Yes, you heard correctly, I said, meatloaf is perfect for picnics. Picnic subs, that is. Meatloaf is often thought of as comfort food–something to eat with mashed potatoes and gravy when the weather is cold and a hearty meal is in order, but it can also be part of a summer menu as well. When served as a sandwich filler in addition to some other yummy toppings and sides, meatloaf makes a great picnic dish. This recipe makes two loaves, and can be prepared either in loaf pans or free-form on a cookie sheet. (I know that most people don’t have loaf pans they use for meat meals.)
Once the loaves are cool, slice them up and serve them inside crusty Italian rolls. Top with lettuce, tomato, avocado, some pickled veggies (giardiniera)…the possibilities are endless. A vinegar-based potato salad and a sweet and spicy Thai Cucumber Salad are two great sides to add to your picnic basket.
Mindy Trotta, a Cantabrigian (from Cambridge, MA), by way of New York and Los Angeles, grew up in a kosher home. She is the pastry chef and owner of Flour Girl Desserts and blogs at relocationtheblog.blogspot.com.
Red Pepper Relish
Extra-virgin olive oil
1 onion, finely diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 bay leaves
2 red bell peppers, cored, seeded, and finely diced
1 cup diced tomatoes (or 1 can stewed tomatoes, chopped)
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup tomato ketchup
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 slices white bread, crusts removed, torn into chunks by hand
1/4 cup almond milk
1 1/2 pounds ground turkey
1 pound ground beef
Leaves from 2 fresh thyme sprigs
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 packet onion soup mix
1 cup tomato sauce
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Coat a skillet with a tablespoon of oil and place over medium heat. Saute the onion, garlic, and bay leaves for a few minutes to create a base flavor. Throw in the red peppers and cook mixture until softened. Add the tomatoes and cook without allowing them to disintegrate totally. Stir in the parsley, ketchup, and Worcestershire; season with salt and pepper. Simmer the relish for 5 minutes. Remove it from the heat; you should have about 4 cups of relish.
Place the torn white bread in a bowl and add the almond milk to just barely cover. Allow the bread to soak in the milk while you get the rest of the ingredients for the meatloaf together.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the ground beef and turkey with the red pepper relish, the eggs, and thyme; season with salt and pepper. Squeeze the excess milk from the bread and add the soaked bread to the meat mixture.
Cover a cookie sheet with foil and spray with cooking spray. Divide the meat mixture in half and place each half on opposite sides of the cookie sheet. Form meat into two logs about 9 inches long and about 4 inches wide. Mix the tomato sauce with the dry onion soup mix and coat the tops of the loaves with the mixture. Bake for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, until the loaves are firm. Remove them from the oven and allow to cool a bit before slicing. Unbelievably moist!
Note: The meatloaf can be frozen for later use. Wrap completely cooled loaves in foil and place in freezer bags. When ready to serve, remove from freezer and allow to defrost in refrigerator. Reheat in a 325-degree oven for 15 minutes.
In case you’ve been hiding under a rock over the past week, Chick-fil-A and gay rights have been all over the news. The controversy erupted for the Southern based fast food chain earlier this month when the son of Chick-fil-A’s founder admitted supporting “the biblical definition of a family unit.”
As The New York Times reports the Jim Henson Company, which created toys for the chain, will not offer any more Muppets. Lisa Henson, the chief executive officer, stated that she supported same-sex marriage and would donate money that the company had received from Chick-fil-A to the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation. Leadership in the cities of Chicago and Boston made moves to ensure that the chain was no longer welcome in their cities.
I had not even heard of Chick-fil-A until about a year ago but I’ve been told it is a delicious sandwich. And you might be saying to yourself – who cares?! I can’t eat it anyway.
Whether you support gay rights or not, and whether you keep kosher or not, now you can make your very own Chick-fil-A style chicken sandwich at home thanks to Hilah Cooking! The Food Network also has a recipe for the famous sandwich, but you’ll have to do some editing to make it kosher – just leave out the malted milk and butter the recipe calls for.
