Exceptionally Enjoyable Use of Cabbage Part II:
You might have heard - the Northeast got clobbered with a snowstorm this past week, and according to the Governor my town got hit the hardest. Just for fun, this video was taken within 10 miles of where I live...
Being snowbound and all, we do the best with what we got, right? Actually, that's pretty much all the time, but I digress... With what I had on hand, I decided to make Halupki Soup! Halupki(?) I hear you ask. Stuffed Cabbage. Rolled Cabbage. REALLY YUMMY CABBAGE! So I browned some ground beef with onion and garlic. Tossed about a half head of chopped cabbage into the mix and simmered, covered about 20 minutes...
Now, you can do this all in a Dutch oven on the stove top, but I had some shoveling to do, so I adapted this recipe so once I prepped, it could finish all on its own in the slow cooker. Into the crockpot (set on "HI") went some beef stock, sugar, vinegar, rice, tomato sauce and diced tomatoes - and the cabbage/beef mixture. A couple hours later...
About five hours total, this was my reward for all that snow removal! I never added the smaller can of beef broth. I waited to see if it was needed, and you know, I didn't think it was - it was just the thickness I wanted. And I rarely use boullion cubes or granules - as always, your choice!
I can't tell you just how satisfying this was for "the duration", lol! BTW, that bread peeking in? I made that, too. But more on that another day wink Stay warm and dry, folks!

Posted by Linda :
Saturday 18 March 2017 - 22:52:52
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Ya gotta try this!
I recently found myself with a couple heads of cabbage - one was on purpose, but... In search for something other than coleslaw, I stumbled upon this really kewl recipe from Mr. Food - Aunt Nellie's Cabbage Fritters! If you like potato pancakes, you're gonna love this - faster, easier, and healthier. And guess what? It has bacon!!! So for my new favorite, you start with a bunch (actually a fourth to a third of a head) of cabbage, a little onion, and a little bacon...
A little flour, a couple eggs... Season of course - I like salt, pepper, and a generous grating of nutmeg... Mix well.
Plop some into your frying pan. I used the pan I had just cooked the bacon in, drained of most of the fat with some Crisco added. My "plop" on the top is just a little small; the one on the left a little big; and the one on the right was just right wink
Drain on paper towels (or my preference, cardboard) and serve.
And why not add a dollop of sour cream? For real, not counting the sour cream, this entire batch of 9 or 10 fritters INCLUDING the oil for frying, is only 1000 calories! Lots of fiber and calcium, some protein and a whole bunch of other "good for you stuff". Ya really do gotta try this!!

Posted by Linda :
Wednesday 08 March 2017 - 21:13:56
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Sooo Yummy! And made with leftovers?
I think I've mentioned before that my neighborhood is lucky enough to have a mini Farmer's Market come visit us on a regular basis. Last week, the produce truck had poblanos! Roasting on the stove is so quick and easy if you only have a couple: just wrap in foil (double layer for regular, single layer with heavy duty), and then place directly on a burner set at medium. Rotate every 4-5 minutes (total of about 20) until peppers are soft - USE TONGS and/or kitchen mitts for this!!! Let rest 15 minutes in the foil, and this is what you get.

Gently peel most of the charred skin, slit lengthwise and remove as many seeds as you can. Leave the stem and its inner core to help stabilize these now really soft peppers.

Now to make the filling. I had a leftover chicken breast, some chunky salsa, cheese... added a few spoonfuls of (cooked) brown rice to soak up any excess moisture... Very kewl way to clean out the fridge!! After tasting, I added some garlic powder, oregano, and believe it or not, a dash of cinnamon - very classic Mexican.

Scoop your filling into the peppers and shape them something like this. Lookin' purty, right wink

Ooops! Can't forget to top them off with more cheese cheesey

If my filling ingredients had been warm, I would have just popped this under the broiler - but since I was pulling pretty much all of my ingredients from the fridge, I baked at 350F for about 20 minutes...

Oh YEAH!!!! We'll be doing this again soon!

