Category Archives: Treif food

Kosher, cheesy lasagna soup with Italian sausage

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As a treif-loving girl, one of the foods I’ve missed most since taking on Kosher status is Lasagna. Sure, I can make the all-dairy kind of Lasagna, and while it’s good, it’s just not quite the same as the meaty, cheesy treif version.

So I was more than thrilled to come across a recipe (I first saw this recipe via a Facebook post) for Lasagna soup from a Farmgirl’s Dabbles. I read the recipe and accepted the challenge to turn this treif dish into something eatable for us Kosher-keeping folks.

Here’s the ingredient list with my exceptions:

  • 2 tsp. olive oil
  • 1-1/2 lbs. Italian Sausage (Kosher Substitute: Tofurky Italian Sausage)
  • 3 cups chopped onions (I only used about 1/2 of an onion)
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 T. tomato paste (I assume the T. means tablespoons)
  • 1 29-oz. can fire roasted diced tomatoes
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 6 cups chicken stock (Kosher Substitute: Imagine Vegetarian No-Chicken Broth)
  • 8 oz. mafalda or fusilli pasta (I couldn’t find either so I used the twist pasta I had in my pantry)
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped fresh basil leaves (I used 3 or 4 leaves)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

For the cheesy yummy part:

  • 8 oz. ricotta
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • Pinch of freshly ground pepper
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese (Optional)

Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add sausage, breaking up into bite sized pieces (I chopped up the Tofurky Italian sausage into small pieces) and brown for about 5 minutes. Add onions and cook until softened, about 6 minutes. Add garlic, oregano, and red pepper flakes. Cook for 1 minute. Add tomato paste and stir well to incorporate. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes, or until the tomato paste turns a rusty brown color.

Add diced tomatoes, bay leaves, and chicken stock (I used a skillet for the sausage mixture and then added it to the soup mixture in a pot). Stir to combine. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes.

For the next step, as suggested in the recipe, I cooked the pasta in a separate pot and then added some to individual bowls before ladling the soup over them because I wasn’t sure if my daughter would eat the soup, but I KNOW she’ll always eat pasta and cheese. Right before serving, stir in the basil and season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

While the pasta is cooking, prepare the cheesy yum. In a small bowl, combine the ricotta, Parmesan, salt and pepper.

To serve, place a dollop of the cheesy yum in each soup bowl, sprinkle some of the mozzarella on top and ladle the hot soup over the cheese.

I used a slightly different method to serve. I first placed the pasta in a serving bowl and added the cheesy mixture (ricotta, Parmesan, and Mozzarella). Next, I ladled the soup over the pasta and sprinkled extra Parmesan on top.

I served with baked mixed vegetables (sweet potatoes, etc.) and a bottle of what my friend likes to call “the Kosher version of two-buck chuck” wine from Trader Joes. I’ve recently learned they have a Kosher version of this wine so I decided to give it a try … sadly, it wasn’t my favorite so I probably won’t buy it again, which is a shame since it cost only $4.

Lasagna wine

Enjoy and happy Kosher Treif cooking!

More Kosher Treif Chips for your enjoyment – Maple Bacon

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Kosher Maple Bacon Chips

My hubbie is on a mission now any time he goes to the store. He’s looking for funny, Kosher Treif food to bring home and test. This week he discovered Maple Bacon flavored chips from Kettle. This follows his last discovery of Baby Back Ribs chips and prime steak chips.

Keep the Kosher Treif coming honey! Anyone else have a good Kosher Treif food item to share?

Happy Kosher Treif Cooking!

Facon, Lettuce & Tomato Sandwich

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Facon Lettuce and Tomato Sandwich

It doesn’t get anymore Kosher Treif than this! Tonight I made myself a Facon, Lettuce and Tomato Sandwich. That’s right. I said it … and it was so delicious!

I’ve been craving a BLT for months and when my husband discovered Jack’s Gourmet Kosher Facon at our local Tom Thumb grocery store, I knew I was in business.  The Facon is pricey for sure at around $8 for a small package but some times a girl Jack's Gourmet Kosher Faconjust needs to splurge a little to get her favorite Treif treat.

Facon is a little tricky to cook because, unlike real bacon, Facon broke apart very easily when I tried to remove it from the package. Instead of looking like bacon, it just looked like thin strips and pieces of meat cooking in the skillet, but the taste totally made up for the stringy consistency.

