The Best and Easiest Recipe For Chicken Parmesan

A Beginner Cook Can Learn To Make This Recipe!

Almost everyone I know loves a good chicken parmesan.  I love it, and so do my boys, Danny and Benji.  I make this recipe often just for the family, and sometimes for company.  This recipe is so easy, even a beginner cook can make it!

for the chicken: (for 4 people)

  • 1 pound of thin sliced chicken cutlets
  • plain or seasoned bread crumbs
  • 1 egg mixed with 1 teaspoon water
  • kosher salt
  • freshly cracked black pepper
  • 8 oz of grated or sliced whole milk (or part skim) mozzarella cheese
  • freshly grated parmesan or romano cheese (optional)

for the marinara sauce (or you can use a good jarred sauce):

 This recipe makes about 4-5 quarts of sauce, so if you wish to make less, just halve each ingredient.  You will need less than 1 quart for this recipe, but if you are serving pasta on the side, you can  some of the sauce for your pasta.  I never make half a recipe because what’s the point?  As long as you’re spending the time, you might as well make enough so you can put a few quarts in the freezer.  I use this sauce for everything- making my homemade pizza, my baked ziti, and just for over spaghetti.

  • 4- 28 ounce cans of peeled plum tomatoes in thick puree
  • 1- 8 ounce can of tomato paste
  • 1 very large or 2 medium onions
  • 6-8 cloves of garlic
  • extra virgin, pure, or light olive oil (I use the light)
  • kosher salt
  • crushed red pepper
  • fresh ground black pepper
  • scant teaspoon granulated sugar
  • herbes de provence
  • freshly grated Parmesan or Romano cheese for serving

Peel and quarter the onions.  Put them in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade.  Pulse the onions until they are almost pureed; they will have the consistency of apple sauce.  Then peel the garlic cloves, and crush them using a garlic press.  Set the garlic aside. Put about 1/4 cup of olive oil in the bottom of a pretty big pot over a low to medium flame.  Put about 1/2 teaspoon of crushed pepper in the oil. I’ve been using my Le Creuset dutch oven lately, but for years, I made this sauce in my big Farberware pot, and it came out just as good.  After a minute or so, dump the onions in, and saute them until they are really translucent and soft.  Then add the crushed garlic and cook for another minute or two.  

Rinse out the bowl and blade of the food processor, and then put all the whole tomatoes in, reserving all the puree or juice.  Pulse the tomatoes, until they are quite, but not totally smooth.  You want the tomatoes to still have just a little bit of texture to them, but they should not be in large chunks. Dump the tomatoes into the onion and garlic mixture, and add all of the puree from the cans.  Then, add the one can of tomato paste.

Add kosher salt to taste, about 2 teaspoons, and some freshly ground pepper, about 8 grinds, put the top on, and simmer over a low to medium flame for about 30-45 minutes.  Then, taste the sauce.  At this point, I usually add a little less than a teaspoon of sugar, and about 1/4 teaspoon of herbes de provence.  If you can’t find herbes de provence, you can substitute an Italian seasoning blend.  You may also add more salt, and a little more crushed red pepper, if you like your sauce to have a little more heat.  Simmer it (cover on) for another  45 min. or an hour so that all the flavors can meld with the tomatoes.

Note:  When I make this sauce to go with pasta, I cook 1 pound of pasta for 4 people, or 1 1/2 pounds of pasta for 6 people.  I drain the pasta in a colander, and put it back in the same pot I cooked it in.  I then add the marinara sauce back to the pasta, using about 3/4 of a quart of sauce for 1 pound of pasta, or 1 quart of sauce for 1 1/2 pounds of pasta.  I heat the pasta with the sauce for a minute or two to coat the noodles beautifully with the sauce.   

to make the chicken cutlets:

Beat the egg with a teaspoon water in a mixing bowl.  Put all the cutlets in the bowl, smoosh the cutlets around in the egg to really cover them totally.  Put either some plain bread crumbs, seasoned bread crumbs or Panko bread crumbs on a plate.  If the bread crumbs are plain, then add a sprinkling of kosher salt and some grinds of fresh cracked pepper.  If you are using the seasoned bread crumbs, you may want to add a sprinkling of freshly grated parmesan or romano cheese and/or freshly ground pepper to the crumbs.  Line a cookie sheet with foil.  Take one cutlet, well coated with the egg mixture, and place it on the plate with the crumbs.  Turn the cutlet a few times, and use your hands to pat the crumbs into the chicken.  Then, transfer the first cutlet to the foil lined cookie sheet.  Repeat until you have breaded all your cutlets.  You can do this in advance in the morning, and cover the cutlets with plastic wrap, and refrigerate till you get home from work.  Otherwise, you can fry the chicken cutlets right after you have breaded them.  Over a medium flame, heat your largest non-stick frying pan up for a few minutes.  Then pour some oil in to coat the bottom of the pan- about 1/8 inch.  Place the cutlets in without overcrowding them.  Brown on one side over a medium flame, then turn and brown on the other side. 

