Saturday, May 16, 2015

Hiding veggies!

   If you are thinking that this post will be about hiding veggies so your kid will eat them, you are wrong! My son loves his veggies, especially broccoli, asparagus and cauliflower - no need to hide anything. But I do have to hide them if I want my husband to eat them! Yes, that's right, I trick a thirty something year old man to eat veggies! He usually knows that they are hidden somewhere in the dish, but because I make it impossible to pick them out or leave out on the plate... all the veggies end up being eaten! Hey, there could be worse things I could be tricking my husband to do, so I absolutely don't feel guilty about this one!
This time I hid broccoli and bunch of herbs in the sauce that covered Justin's beloved chicken, served it over his favorite Basmati rice (to give him some incentive to eat it) and ... he loved it! Winning!

Ingredients:

* 2 large chicken breast, cubed
* 1 large onion
* 0.5 bunch of cilantro, large stems removed
* 1 small bunch of fresh dill, large stems removed
* 2 cups of broccoli florets 
* 1 garlic clove
* 1 lime, juice
* 2 tbsp butter
* salt and pepper

* Basmati  rice, cooked

Directions:

1. In a large skillet, melt butter and sear chicken breast until lightly browned.
2. In the meantime, in the food processor, combine broccoli, onion, garlic, cilantro and dill. Run the processor adding a little bit of water (2-3 tbsp) until the sauce is smooth.
3. Add the sauce to the chicken, season with salt and pepper and cook for 10 minutes.
4. Add lime juice to your liking. Serve over Basmati rice.




   What a vibrant color and an amazing aroma!
   Depending on the amount of water you add, the sauce might be more or less thick, but if you don't like the consistency, either add some more water or cook it for longer to reduce it. If you go overboard with water, add a little bit of cornstarch  and it will nicely thicken it(I know, it's cheating, but sometimes it's unavoidable!).

Enjoy,
Magda

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Non-Mac and Cheese.

   I kept hearing about the cauliflower "mac & cheese" for years and somehow I felt that it had a bad rep. Every time I would hear/read about it, it was more of a "punishment" or something you had to do when you are on a diet, trying to lose weight. I couldn't really understand why people were so disappointed when they heard that there is no macaroni in the dish. I mean, don't get me wrong, I love all kinds of pasta too, but I also like the cauliflower and I don't see anything wrong with a cauliflower smothered with a creamy, cheese sauce... with some more cheese on the top! Does that sounds like a "punishment" food to you? Exactly!
   So I decided to make my own and see what this whining was all about! Here is the recipe that makes about 6 servings (depending on if you use it as a main dish or a side):

Ingredients:

* 2 cauliflower heads, cut into small florets
* 4 cups whole milk
* 4 tbs unsalted butter
* 4 tbs flour
* 3 cups shredded cheddar cheese
* 1 cup fresh parsley
* pinch of nutmeg
* 0.5 cup Panko bread crumbs
* salt and pepper

Directions:

1. Boil the cauliflower until al dente - no more than 5 minutes. Drain and set aside.
2. In a large sauce pan, melt the butter and add flour - cook for a minute, constantly whisking (very important).
3. Slowly keep adding milk, whisking constantly and cook everything for 4-5 minutes until the sauce thickens. Add parsley, nutmeg and season with salt and pepper. When the sauce is thick, add 2 cups of shredded cheese and mix until melted and combined.
4. Add the cauliflower to the sauce and mix gently to combine.
5. Pour everything into the baking dish, sprinkle with remaining cheese and Panko bread crumbs and bake at 375F for 30 minutes or until golden brown on top.




   Holly smokes, that is delicious! Obviously, if you don't want to use a whole milk you can substitute it with skim, or part-fat, it just happens that thanks to my son I have a fridge full of whole milk - so why not use it!
   I made mine very "saucy", so if you don't like a lot of sauce (that is creamy, gooey, cheese and delicious!!!) you may want to reduce the milk/butter/flour amount by 1 measurement.

Enjoy and Happy Mother's Day to all Mamas out there!!!!
Magda.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Row row row your boat...

