I’m really not much of a freezer person, but there is one recipe that I make every year for the holidays and it’s this one. These mini pumpkin pies are so festive and seasonal, and they’re great to have in the freezer as a pretty and delicious side dish. I always have them on hand for last minute company and they are so kid-friendly too.
What I love about this pie is that it’s very adaptable. If you are nut free, use oats in the streusel in place of nuts. You can make large or mini pies and swap in different types of milk or oils. You can make your own pie dough or pumpkin puree, if you’re so inclined, or go for the easy store-bought variety. In short, stock your freezer and you can thank me later!
Mini Pumpkin Pies with Pecan Streusel
29oz. can pumpkin (not pie filling)
3/4 c brown sugar
1/2 c almond or coconut milk
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla
Pinch of salt
30 mini pie shells
2/3 c flour
1/2 c brown sugar
1/2 c chopped pecans (use oats for nut-free)
1/3 c oil
Pinch of salt
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a bowl, combine the pumpkin with brown sugar, milk, eggs, cinnamon, vanilla and salt. In a separate bowl, combine the topping ingredients until crumbly. Fill the pie shells with the filling and divide the streusel among the pies. Place on two parchment-lined baking sheets and bake for 45-55 minutes, until crust is lightly browned.
OPTIONAL: Melt some cookie butter and drizzle over pies before serving.
FREEZING INSTRUCTIONS: Place the pies in a single layer in the freezer and freeze until solid. Once frozen, you can layer the pies in a pan, with parchment between the layers. Wrap with saran wrap and foil. Bake the frozen tarts until heated through and serve.
A couple of months ago, the kosher culinary school that I attended sadly closed down. I remember bumping into another alumni and we shared our disappointment in the school’s closing. “Do you realize,” she said, “that our diplomas aren’t going to be worth anything anymore? Don’t you care?” I thought for a minute and realized, that no, I didn’t care, because it wasn’t really worth anything to me to begin with.
Being a Chef isn’t something you learn and file away in a drawer. It’s something you become, irregardless of schooling. A true chef never stops learning. They are constantly honing their skills, reading, watching and improving. I don’t need a piece of paper to show that I went to culinary school. The love that I put into my dishes, the effort that I put into my technique and the taste of the finished product is all a testament to my knowledge and understanding of food.
And still, I have a hard time calling myself a Chef. I have so much more to learn. I’ve never worked a restaurant kitchen. Never smoked a piece of meat. Never butchered anything. OK – never butchered anything correctly. Forgot how to break down a fish. Have yet to make a Thanksgiving turkey. Chef? I think not.
I so strongly believe this, that in the hundreds of cooking classes I’ve given around the country, I refuse to wear a Chef’s jacket and wear an apron instead. I feel like I’m a cook, just like my audience, and we’re learning together.
It’s this attitude that has allowed me to learn about interesting dishes and techniques, not necessarily from other Chef’s, but from average cooks. I’m always open to chatting about food and recipes, and hearing what’s cooking in other people’s kitchens. I’ve come home with amazing recipes from people I bump into in the supermarket, or on the train. I belong to lots of Facebook cooking groups and I love to browse through the Pages and see what’s cookin’ in other peoples kitchens.
Alas, and getting back on track here… that’s precisely how this recipe happened. I saw a recipe for an unstuffed cabbage with noodles made by Danielle Cooper Lader on the What’s for Supper Facebook page and it looked so amazing that I had to try my own version! I used my Bubby’s amazing cabbage & flanken soup recipe as my starting point and just went from there! It’s kind of a cross between lokshin and cabbage and stuffed cabbage, both popular Hungarian dishes that I grew up eating. And you know me and mashup recipes. This one is a winner!
In five years of blogging, this is my first time posting on a Saturday night, I just really wanted to get this up for you in time for the seconds days of the Chag! Soooo much easier than stuffed cabbage, and dare I say even more delicious. Chag Sameach!
