Showing posts from February, 2013

Ricotta Pizza with Broccoli

Pizza is no longer the pizza, we drooled over, in past years.  It can be healthier and much more interesting.  I like to serve pizza, at least, once a month.  I had some pre-baked pizzas, in the freezer, so I happily withdrew them from their cold home and went to work on a topping.

I mentioned, recently, with Passover approaching, I am attempting clean out the cupboards and freezer and I am using whatever, I find.  This time, it is my pizza crusts and frozen broccoli.  The Ricotta was also without a planned purpose.  I make a habit of keeping Ricotta or cottage cheese on hand if I decide to make lasagna or stuffed shells.  I was in pretty good shape in terms of ingredients, on hand.

Since my crusts were ready to be put in the oven, I mixed the topping.  I combined a few ingredients with the Ricotta cheese and spread it on the crust, topping it with three cheeses and the broccoli.  I went heavy on the Ricotta and broccoli.  It was more like a casserole on top of a pizza crust.

Ricotta Piz…

Recipe Box -Sephardic Spinach Patties with Flax Seed - Power Foods

Last week, while I was preparing for Purim, the rest of the group (Power Foods) was cooking with Flax Seed.  I was baking cookies and although, I could have added flax seed meal, I didn't.  I waited until, this week and I made these delicious Spinach Patties.  Instead of the bread crumbs, used in the recipe, I subbed in the flax meal and Tortilla crumbs.  You could use any crumbly mixture.

At first, I was going to spice this up and add other vegetables but my gut told me to leave it, as is.  I am glad, I made that decision because the natural spinach taste, is one we like.  The first bite brought an, "Aha." from hubby.

I would make a change, next time I make these, and either chop the spinach very small or put it through the food processor, not fine but into smaller pieces.  The patties would have been better blended and easier to work with.  I am thinking that some cauliflower would be a good addition and perhaps, some cheese.

Sephardic Spinach Patties (adapted from Epicu…

Purim Fun

Yesterday, was the Jewish holiday of Purim.  Purim starts at sundown when we go to shul to listen to the Book of Esther being read aloud.  We return in the morning to hear it again.  While there are a number of specific customs and laws for this holiday, I want to focus on the dressing up and the giving of food.

I look at the day as one of exaggeration.  We dress up and get together for a festive meal and to party.  It is customary to give our gifts of food and usually we receive and give all kinds of packages.  I am sorry, I did not think to take a picture of the packages, we received but I did take one of what we gave to our neighbors and to my students.  For family members and other friends, I used fancy bags to pack the goodies in.

We received everything from homemade apple pie to sesame chicken and everything in between.  We received all kinds of drinks from soda to wine.  Lots of candy bars, snack bags and fruit crossed our doorway. 

There is no obligation to give so many packages…

Cherry Fudge Cookies

You may remember how much I like Cooking Light. I often, forget that they are working hard to make healthy food, at Cooking Light. Their recipes are usually as tempting, to me, as Paula Deen or Ina Garten's.minutes or until almost firm. Remove cookies from pans; cool on wire racks.

This recipe called for whole wheat flour and AP flour but not having any whole wheat flour, I used only all purpose flour. I had a container of candy that I certainly did not need to eat and my husband would not eat so I cut up the chocolate fudge and replaced the chocolate chunks with it. I did run into a problem. Some of the chocolate ran out of the cookies, during baking. That was the best part of the cookie.

Chocolate Fudge Cherry Cookies


2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon margarine
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1 cup dried cherries
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg, lightly beaten
almost 1 cup of chopped candy
Cooking spray


Random Thoughts - Should We Quit?

Should We Quit?

Life brings along many difficult situations. Sometimes, we can walk away and others, we have no choice but to face them and do something. The question - Should quitting be an option?

This brings me to the logical topic, for me, today - commitments and quitting with the emphasis on the latter. This is going to be free-flowing and most likely dig into my memories. As an example, going back and asking myself, when did you quit and finding more times than I like.

