My Grandma’s Healthy and Delicious Brown Rice Pudding

My mother made this recipe often.  It was her mother’s, my Grandma Hindes’s recipe.  My grandmother was born in 1908, so if she were alive today, she would be around 100 years old.  My grandmother was an immigrant from Europe.  She immigrated to this country from a place called Galicia, which is now part of Poland.  She was a huge fan of a nutritionist on the radio named Carlton Fredericks.  She learned a lot from him and followed his advice.  My grandmother was way ahead of her time.  My mother and her brother Nat were the ONLY children who brought sandwiches to school made with whole wheat bread.  When my mother talks about her mother’s wisdom in this area, she is still amazed by it.  For that generation, being concerned about nutrition and healthy ingredients was very uncommon.  Well, my grandmother developed this delicious rice pudding recipe because she wanted to create a healthy version of a rather unhealthy dish.  She made it as a side dish that she served along with tuna salad or broiled fish.  My mother made this many times, and my father loved it!  He liked it plain or warm with a little milk in it.  When my father was still alive, I often made this for him so he could take it home and have it as a yummy snack.    I also regularly make this and deliver it to my daughter Randi and my mother as they love it too.  As soon as the cool weather hits, I start making this recipe.  It’s such comfort food!  I like to know it’s in the fridge for a late night healthier than usual snack.  When I put that first bite in my mouth, I’m in heaven.  How many healthy dishes can you say that about?  I know that this is not your traditional rice pudding recipe, but it’s mine.  So please, give this family, heirloom recipe of mine a whirl.  Trust me, once you taste it, you will love knowing that this healthy treat is waiting for you in the refrigerator.

  • 1 cup whole grain brown rice (not instant)- I use Uncle Ben’s or Carolina (I now use Nature’s Promise organic long-grain brown rice!)
  • a nice chunk of butter or Fleischmann’s margarine- about 2-3 tablespoons
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar (I’ve been reducing this to 1/4 cup lately)
  • 1 1/4 cups of whole milk (or half and half or light cream for an even richer pudding)
  • 3 extra large eggs (or 4 for an even richer pudding)
  • cinnamon

Note:  If you wish to make this dish healthier, you may reduce the sugar to 1/4 cup and use lowfat or skim milk in place of the whole milk. 

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Grease a two quart casserole dish well with butter or margarine.  Crack the eggs in a mixing bowl, and mix them with the milk.

Combine the rice, 2 1/4 cups cold water in a 2 quart saucepan or follow instructions for amount of water on box.  Bring the water to a boil, then put the lid on and lower the flame as low as possible.  Simmer about 30 minutes until the water is completely absorbed.  Recently, I started putting a chunk of margarine in too.

Take the saucepan with the rice off the stove.  Put your greased casserole dish into the oven to heat it up while you are completing the rest of the recipe.  Drop the butter or margarine into the rice and mix it through the rice until it is completely melted through.  Then, dump the sugar in and mix gently with a rubber spatula.  Sprinkle some cinnamon in – about 1/2 teaspoon.  Then pour milk and egg mixture into the rice mixture and mix it in well with the rubber spatula.  Take out the casserole dish, and pour the rice mixture in.   Sprinkle the top of the pudding with a nice amount of cinnamon.  Place the casserole dish in the center of the oven.  Bake it for about 1 hour – 1 hour and 15 minutes until the sides and top are brown.  Let the pudding cool a few minutes before serving, or let it cool completely, and then put it in the refrigerator for later.  You can take out a portion any time, and warm it up in the microwave.

Fantastic Hot Fudge Sauce

I developed this recipe one day after I had spent the afternoon watching the original movie Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory with my kids.  We were all craving something chocolate, and I thought we’d all enjoy some homemade brownies, topped off with vanilla ice cream and some hot fudge.  My kids loved the hot fudge, and it quickly became a family favorite.  The only problem I have when I make this is that if either of my sons, Danny or Benji realizes this is in the fridge, they eat it cold or hot, and then it’s not there when I take it out to serve!  I recommend you find a really good hiding place for it.  Anyway, a very easy but impressive dessert at a family gathering is a batch of homemade brownies right out of the oven served with good vanilla ice cream and a bowl of this dark, rich, hot fudge.

Post note:  Aug. 2010:  Danny’s great friends, Emily and Stephanie came over for dinner last night, and I made homemade vanilla ice cream and chocolate chip ice cream served with this hot fudge for dessert, and happily they actually swooned over it.  I loved it.

The following recipe makes about a quart of hot fudge sauce.  Just halve all of the ingredients to make half the amount of hot fudge.(info in parentheses will give half)

  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar (3/4 cup)
  • 1 cup half and half (1/2 cup) – or mix heavy cream with whole milk as a substitute
  • 8 oz. unsweetened chocolate (I use Baker’s or Nestle’s squares) (4 oz.)
  • 4 tablespoons light corn syrup (2 tbsp.)
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter or margarine (1 tbsp.)
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt(heavy 1/4 teasp.)
  • 1/8 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Note:  If I have semisweet chocolate chips on hand I throw about a handful in- about 2 oz. for the full recipe, and about 1 oz.- a handful for half the recipe.

In 2 quart saucepan, melt butter over tiny flame.  When butter is about three quarters melted, add the squares of chocolate.  Move the chocolate around as it melts to prevent burning.  (You may do this in a double boiler, but I don’t.)

Whisk in the sugar, the corn syrup, the half and half, and the salt.  Continue to whisk over low heat for a few minutes until  all the sugar has dissolved and the mixture just starts to thicken. This will take less than 5 min.   Take off the heat, and whisk in the vanilla.  Pour into a bowl and serve warm or refrigerate and heat up in microwave on low power level.

