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Greek Quiche Tart

Serves six comfortably.

This idea comes from my friend, Leah Fink, who shared it with me. It’s a Greek style quiche and in honor the miracle of Chanukah and G-d helping the Jews to win the war against the Greeks against all natural odds, and seeing fit to keep His Nation, Am Yisroel alive to this day, we will celebrate by eating the food of our enemies, who have long ago ceased to exist. And may Our Protector and Father in Heaven see fit to soon do the same to all the rest of our enemies, speedily in our days…

Pie dough:

Ingredients

1 cup (200 grams) margarine (I used the trans-fat free kind)
3 cups flour
1 T. sugar
½ tsp. salt
1 cup water
1 T. vinegar

Method

Crumble together all the ingredients except the liquids. Add the liquids and knead it together by hand until it becomes a dough. Wrap this pie dough in a plastic bag and place in the fridge for an hour before using.

Press this down into the 9 inch pan or casserole dish of your choice, extending it a bit over the edges. Pierce it all over with the tines of a fork so it will not puff up when baking.

Quiche filling:

Ingredients

In a separate bowl, mix together the following:
5 eggs
1 & ¼ cups milk
2 medium red onions, diced
½ cup sliced black olives
½ cup sliced green olives
4-5 medium sized ripe tomatoes, chopped
½ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. pepper
½ tsp. oregano

After this is mixed, crumble into it ½ cup feta cheese by hand.

Method

Pour this into your ready pie shell. It will be very liquidy but that is okay. Bake at 350°F / 180°C for 45 minutes to 1 hour. If it starts to burn on top, cover it loosely with foil, leaving the edges open so that steam can escape and allow it to finish baking. For an added touch, sprinkle a bit of shredded yellow cheese, any type, around the edges of the quiche five minutes before removing it from the oven. It will be somewhat wet when serving it straight from the oven, but it firms up a bit more as it cools off.

Secret Italian Crispy Chicken

This recipe makes enough for two whole chickens, cut into quarters or eighths. If you want to do only one chicken at a time, just use less marinade.

Ingredients

Crispy Chicken

2 chickens, skinned, cleaned and cut into the size pieces you prefer
1 cup Italian dressing (recipe to follow)
1 large onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, diced
3 cups of breadcrumbs
1 tablespoon of dried parsley flakes
8-10 green pitted olives, sliced
8 black pitted olives, sliced

Italian Dressing

1/2 cup canola oil
1/4 cup olive oil
1/3 cup vinegar (either regular vinegar or white wine or apple cider vinegar)
4 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon granulated garlic
1 teaspoon granulated onion powder
1/2 teaspoon dried mustard powder, optional
1 teaspoon parsley flakes
1/2 teaspoon thyme

Method

Crispy Chicken

Lay the chicken pieces down in a pan in a single layer. Pour the Italian dressing over all the chicken pieces. Cover the pan with plastic wrap and let it marinade in the fridge for several hours or even overnight. After if has marinated about two hours, turn over the chicken pieces in the pan.

Here’s a good homemade Italian dressing recipe for those who either don’t want to use the store bought versions or prefer a healthier alternative:

Italian Dressing

Mix this up or even better, blend it with a hand blender for a few minutes. It tends to separate, but blending it with the hand blender helps alleviate this problem. Pour off one cup of this dressing and pour it over the chicken pieces. The rest, you can use over a fresh salad that goes great as an accompaniment to this chicken recipe!

Preheat the oven to 375° F / 190° C.

Spray a large roasting pan with a bit of cooking spray. Layer the onions and garlic on the bottom of the pan.

Discard the marinade that the raw chicken sat in! Never reuse marinade that sat on raw chicken, meat or fish!

Put the breadcrumbs into a plastic bag, together with the rest of the parsley flakes. Using a fork, place each chicken piece into the breadcrumb bag, shake to coat it well, then lay it down on top of the onions and garlic in the pan, right side up. Do this to each piece. Layer on the olive slices on top of the chicken pieces. If you don’t have both kinds of olives, it will still come out fine to use only one or the other kind.

Cover the chicken pieces with a piece of baking parchment paper and then with foil, leaving one side of the foil very slightly open so some steam can escape. (I put baking parchment paper on top of the food so that the foil won’t touch the food and cook into it.) Slide it into the oven and bake for 65 minutes. Uncover the chicken and bake for 10 more minutes uncovered, to crisp it up a bit more. Serve alone or along with some rice.

Leftover Chicken- Not Again!

I have several little packages of leftover chicken pieces from various different chicken meals all over my freezer. I am loathe to throw them out, yet I don’t like them cluttering up my freezer. But if I attempt to seve them, my kids will cry “Ugh, Mommy, not those leftovers again!” And then I will have warned them up for nothing. Any ideas what to do with it all?

Yes, I do have ideas about how to deal with such a situation. It is representative of a general problem many of us face: we don’t want to waste food and keep spending money on more when there is perfectly good food somewhere in the freezer, but we don’t know how to use it in a way that will entice our families to eat it.

