Cheesy Breadsticks

The big kid is not a demanding eater by any means. She doesn’t like things too complicated, but also doesn’t really beg for new things to make or try. When she does think of something new to make, I try to oblige. 

She keeps telling me about pizza sticks with sauce or cheese sticks with sauce. I think she was inspired by one of the school lunches she saw kids eating. When we go out for pizza, she gets pizza and doesn’t venture out of that routine. So I know she didn’t get it from restaurants. Anyhow, I promised her I would make some when I had the chance.

I came up with a breadstick base – similar to my pizza dough recipe. Stuffed some cheese in it, and baked. Was pretty easy. She said it was the best lunch ever! 
Cheesy Breadsticks (makes about 8 breadsticks)

1/3 cup warm water
1/3 cup warm milk
1 tsp. yeast
2 cups flour
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. italian seasoning

1 tsp. garlic powder

shredded mozzarella cheese or cheese sticks

Olive oil
Parmesan cheese
Preheat oven to 450.

Add the yeast to the bowl of a mixer. Add the warm water and milk. Let it sit for a minute.  Add the rest of the ingredients and stir. Mix until the dough starts to form a ball and pulls away from the bowl.

Knead the dough and form in to a bowl. Place in a lightly oiled bowl and cover for about 5-10 minutes.

Roll the dough out on a floured surface. Slice the dough in eighths.

Roll out the slices a bit. Fill with cheese and seal the bread sticks. I found that wrapping it like a burrito works well.
Let the breadsticks rest in the pan for about 5-10 minutes.

Brush the breadsticks with olive oil and parmesean cheese.

Bake for about 12-15 minutes.  
Serve breadsticks with a side of marinara sauce. Would also be good with a nice aioli. Enjoy!

Cottage Cheese Latkes

Chanukah isn’t over yet! There is still time to post some of the Chanukah goodies I made.

It was the first night of Chanukah. I felt obliged to do something in the spirit of the holiday. The big kid isn’t a huge potato fan though. I didn’t want to smell up the house with hot oil and then have to figure out more dinner for the rest of the family. I thought back to the time when the big kid was just a weed toddler and loved the cottage cheese latkes I made. I think I made them just that one time, about 8 years ago. The bonus is that they seem like more of a complete dinner than the regular potato latke.

Lo and behold, both kids loved them! 

Cottage Cheese Latkes

1 lb. small curd cottage cheese (medium container)
2 extra large eggs
1/4 cup flour (gluten free flour works too)
salt and pepper
garlic powder

vegetable oil

Mix everything up in a bowl. Yes, it’s that easy.

Take out a fry pan and heat up some vegetable oil.

Take a big spoon of the batter and drop in to the pan. I like them to be around 2-3 inches wide. Don’t mess with the latke until you are sure it is ready to flip. The cheese latke should be a little brown on the edges before you flip it.  It will also flip easier when it’s done on that side. The melty cheese will stick to the pan before it’s ready.  Cook another 2-3 minutes once flipped. Drain on a plate covered with paper towels.


Veggie and Soy Chorizo Burritos

It was a Thursday night like any other. Need to get some shabbat shopping in. Need to get some shabbat cooking in. Would love to get a gym session in. Any other night, right? On a typical Thursday night, we have a bad habit of running to get takeout. It’s so much easier, but it adds up, you know?  J doesn’t like pizza. The kids don’t like eating meat, and recently both J and I both get sick whenever we eat from the kosher Chinese place. Our options are limited for dining in town. I am trying to limit the eating out to places that are really worth it.  A $50 meal out where I feel good about eating it – both health wise and taste wise.

So this past Thursday, found me in the kitchen, as always, with little time to spare. The kids had pasta, cheesy noodles – a reward for behaving so well in the grocery store. All right, all right, it was a bribe. I admit. Through all this, I am also trying to clean out the kitchen for Pesach. Trying to use stuff up for the big royal clean up/clean out.  I found some soy chorizo in the fridge and this can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce that have been begging to be used up. Burritos it is! Yummy!