   ... oh, how many times did I hear this song? So, when I was planning my meals the other day, thinking about what I want to make that all of us could have for dinner, I heard that song playing again! I looked at the screen, that Christopher was hypnotized by, and the girl in a "cartoon video" was rowing a zucchini boat (the things they come up with to entertain kids these days!!!). So that's how I decided on our dinner: stuffed zucchini! Normally I would probably stuff it with rice and meat, but in order to make it not only different, but also much healthier I substituted rice with quinoa. Here is the recipe, serves 4:

Ingredients:

* 4 large zucchinis
* 1 lb lean ground beef
* 1 large onion
* 1 garlic clove, minced
* 1 15oz can of fired roasted diced tomatoes, drained
* 1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
* 1.5 cup dry quinoa
* 2 tbsp olive oil
* salt and pepper

Marinara sauce:

* 2 tbsp olive oil
* 1 onion, finely chopped
* 1 garlic clove
* 1 15oz can tomato sauce
* 1 tbsp dry oregano
* 1 tbsp dry basil
* 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
* 1 tbsp ketchup
* salt

Directions:

1. Cook quinoa in salted water for 15-20 minutes. Drain the excess water.
2. In a skillet, heat the olive oil and saute onions and garlic until translucent - 6-7 minutes. Add ground beef, season with salt and pepper, and cook for around 10 minutes.
3. When the meat is browned, add drained tomatoes, cook for additional 5-7 minutes.
4. In a large bowl, combine quinoa, meat and half of the Parmesan cheese. Mix well together until combined and season with extra salt and pepper if needed.
5. Cut zucchinis in half lengthwise, scoop out the flash (seeds only) and arrange on a large baking sheet. Fill the halves with the meat/quinoa stuffing, sprinkle with remaining Parmesan cheese and bake at 380F for 45-50 minutes until zucchini is tender.
6. The marinara sauce: in a saucepan heat the olive oil and saute onions and garlic until soft and translucent. Add tomato sauce, herbs, ketchup and Worcestershire sauce, season with salt and cook for 10 minutes. Serve hot or cold.




   We really like a cold marinara with this dish. Maybe because we love ketchup and it kind of reminds us of it. It's really delicious and healthy dish. Not only it contains about 10 grams of fiber per serving, but it also has 45 grams (!!!) of protein! It can't get any better than that!

Enjoy,
Magda

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Green Eggs and Ham!

   Breakfast time! And I hope you are as excited about it as I am. I love, love, love breakfast food - especially if it involves eggs and ham. Usually (actually, almost always) weekend breakfasts in the Morgan's household are prepared by Daddy while Mommy is drinking her coffee and Christopher is watching his cartoons, but this time that wasn't a case! I decided to switch things up, took over the kitchen on Sunday morning and made a dish that fits my culinary point-of-view: quick, easy and delicious! Eggs in a basket and the basket is made out of juicy, delicious, salty ham. Add some green chives on the top and you end up with the Green Eggs and Ham! The recipe makes 6 "baskets" and serves 3.

Ingredients:

* 12 medium slices of ham
* 6 eggs
* 6 tsp shredded cheddar cheese
* chives
* salt

Directions:

1.  Line up each cup of a muffin tin with two slices of ham.
2. Add 1 tsp of shredded cheese into each cup, crack an egg, sprinkle with chives and a little bit of salt.
3. Bake at 400F for 13-18 minutes depending on the yolk consistency you like.



I baked mine for 15 minutes, and this is how they turned out on the inside:


   If I was the only one eating this dish, I would probably take it out of the oven a couple of minutes earlier to have the yolk a little bit runnier, but Justin is not a fan of a runny yolk, so I compromised!
Not only is it delicious when freshly made, but it also stores well and can be eaten the next day... that is if there is anything left for the next day.

Enjoy,
Magda

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Pork and salsa!

