Easy Passover Macaroons

As a child I reluctantly ate the dry, stale macaroons that came in a can.  I didn’t really like them, but I was unwilling to pass on a sweet.  The first time I was invited to a seder as a young adult, I was asked to bring a desert.  I couldn’t bring myself to buy any of the offerings at my local grocery store so I scoured acceptable substitute.  The first recipe I made was overly complicated, but the results were delicious.

Over the years, I have experimented with many variations.  Finally, I gave up and heavily modified a traditional macaroon recipe to make it passover friendly.  When I make this recipe they are not technically kosher for passover, because the sweetened coconut doesn’t have the proper hechsher. But if you found a certified brand of sweetened coconut they could be…

 

Print
Easy Passover Macaroons
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
20 mins
Total Time
35 mins
 

Move over crumbly Passover cake and dry macaroons.  These macaroons are sweet, light, and chewy.  

Servings: 32 cookies
Calories: 110 kcal
Ingredients
  • 14 oz sweetened shredded coconut (I usually use BAKER'S brand)
  • 6 tbsp almond meal (I usually grind whole almonds in the food processor)
  • 1 tbsp matzoh meal
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 4 egg whites
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • chocolate chips (optional)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F

  2. Whisk together egg whites, almond meal, matzoh meal, vanilla, and salt. 

  3. Add coconut and stir to combine.  It can be hard to get it well mixed so don't hesitate to use your hands if necessary.

  4. Mold tablespoons of dough into a tablespoon measuring spoon and carefully slide them onto a cookie sheet covered in a silicon mat or parchment paper.  This will result in little domes.  The cookies don't spread so they can be placed close together.  

  5. Bake for 20 minutes 

  6. Remove from the cookie sheet immediately and cool completely on a wire rack.  The cookies won't brown except for slightly on the bottom and edges.

  7. Melt chocolate chips and drizzle chocolate over the cookies

Recipe Notes

Store in a airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week.

 

Whole wheat challah: attempt 2

I have been trying to make whole wheat challah using fresh milled flour for years with mixed success.

I have decided to start from scratch with a new recipe and make systematic modifications.  The base recipe I will be using is here.  For my first attempt, I made the recipe mostly as directed and found it to be basically good, but not sweet enough.  Here is my plan for next time.

Print
Honey Wheat Challah
Prep Time
3 hr
Cook Time
30 mins
Total Time
3 hr 30 mins
 

Work in progress to create a optimized challah recipe for my family

Servings: 12
Ingredients
  • 320 g all purpose flour (2 2/3 cup)
  • 475 g fresh milled hard white wheat (can substitute 3 1/2 cups whole wheat flour)
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 3/4 tsp instant yeast
  • 1/4 cup honey (85 g)
  • 1 cup warm water (~90 F)
  • 4 eggs beaten
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 egg beaten for glazing
Instructions
  1. Combine first four ingredients in the stand mixer bowl and mix well

  2. Combine honey, water, eggs, and oil in a small bowl and whisk to combine

  3. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix at low speed until well blended

  4. Let sit for 15 minutes

  5. Switch to dough hook and mix at speed 2 for 12-14 minutes.

  6. Turn dough onto floured surface and kneed by hand until it passes the window test.

  7. Put dough in greased bowl and cover with plate.  Let rise 60 minutes or until doubled in bulk. 

    Overnight modification: Put dough in greased bowl and cover with a plate.  Put in fridge overnight.  When ready to continue, take out of fridge and let sit on counter for 30 minutes or until doubled.

  8. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface.  Punch down and divide into 12 equal sized balls.  Cover them with a damp towel and rest for 30 minutes.

  9. Roll each ball into a long snake.  Braid 4 snakes into a challah.  This will result in 3 medium loafs.

  10. Put loafs onto a sheet plan with a silicon mat and cover with a damp kitchen towel.  Allow to proof until a indent doesn't spring back.  About 30 minutes

  11. Brush dough with beaten egg.

  12. Bake until it reaches an internal temperature or 195 F.  About 25 minutes.  rotate half way though.

  13. Cool before slicing.

Recipe Notes

To freeze: wrap individual challah in plastic wrap and place in a freezer bag

To serve: thaw on counter for 24 hours.  Wrap in foil and bake at 325 for 20 minutes to warm./p>

Areas for experimentation: hard red vs hard white flour, honey and egg quantities, rising and overnight.

Granola

My husband loves granola and I hate buying small overpriced bags at the grocery store.  This recipe uses less oil and sweetener than many recipes, but it still comes out crisp and delicious.  I usually eat it with greek yogurt.

Print
Nutty Granola
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
25 mins
Total Time
35 mins
 

Easy granola recipe for the entire family to enjoy.