Veggie and Soy Chorizo Burritos (serves 6-8)

1 onion, chopped
5 cloves garlic, chopped
1  package soy chorizo (I recommend Frieda’s or Trader Joe’s brand – Frieda’s has a hechsher)
1 zucchini, chopped
1 cup sliced mushrooms
1/2 cup green pepper, chopped
1/2 cup red pepper, chopped
1 cup corn
1 can small white cannellini beans
1/2 small can chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
6-8 flour tortillas (depends on how much filling you like in your burritos
cooked white or brown rice
shredded cheese blend (monterey jack, cheddar – it’s all good)
sour cream (optional)

In a large saute pan, saute the onions and garlic in a small amount of oil.  Maybe two teaspoons.

Add in the soy chorizo and cook it a bit. Note: The casing is inedible in the soy chorizo. squeeze the soy meat into the pan.

Add in the cumin, salt, and pepper.

Add in the veggies. Saute for a few don’t need the veggies too soft.

Now add the corn and beans. Cook a few more minutes. 

Stir in the peppers in adobo sauce.  This gives the whole mixture a nice smokey taste. So good.

Lay out your tortillas on a plate. It’s good if you heat the tortillas covered in warm oven for a few minutes. 

Plop some rice, then some filling, and then the cheese onto your tortilla.


Now it’s time to roll up your burrito.  Fold the bottom in a bit and also the top. Now roll up from the side. Now take a bit. You know you want to. Enjoy!

Meatless Monday: Veggie and Cheese Quesadillas

As you all know, I love easy recipes. I also demand tasty recipes. Emphasis on the flavor. Anything that works out well that my kids will eat is extra special in my book. I have two daughters, and as far as eating habits go – they are night and day. One kid is extremely adventurous, and the other one is very limited. It can get frustrating…for me. I have two rules when it comes to dinner time. One is that the food must be tasted. Even if it’s “weird” and “funny looking.” We often have surprise hits with the picky kid. The second rule, is that the food must be balanced. Dinner is not just the pasta. There has to be a veggie and a protein included in the meal.

One meal that works in our house are quesadillas. I always have tortillas and cheese lying around. It is one of those meals that can be a “build-your-own.” There is no right or wrong recipe for this. Use whatever is lying around the house. The kids like it because they can pick what they want to go in to their quesadilla. My daughter might choose a totally tame one made up of just egg and cheese, and us adults will opt for a more sophisticated variety.

I whipped up a veggie and cheese quesadilla tonight, with a bit of soy sausage thrown in for protein. Fast, easy, and tasty! Hope you like it.

Veggie and Cheese Quesadillas (serves 4)

2 tsp. olive oil or vegetable oil
1 small onion
4 cloves of garlic
1/4 cup chopped red pepper
1/4 cup chopped green pepper
5 baby bella mushrooms, chopped
1/2 ground soy sausage or 1/2 cup black beans (use what you have)
2 tsp. cumin
salt (to taste)
1.5 cups of shredded monterey jack/cheddar blend
4 tortillas

In a large saute pan, heat the olive oil. Add the onions and garlic and cook for a few minutes.

Add in the rest of the veggies and beans or soy sausage. Cook for 5 minutes. Add in the salt and the cumin. Do a taste test. Cook veggie mixture until veggies are softened.

Remove the mixture to a bowl and wipe out the pan

Back in the saute pan, heat a drop of oil or spray the pan with the oil spray.

In a tortilla, place some of the cheese over half of the tortilla. Put 1/4 of the mixture on top and sprinkle with more cheese. The cheese works like a glue. Fold the tortilla over and transfer to the hot pan. Cook for a few minutes and then flip. Cook on the other side for a couple minutes or until desired crispness. Cut into wedges and serve.

We devoured ours with some rice and veggies. Enjoy!


Meatless Mondays: Polenta Lasagna

Mondays are sometimes the hardest days to figure out dinner. I am not a big fan of Shabbat leftovers, and there are never enough to serve the whole family come Monday. I am tired and not wanting to really prepare anything, but it’s too early in the week to justify getting takeout.

A big trend in the food blog world lately is Meatless Mondays. I like this idea. Of course in my house, almost every day is a meatless day. Still, I like the ideas behind it, and am more than happy to spread the word.

