Category Archives: Easy Recipe

Monday Menu: Go Nuts

Almonds, a favorite nut of mine, are rich in plant omega-3 fatty acids; vitamin E; magnesium; fiber; heart-favorable mono- and polyunsaturated fats; phytosterols. But the health benefits are lessened, when if like me, you call peanut m&m’s  protein and eat candied almond by the handful.

Over the holidays, I decided to swap out the store bought for an equally delicious and healthier version of cocoa dusted almonds – sans butter or oil – that still satisfies a salty sweet tooth.


Cinnamon Cocoa Almonds
3 cups of raw almonds
1.5 tbsp of agave syrup
3 tsp of Dutch-processed cocoa
1.5 tsp of cinnamon
.5 tsp of nutmeg
sprinkle of salt

This couldn’t be easier to make or more delicious!

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a medium size bowl, combine almonds and all ingredients.  Stir so that almonds are fully coated.  Taste and adjust for a more chocolatey or cinnamon-y flavor.  
Scatter on a parchment paper covered pan.  Bake for 15 minutes.  Remove from oven; almonds will have a glossy sheen and feel slightly sticky.  Sprinkle with salt and allow to cool for approximately 5 minutes.

Stovetop Truffle Parmigiana Popcorn

This week I made popcorn.  Not pre-popped from a bag or from a microwave.  Homemade popcorn, made right on the stove…  And it was delicious and easy!

Parmigiano Reggiano Truffle Salt Stovetop Popcorn, recipe adapted from Simply Recipes
1.5 Tbsp grapeseed oil (or any high smoke point oil)
1/2 cup of high quality popcorn kernels
Truffle Salt to Taste
Freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano
A drizzle of truffle oil
Large sauce pan with a lid
Other flavor options include classic salt and butter, salt and pepper, hot sauce, cinnamon, curry, whatever you fancy!


Set the pan over medium-high heat and drizzle the grapeseed oil.  Add to the pan 3 popcorn kernels and cover with the lid.

When the kernels pop, add the rest of the 1/3 cup of popcorn kernels in an even layer. Add a conservative amount of the truffle salt. Cover, remove from heat and count 30 seconds.

This method first heats the oil to the right temperature, then waiting 30 seconds brings all of the other kernels to a near-popping temperature so that when they are put back on the heat, they all pop at about the same time.

Return the pan to the heat and keep the lid slightly ajar. The popcorn should begin popping soon, and all at once. Once the popping really gets going gently shake the pan by moving it back and forth over the burner.

Once the popping slows to several seconds between pops, remove the pan from the heat, remove the lid, and dump the popcorn immediately into a wide bowl.

Easy Springtime Vegetables

During the Passover/Easter weekend I did a lot, a lot, A LOT of cooking — which also meant a lot of eating.  when I was planning the menu I wanted healthy and spring dishes.

Here are two bright, colorful, and healthy winners – Roasted Carrots with Parsley and Lemon Roasted Broccoli and Cauliflower.

Roasted Parsley Carrots, adapted from The New York Times
2 pounds carrots, peeled, then cut in half  horizontally and then down the middle vertically
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 teaspoon of dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon of dried oregano
3 tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
In a prep bowl drizzle the olive oil over the carrots and then sprinkle in the salt, pepper, thyme and oregano.
Lay the carrots on a foil covered baking sheet and bake in a 400 degree oven for 35 minutes, or until fork tender.
Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly.  Add parsley just before serving.
Lemon Roasted Broccoli and Cauliflower, adapted from Martha Stewart
1 head broccoli (about 1 pound), broken into 1-inch florets
1 large head cauliflower (about 2 pounds), broken into florets
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 lemons, thinly sliced
Kosher salt and ground pepper
Prep the broccoli and cauliflower, wash, dry, and cut and place in large Ziploc bag or Tupperware. 
Add to the container the olive oil, salt and pepper, thinly sliced garlic and the lemon slices.  Close the container and shake thoroughly to fully coat all of the pieces with the oil, lemon and garlic.
I left my vegetable bag in the refrigerator overnight, but you could also skip right to the roasting.
Lay the contents of the bag onto a covered baking sheet and into a 450 degree oven for 25-30 minutes, longer for crispier vegetables.  Check the vegetables at the midway point and toss on the pan.
Serve warm or at room temperature.
These recipes were affordable to source, a cinch to prepare, healthy and kid approved.