The first one was when I left a management training job for one of the local department stores. Through college, I worked part-time in a department store. Even as a minor player in this store, I rose to heights, I never expected. I was selected by one of the floor managers to work, when needed, in the personnel office (that is what it was called then). Instead of standing on my feet for hours, selling toys, I would be called and got to sit and help out with whatever was needed. I also was taken from the toy …

Recipe Box # 35 - Magazines

I have a pile of cooking magazines to read but I can't a moment time to read them.  When it comes time to select a recipe, I turn to a cookbook or the Internet, not a magazine.  I have been giving thought to the value of these mags.

I am referring to the value for me based on how I use them.  I keep two or three on my kitchen table so when I have a cup of coffee or sit down to lunch, I can go through them.  I keep another one by my bed and it keeps me company, at night, if I am not reading a book.  Usually, I am reading that book.  Hubby and I are both readers and many the night, we both fall asleep with a book in hand.

That leaves the magazines to be read in short spurts.  I see lots of recipes in them that I want to make.  Unless, I mark them, at that moment, I don't usually go back to them.  The permanence of a cookbook has me using them over and over.  Magazines don't have the same value.  

I have made a decision to use my magazines for general information and entertainme…

Random Thoughts - Mother of Invention

Believe it or not; this is about a potato ricer. 
Necessity is the mother of all inventions.  "This means that solutions to problems (the invention bit) are born out of then need for a solution (the necessity).  As coming up with an idea is said to be the birth of an idea, this leads to the mother reference in the quote i.e. the need is the mother that gives birth to the idea for a solution."

I think, we all have gotten ourselves into a pickle and had to find a way out, a solution or perhaps, a new "invention".  I use the word invention, more as a new way of thinking, a new approach and in this case, a new use for a gadget.

In life, one door closes and another opens.  Sometimes, it opens by divine providence and sometimes, we open it.  As a teacher, I am opening that door, almost daily, because of the thinking of ten-year olds.  

The mind of a child is truly delightful to explore and as a teacher, I am blessed to do this, when they are, at their best and…

Chicken Strips with Tomatoes and Mushrooms

The caterers gave us the food that was not used from our daughter's weddings.  There were several trays and we gave most of them to a fund that is raising money to help those who were badly harmed from Sandy. In our area, there are still many who have not been able to return to their homes.Others are living in homes that are not complete and are being worked on.

We did keep a tray of salmon and a try of chicken strips.  I used some of the strips to make the following recipe.  Of course, there was no need to cook the chicken, just to heat it with the other ingredients.

Chicken with Grape Tomatoes and Mushrooms (adapted from Campbells)

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/4 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, cut into thin strips
1 package (8 ounces) sliced fresh mushrooms (about 2 1/4 cups)
1/2 teaspoongarlic, minced
1 pint grape tomatoes (about 2 1/2 cups) 

1 onion cut into 1-inch pieces (about 1/3 cup)
1/2 cup  organic vegetable or chicken broth

Heat 1 ta…

Poached Salmon With Brussels Sprouts & Bok Choy

I think, you will be seeing some odd dishes from now to the holiday of Passover (Pesach).  I start to "use up", at this point.  "Use up" means, clearing the freezer and cabinets of any food.  It means, not buying more Parmesan when I run out.  
 I don't use a lot of canned goods but it is amazing how many cans collect, over time.  They are my "just in case" food but I rarely have a "just in case.  I was happy to see that I have been using them and they are diminishing quickly.  Actually, Eden diced tomatoes is a popular can.  I use the tomatoes in all kinds of dishes and usually keep up to 8 cans, on hand.  Each week, I pick up one new can.  You would be surprised how quickly they disappear even with my restocking, each week.

Since Hurricane Sandy, I replaced very little food in my freezer.  I do have containers of chicken stock and beef stock from my giant soup making days.  I use a container, each Friday night and change its character.  I add dif…

Recipe Box # 34

Looking back:

Looking forward:

Black Bean Soup - SRC

I didn't think, it would confuse me to change the week, I posted for SRC but it does.  When I had the first week, a new month meant SRC.  The second week means, I have to be a big girl and simply remember.  Whatever the week, I do love the  Secret Recipe Club.

