I love it when a recipe takes just minutes to cook on the stove top—makes it easier to quiet my inner lazy cook and forgo the microwave. This kid-friendly cheese quesadilla is one of those recipes. I’ve been learning a bunch of Latin cooking techniques from our amazing babysitter/adopted “abuela” Rafaela, who is Dominican. When I spotted her toasting the flour tortilla in a bit of vegetable oil, I knew I could never go back to a soggy quesadilla land again. I like to do a blend of cheeses: queso for its mild flavor and melty goodness, and a sharp cheddar for some kick. Plus, you can sneak in some veggies for the kids if you chop them up really small, like we did in this pasta salad recipe. You can also add shredded chicken to this for extra protein, like my Jamaican Jerk style shown here.
This broccoli and cheese quesadilla is quick, easy, and kid-friendly.
1 cup Queso style and/or sharp cheddar cheese, grated
1/2 cup frozen broccoli, cooked & finely chopped
Large flour tortilla
Heat a teaspoon of oil over medium heat in a large skillet. Place tortilla in pan and heat, turning every 10 seconds or so until bubbles form and tortilla begins to lightly brown. Add cheese and broccoli; cover pan with lid until cheese is melted (about 30 seconds). Fold tortilla in half and cut into wedges. Serve with salsa and sour cream.
Sweet Potato Latkes, Challah Bread Pudding and Cranberry Applesauce for your Thanksgiving and Hannukkah celebration.
Happy Thanksgivingukkah y’all! I hope you’re enjoying this fab amalgamation of holidays. We’re busy trying to get cooking Thanksgiving dinner amid the craziness of some excited kidlets with new Hanukkah presents. There are dry erase markers loose in my living room right now and there’s nothing I can do about it. Anyway, if you happen to catch me on CBS 46 yesterday I shared a few crossover recipes for your Thanksgivingukkah table: sweet potato latkes, cranberry applesauce, challah rum raisin bread pudding and my roasted lemon garlic brussels sprouts (which don’t really have a Jewish twist but I love them!). Here are the recipes!
Sweet Potato Latkes
(makes about 8 latkes)
1 Russet Potato, peeled
1 Sweet Potato, peeled
1/2 yellow onion
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 sprigs worth of fresh thyme (optional)
1/2 cup canola oil
Salt & Pepper to taste
Grate potatoes and onion into a bowl using a large box grater. Place mixture into a strainer over another bowl; let drain for 10 minutes or so and then press out as much water from mixture as you can. It’s critical to get the mixture as dry as possible! You can even blot with a paper towel to sop up extra moisture. Another tip: drain the onion on its own first. That’s the major liquid culprit.
Heat oil over medium heat in a nonstick skillet.
Add egg, thyme, and seasonings to potato mixture. Blend well. Grab about three tablespoons of the mixture and form into a ball. Place it into the sizzling oil and flatten into a pancake with spatula. Let the latke brown on one side for about 5 minutes, then flip and brown for 5 minutes on the other side. Try not to flip the latke too soon or even peek at the bottom! Letting it be will help it set most nicely into its pancake shape.
Remove latkes and let them drain on paper towels to remove excess grease.
My challah rum raisin bread pudding has a yummy coconut twist.
For the pudding:
1 braided loaf of Challah (A bit stale is better)
1/3 cup raisins
1/4 cup dark rum
1 cup milk
1 cup coconut milk
¾ cup sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla
½ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
pinch of salt
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grab a 9 x 13 inch baking dish. In a small bowl, combine rum and raisins. Set aside.
Remove the crusts from the challah. Yeah, this is kind of a b*tch given that the loaf is braided. I use a large serrated knife and just work my way around slicing off as much crust as I can off each braid section. It doesn’t have to be perfect! In a food processor, blend the crusts into bread crumbs. Set aside 3 Tablespoons for the pudding and freeze the rest.
Cube the challah and put it in a large bowl. Add the milk and coconut milk. Set aside to let saturate completely.
In another bowl, beat together eggs, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg & salt. Pour it over the bread mixture, and add the raisins/rum. Stir until well blended.
Grease the baking dish with some cooking spray. Then pour the mixture into the baking dish and sprinkle with bread crumbs. Bake for 45 minutes, or until golden brown. The pudding will be more of a shallow pudding (about 1-2 inches high), rather than one of those really thick ones. I prefer this because I think it cooks through better. But for serving, you might cut two pieces and layer them on top of each other for a more scrumptious presentation.
Spiced Rum Sauce (adapted from Bon Apetit magazine)
1 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup spiced rum or dark rum
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
dash of nutmeg
Stir brown sugar and butter in heavy medium saucepan over medium heat until melted and smooth, about 2 minutes.