Tradition, Tradition… or Not?

We’re just days away from two major holidays, Passover and Easter.  I grew up celebrating Passover and Mark’s family celebrates Easter and together we practice our family’s traditions and have created some new ones that are now all our own.

For us, the root of our traditions centers on our love of food.  Food brings people together, it sparks conversation, and it inspires people to learn more, share more, and love more.

This year for Passover, we’ll be doing a quiet Seder at home and we’ll be hosting a spring brunch on Sunday that will feature elements of both traditions.

As I do my menu planning, I continue to debate (with myself) what to make.  The trouble with tradition, or perhaps the reason for tradition, is that so many of the “traditional” foods are no longer part of our regular diet – dishes like low and slow cooked brisket, oversized matzo ball soup, kugels, honey cakes, are once, twice, maybe three times a year specialties.   But, that is what makes them special – heavy too – but always special.

Does a departure from the traditional Ashkenazi (Eastern European) menu in favor of a Latin/Asian/Sephardic (North African) inspired meal mean I am losing my traditions?  What would Tevye say?  Or is it a fun and inspired way to add new culinary skills to a millienia old meal?

These oil laden dishes are really most worth savoring because of the stories of the parents, grandparents and great grandparents that made the same dishes in their own kitchens once upon a time.

In the end I think I will continue to slowly and very subtly make adjustments to our menu, but one thing is for sure, we’ll eat lots and lots of matzo.

If you’re invited to a Seder or just want to have a sweet Passover friendly treat try this recipe out:

For Matzo Toffee – or Matzo Crack, depends on who you ask!
4 to 5 pieces of matzo*
1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
1 cup chopped bittersweet chocolate, or semi-sweet chocolate chips
Toppings, as desired
  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit, and line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and/or parchment paper.
  • Place the matzo in one layer on the baking sheet, breaking it when necessary to fill the pan completely. Set aside.
  • In a large sauce pan, melt the butter and brown sugar over medium heat, stirring constantly. Once the mixture reaches a boil, continue to cook for an additional three minutes, still stirring, until thickened and just starting to pull away from the sides of the pan. Remove from heat and pour over the matzo, spreading an even layer with a heat-proof spatula.  Be super careful, this is a great way to burn a finger or a hand.
  • Put the pan in the oven, then immediately turn the heat down to 350 degrees. Bake for 15 minutes, watching to make sure it doesn’t burn. If it looks like it is starting to burn, turn heat down to 325.
  • After 15 minutes, remove from the oven and immediately sprinkle the chocolate over the pan. Let sit for five minutes, then spread the now-melted chocolate evenly with a spatula.
  • You can leave it just as is, enjoying the simplicity. Or add your favorite toppings while the chocolate is still melted.   I like to add dried unsweetened fruit or blanched almonds or pistachios, steer clear of the peanuts, they are not kosher for Passover.

Kale is the New Snack

I am a kale enthusiast.  I throw it into pasta, and add to rice dishes, but my favorite way to eat it is as a chip. When baked to a crisp this leafy green takes on a rich and nutty flavor – and no, you won’t be able to eat just one.

This is the simplest recipe ever posted on the blog and very possibly one of the most delicious.

1. Buy a big bunch of leafy green tale – I like Scots Kale, but any type would work just fine.

2. Strip the leaf away from the rib.  Kale has a similar structure to romaine lettuce, you just to rip the leaf down the center and discard the ribs at the end.  Yes, you can use the ribs for other recipes, but right now this is all about the leaf.

3. Put the strips of leaves in a colander and rinse thoroughly and then shake to dry thoroughly.  LIGHTLY drizzle olive oil over the colander and use a soft hand and a spatula or wooden spoon to mix the kale in the bowl giving each piece a hint of the olive oil.

4. Set the oven to 350 degrees.  Pour the olive oil kissed leaves onto an unprepared cookie sheet, be careful to not overlap the leaves too much so they get the direct heat and crisp.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper – or rosemary and thyme – or parmigiana – or truffle salt – or cayenne pepper – whatever your taste buds fancy.