Posted by Linda :
Tuesday 28 February 2017 - 22:41:04
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This one made me HAPPY!
For the first time in several years I was able to attend the family gathering on Christmas Eve! If you haven't read my whole story, I've worked retail for a while... This year I was "fortunate" enough to have the store CLOSE two weeks before Christmas!!! Yeah, ok – not exactly celebratory, but I DID get to spend time with my family?!? I'd been wanting to try this recipe for Dill Pickle Pasta Salad, and this was a good time to do it. It was at one of these gatherings years ago when I first had Aunt Pat's Salad, and well, that's one heckuva keeper!! So I slipped my pasta salad onto the buffet table and waited. First, let me show you the competition:
Oh – and yeah, there were desserts galore (as usual). So I'd doubled the recipe and brought about three quarters to the party – heck, I wanted some for myself! A pound of shells and a 16oz jar of “stackables” worked quite well for this – stackables were easy to dice, and provided just the right amount of pickle “juice”, which is essential!!!
I used shallots instead of onions because a couple family members have an adverse reactions to onion, but can tolerate shallots (which are in the garlic family). I measured out the ingredients for the “dressing” and whipped them all together in the food processor.
Here's the best part! My eldest younger brother (who is a “pretty good” cook in his own right wink) had THREE helpings before he knew I had made it! In fact, he encouraged his son to try “the best pasta salad he's ever had”!!?! Like I said – that makes me happy! NOTES: I've made this a couple times since... 1) No need to blend the dressing mechanically unless you want ultra fine onion/shallot; 2) I'm not a huge fan of rinsing pasta, so I now drain, return to the pot and add the pickle juice. Stir for a couple minutes and almost all will absorb! Move to a large bowl to cool to room temp; 3) for a recent potluck I did all my chopping and made the dressing Wednesday night (stored separately), boiled the pasta and assembled Thursday night and served Friday lunch! Worked like a charm cheesey

Posted by Linda :
Friday 13 January 2017 - 01:18:21
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Your new Best Friend for the Summer
I live near a community center, and this past week a group showed up offering some beautiful produce at excellent prices – you KNOW I had to take advantage! In addition to the ingredients for my perfect pickles I couldn't resist the first big beautiful sun ripened tomatoes of the season – and wouldn't you know it? I caught the news as I walked back into my house and Mr. Food was presenting just the right way to use them!! That's right – Mr. Food! I miss Art Ginsberg, the one and only, but Howard does a decent job in keeping the tradition alive – simple, straightforward weeknight cooking. Today's entry was Summer's Best Tomato Pie – and it was a hit for Father's Day. You don't have to, but I made my own pie crust. And using Ree Drummond's Thyme Pastry recipe (dried basil instead of thyme) I did it all in the food processor! Cube your butter and freeze it for at least half an hour- I chill my water and vinegar as well. Flour, salt, and herb in the food processor with butter on top, pulse about 20 times. Then with it running on low add the egg and then spoon in your vinegar and water as needed. Done! You pre-bake that slightly
and fill with thin slices of big juicy tomato – I ended up using three. IMPORTANT: use a scoop, the SAME scoop, to measure your three creamy ingredients! A half cup of mayo is a lot less than you might think, and adding too much will ruin this!!! It's the balance that keeps this creamy with just a touch of of that tang. Okay, I added a little more pepper than it asked for... I mean, a quarter teaspoon is nothing wink
Mix well and pour it on and smooth the top. I added that little slice on top just so our guests would know what was inside wink Honestly, I forgot to sprinkle with the parm until after it was in the oven, so I didn't add it until it was almost done. Didn't add much flavor but it did add a little texture and color.
We served it room temp and between the time I set it on the table and reached for my camera...
THIS happened! This will DEFINITELY be made a few times this summer – as an appetizer, a side, or even a light meal in itself.