Add cream, rum, and cinnamon and bring to simmer.
Simmer until sauce thickens and is reduced, about 5 minutes. It should have a nice, gooey, caramel-ly texture. Serve warm.
Can be saved for leftovers; just reheat before later use.
2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
¼ cup sugar
1/4 cup water (to start)
1/4 cup red wine
4 large Granny Smith apples
In a medium sauce pot, combine cranberries, spices, sugar, water and wine. Bring mixture to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer about 20 minutes.
Peel and core apples, then cut them into medium chunks (approximately ½-inch cubes), and add to the cranberry mixture.
Cover sauce and continue to simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. If sauce begins to stick, add water (about 1/4 cup at a time).
You might have to break up the apple chunks a little as it simmers, but leave some thicker. It gives the sauce a little more character I think!
When I was seven and a half months pregnant with my oldest Jake, I decided to wear my favorite 4-inch spike heels to my baby shower. Rookie pregnant lady mistake. Sure they looked cute but I had a ridiculous back ache the next day. Like, of the spasmodic, stop-in-your-tracks variety. And you can’t exactly pound the painkillers when you’re pregnant, at least not with your first (just kidding). My sister who happened to work in a hospital and happened to be staying with me showed me this fab little trick to create a DIY heating pad.
Take a dishtowel and fold it in half or thirds so that it would fit inside a large ziploc-type bag. Saturate the towel with water, and microwave it for 30-90 seconds or until very hot. Remove the towel from the microwave (use tongs!) and pop it into the ziploc bag. Shimmy the bag into the back waistband of your pants– or lay it across your neck or shoulders, whatever. And voilá. Your very own DIY heating pad.
If you’ve been following the show, you probably know the Shigleys tend to like our recipes simple and spicy! This one-pot curried cauliflower is just that—and makes an easy, flavorful vegetarian dish for a weeknight meal. Full disclosure, I call it “no chop” because each of the ingredients can be sourced already cut. But technically you might have to chop the onion/cauliflower if you don’t have the pre-chopped versions from the grocery store, or saved in your freezer.
No Chop, One Pot Curried Cauliflower
Spicy and sweet curried cauliflower is a satisfying vegetarian meal.
2 Teaspoons curry powder
1/2 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
About 2 (10-oz.) packages fresh cauliflower florets
1 cup frozen peas
1/2 cup diced red onion
Cooked Basmati Rice
Store-bought Mango Chutney
Heat oil over medium heat in a large skillet. Cook curry powder and red pepper in hot oil, stirring often, 1 minute.
Add cauliflower, onion, peas and salt, and cook, stirring constantly, 2 to 3 minutes or until onion is crisp-tender.
Reduce heat to low; add 6-8 Tbsp. water. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, 8 to 10 minutes or just until cauliflower is tender.
When you’ve got a mean craving for Mac and Cheese, sometimes it’s too much trouble to whip up a batch from scratch (and the powdered mix versions can leave a lot to be desired, too). That’s how I came up with this super quickie, no bake mac ‘n cheese recipe when I was pregnant with baby #3. I think I ate Mac and Cheese almost every day for the entire first trimester! With butter as the magic ingredient, it’s surprisingly satisfying and also happens to be a great non-processed version of mac and cheese for the kids. You can mix it up with a blend of cheeses—white cheddar, orange cheddar, Queso, etc.
Noodles, butter, and Cheddar is all you need for this quickie Mac and Cheese.
Lazy Woman’s Mac and Cheese
2 cups cooked elbow noodles
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
1 generous pat of butter
While the noodles are still hot, mix all the ingredients in a medium sized bowl. If needed, microwave for 30 seconds to melt cheese.
Want to eat like a fitness model? This week I’m sharing my recipe for a Get Skinny Oatmeal Pancake, which is adapted from a dish my best friend Amina made when she was training for a fitness bikini competition a few years back. I eat this dish for breakfast/snack for a few days when I’m trying to “lean out” before a big event or after indulging too much during, say, the holidays.
For getting lean, you can’t beat “clean” ingredients like oatmeal and egg whites. Combining them together—with a smattering of delicious (and naturally low-carb) berries and a dash of cinnamon and sugar—yields a protein-packed pancake that’s hearty, tasty and great for the waistline. The flavor and texture of the pancake kind of reminds me of matzoh brie, the fried matzoh version of French toast that is served during Passover. Bon appetit!
Get Skinny Oatmeal Pancake
This delicious oatmeal pancake is protein-packed with egg whites.