   Yeah, that's right... pork and salsa! Being more specific, a meat sauce with salsa used in stead of tomato puree/sauce. And, if salsa wasn't exciting enough, I also added fennel and mushrooms. Different textures and flavors all come together to create a hearty, meaty, and delicious sauce.
   You want to know a secret? I actually use salsa very often to make my tomato based sauces, and I use all different kinds: original, mango, peach, corn... you name it! It adds this light, "exotic" and fun taste to the sauce, and makes it different and exciting each time. No need to buy multiple ingredients to create an interesting flavor profile and everything comes in one jar! I'm sure this won't be the only time you see me using it in a recipe... it's kind of my new obsession.
   Anyways, here is the recipe for the salsa pork sauce:

Ingredients:

* 1 lb ground pork
* 1 medium onion, finely chopped
* 1 garlic clove, chopped
* 1 fennel bulb, chopped
* 8oz baby portabella mushroom, chopped
* 16oz jar chunky salsa (spiciness of your liking)
* 1 cup fresh Italian parsley, chopped
* 2 tbsp ketchup
* 2 tbsp olive oil
* salt and pepper
* Parmesan cheese for garnish

* egg noodles

Directions:

1. In a deep pan, heat up the olive oil and saute onions, garlic and fennel until soft and translucent.
2. Add pork, season with salt and pepper, and cook for 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Add mushrooms and cook for additional 5 minutes.
3. Add salsa, ketchup, and parsley, stir everything together and cook for 10-15 minutes.
4. Serve over egg noodles, garnished with Parmesan cheese.




   You can serve it with any kind of pasta you like, but I really think that egg noodles add some extra "bite" and texture to the dish. I guess another good option could be tagliatelle pasta which I like as well.

Enjoy,
Magda.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Guess who's back, back again...



Magda’s back, tell a friend...

   Can you believe that it’s been 16 months (!!!) since my last blog post? Life got really busy in the Morgan family, a little boy named Christopher came and changed everything!




   Yes, that's right... I couldn't resist to show off my beautiful boy(s)! Christopher not only changed the way we see the world or the way love, but he also changed the way we live, sleep or eat! Basically, we don’t sleep and we eat whatever is easier, faster, more convenient and whatever Christopher doesn’t want to eat himself! And I think it’s time to change it (I’m talking about our eating habits). He is big enough (almost 15 months) that he doesn’t need non-stop attention and mommy has some free time to relax in the kitchen and do what she loves – cook! Extra bonus – Christopher gets to taste all different things, develop his palate to hopefully become an adventures eater in the future.

   So to get everybody’s attention back, I’m starting with a delicious fruit crumble bars that are not only perfect with mommy’s and daddy’s coffee, but are also healthy enough for the little munchkins to eat! Not too much sugar and lots of fruit! Here is the recipe:

Crust:

* 1.5 cups all-purpose flour
* 1.5 cups whole wheat flour
* 2/3 cup granulated sugar
* 0.5 cup slivered almonds
* 1 tsp baking powder
* 2.5 sticks of cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
* 2 large egg yolks
* 2-3 tbsp ice-cold water
* pinch of salt

Berry Filling:
* 2 cups frozen blueberries
* 2 cups frozen raspberries
* 4 tbsp lemon juice
* 3 tbsp all-purpose flour
* 0.5 cup granulated sugar
* 1 tsp cinnamon
* 2 tbsp vanilla extract

Directions:

   1. Crust: whisk together flours, sugar, baking powder and salt. Using a pastry cutter, cut in the cold butter,  slowly mix in egg yolks and cold water. The dough should be really crumbly. 
   2.  Take half of the crumble and press into the prepared pan (13x9). 
   3. Filling: stir together fruit (no need to defrost), lemon juice, flour, sugar, cinnamon and vanilla extract until combined. 
   4. Evenly distribute the fruit on the top of the crust. 
   5. Add almonds to the remaining crust and sprinkle over the fruit. 
   6.  Bake at 375F for 40-50 minutes until golden brown




   I am not a fan of very sweet desserts, so I really cut down on sugar in this recipe, but if you like your desserts to be coma-inducing sweet, feel free to add more.

I’m glad to be back and I can’t wait to post recipes regularly again.