to put the whole thing together:

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Cover a half sheet pan with aluminum foil.  Put the chicken cutlets on the pan.  Spoon some sauce over each cutlet.  Then sprinkle some grated mozzarella cheese or place some thin slices of mozzarella cheese on top of each cutlet.  Place in oven for a few minutes.  Then change the setting on the oven to broil.  Your sheet pan should be in the middle of the oven or on a lower rack.  Watch carefully.  The idea is for the cheese to start to become brown in spots all over, but not burned.  When the cheese is bubbly and brown, take the cutlets out and serve with freshly grated parmesan or romano cheese on the side. 

Old Fashioned Sour Cream Coffee Cake

If You Make This Old Fashioned Sour Cream Coffee Cake, You Will Be Delighted With The Outstanding Taste And Texture Of The Cake!

This was a cake my mother made at least two or three times every year. It was definitely one of my mother’s favorite cakes to bake and to eat. She got the recipe from Lorraine Klein who is my Aunt Sally’s sister-in-law. Lorraine is a wonderful lady, and through the years, I have always appreciated her good nature and sense of humor. I always look forward to having conversations with her every Mother’s Day at my Aunt Sally’s or my cousin Janie’s house. How lucky it is for me that I have been able to gather so many wonderful recipes from my mother and her contemporaries.

for the cake:

  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 stick unsalted butter or margarine at room temperature
  • 2 extra large eggs at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups sifted unbleached flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 8 ounces (1/2 pint) sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

for the filling:

  • 1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 cup walnuts, chopped fine

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 10 inch tube pan well all over with butter or margarine.

for the filling: In a medium mixing bowl using a fork or spoon, mix the brown sugar, the cinnamon, and the chopped nuts by hand; set aside.

for the cake batter:

In a medium bowl, put the dry ingredients – the sifted flour, the salt, the baking powder; set aside.

Mix the sour cream with the baking soda by hand; set aside.

In large bowl of Kitchen Aid or electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter on medium to high speed with the sugar till light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time and mix on high speed until light and fluffy. Mix in the vanilla.

Add the flour mixture and the sour cream mixture alternately to butter, sugar, and eggs, and vanilla mixture beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Add the flour in 4ths and the sour cream in 3rds. This is the part of the mixing where you don’t want to over-mix. You are really just adding these ingredients on a very low speed just to blend. Scrape down the bowl one or two times during this process to get any batter off the sides of the bowl.

Spoon 1/2 of the batter evenly on the bottom of the prepared tube pan. Then distribute about 4/5 of the filling mixture evenly all over the surface of the batter. Then spoon the remaining 1/2 of the batter over the filling, and smooth over the filling with a rubber spatula to cover the filling. Sprinkle the remaining 1/5 of filling evenly over the top of the batter.

Bake in the middle of the preheated oven 45-50 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack. Serve slightly warm or at room temperature.

Note: When I make this cake, I usually cut the cake into thirds, but I keep one third out for the family. Then I freeze the other two thirds of the cake. When company comes over unexpectedly, I know I always have delicious homemade sour cream coffee cake in the freezer. It defrosts in no time, and then it can be sliced and served on a pretty cake plate.

My Cousin Janie’s Moist And Delicious Carrot Cake With Cream Cheese Frosting

You Can Learn To Make This Yummy Carrot Cake With Cream Cheese Frosting – Even If You Think You Can’t Bake!