Stuffed Cabbage Bolognese
2 tbsp olive oil
1 lg onion, peeled and sliced thinly into half rings
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 heaping tbsp tomato paste
2 lbs ground beef
salt and pepper, to taste
small head of cabbage, shredded
1 15oz. can tomato sauce
1 14.5oz. can diced tomatoes
1/2 cup water
Juice of 2 lemons
1/2 cup brown sugar (packed)
1/4 cup golden raisins, optional
1 pkg papardelle noodles, or other wide noodles
In a 5 qt pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic and saute until golden. Add the tomato paste and continue to saute for 2 minutes. Add the ground beef, season with salt and pepper, and cook until crumbly and no longer pink, breaking up the meat as it cooks. Add the cabbage, tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, water, lemon juice, brown sugar and raisins and bring the mixture to a boil. (Don’t worry if it seems there is too little liquid, the cabbage will break down as it cooks). Season with salt and pepper, reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes. If the sauce seems too thick, and not saucy enough (this will depend on how big your cabbage is), you may add a bit more water to desired consistency. If it’s not thick enough, simmer until thickened. Taste, and adjust seasoning to your liking (adding more brown sugar if you like it sweeter, or more lemon juice or a splash of apple cider vinegar if you like it more sour).
Cook the papardelle noodles according to package directions. If serving immediately, toss the noodles with the bolognese. If serving in advance, toss the pasta with a bit of oil right after draining so it doesn’t stick together. (Never rinse the pasta with water, and this removes the surface starch that helps it hold onto the sauce).
VARIATION: to make stuffed cabbage meatballs, prepare the sauce as follows: dice the onion and saute with the garlic, add the tomato paste and saute, then add 2 15oz. cans tomato sauce, 2 14.5oz cans diced tomatoes, 1 cup water, juice of 2 lemons, and 1 cup brown sugar. Add 1/2 head of cabbage and bring to a simmer . In a separate bowl, combine the beef with 2 extra-large eggs, 1 grated small onion, 1/3 cup breadcrumbs, 1/2 cup uncooked white rice, 1/4 cup ketchup, salt and pepper. Roll the mixture into balls and add to the sauce. Simmer for 1 hour.
I’ve been making the most incredible spinach matza balls since forever. It’s always been my little secret for taking traditional chicken soup from classic to over-the-top and with the holiday of Shavuot approaching, I wanted to put a festive spin on another classic recipe – minestrone.
I’m a huge fan of classic minestrone soup because I feel like it has something for everyone. And when you’ve got picky kids, you need a soup like that! It’s got potatoes for my daughter who won’t eat colored vegetables, pasta for my son who’s a pasta-holic, beans for my husband who loves protein-filled legumes, and plenty of basil and oregano for a pizza-style flavor that everyone loves!
I’m always switching up my minestrone soup to make it more fun – like that time I lightened things up by omitting the potatoes and added zoodles instead of pasta. I’ve also added shredded mozzarella and alphabet pasta along with the zoodles because I’m the best. mommy. ever. But this time, this time I’m going festive and sophisticated for the upcoming holiday with an Italian twist on the classic – chicken noodle matzo ball soup.
Nothing screams holiday more than matzo balls, and I have to admit, that while I’m normally a do-it-yourselfer, made-from-scratch kind of girl, I have a weakness for matzo ball mix. I don’t need any seltzer tricks and I don’t have to worry about sinkers vs. floaters because Lipton’s kosher matzo ball mix comes out fluffy every time! Now of course I have to give it the do-it-yourselfer-touch, so I add in the spinach because it’s so beautiful, so festive, and so irresistibly delicious!
Julienning the veggies adds another layer of finesse, and using a julienne peeler, one of my all-time-favorite kitchen utensils, makes it a cinch! With these simple changes, hearty minestrone is elevated to a sophisticated holiday-worthy creation that’s great for kids and adults alike. Just ask my daughter – she had three bowls for dinner (and she hates spinach!)!
It’s hard to believe that Shavuot is just 24 days away, and with Pesach Sheini this weekend, there’s no better way to celebrate than with a fun twist on a matza ball recipe.
But Passover IS in fact behind us, and with the holiday of cheesecakes and roses coming up soon, lets brush up on some favorites. Shall we?
Shavuot recipes abound here on BIB, so you can get your menu started by browsing through my Shavuot category or skim through the recipes in my index. It’s so hard to pick favorites (can you have a favorite child?!) but I can never get enough of harissa, feta & zaa’tar, I’m obsessed with this salad dressing (I make it all summer long!), these make the best gluten-free no-guilt appetizers, and this is the most elegant seasonal dessert you’ve ever seen. Oh, and lets not forget this insane recipe that went all-out viral when I made them back in 2013.
I think we’re off to a good start my friends. And I’ve got even more amazing things coming. Stay tuned!