I decided on polenta lasagna. I always have cornmeal lying around, but as luck would have it – I had one of those handy dandy tubes of prepared polenta from Trader Joes sitting in my cabinet. I had my doubts about this dinner. I knew that my husband would love the lasagna, but I was nervous that the kids would be begging for some sort of dinner alternative. I lucked out. The kids loved it. They ate it all up. They didn’t even bat an eye at the spinach! Score! To top off the good luck – they devoured the steamed broccoli I served with it. Ten points for me!

Polenta Lasagna

1.5 cups of good tomato sauce
1 tube of polenta, sliced into 12-15 slices
1.5 cups of ricotta cheese

3/4 box of frozen spinach
1 tbsp. italian seasoning
5 cloves smashed garlic
2 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. red pepper flakes
1 egg
1.5 cups of shredded mozarella
a few leaves of basil, chopped
shredded parmesean

Preheat oven to 375.

In a mixing bowl, mix the ricotta cheese, the spinach, half of the mozarella, the egg, and the herbs.

In an 8×8 pan, spread a thin layer of tomato sauce. Place half of the polenta rounds over the sauce. Top with half of the ricotta cheese mixture. Spread a thin layer of sauce and repeat the polenta/cheese layers. Spread another thin layer of sauce. Top with mozarella cheese and sprinkle with the parmesean.

Bake in the preheated oven for about a half hour. Garnish with the chopped basil. Serve with some steamed veggies and/or salad.


Tortilla – Quesadilla Fest

I feel this rush to get all my chametz out of the kitchen. I feel embarassment by the amount of stuff I have left. My freezer is full, as is my pantry. I don’t know where I will put the Passover products that I need to buy. There are eight bottles of Passover wine living in the guest room, if that tells you anything.

In my freezer, sat 2 1/2 lonely cups of all-purpose flour. I rarely use AP flour, unless I have some event I need to bake for. Bread flour gets used, but not the “all purpose” kind. I thought about cookies or brownies or something similar, but I am not eating sweets lately, and I have imposed my baking adventures on my colleagues enough this month. They have probably reached their cookie and cupcake quota for March.

So as not to pester my coworkers with any more baking leftovers, I pondered other uses for flour. I had two cups too much flour for any gravy or sauce. Too little flour for anything that I would normally find use for. While scouring uses for flour, I came across an idea I always shoved aside – tortillas! Really, who makes tortillas? I have a few budget conscious friends who make them. I have always relied on the yummy handmade tortillas at Trader Joe’s and I am not a huge fan of anything that could be deemed a patchke – a bother. I have a fear of rolling pins. Really! Still, I had just enough flour, and all the ingredients. Even without a tortilla press, it can’t be too complicated, right? Well it is a patchke, and it is one of those things that requires some amount of practice. I could still see myself making these again, as the finished product was pretty good, and once I got the hang of it, it was pretty easy.

I made an evening out of this adventure. Got people over here. It’s easy when there is beer (also chametz) to be used up. Turned the fresh tortillas into quesadillas, with a slew of yummy toppings and a great salad. It was a good night.

Flour Tortillas

2 cups all-purpose flour
1.5 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt

2 tsp. vegetable oil
3/4 warm water

Mix the dry ingredients together in a medium mixing bowl.

Mix the water and oil in a separate container.

Make a well in your flour mixture. Slowly pour the water mixture into the dry ingredients, bit by bit. Use a fork to mix up the dough. The dough will be sticky.

Once all the water is incorporated into the flour, turn the dough onto a floured board.

Knead the dough for a few minutes until the dough is nice and smooth and can be shaped into a ball.

Put the big ball of dough back into the mixing bowl and cover with a damp kitchen towel for 20 minutes. Use this time to prep your other dinner ingredients, mingle, have a beer, clean up a spilled beer, etc.

Take the big ball of dough out, and pinch of pieces of dough and roll them into little balls of dough. Place the dozen or so dough balls onto a plate and cover with a damp towel. Let it sit for 10 minutes.

Preheat your skillet on medium/high heat. A cast-iron skillet is recommended, but any large heavy skillet will do.

Re-flour your cutting board. Lightly flatten the doughball out on the board to a circle.

Roll out the dough with your rolling pin. It should be around 1/8 inch thick.

Once you have rolled out the tortilla, place it on the skillet. No oil is needed. Cook the tortilla for about 30 seconds a side.You will notice brown spots all over your tortilla. Flip it over and cook an additional 30 seconds.

