Chicken with the Crumbs

My Children’s All-time Favorite Dinner Recipe

If I had to name the one recipe out of all my recipes that I have made more than any other, it would be my recipe for chicken with the crumbs.    When I was growing up, my mother made chicken for dinner every other Friday night in honor of the Jewish Sabbath.  She made two chicken recipes, and this recipe was one of them.  But my mother used a whole cut up chicken rather than cutlets, which I use.  I loved her chicken! Occasionally, we had leftovers, and I loved eating the chicken cold, too.  I will never forget the time that my mother packed a leftover piece of chicken for me to take to camp for lunch.  When I got to camp, I realized that I had left the lunch bag in the driveway.  To this day, I still haven’t gotten over the disappointment!  I was devastated, because I didn’t get to enjoy that 1 piece of leftover chicken for lunch.  Anyway, when I started making this recipe for my children, I realized that they didn’t enjoy eating chicken on the bone, so I adapted the recipe and switched over to cutlets.  This recipe quickly became my children’s favorite, and I definitely made it at least 2 times a week.  I can still hear either one of my sons, Danny or Benji saying to me, “Mommy, can we have chicken with the crumbs?”  I especially remember all the times I picked Benji up from his morning nursery school.  When we got home, Benji would go into the family room, and get real cozy in front of the tv to watch some of his favorite cartoons.  I’d say, “Benji do you want some leftover chicken with the crumbs?” Of course, I knew what the answer would be, so I’d fill up a plate with the chicken, and I loved bringing it to him.  He was my little prince.  Then years later, when Danny would come home from college, the first thing he asked me to make was of course, chicken with the crumbs.  I couldn’t make it fast enough for Danny. Please, try this recipe.  Your kids will be asking, “Mommy, can you make us some chicken with the crumbs?”

  • thin sliced chicken cutlets (I find that Purdue are the thinnest and the best)
  • Kellogg’s Corn Flakes Crumbs
  • oil (light olive oil, corn or canola)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Cover a half sheet pan (or other baking pan with sides) with aluminum foil.  Grease the foil with a tablespoon or so of the oil.  Put some oil into a bowl- about 1/2 cup to start.  Then put all your cutlets into the oil.  Smoosh the chicken around in the oil.  Pour some corn flakes crumbs onto a large plate, about 3/4 cup to start with.  Take one cutlet out of the oil after you make sure the cutlet is coated on both sides, and lay it on the crumbs.  Turn the cutlet a few times, patting the crumbs on it.  I go pretty heavy with the crumbs, but you can go light if you wish.  Then, transfer the cutlet to your prepared sheet pan.  Repeat with all cutlets.  Then, drizzle the remaining oil from the bowl over the cutlets.  The cutlets only need a drizzling of oil on top.

Bake in center of preheated oven for about 20-25 minutes until chicken is cooked through.  If you are using thicker cutlets, I recommend you reduce the temperature to 375 degrees and cook about 30-35 minutes.  If you are using chicken pieces, I recommend cooking at 350 degrees for about an hour.

Note:  I usually use light olive oil when I make these because it’s healthier, but for the best flavor, I sometimes use corn oil.

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.

Grandma Fried’s Cucumber Salad

When I was a little girl, my father, my brother, and I  would visit his mother, my Grandma Fried, on the weekend.  My grandmother was a wonderful, wonderful person who had come over from Hungary sometime around 1910.  She was a good European cook, and I loved eating her foods.  Sometimes, she would make one of her specialties, her cucumber salad, and give my father a jar to bring home.  My mother and father loved these.  When I got married, I started making this recipe, because I knew how much my parents, but especially my father appreciated it.  I like to make this recipe instead of salad especially for a big holiday dinner .  People have so many different things to put on their plate, and it’s easy to squeeze some of these cucumbers on their plates.  This dish is refreshing and it’s nice for a change instead of salad. 

  • 5-6 large cucumbers (the greenhouse cucumbers are best)
  • Water
  • Kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup white vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar

Peel and slice cucumbers very thinly and place in colander.  Sprinkle them with the Kosher salt and put a heavy plate directly over the cucumbers; press down.  Let sit for about an hour.  Rinse salt off with water, drain well.  Put in serving bowl.  Pour the vinegar and sugar over the cucumbers.  Refrigerate a few hours or overnight.  

