Category Archives: Kosher food

Kosher Taco Fiesta

Standard

Kosher TacosI took Zoe to see Despicable Me 2 this week, and I think Eduardo’s Cinco de Mayo party got both of us in the mood for Tacos … and that cool guacamole-filled Mexican hat made of a big tortilla chip. Does anything like that really exist?

When I was growing up, we had a few taco nights at our house but not nearly enough to suit me. As an adult, I now understand that taco night takes a lot of effort. It’s not difficult to make tacos, but there are lots of moving piece-parts so you have to make sure you’re prepared with all the right ingredients and have plenty of time to put it all together. The finished product though … totally yummy and awesome.

And while I was at it, I went ahead and mixed up a big blender batch of margaritas because one can’t have tacos without margaritas right?

When I first started trying to make kosher tacos, I had a heck of a time finding Kosher taco seasoning. I visited numerous stores and was about to give up when I found Kosher Ortega Taco Seasoning at Target. I was so excited that I ended up ordering a case from the amazon.com.Ortega Taco Kit

Here’s my recipe for “winging it” Kosher Tacos:

Kosher Tacos

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 to 2 lbs of kosher hamburger meat
  • Ortega hard taco shells (I even found an Ortega Taco Dinner Kit at Tom Thumb that included the shells, taco seasoning and sauce).
  • Tortillas (flour or corn depending on your preference)
  • Taco Seasoning (I used Ortega)
  • Your favorite Salsa (I used Great Value Peach Pineapple Chipotle Salsa purchased at Walmart and the salsa that came with the Ortega taco kit)
  • Lettuce (shredded)
  • Tomatoes (chopped)
  • Onions (chopped)
  • Black Olives (chopped) optional
  • Tofutti Sour Cream (Kosher pareve) I forgot to buy this when I was shopping and sadly missed it during our Taco night. The “fake” sour cream makes tacos so delish.
  • Garlic powder, Salt and Pepper to taste
  • Guacamole
  • Fake Cheese (I haven’t tried the tofu cheese on tacos but it would probably be delicious.)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees for Taco Shells.

Cook hamburger meat in a skillet over medium to high heat until down. I prefer NO pink at all but my hubbie is a little more flexible with this rule. Add a bit of salt, pepper and garlic if you’d like.

Drain the hamburger meat and return skillet to the burner. Add package of Taco Seasoning and 1/2 – 1 cup of water, depending on your preferred consistency. I like the taco meat to be a bit soupy so I usually add about 3/4 cup of water. Be sure to pour the water over the taco seasoning powder to make it easier to mix in. Stir it all up to cover all hamburger meat with the seasoning. Bring to a boil, lower temp to medium-ish and cook for 15-20 additional minutes. I usually cover the meat but it’s not necessary.

While the taco meat finishes cooking, prepare your taco sides.

Shred lettuce; chop up tomatoes, onions and olives; make guacamole (avocados, lemon juice, salt, pepper, garlic powder) and place each item in it’s own small bowl to make it easy for dinner guests to serve themselves. You can also pour some salsa into a pretty bowl for easy serving.

Place taco shells on cookie sheet and bake for 3-4 minutes in oven.

Line up your items on a kitchen counter or table in an assembly line style: Taco Shells and Tortillas, Taco meat, Salsa, fake sour cream, lettuce, tomatoes, onions, olives, etc. and let everyone build their own tacos.

I love the hard taco shells but my hubbie and daughter prefer the soft ones. I usually add my ingredients in this order:

  • Fill taco shell with meat
  • Add fake sour cream and a bit of salsa
  • Add shredded lettuce
  • Add tomatoes, onions and olives
  • Enjoy!

You can be very creative with tacos. Use any ingredients that you like: substitute turkey or fish for the hamburger meat, add chopped up jicama or even red bell peppers. Tacos are one of those foods that you can be as creative as you’d like and not run to much risk of messing up.

This particular batch was so delicious, I’m ashamed to admit I had 3 of them … and probably could have eaten more if my good sense hadn’t stopped me.

Enjoy and Happy Kosher Treif Cooking!

R and R in Siesta Key, Florida

Standard

Shells from Siesta Key, Florida

 

We took a few days for a little rest and recovery in Siesta Key, Florida. The beach was beautiful despite the rain that had pounded and flooded the area the day we arrived. And the Capri at Siesta was an adorable and relaxing place to stay and just a few minutes walk from the lovely beach.