Don’t over cook. The first tortilla came out a little too well-done and too crispy. Cover the tortillas on a plate while you cook the rest.

We ate the tortillas as bean and cheese quesadillas…slathered with salads and sour cream. It was a yummy dinner adventure!

Vegetarian Jucy Lucy Hamburger

Growing up in Minnesota, I always heard about this amazing barfood called the Jucy Lucy. I was curious about this delicacy. During my treife (non-kosher) days, I was a vegetarian, so I didn’t have so much interest. Now that I keep kosher, the Jucy Lucy’s at Matt’s Bar in Minneapolis are off limits. They still look tempting. Click here for the wikipedia on the infamous Jucy Lucy.

I decided to try to kosherize it. I knew I didn’t want to use soy cheese, since that stuff is pretty crappy. I decided to replace the meat. I was a bit concerned, as soy meat is a completely different consistence than real meat, and it comes very differently. It came out pretty good, I will make some fixes next time. I need to make the patties a bit thinner, and I need to slice the cheese thinner. Otherwise, it was pretty tasty.

Below is my recipe for these tasty treats.

Jucy Lucy – Vegetarian and KosherRecipe made 5 patties

1 package of “ground” veggie meat (I use the Lightlife)
1/2 package of veggie ground sausage (Also used Lightlife)
1 onion, chopped fine
salt and pepper

2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 tablespoons bread crumbs

2 eggs
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 slice of cheese for each patty – American Cheese is the most authentic

Have some toothpicks handy.

In a medium bowl, mix all ingredients except for the cheese.

Form into 10 thin patties.

Place the cheese on top of the patties, fold up the cheese so that there is “meat” space around the cheese. Place another patty on top of the cheese up patty. Crimp the edges.

In a cast iron skillet, on medium heat, put your patties in. Cook for 5-6 minutes. Flip the burgers over, poke a toothpick through to allow for steam to escape, and ensure that the cheese doesn’t make the burger explode before eating. Cook another 6-7 minutes.

Serve on a bun, dress the burger as you like it. Enjoy!

Back in my college days, I remember some Jucy Lucy eating contests. I remember people boasting about how many they could eat. So…how many did you eat? Hope you enjoyed!

Homemade Macaroni and Cheese

I finally figured out a “recipe” that is a more than adequate stand-in for a boxed macaroni and cheese.

My dear elder daughter, who I love so much, is not my biggest fan. She likes foods that are not so “oomphed” up. She would be more than happy with a simple pasta with butter and “sprinkle” cheese. My mom tells me that I was just as picky at her age. We did love some Kraft Dinner back in those days. I do wish she would start liking sushi and Vietnamese food though. Soon, please. I want to be able to take her to a restaurant that doesn’t offer a kids’ menu.

Anyhow, yesterday we had a special day together. I had off from work and she had off from school in honor of MLK day. I promised her a day that went her way. We went to a movie. “Hotel for Dogs” is perfect for the age 5-8 set. After the movie, it was time for lunch. We don’t have any kosher mac and cheese options in my neighborhood. We had eaten pizza the night before. So we decided to pick up some Carvel Sundaes to take home for dessert and make Mac and Cheese at home.

Much to our horror, especially hers, we found that there were no boxes of Wacky Mac around. So I improvised. I am proud to say that she loved it. She said that the homemade mac and cheese was much better than the boxed kind. She was a bit disturbed that her new macaroni was not that scary neon orange color. So we had a bit of a chat and she came around.

Macaroni and Cheese

1 Box of Macaroni Pasta
3/4 cup of milk (I used whole)
2 tablespoons of flour
1/2 stick of butter
salt and pepper to taste
2 tsp. paprika
3/4 cup parmesean – plus more for dusting
3/4 cup of cheddar – try the orange kind.

Cook your macaroni in a pot of salted water. Cook it to al dente. You do not want it completely cooked or overcooked because it will cook in the cheese sauce. Drain your pasta and rinse with cold water.

Melt the butter in a saucepan.
Add in the milk. Stir. Do not let the milk boil.
Slowly stir in the flour. This is the beginning of a yummy white sauce. Keep stirring.
Slowly pour in the parmesean, while still stirring. Add in your seasonings.
Add the cheddar. Keep stirring.
Slowly incorporate the pasta.