Note:  You can make these a few days in advance.  The cucumbers shrink in size, so you will need more than you think.  Besides, they are great to go with holiday leftovers.    

Grandma Hindes’s Simple Stuffing

This is another recipe of my Grandma Hindes. I am still amazed today when I think about how talented a cook she was. She never used a cookbook in her life, and I don’t think she ever even wrote her recipes down. When my mother and father got married, and my mother started to cook, she wanted to make many her mother’s recipes. This was complicated by the fact that my grandmother only cooked from her head, not from a recipe. So my mother had conversations with my grandmother where she tried to pin her down and make my grandmother give her exact quantities of the ingredients that she used. This was one of my absolute favorite recipes of my grandmother’s that my mother made. For some reason, I loved watching my mother make this particular recipe. I loved the sounds and the smells as she put the ingredients together. My mother and I used to love tasting the uncooked stuffing to check the seasoning. We weren’t worried about salmonella back then. This was the only recipe my mother ever used for stuffing a turkey. It is such a delicious, simple recipe for stuffing, and very different from most stuffing recipes today. But when a holiday comes around, everybody wants to make sure in advance that I’m still making this stuffing. Please, try it. Some of the best tasting things in life are the simplest!

For a 12-15 pound turkey:

  • 10 seeded hard rolls
  • 8 extra large eggs
  • about 1/2 cup corn, canola, or light olive oil
  • Kosher salt and lots of pepper to taste

Soak a few rolls in warm water. When they have softened, put them in your hands one at a time and squeeze the water out of them. Then with your hands, tear the rolls up into bite sized pieces and place in large mixing bowl. Continue this until you are done with all of the rolls. Then in a separate bowl, mix eggs with a fork. Pour them into the rolls, and mix gently with a rubber spatula. Add the oil, and mix again. Add salt to taste, somewhere around 2 teaspoons, and your pepper, somewhere around 1/2 teaspoon. I like it really peppery. At this point you can also use fresh ground pepper, but you’ll need quite a few grinds. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate until you are ready to cook your turkey.

Now, before I put the stuffing in the cavity, I make a paste up of oil, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and lots of paprika. I shmear this on the outside of the turkey, and then all over the inside cavity. Then, I put the stuffing in. These seasonings give the stuffing lots of extra flavor.

When you stuff the turkey, do not try to pack it in tightly. Just put it in, but don’t worry if you can’t fit every last bit of the stuffing in. If you have some left over, put it in a small casserole dish, sprinkle the top of the stuffing mixture in the dish nicely with paprika, and bake it for about 45 minutes. I always make extra, because the quantity in the cavity is never enough anyway.

Judy’s Easy Corn Pudding

I concocted this recipe a few Thanksgivings ago because my daughter Randi had told me that she had eaten some corn pudding in a restaurant, and she really liked it.  When I made this the first time, Randi said that is was her favorite side dish in the Thanksgiving dinner.  For something so yummy, it is really a snap to make. It takes about 10 minutes to get it in the oven.   I have prepared it, and let it sit in the refrigerator for a half hour to an hour before I baked it, and that doesn’t hurt it one bit.  You will be amazed at how beautiful this dish looks when it comes out of the oven, puffed and golden!  The consistency is more like a souffle than a pudding.  It does taste best if you can bake it right before you serve it, but you can prepare it, and put it in the refrigerator up to an hour or so before you bake it.  The result will be-perfection!  This dish will impress your guests, so get ready for the compliments and the recipe requests!

  For 8 x 10 rectangular or oval baking dish   For 9 x 13 rectangular or oval dish

  • 3 tablespoons unbleached flour                       4 tablespoons unbleached flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder                              2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons Kosher salt                                    2 1/2 teaspoons Kosher salt
  • scant 1/4 cup granulated sugar                       scant 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 6 jumbo or extra large eggs                             7 jumbo or extra large eggs
  • 16 ounces (2 cups) light cream                        18 ounces (2 cups + 2 oz. light cream)
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter or margarine    2 tablespoons melted butter or marg.
  • about 6 cups frozen corn – about 28 ounces   about 6 cups frozen corn-about 28 oz.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease sides and bottom of either your 8 x 10 inch. or 9 x 13 inch oval or rectangular ceramic or glass baking dish well with butter or margarine. 