Pictured above are the seashells we gathered while we were staying there … most of them thanks to my husband’s brave diving skills.

No Kosher cooking was involved, even though we had a great kitchen in our room, but we truly needed the R&R and the sound of the ocean to refresh ourselves … and we hope to go back very soon.

Happy summer and Happy Kosher Treif Cooking!

You just might get what you need … in the form of Kosher Pizza

Standard

Yummy Salad

If you’ve been reading my blog this week, you know we’ve been so blessed to receive so many delicious Kosher meals from friends and neighbors after the death of my Mother. And each day a new meal arrives, it seem to remind me of a happy memory long forgotten or fill a physical need that I didn’t even know we had. I know it’s a trite saying, but Hashem truly does give us exactly what we need, when we need it … at least most of the time.

Last night before the food arrived, Zoe, who was exhausted from a day at camp, started whining about how much she wanted pizza. I really was too tired to cook, but because I knew how tired she was and because she rarely asks for specific food or even eats for that matter, I decided to make her a small pizza. When she saw I was making pizza, she said, “NO! I want to go get pizza at Mon Ami, I don’t want YOUR pizza!” Well thanks a lot missy but this is what you are getting tonight so hush.

Just as I put her homemade pizza in the oven, the doorbell rang and guess who and what were standing on the other side? You guessed it. One of our wonderful neighbors, and he had a pizza in-hand.  Now I’m not sure if the pizza came from Mon Ami or Cafe Fino, which is a another great Kosher pizza place in Dallas, but either way, my daughter was so freaking excited because she had her restaurant pizza and didn’t have to eat my homemade stuff! I think my hubbie felt bad for me so he ate both : )

Kosher Pizza

 

To go with the pizza, another friend, neighbor and one of Zoe’s former teachers delivered the beautiful salad that you see pictured above, and we finished it all off with a delicious cheesecake pie that we received the night before (photos and more on that later).

Kosher Cheesecake Pie

 

Receiving this food has made such a difference in our lives this week. It has allowed me to spend time thinking about my Mother instead of standing in front of the pantry trying to figure out what to make for dinner. And it has been a treat for Zoe and Neil to not have to eat my food every day, which I’ll admit can be fairly non-creative after a long day of work.

Thanks so much to all of you who have worked so hard to prepare food for us. We have enjoyed the break and the yummy meals so much.

Happy Kosher Treif Cooking!

Chicken and Rice Bake just like Mom used to make

Standard

 

Chicken and Rice Bake

For our 2nd night of meals, my Mother and Father-in-law arrived with a big pot of chicken and rice. We still had leftovers from the food delivered to us the night before, so I heated up everything and we had a lovely meal thanks to the kindness of our friends and family. And honestly, I was so tired yesterday, there is no way I could have come up with a decent meal on my own, so I’m very grateful for the food that I originally said (thought) I didn’t need : )

It wasn’t until everyone left that I realized the chicken and rice dish my Mother-in-law made reminded me of the Chicken and Rice Bake that my Mother used to make years ago. It was one of my favorites dishes, and I made it a few times myself before I started keeping Kosher. I had not thought of that recipe in years. When I was home to attend my Mother’s funeral, I even saw her hand-written version of the recipe in a book at her house … I’m now wishing I had brought that one home with me. I’ll definitely get it next time and try to find a way to Kosherfy it, but in the meantime, here’s one I found online that I think is very similar to the one she used to make:

One Dish Chicken and Rice Bake

Ingredients:

  • 1 can (10 3/4 ounces) Campbell’s® Condensed Cream of Mushroom Soup (Regular or 98% Fat Free) (My Mother had lots of recipes that were made with Campbell’s soups, which are sadly not Kosher. I’ve always found replacing these soups one of the biggest challenges in making Kosher food out of Treif. Imagine makes a yummy Creamy Portobello Mushroom Soup that is Kosher Pareve and is an excellent substitute for Campbell’s cream of mushroom soup. If you want even more cream, try adding a bit of pareve soy milk.)
  • 1 cup water
  • 3/4 cup uncooked regular long-grain white rice
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 1/4 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breast halves (My Mother used a whole, bone-in chicken, skin and all, cut-up into its appropriate pieces. We each had a favorite piece.)