I adapted this recipe from a recipe for carrot cake that I got from my wonderful cousin Janie Hindes Miller.  I have so many wonderful childhood memories associated with Janie; she was my closest childhood friend.   Janie is a wonderful cook and baker, but much more than that, Janie is a wonderful person.  For as long as I can remember, Janie has been making this carrot cake for yearly family  gatherings, and everyone goes crazy for it.   For me it was love at first bite when I tasted it, probably back when Janie and I were about 16 or 17 years old.  This carrot cake is a breeze to make, especially if you bake it in a 9 x 13 inch baking pan.  This is a wonderful recipe for a novice  baker.

for the cake:

  • 1 pound peeled and grated carrots (use organic if possible)
  • 2 cups granulated sugar (I have now reduced the sugar to 1 3/4 cups- you will not detect the difference)
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 4 extra large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups light olive oil, canola or corn oil (or reduce to 1 1/4 cups- I like the cake more with this reduced amount- June 1, 2010)
  • 2 cups unbleached flour (I prefer to use King Arthur organic unbleached flour, and you do not sift it for this recipe!)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

for the icing:

  • 8 ounces Philadelphia brand cream cheese at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter or margarine at room temperature (best-using unsalted butter- June 1, 2010)
  • pinch of kosher salt (only if you are using unsalted butter or margarine)
  • 1 pound of confectioners sugar, sifted to get any lumps out
  • 1  teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3 ounces chopped- not too finely – pecans or walnuts- or mixture of the 2 (optional)(June 1,2010)- nuts make the cream cheese frosting better
  • 1- 8 oz. can of drained crushed pineapple in natural juice (optional)- but I prefer icing now without pineapple and only with the nuts!- June 1/10)

***updated icing (March 2016)- oh my gosh this is amazing and I like it better than my original above)

  • 1 stick salted butter (room temperature)
  • 1 8oz. package Philadelphia (full fat) cream cheese (room temperature)
  • about 2 1/2 – 3 cups confectioners sugar (I didn’t sift as it seemed very fresh and lump free.)
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream

for the cake:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.   Spray or grease sides and bottom of  a 9 x 13 inch nonstick baking pan; set aside.  In a large mixing bowl, measure flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt; set aside.  Wash, peel, and grate carrots using a hand grater or a food processor fitted with the grater attachment- I use the food processor- it takes no time at all!); set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, by hand using a whisk, mix eggs, sugar, oil, and vanilla, just until completely blended.  Then add dry ingredients to the wet batter, and mix just until blended.  Add carrots and fold them in with a rubber spatula.  Pour batter into prepared baking pan.  Bake for 30-35 minutes on a rack in center of oven until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean.  Cool on wire rack, or refrigerate covered with plastic wrap until you are ready to frost it.

for the icing: (wait till cake is completely cool before you ice it)

Using an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the cream cheese with the butter just until mixture is smooth.  Sift confectioners sugar right in the bowl,  add pinch of salt, and blend on low speed just until blended.  Add vanilla and blend.  Use rubber spatula to mix in nuts by hand if you are using them.  If you are adding the crushed pineapple, be sure to squeeze as much moisture as possible out of the pineapple and then blend it in with a rubber spatula because you don’t want to add any extra liquid to the frosting.  Spread frosting on cooled cake.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until you serve.

Note #1:  You can bake this in  a 9 x 13 inch pan or 2- 8 or 9 inch round pans to make a layer cake.

Note #2:  You can buy Diamond brand prechopped walnuts that come in a bag and can be found on the baking aisle in the supermarket.

Note #3:  Do not squeeze moisture out of carrots (I have never done that!)

This cake can be baked one day ahead and refrigerated until served.

Chippy Linder’s Delicous Fried Veal (Or Chicken) Cutlets and Fried Potatoes

Learn To Make This Delicious Fried Veal Or Chicken Cutlets With Fried Potatoes!>
I have many wonderful memories from my childhood associated with the Linder family. Chippy and Dave Linder and their children Meryl and Michael were very, very close friends of our family, and I loved being with them. What a wonderful family they were! I especially loved being around Chippy. She had (and still has) a quick wit. She just had a unique way of saying things; I never wanted to miss one word. Everything that came out of Chippy’s mouth seemed to have a touch of common sense and wisdom, tinged with humor. A memory I have is sitting in her beautiful kitchen on Buttfield Drive in Plainfield, New Jersey and just enjoying being there and listening to her talk. Anyway, I’m pretty sure that Chippy got this recipe from her wonderful and legendary mother in law, Rose Linder. This recipe calls for veal cutlets, but when I have made it, I have used chicken cutlets. If you try this recipe, you will not be disappointed!

  • 1 pound of veal or chicken cutlets
  • matzoh meal
  • corn flakes crumbs
  • 2 pounds of potatoes
  • 2 eggs
  • fresh cracked black pepper
  • kosher salt
  • paprika
  • corn or light olive oil for frying

Parboil about 2 pounds of small red or small yukon gold potatoes until they are just starting to get soft. (If you are using red potatoes, you can leave the skins on. If you are not, then peel the potatoes before you parboil them.) As soon as you can pierce the potatoes with a fork or a knife, drain and run under cold water to stop the cooking. Slice into 1/4 inch thick slices, and sprinkle with a little kosher salt (if you are using salt) and paprika, and set aside.

