Spinach, Mushroom, Swiss Cheese, And Egg Casserole

This delectable vegetarian dish is a cross between a frittata, a souffle, a quiche, and a casserole.  The last time I made this delicious dish was when I made my daughter Randi’s bridal shower.  This dish made an incredible hit, and many people asked me for the recipe.  I like to make this because I can do most of the prep work a day in advance, and then it’s a breeze to pop it into the oven.  This is a wonderful dish for a brunch or a family breakfast, or for a special occasion.  You will love this!

    • 1 Tbsp. oil (I use any olive oil for this)
    • 1 large or 2 medium onions, diced
    • 10 oz. mushrooms, sliced, and brushed off or lightly rinsed and dried (use your favorite mushrooms- I usually use white)
    • 9-10 oz. prewashed baby spinach
    • 10 extra large or jumbo eggs
    • 2 cups shredded Swiss or Gruyere cheese (about 8-10 oz. -I like to use a combination of the two cheeses, but that isn’t necessary) – then divide your cheese in half
    • 1 cup of half and half
    • Kosher salt
    • freshly cracked black pepper
    • cayenne or red pepper flakes – optional

You can do this part of the prep in advance and then refrigerate until you are ready to bake:

Grease sides and bottom of a 9 x 13 rectangular or oval baking dish with butter or margarine.

Heat oil in large saute pan on medium high until oil is hot.  If you are using crushed red pepper flakes for a little heat, sprinkle about 1/2 teaspoon of them into the oil.   Add onions; saute 2-3 minutes until translucent. Add mushrooms; saute 5 minutes until the mushrooms are starting to brown a little.  Add about 1 teaspoon salt and about 15-20 grinds of black pepper (about 1/2 teaspoon), and if you are using the cayenne instead of the red pepper flakes, sprinkle about 1/4 teaspoon in. Turn off the heat.  Add the spinach, and mix in so that the spinach wilts and turns a darker color.  Spread the onion, spinach, mushroom mixture in the bottom of the greased baking dish; top with half of the shredded cheese.  This can now be covered and put into the fridge until you are ready to bake it.

When you are ready to bake, follow these steps:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Beat eggs with half and half in mixing bowl. Add a little more salt and pepper to taste (about 1/2 teaspoon of each).  Pour the egg mixture over the vegetables and cheese; top with the remaining 1 cup of shredded cheese.

Bake 35-40 minutes until eggs are puffed and set and top is lightly browned.  You should not see any liquid from the eggs.  If you do, bake another 5-10 minutes.  If the top isn’t browned, turn the setting in the oven to broil, and cook 1-2 minutes, but watch very carefully so you don’t burn this masterpiece!

Serve immediately!

Note:  You can do all the preparation and then bake this at the same time.  But if you are making this for company, doing the prep work a few hours in advance or the night before takes all the anxiety away.

Greek-Style Shrimp Scampi

This Dish Is A Treat For Your Tastebuds!

This is a wonderful dish that I concocted and cooked for my daughter Randi and her husband Dan last summer.  They are both huge aficionados of Greek food and they were getting ready to go on a trip to Greece.  They wanted to get into the spirit of things, so I cooked them a shrimp dish with a distinctive Greek flavor.  They both went crazy for this dish!

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 5-6 garlic cloves minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 pint of grape or cherry tomatoes, halved if you are using larger cherry tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 pound of raw extra large shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1/2 cup of fresh Italian parsley, chopped and divided 1/4 cup and 1/4 cup
  • 4 oz. feta cheese, crumbled
  • 1/2 pound of spaghetti
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (use a little of the grated rind if you like a more intense lemony flavor)
  • a few grinds of freshly cracked pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Heat the olive oil in a large skillet.  Add the red pepper flakes and the minced garlic.  Saute 1 minute over low flame.  Add the tomatoes.  Sprinkle the tomatoes with the salt and 1/4 cup of the parsley.  Saute over medium flame until the tomatoes start to look soft or cracked- about 3-4 minutes.  Add the shrimp, and cook for about 3-4 minutes just until the shrimp are starting to not look raw.  Take off stove.  Put into casserole dish.  Sprinkle crumbled feta on top and bake in a preheated 400 degree oven for about 10 minutes. Take out of oven and sprinkle shrimp with reserved 1/4 cup chopped parsley and 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice and a little freshly cracked black pepper.