Combine the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar in a small bowl.  In a large mixing bowl, whisk together by hand the eggs, the light cream, and the 2 tablespoons melted margarine or butter.  Gradually whisk in the dry ingredients until pretty smooth.  Stir in the corn (which you can take right out of the freezer) and mix through, separating the kernels with the whisk as best as you can.  Pour mixture into prepared pan.  Bake for 45 minutes or until golden brown and puffed.  Serve immediately. 

Grandma Hindes’s Brenta (Jewish Hash Browns)

If I had to name our family’s absolute favorite recipe, I think this would be the one.  You have to understand the history of this recipe.  My mother’s mother Rose, my grandma, was a wonderful, Jewish, European cook.  From what my mother told me, she was a self-taught cook.  She definitely cooked typical Jewish, European recipes, but in my opinion, no one made them better.  My mother often mused about how she didn’t appreciate her  mother’s wonderful cooking when she was growing up, and how she didn’t really start to appreciate her mother’s cooking talent until she got married herself.  My grandmother didn’t use complicated ingredients in her food; her cooking was simple but delicious.  One of her greatest pleasures was cooking for her husband, my grandpa, her children, her children’s spouses, and her grandchildren.  Every Friday night my cousins, Paul, Bobby, and Janie were dropped off at my grandparents’ house for a delicious Friday night (Shabbat) dinner.  Only a few times did I get to eat with them.  I loved those times.  Anyway, from what I remember, the dinner consisted of pot roast, chicken fricassee with little meatballs, and brenta.  (I’m not sure what the rest of the meal was.)  As far as I’ve been told, brenta was an original creation of my grandmother’s.  Brenta means “burned” in Yiddish. My grandmother’s brenta was the most delicious food I ate as a child.  Luckily, my mother made brenta every other Friday night for us as a side dish (the main course was brisket).  I became my mother’s personal brenta assistant.  I learned the technical art of turning the brenta properly, and I took over making the brenta from beginning to end.  The best part of making the brenta was picking out delectable morsels when it was done and popping them in my mouth.  Oh, it was so good!  The last and most important part of the job for me was carrying the bowl of brenta over to the kitchen table.  Why?  Of course, so I could be the one to put all the best pieces on my plate.  My poor brother, Kenny got shafted by his greedy sister again.  If you ask him, he will tell you that he still hasn’t forgiven me, and he is not joking!  Well, when I had my children, I started making Friday night dinners and having my parents over, and both my mother and father were so happy when I would bring a magnificent bowl of brenta to the table.  Luckily, my children and my husband adored my brenta, too.  The consensus was that my brenta was definitely as good as my mother’s and my grandmother’s brenta.  Right now, I am working on teaching my daughter Randi the art of making brenta, because we need to keep the family tradition going.   

  • 5 pounds  Russet or Idaho potatoes
  • corn oil -about half of a one quart bottle
  • Kosher salt
  • water

Wash and peel potatoes.  Cut into medium sided chunks and place in a pot or bowl of cold water.  You can do this a few hours in advance and keep them in the refrigerator until you are ready to cook them.  Drain the potatoes in a colander.  Then pour the potatoes into a very large non-stick skillet (I use a 12 inch pan for this).  Pour about 1/2 to 3/4 cup of corn oil over the potatoes.  Then pour about 1 cup of cold water over all. 

Put a cover over the skillet.  I don’t have a cover large enough, so I put my largest cover directly over the potatoes instead of over the pan.  Put the flame on high.  After about 20 minutes, when the potatoes are a little soft, remove the top.  Let the potatoes brown, without turning them.  Then turn them, and let them brown again.  I squish a spatula down on the potatoes a few times to mush up some of them to make some of the pieces smaller.  You just keep letting them cook 10 minutes or so, and then you turn them.  If you think the potatoes are not soft enough, you can always add a little more water to them, and recover them for a few minutes.  If the potatoes don’t seem to have enough oil to brown in, add a little more oil.  When the potatoes are burned in parts, and really browned well, you can put them in a large bowl that you have lined with layers of paper towels.  Wrap the towels around them and flip over.  Wait about  3 or 4 minutes and unroll them from the paper towels, as you dump them into the bowl.  Sprinkle them sufficiently with the kosher salt to taste and bring your masterpiece to the table. Five pounds of brenta will disappear right in front of your eyes!

Note:  The actual cooking time is about 1 hour and 15 minutes.  In recent years, I have used red potaotes and not peeled them, but I still think they come out best when you use  Idaho’s or Russets, and you peel them.  