I fried the facon on medium high heat for about 8 minutes, just until it was crispy and drained it on a paper towel to get rid of some of the grease. Next, I toasted 2 slices of bread, covered both sides with mayo, added lettuce, tomatoes and … FACON … and ate the yummy goodness.

The edges of one piece of the Facon were very tough, probably because I cooked it too long so I’ll have to play around with he cooking time but hey, any bacon-like substitute is better than no bacon-like food at all.

I ate every bite and was relieved when my daughter said no to my offer to share. Get thyself to the store today and buy yourself some of Jack’s Gourmet Facon. Then let me know how you koshered-up your treif!

Happy Kosher Treif Cooking!

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

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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.

Kosher Meat and Potato Roll

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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 Imitation Crab Quiche

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Kosher Imitation Crab QuicheOne of my inspirations for starting this blog was my discovery of Kosher Imitation Crab. I love crab and had really missed having it in my new Kosher life, when I discovered a Kosher crab option. I experimented with a fake crab salad and also making Sushi/California rolls. But I hadn’t done much else with it because let’s face it, not a lot of Kosher cookbooks include recipes that call for crab meat. I finally broke down last week and pulled out a very old copy of a Southern Living cookbook (1987) and found lots of interesting recipes for crab meat, as well as something called Squirrel Fricassee. While I probably won’t be looking for a Kosher substitute for squirrel anytime soon, I did get very excited about all of the crab meat ideas.

I decided to try one of my newly found recipes out last night at a family Hanukkah gathering. I made a Crab Meat Quiche and a Mushroom Quiche (Thanks for the Quiche suggestion from Jamie Kreitman). The Crab Quiche is on the left in the photo and the Mushroom one is on the right. Both were delicious but the Crab Meat Quiche was definitely a bigger hit than the Mushroom one. The Mushroom Quiche did not get as solid as I would have liked so it had a bit of a mushy consistency. I might try adding some flour to that recipe if I ever make it again. If you’re interested in the mushroom recipe, let me know and I’ll share it with you.

If, like me, you are ready to have some more crab meat in your life, here’s details for the Crab Quiche:

Kosher Imitation Crab Quiche
(1987 Southern Living Cookbook, page 218)

Ingredients:

Pastry for 9-inch pie (I bought the ready-made pie crusts that can be found in the frozen dessert section at the grocery store)
2 eggs beaten
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 cup milk
1 (6-ounce) package frozen crab meat, thawed and drained (The Kosher Imitation Crab I use (Dyna Sea) comes in a 16 ounce package so I measured out 6 ounces and saved the rest for something else. I also chopped up the crab pieces so they were smallish bite-sized chunks) Kosher Imitation Crab
2 cups (8 ounces) shredded Swiss Cheese (I could only find kosher swiss cheese slices in Dallas so I had to sort of bunch them up and shred … which was a bit of a pain)
1/3 cup chopped green onions

Directions:

Line a 9-inch quiche dish with pastry. Trim excess pastry around edges. Prick bottom and sides of paastry with a fork. Bake at 400 degrees for 3 minutes; remove from oven, and gently prick with a fork. Bake an additonal 5 minutes. (I skipped this step because I used a ready-made frozen pie crust).

Combine eggs, mayonnaise, flour, and milk; mix thoroughly. Stir in crabmeat, cheese and green onions. Spoon mixture into pastry shell (or pie crust). Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until set. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Yield: one 9-inch quiche.

Verdict:

Delish! Everyone LOVED it. And best of all, it’s easy and quick. And since it is dairy, we were able to eat the yummy Tiramisu Cheesecake for dessert, which my MIL said was one of the best desserts she has ever had. It was a lovely evening. Speaking of Tiramisu Cheesecake, if you haven’t done so already, don’t forget to leave a comment on my Tiramisu post for a chance to win some great prizes from the Hanukkah blog party.

Happy Kosher Treif Cooking and Happy Hanukkah!