5. Bake for 17 – 20 minutes.

6. Snack away.  Munch.  Crunch.  Enjoy!

Why Kale Chips? According to WebMD, kale is one of the healthiest vegetables on the planet.  It belongs to the Brassica family that includes cruciferous vegetables such as cabbage, collards, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts.  Kale’s health benefits are primarily linked to the high concentration and excellent source of antioxidant vitamins A, C, and K — and sulphur-containing phytonutrients.  Carotenoids and flavonoids are the specific types of antioxidants associated with many of the anti-cancer health benefits. Kale is also rich in the eye-health promoting lutein and zeaxanthin compounds and the fiber rich vegetable also binds bile acids and helps lower blood cholesterol and reduce the risk of heart disease, especially when cooked.

Roasted Vegetable Pasta

A few weeks ago I scraped together some vegetables from the refrigerator to make a pasta dish.  A few bites in Mark, my most honest taste tester, proclaimed it the best pasta dish I had ever made.  When I find a good thing or a great recipe, I stick with it  – I have made this dinner for the last three weeks!

Roasted Vegetable Pasta Ingredients
1 large eggplant
1 pint of cherry tomatoes
2 handfuls of green beans
2 links of chicken sausage (optional)
1 onion
Spaghetti for 2 (1/2 box of Quinoa Heritage spaghetti)
1 tbsp Olive oil for the pan
Olive oil spray
Garlic (I use cubes, three)
Basil (I use cubes, three)
Salt and Pepper
Pepperoncino to taste
Parmigiana Cheese to taste

 The great thing is that with this recipe there are no rules.  Did you want more pasta than vegetables?  Sure.  Love green beans?  Make it three handfuls!

Cut the eggplant width-wise into coins and then cut across into cubes.  Prepare a cookie sheet with tin foil and spray with extra virgin olive oil spray.  Spread the eggplant evenly on the sheet, spray eggplant with olive oil and sprinkle generously with salt and pepper.  Bake on the top shelf of the oven at 350 for 35 minutes.

While the eggplant is roasting, get to work on the rest of the ingredients.  In a sauce pan melt the onions in olive oil with garlic and basil.  If you’re including the sausage, add slices to pan. Then, add the cleaned green beans and sautee on low/medium heat.  The green beans can hang out on their own for a little while without much attention, just a stir here and there.  I top the pan with a cover to allow the steam to soften the beans, but not too soft.

After the eggplant has been roasting for 15 – 20 minutes add to the oven the halved cherry tomatoes, also treated with olive oil and salt and pepper.  Place the tomatoes on the top shelf to allow them to get blistered.

During this time, set the water to boil for your pasta of choice.  After the vegetables are cooked/roasted and the pasta is perfectly al dente, add the drained pasta to the green beans pan, along with the eggplant and tomatoes.  Give the entire pan a light drizzle of olive oil and gently stir to incorporate all of the ingredients.

Serve with fresh shaved Parmigiano and a sprinkle of pepperoncino – and then you can also weigh in if this is your favorite pasta dish to date.

P.S. Mark, this is dinner tonight!

Gluten Free Apple Muffins

Easy holiday, or anytime recipe, no dairy, no gluten, no sugar, no mixer!

Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, is quickly approaching and I am excited for the many baking opportunities.  It is customary to wish people a “Sweet New Year” and even more customary to enjoy the sweetness of the season’s bounty of fruits, particularly apples, with honey.

Frankly, I could eat apples and honey any time of day or year, but I realize that to snack or travel too far with this sweet snack can become a bit of a sticky situation.  So, instead, we have muffins.

Gluten Free Apple Muffins
1 1/2 cups of GF all purpose flour (Namaste brand)
1/2 cup of GF Oats
1 teaspoon of baking soda
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon of Kosher salt
1/2 cup canola oil
2 eggs
2 4oz. containers of unsweetened apple sauce
1/2 cup of agave syrup
1 large (Braeburn) apple grated
1/4 apple chopped and cinnamon for garnish
Set oven to 325 degrees

In a medium size bowl mix the flour, oatmeal, baking soda and cinnamon and salt.

In a separate larger bowl mix the canola oil, agave syrup, and vanilla extract.  Add to that the eggs and whisk by hand.  Then add the apple sauce and continue to mix.