Cook spaghetti while shrimp is in the oven.   When you are ready to serve, put a portion of spaghetti on each dinner plate, and then a portion of the shrimp on top of the spaghetti.

Notes: 

1.  You can serve over rice instead of over spaghetti.

2.  You can prepare the dish ahead up until the point where you put the shrimp in the casserole dish, cover it and then refrigerate it.  About a half hour before you put it in the 400 degree oven, take it out of the fridge and let it come up to room temperature.  Then bake in the 400 degree oven for 10 minutes.

Passover Spinach Pie Or Passover Spanikopita

This Is The Best Recipe For Passover Spinach Pie Or Passover Spanikopita!

Last year, our wonderful friends, the Slotnicks, invited us over for a Passover Seder.  I wanted to bring a main course dish that my daughter and her husband, who are both vegetarians, would enjoy.  My daughter loves the Greek dish called spanikopita or spinach pie, so I decided to create my own Passover version of it.  It turned out delicious!  And it only took about 30 minutes to prepare.  We’re getting very close to Passover, and I definitely plan to make this Passover spanikopita for Seder or just for a light dinner this year!

    • about 6 matza boards
    • 5 extra large or jumbo eggs (3 for filling, 2 for pouring over the top)
    • 1-10 ounce box of frozen spinach, defrosted and drained well
    • 8 ounces of feta cheese, crumbled
    • 1/2 of a medium onion, chopped finely
    • about 1/2 teaspoon of fresh ground black pepper
    • 1 teaspoon of dried dill or 2 tablespoons of fresh chopped dill
  • about 2-3 tablespoons of butter or margarine, plus extra for greasing the pan

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Grease sides and bottom of  a 9 x 13 pyrex or ceramic baking dish well with butter or margarine.

In a medium mixing bowl, gently mix the drained spinach with the crumbled feta, the chopped raw onion, 3 eggs the pepper, and the dill; set aside.

Soak about 3 matzas in warm water in another 9 x 13 baking dish.  When the matza starts to soften, gently squeeze the water out, very carefully, so that you don’t crumble the matza.  Then place the matzas in the bottom of the pan to cover it.  Do not overlap the matza; just lay it side by side covering the bottom of the pan the way you would if you were making lasagna.

Spread the entire spinach mixture evenly over the matza, covering the matza completely.  Then soak another 3 matzas in warm water, gently squeeze out excess water, and place the matza over the top of the spinach, covering the spinach completely.  Beat the remaining 2 eggs and pour over the matza.  Dot with butter or margarine.  Bake covered for about 30 minutes till hot and bubbly.

Note #1:  You can prepare this in advance and refrigerate this up until the step where you pour the 2 beaten eggs over the matza.  Then when you wish to bake it, let it come to room temperature for about 30 minutes, pour the 2 beaten eggs over it, dot it with butter or margarine and bake covered, for about 30 minutes or until hot and bubbly.

Note #2:  You may substitute 1 pound of fresh spinach for the frozen, but you will need to saute it (very briefly) in a little oil, butter or margarine, just until it wilts and turns a dark green before you mix it with the feta, egg, onion, pepper, and dill. I like to use the frozen spinach, because 1-16 ounce box of frozen spinach is equivalent to much more than 1 pound of fresh spinach.

Baked Penne, Ziti, Or Campagnelle With Red Peppers, Onions, Mushrooms, Olives, Tomatoes, and Fresh Mozzarella

This Baked Pasta With Vegetables Is Better Than Anything You Will Eat In A Restaurant! 

At least ten years ago, I had an absolutely delicious baked pasta dish at a great restaurant in Westfield, New Jersey called Ferrara’s.  The pasta was amazing, but I never saw it again on their menu.  I have been working on recreating that dish, and I finally have!  I made this for my daughter and her husband this week.  They are vegetarians and they enjoy pasta dishes that have lots of veggies.  They loved this as much as I did.  My daughter kept repeating, “This is so flavorful!” Her husband really liked it, too.   I recommend making this if you are in the mood for baked ziti, but you’re a little bored with it.  Please give this recipe a try.  It is truly delicious!

