilpai and pasta

The Creamy Linguini was AMAZING. I bought Nathan’s Deli style mustard at BED BATH& BEYOND if you can believe that (OU). I decided to have a little fun with it ;). Perfection! Enjoy!

Peanut butter cookies dipped in caramel

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I. Love. Peanut. Butter.Β I made these cookies for a little get together a friend had last week, and they were so peanut butter-y and delicious. I am always afraid to make peanut butter cookies, because nowadays 7 out of 10 people you meet are allergic! But I made these and they turned out amazing, and now my peanut butter addiction is back! I even went to the store to get a new jar of strawberry jam to satisfy my PB & J, much needed fix. For the caramel dip, i melted 2 cups of caramel chips and a little vegetable oil. The consistency was thicker than I had hoped for, but the flavor was everything I wanted..and more!

Peanut butter cookies:

Yields: about 46 cookies

1 1/2 cups creamy peanut butter

1 cup packed light-brown sugar

1 tablespoon granulated sugar

1 stick softened, unsalted butter or margarine

1 egg

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350 F. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour and baking powder; set aside.
  • In a large bowl, beat together peanut butter, sugars and butter or margarine, until smooth. Beat in egg. Gradually add flour mixture, a few tablespoons at a time, beating to combine.
  • Roll dough into balls, about 1 tablespoon at a time. Place balls 2 inches apart on parchment lined baking sheets.
  • Using a fork, press balls in a crisscross pattern, while flattening cookie to about 1/2 inch thickness.

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  • Bake cookies until golden brown, about 18-20 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.

Caramel dip:

2 cups caramel chips

1 teaspoon vegetable oil

  • In my Crock Pot Little Dipper Warmer, I melted my caramel chips for about 5 minutes. When about half was beginning to melt, I added 1 teaspoon of vegetable oil, stirred, and let continue to melt.

When my caramel was creamy and all chips had been melted, I took about half the batch of peanut butter cookies, laid out a fresh piece of parchment paper, dipped each cookie halfway into the caramel, and set to cool. The caramel was a little thicker than I had anticipated, so I used a spoon to spread the caramel after dipping.

Β My Crock Pot Little Dipper Warmer is an amazing piece of machinery. Believe it or not, I do NOT own a microwave. I hate melting chocolate, caramel or various other candies on my stove or double boiler, so this little warmer comes in handy at least once a week in my home. I definitely recommend it, if you do not have the use of a microwave.

πŸ˜‰ Happy Monday

* Adapted from Martha Stewart’s basic peanut butter cookie recipe.

Teriyaki roasted eggplant with mint & quinoa salad

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As if I needed another reason to love my iPhone. Instagram has become one of my favorite iPhone apps, if for no other reason than the amazing kosher food accounts I follow religiously. One such account posted a fun little contest last week, and I had fun getting creative with my entry! Soyvay, an amazing company that sells countless kosher preservative free dressings and marinades, posted via The Jewish Hostess a contest in which we have to choose one or more Soyvay products, create a recipe around it and then post a picture to instagram of your dish and product. As I was brainstorming, I remembered I had a huge globe eggplant in my refrigerator and I really wanted to create a non-fried, dairy-free, healthy recipe using it. I went to the store, spotted the Soyvay veri veri teriyaki, and the rest was history. I had a whole bunch of fresh mint leftover from a different dish I made last week, and I wanted to incorporate that in before it turned as well. I made this recipe up as I went along, never intending to turn it into a quinoa salad, but I’m glad I did. Enjoy ;).

Teriyaki roasted eggplant with mint & quinoa salad:

1 large eggplant

1/2 cup teriyaki sauce

1 tablespoon minced garlic

5 sprigs of fresh mint, stems disguarded

Directions:

  • Slice and cube entire eggplant, place cubes in a medium bowl.
  • Combine teriyaki sauce, garlic and mint leaves, pour over eggplant, mix and cover tightly.
  • Refrigerate/marinate for 30 minutes.
  • Preheat oven to 350 F.
  • Spray a large baking dish with cooking spray, and evenly lay out marinated eggplant cubes.
  • Bake for 5-7 minutes at 350 F, then turn oven to Broil on High, and broil for 12 minutes – stirring halfway through.
  • While eggplant is roasting, prepare quinoa ( I like to do 1 3/4 cup water and 1 cup uncooked quinoa and cook for 12 minutes).
  • Let eggplant cool for 15 minutes before combining with quinoa.
  • Mix eggplant and quinoa together gently, serve, DEVOUR!

