New Yummy Brownie Recipe

This recipe turns out fudgy with a crackly top.

  • 1/4 cup salted butter
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 8 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
  • 4 tablespoons cocoa 
  • 1/4 teaspoon espresso powder
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 light brown sugar
  • 3 extra large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • a very heavy 2/3 cup all-purpose flour (recipe called for 2/3 cup, but I’d say I added an extra 2 tablespoons of flour to that)
  • 1/2 kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

I made this recipe today in honor of my grandson Noah’s seventh birthday.  It was his special request. When they came out of the oven, my son Benji couldn’t wait to eat one warm.  He said, “You can’t buy brownies like these anywhere- in a restaurant, supermarket, anywhere.”

Over a pot of simmering water, put a glass bowl.  Put butter and oil in, melt a bit, and put chocolate chips in.  Mix over simmering water till melted.  Take bowl off heat.  Add cocoa, sugars, espresso, eggs, vanilla.  Mix till blended.  Add flour, baking powder, salt.  Mix with rubber spatula just till blended.  Grease pan.  Put parchment paper in with overhang.  Grease parchment.  Put batter in.  Bake at 350 for about 20 min. till toothpick comes out clean. Cool before slicing.

Baby Naming Celebration

Today we celebrated my granddaughter’s baby naming. It was at my house, and it was a beautiful occasion.  My daughter and son said some prayers, my grandsons read a poem, and we all ate lots of delicious food. It also was the Jewish holiday of Shavuous, and so we enjoyed some outstanding dairy dishes.

My menu was:

Sister’s Noodle Kugel

Another Kugel (not as good)

2 macaroni and cheese casseroles

1 spanikopita

1 mushroom quiche

1 blueberry french toast casserole (the favorite dish of the day, along with the macaroni and cheese, and Sister’s Noodle Kugel

lox

whitefish

whitefish salad

tuna salad with celery (used some Minute Maid lemon juice and Hellman’s mayonnaise and I got many compliments)

egg salad ( I use Litehouse chive, Hellman’s mayonnaise, salt, and pepper, and I make the egg salad in the food processor)

homemade macaroni salad with carrots, celery, and sweet red pepper

sliced red onion and  sliced tomato

herring

bagels, cream cheese, and butter

sliced swiss and munster

sliced Hebrew National bologna and salami

Dessert:

homemade chocolate chip cookies

Judy’s Perfect Birthday Cake

a chocolate cake with chocolate icing (recipe I used  was not as good as That Chocolate Cake recipe used in past)

Judy’s Newer Cheesecake with Oreo Crust- amazing!!!- many compliments

fresh strawberries and blueberries

watermelon

Judy’s Blueberry French Toast Casserole/ Bread Pudding

For my new granddaughter’s baby naming party, I wanted to make one more spectacular hot brunch item. I’ve made my french toast bread pudding recipe a few times to rave reviews, but there’s something I don’t like about it, and that’s the syrup that’s on the bottom.  It’s too sweet for me, mostly. I found a recipe on Kitchen Treaty called Cinnamon Blueberry Overnight French Toast that I mixed with my own recipe. So I pretty much kept the custard part of my recipe, added a sprinkling of blueberries, and sprinkled the top with a mixture of cinnamon and sugar.  Most importantly, when I took the masterpiece out of the oven, I drizzled the entire top of it with pure maple syrup.  Oh my gosh, I can’t express how delicious this was.  Everyone who ate it loved it and commented on the absolute perfection of the dish.  My daughter called me to tell me that I need to make one entire casserole for her family because she did not get enough of it and because her husband got none.  This is an outstanding recipe, and what makes it even better is that you can prepare it a few hours ahead, or the night before, as I did, and bake it off the next day.

for the custard:

  • 1 challah (I use Zommick’s 15 oz. challah, which I buy at Stop and Shop
  • 8 extra jumbo eggs
  • 2 cups light cream
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • pinch kosher salt
  • 1 1/2  to 2 cups of blueberries (optional, but I used them)

for the topping:

  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon 

essential ingredient for serving:

about 4-6 oz. pure maple syrup- medium grade

Directions:

1.  Cut the challah into slices about 1 inch thick.  Then cut the slices into pieces about 1 to 1 1/2 inches big.  Let them sit out to get a little stale.  If I don’t have the time for that, I put them on a cookie sheet and stick them in a 200 degree oven for about 15-20 minutes (I did this for baby naming party).