See you soon,
Magda

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Pumpkin season.

   Just when I was about to write that I love fall and all fall-signature dishes... it started to snow! I guess it is December already so I shouldn't be so surprised, but I am not ready for winter yet! So I will pretend that I didn't see any snow flakes outside and I will blog about pumpkin season... and my pumpkin bread! Every single year during the fall I make lots and lots of pumpkin dishes, either soups, or sauces or cupcakes... or breads! This one is really quick and easy, you can make it in no time and enjoy it for a while ... or share it with a friend, because it makes 2 loafs.

Ingredients:

*  1 15oz can pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie mix!)
*  3 cups all-purpose flour
*  4 eggs
*  2/3 cup vegetable oil
*  1 2/3 cup white sugar
*  2 tsp vanilla extract
*  2 tsp baking soda
*  1/2 tsp baking powder
*  1/2 tsp salt
*  1 tsp cinnamon
*  1/2 tsp ground ginger
*  pinch of nutmeg
*  1/2 cup chopped pecans
*  1/2 cup pumpkin seeds

Directions:

1. In a large bowl, combine pumpkin puree, eggs, sugar, vanilla extra and oil. Mix everything together.
2. Add all remaining ingredients and mix until well combined.
3. Pour into two greased loaf pans (8x4 inches) and bake at 350F for 60-70 minutes, until the tooth pick comes out clean.
4. Remove loaf from the pan, place on the wire rack and let them cool for minimum of 30 minutes before cutting.




   Works each time, I promise! Perfect for breakfast, dessert, or for coffee with a friend!

Enjoy,
Magda

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Easy cups.

   Somehow people think that lasagna requires lots of time and patience. Well maybe, if you are making your own pasta from scratch, sauce from fresh tomatoes and home made ricotta cheese. Nothing wrong with that and I bet you it would be delicious, but why not cut few corners and use "some help" to save some time (and sanity)? Remember when I made the skinny lasagna looooong time ago (you can find it here)? It was petty easy and healthy, but what I am going to show you today will blow your mind... super easy, super quick, super healthy and super delicious! Seriously, just check out these single wonton lasagna cups, they are genius. Recipe makes 12-14.

Ingredients:

*  wonton wrappers
*  1 jar marinara sauce
*  16oz ricotta cheese
*  2 cups frozen spinach, thawed and drained
*  1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
*  2 cups shredded mozzarella
*  salt and pepper

Directions:

1. In a bowl combine ricotta cheese, spinach, 1 cup mozzarella cheese, nutmeg, salt and pepper. Mix everything together.
2. To build lasagna cups: place a wonton wrapper into a greased muffin pan, add spoon of ricotta filling, another wonton, spoon of marinara sauce, wonton, ricotta mixture, a little bit of marinara sauce and top everything with mozzarella cheese.



3. Bake at 350F for 20-25.



   It's a perfect dish for somebody like me... somebody who has a "problem" with portion control. You don't have to worry that you will cut a big of a piece of lasagna ... it's portioned for you already. Easy to serve, easy to store, delicious to eat!

Enjoy,
Magda

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Ladies reunited!

   Yes, yes, yes... all the ladies are back, at least for a few hours! After so many months of separation we had the whole crew back together last night for our "ladies-night-in". We actually gained one more girl for the evening, maybe not a "real girl" in a physiological sense, but he fit right in!  What a fun night! As one of the appetizers we had a warm artichoke and turkey bacon dip, with lots of different cheeses, chunks of artichoke and pieces of crispy bacon. Served with toasted baguette slices... the perfect appetizer.

Ingredients:

*  16oz cream cheese, room temp.
*  1 cup sour cream
*  1/2 cup mayonaise
*  1 14oz can artichoke hearts, drained and finely chopped
*  10 slices of turkey bacon
*  1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
*  2 cups mixed shredded cheese (mozzarella, Asiago, Parmesan)
*  salt and pepper

*  French baguette, sliced and toasted

Directions:

1. Chop turkey bacon into small pieces and saute in a pan for 6-7 minutes until crisp, set aside.
2. In a large bowl, combine all remaining ingredients, reserving 1/2 cup of shredded cheese.
3. Mix everything until combined making sure that there are no lumps of cream cheese. Add bacon, mix together and transfer into a greased baking dish.
4. Top everything with remaining shredded cheese and bake at 360F for 15-20 minutes until bubbly and golden brown.
5. Serve with toasted baguette slices. 