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^ My Soyvay instagram post.

Sweet potato and apple crumble

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I know that many people consider their cranberry-apple crisp to be a staple on their Shabbos table. It usually is on mine too! But last week, as I was looking through the vegetable drawer in my refrigerator, creatively trying to come up with a new dish without having to go back to the store, I came across two sweet potatoes. An idea was born! I love making my ” crapple” or cranberry-apple crisp, so I used the same basic method with a few changes. Two sweet potatoes is actually a large quantity when chopped, so that plus the one Granny Smith apple I had left in my fridge…I was in business! My husband had 4th’s of this, and there is nothing like someone taking 2nd’s, 3rd’s and 4th’s of your dishes to make you feel like an accomplished “chef”. ;-).

* I served this fresh out of the oven, but it does reheat nicely on the hot plate.

Sweet potato and apple crumble:

2 sweet potatoes, washed, peeled and chopped

1 Granny Smith apple, washed, peeled, and chopped

3 pinches of corn starch

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1 teaspoon lemon juice

Topping:

2 cups old fashioned or quick oats ( Quaker)

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons brown sugar

1 tablespoon granulated sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

5 tablespoons margarine, cut into pieces

Directions:

  • Soak chopped potatoes in water for 25 minutes prior to cooking.Drain and towel dry before beginning.
  • Preheat oven to 350 F.
  • Spray 10 inch ceramic baking dish ( or glass/tin pan) with cooking spray.
  • In a small bowl, mix chopped potatoes, apple, cornstarch, sugar and lemon juice until combined.
  • Pour potato mixture into baking dish.
  • In a small bowl, combine oats, flour, brown sugar, granulated sugar and vanilla and spread evenly over potato mixture. Add chopped margarine to the top of the oat mixture.

Baking directions:

Bake uncovered for 45 minutes at 350 F. After 45 minutes, cover tightly with tin foil, and return to the oven for another 40-45 minutes.

* Serve with a scoop of parve ice cream for dessert!

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Lamb-burgers over portobello mushrooms. ( Kale salad with roasted chickpeas).

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Last nights dinner. In a word- HEAVEN. And so easy to make. I was doing some shopping for my son’s BBQ birthday party, and I saw some lamb-burger patties and I had to have them! I have made my own lamb-burgers before using ground lamb meat, but these pre-made patties made this dinner prep about 10-15 minutes, and after a long day that’s just what I needed. I have never cooked with the huge portobello mushrooms before, it was so fun! My husband and I are trying to steer clear of carbohydrates when we can ( who isn’t), so I needed to think of something that could take the place of the bun. I have seen on many restaurant menus, portobello mushrooms being served as the CENTER burger in between two actual buns. Yum. I decided to use them as the actual buns, and it was AMAZING. After I sauteed my mushrooms, and cooked my lamb-burgers, I roasted some chickpeas, sliced up some kale, and voila- amazing dinner in about 15 minutes.

Portobello Mushroom bun:

2-4 portobello mushrooms

1 tablespoon garlic, minced

1 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 teaspoon onion powder

olive oil

  • In a medium sauce pan, heat up 1 tablespoon of olive oil; swirl.
  • Lay portobello mushrooms, top side down, and season the bottoms evenly with garlic powder, black pepper and onion powder.Saute on high heat for 3-4 minutes.
  • Flip mushrooms so their bottom, blackened side is touching the surface of the pan. Cover and saute for 8-10 minutes.

While my mushrooms were sauteing, I had my lamb-burgers in the oven. No seasoning necessary- they were perfect.

Roasted Chickpeas:

1 can chickpeas

1 tablespoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1 teaspoon dried parsley

1/2 teaspoon salt

Directions:

  • Cut one large piece of tin foil, crinkle it, re-flatten it, then create a bowl folding down the sides.
  • Pour canned chickpeas into tin foil bowl, add spices, mix around with a spoon until evenly coated.
  • Spray exposed chickpeas with olive oil spray, bake at 375 for 10 minutes. ( I had them in the oven along with my burgers).

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