Jewish Marble Cake

 This Marble Cake Will Satisfy Any Craving For Chocolate Or Sugar!

This is another recipe that came from Adele Hochheiser.  Adele Hochheiser was my mother’s wonderful best friend, and she was like a second mother to me.  Adele was a terrific  cook and baker.  I have wonderful memories of going over to the Hochheiser house, walking into Adele’s kitchen, and smelling the enticing aroma of either something cooking or baking in Adele’s oven.  My mother loved Adele’s marble cake, and of course my mother got the recipe from her.  This became one of the standard recipes that my mother baked for the Jewish New Year holiday of Rosh Hashana.  My father and I really loved this cake, but my mother adored this cake.  When I ask my mother which cake recipe is her all time favorite one, she always says, “The marble cake.”  This cake is  a little on the heavy side, but it is GOOD.  My mother and I have had some great laughs through the years about how much we love this cake despite its slightly heavy and dry texture. We always say, “But it just tastes so good!”   My mother and Adele baked this cake in a 9 x 13 pan, but I when I started baking it, I discovered the cake came out moister when I baked it in a tube pan.  So that’s the pan I use.  When I bake it, I usually cut it into thirds, wrap it, and of course deliver some to my mother.  She keeps it in the freezer, and takes it out sparingly, because she doesn’t want to use it up.  I’m feeling guilty right now, because I know her supply is running out, and I need to replenish it.  I’d better get on the job!

  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter or Fleischmann’s margarine, at room temperature (I usually use butter)
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 4 extra large eggs, at room temperature
  • 3 cups unbleached flour, sifted (sift, then measure)
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 3 oz. unsweetened chocolate (I use Baker’s or Nestle’s squares)
  • 1 1/ 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease a tube pan with removable sides well with butter or margarine.

In mixing bowl, put flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside.  In a small microwave safe bowl, put the squares of chocolate, and then melt on a low power level in the microwave.  Add the 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract to the melted chocolate, and mix with a rubber spatula.  Set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream butter or margarine.  Add the sugar and cream until light and fluffy.  Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing after each addition.  Add the 1 remaining teaspoon vanilla, and mix, just until blended.  Add the dry mixture alternately with the milk in three or four additions, scraping down the bowl one or two times.

Take out about 1/3 of vanilla batter and put in a bowl. Add the melted chocolate to it, and mix with a rubber spatula.

Pour all of vanilla batter into prepared tube pan.  Then put dollops of chocolate batter on top of vanilla until you have used up the chocolate batter.  Take a knife and swirl the chocoate batter through the vanilla batter.   Do not overswirl at this point, because you want the chocolate cake to be chocolate, and you want the vanilla cake to be vanilla.  Bake about 50 minutes until the cake just starts to separate from the sides of the pan and a toothpick comes out clean.  Cool the cake on a wire rack about 1 1/2 hours until completely cool.  Run a knife around the edge of the pan and around the inside tube.  Then lift the cake up off of the sides holding the tube.  Then cut it in half, and with a metal spatula, lift each half off the bottom of the pan  onto a serving plate.

Note:  This cake freezes well.  Wrap it in halves or thirds in plastic wrap and then in aluminum foil, and then put in plastic freezer bags.  When you have company, take out 1/3 or 1/2 , slice it, and put slices in an overlapping pattern on a serving plate.   

Home Cooking

Indulge yourself in a private cooking lesson in the comfort of your own home.  Learn to prepare a spectalar meal, dish, or dessert for a special occasion or that special someone.  Each private cooking class is customized so you can learn exactly the type of cooking or baking you want. Whether you want to start from scratch and learn cooking or baking basics or you simply want to expand your culinary repertoire, you can be sure to have a fun and educational cooking experience. If you really want to make an impression on your friends or loved ones, have a cooking party and let everyone learn how to cook or bake.  If you have been wanting to prepare a particular dish or complete dinner or a favorite dessert and just don’t have the confidence, I will walk you through each phase of recipe or recipes and you will discover how simple and fun it is!   Plan on spending about 2 or 3 hours per cooking lesson depending upon what kind of food is being prepared. Private cooking lessons allow you to reserve a time that suits your schedule without the hassle of traveling to a cooking school. Personalized attention guarantees you will learn new cooking or baking skills and get all your questions answered. Cooking lessons are scheduled at a mutually agreeable time.