2.  Grease sides and bottom of large oval or rectangular 9 by 13 pan with butter.

3.  Place the pieces of challah in so they fit like a puzzle.  If you have to squeeze a few in, that’s fine, but use the entire challah.

4.  Sprinkle the blueberries on top of the challah pieces; you can push some of them down a little into some crevices.

5.  Whisk the eggs, light cream, sugar, cinnamon, salt, vanilla in a mixing bowl. Ladle the custard evenly over the bread.

6.  Refrigerate over night or for a few hours till you are ready to bake.

7.  Before you put into the oven, sprinkle the topping evenly over the top, using all of it.

8.  Bake at 350 degrees for about 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 min. until top is puffed (even the center) and a toothpick comes out clean.

9.  Take out of the oven, and immediately drizzle the maple syrup all over the  top of the casserole.

10.  Serve immediately!

Fluffier Chocolate Chip Cookies

I tried a recipe for chocolate chip cookies that includes a bit of cornstarch in it.  I also used unsalted margarine instead of butter since my grandson may have a dairy allergy.  The cookies came out soft and fluffy and delicious.

  • 3/4 cup (1.5 sticks unsalted Fleishmann’s margarine, softened to room temperature
  • 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup  granulated sugar
  • 1 extra large egg, at room temperature
  • 2 scant teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups unbleached organic flour
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon aluminum free baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 12 oz. semi sweet chocolate chips

Mix margarine in mixer till quite soft.  Add sugars and beat till fluffy.  Add egg and vanilla and mix till fluffy.  Add dry ingredients just until blended.  Add chocolate chip cookies.

Bake at 350 degrees till just beginning to brown around the edges.

Back to Basics Macaroni and Cheese

When my children were little, I found a recipe for macaroni and cheese on the back of the Creamettes box.  This was the recipe I made for years and years.  I recently made it again instead of the recipe I’ve made for the last 10 years (Judy’s Creamy and Delicious Macaroni and Cheese), and I discovered that I may like it more because it seems a little less rich.  It’s basically the same as my current recipe except that it has much less cheese.

  • 2 cups elbows (I like Creamettes) (about 1/2 of 1 lb. box)
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • scant 1/2 teaspoon black pepper 
  • 10 oz. Land o’Lakes yellow American cheese
  • 2 1/2 cups whole milk 

Melt butter in saucepan.  Add flour, salt, and pepper.  Whisk over medium heat for about 2 minutes.  Add milk gradually.  Whisk over medium heat for about 10 minutes till starts to thicken a little, but not too much.  Add in the cheese.

Cook pasta in boiling water till just cooked- not overcooked.  Drain in colander.  Butter a casserole dish.  Pour sauce into casserole.  Pour the macaroni noodles in and mix together till noodles are evenly coated with the sauce.

Cook at 375 degrees for about an hour till the cheese starts to rise to top and brown and the edges start to get brown and crusty looking.

Homemade Ranch Dressing/Dip

I made this dressing/dip today to go with some of my fried chicken fingers.  I’m always motivated to make food my daughter, her husband, and especially my grandchildren will love, and chicken fingers are a pretty sure bet.  I made some homemade fried chicken fingers and a big fresh salad.  Tonight we’ll slice up the chicken and add it to the salad and drizzle it with this yummy dressing.  And as for the kids, they’ll undoubtedly opt for no salad and dipping their chicken fingers in ketchup.

***

I’m back home and feeling wonderful about the day I spent with my daughter and my grandkids. When my youngest grandson Ezra was savoring his first chicken tender, I said, “Did you know that Safta (that’s me) made these for you?”  He answered so adorably, “No, Safta, I didn’t know that.”  His cuteness is almost too much for me.

When my daughter took her first bite of the chicken dipped in my sauce, she shook her head and said, “Oh, this is so good.”  Her response was worth any effort I expended.

  • 1 cup Fage 2% plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup Hellmann’s mayonnaise
  • 1 large garlic clove, grated
  • about 7 chives, minced
  • about 20 grinds black pepper
  • about 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • about 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • about 1/2 teaspoon Litehouse brand freeze dried dill
  • about 5 shakes hot sauce, about 1/4 to 1/3 cup buttermilk (I used Friendship 1.5%)
  • rind of 1 lemon
  • juice of 1 lemon

Mix all ingredients together in medium bowl; add more buttermilk if it’s too thick; refrigerator.