Crack 2 eggs into a bowl and mix with 2 teaspoons of water, some kosher salt, and some fresh cracked pepper. Then pour equal amounts of matzoh meal and cornflakes crumbs onto a plate. Dip the cutlets first into the egg mixture on both sides, and then into the matzoh meal and corn flakes crumbs mixture on both sides. Then sprinkle some paprika on top of the cutlets. Pour some oil in a large frying pan, only about 1/8 of an inch high. When the oil is hot, place cutlets in. Toss the sliced potatoes in with the veal or chicken. As you fry and turn the cutlets and the potatoes, the potatoes will start to brown and pick up some of the crumbs too. Fry the veal or chicken and the potatoes until they are beautifully browned. Serve.

Note: I recommend that you use a really big non-stick frying pan (industrial size) which you can purchase at Costco or at a restaurant supply store.

Easy To Make Cinnamon-Raisin Bread Pudding

Serve This Bread Pudding For Breakfast, Brunch, or Dessert!

I have a few recipes for bread pudding. This recipe is so easy to make, and it is delicious. Even if you don’t fancy yourself as a baker, you can definitely make this bread pudding! The taste reminds me of a really good cinnamon danish. Of course, this bread pudding isn’t low in calories, but unlike other bread pudding recipes, this recipe uses milk instead of half and half. So, it is lower in calories than some bread puddings. Yet, it still tastes sinfully rich. This dish makes a nice addition to a brunch buffet or even a dessert buffet. It really is comfort food at its best.

  • 8 – 10 1 inch thick slices of challah
  • 4 extra large or jumbo eggs
  • 1 1/4 cups whole milk
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, plus extra for sprinkling
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/3 cup of raisins, currants, or dried cranberries

Grease an oval or rectangular 8 inches by 10 inches by 2 inch baking dish.

Slice the challah into 1/2 inch thick slices. Then cube the bread into 1/2

cubes. Cut the crusts off of the slices of challah. Put the bread cubes in

the prepared dish. It’s okay if you have 2 layers of bread cubes. Sprinkle

the raisins, currants, or dried cranberries throughout and on top of the

bread. In a mixing bowl, whisk the eggs, the milk, the vanilla, the

cinnamon, and the salt together. Ladle the custard mixture over the

bread making sure that you get the custard over all the bread uniformly.

Sprinkle the top with additional cinnamon. Cover the dish with

plastic wrap, and refrigerate at least 30 minutes or up to 4 hours. Preheat

oven to 350 degrees. Bake uncovered 40 to 50 minutes until a toothpick

inserted in the middle of the pudding comes out clean. Serve hot out of the

oven or at room temperature.

Note: Using challah that is a few days old is fine, because if the bread is just a little stale, it will soak up the custard even better. If you are using fresh challah, I recommend slicing it and letting it sit out on the counter for 1 or 2 hours to let it get a little stale.

Thin Crust, But Not Quite Ledo’s, Pizza

Learn To Make This Outstanding Homemade Thin Crust Pizza!

My favorite pizza in the world is Ledo’s pizza- and I’m talking about the original Ledo’s in Adelphi, Maryland. I graduated from the University of Maryland in College Park in 1977. One of the absolute highlights of my college experience was eating Ledo’s pizza from Ledo’s Pizza in Adelphi, Maryland. The first time I ate Ledo’s pizza it was definitely love at first sight and first bite. When a plain large pie, which consisted of 2 cafeteria trays filled with mouth-watering cheesy pizza was delivered to the table, I was in gastronomic ecstasy! I went crazy for the crust, which was more like a flaky pie crust than a traditional pizza crust. I loved the sweet sauce, and of course the cheese was great too. Luckily, my brother Kenny Fried lives in Bethesda, Maryland with his family, so from time to time when we visit him, we make it a point to make a stop at Ledo’s in Adelphi on our way back to New Jersey to pick up one large pie for the ride. My 3 kids love Ledo’s pizza as much as I do, too. Ledo’s is a franchise now, so I keep hoping that someone will open up a Ledo’s in New Jersey. Still, I’ve eaten at some of the franchises, and none compare to the original Ledo’s in Adelphi.