This month, I had an interesting blog, Wholesome RD.  OK, I did not know what RD stood for.  I am ashamed of myself.  The fun, I had though, making up RD titles.

Radish Dad
Ramen Doodles
Romaine Drops
Ranch Dressing
Radish Daikon (backwards)
Rutabaga Dairy

What else do I have to do in my spare time?  Sure.

I always find recipes on any blog, I look at, so that in itself means little.  The difference was that I found really interesting recipes that I liked and had not made before.

Soft Garlic Pretzels
Spinach Artichoke White Bean Crostini

Crock Pot Honey Sesame Chicken
Mexican Mac and Cheese
Pistachio-crusted Cod

That is just the beginning.Erin is a Register Dietician (RD) who lives in Chicago with her husband and son.Surprise, she loves to …
I plan to bake with this yummy treat (actually one without dairy), today.  Wait and see.

Pasta with Bok Choy and Mushrooms

I think, I should change my name to Chaya Bok Choy or Chaya Spinach.  I buy both, each time I shop in the grocery store.  They have joined the ranks of onions, bell pepper and romaine.

Both fit into all kinds of dishes, both hot and cold.  I throw them into salads, into side dishes, with meat, poultry and fish.  No, I have not used them in desserts.

Friday is "Cook for Shabbos" day and the food should be special.  In the past years, I made roasted chicken, kugels, gefilte fish and salads plus of course, challah and dessert.  Oops, can't forget soup.

This week, I made the pasta below, a cabbage and mushroom dish, salmon with spinach and mushrooms, lemon chicken, beef tomato soup, butternut squash, pistachio muffins, pound cake,  and challah (which should be listed first).

 Pasta with Bok Choy and Mushrooms  Adapted from Epicurious


8 ounces gluten-free spaghetti
1 tablespoon olive or canola oil
1 large shallot, sliced
1 piece (about 1 inch) ginger, peeled and finely ch…



Recipe Box - Spaghetti with Tomatoes and Olives

Better Homes and Gardens has a recipe, in this month's magazine for Spaghetti Squash with Tomatoes and Olives.  I had taken a quick look and missed the word squash.  There, I was with spaghetti boiling in the pot and I realized, my recipe had to change.  I did a pretty good "copycat" using the spaghetti and it was delicious.  It was so good, I want to try it with the spaghetti squash.

Spaghetti Squash with Tomatoes and Olives  (adapted)

Ingredients :

1 pound spaghetti

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon minced garlic
14 1/2 ounce can diced tomatoes with basil, garlic, and oregano (undrained)*
1/2 cup pimiento-stuffed green olives, coarsely chopped
1/3 cup golden raisins
2  ounces feta cheese, crumbled (1/2 cup)
ground black pepper


In a large saucepan heat oil over medium heat. Add garlic and cook 1 minute. Add tomatoes; bring to boiling. Boil gently, uncovered, for 15 minutes or until slightly thickened, stirring occasionally.

 While the tomatoes cook, in a…

Roasted Sweet Potato-Spinach Salad

Our new son-in-law eats a healthy diet.  I did find that it is relatively easy to cook for him although the first time, I made him a meal, it was the most simple meal, I have ever made. I figured, I could not go wrong with plain quinoa, plain chicken and plain salad.  It was boring, as well, and he likes good food.

As time has gone by, I discovered, it is not that much of a challenge to make food that tastes good and that will fit his needs and wants.

So when I came across the recipe from Meals the Heal, I knew it would be a great success.

Ingredients :

2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 pounds sweet potatoes, scrubbed and cut into 1" chunks
2 large red bell peppers, cut into 1" pieces "
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 pound spinach, torn into bite-size pieces  (I used less spinach because, I only had a pound and I needed it for two different salads.)


Preheat the oven to 425°F.

In a large roasting pan, c…