5 Ingredient Homemade Beefaroni

I’m always trying new recipes I think my grandkids might like.  I made this simple recipe yesterday.  I was skyping with my son Benji who’s in Vietnam right now.  We were discussing all the different recipes he wants me to make when he gets home in a few weeks. I was showing him pictures of the beefaroni I was cooking and he told me that on the night he gets home from Vietnam, he wants that dish waiting for him.

  • 1 lb. good chop meat (I bought Whole Foods short rib chop meat)
  • 1 28 oz. can organic Cento chunky style crushed tomatoes in puree
  • 1 medium to large onion chopped
  • about 6-7 garlic cloves chopped
  • salt
  • pepper
  • dried oregano (about 1 teaspoon)
  • about 3/4 lb. of pasta (I used De Cecco wagon wheels)
  • parmesan for serving

Saute onion for a few minutes in about 2 tablespoons olive oil till soft.  Add garlic and saute a few minutes. Add chop meat and brown over low flame.  Add salt and pepper and oregano.  Then add tomatoes and pure.  Break up the chunks of tomatoes with the spoon or spatula you are using to mix.  Cook over medium to low flame about 15-20 min dvakotla.com.ua.  You don’t want to reduce or lose too much of liquid, cause you’ll need it.

Boil your water and cook pasta till al dente.  Drain, and add about 3/4 of the box or pound to the meat sauce.  You’re ready to serve.  If you are serving it later, just heat it up in the microwave, because baking it in oven will dry it out.

Passover Menu 2014

It was wonderful having the second night of Passover at my house, except for part of my family’s absense.

I’m glad the food was appreciated and yummy.

Here’s the menu:

  • homemade chicken soup with matzo balls and soup nuts
  • homemade chopped liver with Passover Tam Tams
  • not homemade, but just fine gefilte fish with chraine (horseradish)
  • Ashkenazi charoset
  • brisket
  • roast chicken
  • steamed asparagus
  • Aunt  Florence’s cucumber salad
  • Ellen’s pineapple Passover kugel
  • Judy’s and Shirley’s twice baked potatoes
  • homemade cranberry sauce
  • Passover apple crisp (warm) with vanilla ice cream
  • Judy’s Passover brownies

Chicken Parmesan Meatballs in Tomato Cream Sauce

 These meatballs are so tasty, you definitely will not miss the beef.  They are so moist, and absolutely delectable in the tomato sauce and topped by the cheese.  Real comfort food for a cold winter night.

Ingredients

For the sauce: 

  • 1 (28 oz.) can whole plum tomatoes (Cento San Marzano Organic in puree is my first choice)
  • 11/2 tbsp. butter
  • ¼ cup finely chopped onion
  • 2 tbsp. organic tomato paste
  • 2 large cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ tsp. red pepper flakes
  • kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream

For the meatballs: 

  • 3/4 cup panko
  • 3/4 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 lbs. ground chicken
  • 2 1/2  tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. tomato paste

To finish: 

  • 4-8 oz. shredded mozzarella
  • 2 tbsp. freshly grated Parmesan
  • 2-3 tbsp. minced fresh basil (optional)

 

Instructions:

  •  Puree tomatoes in food processor until smooth, reserving puree.   Melt the butter in a 2-3 qt. pot and saute onion and garlic till translucent, adding red pepper flakes.  Stir in the tomato paste, and mix for a minute.  Stir in tomato puree and reserved puree in can, add salt and pepper, lower the flame, and simmer for about 10 min.  Take off heat, and add the cream. Set aside.
  • To make the meatballs, combine the ground chicken, panko, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, pepper, eggs, and tomato paste.  Stir together with a fork just until blended.   With wet hands, form the mixture into meatballs about 1½-inch in diameter.
  • In large nonstick pan, pour about 2-3 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil, and heat.  Add meatballs, and brown on all sides.  Sprinkle with a little kosher salt as they saute.  Pour tomato sauce in bottom of baking dish.  Add meatballs on top.  Sprinkle with parmesan cheese and mozzarella and refrigerate until ready to serve.  Then  heat the oven to 400? F.   Put covered baking dish in oven for about 45 min.  Take cover off, put broiler on and broil till cheese browns for about 5-8 min.  Garnish with fresh basil if desired.
  • Serve with pasta or plain with good Italian bread.