I developed my own pizza recipe, because I just wasn’t crazy about any of the pizza we can get near our house. This homemade pizza is yummy. It has a thin crust, and my children and friends claim my pizza is very similar to the pizza at our favorite local pizzeria, Federici’s, in Freehold. Last summer, I made this pizza for my son-in-law’s father, Mike Greenhouse and his wife Leah, and they loved it. Leah said it was the best pizza she had ever eaten. What a compliment!

You will be surprised how easy it is to make a fantastic homemade pizza. Give it a try!

for the crust: (This recipe makes 2 rectangular pies- thin crust- each about 16 by 10 inches but you can make 2 round pizzas as well)

  • 1 3/4 cup unbleached flour, plus extra for when you knead the dough
  • 3/4 cup warm water, 105 to 115 degrees
  • 1 package of Fleischmann’s active dry yeast
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon of light olive oil (you may substitute any oil)
  • cornmeal (optional) for baking the pizza

for the marinara sauce (This recipe makes about 4 quarts of sauce, and you will need about 1 cup of sauce for each pie you make, so you can stick the rest in containers in the freezer):

  • about 1/4 – 1/2 cup of light or extra virgin olive oil
  • 4- 28 oz. cans of plum tomatoes in thick puree, or 4- 28 oz. cans of crushed tomatoes
  • 1- 6 oz. can of good tomato paste, such as Contadina
  • about 4-6 cloves of fresh garlic, crushed
  • 1 medium-large onion, chopped very finely in processor or by hand (if you like your sauce smooth, then pulse the onion in the processor until it is the consistency of applesauce)
  • red pepper flakes
  • kosher salt
  • fresh cracked black pepper

for the topping:

  • dried oregano -optional
  • red pepper flakes- optional
  • 8 oz grated mozzarella cheese for each pie (16 oz. for 2 pies)
  • about 8 oz of marinara sauce

to make the dough:

Measure 1 3/4 cup flour and 1 teaspoon kosher salt in a large mixing bowl; set aside.

Measure 3/4 cup of hot water in a Pyrex measuring cup. Put a thermometer in, and when the temperature goes down to between 105 degrees and 115 degrees, sprinkle the package of dry yeast in. Add the 1 teaspoon sugar, and the 1 tablespoon of oil. Stir with a fork just to mix. Let sit for about 5 minutes until the yeast is foamy on the surface of the water.

Pour the water, yeast, oil, and sugar mixture into the mixing bowl with the flour and salt. Gently fold the liquid into the dry ingredients using a rubber spatula. When it is fully incorporated, dump the dough onto a floured board, counter, or table. Knead for about 7-10 minutes, adding a little flour to the board if the dough starts to stick or if your dough is too wet. You will know you can stop kneading when you push your finger into the dough lightly and the indentation disappears. Another indication you have kneaded the dough enough is when you notice that the dough has become harder to knead because it is becoming too springy. Place the dough in a large, clean mixing bowl that you have lightly greased with oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Put it in a warm spot in your kitchen. Let it double in size- which it does in about an hour to an hour and a half. If your kitchen isn’t warm enough, it may take about 2 hours for the dough to double in size.

Then dump the dough onto a floured board. Turn it once on the floured board, and then pat it down to deflate it. Cut the dough into 2 equal pieces. Wrap individually in plastic wrap, and place in a Ziploc bag. Refrigerate the dough until you are ready to make your pizza. You can use the dough up to one day after you make it.

to make the marinara sauce:

Pour about 1/4 cup of olive oil in the bottom of a heavy pot. Sprinkle some crushed red pepper flakes in the oil. Saute for 1 minute. Add the finely chopped onion. Saute until translucent. Then add the crushed garlic. Saute for one minute more. If you are using whole canned tomatoes, put them in the bowl of the food processor fitted with the metal blade (reserving the juice or puree in the can), and pulse the tomatoes until they are almost pureed, but still have a little consistency to them. Add the tomatoes and reserved juice or puree in the cans to the pot. If you are using cans of crushed tomatoes, add all the the pot. Add the 1 can of tomato paste. Add kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste. Stir well. Simmer covered over a low flame for about 1 hour. Add about 1 teaspoon of sugar and a light sprinkling of herbes de provence or Italian seasoning. Simmer covered another 1/2 hour to hour, tasting and stirring every 15 minutes or so. Adjust seasonings -salt, pepper, red pepper flakes to your liking.

to assemble the pizza:

