For the new kid in the kitchen…

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Better Not Forget The Butternut!

So the other night I sat down and thought hard about what my return to Novice Noms should hold. I scratched my head and began to sort through endless hours of cooking shows and online recipes that danced through my memory, trying to find something that I could dumb down and make. Ultimately, the ongoing blizzard outside narrowed my choice down to something made with ingredients lying around my apartment (keep in mind, that this usually includes pre-made burritos, cereal, some pitas, and a bag of carrots).

Luckily, my eye landed on a butternut squash that I had bought about to weeks ago, and proceeded to neglect ever since. For this weeks recipe, I crafted a simple little Roasted Butternut Squash side-dish out of this gourd (along with a few other herbs), and I think you will really enjoy it.

Check yo’self before you wreck yo’self:

  • Preheat oven to 400
  • Cover large baking tray with non-stick spray
  • Take out a large mixing bowl for all of your ingredients

Let’s get cookin’:

  • Peel and dice squash into cube about 1 in. x 1 in. This by no means needs to be perfect. But similar sized will ensure more even roasting.
  • To your bowl add
  • 2 cloves of pressed garlic
  • 2tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • Toss until fully coated
  • Put into sheet and bake for 30 min to an hour (depending on the level of desired doneness… I like mine a little more crispy)
  • Be sure to gently flip your squash every 1o minutes or so, or you are at risk of a giant stuck-on mess.
  • Serve and enjoy!

 

And that’s about it. I told you we were going to ease back into this didn’t I? Hope you give this healthy little side-dish a shot, and until next week, enjoy!

 

I’m Baccccckkkkk!

Hi all,

I’m sorry for my long vacancy. That whole finishing grad school thing really was time consuming. While my PR skills have improved, unfortunately, my cooking skills are still about the same. What does that mean for you? I’m still forced to cook things that a blindfolded 5 year old could handle!

So grab your finest pan (that you’re willing to accidentally burn) and follow along as I begin to try some new Novice Noms!

You see what I've been reduced to for nourishment?

 

 

Stuffed Shrooms

Stuffed Potabella Mushrooms

Simple but vital life lesson: The best way to make something that’s already delicious even better, is to stuff it with even more tasty ingredients and then cover it in olive oil. Case-in-point – Stuffed Portabella Mushrooms. Make these as an appetizer, serve them as a side dish, or serve them as a main course… JUST MAKE THEM.

If you’re looking for an easy, healthy, and quick vegetarian main dish, then this recipe is perfect for you. There are a number of food myths circulating that mushrooms have little nutritional value, but my friends that is just not true.

Because mushrooms have such a high water-content percentage, they are also quite low in calories, racking up just about 100 cal./oz. Additionally, portabello mushrooms are loaded with potassium, a vitamin great for lowering high blood pressure and preventing stroke. One medium mushroom has even more potassium than a whole banana! If you’re not convinced yet, then it might help to know that mushrooms are also loaded with a powerful antioxidant called Selenium, which may help reduce youre likelihood of getting cancer.

That’s more than enough nutritional info for now, let’s keep the Novice Noms mission in mind. The most important fact about mushrooms is that they can be delicious! This recipe takes a little more prep work than some of my previous posts, but I think you guys are up for the challenge.

Ingredients

  • 2 Large portabella mushrooms
  • 1 cup diced onion (do you remember my lesson on chopping them?)
  • 2 cloves diced Garlic
  • 3/4 cup chopped mushrooms
  • 2 tbsp cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs (or bread matzo crumbs if you’re like me this week)
  • 1/2 cup spinach
  • Enough olive oil to coat the bottom of your shrooms

Lets get cooking

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees
  2. Take the stems off your mushrooms and clean out the gills with a spoon (instructional video here).
  3. In a frying pan cook down your onions, garlic,  mushrooms and spinach. Be sure to add the spinach for only the last few minutes, as it cooks down very quickly.
  4. Add your cream cheese and bread crumbs to the pan and mix it in until fully combined.
  5. Dispense your mixture into your portabella tops and place them on a baking tray
  6. Toss them in your oven for about 20 minutes (or until the mushrooms are completely cooked).

I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I do. I recommend serving this dish up with some sweet potatoes and salad for an easy and irresistibly healthy meal.

Until next time, Enjoy!

Oh My – Matzo Brei

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I love passover as much as the next Jew, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t craving a giant bowl of pasta and a apple fritter right about now. Aside from stuffing myself full of chocolate and other sweets, I’ve found the only good way to deal with your no-carb cravings is to appease them with Passover-friendly dishes.