Servings: 12
Calories: 280 kcal
Ingredients
  • 3 cup rolled oats
  • 1 cup sliced almonds
  • 1/2 cup sesame seeds
  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp cardamon powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 325 F

  2. Mix first 7 ingredients together in a large bowl

  3. Whisk together vanilla extract, honey, and vegetable oil in a large measuring cup

  4. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and stir well

  5. Pour onto a sheet pan covered with a silicon mat or parchment paper

  6. Bake about 25 minutes or until lightly brown.  Stir every 10 minutes.  Make sure not to over bake.  It will darken and crisp up after it is removed from the oven.

Individual Blueberry Almond Crisps

Some night experimental cooking goes well.  Some nights, like tonight, it does not and I end up needing a little something extra.  I had a pint of blueberries in the fridge and I scoured my cookbooks to find a light dessert that I had all the ingredients for.  No luck… more creative cooking to the rescue…

Print
Individual blueberry crisps
Prep Time
5 mins
Cook Time
30 mins
Total Time
35 mins
 

These delicious desserts have so many whole grains you can almost convince yourself they are healthy 🙂

Servings: 2
Ingredients
Filling
  • 1 pint fresh blueberries
  • 1/2 tbsp flour
  • 2 tsp packed brown sugar
Topping
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup rolled oats
  • 2 tbsp sliced almonds
  • 3 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 F

  2. Mix all ingredients in the filling together

  3. Divide between 2 ramekins
  4. Cut all ingredients in the Toping together with a pastry cutter
  5. Spoon toping on top of the filling
  6. Bake at 375 degrees F for 30 minutes

Favorites from Around the Web

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/emeril-lagasse/oven-roasted-cauliflower-with-garlic-olive-oil-and-lemon-juice-recipe/index.html

This is one of those rare recipes that I consistently make almost exactly as written.  I usually halve the olive oil and make it in a glass baking dish.

http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Cheesy-Baked-Penne-with-Cauliflower-and-Creme-Fraiche-350111

Okay, so I freely admit this recipe is kind of a pain and dirties every pan in the kitchen.  It seems like it should be possible to achieve the same result with fewer steps and half the fat.  To control cost and calories, I use 2% milk instead of cream, low fat sour cream, normal tomatoes, whole grain pasta, and I skip the breadcrumb topping.  It is still kind of a pain to make, but it is absolutely delicious and slightly healthier than the original.  One of these days I will get around to simplifying it and reducing the quantity.

http://www.bonappetit.com/recipes/quick-recipes/2011/05/slow-baked-salmon-with-lemon-and-thyme

For some reason, whenever I follow recipes for fish I end up with raw fish.  I know I like fish more well done than most, but I usually like the fish I receive at restaurants.  I bake this recipe at 350 F for 20 minutes and then I cover it with a plate for 10 minutes so the fish can finish cooking.

The Evolution of Oatmeal

 

My daughter and I had oatmeal for lunch today.  Oatmeal was one of her first solid foods and continues to be a favorite.  Of course, the oatmeal I serve her now is very different than what I served her as a baby.

 

 

Print
Baby Oatmeal (6 months+)
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
10 mins
Total Time
20 mins
 

My daughter took one look at baby rice cereal and turned up her nose. I could hardly blame her. Fortunately, a neighbor told me I could make my own baby cereal using any whole grain. I also used this basic recipe with brown rice, but oatmeal was infinitely more popular.

Ingredients
  • 1/4 cup oatmeal ground to powder in food processor or blender
  • 3/4 cup water
Instructions
  1. Boil water in a small sauce pan. 

    Add oatmeal powder, reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Cool to room temperature before serving. 

Recipe Notes

This basic recipe can be mixed with any fruit or vegetable puree for variety.

As my daughter grew, I started adding all kinds of random things to oatmeal.  No fruit or vegetable was safe.

 

 

Print
Young Toddler Oatmeal (8 months+)
Prep Time
5 mins
Cook Time
4 mins
Total Time
9 mins
 

This recipe is unlikely to appeal to most adults, but my daughter enjoyed it while she was getting used to different textures in food. It also sticks to a spoon, making it a great choice to practice self feeding.

Ingredients
  • 1/4 cup old fashioned oatmeal
  • 1/2 cup water can use half water and half milk
  • 1/4 cup bite size vegetables I used a frozen vegi mix containing corn, peas, and carrots
Instructions
  1. Combine first two ingredients in a large bowl and microwave for 4 minutes. 

    Steam vegetables until soft (about 4-6 minutes).  

    Stir vegetables into the oatmeal.  