Can you believe this is the last Shabbat of July!? Summer is flying right by though we’ve still got a few more meals to enjoy with the season’s best ingredients.
The Challah Blog never disappoints and this week they are featuring a Rosemary and Olive Oil Challah recipe that I know will be delicious. For any skeptics out there I can assure you rosemary + challah is one of the best flavor combinations – I’ve been making challah with rosemary and garlic for years!
A little salt and crunch always makes things better and so how can this Mustard Baked Chicken with Pretzel Crust not be delicious!? The mustard ensures the chicken stays moist and the pretzel crust gives a great crunchy flavor all over.
What a fantastic-ly simple side dish perfect for a summer dinner – Garlic-Caper String Beans! You can serve these warm or room temperature. Have some leftover? Throw them into a salad or some quinoa the next day for lunch.
And for a sweet finish I came across not one but two watermelon popsicle recipes that are delicious, refreshing and also so pretty. You can either go for the simple chock-full-of-fruit Watermelon Whole Fruit Popsicles or the slightly more gourmet Minted Watermelon Popsicles.
Shabbat Shalom and happy cooking!
I’m always looking for the simplest route to a pareve dessert and last week I had a moment of inspiration from the Momofuku Milk Bar Cookbook.
I’ve tasted and seen lots of recipes for pareve ice cream pie, and they are pretty tasty and easy to make. But Momofuku Milk Bar has a recipe for a sweet n salty version that I surmised could easily be made into a non-dairy version. And indeed it can! Of course if you want to make this dairy I am sure it is even more delicious.
When serving the pie let it sit out for 10 minutes before cutting into it because if the pie is too hard it will be difficult to cut.
There are lots of great tasting non-dairy ice creams to choose from these days though I chose to use Tempt Chocolate Fudge Hemp Milk Ice Cream which had a rich and smooth flavor. The chocolate fudge flavor complimented the salty-sweet pretzel crunch perfectly. I would also recommend using vanilla, chocolate or a caramel swirl ice cream.
2 cups pretzels
3 1/2 Tbsp margarine, melted
3 1/2 Tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp flour
1 half-pint container pareve ice cream
2 Tbsp margarine, melted
Pre-heat oven to275 degrees.
Crush pretzels in plastic bag or large bowl until smaller crumbles form.
Combine crushed pretzels, sugars, flour, melted margarine and olive oil.
Spread pretzel mixture onto cookie sheet in single layer. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool and set aside.
In a food processor fitted with a blade crumble the pretzel mixture again. Add additional 2 Tbsp melted margarine. Press the mixture into pie pan using fingers and cover with plastic wrap. Put into the freezer for 1 hour.
Allow ice cream to soften so that is it spreadable. Pour ice cream into pie crust and smooth top. Put back into freezer for at least 2-3 hours to completely set.
We are currently in the last part of the time known as “The Three Weeks” - a period in summer that begins with the fast of the 17th of Tammuz and climaxes with Tisha b’Av. It is a time of grieving for the destruction of both the First and Second Temples in Jerusalem.
It is also a time when those who observe this mourning abstain from eating meat which can certainly be a challenge if your dinner typically revolves around grilled chicken or hamburgers.
Here are a few ideas for satisfying meat-free meals for the 9 day period before Tisha b’Av.
Even food bloggers need to come up with satisfying veggie alternatives for this time, and the Overtime Cook put together this recipe for Spaghetti Cheese and Spinach Pie. What a hearty alternative for any time of year! Serve this with a side salad and you have a complete meal.
Give me some cheese and veggies in between two slices of bread and I am a happy lady. Having a grilled cheese night is always a fun dinner idea, and these Fig and Goat Cheese Sandwiches are definitely a notch above that same old cheese sandwich.
Eggs and cheese baked in a tangy tomato sauce, otherwise known as Shakshuka, is a perfect weeknight dinner packed with veggies, protein and flavor! Serve with pita bread, hummus and some chopped salad.