    • 1 pound pasta -(I used Barilla’s campagnelle, which look like little trumpets.  This shape pasta is awesome!  If I couldn’t find campagnelle, I would substitute penne.)
    • about 10 oz. of whole milk ricotta cheese (may substitute part-skim)
    • 1/2 cup of freshly grated romano or parmigiana cheese
    • 1/2 cup fresh Italian parsley, chopped
    • 1/4 cup of starchy pasta water (reserved from when you cook the pasta)
    • 1 large, but not huge, red onion, quartered and thinly sliced (may use white or yellow onion)
    • about 6 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
    • 1 very large red bell pepper, seeded, quartered and thinly sliced into 1/4 inch slices
    • 1- 10 ounce box of baby bella mushrooms, thinly sliced (may substitute white mushrooms)
    • about 8 assorted black and green pitted olives, cut in halves or thirds – optional (I pick an assortment of marinated black and green olives with red pepper flakes, or garlic, or oregano from the olive bar at the supermarket)
    • 1-28 ounce can of crushed tomatoes
    • about 1/4 cup olive oil
    • 1 pound of fresh mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced
    • kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • crushed red pepper flakes
  • dried oregano

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Lightly oil a 9 x 13 rectangular or oval baking dish.   Bring a large pot of water to a boil for the pasta.

Heat a large skillet over medium heat with the olive oil.  Add about 1 teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes, and stir.  After about 2 minutes, add the peppers, onions,  and the mushrooms.  Sprinkle with some kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.  Let them sit without turning so the mushrooms have a chance to brown.  Turn after about 4 minutes, and let sit for 1 or two minutes, then mix.  Cook another 2 or so minutes and add the garlic.  Mix and cook another 2-4 minutes.  Vegetables should be softened by this time.  Add the crushed tomatoes and reduce the flame to low.  Add a little more salt and pepper and stir with a wooden spoon.   Add the olives.   Let simmer for a few minutes uncovered, then cover the pan and keep on a low simmer.

Start to boil the pasta, adding salt if you wish.  In a large mixing bowl, mix the ricotta cheese with the freshly grated romano cheese, the parsley, and a few grinds of freshly ground pepper, using a rubber spatula.  Then take about a half of a ladleful or 1/4 cup of the pasta water and mix it in with the ricotta cheese mixture.  The ricotta cheese mixture should become somewhat creamy.  Cook the pasta till al dente, drain it, and pour it into the bowl with the ricotta mixture.  Gently mix together using a rubber spatula.

Pour the pasta into the prepared baking dish.  Ladle the tomato and vegetable sauce over the pasta.  Gently mix it with a spoon,  but don’t go crazy.  It should just be slightly mixed together.  You don’t want the ricotta cheese to just blend into the tomato sauce.  Top with the all the thinly sliced fresh mozzarella cheese.  Sprinkle lightly with more crushed red pepper flakes, and then sprinkle evenly with about 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of oregano.

Bake for about 10 minutes at 375 degrees.  When the mozzarella cheese is starting to look really melty, change the setting on the oven to broil.  Watch very carefully and take out of the oven when the cheese starts to brown, after about 5-10 minutes.  Serve immediately.

Note#1:  Obviously, omit the olives if you don’t like them.  They add a definite taste to the dish, so you have to like them to use them!

Notes #2:  When I make this I often prepare it the day or night before I  will be serving it.  I do not slice or put the mozzarella on at this point.  The next day, I let the dish sit on the counter for about an hour.  I bake the dish at 375 degrees for about 40 minutes, covered with aluminum foil.  Then I take it out of the oven, uncover it, and put the sliced mozzarella on top, sprinkle it with some red pepper flakes and the oregano.  I put it back in the middle of the oven uncovered for about 10 minutes.  Then I change the setting on the oven to broil.  I  watch it as it broils for another 10 minutes or so just until the cheese started to brown.

Delicious Potato Kugel (for Passover or Anytime at all)

Make this  kugel- it’s like making a giant potato latke!

When I hear the phrase “potato kugel”, I remember back to when I was a very little girl.  My Grandma Fried lived in a small apartment in Perth Amboy, New Jersey.  Maybe once a month, my father would take my brother Kenny and me to visit her.  My Grandma Fried was a very kind, sweet woman who had had a very hard life.  She was a very loving grandmother.  What I remember so well is when we walked into the apartment building, I immediately smelled the delicious aroma of my grandmother’s potato kugel.  I know that my father loved her potato kugel.  When I got married, I started to develop my own recipe for potato kugel.  My goal was to create a dish that would taste just like the best potato latke only bigger.  I achieved my goal.  This potato kugel recipe is perfect.  When you take a bite, it’s a little greasy, a little crunchy, and oh, so good! I like to make this recipe as a side dish for Rosh Hashana, Passover, or Shabbat.  It is so easy to make, and everyone loves it!