One dish in particular that has always been a favorite on mine (although I’ve never attempted to make it until now) is matzo brei. I guess you could call this meal the Passover equivalent of french toast. Traditionally consumed as a breakfast food in most homes, I grew up eating this meal any time of day.

This recipe is as simple as it is delicious. Here’s what you need:

  • 2 Sheets of matzo for every egg you use ( each egg serves about 1)
  • Butter for the pan
  • Splash of milk to lighten

Prep:

  • Break your matzo apart with your hands and soak in a bowl of water for 5 min.
  • In a separate bowl scramble your eggs
  • Strain your matzo then pour eggs over your soggy pieces
  • Add a splash of milk to lighten up the “batter”
  • Melt butter in a frying pan
  • Pour “batter” into the pan, then flatten so that it covers the surface
  • Cook on low for about 10 minutes then flip over and cook another 10 minutes
  • Serve and enjoy!

I always top mine with some sort of sweet item to give it a little more flavor. My personal favorite is maple syrup, although my family prefers to just sprinkle sugar on top.

and P.S. – A little Matzo Rap –> Enjoy!

How to Chop an Onion

Upon request. Here it goes… another incredibly awkward VIDEO POST! Enjoy!

Apple, Walnuts, and Wine.. Oy Vey!

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It’s that time of year again fellow Jews and non-Jews… the week that we all go on a semi-Atkins, Matzah binging diet. Aka- PASSOVER. While Jews across the world have many different ways of celebrating this carb-less week, most seem to have one thing in common. Red Wine.

Not only do we down 4 glasses of it during the traditional dinner Seder, but we incorporate it into a good number of our recipes. Now, I’m not talking about a throw it in he pan and let it cook off type of ingredient here. We let our wine play a nice key role.

This brings me to my favorite (and by far easiest) Passover recipe… charoset (pronounced ha-roe-set). If you can chop, pour and mix, then this recipe is for you. And don’t let the whole “Passover recipe” thing throw you, even you don’t have to be Jewish to enjoy this kosher snack.

  • 3 apples – finely chopped
  • 3 cups walnuts – finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup red wine – the sweeter the better
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • (Optional) 2 tsp cinnamon – I don’t use it, but some people love it…
*To adapt this into a healthy and easy kids snack, just substitute the wine for grape juice.

Simply mix throw ingredients in a large bowl and mix. I find it best to use your hands (despite the mess). This really lets you further crush the apples and mush everything together. Schmear some of the charoset on a piece of matzah (or cracker for my non-Jews) and consume. And if you’re anything like me, you wont even need matzah, I can go through this stuff by the spoonful just on its own.

Happy Passover, stay tuned for more recipes for the Holiday, and as always, enjoy!

Grandma’s Apple Pancakes

Let me just start off by saying I have the best grandma ever.

Ok, so you might think I’m exaggerating, but I’m really not! Last time I visited my 90 year old grandma, she was up at 11:30pm dancing around the kitchen and teaching my roommate her favorite swear words.What does this have to do with apple pancakes you may ask? Admittedly, not a whole lot… but I still think it’s worth sharing.

The origins of this recipe are pretty sacred to me. As a kid I would roll out of bed, drawn downstairs by the aroma of buttery, cinnamon and apple pancakes wafting upstairs from the kitchen. My cousins and I would race to the table, fighting over who got the biggest or the most pancakes. I’m not sure why we were so worried, because my grandma always made more than enough for us to have our fill and then some (I think this is an obligation for any Jewish grandparent).

The best thing about this recipe is it’s adaptability. I think my grandma changes up the amounts of each ingredient every time, just sampling the batter until it “tastes right”.

  • 1 1/4cup Matzo Meal: This special ingredient made this the perfect Passover breakfast. But really, they’re good any time of the year.
  • 1 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt: Feel free to use more or less to make the consistency thicker or thinner.
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 apples: Any variety will do. Grandma just uses whatever is lying around at the time. Leave the skin on but make sure to take the core out.
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1/4 tsp Cinnamon:
  • 1/4 cup Butter: for your frying pan (don’t skimp on this or try to use any kind of substitute, this is by far the element that seals the deal for the recipe).

Simply mix these ingredients in your blender until they are mostly smooth, and cook in a frying pan as you would any other type of pancake. For slightly thicker pancakes, you can let the batter sit in the fridge for a bit. My grandma likes to do this the night before, so when she wakes up she’s ready to just start making the pancakes.

And that’s it! You’re done! You may not have my awesome grandma at the end of this, but you will have a batch of her famous apple pancakes. Enjoy!


**Bonus **

Throw some sliced up apples in a pan with a little sugar and let them cook down a bit. Use this is a topping for the pancakes.

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