   I think the dip was a huge success. Creamy, gooey, with chunks of artichoke and bacon. If you are looking for a vegetarian version, you could always skip the bacon, but I do have to admit... it might not be as delicious!

Enjoy,
Magda.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Lets start from the end...

   ... of the dinner, that is! It's been a while since we had our friends over for dinner... and even though I would have lunch with Ms. Laurie here and there, I missed our double date dinners. Sometimes we do something special and sometimes we do something casual... like taco night or like yesterday - home made pizza night. But, since I told you we will start from end of the dinner... there will be no pizza recipes today... I'm going straight to the dessert! Mixed fruit cobbler... I was really craving something homey and comforting and what better than warm cobbler with a huge scoop of vanilla ice cream? Here is the recipe:

Ingredients:

Filling:

*  4 cups frozen fruit (I used mix of peaches, strawberries and raspberries)
*  3/4 cup sugar
*  3 tbsp corn starch
*  pinch of cinnamon

Topping:

*  1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
*  1/2 cup fine corn meal
*  3 tbsp sugar
*  1/2 tsp cinnamon
*  1 tsp baking powder
*  1/2 tsp salt
*  1/2 cup cold unsalted butter, cubbed
*  1 cup cold half & half (1-2 extra tbsp might be needed)
*  1/2 cup sliced almonds
*  1-2 tbsp sugar for the top

Directions:

1. In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients of the filling (do not defrost the fruit). Transfer into greased baking dish.
2. In a food processor, combine flour, sugar, corn meal, cinnamon, baking powder, salt, and butter cubes. Pulse few times until mixture resembles crumbs.
3. Transfer into a bowl, add almonds and 1 cup of half & halt. Mix with the wooden spoon until combined and wet. If it's not wet enough add some extra half & half. It should stick to your fingers.
4. Using your hands, drop the dough by pieces on the top of fruit and sprinkle the top with some sugar. Bake at 375F for 45-50 minutes until top is golden brown.Wait for it to cool down a little, but serve warm with a big scoop of vanilla ice cream.




   Do you really need an explanation for this one? Doesn't it look delicious? Sweet, juicy and fruity with a delicious crunchy topping! The perfect dessert for a casual dinner with great friends.

Enjoy,
Magda

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Balls of meat!

   Who doesn't love meatballs? Well, I'm sure I could find few people who don't, but I bet you that most of us are big fans of this dish. A funny (or weird) thing about me and meatballs... I prefer to have them in a mushroom sauce rather than a tomato sauce. I love me some puttanesca sauce, but there is nothing better (at least for me) than a white (especially mushroom) sauce. But don't even think about buying the canned condensed soup and turning it into a sauce... that's not the way to go. Here you have a recipe for the best meatballs in the best mushroom sauce... both made from scratch and super delicious.

Ingredients:

Meatballs:
*  2 lbs lean ground turkey
*  1/2 cup bread crumbs
*  2 eggs
*  2 garlic cloves, minced
*  1/2 cup fresh mint, chopped
*  1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
*  1 tsp black pepper
*  1-2 tsp chicken seasoning
*  olive oil to coat the meatballs

Sauce:
*  16oz mushroom, chopped
*  1 large onion, chopped
*  3 tbsp butter
*  2 cups chicken broth
*  2 tbsp flour
*  1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
*  salt and pepper

Directions:

1. To make meatballs: in a large bowl, combine all ingredients (besides olive oil), mix well together just until combined. Gently cover your hands with olive oil, from balls (the size of golf ball) and place them onto greased baking sheet. Bake at 360F for 25-30 minutes.
2. To make sauce: in a skillet melt butter, add onions, mushroom, salt and pepper and cook for 5-6 minutes.
3. Transfer half of the mushroom/onion mixture into a blender, add chicken broth and blend everything until smooth.
4. To the remaining mushrooms in the skillet add flour and cook everything for 1-2 minutes. Add blended sauce, parsley and season with salt and pepper if necessary.  Cook everything for 1-2 minutes - you can add a little bit more liquid if you like your sauce less dense.
5. Transfer meatballs into a sauce and serve with rice or pasta.