For a 10 x 15 baking dish                        For a 9 x 13 baking dish 

  • 5 pounds baking potatoes                              9 large potatoes

  • 7 extra large eggs                                            4 extra large eggs

  • 4 medium-large onions                                   3 med.-large onions

  • heavy 1 1/3 cups matzoh meal                     2/3 cup matzoh meal

  • 1 cup corn oil                                                    3/4 cup corn oil

  • additional oil for greasing dish                       additional oil

  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt                                 2 teaspoons salt

  • 1 1/4 teaspoons pepper                                  1 teaspoon pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Peel and cut potatoes into quarters.  Peel onions and cut into quarters.  Place one third of eggs, potatoes and onions into a blender.  Blend until mixture is the consistency of applesauce.  Pour the mixture into a very large mixing bowl.  Repeat this two more times to use all potatoes, onions, and eggs.  Then add matzoh meal, salt, and pepper to the potato mixture.  Mix with rubber spatula.

Grease the sides and bottom of either your 10 x 15 or the 9 x 13 pyrex baking dish with oil .  Then pour either the 1 cup or the 3/4 cup of oil into the dish.  Place in oven for about 5 minutes to get the oil really hot.  (If you think you might forget that your oil is  in the oven, skip this step and just pour the room temperature oil into the batter; otherwise, you will have a fire if you leave the oil in the oven too long!) Then take the dish with the hot oil out of the oven and pour the hot oil into the potato mixture.  Mix with a rubber spatula to incorporate the oil.  Then pour the batter into the greased baking dish.  Bake for about 1 hour.  Take out of oven, and shmear a few additional tablespoons of oil over the top of the kugel.  Place back in oven for another 15-30 minutes until the top is very brown.  The kugel should be well browned on the bottom, the sides, and the top.

Note:  You may make this a day or two in advance, and then reheat it in a 350 degree oven for about 30-40 minutes.

Shirley Fried’s Easy Hot Dog and Baked Beans Casserole

My mother got this recipe from my Aunt Sally.  My Aunt Sally made this every year for her Mother’s Day barbecue. My mother started the tradition of including this recipe every year for our annual Father’s Day Barbecue when I was growing up.  Father’s Day was the one day of the year when we had both my mother’s and my father’s sides of the family over.  It was a wonderful event even though it was a lot of work.  The guest list included my father’s wonderful family- my Grandma Fried, my Uncle Larry, my Aunt Florence, and my three cousins, Karen, David, and Debbie.  Then we had my mother’s equally wonderful family- my Grandma and Grandpa Hindes, my Uncle Nat, my Aunt Sally, and my three cousins, Paul, Bobby, and Janie.  The reason the occasion was so wonderful and so meaningful for me and for my brother Kenny was because it honored my father, Murray Fried, who was absolutely the best father in the entire world!

Our menu on Father’s Day was pretty simple.  We had vegetables and dip, chopped liver with party rye, whitefish salad, barbecued london broil (little rolls from Margie’s Cake Box for steak sandwiches), sauteed mushrooms and onions, hamburgers and hot dogs, french fries, potato salad and coleslaw, sliced Jersey tomatoes, sliced red onions, sliced pickles, this hot dog and baked beans casserole in my mother’s brown Dansk 9 by 13 dish, homemade blueberry pies with vanilla ice cream, chocolate chip squares, and fresh fruit.

This casserole was so easy to make, and it was such a crowd pleaser. Everyone always asked if it was on the menu!

  • 12 kosher hot dogs (Hebrew National or Shofar), cut up into 1 inch pieces
  • 4 cans Heinz Vegetarian Baked Beans
  • 4 teaspoons dark brown sugar
  • 4 tablespoons Heinz ketchup
  • 1 teaspoon brown mustard

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Mix all ingredients together; you can do this right in the 9 x 13 baking dish you will be baking and serving this in.  Bake this uncovered for 1 hour or until it is bubbly.  Half way through the cooking time, mix once.

Note:  You may do all steps except for the cooking 1 or 2 days ahead and keep refrigerated until you are ready to bake it.