Preheat the oven to 500 degrees. Put a large piece of parchment paper on a sturdy cookie sheet or half sheet pan. Sprinkle the parchment paper lightly with some yellow cornmeal. Take one of your pizza doughs out of the refrigerator. Sprinkle some flour on a board or your counter. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough out so that it is a rectangle, about 13 to 16 inches by 9 to 12 inches. Then spoon about 1 cup or so of sauce so that it covers the whole surface, going as close to the edges as possible. Then sprinkle dried oregano (optional) over the sauce. If you like your pizza a little hotter, sprinkle a few red pepper flakes over the sauce. Then, sprinkle about 8 oz. of grated mozzarella cheese over the sauce, going as close to the edges as possible. Place on low rack in the preheated oven. Bake about 15 minutes. If you like your pizza a little more well done, cook it a few minutes more. Use a pizza cutter to slice the pizza into squares or rectangles and serve immediately.

Note 1: If I don’t have enough time to make my own sauce, or I don’t have any on hand in my freezer, I use a smooth jarred marinara sauce. Shop Rite marinara sauce is inexpensive and it works great! I also like Ragu Organic Marinara Sauce.

Note 2: You can add your own toppings such as caramelized onions or sauteed mushrooms.

Note 3: If you like your crust a little thicker, then roll it out thicker to your liking.

French Toast Bread Pudding With Challah

This Delicious Recipe For French Toast Bread Pudding Will Warm You On A Cold Winter Morning! 

My family adores french toast. My mother, Shirley Fried, especially loves my French toast. Every once and awhile, I make a batch for her when she comes down to visit me and the kids. I love cooking for my mother, especially since she is my number 1 fan. (My father was my other number 1 fan, but tragically for me, my mother, and my children, the most wonderful man in the world, Murray Fried died 6 years ago. Anyway, I’ve cooked yummy French toast for breakfast for my family for years, and everyone loves it. I sometimes make my french toast using challah, which is an egg bread that is very similar to brioche. Many diners serve French toast made with challah because it has become quite popular. When you use challah to make your French toast, you are definitely kicking the standard recipe up a notch. Anyway, I decided that I needed to adapt my challah French toast recipe so that I could serve it at family gatherings and feed a lot of people without having to stand at the stove while my guests were over. Plus, I wanted to be able to prepare the dish in advance, and you really can’t do that with French toast. I experimented until I came up with the most amazing version of French toast bread pudding, using challah. I served it at a Chanukah party this past Sunday which was given by the wonderful Marsha Greenhouse. Marsha Greenhouse is my daughter Randi’s mother-in-law. Marsha is a warm and genuine from the heart person (a real mensch), and she hosts the best family get togethers imaginable. I love going to every party and gathering at her house. Plus, she kindly lets me cook and bake for these parties to my heart’s content. One of the dishes I made for this gathering was my challah French toast bread pudding. It was delicious! I got lots of compliments, and of course I love that! I think one of the best moments for me was when Marsha’s boyfriend, Al Berman asked me for another piece of the bread pudding. When he put a bite in his mouth he said, “Ooh, this is sooo good.” And Al knows his food. (He’s an excellent cook himself!) There is just nothing as gratifying for me as cooking and baking for people I care about. Please try this recipe. When you take a bite into this yummy challah French toast bread pudding, which truly tastes every bit as good as regular French toast, you will vow to make this again and again for your friends and family, too.

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter or margarine, plus extra for greasing baking dish (I like taste of butter more than margarine)
  • 1 cup lightly packed dark brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons maple syrup (I actually use 2 tablespoons of Log Cabin and 1 tablespoon of pure maple syrup, but I don’t think it matters which type of syrup you use)  *see note at bottom
  • 1 large loaf of challah bread (a loaf should weigh about 15 oz.)
  • 8 extra large or jumbo eggs (I used jumbo the last time, and I loved result)
  • 2 cups of light cream or half and half (I don’t notice any difference in end result)
  • 2  tablespoons sugar (optional- you may eliminate if you want to reduce sugar in recipe))
  • 1/8 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt (I use this but you may cut it out for a low salt diet)
  • cinnamon (McKormick) to sprinkle on top before you bake
  • optional 3/4 cup chopped pecans (tried it and liked the result, but equally good without- Just remember that many kids don’t like nuts, so if you’re making this for kids, it’s probably better to leave the nuts out!)