   I am telling you, you can't beat this sauce... thick, creamy and chunky at the same time... just perfect. Meatballs are moist and super flavorful... mint and parsley makes all the difference. Try it and you won't regret it.

Enjoy,
Magda.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Different pasta sauce.

   There is nothing wrong with delicious bolognese sauce or any other pasta sauce for this matter, but I always try to come up with a new recipe. I already have few which we really like, but we will be definitely adding this one to the list. Vegetarian eggplant pasta sauce with tiny hints of Indian spices... why not? Eggplant is one of these vegetables that has to be done just right in order for me to like it. Eggplant curry, baba ghanoush, moussaka ... and now also eggplant spaghetti sauce. All delicious and worth trying!

Ingredients:

*  1 large eggplant, peeled and cubed
*  1 large onion, chopped
*  1 28oz can of crushed tomatoes
*  1/2 cup fresh chopped cilantro
*  1 tbsp coriander powder
*  1/2 tbsp ground cumin
*  1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
*  1 tbsp brown sugar
*  1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
*  1 tbsp soy sauce 
*  2 tbsp olive oil
*  salt and pepper

Directions:

1. In a deep skillet heat olive oil, add onions, eggplant and fresh cilantro and cook for 5-6 minutes.
2. Add crushed tomatoes, all the spices, season with salt and pepper and cook everything for 15 minutes until eggplant is soft. If the sauce is too thick, dilute it with some water.
3. Remove from heat and stir in grated Parmesan cheese. Serve with pasta.




   Chunky, saucy and delicious, with a hint of cumin and coriander. It's a really great alternative to a meat sauce if you are trying to cook more vegetarian dishes, or if you are just looking for new ideas.

Enjoy,
Magda.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Small and beautiful.

   Small, beautiful and delicious! Turkey sliders with spinach and feta - how awesome does that sound? Sliders are one of Justin's favorite things in the world, but since he is like a big baby sometimes, I have to sneak his vegetables in and hide them in order for him to eat them. So here is a perfect example of my sneakiness .... small turkey patties filled with feta cheese and spinach! You can use that trick on your kids... on your husband... or on yourself (if you are not a veggie lover). Recipe makes around 10 - depending on the size.

Ingredients:

*  1.5 lb ground turkey
*  3/4 cup feta cheese, crumbled
*  6 oz fresh spinach, chopped
*  1/2 white onion, finely chopped
*  2 tbsp butter
*  1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
*  1 tbsp chicken seasoning
*  1 tsp ground cumin
*  salt and pepper

*  small ciabatta rolls
*  horseradish sauce
*  tomato, sliced
*  pickles

Directions:

1.  In a pan, melt butter and saute onions until translucent. Add spinach and cook for 2-3 minutes to wilt it. Set aside.
2. Combine ground turkey with feta cheese, spinach, and seasonings. Form small patties and grill 3-4 minutes on each side, until fully cooked.
3. Assemble your sliders, our favorite combo is ciabatta buns, horseradish sauce, tomatoes and pickles!




   Such a delicious combo! They are small, so you don't have to feel guilty about eating two of them! They are made out of lean turkey meat and filled with veggies... so you don't have to feel guilty about eating an extra two! Man, I wish I could have a cold beer with this meal... but maybe in a few months!

Enjoy,
Magda.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

The Polish cravings continue.