Posted by Linda :
Monday 20 June 2016 - 18:01:28
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“Ancient Chinese Secret”
While that title might bring memories of a laundromat to some “of a certain age”, this article has nothing to do with a humorous, though politically incorrect television commercial. It will, however, bring you a centuries old technique for a delicious quasi-healthy beverage that you can make for pennies and tailor to your own personal tastes. You ready? While according to WebMD the jury is still out on the positive claims of Kombucha, I had to try the simple fermentation method. I mean, Kombucha seems to be EVERYWHERE right now wink Never one to do anything half-way, I now have a new dedicated gallon glass jar, six pint sized “easy cap” glass bottles, and the all important scoby. After the nominal setup expense, I can and have made an entire gallon for what one 16oz bottle cost at my local health food store! Keep reading...
Meet my new “pet”. A scoby is a kind of gross looking amalgamation of yeast and healthy bacteria. It feeds off of sugar and fresh air. If you're doing it right, with each new batch you will generate a new scoby! I now have my third gallon of Kombucha aging, and actually that is the second generation – here's one of the first mom and baby scoby.
First things first – cleanliness is of utmost importance! You are INTENTIONALLY growing bacteria – you do NOT want any BAD bacteria to take up residence!!! If you've ever made homemade wine or beer you understand this point – so don't skimp on that boiling water! When you're satisfied that your master container (the gallon jar) is sterile, cover it while you brew a gallon of tea (I use 4 bags each black and green tea and distilled water) and add a cup of sugar. Cover and let cool to room temp. Transfer to your jar, gently add the scoby and some plain kombucha from a previous batch, cover with a finely woven cloth held in place by a rubber band... and wait.
It's still mostly in the 50's here, so I've been letting my potion go two weeks for this first step - it will go faster in warmer weather. Try not to peek too often, but if you do, you'll start to see the growth of the new “baby” while the liquid actually gets somewhat lighter in color. Ideally you'll catch a whiff of vinegar as you walk by, and that's ok – in fact, that's great. NOW comes the fun part!
My first gallon I wasn't sure what flavor I would get or more importantly, what I would LIKE the best – so I kept some plain, and tried three variations I'd found online: strawberry mojito, turmeric/ginger/lemon grass, and apple cinnamon. I added the “extras” to each bottle, filled them from my master, sealed, and stored in a dark place for a few more days.
All of them were pleasant – the turmeric had an almost smoky flavor to it; the apple tasted just as expected, with a slight tingle to it reminiscent of cider about to turn(?), plain is going to be delightful on a nice hot day – but I gotta say – the Strawberry Mojito blew me away!
I've rambled enough about my new “pet” for today – I'll be posting some more details and combinations soon, but for now,

Posted by Linda :
Thursday 05 May 2016 - 21:36:40
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Lunch for a week or a crowd – in 15 minutes!
If you've scrolled through this page more than once, you might have noticed that I enjoy the Asian palate. That's a bit over simplified, like there are SO MANY styles of Asian cooking – but most come down to a balance of sweet and salty and contrasting textures, all kept in somewhat a simple, pure form. Whew – enough waxing poetic – let's eat! This salad is more of an American interpretation of eastern style, bit is incredibly easy and quick. Oh, and so yummy! The recipe for Mandarin Pasta Spinach Salad with Teriyaki dressing provides a great guideline you can tweak to make your own. For starters, I wanted this for a few light meals, so I poached a chicken breast to add to the mix wink I'd used more spinach than I'd planned in the Lemon Cream Chicken, so I used kale instead. And I totally forgot to add the nuts, lol!
I doubled the recipe and layered the ingredients into 3 quart jars – it was a little too much to eat in one sitting and too tightly packed, so I should have spread it to four... I like the jar technique – you put the dressing on the bottom, the heaviest ingredients next, and keep your greens on top. So for this: the dressing minus the oil, then the oil (I find it easier to keep the balance visually than continued shaking!),
then the pasta, oranges,
shredded chicken, craisins,
and greens. Store in the fridge and they usually can last at least a week. Shake before serving (another reason four jars would have been better) and pour into/onto your serving dish. The dressing is addictive, and everyone who came into the break room today asked me what smelled so good – and THAT was before they got a good look!
Gorgeous, isn't it? The sweetness of the fruit against the saltiness of the teriyaki... The tender chicken, the crunchy kale... A touch of heat from some red pepper flakes would put this over the top! All that with virtually no effort – a winner indeed cheesey