Kosher Chicken Cordon Bleu

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Many years ago, I went to work for a company that was in process of relocating from New York City to Dallas. They temporarily moved me and a coworker (who I didn’t meet until we were at the airport) to train in NY for several weeks. We had the opportunity to work in the city and explore like tourists after work. We had a blast. We lived in a great apartment at 53rd & 7th. There was a Ray’s Pizza on the 1st floor of our building that seemed to stay open all night – and we didn’t mind one bit. This was long before my Kosher-keeping days.

One evening, a NY coworker offered to cook us dinner. He banged around in our kitchen for a while and finally came out with the most unbelievable food. It was my first experience with Chicken Cordon Bleu and I was in love. It was the most juicy, yummy chicken (and ham and cheese) I’d ever tasted. Said coworker later taught me how to make this amazing chicken and I prepared that dish several times later before starting to keep Kosher. Of all the foods I miss now, Chicken Cordon Bleu has to be at the top of my list.

I’ve been thinking about recreating Chicken Cordon Bleu in a kosher form for some time now and finally got around to trying it for Friday night dinner this past week. When I did a Google search, I found a kosher version on the Joy of Kosher site by Ahuva Staum but she used a mayonnaise based dressing as a substitute for the cheese. I wasn’t ready to give up on the cheese part of this dish so I found a regular recipe for Chicken Cordon Bleu on Allrecipes.com and combined the two. Here’s how it went:

Kosher Chicken Cordon Bleu

  •  4 or 5 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
  • Slices of deli meat. (I used 3 thin pieces of Salami in each chicken breast)
  • Pareve Soy cheese (I used Follow your Heart Vegan Gourmet Mozzarella)
  • 2 eggs beaten
  • 1 cup white flour
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1 cup Panko
  • Spices to taste (I used salt & pepper)

So freaky to see chicken, salami and cheese all together when prepping a Kosher Dish! OK, the cheese is fake : )

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 9 x 11 baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. Fold parchment paper around chicken breasts and pound them to ¼ inch thickness. Be careful not to rip the flesh.
  3. Mix together the breading mix, spicing to your taste – white flour, breadcrumbs, Panko and spices such as salt, pepper, Italian seasonings.
  4. Sprinkle each chicken breast on both sides with salt and pepper. Place 1 slice “mock” cheese and 3 slices of deli meat (salami) on top of each breast.  Roll up each breast, and secure with toothpicks. The Vegan Gourmet Mozzarella comes in a block so I sliced it into fairly thick slices about ¼” thick. I wrapped 3 thin slices of the Salami around the slice of cheese and added to center of chicken breast.
  5. Gently  dip each rolled chicken breast into the egg and then roll in the breading  mix until completely covered and lay in your 9 x 11 baking dish. Lightly spray each breast with Pam or other cooking spray.
  6. Now  here’s where I was a bit lazy. The Joy of  Kosher recipe says to fry the Chicken Cordon Bleu and this is exactly how I was taught to make it back in NY but I wasn’t in the mood to deal with flying grease so I chose the baking method from the All Recipes directions. I think the chicken would have turned out better  if I’d gone the frying route and I will definitely try this next time.
  7. Bake  for 30 – 35 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink. Remove from oven and place ½ cheese slice on top of each breast. Return to oven for 3 to 5  minutes or until cheese has melted. I ended up having to broil the chicken on high for about 3 minutes to get the cheese to melt. That darn pareve cheese is stubborn.
  8. Remove  toothpicks and serve immediately. Now I learned an interesting lesson when I removed the toothpicks and you can probably see it in the photo. I used colored toothpicks so the chicken has some blue spots on it where I inserted blue toothpicks. So good rule to remember … don’t use colored toothpicks : )

The Verdict

Overall, it was not a bad first attempt at making Kosher Chicken Cordon Bleu. The cheese inside the chicken breasts did not melt so that yummy, oozing cheese/salami mixture was definitely missing. And the breading was not as crispy as I remember from my Treif days. I’m wondering if frying would have taken care of both of those problems.

I’m thinking for the next round, I might use the same cheese, which has a nice taste by the way, and also add the mayonnaise mixture that Ahuva Staum suggested. Also, the original Chicken Cordon Bleu recipe calls for Swiss cheese and I couldn’t find a mock Swiss cheese at Wholefoods but I love Mozzarella so went with that.

Have any of you attempted Kosher Chicken Cordon Bleu? If so, please share how you made it.

Happy Kosher Treif Cooking!