I love the versatility of stuffed peppers – you can fill them with meat, cheese or rice. Perfect for a meatless meal are these Quinoa Stuffed Peppers.
Don’t you just love the fun of an outdoor picnic? Instead of a dinner menu this week, I’ve put together some recipe ideas for a perfect Shabbat lunch picnic! Hopefully wherever you are located the heat has broken a bit and you’re able to enjoy some outdoor time on a lazy Shabbat afternoon.
Chips and salsa or guacamole are always a crowd-pleaser but boring! Try whipping up some homemade Pesto Hummus and Whole Wheat Pita Chips from What Jew Wanna Eat. The Pesto Hummus is a great way to use some of those fresh herbs this time of year. If making your own pita chips seems too time intensive just buy some! I love the Stacy’s Pita Chips as well as the Sea Salt Pita Chips from Traders Joes.
What’s a summer picnic without some potato salad!? This recipe for Mustard Dill Potato Salad from More Quiche Please is also mayo-free. And if you feel like a little more indulgent version try Ina Garten’s recipe for Potato Salad made with mayo and buttermilk!
When I prepare for a picnic I love making a variety of sandwiches, cutting them into individual portions and then wrapping them up for transport. Martha Stewart has a great recipe for a Tuna Nicoise Sandwich and a Hummus and Vegetable Sandwich.
Other perfect picnic sandwich ideas: Fresh Mozzarella, Tomato and Basil; Egg Salad with Pickled Cucumbers or even some tangy Goat Cheese, Roasted Red Peppers and Arugula. Make a variety but don’t go too crazy – people will just enjoy being able to sample a few different sandwiches.
No dessert says summertime to me quite like some fireside S’mores and brownies are a great transportable dessert – just cut into squares and put into a container. So try for size these S’more Brownies for a sweet summary end to your picnic. And don’t forget the watermelon slices too!
Shabbat Shalom and happy picnic-ing!
Our friends over at 365 Scoops recently brought to our attention that it is National Ice Cream Month, and this truly couldn’t come at a more appropriate time with temperatures soaring all around the country! While my husband and mother-in-law (two avid ice cream lovers) would argue that of course ice cream is “Jewish,” 365 Scoops has put together a list of the most Jewish ice cream flavors including tzimmes, hummus and even Nova lox flavored ice cream!
But if lox flavored ice cream doesn’t get your mouth watering you might try one of the flavors from Chozen including Rugelach, Matzoh Crunch or Apples and Honey flavored ice cream. You can order the ice cream online though I’ve also found it at my local Whole Foods.
And if you are feeling adventurous you can set out to make your own! I like using this Cuisinart Ice Cream Maker which you can also use to make frozen yogurt and sorbet on hot summer days or year-round. One tip: you need to freeze the bowl of the ice cream maker 24 hours ahead of time, so a little planning is necessary when making your own ice cream, at least with this particular ice cream maker. The results are creamy and delicious and its just so gratifying to make it yourself!
There’s a plethora of ice cream recipes out there but my absolute favorite is this Salted Caramel Ice Cream which I like to top off with a drizzle of honey and a scant sprinkling of good sea salt.
My husband and I both love to cook, especially making dinner for one another. But when he gears up to prepare a dinner he needs advanced planning: look up a recipe, make a shopping list, go to the supermarket and then cook (and make a mess). He’s always amazed at the meals I am able to throw together by using what’s already in the fridge and cabinets.
Admittedly this is not always easy and we’ve ended up with some funky meals from time to time. But one of my tricks is to always keep my cabinets and freezer stocked with a few key staples, and then there’s always something to throw together at the last minute, or when it’s simply too hot to leave your home!
Here’s a few of the staples I like to keep around and some easy dinner ideas:
What can’t you do with some pasta, rice or quinoa!? Use whatever veggies you have lying around (even frozen), and saute in olive oil with onions and garlic. Cook pasta (or rice, quinoa, cous cous, etc.) per directions on the package and toss with veggies, olive oil, salt and pepper. If you’re serving a dairy meal grate some parmesan cheese on top. If you have leftover chicken in the fridge, cut into pieces and throw it right in.