Posted by Linda :
Wednesday 27 April 2016 - 00:58:54
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Did I mention it has bacon?
Actually, the classic recipe calls for guanciale, which is pancetta made from a different cut of meat – or for us “Mericans”, unsmoked bacon. Of course there are differences between the three, but for the purposes of this recipe I'd suggest letting your budget be your guide (and regular smoked bacon would be okay, too). There are other flavors involved and honestly, the differences won't really show... So this is hearty and satisfying with a kick of heat, AND it can be done in about 30 minutes?!? YEP!!! So you'll be trying Amatriciana soon, right? This is a somewhat rustic, quick cooking (fresh) sauce flavored by “bacon”, onions and garlic, tomatoes and basil... The source of heat is what seemed to be a minuscule amount of black pepper and red pepper flakes, but they did their job nicely! Crisp the meat, toast the seasoning, saute the onion and garlic (all in one pan)... Add the hand crushed tomatoes (I used a pair of kitchen scissors to coarsely “chop” while in the can)... This first picture is right after I added the tomatoes, straight from the can...
While that simmers for a whopping 20 minutes, start the water for your pasta. Bucatini is the classic choice, but whatever you've got would be okay. I specifically purchased bucatini, simply because it's fun! It looks like slender spaghetti, but it's hollow in the center and plumps up nicely. Slurping is optional wink. And it cooks fairly fast - the brand I used recommended seven minutes, and I pulled it in five (after tasting) to finish its cooking in the sauce.
(after only 20 minutes)
Even with that little bit of cooking see how rich the sauce looks once you stir in the Romano?
Use a little pasta water to loosen it up, then drop in your drained pasta and toss until it is all well coated, adding more pasta water if needed (I HATE those photos with a little sauce on a mound of pasta – make it ALL flavorful)!
I really, REALLY enjoyed this, and it's perfect for a weeknight meal. Cut back on the pepper if you must, but for a quick meal, this is quite excellent!

Posted by Linda :
Monday 02 November 2015 - 22:39:09
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I had to ask a friend about this...
See, all the recipes I'd ever seen for kugel were sweet, and this recipe for Spring Zucchini Kugel was savory. To further confuse me, why “spring”, as zucchini isn't plentiful until late summer, at least around here... My question to Stacey was “is this actually a kugel, or just a recipe using 'noodles' and matzo meal?” “This kugel is a savory one. Mom used to make both, mostly sweet. Mike's mom would make savory.“ I still didn't have an answer about the time of year, but I proceeded . First off, you need a lot more zucchini than you think! I had five small ones, so I figured I had half a batch. Sauteed, drained and squeezed dry, I had a mound about the size of a baseball. I used an 8'x8' glass pan, and you'll see I could have used more... After you make all your strips (I used the 'as seen on TV' Veggetti ), you saute them for a bit.
While the zucchini is draining and cooling – you want to wait a bit so you can give a good squeeze (or dozen) to remove as much moisture as possible, mix your eggs and matzo, zest and herbs (I used dried, and it worked just great). Eventually add your “noodles”.
Spread in a heated, oiled pan, smooth the top and bake. Be prepared, it shrinks a bit more!
This was great warm, and even cooled – I grabbed a piece for a quick breakfast the next day? Hey, it's got eggs wink
But see how thin it is? I used the measurements for a half batch and it was actually over-seasoned, but not in a bad way. Extremely flavorful! Mint and basil are an amazing pairing once you get over your fears, lol. Use up all that zucchini and enjoy a great side dish as well!

Posted by Linda :
Tuesday 13 October 2015 - 19:01:48
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I simply CAN'T
I'm aware that eating meatless once in a while is good for you, and I can handle vegetarian – heck, I've thoroughly enjoyed many options along the way. But VEGAN? Nuh uh, ain't gonna happen frown Even THIS recipe for Sweet Potato Enchiladas, which contains some of my favorite things... I was doomed from the start. For example, I didn't have any vegetable stock (though I'd bought some recently – must've used it elsewhere), so instead of water I used beef stock. BAD, I know. Since it hadn't specified when and where, I added the smoked paprika and salt to my whipped sweet potatoes. I'd recommend spicing them up as much as you want - the sweetness will still shine through, and I wished I had added a touch more. Mushrooms I've got no problem with, and used Crimini, aka “Baby Portabellas”. After tasting, I still wasn't thrilled with the balance, and added a generous dash of Worcestershire sauce. Now, why is this bad? It's got anchovies, don't ya know! But it DID add that bit of umami that was missing. Believe it or not, I actually proceeded without the cheese I was so certain it would need.
I'll never make it as a Vegan, but if you can and do, this recipe is definitely worth a try – as is.
As for the rest of us, my tweaks, and yeah, my final condemnation of adding some cheddar and Monterey jack on top of my second serving, I can definitely recommend this for your Meatless Monday. Relatively quick (not sure how they came up with only 15 minutes of prep tho), and a filling meal with a super-food. Add a salad or some beans, and you're done.

Posted by Linda :
Saturday 03 May 2014 - 15:39:03
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