    Serve at room temperature

I love oatmeal too.  After much experimentation I found a optimal recipe for us to enjoy together.

 

 

Print
Applesauce oatmeal (18 months+)
Prep Time
2 mins
Cook Time
5 mins
Total Time
7 mins
 

I started making this recipe for my daughter and I to share.  After several months, I found that I was getting hungrier and hungrier after lunch.  Someone was eating an ever increasing proportion of our oatmeal.  Now, my daughter gets her own bowl.

Servings: 1
Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup old fashioned oatmeal
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • cinnamon to taste
Instructions
  1. Combine first three ingredients in a large bowl

     Microwave for 5 minutes.  

    Stir in applesauce and cinnamon.

 

 

Tuna Melts

There are some days where cooking is hard, my daughter is fussy, and I forgot to go to the grocery store.  This is a recipe for one of those days.  If I cover the broiler pan in aluminum foil, it doesn’t even generate any dishes.  I shamelessly copied this recipe from a friend who makes it frequently as a filling and slightly nostalgic lunch.

Print
Tuna Melts
Prep Time
5 mins
Cook Time
8 mins
Total Time
13 mins
 

Basic recipe for busy days.

Servings: 4
Ingredients
  • 1 5 oz can tuna fish packed in water
  • 4 slices cheddar cheese
  • 2 english muffins, split (I usually use whole grain)
  • paprika
Instructions
  1. Preheat broiler

  2. Drain the tuna and divide between the english muffins

  3. Cover tuna with a slice of cheese and sprinkle with paprika

  4. Put sandwiches on a cookie sheet covered in foil

  5. Broil until cheese is very bubbly and tuna is hot (about 8 minutes)

 

Apple Crisp

This is the only dessert I ever remember my father making.  Why mess with perfection?  The ingredients are easy to remember and the 1:1 proportions can be scaled to any size.  I have made everything from a 1 apple crisp in a ramekin to a 9×13 inch pan full for a potluck.  It always turns out well. This is my go to semi-healthy dessert.

It can also be prepared ahead and stored in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours before baking.  The leftovers are delicious for breakfast.

Print
Apple Crisp
Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
45 mins
Total Time
1 hrs 5 mins
 

Simple and delicious dessert packed with whole grains. 

Servings: 4
Calories: 605 kcal
Ingredients
  • 1/4 cup rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup wheat germ
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • ~4 large apples
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice optional
  • 1 tbsp honey optional
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F

  2. Combine the first six ingredients together in a large bowl and cut together with a pastry cutter

  3. Peel and thinly slice enough apples to mostly fill a 9x9 baking dish

  4. If apples are crisp or you are making ahead drizzle with a tablespoons of lemon juice over the apples

  5. If desired, drizzle apples with honey to add sweetness

  6. Pour topping over apples to form an even coating and press down lightly

  7. Bake until apples are soft or about 45 minutes

 

Noodle Kuggle

I get my creative cooking from my mother.  She has a meticulously organized recipe box full of hand printed recipes which bear little relation to what she actually cooks.  Many of the recipes contain ingredients, but no instructions.  The rest are more misleading then helpful because Mom has optimized the recipes for our family’s taste, but has not written down any of the alternations.

I have many wonderful memories of my Mom handing me a recipe card and listing off at least six ways that the card was inaccurate.  This recipe contains most of the same ingredients as a recipe that appeared in my Grandmother’s temple cookbook.  The proportions are made up, but it tastes almost as good as Moms.

Print
Noodle Kuggle
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
1 hrs
Total Time
1 hrs 15 mins
 

Easy savory kuggle using ingredients available in the grocery store.

Servings: 8
Calories: 305 kcal
Ingredients
  • 12 oz egg noodles
  • 4 eggs
  • 8 oz cottage cheese one small container
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • 1/2 tsp salt
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 300 F
  2. Cook noodles according to package instructions

  3. Mix everything together in a large bowl

  4. Pour into greased 13x9 inch baking pan

  5. Bake for 1 hour

 

Single Serving Microwave Brownies

 

This recipe is a compromise between two undeniable facts:

1. Some days require chocolate

2. If I bake a pan of brownies, I end up eating most of a pan of brownies.

This recipe is a scaled down and simplified version of microwaved mug brownies as found here.

Print
Single Serving Microwave Brownies
Prep Time
1 min
Cook Time
1 min
Total Time
2 mins
 

Delicious single serving brownie ready in minutes 🙂

Servings: 1
Ingredients
  • 1/4 cup brownie mix
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tbsp milk
Instructions
  1. Mix all ingredients in a mug or ramekin

    Microwave on high for 50 seconds

    If still wet in the center microwave for an additional 10 seconds or untill done (cake should still be moist)