Other easy cabinet items to mix into pasta: chick peas, roasted red peppers, olives, or cannellini beans. One hearty dish and dinner is served!
Diner night at home is super easy to throw together with a few things from your cabinets and freezer. I love these sweet potatoes fries from Alexia products, although they make them in a number of different varieties as well. Bread, tuna, mayo and cheese and you have tuna melts! No tuna? Throw some veggie burgers into the oven or pan. You might even want to indulge and make some homemade milkshakes to go along with the meal.
Pizza night is one of my favorite dinners to put together. I love coming up with different combinations of cheese and veggies such as ricotta, fennel and kalamata olive or spinach, mushroom and goat cheese. But in a pinch, its super easy to throw together a simple cheese pizza. Whole Foods, Trader Joes and even Fresh Direct all sell their own pizza dough which is either refrigerated or frozen. One important tip: make sure to bring the dough fully to room temperature before working with it otherwise you might not get the results you want.
Make sure you keep plain crushed tomatoes or your favorite jarred tomatoes sauce, like Barilla Traditional Marinara Sauce, on hand. You can use these to make a perfect pantry pasta as well. You can also keep a block of mozzarella in the freezer! Just thaw and grate for your perfect pizza.
We are well into summer which means two things to me: its hot and there are tons of fresh fruits and veggies to enjoy. In fact it seems like there’s something new in season almost every week!
Whether you have an herb garden on your window sill or a thriving herb garden outside, pesto is a wonderful way to use up all those fragrant herbs. And what’s better than just pesto: Pesto Challah from The Challah Blog to start off a summer Shabbat meal.
At this point you have probably tasted the salty-sweet pairing of a Watermelon and Feta Salad. But another refreshing and crunchy way to enjoy watermelon in a salad is with this Watermelon, Cucumber and Jicama Salad.
Move over orange chicken! Try this Grilled Skirt Steak and Peaches as a seasonal summer entree. But you can’t have steak without potatoes and these Roasted Potatoes from The Kosher Foodies is a simple and beautiful way to serve up some golden, crispy potatoes on the side.
If you have never tried making a granita the time has come – no ice cream maker required, all you need is a pyrex dish and a fork! They are super easy to make and a perfect pareve dessert for summertime so try this Strawberry Hibiscus Granita to finish off your summer meal.
Happy cooking and Shabbat Shalom!
Jews and food have a unique bond, and Jews and food seem to have an even more special relationship with mourning. I cannot disconnect sitting shiva from the thought of bagels and smoked fish, and I bet you can’t either.
At Nora Ephron’s recent funeral instead of scattering ashes, they scattered and shared her beloved recipes. Nora is of course best known for her films, many of which had food-related themes. Like so many of us, food pervaded Ms. Ephron’s life and connected her to her Jewishness.
My grandfather was a food chemist for General Foods for more than 20 years but it was only at his funeral, some 15 years ago, that I discovered he had worked on the development of Tang and the freeze drying process for coffee. Pretty amazing stuff, though sad that it took until his passing for this discovery to reach all his loved ones. But now I often kvell to friends and foodie acquaintances alike about this family food legacy.
Everyone who knew my mother remembers her banana bread, a treat she often whipped up from the leftover bananas no one ate. And each time I open her cookbook to carry on this tradition I have vivid memories of chopping walnuts for her as she finished making the batter.
Food connects us to those we love in a way that truly transcends words because it reaches multiple sense: the way my mom’s banana bread would smell when it came out of the oven or the sound of my grandfather clanking around in his test kitchen in the basement.
For those that have loved the great Ms. Ephron and her films you can honor her memory with her Tzimmes recipe featured in the New York Times today. And may we all enjoy remembering our loved ones through the food memories and recipes they leave behind.