Notes:  I always make this one or two days in advance and store in a one quart plastic container.  When I am ready to serve it, I spoon as much as I need into into a microwave safe bowl, and heat it on a low power level until it just starts to bubble.  I stir it a few times during the heating process.  I serve it in the same bowl I heated it in.  

The Best Light and Creamy Cheesecake (Passover Version Included)

Forget The Cheesecake Factory!  You Can Learn To Bake The Most Amazing Cheesecake In The World!  

I adapted this recipe from one that was given to my mother and to me by another one of our wonderful neighbors, Lenore Velinsky.  Lenore was a marvelous cook.  She really loved cooking for her husband Arthur, and for her three boys, Richard, Ira, and Jimmy.  This was her cheesecake recipe, and it was amazing.  I have baked it many times, and it has always come out perfectly.  For me, this is the quintessential cheesecake. This cheesecake is light yet creamy. It has undertones of lemon and only a hint of vanilla. The taste is so wonderful, that the only topping I like to put on is a sprinkling of cut up strawberries or nothing at all.  I love to make this cheesecake recipe for special celebrations or bring it to family gatherings. Everybody goes wild for this cheesecake! Please try it.  I know you’ll agree that it’s the dreamiest cheesecake ever. If you bring this cheesecake with you to a gathering of friends or family, you will be the Next Cooking Star.  I know you’ll agree that this cheesecake is nothing less than heavenly!

For the crust:

  • 2 cups graham cracker crumbs

  • 1/2 cup sugar

  • 1 stick melted butter or margarine (try reducing to 6 tablespoons next time)

  • 1/2 cup  finely chopped pecans (optional) (I like addition of nuts to crust)

  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon (optional) (cinnamon adds flavor)

For the filling:

  • 2 1/2 pounds Philadelphia brand cream cheese (5- 8 oz. packages, at room temperature (I often use 3 packs of the Philadelphia 1/3 Less Fat- Neufchatel, and 2 packs of the regular, but you may use all regular) 6-1-10- this time I used all regular, and it definitely is richer and maybe a little heavier- so I think I like it better with 2 of the light and 3 of the regular or 3 of the light and 2 of the regular.)

  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar

  • 5 extra-large eggs, separated at room temperature

  • 1 pint sour cream (not light)

  • pinch of salt

  • Juice of 1 large lemon or 2 smaller lemons (about 3 tablespoons fresh or in a pinch 1 1/2 tablespoons frozen Minute Maid lemon juice)

  • 1/8 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

For the topping (optional):

  • 1 quart fresh strawberries sliced and piled on top (or served on the side), but optional

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.

To make the crust, grease a 10 inch springform pan, bottom and sides. Combine the graham cracker crumbs, sugar, melted butter and chopped pecans in a bowl. Then pour some crumbs into the bottom of your pan. With your hands, press the crumbs into the bottom. Then turn the pan on its side. Keep adding crumbs, turning pan until you have used up all the crumbs. The crumbs should go almost up to the top of the pan. Bake for 8 min. Put in the refrigerator to cool while you are preparing the filling.

To make the filling, first separate your eggs, and set aside.  Cream the cream cheese in the large bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment on medium-high speed until lightened and as lump free as possible, about 5 minutes.  Add the sugar on medium speed and blend.  Add the yolks on low speed, one at a time, just until blended. Scrape down the bowl and beater as necessary. On low speed, add the lemon juice, the vanilla, and the salt. Then on low speed, add the sour cream, just until blended.  Whip egg whites in a separate bowl using electric mixer on highest speed with the whisk attachment until stiff peaks form. Then pour the whipped egg whites into your batter, and fold in by hand. Pour batter into the cooled crust.

Note:  If you have 1 large bowl and 1 smaller bowl for your electric mixer, you can use the large bowl to mix your batter, and the smaller bowl to whip the egg whites.  If you only have 1 bowl for your mixer, whip the egg whites first, then transfer them to another bowl, wipe the bowl dry, and proceed to make the batter.  Your egg whites may deflate a bit though if you do this, but it shouldn’t affect the cake. I do like to whip my egg whites last so they don’t lose any volume.

Bake for 1 hour and 20 minutes. Turn oven off. Open oven door slightly. The cake will not be completely set in the center. Let cheesecake sit in oven for 1 more hour with the oven door slightly ajar.  Then take the cheesecake out of the oven and allow it to sit at room temperature for another 2-3 hours until completely cooled.

Run a knife around the outside of the cake. Then release the outside of the springform pan, and carefully lift the sides of the pan over the cake to remove them. Leave the cake on the bottom of the springform pan and place it on your serving platter. Cover the cake with good plastic wrap and refrigerate it overnight.

When you are ready to serve it, slice up 1 quart of strawberries and pile them on top of the cake or serve on the side if desired. But this cheesecake is so delicious, that it will stand on its own with no topping!

Note: This cake is creamier and even better if made 24 – 30 hours before you serve it!

Hint:  I enjoy serving this cheesecake with no topping, because only then it is really possible to totally savor the incredible taste and texture of this cake, so that is why I actually recommend that if you want to serve it with strawberries, cut them up and serve them on the side. 

Passover Version

Everthing remains the same, except the crust.

Passover crust

1 1/2 cups matzah meal

1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter or margarine – melted

1/2 cup finely chopped pecans or walnuts

1/2 cup sugar

2-3 teaspoons cinnamon (necessary to cut bland flavor of matzah meal)

Mix all ingredients in a bowl.  Grease bottom and sides of large 10 inch springform pan.  Coat bottom and sides with mixture.  Bake at 300 degrees for 8 minutes.  Set aside to cool while you prepare the filling of the cheesecake.  Follow filling ingredients and instructions as well as baking time instructions above.

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.