In the meantime, happy matzo ballin’!
Spinach Matzo Ball Minestrone Soup
1 large onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 large stalk celery, diced
1 tbsp olive oil
2 carrots, peeled and julienned
1 large zucchini, julienned
3 heaping tbsp tomato paste
1 28oz. can diced tomatoes
1 tsp basil
1 tsp oregano
8 cups vegetable stock
salt and pepper, to taste
1 packet Lipton matzo ball mix
1 tbsp canola oil
1/4 cup chopped spinach (squeeze thawed frozen spinach to measure 1/4 cup)
6 oz. fine egg noodles, cooked according to package directions
Saute onion, garlic and celery in olive oil until translucent. Add tomato paste and saute until aromatics are fragrant and evenly coated. Add tomatoes, basil, oregano, stock, salt and pepper. Stir to combine the ingredients and bring the soup to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for 15 minutes.
While the soup is cooking, prepare the matzo balls. Mix 2 eggs with 1 tbsp of oil in a bowl. Add the matzo ball mix and spinach and stir with a fork until evenly combined. Refrigerate for 10 minutes.
Add the julienned carrots and zucchini to the soup. With wet hands, form matzo ball batter into small balls and place in the soup. Simmer for 15 minutes.
Serve with egg noodles.
VARIATION: I use this julienne peeler to easily create matchsticks. If you don’t have one, you may dice the carrot and zucchini and add to the pot after you saute the onion, garlic and celery. After several minutes, add the tomato paste and continue as above. Cook the soup until the vegetables are tender before adding the matza balls.
This post was sponsored by Lipton Kosher. All opinions are my own.
This post has been a long time in coming. And not just because it’s taken me a while to write it. But because it’s taken me a while to learn it. Like many home cooks, when it came to meat preparation, I was stumped. I didn’t understand the different cuts of meat or how to prepare them. After lots of reading, and a hands-on butchery class at The Center for Kosher Culinary Arts, I feel like I’m finally beginning to understand where my meat comes from and how to cook it. With the holidays upon us, I thought I should share some of that invaluable information with all of you!
In my guide, I speak about the different cuts of meat and where they come from on the animal. In a nutshell, tough cuts of meat requires slow, moist heat cooking to help break down the connective tissue and tenderize the meat. Braising, a combination cooking method involving dry and moist heat cooking, is a popular method used.
This deliciously tender brisket is braised with caramelized onions and beer, resulting in a mouthwatering gravy. First cut of brisket will yield a drier, less flavorful dish, while 2nd cut will yield a more tender flavorful meat. If you choose to use 2nd cut of brisket, don’t remove the excess fat until it’s done cooking. As the fat breaks down, it adds moisture and flavor to the meat, so if you want to remove it, it’s best to do so by refrigerating the meat after cooking and removing the congealed fat after it solidifies. In addition, cutting the brisket when it’s cold, minimizes it’s propensity for shredding.
Keep in mind, that since braising is the best method for cooking tough cuts of meat, you can use any tough cut in this recipe such as the French Roast, Chuck Roast, Shoulder Roast, or Deckle.
3 lbs. brisket (or any tough cut that requires braising)
salt and pepper, to taste
2 Spanish onions, peeled and thinly sliced
1/3 cup dark brown sugar
1 12oz. bottle beer, ale preferred
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
Season your brisket with salt and pepper and sear in an oven-safe pot over high heat on all sides. Set the meat aside. Add some oil to the pan and saute onions, picking up the little bits from the bottom of the pan as it cooks. Add brown sugar, salt and pepper and cook over medium-high heat until onions are golden, sticky and caramelized (about 25 minutes). Deglaze the pan with a bottle of beer. Add vinegar and brisket to the pot, cover tightly and bake at 325 degrees for 2 hours. Turn the brisket over and cook until fork-tender, 30 minutes-1 hour (or longer, use a fork to check tenderness).
Once cooled, remove the brisket from the pot and slice thinly against the grain. Serve with onion gravy.
TIP: If the gravy needs thickening, let it cook uncovered over high heat until it reduces to desired consistency. Adjust seasoning, if needed.
VARIATION: for more flavor, you may add some fresh rosemary, thyme or dried bay leaves.
NOTE: For a larger brisket, cook for an additional 30 minutes – 1 hour per lb, until fork tender. Add additional beer, if necessary, so that 1/3rd of the meat is covered in liquid.