   So continuing with the theme of  "The baby craving Polish food", I made one of the most "Polish" soups - krupnik (barley soup). Funny thing ...  when I was a kid, I hated this soup with a passion! I don't really know (or remember) why, but I really felt like my mom was punishing me for something every time she made it. Well, things have changed since then and I really love it now and it looks like the Baby likes it as well. There are three main ingredients to it that you can't skip: meat (on the bone), barley, and potatoes. I found some large turkey necks and I thought they would be just perfect... and I was right, but you can also use chicken wings or beef ribs. Check it out!

Ingredients:

*  3-4 turkey necks
*  3/4 cup pearl barley
*  1 white onion, chopped
*  2 carrots, shredded
*  2-3 medium potatoes, cubed
*  2 celery stalks, chopped
*  2 bouillon cubes
*  1/2 cup fresh parsley
*  salt and pepper

Directions:

1. Wash turkey necks in cold water, transfer into a pot, cover with water, add a little bit of salt and cook for 1.5 hours (yes, they take quiet some time).
2. Add shredded carrots, celery, onions, 1/2 parsley, bouillon cubes and barley. Cook everything for 30 minutes or until barley is almost done.
3. Add cubed potatoes, season to taste and cook for 15 minutes, until potatoes are tender. Adjust the amount of water to your liking (depending on how dense you like your soup).
4. Remove cooked  meat, separate it from the bone, shred it, and return it to the soup. Add remaining parsley and it's ready to serve.




   Such a great and satisfying soup. You don't really need anything else, maybe a piece of toast, and you have a perfect dinner.

Enjoy,
Magda.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Bun in the oven!

   I am back... and yes, I have a bun in the oven... literally and metaphorically! We are expecting a little bundle of joy in February of next year and we couldn't be happier and more excited!
I am sorry I didn't post anything in a while, but recently I wasn't really that hungry and if I was... I usually craved Polish food, which I already posted on my blog! This baby is already like his/her momma... loves Polish dishes... mostly soups (surprise, surprise) cabbage, potatoes, pickles and so on! But now, slowly my appetite is returning and I promise I will keep posting regularly... at least until February, I can't promise anything after that!
To celebrate my "bun in the oven" I made an oven full of buns! Polish yeast buns with cheese that is! You know how can I tell that my appetite is returning? I already had three of them... one for me, one for the baby...and one because they are so darn good! Recipe makes 16:

Ingrediets:

Dough:

*  4 cups all-purpose flour
*  3/4 cup sugar
*  pinch of salt
*  1 egg
*  1 cup of warm milk
*  2 tbsp dry yeast
*  4 tbsp melted butter

Topping:

*  12oz ricotta cheese
*  1/2 cup sugar
*  1 lemon
*  1 tsp vanilla extract
*  1 tbsp corn starch

Extras:

*  1 egg
*  1/2 cup powdered sugar


Directions:

1. Mix warm milk with yeast and 1 tbsp of sugar, stir together and let it stand for 5-6 minutes.
2. In a large bowl, sift flour together with  sugar, salt. Add egg, melted butter, and milk and mix together to form a dough. Kneed the dough until smooth, but still a little bit sticky.
3. Transfer the dough into a greased bowl, cover with a kitchen towel, and let it in a warm place until it doubles in size (about 1 hour).
4. Remove the dough from the bowl and divide into 16 equal pieces. Form balls and place them on a baking sheet, cover with kitchen towel and let them raise in a warm place for 30-45 minutes.
5. In the meantime prepare the topping: combine ricotta cheese with sugar, vanilla extract, corn starch, zest from one lemon and juice from half a lemon. Mix to combine and set aside
6. Using a bottom of a glass flatten each ball, creating a big dent in the middle. Spoon the cheese mixture, filling the dent completely. Brush the dough around the cheese with bitten egg (extras) and bake at 400F for 15-20 minutes until golden brown. Place on cooling rack
7. Combine powdered sugar with juice from half a lemon (leftover from cheese mixture), mix to create a silky and runny frosting and lightly drizzle all the buns with it.




   So good! The drizzle on the top is optional but trust me, it's worth the extra step. It makes everything a little tangy and cuts through the sweetness. A cup of coffee (decaf for me) or a glass of milk... the perfect breakfast, desert, or snack!

Enjoy,
Magda.