Then using a box grater, grate a large apple into the wet ingredients.  I used a Braeburn apple, which has a sweet but tart flavor, but you could use whatever kind of apple you most prefer.  Fold the grated apple into the wet ingredients.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet and continue to stir, stopping when the dry ingredients are completely incorporated and before you over mix.

Scoop large spoonfuls into muffin liners and then you can add slivers of chopped apples and a sprinkle of cinnamon to the top.  The apple sliver remind me of shark fins, but taste delicious, and serves as a hint of all the amazing apple goodness inside.

Bake for 25 minutes and then enjoy.  These are delicious alone, or with a pad of butter, smear of almond butter, or maybe even a slice of sharp cheddar.

This will be the first of many sweet things as we move into fall!


Homemade Ketchup

So, for about a month my refrigerator was broken, which meant that I was grocery shopping a lot (think daily), and didn’t have a lot of basic ingredients (think ketchup). 

Note any recipes made on the blog, or shared with friends were with fresh ingredients, have no fear! 

Anyway, I have no ketchup, but we’re making fries and obviously everyone knows that ketchup goes with fries, and as a kid also with eggs, chicken, potato chips (ick, really?!), burgers and dogs…

Homemade Ketchup Ingredients
1 Pint of cherry tomatoes, halved
2 tbsp of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/2 tbsp of honey
2 tsp of red wine vinegar
salt and pepper to taste



Chop in half all of the tomatoes and scatter them on a tin foil wrapped cookie sheet.  Drizzle over the tomatoes olive oil and season with salt.  This is to taste, and if possible I’d err on the side of under-salting.

Bake in a 400 degree oven for 25-35 minutes, or until the tomatoes have blistered and look a bit charred around the edges.

In a food processer/blender/maybe even by hand combine the roasted tomatoes, olive oil, vinegar and honey and pulse for two minutes, stopping intermittently to scrape down the sides.   Taste.  Need more salt, more pepper, too sweet, too vinegary?  You can adjust a blend again for another 30 seconds.

Serve with freshly roasted potatoes, or glam up a burger and dog.  While this “ketchup” might not be kid-approved because of it’s more rustic and homemade texture, this homemade ketchup packs the acidity of the tomatoes, the bite of the vinegar, the sweetness of the honey and come without any of the packaging or preservatives.


Taco Night

Growing up “taco night” was a big deal in our house, we usually had friends come over and share in the abundance of food, and as far as having fun while eating, it’s hard to beat this meal.

So, with that in mind, it was a really nice surprise to come home from work on Tuesday and find that Taco Night had graduated to a more sophisticated level and made for me, by Mark.  What is great about this dinner, is that it is a cinch to make and the ingredients are all fresh and healthful and seasonal for summer.

Taco Night Platter - Pre Construction

Ingredients for the perfect Taco Night:
1/2 lb of boneless, skinless chicken breast/tenders
2 ears of corn
1 pint of cherry tomatoes
1 whole yellow onion, chopped
corn tortillas
1/2 packet of taco seasoning, Trader Joe’s
1 tbsp of canola oil
1/4 cup of Greek Yogurt, nonfat
1/2 tbsp of olive oil
1/4 cup of Lite Mexican Blend Cheese, Trader Joe’s

If you’re lucky enough to have  a BBQ grill this is the perfect all in one, little clean up meal to make.

Step 1: Coat the chicken in the canola oil and then dredge in the seasoning mix. Set aside.

Taco Dinner

Step 2: Put the corn, still in it’s husks, the chopped onion, the to

matoes secured in an aluminum foil “bag”, then chicken over indirect heat on the grill – in that order.

Step 3: Rotate the corn, flip the onions, shake the tomatoes, flip the chicken (only once) after ten minutes.

Step 4: Allow corn to cool enough so that you can handle it; remove the husks and cut the kernels from the cob.  Prepare the “sour cream” by mixing the yogurt and olive oil.

Step 5: Serve and make your tacos!

Salsa is Sassy

Last night Jaci tweeted the following:

I responded to her in kind,

She was out with our great friends in the great city of New York (yay SSM!) and I was grabbing a quick bite with Mark at a Baja Fresh (also good, and shockingly fresh) on K Street in DC.  If you are in neither of those places and want your own Sassy Salsa, check out this recipe.

Homemade Salsa = good

Homemade Salsa shared with awesome people = AWESOME, and sassy!