Here are two ideas I’ve tried when I had enough leftovers to combine, and they went over really well with my entire family. In addition, it made me feel so good to know that the food not only got used up (finally!), but more importantly, it did not go to waste. And the added benefit was all that extra freed-up freezer space!

Idea 1: Chicken Potato Pie

These instructions are sufficient for a 9×13 roasting pan:
Boil about 10 medium-sized potatoes. When they are soft, drain and mash them, adding some oil, salt and pepper to taste. Spray the bottom of the pan, and spread half the potato mixture into it. Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 350°F / 180°C before going on to the next step.

Take all the chicken off the various bones you have amassed. Cut up these chicken pieces into smaller pieces; they should measure about 4–5 cups of diced chicken pieces. If you want to get fancy, dice one onion and sauté it in a bit of oil. Add the chicken pieces, and some leftover chicken sauce to the pan with the onions. Stir it all together over a small flame until it is a bit bubbly. Turn off the flame.

Spread this chicken mixture over your mashed potatoes in the pan. If you like your “pie” with more “filling,” remember to add more chicken pieces to it the next time you do this. Top the chicken layer with the rest of the mashed potatoes.

You can make the chicken pie look nicer by creating lines on the top of it with the tines of a fork. Sprinkle paprika over the top and spray it with a bit more oil. Slide the pan into the hot oven and bake for 25–30 minutes.

While this bakes, set your table, cut a fresh salad or a fresh vegetable platter and put that out first. Create some mushroom sauce for the pie. Then serve the pie and spoon some sauce over each person’s portion. You won’t have any leftover chicken pieces from this one!

Idea 2: Chicken Patties

My daughter did this for us and they came out fantastic. They make a great fleishig lunch-onthe-go, or a nice dinner, coupled with a salad or even served on buns with lettuce, and slices of onion and tomato.

Cut up the chicken pieces into small pieces. This ratio works for approximately 4 cups of chicken pieces: Add 4 eggs, 1 cup of breadcrumbs, a dash of pepper, ½ teaspoon salt, 2 tablespoons mustard, and 2 tablespoons ketchup. Mix this together; it should be a thick, wet mixture by now.

Preheat the oven to 350°F / 180°C. Cover a baking tray with oil spray. Form small patties out of this mix and lay them down
on the tray. Don’t flatten them too much, as they are nicer and tastier when they have a bit of body to them. When the tray is full (you can place them one next to the other as they are not going to rise at all), spray them lightly on top and bake them for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and serve with rice or burger rolls and fresh vegetables. If handy, offer vegetable soup.

Enjoy using your leftover chicken in creative ways! If you have more original recipes or uses for your leftover chicken, I would love to hear from you.

Tangy Cranberry Meatballs

This great recipe is based on my regular meatball recipe with cranberry sauce and a bit of wine added. The flavor is unique and makes this a Yom Tov specialty! You can make the meatballs any size you like; I think it looks (and stretches) best when the meatballs are tiny, but if you’re short on time, you needn’t worry about their size.

Serves 6

Ingredients

1/2 kilo (1 pound) ground beef
1/2 kilo (1 pound) ground turkey or chicken
1 onion, pureed with 2 gloves garlic
2 eggs
1/2 cup kasha or quinoa or bulgur or breadcrumbs *
1 additional large onion, chopped
2 tablespoons oil

Method

*If you use kasha, quinoa or bulgur, soak the grains first in ¾ cup very hot water for 15 minutes to soften before adding to meat mixture. Breadcrumbs do not need to be soaked.

Mix together the ground beef, ground chicken, and pureed onion and garlic. Add in eggs and 1/2 cup of softened grain. Mix and if you are not making the meatballs right away, cover the bowl and let it chill in the fridge.

Using a large frying pan, sauté the additional chopped onion in the 2 tablespoons of oil on a low flame and while it is sautéing, form meatballs and add to the slowly sautéing onion. Let them brown for about five minutes, turning once to brown on the other side, then remove them to a plate. Keep forming meatballs and browning them until you have finished all the meat mixture.

Prepare sauce in a deep pot:

Sauce

1 can smooth cranberry sauce without berries

1 cup ketchup

1/4 cup semidry white wine

1 tablespoon soy sauce (optional)

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 tablespoon dark brown sugar

½ teaspoon pepper

Stir sauce ingredients together to smooth out any lumps and simmer on low. Add the meatballs, and simmer for one hour. This recipe does freeze well. Serve over a bed of brown rice, cooked quinoa or cooked and fluffed bulgur.

Cranberry Chicken

This one is a family favorite. My mother got it years ago, shortly before I got married, from I-don’t-know-where and she liked it so much that she taught it to the caterer of my wedding and had him make it for the meal!
Since then I save it especially for this time of year. It’s simple but very special. This recipe makes enough for two whole chickens.