Directions:

  • Stir the soup, water, rice, paprika and black pepper in a 2-quart shallow baking dish. Top with the chicken. Season with additional paprika and black pepper. Cover the baking dish.
  • Bake at 375°F. for 45 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through and the rice is tender.  Let stand for 10 minutes.  Stir the rice before serving.

I’m so glad my Mother-in-law brought over the delish dish that reminded me of my Mom’s very easy to make Chicken and Rice Bake. I’m going to add this one to my dinner menu some time in the next few weeks. It’s comfort food at it’s best.

Happy Southern Kosher Treif Cooking!

 

 

Never underestimate the power of Kosher cooking to heal a broken heart

Standard

Yummy Kosher Food

As I’m sure it is way obvious, I have not blogged in a very long time. My first excuse was a work-related event that was taking up all of my time, free and otherwise. But not long after the completion of said event, my Mother passed away. She had been sick for many years so the blessing of her passing is that she is no longer in pain or suffering. The negative is that I can no longer pick of the phone and call her anytime I want or make the 7 hour trek to visit her in person. This fact has crossed my mind so many times today, and it hit me hardest when I arrived home last night from attending her funeral in Arkansas and realized there was not a single person who expected me to call them to say “I’m home.”

When my mom was alive, she’d call me just as we hit LBJ Freeway in Dallas to ask, “are you home yet?” Back then, it drove me nuts. “Of course we aren’t home yet or I would have called you!” But last night I cried for a bit when I realized we’d never have that exchange again. It’s so final and so awful to think about.

Kosher Salad

As we were driving home, several people called and texted to say they were planning meals for us for the week. Now being from the South and all, I hate it when folks go out of their way to help me. It makes me uncomfortable in a big way. I don’t need help. I can do this on my own. So I protested. The ladies said they knew I’d say that so they went ahead and arranged meals for the week anyway. I was flustered and a bit angry. How dare them decide something like this without my permission. And then the first night of food arrived … from two of the best Kosher cooks in my community. It did look tasty. And I am kind of tired and in a bit of a fog. Maybe I could deal with people bringing me food for a week. It didn’t take long to warm up to the idea.

Kosher on the Grill

So the photos you see are of the amazing, delicious food that my wonderful friends brought us today to make our lives a bit easier after losing my Mom.

Kosher Hamburger Helper

And the Kosher Hamburger Helper? Well, that’s a special treat requested by my daughter and made in honor of my Mom, who was one of the best Treif cooks I know. We ALL loved Hamburger Helper night at her house, not to mention her fried chicken and pork chops (yes I said it – Treif!) and pot roast and even plain ole bologna sandwiches … which back then were eaten with cheese (More Treif). All of the food in my Mom’s house was excellent. And while I did not inherit her skill of cooking, I did bring home a few of her cookbooks, all of which are well used and loved (also see photo).

Mom's Cookbook

If your parents are still around, give them a hug this week and maybe get in the kitchen and cook a dish or two with your mom. Life is short and should be enjoyed and appreciated as often as possible.

Happy Kosher Treif Cooking and a very sad goodbye to my special Mom.

All Things Okra

Standard

Bumya

Last Shabbos, my sister-in-law called me with an offer I couldn’t refuse. She invited herself for Friday night dinner AND offered to come early and help me cook. I had forgotten how much fun it is to have someone else cooking with me in the kitchen. We had a wonderful time, and she prepared Bumya, which I’ve had before but didn’t know it actually had a name, and Basmati Rice, which I can never stop eating when it’s around. Delish!

I’ll never be able to repeat her process for making the Basmati … I’ll have to invite her back and video tape her while she’s making the rice. Her steps for making the Bumya were a bit easier though. Here’s the short version:

Chop up some onion if you want and brown in some olive oil. If you are not using onion, then just put the whole okra (we used fresh) in a pot with olive oil. Let the okra cook until it is bright green. Add ketchup, a little onion soup mix and a little bit of water. Stir and let cool on medium heat. Don’t let it burn on the bottom. When the okra is soft, it’s ready. The longer the better.

I grew up eating okra so I’m definitely a fan but in the South, there was only one way to cook it – Fried! My mother used to make fried okra for us on special occasions, and Rosie’s Bumya inspired me to do 2 things: branch out and add Bumya as one of my favorite ways to prepare okra (Pickled Okra is another fav) but also to give the fried okra a try. I’ve never cooked it before myself and honestly couldn’t even remember how my Mother made it.