Generously grease the bottom and sides of a 13 x 9 x 2 inch oval or rectangular baking dish (I bought an inexpensive, beautiful white oval baking dish at IKEA). Slice the challah about 1 1/2 inches thick. Then cut the slices into pieces. They don’t all have to be exactly the same size, but they should be somewhere around 2 inches square. You definitely should use the crust- do not cut the crust off! In a small saucepan, melt the butter over a low flame. Then add the brown sugar and the syrups; mix until the brown sugar is dissolved. Then pour the syrup mixture into the prepared baking dish. Place the pieces of challah in the prepared dish in one layer. Fit the pieces right up against each other, like puzzle pieces. It’s okay to squeeze them a little so they all fit.

In large mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, light cream or half and half, vanilla, salt, sugar,  cinnamon. Ladle the custard mixture over the challah evenly. Then press down with your hands very lightly on bread, so challah soaks in all the custard.  If using the pecans, sprinkle them on top, and then sprinkle with cinnamon lightly but so that there is a light sprinkling over all.  Cover the dish with foil or plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 2 to 4  hours or overnight. (I usually do it overnight just because it makes the job easier for me.)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees – and take bread pudding out of the refrigerator and let sit at room temperature for about 20 minutes.  If you feel you should, sprinkle just a little more cinnamon on top. Bake uncovered in the middle of the oven until puffed and golden for about 45 to 50 minutes. Serve immediately.  I make this to bring in for school breakfasts.  I bake it for about 35 minutes at home.  Then I cover it tightly to keep the heat it.  Then when I get to work, I take off the foil, and bake it for another 20 minutes or so to finish it off. 

Optional serving suggestion:  Warm up about 1/8 cup of pure maple syrup in microwave, and drizzle it over the top very lightly right before serving or just serve with extra maple syrup on the side.

You will be amazed by the result!   

Note:  The last few times I made this, I used 2 tablespoons of pure maple syrup and 1 tablespoon of light corn syrup. I like to use some pure maple syrup, just because it has more maple flavor.

Note:  Just make sure that the pudding is baked through even at the center so you won’t be eating undercooked eggs.

Note:  last made on July 3, 2011- I used 9 extra large eggs as I didn’t have the jumbo, and I used a mixture of whole milk and heavy cream- and it was yummy!!!

Judy’s BEST Creamy and Delicious Macaroni and Cheese Casserole

Your Family Will Thank You Once You Learn To Make This Creamy And Delicious Macaroni And Cheese!

When my children were little, I needed to come up with the perfect macaroni and cheese recipe. My mother had made macaroni and cheese casserole when I was growing up, and I liked it a lot, but I knew that her recipe was not exactly what I was looking for. If you can picture in your mind the perfect macaroni and cheese, with creamy orange-yellow cheese oozing our of the elbow macaroni noodles, and the cheese on top of the casserole is bubbly and starting to get just a little brown and crusty, then you will be picturing something close to what my ideal recipe for macaroni and cheese is like. So I set out to come up with a perfect recipe for macaroni and cheese. I developed the recipe when my kids were little, and it quickly became a favorite of my children’s and of my father’s. I loved to make this recipe, and then give some of it to my father to take home when my parents left after spending a Friday night with us. My father loved it as a nighttime snack. Even though my kids are older, I still make this regularly, and this year I am adding it to my Thanksgiving menu. Why not? Everyone loves it.

For years I made a single recipe, but then I realized that I should be doubling it. So, the following recipe is actually a double recipe. I make it in a large 9×13 rectangular or oval ceramic or pyrex dish or large square or round casserole. If you make half of the recipe, then halve each ingredient, and bake it in a rectangular or oval 8 x10 or in a round casserole dish.

  • 1 pounds (16 ounces) elbow macaroni
  • 4 tablespoons butter or margarine, plus more for greasing the pan
  • 4 tablespoons flour
  • 2 teaspoons Kosher or regular salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 5 cups whole milk
  • about 2 pounds of thinly, sliced at the deli, good yellow American cheese, (Land o Lakes is the best!)

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Butter the sides and bottom of your baking dish, and set aside.