Ingredients

2 chickens, cut into eighths, skinned
1 cup flour
1 Tablespoon onion powder
1 Tablespoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 large onion, sliced thin

Sauce

1 can cranberry sauce
1 can whole berry cranberry sauce
1 cup real French dressing (recipe to follow)
1 can of the cranberry cans of water

French Dressing

In a hand blender or immersion blender jar, blend together until smooth the following:
1 small onion
½ cup canola oil
1/2 cup vinegar
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons paprika
2-3 Tablespoons ketchup
1 Tablespoon lemon juice

Method

Preheat the oven to 350°F / 180°C. Spray two 9×13 baking pans or one large pan with baking spray.

Place the flour with the spices in a plastic bag. Put each piece of chicken into the bag and shake to coat it evenly. Lay the coated chicken pieces in the pan.

Put all the sauce ingredients into a large bowl. Mash them together with a potato masher or a fork to break up the lumps of cranberry sauce somewhat. You can use a bought jar of French dressing but since I didn’t have any, I made the dressing myself in a hand blender jar. (There are also no preservatives in your dressing this way.) Pour the sauce over the chicken and top it with the onion slices.

Bake the chicken uncovered for 75 minutes on bake, not convection, not broil. Check the chicken when it’s been in the oven about half the time. If it looks like it may dry out to you, baste it and then cover it for the rest of the baking time.

Another great Rosh Hashana (or any time, for that matter) quickie idea for a side dish to do with this chicken is to add a bag of frozen baby carrots to the pan before laying the chicken pieces down. When it’s done cooking, you will have a delicious chicken plus a carrot side dish to serve it with.

Salmon Burgers

These go so well with typical hamburger buns and make a great weekday, easy meal.
Look how delicious and inviting they are–the day we shot these photos, everyone wanted to eat them just as soon as we finished shooting the pics!

Ingredients

1 – 14.75 oz / about 420 grams can of salmon
1 large onion, diced
½ cup breadcrumbs or matzo meal
2 eggs
¼ cup ketchup
¼ cup mustard
½ tsp. pepper, optional

Method

Sautee the onion in a bit of oil. I use either canola or olive oil. Flake the salmon into a bowl, and if you don’t like the taste or feel of the little bones, then remove those as well. If you do like them, they provide some extra calcium. Add in all else, mix well, and just form into generous sized patties. Pics # 2553, 2554, 2555. As you can see here, this one can made quite a lot of burgers, and with some good buns, fresh lettuce, tomatoes, onion rings and even a few pickles, this is a really nice meal!

Simple, delicious and a sure hit Friday nights

Savory Aromatic Chicken

Serves 5-6

Ingredients

1 large chicken, cut into serving pieces for at least 5-6 people
2 medium sized sweet potatoes, cut into 5 circles each
2 potatoes, cut into 5 circles each
1 tablespoon paprika
1/8 teaspoon paprika charifa, hot red pepper, optional
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 teaspoon dried mustard powder
1/8 teaspoon pepper
2 teaspoons parsley flakes
2 teaspoons dried garlic chips OR 3 cloves garlic, diced
2-3 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, sliced

Method

I enjoy being able to roast/cook the chicken very close to when Shabbos comes in; however, I don’t want to be late to candle lighting nor do I want to be rushing around with chicken still to do at the last minute. This can be prepared early Friday morning, lined up in the pan ready to go and covered until you are ready to bake it. It makes for such an easy way to have very freshly cooked chicken, minus rush and hassle.

Clean and prepare all your chicken pieces, cut to your favorite sizes. I like to separate all the legs and thighs, as well as the other parts. Do not take off the skin. Remove excess fat.

Take out a large flat roasting pan. Spray the bottom of it with baking spray. Layer in the sliced sweet potatoes and the sliced potatoes. Layer the chicken pieces upside down all over the top and in between the sliced potatoes.

Put all the spices, including the dried garlic pieces, into a small bowl and mix it together with a spoon.

Take about 1/3 of the spices in your bowl and, using your spoon, generously sprinkle it all over the upside down pieces of chicken. Flip every chicken piece over so that it is right side up again. Lift up the skin on every piece but do not remove the skins. Sprinkle the remaining spices all over the chicken pieces, ensuring that every piece has a generous amount on it. Pull the skins back down.

Take your regular paprika shaker and shake a bit more paprika all over the chicken skins to make it look nice. If you have any spice mix remaining, use that too. Drizzle the olive oil over the top of everything. Add on the onion slices to the top of the chicken.

Cover the chicken with baking paper and then with foil (so the foil won’t be touching your food directly). Slide it into the fridge until you are ready to bake it.

Preheat the oven to 375°F/ 195-200°C for 15 minutes. Slide the prepared chicken tray into the oven and bake for 70 minutes, NOT LONGER. Turn off the oven immediately. You can now leave it in your oven until you eat it Friday night if you did this within the last 2 hours before Shabbos. If you want to cook it earlier, bake for 65 minutes; when re-warming it, do so for another 15-20 minutes to ensure it heats up properly and cooks a bit more.

Serve on a platter with chicken pieces on one side and the veggies on the other. This serves very nicely alongside any kind of rice.

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