So I got out my trusty Southern Living Cookbook and sure enough, there was a very simple recipe.

Fried OkraFried Okra

Ingredients:

  • 1 to 1 1/4 pounds fresh okra
  • 1/2 to 1 cup cornmeal
  • Vegetable oil
  • Salt

Directions:

Wash okra well; drain. Cut off tips and stem ends (I actually used the stem ends because that’s how my Mother used to cook it); cut okra crosswise into 1/2-inch slices.

Roll okra in cornmeal (okra should be very damp for cornmeal to adhere), and fry in hot oil (375 degrees) until golden brown.

Drain well on paper towels. Sprinkle lightly with salt. Yield: 4 servings.

Notes:

I fried the first batch way too long waiting for them to turn golden brown. They never did. They still tasted OK but were a little chewy. The second batch, I only cooked for 6 minutes and they were much better. Overall, I think the okra could have used some more seasoning as well. They were definitely not as good as my mom’s but also not bad for my first try. Every single piece of okra was eaten.

Happy Southern Kosher Treif Cooking!

Kosher Caramel Popcorn

Standard

Osem PopcoWhen I was shopping for Passover this year I came across a yummy (Kitniyot) snack. We don’t ever use Kitniyot when we are preparing meals because we often have guests who don’t eat it but when it comes to snacks for the family, it’s fair game.

This year, I bought my usual 2 bags of Bamba but also found this yummy, unexpected treat – Osem’s Popco. It was really amazing and the perfect snack to take along with us when we went to see The Croods during the break.

I had only purchased 2 bags (and they are small bags) so I sent the hubbie to the store today to see if he could find more. No such luck. So then I went online to see if I could order a few bags … that’s how addicted I am to this popcorn.

But instead of placing an order, I came across an interesting blog post called “What snack food corporations don’t want you to know.” It’s not new information to me … snacks cause us and our kids to get fat. I’ve heard it all before but this post was a good reminder so I hit the cancel my order button and decided to give this blog author’s homemade Caramel Popcorn recipe a try instead.

Thanks Sarah from Food Bridge for the reminder that homemade is almost always better tasting and better for us:

Gourmet Caramel Popcorn

1/2 cup popcorn

3 tablespoons canola or peanut oil (high smoke point)

100 grams butter

1/2 brown sugar

1/2 salt

1/4 cup honey, maple, date or carob syrup

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Make the popcorn as directed above.

In a small pot, melt the butter and add the sugar, salt and honey and mix until everything is dissolved. Do not let it caramelize. Remove from heat and add the vanilla. Pour the mixture over the popcorn and mix until everything is well coated. Spread a thin mixture on a parchment paper lined baking tray and bake at 170°C for 20-30 minutes or until it becomes golden. Mix once or twice during baking to ensure they are evenly baked.

But … with all that said, I still loved the Popco and will probably … most definitely … buy it again next Passover : )

Happy Kosher Treif Cooking!

Kosher Meat and Potato Roll

Standard

Meat LogLast year during Passover, I happend upon this Susie Fishbein recipe for a Meat and Potato Roll. I had all of the ingredients already so decided I’d give it a try.

Since then, I’ve made this yummy dish many times. It’s now a staple in our home, similar to the meatloaf my Mother used to make every week when I was growing up. And it has affectionately been renamed to simply the “Meat Log” by my family.

The recipe is on page 22 in the Passover by Design cookbook and it comes complete with a much more beautiful photo than the one you see  here. If you don’t already have this cookbook, it’s worth the $20 you will pay on amazon.com because I use it not only during Passover but all year round.

I tried to find a similar recipe online but none even come close to this one so here goes:

Meat and Potato Roll

Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 1 small onion, cut into 1/4 inch dice
  • 3/4 cup matzo meal
  • 2 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 cup nondairy creamer (I’ve also used pareve soy milk instead but not during Passover)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarse ground pepper
  • 4 servings instant mashed potato flakes, prepared according to package directions (See “thoughts” below about a substitute for the instant mashed potatoes)
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 3 tablespoons dark brown sugar

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.Meat Roll

Cover a jelly-roll pan with parchment paper. Prepare a second sheet of parchment paper. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine the beef, onion, matzo meal, onion powder, garlic powder, creamer, eggs, salt and pepper. Use your hands to really combine.