Start the water boiling in a pot for your noodles. In another saucepan (4 or 5 quart), put your butter or margarine, and melt it over a low flame. Then add the flour, salt and pepper, and whisk it. It will look like a wet paste. Whisk it for a few minutes to cook the flour a bit. Then pour a little of the milk in. Whisk again. Repeat a few times. Eventually, just pour the rest of the milk in. You need to stand at the stove, and continue stirring or whisking the mixture every minute or two with your pan over a medium flame. When the milk mixture has started to thicken just a little, then add all of your cheese except about 3 or 4 ounces (about 8 slices) that you will reserve for the top. At this point start boiling your noodles. Do not overcook the elbows, (If the instuructions say to cook the noodles for 5-8 minutes, I cook them for around 7 minutes).  As soon as the pasta is done, drain it in a colander and set aside. Keep the heat on medium-low under your sauce mixture, and just move that cheese around until it is basically melted into the milk. It should almost completely be one smooth mixture, when it is ready. Then you have a few choices. If you have enough room in the saucepan, pour your noodles in, and mix the sauce into and around the noodles. Then pour it all into your prepared dish. If you don’t have enough room in your saucepan, that’s fine. Just pour your noodles into your prepared baking dish, and pour the sauce right in with the noodles. Use a rubber spatula to smooth the sauce in and around the elbows.

Bake for about 1 hour or a little more until the top is starting to brown, and the edges are starting to look crusty. Then place your remaining slices of cheese on top, and wait until the cheese on top is melted or browned (it’s up to you). Your baking time will vary depending on whether you like the dish creamy and on the looser side or more firm and well done. I like it somewhere in the middle, but I do like the bottom and sides to be browned and crusty. You may take this out of the oven and serve it immediately.

Note: It’s okay to serve it immediately. You won’t have any choice in the matter because everyone will be standing around and dying to dig in! There usually are no leftovers, but if you’re lucky enough to have any, the microwave does a great job of heating them up.

Note:  You can prepare this the night before, and refrigerate it without baking it.  Then take it out of the fridge when you are ready to bake it.  It may take about 15 minutes more to cook if you are baking it straight from the fridge.

Aunt Helene’s Easy, Light and Creamy Cheesecake

You Don’t Have To Be An Expert Baker To Bake Your Own Outstanding Cheesecake!

I adapted this recipe from a recipe for cheesecake that I got from my ex-husband Joe Kahn’s wonderful Aunt Helene. Aunt Helene is a wonderful cook and baker, and I was lucky to have the chance to eat some of her delicious homemade food. This recipe for cheesecake is one of her specialties. I make this recipe for cheesecake often. It calls for less cream cheese than my other recipe and it is a little smaller. You will be surprised when you see how easy it is to make homemade cheesecake. Say goodbye to Sara Lee!

for the filling:

  • 1 pound (2-8 ounce bars) of Philadelphia brand cream cheese at room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 pint (16 ounces) sour cream
  • 6 extra large eggs (cracked and set aside in a bowl)
  • juice of one fresh lemon (about 2 tablespoons)
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • dash of kosher salt (1/8 teaspoon)

for the crust:

  • 1 3/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) melted margarine or butter
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped pecans

to make the crust:

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Grease the bottom and sides going 3/4 up from the bottom of the pan of a 9 inch springform pan.

Mix the graham cracker crumbs with the melted margarine or butter. Pat the crumbs into the bottom and 3/4 of the way up the sides of prepared pan. Bake in preheated oven for 8 minutes. Take out and cool.

to make the filling:

In large bowl of Kitchen Aid or other electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat room temperature cream cheese until it is smooth and as lump free as possible. Add the sugar and mix till blended. Then add the sour cream and blend on low speed. Pour in the eggs, the fresh lemon juice, the vanilla, and the dash of salt. Blend on low speed till filling is very smooth.

Pour filling into cooled crust. Place carefully in center of oven. Bake for 1 hour. a cure for genital herpes Turn oven off. Let cheesecake sit in oven for at least 3-6 hours with door closed. Take out. Let sit on counter until it isn’t warm at all. Then take the sides off the pan. Place the cheesecake (which is still on the bottom of the springform pan) onto whatever cake plate you will be serving it on. Wrap the cheesecake well with plastic wrap, and let it sit in the refrigerator overnight. Serve the next day.

Serving Suggestion:

Slice 1 – 2 pints of fresh strawberries and pile on top of cake right before you serve it, or serve a bowl of sliced strawberries on the side.

Hint #1: If you like your cheesecake to be really light and fluffy, then separate the eggs first and set the egg whites aside. Add only the yolks to the cream cheese mixture initially. When you are done mixing all of the ingredients for the filling, whip the egg whites separately until stiff (but not dry) peaks form. Then fold the egg whites in right before you pour the filling into the crust.

Hint #2: I start baking the cake around 4 or 5 in the afternoon the day before I plan to serve it because of how long the cake stays in the oven after it finishes the actual baking. Helene just keeps the cake in the oven overnight and refrigerates it the next morning. I don’t feel that is necessary, but I’m sure keeping it in the oven overnight won’t hurt it.