Serve onto a plate. Lunch was served with some steamed broccoli, which she approved of.

Next time I make this, I will try adding some toasted bread crumbs and bake a bit…maybe even add some spice to it, like jalapenos. I can play with this.


Yummy Soy Sausage

A staple in our house is fake meat…soy and otherwise. I like the versatility of the fake meat products…and in the words of my 7-year-old, “I don’t want to be fleishig.”

On any given Monday night, dinner can be a rush. The buzz of the beginning of the week and crazy schedules make meal planning tough. The presence of the soy meat options are very helpful. Making dinner can be easy.

Dinner was Veggie Italian Sausage with a Mushroom and Tomato Saute over Pasta. I used gemelli, but any pasta can be used. I just like to use fun shapes. I used Trader Joes brand veggie sausage. I have seen other brand out there. Lightlife and Field Roast brands both offer similar tasty treats.

Italian Sausage, Mushrooms, and Tomato over PastaIngredients

1 box of pasta – any shape will do
1 onion
5 cloves of garlic, chopped
2 Italian Soy Sausages, more if feeding a larger crowd
1 can of diced flavored tomatoes
salt and pepper

Basil – fresh if you have it
Parmesean Cheese

Start by sauteing one chopped onion with 5 chopped cloves of garlic in some olive oil. Slice up two sausages thinly. Add it to the pan. Add in some sliced baby bella mushrooms, salt, pepper, and some basil. Use fresh basil if you have it. Next, add in a can of crushed tomatoes. I like the italian balsamic tomato flavor.

Spoon the mixture over some cooked pasta. Grate some parmesean cheese over it. This dish was wonderful and filling. Goes great with some steamed veggies or a green salad.

Pamela’s Gluten Free Pizza Crust

This is dedicated to my wonderful curly-haired family. Love you all!

A weekend in May found me back in my Midwest hometown. It was the first weekend in a few years that my sisters and I were all together. We tried to make the best of a stressful weekend.

A preface to this is that we all come from a bad gut family. Making a meal that works with every gut can be a challenge. On the menu for a home cooked Saturday night meal was wheat-free/gluten-free pizza. The one sticking point is it had to taste good. You may ask how this is possible. Thank the bad-gut lords that smile on us, that there are now numerous companies and aisles of grocery stores devoted to bad-gut, allergy crazed families.

Pamela’s baking mixes and finished products are a great asset to the hypoallergenic food network. We used Pamela’s wheat free bread mix to make the pizza dough. The recipe for chewy pizza crust, found on the side of the package is as follows:


Chewy Pizza Crust

1 bag Pamela’s Wheat-Free Bread Mix
1 yeast packet (enclosed in mix)
1/4 cup oil
1-1/2 cups warm water

Optional: Add 2 tsp Italian herbs and/or 1/2 cup grated cheese to dough

Dough makes two – 12 to 14-inch crusts.

Combine Pamela’s Wheat-Free Bread Mix, yeast packet, oil and water (no eggs are used).

With a Heavy Duty Stand Mixer mix on medium for 2 minutes. Our mixer decided not to perform for us. We were able to mix it by hand easily.

We also chose to add Trader Joes Pasta Seasoning Blend.

Pour 1/2 dough onto greased cookie sheet or pizza pan (for added texture sprinkle corn meal on pan). Use oil or non-stick spray on dough and fingers to keep fingers from sticking when spreading dough into pizza shape. This mixture is pretty gloopy and sticky. It will never get to be pizza hut style dough. Check out N’s beautifully manicured nails!

Let sit for 1 hour. It just barely rises.

Add your sauce and other toppings. We made up a sauce of canned chopped tomatoes, spices, sautéed shallots and garlic, and some jarred sauce. We used a combination of fresh mozzarella, goat milk gouda, and some “parmesan like cheese” found in the depths of my parents generously stocked fridge.

Bake in a preheated 375º oven for 25 to 30 minutes on a lower rack. Dough will puff when baking. For a crispier crust bake at 400º.

We finished off the finished pizza with some drizzled on truffle oil. Yum!
In the future, I would pre-bake the crusts for 15-20 minutes and then add the toppings. Our crusts were a bit under done. The crust did taste good, a little sweet though. We were impressed with the results and I would consider playing around with it further.


1 2