Place your prepared jelly-roll pan lengthwise on your work surface. Place the meat mixture on the prepared pan. Pat to an even thickness, filling the pan widthwise and spread the mixture to an 11-inch length.

Prepare the potatoes acording to package directions, adding more creamer, one tablespoon at a time, if they seem dry.

Place the potatoes across a shorter edge toward the bottom of the meat, but not at the very edge. Use the parchment paper to help you roll the meat into a log. Place the fresh sheet of parchment paper on the pan and place the meat roll onto it. Discard the original piece of parchment. Bake 1 hour uncovered.

In a small bowl, mix ketchup and brown sugar. Brush over the meat roll and bake an additional 15 minutes.

Cut the meat log into 1 to 2 inch slices and serve on a pretty platter while it’s hot.

005Thoughts:

For some reason this year, the meat around the mashed potatoes was still a little raw. We ate it anyway and no one got sick, but I probably should have flattened the meat out to be a bit thinner.

Also, regarding the mashed potatoes, I usually have big plans to substitute the instant ones (which are very high in sodium) for the real thing instead but it never works out because I’m always short on time. I have an amazing recipe for sour cream garlic mashed potatoes that I think would make this “meat log” even more Treiffy delicious. I would just sub the pareve Tofutti Sour Cream for the dairy version. This Oprah recipe is similar to the one I use. If you have the time, give it a try and let us know how it turns out.

Either way, this “meat log” is a crowd-pleaser.

Kosher for Passover Frozen Macaroon Dough

Standard

Frozen Macaroon Dough

A few weeks ago, I blogged about homemade Chocolate Chip Macaroons. I had never made macaroons before and they were so much better than the ones in a can that I swore I’d never go back to the “packaged” macaroons again. But … the day before Passover started, I was at my local Tom Thumb grocery store finishing up some last minute shopping when I discovered the yummy item pictured above – a Manischewitz Kosher for Passover frozen macaroon dough. The dough comes in Coconut and Chocolate flavors, althoug my store only had the coconut.

The $6.49 price tag seemed way to high, but I was so tempted that I splurged and bought 1 package. Just before time for the holiday to start, my 6 year old daughter and I decided to make a batch of these macaroons.

The process was very simple: scoop out a tablespoon of the dough, place on greased cookie sheet, flatten the top a bit with the back of your spoon and bake.

We were amazed by how easy the macaroons were to prepare and even more so by how delicious they tasted. Our Seder guests asked me to pull the package out of the freezer so they could see exactly where this yummy dessert came from. No one believed the macaroons were made from a frozen dough.

I went back to Tom Thumb yesterday hoping the macaroons would be on sale so I could buy a few extras but no luck. Still $6.49 but also still a bunch left so I’ll be checking back next week as well.

If you have time, check the frozen kosher for Passover section at your local grocery store to see if they have this easy dessert. It’s definitely worth having in your freezer for those times you need to whip up a quick dessert for guests or even an after-school snack.

A Hidden Passover Dessert Gem

Standard

Passover Crumb CakeYou may recall as part of my Passover Cooking Frenzy, I made a Crumb Cake from the Passover by Design cookbook. I didn’t have high hopes for the cake because it looked like, well … sand. It appeared to be so dry that I called my MIL and asked if she could bring another dessert because I was afraid mine would end up in the trash.

Let me tell you that we were all so pleasantly surprised by this cake. I think it’s the Passover diamond cake in the rough because the taste is completely amazing. It looks like sand but has a moist, fluffy, almost angel food cake like taste. And what’s even more odd is that there is a hint of apple flavor in the cake, even though there’s not an apple anywhere to be found. Even my hubbie, who is not a dessert person, loves this cake.

I tried to find an online version of this “beauty” but had no luck. So if you have the Passover by Design cookbook, it’s on page 248. If not, drop me a comment and I’ll hook you up.

If you have some free time tomorrow, whip this cake up for Shabbos. The recipe calls for ingredients you probably already have in your pantry (yes, even during passover) and it’s super easy to make:

  • Sugar
  • Brown Sugar
  • Baking Powder
  • Vanilla sugar
  • Vegetable Oil
  • Eggs
  • Potato Starch
  • Cinnamon
  • Butter or Margarine
  • Ladyfinger cookies (or any kind of Passover boxed cookies that crumble well)

Enjoy the rest of your Passover and Happy Kosher Treif Cooking!