4 Egg Whites
½ cup regular rolled oats (not instant oatmeal)
½ cup fresh berries such as blueberries/strawberries
Beat egg whites until foamy. Add oatmeal and cinnamon. Pour mixture into pan coated with cooking spray, over medium heat. When bottom of pancake begins to brown, place 1/2 of berries onto pancake (reserve the remaining half to top the finished pancake). Flip pancake and cook until both sides are golden brown.
Frittata. It sounds so fancy, doesn’t it? I thought so when I first saw Bethenny Frankel cooking one on her Bravo show “Bethenny Getting Married.” She just whipped one up one morning for her future (uh, I guess now former) mother-in-law, and it looked really impressive and cool. I thought, I’d like to learn that! If you’re unfamiliar, a frittata is like a baked omelette, and is a great way to use up all those veggie stragglers in your fridge. Add some cheese, herbs and bacon, and you can’t go wrong.
Bacon, Herb & Cheese Frittata
3 strips bacon (store-bought, pre-cooked such as Oscar Mayer or Boars Head)
Red and yellow pepper, diced
Fresh herbs such as chives, parsley, rosemary, thyme
Gruyere cheese, cut into small chunks
4 eggs, beaten
Salt & Pepper to taste
1/4 cup Milk
What to do:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Add milk to eggs; whisk and season with Salt and Pepper. Heat oil over medium high heat. Saute peppers and bacon until lightly browned. Pour in egg mixture, reduce heat to low and cook until egg begins to set around the edges but is still wet in the center. Top egg with cheese, then fresh herbs. Transfer pan to oven and complete cooking. Loosen with spatula and transfer to plate (or cover pan with plate and flip to release). Cut into wedges and serve.
This week we’re cooking a super easy grilled chicken paillard. Paillard basically is a technique of pounding chicken super thin and cooking quickly, usually in a skillet or on a grill. Marinate with just olive oil, salt and pepper before grilling and the chicken gets a versatile flavor, with a slight Mediterranean flair.
Svelte Grilled Chicken Paillard
Pound meat extra thin for a twist on this easy grilled chicken.
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
A few tablespoons Olive Oil
Kosher Salt and Pepper
Place one chicken breast between sheets of saran wrap (at least two sheets on top, two sheets on bottom). Pound with mallet until meat is paper thin. Repeat with next breast. Transfer to Ziploc-style bag and drizzle with a good amount of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and squish all around to evenly distribute. Grill on high heat for 2-3 minutes each side, and serve with mixed green salad.
When I want a treat, I tend to go for the real thing, not a lower-calorie substitution. But this two-ingredient recipe for Nutella banana “ice cream” is just so nifty and delicious, I just had to share it with you! Basically all you need is a frozen banana, a food processor, and a heaping spoonful of Nutella (or another tasty spread). You can also make this recipe your own by adding coconut, vanilla extract, or other frozen fruits.
Nutella Banana “Ice Cream”
One frozen banana (slice into 1/2 inch disks before freezing)
1-2 Tablespoons Nutella hazelnut spread
Place frozen banana in mini food processor. Pulse until it begins to form a creamy paste, then add Nutella and continue pulsing until just blended. Spoon into a “scoop” shape and serve. That’s it!
One of my cooking tricks is to try and do half of a meal homemade, even if the other half is born in a box (or freezer bag). When it comes to pasta nights, I have an easy tomato sauce I make to go along with, say, store-bought fresh ravioli, to make the meal a bit more special. I call it the “bathtime” sauce because I can get all the ingredients going in the pot before we start the kids’ bath/bedtime routine—and it simmers down just in time for dinner with the hubby. The key ingredients are a can of San Marzano tomatoes (available at most grocery stores; this variety has the most flavor), and a shredded carrot, which adds a nice sweetness. As with many sauces, you can make it your own with a dash more of this or a handful more of that—and I change it up a little myself virtually every time I make this. But here’s the tried and true version.
San Marzano tomatoes make homemade tomato sauce a snap.
Homemade Tomato Sauce
2+ Tablespoons Olive Oil
2 cloves garlic, chopped
½ cup onion chopped
1 cup mushrooms, sliced
1 large carrot, shredded
1 28-oz can San Marzano whole tomatoes
1 ½ cups water
Generous splash of leftover red wine
1 teaspoon sugar (optional)
¼ cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
Kosher salt and pepper to taste
Heat a tablespoon oil over medium low heat. Saute mushrooms, garlic and onion until light brown. Add can of tomatoes, water and carrot. Bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer uncovered to reduce sauce. After about 10 minutes, add a smidge more olive oil, wine, sugar and cheese. Continue reducing another 15 minutes, until sauce thickens. Season with salt and pepper.